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Montcalm County wage talks continue

A sub-committee of Montcalm County’s Finance & Personnel committee met this week to discuss whether to conduct a wage study of elected county officials — a debate that’s been simmering since last summer. Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer chaired the Feb. 9 meeting alongside Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview, Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City and Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Crystal.

Bill Simpson Jr. took over Simpson Family Funeral Homes, the family business in Sheridan and Stanton, on Jan. 1. — File photo

BUSINESS BEAT: Torch passed at Simpson Family Funeral Homes

Bill Simpson Jr. is no stranger to hard work. Since middle school, he’s been putting in regular work days, at first just doing odd jobs; cleaning, yard work, washing cars. The difference between Simpson and most kids his age is this: he was doing these chores for his father’s business, Simpson Family Funeral Homes.

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.

Greenville resident Lloyd Shelden was working hard to clear his sidewalk on Monday morning.

Winter snow squall blankets area

On Monday, Punxsutawney Phil clamored out of his hole to see his shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. Those who live in West Michigan already had made that same prediction after the snow-filled weekend.

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JUST IN: Sheridan woman dies from gunshot wound to the head

A Sheridan woman has died one day after she sustained a possibly self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Montcalm County sheriff’s officers responded to a report of a shooting on Huck Drive near County Farm Road at 9:45 p.m. Monday.

Local businesses, such as Parker-Arntz Heating & Plumbing in Greenville, are hoping the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will create a property assessed clean energy (PACE) district to help them take advantage of Michigan’s Public Act 270 of 2010. — File photo

PACE district proposal stalls amid questions from county commissioners

A proposal to create a clean energy district in Montcalm County stalled Monday when county commissioners couldn’t find anyone to answer their questions. In December, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted to obtain public comment about contracting with Lean & Green Michigan to create a property assessed clean energy (PACE) district within the county.

Jacob Eckholm

Stanton in need of new plan for DNR dollars

Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. This can be a hopeful philosophy, particularly when the party doing the waiting has no choice. Such is the case for the city of Stanton.

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.

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Local group wants to ‘Bring Christmas Back To Stanton’

Christmas is coming back to Stanton (even if you didn’t know it ever left).

A local group called Bring Christmas Back To Stanton wants to relight the large pine tree on the lawn of the Montcalm County court complex on the north side of Stanton, something which hasn’t been done for several years.