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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.

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.

Montcalm County Animal Control Officer Autumn DeVries, at left, and Director Angela Hollinshead groom Bella, an adult female labrador retriever who’s available for adoption through Montcalm County Animal Control. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Commissioners hear about animals, jail visits, emergency services

New Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams gave his first report to county commissioners during Monday’s Law Enforcement & Courts Committee meeting. Animal Control Director Angela Hollinshead and Central Dispatch Director Tim Scott also presented reports to commissioners Monday as part of Controller-Director Robert Clingenpeel’s goal of having more people participate and communicate at monthly meetings.

Montcalm County Sheriff Bill Barnwell jokingly points to a colleague during Barnwell’s retirement party Thursday as his successor, Undersheriff Mike Williams laughs. Barnwell is retiring after 40 years in law enforcement. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County’s longtime sheriff Bill Barnwell retires

Since 1969, Bill Barnwell has either lived at or worked at the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office. Barnwell worked for the Sheriff’s Office 40 years, save a three-year stint to serve in the U.S. Navy. His father, Tom Barnwell, was sheriff from 1969 to 1980, followed by Thomas Hebert from 1981 to 1984 and Don Godell from 1985 to 2000. Barnwell worked for all three sheriffs before being elected sheriff himself 16 years ago.

Memos from Clark Hill, Rehmann Robson and Municipal Financial Consultants Inc. (MFCI) to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners detail an ongoing investigation into county finances and personnel. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Forensic probe into Montcalm County personnel over finances is underway

A forensic investigation into the financial activities of Montcalm County personnel is underway to determine whether state or federal law was violated. Clark Hill, a Detroit-based law firm, alerted the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 15 that the investigation began less than 30 days prior, according to documents obtained by The Daily News via the Freedom Of Information Act.

From left, Montcalm Care Network’s Melissa Bolanos, case manager; Angie Loiselle, recipient rights officer; and Leigha Harris, employment connections, purchased $1,516.68 of Christmas gifts for local families. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Man’s donation in honor of late wife to provide gifts for local families

Typically, the Montcalm Care Network is able to provide two local families with Christmas gifts, but this year something atypical happened and allowed the agency to provide for five families. Erik Halvorsen of Sheridan wanted to honor his late wife, Dolores, and decided to donate $1,500 to the Montcalm Care Network to help local families this Christmas.

Stanton Lions Club President Larry Beardslee thanks members of every police agency in Montcalm County on Wednesday at the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office after presenting each department with monetary donations from every Lions Club in the county. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Local organizations give back to law enforcement (PHOTOS)

Local law enforcement agencies celebrated Christmas early when a local man decided he needed to do something to counteract a decreasing public opinion of the profession. Sheridan’s Larry Beardslee was not liking the negative publicity he was seeing about law enforcement officers. Instead of feeling annoyed by it, he opted to do something about it. This week, with the assistance of the nine Montcalm County-area Lions Clubs, local law enforcement agencies each received generous donations.