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.

Once built, the Veterans Memorial Park would include a trail, four softball fields, parking lot, concession/restroom building, veterans memorial, pavilion, sled hill, disc golf course, mountain bike course, nature path and amphitheater. But first, the Stanton City Commission must find $596,000 to match the Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant. — Courtesy photo

Stanton looking to fund $5 million park project

There’s a $596,800 grant match looming over the heads of the Stanton City Commission. In December, the city was approved for a $296,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), but the grant only covers a portion of the first phase of a planned Veterans Memorial Park.

John Axe, an attorney with Clark Hill PLC in Detroit, hands out copies of a resolution to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday evening authorizing Clark Hill to complete an investigation and make recommendations to the board related to the pursuit of legal claims and filing of a complaint regarding the county’s former auditor Abraham & Gaffney. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County hires law firm to investigate former auditor

Montcalm County has hired a law firm to investigate and possibly bring a civil lawsuit against the county’s former auditor.
The resolution was approved during a regular meeting at 6 p.m. after commissioners met in closed session with Clark Hill attorney John Axe during a prior special meeting for nearly an hour.

From left, Brennan Bunker, 18, Robert Cornell, 16, and Ryan Saxton, 16, work on grinding some Michigan signs students in the welding program at the Montcalm Area Career Center (MACC) are making. The signs the student made will be sold by staff members at the MACC to the local public to raise money for the memorial fund of St. Johns fabricator Curtis Feldpausch, who died Dec. 30 at the age of 22. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Montcalm Area Career Center welding class crafts signs for fundraiser

Funding for education programs at the Montcalm Area Career Center (MACC) comes from the federal and state level, local school districts and donations from people within the community. Students in the welding program at the MACC recently had the opportunity to pay it forward using equipment purchased from a donation to craft and sell signs.

Stanton Community Fire Chief Brian Brasington has worked with the district fire board to purchase a new tanker-pumper to serve Stanton, along with Douglass, Evergreen and Sidney townships. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Work underway for Stanton’s new fire department tanker-pumper

The only evidence of the Stanton’s Community Fire Department’s former tanker trunk is a large oil stain on the garage floor. Last July, the tanker truck suffered catastrophic engine failure. After bringing the issue to the Stanton City Commission and having it repeatedly tabled, Fire Chief Brain Brasington brought the issue to the fire board, which is comprised of residents from Stanton and Douglass, Evergreen and Sidney townships.

Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland, at left, met with 4th District constituents Tuesday afternoon at the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Moolenaar hears health care concerns from constituents

Constituents of Michigan’s 4th District braved the icy roads Tuesday to tell their Congressman what scares them even more: Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without knowing replacement details. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, met with more than a dozen constituents for an hour at Montcalm County’s Administrative Building, where the ACA — or “Obamacare” — was the pressing concern.

The city of Stanton owned the lot at 111 S. Grove St., but recently received and approved an offer from the owners of the adjacent lot to purchase the property for $5,000. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton sells lot once tabbed for city investment to next-door residents

This city has one less parcel for sale. Stanton previously had four city-owned properties for sale. Former City Manager Jake Eckholm planned on using the properties as part of the Stanton Housing Investment Program (SHIP), which would build homes on the property to be resold for the city’s profit and benefit. However, Eckholm left Stanton for another job, leaving the project to fizzle out.