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From left to right, Mecosta-Osceola 49th Circuit Court Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy, HOPE Program Chief Probation Supervisor Cheryl Inouye, Hawaii Judge Steven Alm and Ionia-Montcalm 8th Judicial Circuit Court judges Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger and Ronald Schafer met Friday at the Montcalm County Courthouse in Stanton to discuss Alm’s HOPE program. — Courtesy photo

HOPEful new approach to probation, parole

A Hawaii judge came all the way to Montcalm County to meet with local judges who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of a successful approach to a probation program.

Judge Steven Alm, who has been a circuit court judge since 2001, created Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program (or HOPE). He created the program after witnessing a high failure rate in Hawaii’s probation system; offenders who were up to 20 probation violations with no improvement, and the only options being used were talking to them or sending them to prison.

Julia and the Greensides, a contemporary folk band from Muskegon, will be the headliners at a series of concerts Saturday evening as part of the inaugural Taste of Montcalm festival in Stanton. — Courtesy photo

Stanton readies for its first Taste of Montcalm

What does Montcalm County taste like? Festival-goers will have a chance to vote for some of their favorite local restaurants at the inaugural Taste of Montcalm from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at D. Hale Brake Park in Stanton. The festival is free.

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, left, explains his approach to county budget cuts as Commissioner Patrick Q. Carr listens. The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 6-3 on Monday to authorize Clingenpeel to make necessary budget reductions. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners pass budget decisions to controller

After months of being unable to agree to take action on budget cuts, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners have decided to allow their new controller-administrator to take over those decisions. The board voted 6-3 on Monday to approve Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel’s recommendation that the board authorize him to “make necessary budget reductions” effective that same day. The proposal is part of Clingenpeel’s effort to help the county’s $1.5 million budget deficit leading up to approval of the 2016-2017 budget. He will make budget reductions in conjunction with county department heads, and will report his action back to the board.

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Montcalm County budget cuts mean job layoffs, fee increases

Michael Kotenko rose to speak before the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners.

May 23 was the first major public appearance for the 14-year sheriff’s deputy since last autumn, when he narrowly escaped being murdered on the job.

Miss Sheridan Springfest 2016 and her court were one of several festival queen entries in Monday's Grand Parade. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Sheridan Memorial Day parade keeps honor alive (PHOTOS)

In 1942, following the bombing of the Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, the United States joined World War II. Hundreds of young men felt the pull of their patriotic duty and went to enlist in the armed forces. John Hansen, then age 23, was one of those.

A standing room only audience packed the room on the third floor of the Montcalm County Administrative Building (old courthouse) in Stanton on Monday to voice their concerns about closing Animal Control and county parks. — Daily News/Cory Smith

County Animal Control elimination vote fails, parks decision postponed

Montcalm County didn’t go into debt overnight … and neither are elected officials going to be able to fix the problem in one day. This was Helen Hamler’s theory when she stood before the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday to ask them not to shut down Animal Control.

Annette Enness, a Wellness Peer Specialist at Wellness Works in Stanton, left, and Wellness Team Leader for InShape/Health Mentor, Jim Young, right, converse after having worked with clients at the gym Monday afternoon. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Sufferers of mental illnesses find relief at Wellness Works

There was a time when Annette Enness was ashamed of who she was, that a condition that didn’t define, but limited her, was all that friends, family and strangers were thinking about. The Stanton woman suffered from a mental illness, and she struggled to find help that could make a lasting impression and turn her life back around.

Laura McCallum and Sydney Stauffer served as valedictorian and salutatorian for Central Montcalm High School. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Central Montcalm High School graduates 98 seniors

Laura McCallum and Sydney Stauffer ranked as the top two academic scholars in the Central Montcalm High School Class of 2016, earning the roles of valedictorian and salutatorian.

Throughout their four years of high school, the two have both been in National Honor Society, served as president and vice-president of their senior class and have been leaders in various clubs and organizations.

Health Officer Marcus Cheatham, left, listens as Orlando Todd of Local Public Health Services at the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services presents the Mid-Michigan District Health Department with a plaque congratulating the health department on 50 years of public health service. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Health department celebrates 50 years

Jane Keon grew up in St. Louis, a small town devastated by a toxic chemical mix-up that continues to result in elevated poison levels in people’s blood throughout Michigan today. When Keon grew up, she mobilized her community to protect water and fight toxic pollution, taking the fight all the way to the EPA in Washington, D.C. When John Switzer learned there was high levels of fecal matter in the Upper Maple River, he obtained grant funding to implement a watershed management plan, then leveraged a grant to assist other watersheds developing plans for the Flat River and the Pine River.

Board members Brian Corwin and Bud Longnecker and Board President Stephen Foster listen as Superintendent Ron Simon gives his report. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

MAISD board approves retirements, resignations

Four staff members in the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) will be departing during the course of this year. The MAISD Board of Education approved the retirements of special education teacher Annegret Paas, bus driver Betty Sleight and administrative assistant Dawn Lantz and the resignation of plant and animal science teacher Abby Schofield during Thursday morning’s meeting. Paas’ retirement will be effective July 1 and Sleight’s retirement will be effective Sept. 1.