Clairmont’s Coffee now open in downtown St. Johns

by Maralyn Fink

At Clairmont’s Coffee business partners Audie Clairmont and Amber Haubert say the focus is on creating a positive, creative environment.

After they had been open for only four days a few weeks ago, they were amazed, overwhelmed and grateful for all of the busyness, patience and support. They found that they needed to close on the following Monday due to restocking, training and regrouping to provide better service.

They have their feet back under them now and are open on the southwest corner of Clinton Avenue and Walker Street in St. Johns Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. Closed on Sunday.

A Michigan must see – Tahquamenon in the winter

A Look Back – Red Cross Volunteer

by Barry Clark Bauer

Betty Walling Prowant Bissett worked at Federal-Mogul and was also a volunteer for the Red Cross. There were at least five Federal-Mogul employees who were volunteers.

She was a sister to Robert and Burton Walling and her husband, Bill Bissett, was also a Federal-Mogul employee. He was in charge of the Heat Treating department we inherited from the closing of the Mentor, Ohio plant in the 1970s.

Letters – Look Back 1968 High Schoolers and thanks

In the look back photo in the Features section, could be guys going for Army physicals. We had to meet there in 1969 when I had to go.

Allen Boettger


Through the generous support of our community, our Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) serve our community.

– All who adopted ‘our’ kiddos and families to offer Holiday Cheer!!
– A wonderful CASA Advocate who keeps our office well-stocked with goodies!
– Theresa and all of ‘our’ Quilting Friends who provide personalized quilts for kiddos when their foster care case closes.
– Andy H. and team for making our 2018 holiday ornament!
– The Little Flower Market & Plannedscapes for hosting us for a Festival of Trees!
– Gunnisonville United Methodist Church for your annual financial gift!
– John L. for hosting a Facebook Fundraiser for us!
– Larry F. for submitting his donation to us to his employer for a matching gift!
– Grubaugh Orthodontics for your generous $500 donation through the #buildandgive Piggy Bank Program!
– Eunice Link Campaign for your wonderful $300 donation!
– All who support our #GivingTuesday online campaign, $1,182 was raised!
– A kind gift of $250 from Colorado!
– A $500 gift to help with tools needed for our Family Room!

The Voice for Clinton County’s Children Staff
Kelly Schafer
Executive Director

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – Can Street Cats and Stray Cats Become Pets?

courtesy of Nancy Dunham
Is there a stray cat hanging out outside your home? Or slowly spending more and more time in your yard? You might very well have been adopted by a local street cat and are now probably asking yourself, “Can you turn a stray cat into a house cat?”

Yes, that stray cat or alley cat can become your beloved house cat, but there are some caveats you should consider.

First, understand the difference between a stray cat, an alley cat and a feral cat. It’s often impossible to tell at first glance. Both types of cats may seem skittish when you first approach them.

So, what’s the difference? Feral cats are wild and not used to people or domesticated. Stray cats and some alley cats have often had socialization and may have even been neutered and received health care. These distinctions can be critical for the health of your other pets and family members.

Domesticating Feral Cats

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, oncology) at The Animal Medical Center in New York, urges extreme caution when attempting to turn a street cat into a pet. “Feral cats are likely to have some health issues. Stray cats can too, of course,” she says. “But feral cats have lived outdoors and likely haven’t had any health care.”

Street cats may have serious illnesses that can spread—ringworm, feline leukemia, rabies and other infectious diseases can infect other pets and humans.

“If you adopt a feral cat, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak,” said Dr. Hohenhaus. “”I am not saying you shouldn’t ever take a feral cat [into your home] but think carefully about it first.”

Pet behaviorist Pamela Uncles, Companion Animal Behavior, a practice in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, adds that behavioral challenges may abound.

“I don’t think you shouldn’t take them. I think you should be informed,” she says. “You need to know the risks going in. That’s the bottom line with everything.”

Taylor Truitt, CEO and founder of The Vet Set, Brooklyn, New York, says that feral cats might be best cared for outside as community cats. “If cats aren’t socialized by 16 weeks of age, it usually doesn’t go well,” she says.

“I have owners who say they have feral cats as pets, but they feed the cats outside,” says Truitt. “The cat is never in the house….It’s tough to catch a feral cat, and when you do, they are more afraid than anything….I always say don’t do it.”

Adopting a Stray Cat

Generally, stray cats—those that have had basic human socialization—may easily adapt to home life and form bonds with people.

Stray Cat Health

And unlike feral cats, strays are often fixed and have had some medical care. So you’re generally not starting from the beginning with major medical expenses. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your new friend to the vet. Always take a new pet to your veterinarian for a checkup for any vaccines they might need or health issues you need to address.

Make Gradual Introductions

Cats brought into the home should be secluded from other animals, even after their vet visit, says Dr. Truitt. That will allow them to adapt to the sights, sounds and smells in their new environments. You and others in your home might be used to the sound of the dishwasher or doorbell, but new pets aren’t.

You may want your new cat to become best friends with your current cat or other pet. That can happen if you slowly introduce them. For first meetings, Uncles recommends that you keep it to just a few minutes long. Each day, allow the pets to see each other for longer periods of time, and allow them to gradually interact with you.

Allowing cats to see each other for short times, such as through glass doors, is another way to begin to introduce them. But depending on the stray cat’s background, she may not acclimate as you would hope, says Uncles.

Pet Supplies for Bringing Home a Stray Cat

If you are taking in a stray cat, here are some cat supplies you should have on hand:

Litter Boxes. When cats have lived outdoors they often must be reintroduced to using cat litter boxes. Dr. Truitt says that it’s a wise idea to have one on each floor of your home.

Cat Toys. It’s a great idea to have a few cat toys for your new kitty to play with to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. In the beginning, keep the new cat’s toys separate from those of your other cat or pet, advises Dr. Truitt. Try different types of toys, like cat feather wands, interactive laser pointers and cat toy mice. Playing with your cat is a great way to build trust and strengthen your bond while also providing a healthy outlet for their exercise needs.

Cat Scratchers and Trees. Some cats prefer to scratch vertically, while others enjoy horizontal scratching. Buy a few different types of cat scratchers so you can discover which your new cat prefers, says Uncles. You can also get something that offers both options and gives your cat a safe, high place to go to—a tall cat tree. Don’t assume that your new cat will have the same cat-scratching preferences as your current or previous cat.

Catnip. Some cats find it appealing, says Dr. Hohenhaus, but about 25 percent of cats aren’t affected by it. But don’t worry—there are other safe and healthy catnip alternatives. Here are some recommended by Dr. Hohenhaus:

Silver Vine (Actinidia polygama)
Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Calming Aids. There are some natural cat calming products you can discuss with your veterinarian when bringing any new cat into the household—especially a stray or feral cat. Cat pheromone diffusers and cat calming treats can be helpful if used correctly.

Now and Then – In praise of local libraries

by Jean Martin

If you should ever find yourself at loose ends in a city or town, we suggest that you spend a few hours in the local library.

For instance the Branch County Library in Coldwater is located in an old mansion. This doesn’t sound promising for modern library needs, but the renovation is well-done and functional.

In the upper peninsula there are several options, many located in schools.

In Newberry the Tahquamenon Area Library is located in a fairly large room adjascent to but not quite a part of the high school. The librarians are a little leery of strangers, but they will leave you alone and let you read in peace.

The Munising Schools Public Library is also located in the high school, but it is a self-contained room that even boasts its own restrooms. Their holdings are modest, and their new books are mostly popular fiction; but again, they will leave you in peace to read or just think you own thoughts.

The L’Anse Area School Public Library is located at the top of a hill and in the high school, yet its hours of operation are limited so it remains a mystery. In L’Anse we recommend Java by the Bay coffee house where, again, they leave you in peace.