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Montcalm County Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Coordinator and County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer, left, speaks to Commissioner Patrick Q. Carr on Monday about denying a FOIA request from Stanton resident Ron Finegood regarding a former local judge. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Montcalm County commissioners deny FOIA request regarding judge’s emails

An appeal to overturn a denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding emails sent by a former circuit court judge was rejected Monday by the Montcalm County Board Commissioners. The board voted 8-1 to deny an appeal submitted by Stanton resident and attorney Ron Finegood regarding a FOIA request he submitted on Feb. 11, which was denied by FOIA coordinator and outgoing Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer.

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Outman concerned about proposed LGBTQ guidelines in school

Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, has long voiced his opinion on educational matters in Michigan during his tenure in the Legislature, and Monday, he took aim at what some in Lansing are calling a controversial issue.

A proposal focused on students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning their sexual identity (LGBTQ) has been thrust into the limelight after a voluntary guidance, drafted with a goal to help school districts looking to better serve LGBT students, was outlined in a Feb. 23 memo from the Michigan Department of Education to the State Board of Education.

In sticking with the theme of “All Things Green,” event, a number of plants, grown by Lakeview High School junior Katie Johnson, 16, were on display and sold to visitors during at the Montcalm Area Career Center on Monday evening.

All Things Green event spreads local agricultural awareness (PHOTOS)

With more than 224,000 acres of farmland within its borders, agriculture is a driving force throughout Montcalm County. But size of land doesn’t necessarily equate proportionally to general appreciation or understanding, which is why consumers and vendors alike gathered Monday evening for the annual All Things Green event at the Montcalm Area Career Center.

Montcalm County Sheriff Bill Barnwell speaks about pending budget cuts at a special county finance meeting Monday, while county department heads look on and listen. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County Board of Commissioners talk budget cuts

Eliminate Animal Control? Merge the Equalization Department and the Register of Deeds Department? Privatize county services? Give county parks back to local townships? These were a few of the ideas discussed during a special Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee meeting Monday.

The Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton was built in 1910 and originally served as the county courthouse. The current building was  funded by a voter-approved bond in 1907 and constructed after a 1905 fire that destroyed the county’s first courthouse. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners prepare to make budget cuts

Budget cuts are coming to Montcalm County. The question is, how and where? Voters turned down a Headlee override millage proposal on March 8 by 58 to 42 percent. If it had been approved, the funds would have gone toward balancing the county’s $230,000 budget deficit as well as restoring some county services. Now what?

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McBride man found dead in home amid ‘suspicious’ circumstances

Matthew Reed’s pickup truck remains where he parked it two weeks ago. The silver Chevy with rust around the edges is stationed next to Reed’s white house at 2028 Royal Street at the corner of Division and Royal in the village of McBride.

Members of the Central Montcalm High School Symphonic Band react in celebration together with friends and family after learning that they received a first division rating at Thursday’s Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association District 7 Festival at Greenville High School. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Members of the Central Montcalm High School Symphonic Band react in celebration together with friends and family after learning that they received a first division rating at Thursday’s Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association District 7 Festival at Greenville High School. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Local school bands succeed at district band festival (PHOTOS)

Just a short time ago, Matthew Reed wasn’t entirely sure his students could come together and play the music program he had arranged to the expectations they had set forward. The Central Montcalm band director was determined to have his high school students ready to perform at the Michigan State Band and Orchestra District Band Festival, but facing a total of eight snow days, the necessary rehearsal time just wasn’t there.

An Ionia County snow plow truck makes its way east on Bricker Road, clearing snow Tuesday afternoon.  — Daily News/Cory Smith

Snow storms continue to keep county road crews busy

After being battered last Thursday with nearly 12 inches of snow, another blast of snow Tuesday is keeping plow drivers busy. According to Road Commission for Montcalm County Superintendent-Manager Mark Christensen, another winter storm that began at approximately 7 a.m. and carried into the night kept plow trucks on the road throughout the day.

Mae, a 3-year-old miniature horse, attempts to nibble on a Montcalm Community College folder during a luncheon Wednesday celebrating the college’s agricultural partnership with Michigan State University. — Daily News/Cory Smith

MCC, MSU celebrate first year of agricultural programs partnership

In the middle of discussion between college and university representatives at Montcalm Community College (MCC) Wednesday, the most unique guest in attendance decided it was time to make her presence known. A loud whinny from Mae, the miniature horse standing nearby, erupted through mixed conversation, drawing laughs from those in attendance at a luncheon celebrating MCC’s agricultural partnership with Michigan State University (MSU).

More than 50 people were in attendance for Monday’s Legislative Update meeting at Montcalm Community College, showing their concern over the issue of section 298 of Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Michigan’s mental health care funding proposal causes concern

A key component of Michigan’s upcoming fiscal year budget is raising some eyebrows among health care administrators. With more than 50 people in attendance at Monday’s legislative update, the primary subject of discussion required double the regularly allocated space to provide enough seating as a number of Montcalm County residents raised issue with Section 298 of Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed 2016-2017 budget.