Eureka Elementary raises funds

Eureka Elementary School staff and PTO have been raising funds and reaching out to organizations within the community to beautify the school grounds and make it more enjoyable for the students.

The first item on the beautification list this year was a shade tree and buddy bench for the playground. Mark Smith from Smith Lawnscapes donated the labor to plant the tree, and donations from the school run-raiser that took place on October 30th were used to purchase the tree. The second item on the list is a buddy bench for students to rest, read, or reflect during recess. Under Cubmaster, Ashley Foster, Pack 516/396 will be donating funds raised during the Blue and Gold Cake Auction, for the purchase of the buddy bench. Five boys from the pack attend Eureka, the bench is scheduled for installation in the Spring.

On Saturday, November 10th, Lowe United Methodist Church hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and parents and children from Eureka Elementary School cooked and served the meal to those that attended. With the funds raised during this event, and a partnership between the church and the school, discussion is taking place regarding additional beautification projects for the spring that could include plant education.

Anne Marie Potter, Principal at Eureka Elementary School said, “I’m excited about the partnerships we are forming as we add elements to our playground that will make a positive difference for our students, now and for many years to come. I’m very grateful for the support from our families, PTO and the Eureka community as we show our kids the power of working together toward a shared goal.”


Clinton County 4-H youth represent Michigan at 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest


2018 Michigan 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Team

Five 4-H members from Clinton County represented Michigan at the 39th annual North American Invitational 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowlcontest on November 2 and 3. The event was held in Louisville, Kentucky, as part of the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE).

The team members are Ian Black of Eagle, Amanda Hicks of St. Johns, Dakota Dershem of St. Johns, Kyle Schafer of Westphalia, and Miriam Cook of Pewamo. They won the state dairy quiz bowl contest during Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Day this past summer, thus earning the chance to compete against 17 other elite 4-H teams at the invitational. Coaches and Michigan 4-H volunteer leaders Rodney Pennock and Susie Green worked with the team throughout the fall to prepare them for the NAILE contest.

“The kids worked hard for this contest,” said Coach Pennock. “They met once or twice a week for the last two months. They were fun to work with as they were soaking up as much information as possible. I am very proud of these five young people, who worked very well together as a team.”

The two-day contest includes an individual written exam and a team quiz bowl competition. Composite scores from the exam on the first day were used to create the double-elimination bracket for the team quiz bowl on Nov. 3.

During the quiz bowl, participants buzzed in to answer questions about a range of dairy-related topics, such as nutrition, reproduction, farm management, and cattle health. At the end of each round, the winning team advanced and the losing team dropped into the consolation bracket.

“The team did a fine job representing Michigan,” said Coach Green. “I had such a great time helping these hardworking young people prepare and I think I’m the one that learned the most! They are so fun to be with and along with their coaches, they put in long hours getting ready for this competition.”

Team member Kyle Schafer was grateful for the chance to compete in Kentucky and interact with other 4-H’ers from across the country.

“This was a great opportunity to compete against and meet other youth from across the county,” said Schafer. “I’m going to miss attending these competitions because I have so much in common with the other 4-H members: the dairy industry. I enjoyed hearing about other people’s dairy farms and their future plans. I also know these 4-H members are my peers who I will be working with in the dairy industry in the future.”

Though the competition is over, Coach Green knows it was just the beginning for the 4-H’ers who entered the contest: “I had them all as novices and it was exciting to see just how far they’ve come. I am confident they are going to do great things in life!”

Michigan 4-H is the youth development program of Michigan State University Extension. It is open to all young people ages 5 to 19. For more information or to join a 4-H club or group, check out Michigan 4-H online.


Durgan named AHC Rookie of the Week

Air Force Academy freshman Kieran Durgan was named the Travel Team USA Atlantic Hockey Conference Rookie of the Week as he helped lead Air Force to a sweep of Bentley, November 9-10, at the Cadet Ice Arena.

A forward from St. Johns, Durgan scored two points in the Bentley series. He had an assist on Friday and scored a goal on Saturday. His +4 over the weekend was the best by any AHC freshman. He also blocked three shots and won five faceoffs.

Durgan has scored a point in five straight games. His five goals, and three game-winning goals, are tied as the most by any freshman in the nation.

In March, 2018 Durgan had suffered a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his season, his on-ice tenure with the Shreveport Mudbugs and his junior hockey career.

“He’s a great leader on and off the ice,” Mudbugs forward Jordan Fader said. “He’s a 200-foot player that does a lot for us, but his leadership is really what makes him the person he is.”

After he recovered, Durgan moved on to the Air Force Academy.

Durgan says, “I was originally a big soccer player. My dad played soccer, and my soccer coach was also a hockey coach and asked me to try it out. I tried it out; and that first year, not good, I wasn’t good at all. That second year I kind of fell in love with it so that kind of took me to where I am now.”

Air Force is in first place in Atlantic Hockey with a 6-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in conference play. The Falcons travel to Springfield Mass., for a two-game league series with AIC, Friday-Saturday, November. 16-17. Friday’s faceoff is at 2:05 p.m. ET, while Saturday’s game starts at 1:05 p.m. ET.


You don’t need a train ticket to celebrate Christmas in Ashley

A lot of people ask about going to the Ashley Christmas Festival even if they don’t ride the train. Yes, yes, yes. Everyone is welcome in Ashley during the Country Christmas. Come early and enjoy shopping without the big crowds.

Get your sticker for only $5.00 and enjoy all the venues. You’ll see reindeer, visit the face painter and balloon person, play at the carnival and Candy Land, see the stage entertainment and children can visit with Santa. And if you come early you’ll be there when the star of the show, The North Pole Express, rolls into town. If you’ve never seen a steam engine up close you’re in for a big surprise. It’s an experience like no other. Come and try it for yourself.

Beginning the weekend before Thanksgiving, the village will be transformed into an old fashioned Country Christmas. Stroll the streets and enjoy the beautiful 1940’s inspired decorations. See the big Christmas tree, take a horse drawn wagon ride, watch a juggler or visit the hobo camp.

To make a wonderful Christmas memory bring your own bell to add to the Believe tree.

When you’re hungry stop into the North Pole Express Cafe for a light meal. Gus’ Eatery and Saloon will have a food court and the Burger Barn has burgers, hotdogs, pretzels and ice cream. For a sweet treat try the Czech Bakery or our new Sweet Shop. For just plain fun try the Hobo Kitchen for soup and bread and meet all the hobo characters.
In our shops you’ll find handmade gifts, home decor, presents to stuff stockings, children’s gifts, souvenirs, train memorabilia and vintage ornaments.

You can see a chain saw carver and go for a horse and wagon ride.

Children can see Santa’s reindeer, make a wooden toy at Santa’s Workshop and decorate a cookie to take home. They can visit the carnival and the Christmas Candy Land. If your in town at the right time you’ll get to greet the North Pole express as it comes into town.

And the highlight of your visit will be seeing Santa and maybe winning the First Gift of Christmas.


A Look Back – Fashion Show

by Barry Clark Bauer

This 1968 photo features another fashion show held at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

The young lady on the left looks like Veronica Glowacki Rosen. The other two are unidentified.


Letters – Bob Craig thanks supporters

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the voters in City of St. Johns for re-electing me as City Commissioner for four years. I appreciate their support and confidence. Citizens and local businesses should contact me on any issues, problems and opportunities.

I pledge to continue the good progress that has been made in St. Johns recently by fixing our city streets, building and maintaining our wonderful splash park and other recreational facilities/programs and seeing our City revitalized.

Yet, I’m most excited about the recent Glanbia/Proliant companies’ announcement for building their new $555 million cheese and whey manufacturing plants in our St. Johns Certified Industrial Park and in Bingham Township. This will create 400+ construction jobs and 300 new full-time jobs, which will help the Michigan Dairy industry and boost our local economy.

Thanks Again,
Bob Craig
City Commissioner


Maralyn’s Pet Corner – Is Catnip a Drug for Cats?

courtesy of Paula Fitzsimmons

You can tell when your cat has just sniffed catnip. She licks, sniffs, purrs and shakes her head, only to return to her normal self about ten minutes later.

While you’re happy to see your cat in a state of euphoria, you might wonder, “Is catnip a drug? Does catnip get cats high? Is it harmful?” Read on as experts share their expertise and offer tips on how to choose the best catnip for your kitty.

What Is Catnip and How Does It Work?

Nepeta cataria, also known as catnip, is a plant belonging to the mint family. You can recognize catnip plants by their green, jagged-edged leaves and off-white to lavender-colored flowers that start blooming in late spring. Contained within its stems and leaves is nepetalactone, a volatile (or essential) oil that’s behind your cat’s strange behavior.

To experience euphoria, a cat has to smell the catnip. “Cats, unlike humans, have a functional extra scent organ called the vomeronasal gland located in the roof of the mouth. The vomeronasal gland carries a scent collected in the mouth to the hypothalamus in the brain,” explains Dr. Melinda Leshy, a veterinarian with MedVet Columbus in Ohio.

Nepetalactone mimics a cat’s sex pheromones, says Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in New York City. “The compound is similar to a female cat being in heat, and the cats enjoying it exhibit behaviors similar to female cats in heat (although both male and female cats show these behaviors.)”

Does Catnip Get Cats High?

It’s obvious your cat is enjoying herself, but catnip high is very different from human drug use and addiction. So what does catnip do to cats? “They aren’t hallucinating. They’re aware of their surroundings. They are just ‘much happier’ about everything,” says Dr. Nancy Dunkle, founder of Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in Medford, New Jersey. “So, it’s not something that you should avoid with your cat due to a drug or bad habit stigma.”

Catnip doesn’t have any known long-term effects on a cat’s brain or any other part of her body, and it isn’t addictive, says Dr. Dunkle. “In fact, cats habituate quickly to it.”

The behaviors a cat displays after sniffing catnip last around 10 minutes and then wear off, says Dr. Leshy. “It may then take over 30 minutes away from the catnip for the cat to again become susceptible to the ‘high’ feeling.”

Not All Cats Respond to Catnip

Catnip effects vary, and some cats don’t react at all. “I’ve had cats who get playful and giddy, others who become very sensuous and rub or groom the catnip sprinkles or toy a lot, and other cats who ‘just sit’ on it,” says Dr. Dunkle.

Some cats on catnip become loving, while others may become seemingly more “aggressive” says Dr. Wismer. “You may want to separate the cats if one seems more aggressive towards another.”

There is evidence that a cat’s response to catnip is genetic, says Dr. Andrea Sanchez, senior manager of Operations Support for Vancouver, Washington-based Banfield Pet Hospital. “Studies suggest approximately 60 percent of cats will react behaviorally to catnip, and some will go ‘crazier’ than others. One study found about 20 percent of cats displayed active behaviors, while the rest were mostly passive or more relaxed than usual. Some will also feel the effects for longer than others.”

It’s actually a dominant trait, explains Dr. Leshy. “So if one parent or both parents are responsive to catnip, then their offspring should also be responsive.” She says cats in Australia have little interest in catnip. “Obviously there is a different gene pool there.”

Kittens typically don’t react to catnip until they’re 6 months to 1 year of age, says Dr. Dunkle. “There are some exceptions to this in which cats don’t become sensitive to catnip until they are much older, or they slowly increase their sensitivity over a period of years.”

The Benefits of Catnip

Cat behaviorists often recommend catnip for relief during stressful periods, like traveling, when introducing a new pet, or moving to a new home, says Dr. Dunkle. “I personally use it to ease my cat’s separation anxiety when I go away for a long weekend. [I] give her a fresh Yeee-ow organic catnip … right before I leave, and she plays with it and rubs against it while I’m gone. When I get back I see less evidence of stressed behavior.”

Catnip is considered a form of environmental enrichment. “Cats have a highly developed olfactory system and in the wild would encounter an array of different smells. The use of catnip can help timid cats experience playful behaviors and help keep playful cats from becoming bored,” says Kim Sparks, a registered veterinary technician with MedVet Columbus.

It may also have some pain-relieving properties, adds Sparks. Additionally, “The ingestion of catnip may be helpful to the digestive tract, as it is has been used in humans for its anti-diarrheal and spasmolytic (ability to relieve spasm of smooth muscle) properties.”

Forms of Catnip

Fresh catnip is much more potent than dried catnip, so less will go a longer way, says Dr. Sanchez. “In fact, too much catnip at one time can cause health problems for cats, so it’s advised to work with your veterinarian to determine the right amount for your cat. Also avoid highly concentrated catnip oils.”

If you’re unable to grow your own catnip plants, there are several effective options on the market. “Cat parents can purchase cat toys with dried catnip stuffed into their hollowed cores. Loose, dried catnip is also available for purchase in jars, bags and cans. Catnip sprays allow you to spray your cat’s favorite toys to achieve a similar effect, which is a good alternative if your cat gets a sensitive tummy after trying to eat catnip,” says Dr. Sanchez.

You can try the SmartyKat Skitter Critters catnip toy mice that are stuffed with catnip or cover your kitty’s scratchers with KONG Naturals catnip spray.

Not All Catnip Is Created Equal

There are differences in catnip quality. “Catnip should seem very strong to the cat parent to affect the cat. My personal favorite catnip brands (per trial and error with my patients and my own cats over the years) are Ratherbee and Yeee-ow,” says Dr. Dunkle. If you offer a catnip toy, she says to “Make sure that it contains properly dried catnip leaves and buds versus just being sprayed with catnip scent.”

Check labels for unnecessary additives, cautions Sparks. “We would recommend sourcing organic catnip with no additives.” To maintain potency, she recommends storing dried catnip in the refrigerator. “Also, as with any spray product, use caution, and don’t spray around their eyes. It is best to spray the catnip on cat furniture or a small towel.”

How Much Catnip?

Catnip is considered nontoxic to cats, but on occasion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and trouble walking if your kitty is exposed to too much of it, says Dr. Sanchez. “Depending on your cat’s personal reaction to catnip, you may choose to control the amount of the plant available to your pet, limiting your cat’s exposure, or denying access to it altogether. Work with your veterinarian on the right balance for your individual cat’s needs.”

If your cat has a history of feline asthma, you should ask your veterinarian about giving catnip, as dried catnip can sometimes cause breathing issues for these cats.