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Volunteers and employees with the Mid-Michigan District Health Department work together during a preparedness exercise at Central Montcalm High School on Wednesday as officials gather in the center of the gymnasium to evaluate the exercise. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Health department hosts emergency preparedness exercise

Be it a medical epidemic or a release of harmful chemicals by terrorists, preparing for the worst of outcomes is not only important, but required for the Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD). On Wednesday morning, officials with the department did necessary steps to do just that — be prepared — by staging an emergency preparedness exercise.

Sheridan Community Hospital family physician Monica Steury speaks about her own experiences working at Sheridan Community Hospital during a town hall meeting at the Sheridan Community Center on Thursday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Practices in Stanton end as Sheridan Community Hospital refocuses

Amid ongoing rumors and speculation in this small town, Sheridan Community Hospital Administrator Randy Flechsig got right to the point. He was defiant in his attempt Thursday evening to reassure an audience of more than 80 people, all of whom had questions or concerns about doctors leaving or the hospital closing.

“We’re not going away,” Flechsig declared. “We’re going to be different, we’re going to retool and that’s going to happen on an ongoing basis. But we’re not going away.”

Montcalm County Commissioners listen as Montcalm County Animal Control Director Angela Hollinshead presents a reduced 2016-2017 fiscal year budget during Monday’s Finance and Personnel Committee meeting in Stanton. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Cuts, new fees and increases part of plan for Animal Control

In an effort to quell the looming $1.5 million budget deficit that is facing Montcalm County, every department head within the county is working to reach a solution. During Monday morning’s Finance and Personnel Committee meeting, Montcalm County Animal Control Director Angela Hollinshead presented a reduced 2016-2017 fiscal year budget at the request of the county commissioners.

About 60 people attended a forum Thursday evening for candidates seeking election in the races for 8th Judicial Circuit Court judge and Montcalm County sheriff. The forum was held at Six Lakes VFW Post 5602. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Candidates for sheriff, judge make their pitch

Two of the most important decision-making positions in Montcalm County are up for election this year, and the candidates running for those positions are eager to make their voices heard.

Former Central Montcalm Public School superintendent Jacob Helms of Clifford Lake was one of many residents to address the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday about law enforcement cuts. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Adopt a park, adopt a sheriff’s deputy?

Montcalm County officials have come up with an Adopt-A-Park plan to help keep county parks open amid budget cuts.

But who will adopt a sheriff’s deputy?

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.