St. Johns Orchestras host fundraiser

Thanks to St. Johns 2004 graduate Katie (Harris) LeFevre, organizers are holding a fundraiser for the orchestra program. Some families bought these bags a couple of years ago, and they are very durable and look amazing. This is a great Christmas gift idea too.

The goal is to sell about 30 orders to match the fundraiser they held two years ago. They have extended the deadline for orders through the weekend of Thanksgiving as we did last time which made a big difference.

We know kiddos need some extra cheer right now being stuck at home and on top of that not being able to play together and regularly. An orchestra bag might be a little pick me up that might even inspire them to work on their music a bit until they can all get back together playing again.

For more information contact sjorchestras@hotmail.com or see their Facebook page.


New COVID-19 guidelines Q&A

Gathering sizes and capacity limits

Q: What does “indoors” mean for the purposes of this order?

A: “Indoors” means within a space enclosed fully or partially on the top, and enclosed fully or partially on more than one side. Indoor spaces therefore include most buildings (such as barns and garages), vehicles (such as buses and trains), and temporary structures (including tents or canopies with side walls or coverings, unless open on three sides).

Q: What forms of dining at food service establishments are permitted under the order?

Outdoor dining at a food service establishment is permitted provided persons are seated no more than 6 to a table and tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart. A permitted outdoor food service establishment setting also includes a single household dining inside an igloo, hut, or other small, enclosed space, provided that employees enter fleetingly or not at all. Representatives of food service establishments wishing to explore options like these should ensure compliance with any applicable local regulations.

Indoor dining is permitted only in custodial settings, medical facilities, school and university cafeterias, shelters, and soup kitchens. In those settings, if diners are seated at tables the diners must be 6 feet apart, or members of a household may share a table and tables must be spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart.

Q: What does “fixed seating” mean?

A: Fixed seating is seating that is attached to the floor, such as bleachers, auditorium risers, stadium seats, or restaurant booths.

Q: What workers are still allowed or required to work in person?

A: Work should be completed remotely unless attendance is strictly required to perform job duties. See MDHHS’s Nov. 5 Guidance for Employers and the emergency rules enacted by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity on Oct. 14.

Q: Are local government offices still permitted to be open to the public?

A: Yes.

Q: Are public meetings or board meetings permitted under this order?

A: In-person meetings are prohibited unless the meeting is of fewer than 25 people and is held outdoors. Under Public Act 228 of 2020, public meetings may be held virtually under certain specified circumstances.

Q: Are visits between foster children and their birth parents, supervised by a caseworker, permitted under the order?

A: Yes. Parents have a legal right under the probate code to have parenting time with their children at least every 7 days. This has traditionally meant in person contact unless infeasible or a court order prohibits it. Under the order, these in-person visits remain permitted at this time, supervised by a caseworker.

Q: Are direct care workers who provide in-home services (such as those who assist elderly or disabled residents with activities of daily living) permitted to continue serving clients in their homes?

A: Yes. This includes individual caretakers and multi-person care teams.

Q: Are airport restaurants open for dining?

A: No, airport restaurants may sell food for takeaway.

Q: May religious venues host other gatherings such as a bake sale, craft fair, public lecture, or youth group?

A: Places of worship allowing religious worship, and persons engaging in religious worship in such places, are exempt from enforcement of the order. However, places of worship used for all other purposes are subject to the order’s mask, gathering requirements, and capacity limits.

Q: Are religious schools exempt from the gathering rules, mask requirements, or capacity limits in this order?

A: No, these requirements apply to religious schools, except that there would be no penalty applied for students or staff engaging in religious worship at a place of religious worship.

Q: Are religious high schools permitted to remain open for in-person learning or athletics?

A: No, except that they may be open for religious worship services, or for other purposes than in-person education, such as providing a location for staff or students who do not have reliable internet or computers to engage in remote learning, to distribute meals, or to provide medical care at a school based health clinic. Religious high schools are not permitted to be open for extracurricular activities or athletics.

Q: May workplaces, community centers, or other venues continue to host blood drives under this order?

A: Yes.

Q: Are dance classes, gymnastics, yoga, and other group fitness classes permitted to operate?

A: No.

Q: Can organizations hold CPR classes?

A: Yes, first responder training is permitted to continue in person.

Q: May ski facilities operate?

A: Yes, outdoor skiing areas are permitted to remain open (except for practice or competition by organized ski teams, which are not permitted to gather). Distancing measures, such as closing off seats on ski lifts, is encouraged. Gathering is not allowed in indoor facilities such as lodges and restaurants.

Q: Are outdoor skating rinks open? Are indoor or outdoor rinks permitted to stay open for individual exercise or a single athlete with a coach?

A: No, all rinks, including outdoor rinks, are closed.

Q: Are in-person jury trials allowed?

A: Yes, the order does not prohibit in-person jury trials; the decision on how to conduct judicial hearings is left to the discretion of the court. Physical distancing and masking are strongly encouraged.

Q: Are non-contact competitive sports allowed to continue without meeting the 6-day per week testing requirements and other elements of the MDHHS guidance on Additional Measures for Safer Athletic Practice and Play?

A: No. Any athletics that would like to continue must comply with the enhanced testing regimen and infection control guidelines on page 4.

Schools and universities

Q: Are high schools still permitted to be open for purposes other than in-person instruction?

A: Yes, high schools (grades 9 through12) may remain open for purposes such as providing a location for staff or students who do not have reliable internet or computers to engage in remote learning, to distribute meals, or to provide medical care at a school-based health clinic. High schools are not permitted to be open for extracurricular activities or athletics.

Q: Are elementary and middle schools still permitted to be open for purposes other than in-person instruction?

A: Yes, elementary and middle schools (preschool through grade 8) may also offer childcare services, including daycare for children before or after school hours, as well as community support services such as meal distribution or medical care at a school-based health clinic. They may not host athletics or extracurricular programs.

See all Q and A


Remember When? – The August, 2019 mural

Paint by Number: The mural painting on Higham Street at Clinton Avenue was a great hit downtown during the Mint Festival.


Letters – CASA says thanks

For me Thanksgiving Week feels like an official kickoff of the holiday season. (Although I fully admit to ‘already’ listing to holiday music and watching a movie, or two.) The picture of my work holiday tree (below) I keep out all year not just because the special ornaments are reminders of great moments.

The ornaments on the tree began accumulating in 2013. The ornaments started with an idea to mark every year of our agency with a memory from the year. Ornaments are given to our volunteers, staff, and special friends.

The one with my name was my first experience at the Michigan CASA Statewide Conferece. The CASA logo was a celebration of our first year. In 2018 the house shape celebrated us owning our beautiful building. The wood circle celebrated our 5th Anniversary (we officially became a nonprofit in 2014). On the top is when we began using our current logo. I look forward to sharing our 2020 ornament with you.

This year I am especially thankful for all of the great moments, the hard moments and the struggles and triumphs along the way. We are privileged to walk amazing journeys with ‘our’ families. We are entrusted to support kiddos and youth through dark times and blessed to see when they overcome horrible demons. There is no amount of paperwork (or all things pandemic) that are too much to ensure abused and neglected children have a voice.

Thank YOU for your role in supporting my accumulation of holiday ornaments and the growth of our agency to ensure the littlest crime victims in Clinton County feel supported and achieve justice.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Stay Well!

Kelly L. Schafer, Executive Director
The Voice for Clinton County’s Children


Maralyn’s Pet Corner – How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

Out of all the possible skin conditions in dogs, hot spots are among the most common. Hot spots can have different underlying causes and treatments based on severity.

Here’s everything you need to know about hot spots on dogs—from what they are and what causes them to how to treat and prevent them.

What Are Hot Spots on Dogs?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are painful, red areas of infected skin that appear to be irritated and are sometimes raised.

Hot spots on dogs can occur anywhere on the body, but they are commonly found on the face, neck, limbs or hips. The size and appearance of the lesions can vary slightly in each location, but most will look similar regardless of where they are.

These spots can appear quickly, usually with some degree of hair loss, and they become much larger in a matter of days.

Hot spots on dogs can be relatively minor and heal quickly, but they do have the potential to cause more serious issues, such as widespread infection or deeper skin ulcerations.

What Do Dog Hot Spots Look Like?

The actual hot spot lesion can range in size but is usually red, inflamed, and raw, and may bleed intermittently.

The area will become moist and painful and typically spreads due to licking, chewing, and/or scratching.

Hot spots on dogs will usually look different than other skin conditions, such as ringworm or mange, because the skin is very moist and inflamed.

Ringworm, as well as some parasitic skin infections, will have associated hair loss but are usually drier in appearance compared to hot spots.

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

Certain breeds are predisposed to skin conditions, including hot spots. Commonly affected breeds include Golden Retrievers, English Bulldogs, and German Shepherds.

Most hot spots on dogs are caused by an underlying condition that either causes itchiness, excessive licking, or excessive moisture.

The most common conditions include:

– Allergies (flea allergy, food allergy, or seasonal allergies)
– Ear infections
– Excessive moisture from swimming
– Excessive licking due to boredom
– Poor grooming
– Anal gland inflammation

How to Treat a Hot Spot on a Dog

While some hot spots can be treated at home, the underlying cause of the hot spot should always be identified, if possible, to prevent further hot spots from occurring.

To determine the underlying cause, and especially for large or overly infected hot spots on dogs, a veterinary exam is necessary.

It’s even more urgent if the affected area is:

– Increasing in size
– Consistently bleeding
– Displaying colored discharge

You should also seek veterinary attention sooner if you cannot keep your pet from licking/scratching it.
What Will the Vet Do to Treat Hot Spots?

Depending on the severity of the hot spot, most veterinarians will treat the area with a combination of oral antibiotics, anti-itch medication, and an e-collar.

Additional medications may be necessary to treat the underlying cause (flea prevention, allergy medication, ear medication, etc.).

By getting your pet veterinary care as soon as possible, you can prevent further infection.

Home Remedies for Hot Spots on Dogs

If you aren’t able to get to the vet right away, there are a few things you can do at home to help heal hot spots.

Human medications such as Neosporin, hydrocortisone, and Vaseline should NOT be used. Topical creams and ointments tend to cause dogs to lick the area even more, so they should be avoided if possible.

Follow these steps to promote healing of the hot spot:

– Trim the area around the hot spot with dog hair clippers (not scissors). This will allow the affected area to get some air and prevent excess moisture from slowing down the healing process.
– Clean the skin with a mild, water-based antiseptic spray or wipe, like Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS pads, or an antibacterial shampoo.
– Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested. One example is Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray.
– Place an e-collar, or “the cone of shame,” on your dog to help prevent them from biting, licking, or scratching the hot spot.

Monitor the area for improvement and signs of healing (decreased redness, less moisture, smaller lesion size).

Contact your veterinarian for an exam to treat the underlying issue, and notify them if the area is not healing or is getting worse.

How to Prevent Hot Spots on Dogs

The key to preventing hot spots in dogs is determining the underlying cause.

Your veterinarian can help you with this, but in general it is important to keep your dog current on flea prevention, groom your dog regularly (especially after swimming), prevent ear infections by using maintenance ear cleansers, and treat allergies if needed.

In some dogs, preventing boredom with interactive toys can help decrease excess licking behaviors.

Although it is difficult to completely prevent hot spots, these tips can help significantly reduce the risk of recurrent skin problems in dogs.