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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.

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.

From left, Secretary Brian Corwin, Superintendent Ron Simon, President Steve Foster, Vice President Mark Christensen and Board Member Kurt Peasley discuss the designation of the liaison for the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

MAISD to purchase 3 new school buses

Three new school buses are going to be on their way to the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) in the coming weeks to replace buses that need to be phased out. During an organizational meeting Monday morning, the MAISD board approved the purchase of three buses for the special education program. One of the buses will be equipped with a lift for wheelchair access. This will serve as a replacement for the existing bus with wheelchair access that’s already in the fleet.

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.

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.

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.

A standing room only audience packed the room on the third floor of the Montcalm County Administrative Building (old courthouse) in Stanton on Monday to voice their concerns about closing Animal Control and county parks. — Daily News/Cory Smith

County Animal Control elimination vote fails, parks decision postponed

Montcalm County didn’t go into debt overnight … and neither are elected officials going to be able to fix the problem in one day. This was Helen Hamler’s theory when she stood before the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday to ask them not to shut down Animal Control.

Annette Enness, a Wellness Peer Specialist at Wellness Works in Stanton, left, and Wellness Team Leader for InShape/Health Mentor, Jim Young, right, converse after having worked with clients at the gym Monday afternoon. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Sufferers of mental illnesses find relief at Wellness Works

There was a time when Annette Enness was ashamed of who she was, that a condition that didn’t define, but limited her, was all that friends, family and strangers were thinking about. The Stanton woman suffered from a mental illness, and she struggled to find help that could make a lasting impression and turn her life back around.

Health Officer Marcus Cheatham, left, listens as Orlando Todd of Local Public Health Services at the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services presents the Mid-Michigan District Health Department with a plaque congratulating the health department on 50 years of public health service. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Health department celebrates 50 years

Jane Keon grew up in St. Louis, a small town devastated by a toxic chemical mix-up that continues to result in elevated poison levels in people’s blood throughout Michigan today. When Keon grew up, she mobilized her community to protect water and fight toxic pollution, taking the fight all the way to the EPA in Washington, D.C. When John Switzer learned there was high levels of fecal matter in the Upper Maple River, he obtained grant funding to implement a watershed management plan, then leveraged a grant to assist other watersheds developing plans for the Flat River and the Pine River.