SJPS delays school opening due to COVID rates

Due to a recent spike in the positive COVID-19 rates in Clinton County (5.2% as of 9-3-2O) the administration will be delaying the start of school for all SJPS students whether in person or online.

As previously communicated, when this average is above 5%, they will move to online instruction for 3 days and not reopen in-person instruction until the 7-day average is less than 5%. They anticipate that they will begin instruction on Monday, September 14. They will be will be watching the test rates daily and update if necessary.

Elementary staff were working to prepare chromebooks so families can pick them up on Wednesday, September 9 at their respective schools. Middle School, High School and STRIVE students who have not yet picked up their chromebooks should contact the office to arrange a time to pick up the chromebook.

Teachers planned to provide some introduction through the online platforms beginning Thursday, September 10 to assist students in engaging with classes virtually.

All families may pick up free breakfasts and lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday (3 breakfasts and lunches) for their children.. The meals will be available for pickup between 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at the High School Athletic entrance.


Roaring Twenties Party Band to perform September 16

The Roaring Twenties Party Band returns to the Concert in the Park series on Wednesday, September 16 after a 3-year hiatus. Their 7:00 p.m. performance at the William E. Tennant Performance Shell in the St. Johns City Park will feature the lively music of the 1920s celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Jazz Age performed by 6 premier jazz musicians who have performed with some of the nation’s top entertainers.

“This all-star band is sure to inspire dancing in your seats as they bring back the amazing music from the Roaring 20s, ” says Bill Tennant, concert coordinator. “You will be transported back in time to a decade of economic prosperity and carefree living that is still fondly remembered today, a 100 years later. Musical selections will include recognizable songs from this great era presented with a fresh new jazz approach using authentic instruments including ukulele, banjo, archtop guitar, vocal schnozzle, raspy kazoo, wide vibrato sax, with strong jazz vocals.”

To help you get into the spirit, you are invited to search your closet for your best twenties attire. If you are the owner of a period auto, you are encouraged to drive it to the event in style.

The Roaring Twenties Party Band was organized by Charlotte’s Don Sovey in January of 2016. Musicians recruited for the band include:

Bronnie Brown – He began his career as a member of the U.S. Air Force Band in 1974. After leaving the Air Force he toured the United States with the Walter Scott show for 2-years, then performing with many top bands in Florida and Michigan. He is currently a freelance musician.

Danielle Blanchard – She is a professional vocal musician with over 2,200 commercial jingles and other recordings to her credit. She’s performed on over 12 recordings nominated for Grammy Awards, having performed everything from opera to rock. She taught voice at Oakland University.

Austin Muthyala – He is a young and upcoming jazz trumpet player from Byron Center. He is currently in his senior year at Michigan State University performing in the MSU Jazz Orchestra along with the Gathering Orchestra. In his short career he has performed with many of the area’s top professional musical organizations.

Don Sare – He has been playing professionally for 45 years. As a freelance musician, he has worked with some of the best such as Chuck Berry, Debbie Reynolds, The Temptations, Lee Greenwood, and Stevie Nicks, just to name a few.

Ian Levine – He is a product of the Detroit jazz scene. He is now very active in our mid-Michigan area after having graduated from Michigan State University. He has subbed with the Jimmy Dorsey and Legends of Swing big bands over the years.

Don Sovey – He is a versatile musician, having served as a guitarist for several Midwest symphony orchestras, also having played guitar, banjo, ukulele and mandolin with 23 National Touring Broadway Musicals at the Wharton Center and other halls. He has also performed with the national touring companies of several Broadway shows.

The weekly concerts are being presented under strict safety guidelines that have been established by the State of Michigan, the City of St. Johns and the Concert in the Park Committee. During these unprecedented times the guidelines must be followed if the series is to be continued each week.

Wearing of Masks and Social Distancing are both required this year.

A decision will be made each week on whether the next concert can take place. Please check the Performance Shell Facebook Page or the Clinton Count Arts Council’s Website at www.clintoncountyarts.org before coming each week. Also, please note that the Lions Club Food Trailer will not be at the concerts this fall. Concerts are held each Wednesday evening, rain or shine, through the end of September.

Concert in the Park is sponsored by the Clinton County Arts Council and the City of St. Johns. The Clinton County Arts Council receives support from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts


September 20 is Virtual Superhero Week

Due to potential safety concerns and the likelihood they cannot safely do all the fun things, The Voice for Clinton County’s Children is hosting their 2020 Signature Event as a Virtual 5K and they are going to celebrate all things SUPERHERO for an entire week.

The week of September 20 organizers hope you will join them from wherever you are to run, walk, bike, trampoline, and just move in support of their services for abused and neglected children.

Sponsorships and registrations will be welcome until midnight, Sunday, September 13. All registered participants will receive a 5K t-shirt and cloth mask which will be picked up at Sports Stop in St. Johns and 20% off their registration for our 2021 event.

To register or sponsor the event, please visit our website at VoiceForClintonCountyChildren.org. For more event information, please contact Kelly Schafer at KellySchaferED@gmail.com or 989-640-5681. Will your cape be ready?!


Senior Center Gift Shops open

The summer has given crafters a lot of time to create, so the Gift Shops at the Clinton County Senior Center are overflowing with new items. They currently have limited open hours which are Monday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stop in and check out the quilts, pillows, pet blankets, table runners, etc in one gift shop and glassware, decorations, puzzles, books and misc in the other gift shop.

If you are interested in shopping but cannot stop in Monday or Tuesday, call them at 989-224-4257 and they will try to make other arrangements. The Senior Center is located at 201 E Walker Street in St. Johns.


ArtWalk: Chalk It Up! is September 11

On Friday, September 11 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. the Clinton County Arts Council invites you to walk the streets of downtown St. Johns to see the talents of over 30 local artists.

This annual sidewalk chalk contest is sure to be big fun for the whole family.

Stop by the Art and Soul Gallery at 215 N. Clinton Avenue to pick up your event map; then visit each listed stop to view artwork. Live music and street performers will entertain you along the way.

The last stop will bring you back to the Gallery where you can submit your vote for your favorite artist and have a chance to win prizes.

Local food vendors Papa B’s BBQ, Meat N’ Eat, DavePops and Specialty Popped Kettle Corn and Lemonade will be set up with delicious cuisine, desserts and snacks for sale.

This is a free outdoor event with plenty of space to maintain social distancing. For more information, please visit www.clintoncountyarts.org.


Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and the diseases they carry

That annoying buzzing sound you hear when you are trying to enjoy the great outdoors is a dead give-away that a pesky mosquito is near. Yes, mosquitoes are incredibly annoying and relentless, but did you know they can also be dangerous?

Mosquitoes are known carriers of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV), diseases they contract when feeding on infected birds and then pass on to humans, horses, and other mammals. These diseases cannot be passed between mammals, but the discovery of six cases of EEE in horses in Montcalm County and one case of WNV in a human in Clinton County indicate that these diseases are in the area.

Symptoms of EEE in humans include the sudden onset of fever, chills and body and joint aches. EEE infection can develop into severe encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), resulting in headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma, and death may also occur in some cases.

Symptoms of EEE in horses can include fever, head pressing, wandering, and stumbling, and can progress to an inability to stand.

Most people who contract WNV have no symptoms, but those who do become ill three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms of West Nile virus can include high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, stiff neck, and a severe headache. More serious complications include meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). These diseases usually require hospitalization, can be life threatening, and even fatal.

Here are several ways you can protect yourself and your family from mosquitos and the diseases they can carry:
– Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
– Apply insect repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin (following the manufacturer’s directions for use), to everyone over six months of age.
– Treat clothing with repellent.
– Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
– Maintain window and door screens to help keep mosquitoes outside.
– Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires, or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
– Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriages with mosquito netting.
– Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

Ways you can protect your horses and other domestic animals from include:
– Vaccinate horses against EEE
– Place horses and livestock in a barn under fans from dusk to dawn
– Use an insect repellent on animals that is approved for the species
– Eliminate standing water on your property and changing water in buckets and bowls at least once a day.

Mosquito-borne illnesses, like WNV and EEE will continue to pose a risk to both animals and humans until late fall when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing.