St. Johns Lions Club celebrates 70 years community service

by Maralyn Fink

On Wednesday evening I went to the Main Street Café to visit Lions Club members as they celebrated the 70th anniversary of their founding.

Charter night for the St. Johns Lions Club was held October 13, 1948 at the Steel Hotel. The headline in the newspaper article at the time of the club’s formation noted that “27 St. Johns Business and Professional Men Apply for Membership,” to the International Service Club known as Lions International. They received their charter on December 8 of that year during a banquet held in Niles Hall at the Methodist Church. The first President was L. Russell Steffens.

While supporting traditional Lions programs, the St. Johns Lions Club also has been a driving force behind the success of a community recycling program with a 24-hour drop off self-serve center that is available to city residents and surrounding communities. In addition, the club sponsors an annual scholarship program for high school students who are invited to submit essays that are then judged on content and other factors and participates in the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Over the years, the club has sponsored community events like the annual Easter egg hunt, pumpkin festival and car show and has provided financial assistance to programs that aid senior citizens, food banks, boy scout and girl scout troops and more.

For many years St. Johns was the host community for the Lions All-State Band, one of Michigan Lions’ most acclaimed youth activities. Hundreds of students from over 300 Michigan high schools have participated in the band since its inception. Performances center around the band’s appearance at the Lions Clubs International Convention, held in major cities throughout the world.

Clearly, as members celebrated this anniversary milestone on November 14, 2018 during the club’s annual holiday dinner at the Main Street Café in St. Johns, they can take great pride in their effective, 70-year history of community service. While they have enjoyed much camaraderie, gained valuable knowledge and made many friends through the organization, the members also have enriched countless lives by their good works.

Proclamation from Gov. Snyder

City Commission Newsletter

Biennial Election
On November 6, 2018 the City’s Biennial Election was held and Bob Craig was re-elected to the City Commission along with newcomer Tamara Kirshenbauer. Commissioner Craig is now in his second term serving the residents of St. Johns. Ms. Kirschenbauer is a long-time resident who recently retired from the State of Michigan. Both Commissioners express their excitement about serving the citizens and continuing all of the progress that the City has seen in the last few years.

With the retirement of long-time commission member and Mayor, Dana Beaman, the City Commission also held their re-organizational election and appointed Commissioner Eric Hufnagel as the City’s new incoming Mayor and Bob Craig as the new Vice-Mayor.

2018 Street Program
The 2018 street restoration program is coming to a close with the final paving work being completed on Maple Street. City staff members are already planning for the 2019 season. Look for updates soon on the City’s website.

Wilson Center
Recently, the City of St. Johns and the St. Johns Public Schools came to an agreement whereby the City would rent the gymnasium at the Wilson Center to provide recreational programming for residents of all ages. Volleyball, open gym basketball, pickleball, and games for children are just some of the programs scheduled in November. For a copy of the November schedule of programming please refer to the City’s website at

Giving Day, Make It Local

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. To provide a local take on the national designation of the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving Day as Giving Day, we are proposing: Giving Day, Make It Local. To support this effort please, find below information for a few local non-profits in our community. Please review the listing for Giving Day, Make It Local.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the U.S. and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. We’ve created a directory to help you find organizations, charities, events and more in your own community. Giving Day, Make It Local

Community Thanksgiving planned for K of C Hall

On Thursday, November 22 there will be a no-cost community Thanksgiving Celebration and Dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The worship service will start at 11 a.m., and the dinner will be held from 1-2 p.m.

This event is being sponsored by several community businesses, churches and service organizations. If you would like to help with a donation, or to volunteer your time, please call 989-292-0972.

Arts Council to hold Holiday Sale

Please join the Clinton County Arts Council on Monday, December 3rd fortheir Annual Meeting and Holiday Sale.

The annual meeting is for all CCAC Members from 5:30-6:00 p.m. Then the Holiday Sale is open to the public from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Enjoy meeting board members and enjoy light refreshments. Free gift wrapping will be available. Take 10% off your purchase or 20% off for CCAC Members. All artisan items are unique and one of a kind.

Vacant position on St. Johns Public Schools Board of Education

St. Johns Public Schools is seeking a citizen to be appointed to the Board of Education. The vacant position is to complete a term ending in December 2020.

Prospective candidates must be registered to vote and reside within the school district boundaries. Interested parties should submit a letter of interest to the Office of the Superintendent on or before November 30, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Submit letter of interest to:
Office of the Superintendent, 501 W. Sickels Street, St. Johns, MI 48879

2018 Clinton County Toys for Tots Campaign Underway

The Marine Corp Toys for Tots campaign has begun in Clinton County. The Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, which is the sponsoring organization for Toys for Tots in Clinton County has delivered collection boxes to businesses throughout the county that will collect toys through Monday, December 17 for Clinton County children.

Here are some of the popular toys requested by younger kids this year: Slime Kits, Paw Patrol, Legos (boys and girls), PJ Mask toys, Shopkins, Disney & Elmo Dolls, Fingerlings and Dinosaurs. For the older kids ideas include Art supplies, craft kits (to make jewelry or fleece for pillows and throws, etc), CDs, DVDs, books and Gift Cards.

If you place a toy in one of these boxes you can be assured the item will go to a child that lives in Clinton County: 
In Bath: Bath Township Office
In DeWitt: Biggby Coffee (in the DeWitt Meijer), Bridge Street Hair, DeWitt City Police, DeWitt District Library, DeWitt Township Police & Fire (both locations), Mercantile Bank and Verizon Wireless.
In Fowler: Dollar General, Journey Federal Credit Union and Main Street Pizza;
In Ovid: Dollar General, Journey Federal Credit Union and Main Street Pizza;
In East Lansing: Mercantile Bank;
In Elsie: Dollar General
In St. Johns: Big Boy, Briggs Public Library, Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Dollar General, Journey Federal Credit Union, Mercantile, Peebles, Quest Software, St. Johns Police Department, Tractor Supply, Walgreens and Walmart.
In Wacousta: Watertown Charter Township.

If your family needs assistance with clothing, food and toys for the holidays, please register with Caring and Sharing at 989-224-1010. If you need assistance with just toys and you are not registered with another agency, call Clinton County Toys for Tots at 989-224-7248 or email

If you have any questions about the Toys for Tots campaign, toys needs or toy distribution, contact Brenda Terpening at the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce at 989-224-7248.

Chamber Christmas Festival is December 1

The 16th Annual Christmas Festival, sponsored by the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for Saturday, December1 from 8 am to 3 pm at the CC RESA Building at 1013 S US 27 in St. Johns.

The day begins with Breakfast with Santa from 8 to 10:30 am. Breakfast will include scrambled eggs, silver dollar pancakes, sausage, cereal, pop tarts, milk, juice and coffee. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children, age 2 and under are free.

You must have a breakfast ticket to get your picture with Santa – so please bring your own cameras. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 1013 S US 27 in St. Johns or Big Boy of St Johns, S US 27. Depending on availability some tickets may be available at the door that day.

After Santa has seen the last child and breakfast gets cleared away, there will be free crafts that children of all ages can make from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. These crafts are something the children can make for other kids, parents or grandparents or they can make them for themselves. Some craft kids will be available for purchase so you can take them home and make them.

Of course the day is not all about the kids. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be a Craft Show throughout part of the building. There will be more than 90 booths of vendors selling everything from baked goods and jewelry to fabric crafts, wood items and much, much more. Attendees can also participate in a raffle that will award more than 75 prizes.

In the lobby of the building there will be many decorated trees to enjoy. You can vote on your favorite with a money donation. The tree that collects the most votes, the most money, gets to decide what charity receives all the money collected.

A lunch of Sloppy Joes, hotdogs and nachos will be available from 10:30 a.m. until gone by the Clinton County Senior Center in the lobby of the building.

If you have any questions about any part of the Christmas Festival, please call the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce at 989-224-7248.