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Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, speaks on the topic of the May 5 ballot proposal to increase the Michigan sales tax during Monday’s Legislative Update at Montcalm Community College. — Daily News/Cory Smith

State Rep. Outman undecided on Michigan road funding proposal

Pick a road — any road — in Michigan, and one is bound to find themselves grumbling about the cracks, bumps and potholes they encounter along the way. It’s fact more than argument that the mitten state is ranked as one of the worst in the nation for road quality.

Farmers, business owners, educators and politicians met Friday at Montcalm Community College to hear about a cooperative agreement now underway between MCC and Michigan State University. Pictured here, MSU Director of the Institute of Agricultural Technology Randy Showerman, standing, addresses the gathering. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

MCC putting the focus on the farm

Area students considering a career in agriculture just got a serious leg up thanks to a cooperative agreement signed Friday between Michigan State University (MSU) and Montcalm Community College (MCC). That agreement brings many new agriculture resources to MCC while at the same time streamlining the degree process and reducing overall tuition costs.

From left, registered nurses Kathy Raby and Amber Ryan and emergency room physician Mike Cearlock listen as Sheridan Community Hospital Administrator Randy Fleschig takes a moment to check up on the day’s activities Thursday afternoon. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Sheridan Community Hospital the last independent hospital in county

Sheridan Community Hospital is in the minority, but continues to serve the majority of those who live in the heart of Montcalm County. Carson Health, which has been an affiliate of Lansing-based Sparrow Heath Systems since 1997, officially merged with Sparrow on Feb. 1 and is now known as Sparrow Carson Health.

Here’s a look at homeless student statistics and reduced lunch statistics at Belding Area Schools and Montcalm County’s seven public school districts. — Daily News/Ryan Schlehuber

Local student opens up about homeless plight

Homelessness is a powerful word. It conjures a composite of images: A man begging for change under a bridge. A woman holding a sign by a freeway exit. A filthy, bearded man in stained pants sleeping under newspapers on a park bench. A sad-looking woman in a ratty coat pushing a shopping cart full of junk down the street.

Montcalm Area Career Center instructor Merry Kim Meyers, pictured working with her students and a live goat in her classroom on Friday, is one of 19 finalists for Michigan Teacher of The Year. — Daily News/Cory Smith

MACC instructor is finalist for Michigan Teacher of the Year

Nicole Cooley’s day doesn’t begin with the rest of her high school peers. It starts much earlier, around 1 a.m. when the Vestaburg High School sophomore delivers newspapers. After about several hours of delivering, she returns to her grandparents’ home, knowing her efforts are helping her sick grandfather who can no longer deliver newspapers himself. Then she goes to the Montcalm Area Career Center (MACC) to begin her school day. As she walks through the door, sometimes yawning, there is not much that can wake or excite the 17-year-old student … until she enters the classroom of Merry Kim Meyers.

Amy Meinhardt, who was offered the position of superintendent of Central Montcalm Public School on Monday, speaks with sixth grade science teacher Bob Luginbuhl, left, on Tuesday afternoon. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Central Montcalm’s own Amy Meinhardt to be the next superintendent

Amy Meinhardt began as a kindergarten student at Central Montcalm Public School. After college graduation, she was hired by the district to be a first grade teacher. At a special school board meeting Monday night, Meinhardt was hired once again … this time as the new superintendent.

It may not look like much now, but if a deal currently underway between the city of Stanton and PromoQuip goes through as planned, this vacant lot, located at 1126 East Main St., could be home to a new light industrial facility within one year. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

New light industrial facility may be coming to Stanton

This city may soon see an influx of light industrial expansion, assuming a deal between Stanton and a company currently located in Cedar Springs goes through as expected. PromoQuip, which builds and markets promotional equipment — like “money blowing booths,” Plinko games and prize wheels — is in negotiations with the city for a piece of property located at 1126 East Main St. According to City Manager Jake Eckholm and PromoQuip owner David Sanderson, the purchase is close to being a “done deal.”

Central Montcalm Middle School math teacher Jennifer Thrush expresses her less-than-enthusiastic attitude toward kissing a pig. The entire middle school math department puckered up to reward students for a recent big win the North American Challenge, an online mathematics contest. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Central Montcalm Middle School math teachers pucker up for pig

Students at Central Montcalm Middle School were squealing with delight Thursday when several of their teachers and principal swallowed their pride, held their noses and kissed a pig. The porcine canoodling was the students’ reward for rising to the top of the North American leader board on the Manga High online math website. According to teacher Shannon Powell, several math teachers promised to kiss a live pig if the students achieved this goal.

Montcalm Community College student Brittany McCreery, 19, takes time to study one of her subjects Tuesday evening on the college’s main campus in Sidney. McCreery currently receives financial aid while studying to become a medical assistant, as well as working part-time. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Obama’s free community college proposal potentially ‘super’ for MCC

Speaking aboard Air Force One, flying thousands of feet in the air across the country from Detroit to Phoenix, President Barack Obama made an announcement last week that caught the attention of students nationwide.

Firefighters from 16 fire departments worked together Wednesday to extinguish a blaze at Crooks Potato Farms, located at 5450 N. Musson Road near Stanton, where six storage facilities were destroyed resulting in millions of dollars in damages. — Daily News/Cory Smith

New Year’s Eve fire leaves millions in damages at Crooks Potato Farms

This new year will be one of rebuilding and attempting to move forward for the employees and owners of one of the largest potato farms in Montcalm County.