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A firefighter sprays a stream of water on a roof fire at a home on Derby Lake. The fire is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

Lightning strike sparks Derby Lake house fire; 2 firefighters injured

It started with a loud boom and then a plume of smoke drifting out over Derby Lake. According to neighbors, it was the loudest lightning strike they had ever heard and it was enough to spark flames on the roof of a home occupied by Woody and Mary Ely, an elderly couple who were sitting down having breakfast Monday morning when the strike hit.

Montcalm Township husband and wife Ralph and Irene Palmer fill out voter identification cards at Montcalm Township Hall before voting on several ballot proposals during a special election Tuesday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

MAISD special education millage ‘will support all students’

Montcalm Area Intermediate School District staff gathered at their Central Office in Stanton on Tuesday evening to learn the outcome of the special education millage ballot proposal. As voting results trickled in, votes on both sides seemed to compete in a dead heat for hours. But as the night wore on, the affirmative votes pulled ahead.

Students in Montcalm Community College’s class of 2014 took a minute to say thank you to those who helped them achieve their goals at Friday’s commencement at Central Montcalm High School. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Montcalm Community College graduates told to ‘remember to say thank you’

This year’s class of graduates at Montcalm Community College were reminded of the importance of two things as they enter the job market: a firm handshake and a willingness to thank those who have helped get them where they are today.

The Montcalm County Central Dispatch Center in Stanton, pictured, will be asking voters Tuesday to renew a 911 surcharge which will collect up to $2.85 per phone line in the county. The surcharge, which is a renewal from that approved by voters in 2010, is charged monthly to each phone registered in the county, both landlines and cell phones. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

911 surcharge renewal would help purchase new technology

Tuesday’s election ballot will include several proposals up for vote, including a 911 surcharge renewal, which would collect up to $2.85 a month per phone line in Montcalm County. The surcharge, which is a renewal from that approved by voters in 2010, is charged monthly to each phone registered in the county — both landlines and cell phones.

Dozens of different types of herbs, grown by Montcalm Area Career Center students, were available for purchase at the center’s All Things Green expo Monday evening. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

‘All Things Green’ draws in large crowd to Montcalm Area Career Center

Teachers, students and many vendors were on hand Monday afternoon at the Montcalm Area Career Center (MACC), where things were “greener” than St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Green technology and its application to everything from gardening to bio-fuels was the topic of the day at the “All Things Green” expo. The event, held annually at the center, was open to the public and drew a very respectable crowd anxious to see the latest advances in green technology, hear from master gardeners and maybe pick up a couple freebies in the process.

Legislators such as Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, believe that electronic cigarettes can act as a “gateway drug” for minors, leading up to the use of standard cigarettes. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Outman seeks to ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Michigan

Should the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors in Michigan be banned? It’s a question that is not generating any disagreement in Lansing, but the method of regulation of the controversial and increasingly popular product is creating mixed opinions amongst legislators.

Hallways were filled with spectators, and artwork, at Thursday’s annual Central Montcalm Education Showcase. Daily News/Lori Hansen

Student talent on display at Central Montcalm Education Showcase

Spectators think nothing of it when they wait in line to get into a basketball arena or a football stadium to watch their favorite team. They are excited to see what their team can do. That same excitement was visible last Thursday ight at the 40th annual Education Showcase at the Central Montcalm Middle School-High School complex.

For the fourth straight year, representatives of the Montcalm Community College Business Professionals of America Club have qualified for and will compete in a national event. Pictured, from left, are co-adviser Bill Bishop, Rachel Jacobbson, Dustin Snoap, Elizabeth Jacobbson, Devin Covendish, Katrina Soper and co-adviser Michael Adams. Not pictured but also competing are Michael Ruggles, Carmon Bianchi and Justin Brackenbury.

MCC business club to compete at national event

For the fourth straight year, representatives of the Montcalm Community College (MCC) Business Professionals of America (BPA) Club have qualified for and will compete in a national event.

Puzzles with 100 pieces occupied students during Central Montcalm Elementary School’s 100 Days celebration on Monday. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Central Montcalm kindergarten — where 100 is a big deal

How high can you count? A million, a billion? For kindergarten and first grade students at Central Montcalm Elementary School, getting from 1 to 100 is a pretty big deal.

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Montcalm County Animal Control goes from ‘bleak’ to exemplary

Just a few years ago, Montcalm County Animal Control was under fire from everyone from animal rights activists to run-of-the-mill pet owners. Management was slipshod, conditions and cleanliness were abysmal and euthanasia practices were archaic and — according to many — inhumane. The shelter actually had a contract with an individual who re-sold former pets and strays alike to animal testing facilities. What a difference three years can make.