Caribbean Steel Drums to be featured at Library

The Briggs District Library will host their Summer Reading Finale program on Tuesday, July 17 from 7:00-800 p.m.

Professional musicians will be drumming, singing, and dancing during this interactive exploration of African and Caribbean contributions to the world of music.

No library card or registration is needed to attend this free program.

Martha Reeves is back at Concert in the Park for July 18 show

Motown legend Martha Reeves thrilled the St. Johns Concert in the Park audience two years ago, and her upcoming July 18 show will be even more memorable – it’s Martha’s 77th birthday . The “Globetrotting Septuagenarian” will sing favorite Motown hits and lots of other fan favorites at the William E. Tennant Performance Shell in the lovely St. Johns City Park. Music begins at 7 p.m.; no admission.

Martha Reeves is ready to perform with the Jack Clarkson Band “All Stars” (front row) James Williams, Martha, Karl Probst; (back) Mocha James Waller, Paul Ojibway, Kathy Ford, Jack and Tess Clarkson, Rodney Page.

Being back in St. Johns for a show on her birthday involved planning and Reeves’ positive experience during her initial performance two years ago. St. Johns resident Tim Black and other Martha Reeves enthusiasts had stayed in contact with the Motown legend following the 2016 SJ Concert in the Park appearance, noting that she “had such a nice time in St. Johns” and would love to come back. Bill Tennant who coordinates the Concert in the Park schedule worked with Black and others to make it happen.

“The mere idea that Martha would allow us to host her birthday concert is amazing,” Tennant says. “It will be a true celebration of Martha, who she is as a person, honoring her life and the joy she continues to bring to people all around the world through her music.”

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Reeves’ distinctive sound and style resonates with three generations of music lovers as evidenced by audiences at every show, all singing along to her #1 hits like “Nowhere to Run,” “Jimmy Mack,” “Heat Wave,” “Come and Get These Memories,” and “Dancing in The Streets” – Motown’s theme song. Along with all those hits, Reeves will sing some of her favorite Gospel songs.

“If I can change a life or make a difference, I intend to,” she says. “It’s about honoring, Jesus, that’s what keeps me going every day. This concert will be fun and we’re going to change some lives.”

Helping Reeves in that endeavor is her brother, Benny Reeves, who was one of the first singers contracted by Berry Gordy to sing on the Motown label, and the bass player for Root Doctor, James Williams. The Jack Clarkson Band that performed with Martha at the 2016 Concert in the Park will provide support at the July 18 Birthday Show. Jack and his wife, Tess, have put together an “All Star” band including Kathy Ford, Rodney Page, Paul Ojibway, Mocha James Waller and Karl Probst.

Concert in the Park is sponsored by the Clinton County Arts Council and the City of St. Johns with support from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Concerts are held each Wednesday evening; rain or shine. The St. Johns Lions and Lioness Club staff a concession stand offering light refreshments.

Martha Reeves and her brother Benny Reeves pose with SJ Concert in the Park sponsors the Clinton County Arts Council, executive director Debi Daoust, and City of St. Johns, city manager Jon Stoppels.

Events coming up at the St. Johns Mint Festival

The St. Johns Mint Festival is excited to welcome back Dog Shows at the Festival. On Saturdayurday and Sundayday, August 11 and 12 the Classic K-9 Performance Team of The North American Dog Racing Association will present mini-shows that will include such events as Frisbee dogs, canine high jumping, dancing dogs, trick dogs and more. The shows will take approximately 30-40 and will be held on the county fairgrounds at the following times: Saturday – 12, 2, 4 and 6 and Sunday -12, 2 and 4. There will be no cost to enjoy these shows.

The Mint Festival will also hold a Mid-States IPRA Championship Rodeo. The Rodeo will be held in the Horse Arena on the Clinton County Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 11, starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets will be $12 for adults and $8 for children with 4 and under free. Family packs (2 adults and 2 children) will also be available for $35. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Chamber of Commerce (1013 S US 27 in St. Johns) and at Sundance in St. Johns. Events will include Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Calf Roping, Cowgirls Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. During intermission there will be a little comic relief with a Bouncy Horse Relay.

On Sunday, August 12 there will be a High School Rodeo at 2:00 pm. Tickets for this Rodeo will be $5 each. If you have any questions about either of the Rodeos, you can email

Also on Saturday, August 11 from Noon to 5:00 pm there will be a Jeep Event with Optional Obstacle Course. The event will be held on the old BMX track on the west side of the County Fairgrounds. This event should bring together people that like to discuss, photoshoot and drool over Jeeps. Participating Jeeps will pay a nominal $5 fee.

The festival is also excited to have a new company (Clark’s Attractions) that will have a mix of mechanical rides and Inflatables for the weekend. Clark’s Attractions will be located across from the High School by the County Fairgrounds entrance on the Bishop Field ball field.

If you have any questions about the festival call 989-224-7248 or email

Mark your calendars – Bike to Build is Saturday, August 4

Bike to Build is a family friendly bike ride sponsored by Clinton-Gratiot Habitat for Humanity. This year’s ride features four scenic routes in the countryside of Clinton and Gratiot Counties. Riders can choose a 20 mile, 40 mile, 50 mile or 80 mile route on paved roads.

You can ride as an individual or tandem.

The cost is $35 per rider. The entry fee includes lunch and snacks along the way.

Bike to Build raises funds to support their mission of building simple, decent and affordable housing for those in need in Clinton and Gratiot Counties. They are currently finishing a home in Elsie and will begin the next house on Townsend Rd in St Johns later this summer. They are also building wheelchair ramps and doing minor exterior repairs for those in need throughout the counties.

So get your group together and sign up.

Registration Information

Download the registration form here.

Riders who register before July 15 are eligible for a free t shirt.

You can also sign up online using a credit card on FirstGiving or Active.

Pledge Form

Increase your support and raise money with your ride. We have included a handy pledge form for your use. Riders who earn $275 in pledges earn a 2018 cycling jersey which will be mailed out after the event. Download a pledge form here.

Riders under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult rider.

F.C. Mason Site Update

Project status update: Developers are waiting for the City to approve the tax abatement. They approved the tax district but have not issued the tax abatement for this site. The tax abatement for FCM is similar to the one received by the Senior Housing Project; it freezes the property taxes at the current, pre-development, level. MEDC will not participate on the project unless the City participates.

Without MEDC and the City, this project cannot move forward, and this historical building will continue to decay.

Residential water sampling will now cost less

Residents of Clinton, Gratiot and Montcalm Counties wanting to have their water tested can expect to pay a little less than before.

In the past residents were required to mail water samples overnight to the State of Michigan’s lab at a cost of $21.

In an effort to lower the shipping cost, Mid-Michigan District Health Department has partnered with Kent County Health Department’s Laboratory Services to pick up and transport water samples to its lab in Grand Rapids for testing.

Under the new arrangement, residents will drop water samples off at the Mid-Michigan District Health Department where they will await transport to the lab in Grand Rapids. The new shipping cost is just $5.

The cost of the actual water test is between $16 and $36, depending on what type of test is needed.

Residents who would like to have their water tested can pick up sample bottles and testing instructions at the Environmental Health Division of the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, located at:

Clinton County Branch Office: 1307 E. Townsend Road, St. Johns, MI 48879
Gratiot County Branch Office: 151 Commerce Drive, Ithaca, MI 48847
Montcalm County Branch Office: 615 N. State Street, Stanton, MI 48888

Those with questions about this service may call Mid-Michigan District Health Department at 989-227-3110 in Clinton County, 989-875-1002 in Gratiot County or 989-831-3607 in Montcalm County.