Clinton County farms still vital to economy

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter

The relationship between farmers and non-farmers in Clinton County has changed, but the importance of farmers in the county has not. Farms are a vital source of income for towns in Michigan, said Paul Thompson the Kellogg Chair in agricultural, food and community ethics at Michigan State University. “Farming really is the single, economically most important industry in most of these rural communities, particularly here in the southern half of the state,” Thompson said. According to Scott Swinton, a professor at MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, because farmers earn money for their crops and then spend that money, they help out the communities. “When one person in a region earns money, as farmers do from selling their crops and livestock, they spend that money other places in the community, it’s what economists call a multiplier effect,” Swinton said.

Hotel plan rejected in St. Johns

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter

ST.JOHNS — A hotel may not be coming to the City of St. Johns after all. At the St. Johns City Commission meeting on March 28, commissioners accepted the planning commission’s recommendation to deny the petition for transitional district use, or hotel use, for the first floor of 116 and 118 N. Clinton Ave. During the meeting the Community Development Director and Deputy City Manager Dave Kudwa explained the plans that the applicant for the petition and owner of the building, Ken Harris, had in mind.

T.E.A.M. replaces D.A.R.E. in St. Johns schools

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter

ST.JOHNS- T.E.A.M. is taking over as the new D.A.R.E. in St. Johns Public Schools. This year the St. Johns Police Department decided to move away from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program and onto a new program known as Teaching, Educating, And Mentoring, or T.E.A.M.

St. Johns Chief of Police Kyle Knight explained that T.E.A.M. is being used this year because the curriculum allows for a wide range of issues to be taught to a larger audience of students.

DeWitt Public Schools evolving to best connect with students

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Emily Macintire said that part of her reason for choosing to live in DeWitt was because of its public school system. “We had heard good things,” Macintire said. “We just moved here in August so we’ve only been here for a short period of time, but I can already tell that they are kind of ahead of the game.”

Having strong schools can be an important draw for residents. But what makes a school strong? According to Patricia Edwards at the College of Education at Michigan State University, what makes a school district successful is more than just being able to teach, it is about being able to reach a wide variety of students.

Overall crime rate declining in St. Johns …

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — According to the St.Johns Police Department Annual Report, St. Johns crime rate is at one of the lowest rates it has been in eight years, with a combined 198 index and non-index crimes. Index and non-index crimes are defined in the report as either serious crimes such as murder, criminal sexual conduct and robbery or other crimes such as simple assault, bad checks, and forgery. St.

Bigger budgets would mean better roads in Clinton County

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Roads around Clinton County are beginning to thaw as the winter season fades away, and so the reappearance of cracks, potholes and the struggle to find the money to fix them returns. Clinton County resident Beth Klein is unhappy with the conditions of the roads, and believes more funding should be available to fix them. “I think they could use improvement they are pretty busted up,” Klein said. “As far as the road repair…I think that is more dependent on state funding and actually repairing rather than patching.”

Although residents may be frustrated, it is more complicated than going out and simply repairing entire roads, explains Dan Armentrout the director of engineering at the Clinton County Road Commission. Not all fixes can be universally used on any type of road.

Unemployment not the only reason for poverty

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

At this time of year communities are stepping up to help those less fortunate, but what many people don’t know is that poverty has more than one face. Clinton County faces poverty and homeless problems, explains Pauline Baert, the coordinator for Capital Area Community Services in nearby Lansing, which works toward ending the causes and conditions of poverty in Clinton and surrounding counties. “We are finding them sleeping in their cars,” Baert said. “Families have come to us that have been living in camping trailers with no adequate heat or water.”

The numbers of homeless seemed to have increased in the Clinton County area, according to Baert. “I’ve noticed an increase in the last couple of years,” Baert said.