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.

Illicit drugs aren’t just a big-city problem; small towns face the issue as well

By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Drugs are an issue that has been present for a very long time. Although there are some places that have a higher rate of drug crimes, it must not be forgotten that they are everywhere — including small rural cities. According to the St. Johns Police Department Annual Report there were 39 drug crimes there in 2015, a number that is about half compared to 2012 which had 61. “St.

Youth development program at Briggs Public Library opens children up to reading

By Nathaniel Bott
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — Thursday evenings in April at Briggs Public Library in St. Johns bring Marie Geller a certain kind of joy. Working for nearly 40 years as a children’s librarian with Briggs, there is nothing more rewarding for her than singing the welcome song with every toddler who attends her story time sessions. She has adopted the title of youth services coordinator at the library, and runs youth development programs for the kids in St.

Could unusual weather threaten St. Johns’ most popular destination? Uncle John’s Cider Mill not worried

By Brittany Flowers
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — Uncle John’s Cider Mill is number one on the list of things to do in St. Johns, according to TripAdvisor, but with 2016 being an El Niño year, could Uncle John’s apple growth be threatened? For president of Uncle John’s Cider Mill Mike Beck, there isn’t much of a concern. “I can’t see a month from now what could happen but as of right now, I mean there is no bloom, the trees are just coming out of dormancy,” Beck said.

Two men arrested for retail crimes spree across mid-Michigan

By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Two men, ages 39 and 40 years old, who were arrested by Bay County Sheriff Department at the end of a recent alleged retail theft spree could face charges in Clinton County for part of that spree. The two men, who allegedly went from store to store in the mid-Michigan area, had their case forwarded to the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of charges of organized retail crime for a reported theft from the DeWitt Township Meijer store last month. Originally no one knew who they were until Bay County Sheriff Department was alerted by different Meijer stores that these guys had allegedly been doing crimes all across Michigan, says Chief of DeWitt Township Brian Russell. The police report says a Meijer asset protection officer has been working on a case that has affected nine Meijer stores in the Mid Michigan area. On March 29 their alleged target was the Meijer supermarket on 12821 Crossover Drive, DeWitt Township.

Police officers undergo new, specialized training to deal with autistic citizens in Clinton County

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Police officers in Clinton County are undergoing new, advanced training to handle autism-related situations and other circumstances. City of DeWitt Chief of Police Bruce Ferguson has been charged with the responsibility of spearheading the training. “I am going to be training the entire county in autism safety. So I’ll do all of the police agencies in the county here. We want to make sure that officers know that if someone doesn’t react like they should, the first thing to make sure is that they don’t have some type of impairment that would cause them to behave that way,” he said.

Drain commission tries to adjust to legislation

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

The effects of a law regarding drainage system lawsuits was one topic of discussion Phil Hanses from the Clinton County Drain Commission brought to the The Clinton County Board of Commissioners March 29. Hanses, who is responsible for all of the logistical operations regarding drainage in the county, addressed Public Act 222. This piece of legislation was designed to give residents in areas of Michigan the opportunity to sue the government for faulty drainage systems that contributed to property damage. Hanses described to the board that a few claims have been filed in Clinton County, along with the act’s general significance. “In Clinton County, we’ve had three PA-222 claims that have been filed this past year.

Woman in DeWitt Township arrested for alleged drugged driving

By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Driving under the influence doesn’t simply mean drunk driving. Prescription drugs can also impair a driver, something a 27-year-old woman allegedly learned the hard way earlier this month. The woman was arrested by DeWitt Township police for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs after an alleged hit-and-run with a mailbox on March 5, police officials said. Driving under the influence doesn’t only deal with illegal drugs and alcohol, it includes any mood or mind-altering substance, says Diana Julian, substance abuse/program manager and counselor at McAlister Institute. Julian says being aware that driving under the influence involves prescription drug abuse is very important.

Deer Infected with CWD found in Clinton County

By Liam Tiernan
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

One deer in Clinton County was among two deer in mid-Michigan that tested positive for CWD, bringing the total up to seven in the past year. Department of Natural Resources officers report that a three-year-old female harvested by Department sharpshooters in Watertown Township tested positive for the disease. CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease, affects deer, moose, elk, and other cervids. The disease is neurological, affecting and attacking the brain and central nervous system, causing death. The disease is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids.