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Daily News/Ryan Schlehuber

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley addresses the Class of 2015 at Montcalm Community College’s 48th annual commencement at Central Montcalm High School Friday. Calley, of Ionia, attended MCC in 1994 and 1995. — Daily News/Ryan Schlehuber

360 graduates celebrate ‘end of journey’ at MCC graduation

For many students at Montcalm Community College, an education isn’t just taking classes. It’s hours of free time spent studying, eating meals on the go, sleeping in a car between classes and relying on others to help with family to get through the day. No one knows that better than Rachel Gilbert, a mother of three from Trufant who wanted more for her life than a minimum wage job. On Friday, she, along with 360-plus other graduates, celebrated the end of a long journey during Montcalm Community College’s (MCC) 48th annual commencement ceremony at Central Montcalm High School.

A “Clifford Lake Hotel” sign hangs over the bar at the new Clifford Lake Inn, which also features original wood beams which add a rustic charm to the bar. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Historic Clifford Lake Inn makes grand reopening with new owners

The restored and revived Clifford Lake Inn has something old (floors, beams and ceilings), something new (furniture and kitchen), something borrowed (classic recipes with a twist) and something blue (the lake, of course). The 134-year-old dining gem of Douglass Township is making its grand reopening today. My husband and I enjoyed a sneak peek Friday evening at the invitation of new owners Thomas and Mary Stuit of Grand Rapids.

Ronald Simon, at far left, is interviewed for the job of Montcalm Area Intermediate School District superintendent at a special meeting Tuesday night in Stanton. MAISD Board members voted unanimously to offer Simon the position. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Montcalm Area Intermediate School District names new superintendent

The man tapped to fill the role of superintendent for the Montcalm County Intermediate School District (MAISD) said he hopes to bring an “open door” style of leadership to the post. At a special meeting Tuesday night, the MAISD Board of Education voted unanimously to offer the position to Ronald Simon, who has worked as associate superintendent of finance for the MAISD since 2010.

Betty Kellenberger and Erin Roberts, both of Relief After Violent Encounter (RAVE) of Montcalm/Ionia Counties, beam over being the recipients of 100 checks worth $10,000 after the 100+Women Who Care event at Montcalm Community College on Monday. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

‘100 Women Who Care’ donate $10,000 to RAVE

Erin Roberts was one of many women who attended the first Montcalm County 100+ Women Who Care at Montcalm Community College on Monday. She went thinking how nice it would be for some charity to go home $10,000 richer. She never expected it to be Relief After Violent Encounter (RAVE), the organization she directs.

wildfire scorches a large area of wetlands Tuesday afternoon just north of Sheridan in Sidney Township south of Rosa Lake. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Fire races through wetlands in Sidney Township near Sheridan

Firefighters from Sheridan, Stanton and Montcalm Township spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon fighting an acres-wide grass fire that spread across a wetland area in Sidney Township. Though flames approached several homes on the southeast shore of Rosa Lake, firefighters were able to contain the blaze and no structures were damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

loc 0415 cs Sheridan wildfire-3

UPDATE: Afternoon fire that consumed wetlands near Sheridan contained

Firefighters from Sheridan, Stanton and Montcalm Township spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon fighting an acres-wide grass fire that spread across a wetland area in Sidney Township.

Greg Wing, a field operative with Heritage Ag, tows one of the company’s planes through the parking lot at Anderson and Girls Orchards Thursday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Crop-dusting pilot makes successful emergency landing

In a matter of only a few seconds, flying at a speed of nearly 150 mph, pilot Mordecai “Deke” Walker’s routine crop dusting flight was suddenly thrown askew. As he was making his return trip to Lakeview on Tuesday after a morning of dusting crops in Stanton, a “chip detector” alarm light quickly grabbed his attention.

Happier times: The Nelson family is pictured sometime in the 1960s, from left to right, Mary Lou, Belinda, Dale, Luanne and Betty. — Courtesy photo

‘Dad was and is my hero’: Dale Nelson’s family prepares to lay him to rest

A man of few words, strong opinions and great love for his family. That’s how Alan “Dale” Nelson is being remembered in the days leading up to his funeral after he was killed in his own home during a robbery gone terribly wrong.

Alan “Dale” Nelson’s home is located in a secluded and forested area of Nevins Lake. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Nevins Lake homicide investigation goes on as funeral is planned

Police have officially cleared the scene of a homicide on Nevins Lake, but questions remain in the forested community where neighbors are known for looking out for each other. Alan “Dale” Nelson, 80, was found dead in his home at 591 Nelson Drive on Monday afternoon. His home had been broken into, along with three other cottages on the lake. Those three other cottages were vacant, but Nelson was home and police believe he surprised the intruders who were expecting his house to be empty.

Daily News/Mike TaylorTroopers from the Michigan State Police cordoned off Nelson Drive in Sidney Township throughout the day Tuesday while investigators conducted an examination of homes that were broken into on that road over the weekend. An 80-year-old resident was killed in one of the homes. Police believe the man surprised the intruders, who had expected the home to be vacant. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Sidney Township man killed in home during apparent break-in

Alan “Dale” Nelson’s home is one of several tidy cottages lining the sleepy north banks of Nevins Lake. Many are seasonal and stand empty this time of year, waiting for the arrival of summer residents. Sometime over the weekend, at least four of those cottages were broken into. Three of the four were vacant. Nelson’s was not … and the 80-year-old retiree was killed by the intruders.