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During Thursday afternoon’s Stanton City Commission meeting, from left, City Commissioner Krista Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer Lori Braman, Mayor Ken Burris, City Manager Elizabeth Pynaert and city commissioners Charles Miel and Jane Basom discuss Pynaert’s contract. The City Commission also updated the city’s Freedom Of Information Act policy and appointed Jennifer Blum as commissioner. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton commissioners OK changes and updates

Stanton city commissioners spent much of their time during Thursday’s rescheduled meeting discussing and voting on changes, updates and policies. The commissioners voted in a new commissioner, updated the city’s Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) policy and contentiously approved the new city manager’s contract.

From left, Trustee Patricia Hinrichs, Montcalm Community College President Bob Ferrentino and Debra Alexander, dean of student and enrollment services, listen to a discussion about policy governance during Tuesday afternoon’s MCC Board retreat. 

MCC board talks policy governance

The Montcalm Community College (MCC) Board of Trustees had a lesson in policy governance during its retreat meeting Tuesday afternoon. The board heard a presentation via video conference from Richard Stringham, a senior consultant with The Governance Coach. The presentation detailed different elements of policy governance, a paradigm created by Dr. John Carver.

Sheridan Village Councilman Derek Wagner and Village President Susan Wyckoff-McFarland review summaries of sealed trash bids Tuesday. Both Wagner and Wyckoff-McFarland were in favor of contracting with Republic Services, which ultimately was approved by the Village Council 4-1. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Sheridan switches trash collection to Republic

Every three years, Sheridan accepts sealed bids for trash collection. During Tuesday night’s Sheridan Village Council meeting, it was time for council members to once again review bids and grant a contract to a trash collection company.

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.

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.

New Stanton Mayor Ken Burris, at left, welcomes new City Manager Elizabeth Pynaert after city commissioners unanimously voted to hire Pynaert full-time during Tuesday night’s Stanton City Commission meeting. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Stanton hires new city manager; mayor resigns, blames new mayor

In the last five months, this city lost its manager, searched for a manager with Lakeview, cut ties with Lakeview, appointed an acting city manager and began advertising for a permanent manager. The “convoluted process,” as Stanton City Commissioner Karl Yoder called it, came to a close Tuesday night when the Stanton City Commission unanimously voted to offer acting City Manager Elizabeth Pynaert the full-time city manager job with a one-year contract.

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.