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.

St. Johns slow to become more racially, socio-economically diverse

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — According to The United States Census Bureau, the town of St. Johns has one of the less diverse local populations in the state of Michigan. The town has an overwhelming number of 94 percent that represents Caucasian presence in the area. With that number eclipsing the state’s average by just over 15 percent, 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.

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.

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.

Grants help drive improvements in St. Johns’ parks

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The city of St. Johns has seen a steady intake of state-allocated grant money to complete various projects across the city. For small towns like St. Johns though, grant money drives large scale projects; without it, they would probably not be completed.

New urgent care center in St. Johns gives community more options for health emergencies

By Nathaniel Bott
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The Ouch Urgent Care in Southpoint Mall has been operating now for just over two months after moving into the location previously occupied by a Save-A-Lot store. In February, the Clinton County Medical Center moved next door, allowing Ouch Urgent Care to start offering their full range of services. In addition, the Clinton County Medical Center, which moved just across the parking lot, hopes to add improvements and additional upgrades to their new building. The medical center was previously operating in the Southpoint Mall for 25 years, servicing somewhere around 200 patients per day.

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.

… but thefts are on the rise

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The city of St. Johns last year saw its highest rate of grand larceny since 2011. The 2015 St. Johns Police Department Annual Report recognizes grand larceny as an index crime, classifying it as any theft exceeding $1,000.