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Jim Lower, right, standing beside his wife, Kristen, center, is sworn in as the next state representative of Michigan’s 70th House District Monday evening by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at the Montcalm County Administration building in Stanton. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Lower takes oath of office for 70th District (PHOTOS)

With his right hand raised upward and left hand placed firmly on the Bible, Jim Lower took his oath of office Monday evening to become a member of Michigan’s 99th State Legislature. Standing before family and friends, and a number of constituents who he has now grown to call friends, Lower, with his wife Kristen by his side, repeated after Lt. Gov. Brian Calley from the third floor of the Montcalm County Administration Building, keeping his hand placed on the very Bible his wife’s parents had once given to him upon converting to Catholicis

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IN BRIEF: MCC board has vacancy

Montcalm Community College Trustee (MCC) Michael Williams participated in his final meeting of the board of trustees Tuesday evening.

Williams’ term is at an end and the board has a 30 day window to appoint someone new before the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) would intervene and appoint someone. There are four candidates currently vying for the open trustee spot.

Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, at left, assists Kay Westergaard and Reynolds Township Clerk Robin Sholty as they try to determine whether a bin containing presidential election ballots was properly sealed. The women were among 30 volunteers assisting in a presidential recount Wednesday at the former Stanton elementary school building. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County completes presidential election ballot recount

Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard oversaw her first presidential election ballot recount in record time. Wednesday’s hand recount of ballots cast in November’s general election started at 9 a.m. and was completed by 3 p.m. for a total of six hours.

Luke Hevel, owner of Hevel Auto Repair in Stanton, works on the 2004 Ford Focus and Stanton NAPA Auto Parts’ old delivery vehicle to be ready to give away to a local family. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

One-time NAPA delivery car to help local family

A former delivery car for NAPA Auto Parts in Stanton is getting a second chance and helping a local family. NAPA was planning on scrapping the 2004 Ford Focus after the timing belt broke earlier this year, but Store Manager Kimberlie Rivett and her husband Mike Rivett, a mechanic at Hevel Auto Repair in Stanton, had an idea to help someone in the community and “pay it forward.”

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Montcalm County controller-administrator looks back on 2016

A man walked up to Robert Clingenpeel at a recent community event and declared, “Hello, Mr. Controller!”
Clingenpeel was quick to disabuse the man of the notion of that title.
“No, it’s just Bob,” he said. “I’m a papa, I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a taxpayer in Montcalm County. There’s a responsibility with that that supersedes even my job.”

During Tuesday night’s Stanton City Commission meeting, from left, commissioners John Seaman and Krista Johnson, Treasurer Janet Davis and Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Burris discussed the cost and budget concerns of hiring a city manager exclusive to Stanton. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton considers cash concern in hiring exclusive city manager

Commissioner Karl Yoder asked the Stanton City Commissioners to continue discussing hiring a city manager at every meeting until the position is filled.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, talk revolved around the question of costs and options. The discussion follows a Nov. 15 meeting when the commission decided to look into hiring an exclusive city manager and ending a shared agreement with Lakeview.

The Red Barn Theatre on Montcalm Community College’s Sidney campus was the only facility rated red for the next five years during a facilities evaluation for issues on the interior of the building that will need improvement. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

MCC Board of Trustees hear audit report, facilities report

Montcalm Community College (MCC) remains a bright spot in Montcalm County. During a regular meeting Monday afternoon, the MCC Board of Trustees heard an audit report from Lisa VanDeWeert, a certified public accountant with Grand Rapids-based Rehmann Group. Overall, the report was positive for the college and the MCC Foundation.

Clockwise from second to bottom left, Stanton City Commission members Ken Burris, John Seaman, Krista King, Clerk Janet Davis, Mayor Larry Petersen, Lewis Corwin, Jane Basom and Karl Yoder interview city manager candidate Charles Watson of Cedar Springs. Ultimately, the city commission voted against both finalists for the shared manager job with Lakeview and decided to pursue an exclusive city manager. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton wants to end shared manager agreement with Lakeview

At the Sept. 14 Stanton City Commission meeting, Commissioner Ken Burris told his fellow commissioners he didn’t see any reason to change the shared manager arrangement between Stanton and Lakeview. Two months later, his feelings have changed. Now Burris, fellow commissioners, city residents and business owners want a manager they don’t have to share with the village of Lakeview.

Kenneth Wood of Sheridan reads a plaque the class dedicated to Montcalm County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Kotenko. The inaugural Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy named Tuesday’s graduating class the Michael Kotenko Family Citizens’ Police Academy. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy graduates first class

A police academy of a different sort celebrated graduation Tuesday at Montcalm Community College.

A group of 25 excited men and women gathered to receive certificates of completion for finishing the inaugural Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy put on through a partnership between the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post and the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department.

Stanton Treasurer-Clerk Janet Davis reviews the 2016 fiscal year audit for accountants at Berthiaume & Co. presented to the Stanton City Commission on Oct. 25. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton City Commission receives positive audit report

Stanton has been the location for bad financial news lately when it comes to the Montcalm County seat, but the Stanton City Commission has received a positive review of its finances.

Ken Berthiaume, a certified public accountant from Berthiaume & Co. based in Saginaw, presented the 53-page audit report at the Oct. 25 commission meeting.