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Local clerks stand silently in a show of support for Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard on Monday night as Cato Township Clerk Louis Morse and Belvidere Township Clerk Sheila Smith ask the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners to continue paying Millard for her election programming work. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

County removes itself from election programming to resolve dispute

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners have finally found a way to resolve an election programming payment dispute — by removing themselves from the equation entirely. The issue was hammered out during a nearly three-hour meeting Monday night, which was attended by nearly 50 people, including multiple local clerks.

Rep. Jim Lower, R-Cedar Lake, speaks Monday in a room full of constituents at the Legislative Update meeting held at Montcalm Community College.

Lower discusses failed effort to cut income tax

In just his second month in office as a state representative, Jim Lower experienced a legislative session last week typically reserved for long, lame-duck negotiating evenings in December. Rep. Lower, R-Cedar Lake, spent the majority of Feb. 22, along with his fellow members of the Legislature, tweaking, negotiating and eventually voting on House Bill 4001.

Dumpsters for multi-family trash services, such as apartments, are part of the sealed bids proposals the Village of Sheridan is collecting. Granger, a Lansing-based trash and recycling collection, bought Sidney Sanitation in 2016 and has a contract for trash service in Sheridan until May. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Sheridan accepting trash collection bids

Village residents could see a change in trash service later this spring.

Wabasis Creek and Wabasis Lake are designated for land preservation, but is at risk of E. coli contamination, according to a presentation by the Mid-Michigan District Health Department during a seminar hosted by the Montcalm Planning Commission on Thursday.

Septic tanks, E. coli impact Flat River watershed

Swimming, boating and fishing might not be a typical conversation in late February, but it was exactly what local health officials were talking about Thursday during a seminar hosted by the Montcalm Planning Commission. Bob Gouin, environmental health director, and Marcus Cheatham, health officer, both from the Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD) talked about the risk of E. coli, a bacteria commonly found in human waste, poses to swimming, boating and fishing activities in Montcalm County.

Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services Director David Feldpausch points out how the EMS facility’s parking lot in Stanton, which is located in a valley behind the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Jail, often gets flooded and messy due to water runoff. Feldpausch is hoping the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will approve his proposed $81,000 revamp of the parking lot. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County EMS parking lot may get $81,000 improvement

The parking lot of the Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) building is falling apart, and the Road Commission for Montcalm County has offered to help fix it. EMS Director David Feldpausch appeared before the county’s Economic Development & Physical Resources Committee and the county’s Finance & Personnel Committee on Feb. 13 to ask for their approval of a parking lot project at what’s also known as the BVM facility (named in honor of former county commissioners Bogart, VanHarn and McCrackin). The project calls for improving the drainage, removing the current parking lot asphalt and expanding the parking lot around the BVM (which would add about 20 more parking spaces) at a cost not to exceed $83,000. The money would come from the EMS fund, not the county’s general fund.

Stanton City Clerk/Treasurer Lori Braman and Mayor Ken Burris listen to discussion during Tuesday night’s Stanton City Commission meeting. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton Veterans Park plans take a big step back

The future of Stanton’s Veterans Memorial Park is uncertain after the Stanton City Commission voted to rescind state grants for the park. Last December, Stanton officials learned they were approved for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant worth $296,000, but it required at $596,800 match.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updated Montcalm County commissioners on Monday about the county’s ongoing audit and financial progress. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners hear update from new auditor

The Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee heard some hopeful news Monday from the county’s new auditor.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updated commissioners on the ongoing county audit.

The Montcalm County Clerk’s Office has kept detailed records of election programming billing and receipts for local municipalities and school districts since the clerk’s office started billing in 2006 at the direction of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County records contradict election billing allegations

A simmering dispute about Montcalm County election programming has come to a boil.

During the Jan. 23 Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City stated that officials from local municipalities have been telling her this is the first year they’ve been billed by the county for election programming services. Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, who was present at that meeting, adamantly disagreed with this claim, saying the county has billed municipalities for this service since 2006 at the request of the Board of Commissioners.

A room full of people, including staff, students and community members, listened to NPR Jason Beaubien give a lecture about disease in Latin America on Tuesday.

NPR health correspondent kicks off MCC lecture series

Issues with viruses and disease in Latin America were the focus of a talk given at Montcalm Community College (MCC) on Tuesday. Jason Beaubien, a global health and development correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), spoke in a room full of students, staff and community members. He touched on the outbreak and spread of viruses such as Zika, disease transmission and the prevalence of diabetes in Latin America.

Montcalm County Information Technology Director Eric McLaughlin explains how the county’s computer server operates from the basement of the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office in Stanton. McLaughlin recently solicited multiple bids for county computer upgrades and decided on a $54,998 bid from Dell OEM of Grand Rapids for a PowerEdge VRTX Modular Infrastructure, which he says typically retails for $120,000.— Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County upgrades computer system for $55,000

Montcalm County is catching up with the technological times.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 23 approved spending up to $60,000 for a server and storage project at the recommendation of Information Technology Director Eric McLaughlin.