Cheese plant planned for St. Johns

After three years of planning, a $500-plus million cheese plant was announced last Thursday morning, August 9 in St. Johns. The plant, which is expected to open in 2020, will bring more than 250 jobs and use 8 million pounds of milk per day to produce 800,000 pounds of cheese per day.

The partnership between Glanbia Nutritionals, an Irish company, Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers and Proliant Dairy Ingredients, headquartered in Iowa, will establish two cutting edge dairy processing companies that will produce hard cheeses and whey powders. Spartan Michigan LLC aims to develop a $425 million dairy processing facility that is expected to create 259 jobs. Proliant Dairy Ingredients is building an adjoining $85 million whey powder manufacturing plant that will be staffed with an expected 30-38 workers.

Once complete, the 360,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and adjoining 85,000-square-foot processing plant will be the largest dairy complex in Michigan and one of the largest in the country. With help from local and state governments, the project is expected to take some pressure off dairy farmers, who have been suffering for several years due to depressed dairy prices.

The process which led to the announcement was “nothing but positive across the board,” said John Dardis, senior vice president of group sustainability and U.S. corporate affairs with Glanbia, who noted that his company’s name means pure food. “We were blown away by the cooperation of the governor, the mayor of St. Johns, The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, transportation, local and city officials in Clinton County, the MEDC, and the list goes on and on,” he said. “How all of you came together is a secret that needs to be told, and really impressed us,” he said. “Michigan has done what it said it would do and delivered, and that’s exciting for us.”

Dairy farmers cannot be discounted in the process, either, said John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid milk marketing officer with Dairy farmers of America. The bottom line, of course, is the health of dairy farmers, and the long-awaited plant is a chance to help them get healthy again.

Construction for the massive plan, announced Thursday, will begin next month. The two facilities will be built on 146-acres of land in the St. Johns Industrial Park, north of town. The goal is to have it finished by December of 2020.


Beatles tribute band, Toppermost, performs August 22 at Concert in the Park

Toppermost, the Beatles’ tribute band that thrilled audiences in past years, is back again at the St. Johns Concert in the Park summer music series. The lively group will “twist and shout” its way through chart-topping songs by the Fab Four beginning at 7 p.m., Aug. 22 at the William E. Tennant Performance Shell in the St. Johns City Park; no admission charge.

Toppermost has been entertaining all ages for more than a decade at shows across the Midwest with its accurate recreation of a high energy and fun Beatles concert. The group has earned praise for both its musical talent and uncanny ability to make audiences feel like they’re at a live Beatles concert – “no one can scream like our Paul and John can.”

The Paul and John in Toppermost are Tom Diab and Tony Iadipaolo. They’re joined by Ron Lockhart (George) and Ray Steinberg (Ringo). Visit the band’s website at http://www.toppermost.info/ and like them on Facebook.

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 that offers light refreshments.

For detailed information on the Concert in the Park series visit the CCAC web site, http://www.clintoncountyarts.org/ and check out the William E. Tennant Performance Shell page on Facebook.


A Mint Festival Retrospective

by Maralyn Fink

My journey with the Mint Festival started on Friday where I stopped at a few garage sales for pictures. There were plenty sales throughout the area.

From there in the afternoon I stopped at the park to check out the craft show. This took awhile as there were many craft booths and visiting.

Friday night brought me down to the Depot area for music from M 80 Band. There I watched some dancing, talking to volunteers and anyone I could talk too. Of course there was some picture taking also.

On Saturday night it was back to the Depot where the Squid Band were playing. There was a great turnout there also. Needless to say, more picture taking and visiting. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and the next thing I knew was that time flew by and I left in the dark.

What a great weekend. Enjoy more pictures here.


Office Housewarming scheduled for Friday, September 14

The Voice for Clinton County’s Children welcomes everyone to join them for an Office Housewarming on Friday, September 14th from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

In conjunction with the Clinton County Arts Event, Arts Night Out, they will be giving tours of the office which is full of beautiful murals generously donated by the community and created by Tracie Davis. The wonderful murals create a welcoming, warm space for children to be heard.

The office is located at 1207 N. US 27 in St. Johns, just to the west of Sundance and next to the bowling alley. For more information about our programs, please visit the website VoiceForClintonCountyChildren.org.


Briggs District Library to celebrate 20 years

On Tuesday, September 25 the community will celebrate 20 years since the formation of the Briggs Library and moving to the current location on Railroad Street.

As part of the celebration, the library will be holding prize drawings each hour throughout the day, and then hosting an ice cream social starting at 6:00 p.m., followed by a special entertainment program at 7:00 p.m.

The entire community is invited to join in celebrating this milestone, as we reflect on our past and look toward the future.