St. Johns celebrates Pride Fest 2022
by Maralyn Fink

I attended Pride Fest on June 18 in downtown St. Johns There was a pretty good turnout for this event.
Many vendors and food trucks were available.

Visit their Facebook page SJ Call-In Coalition for their mission, vision and additional community events.

See more photos

Detroit Surf Band performs at Concert in the Park June 29

SURF ZUP, a high energy driving music machine, is on a mission to bring back the great iconic surf guitar hits from the 60s. The group is modeled after the most famous best-selling instrumental Rock Band of all time… the Ventures. SURF ZUP will highly entertain those attending the “Concert in the Park” concert on Wednesday evening, June 29 starting at 7:00 in the William E. Tennant Performance Shell in the beautiful St. Johns City Park.

“SUFF ZUF performed on our Concert in the Park series last year and totally blew everyone away,” comments Bill Tennant, series coordinator. “They connected with everyone at that concert with their authentic 60s sound. Their powerful guitar and drum sound in songs like Hawaii Five-O, Wipe Out and others is highly infectious. People should seek medical advice before attending this concert!”

Members of the group include Jack DeFranco, guitarist, who performed for a while with The Ventures, Al Carmichael, guitarist, Ken Murphy, drums and Dennis Kiraga, bass guitarists – all highly regarded Detroit musicians with national touring experience. The band, formed in 2012, is true to the original works, using vintage guitars, amps, effects and playing styles , just like it was 1963.

The concert is sponsored by the Clinton County Arts Council (CCAC) and the City of St. Johns. It is open to the public free of charge but donations are gratfully accepted.

All concerts are presented rain or shine. The Lion’s Club food trailer will be available this year. Social distancing and safety precautions are strongly encouraged. The CCAC receives funding from the Michigan Arts & Cultural Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

It’s a Thursday thing in Downtown St. Johns

Come to downtown St. Johns on June 30 and listen to Scott Peterson sing.

Upcoming concerts include:

July 14 – Darin Larner
July 21 – Jim Pontack
July 28- Darin Larner
August 4 – Michael Gorham
August 18 – Louis Longoria
August 25 – Jim Pontack
September 8 – Louis Longoria
September 15 – Jim Pontack

The series kicked off June 23, and all concerts will be held from 5 – 7 p.m.

Friday Brown Bag Concert series begins July 8

A new concert series is coming to mid-Michigan. The Brown Bag Concert Series will take place on Fridays
in downtown St. Johns at 12 noon starting on July 8 and ending on August 26. This series of 8 concerts is being presented by the St. Johns Area Community Fund with support from the Forrest and Doris Swatman Downtown Celebration Fund. 

“This series of free concerts will feature musicians from around the state and will include a couple of
Grammy Award winners from Ann Arbor,” says Bill Tennant, concert coordinator. “These hour-long concerts
will feature outstanding soloist and duos during the lunch hour. It’s great to have this series paid for by the Swatman Celebration Fund for people to come together and enjoy some great music in downtown St Johns.”

Downtown eating establishments will be participating in this concert series by offering specials each Friday for people to pick up and bring down to the concert. Please check out their Brown Bag Specials and support our local businesses.

The concerts will be held in the Rotary Park Pavilion by the CIS Trail and Depot rain or shine. There are
some picnic tables available, but it is advisable to bring your favorite lawn chair.

The Concert Series

July 8 – Elden Kelly – Guitar and Harmonica Virtuosos – Jazz. World. Beyond Andy Wilson
July 15 – Steven Easterling – Songs From Broadway. Spirituals. And More Jeff Richards
July 22 – Swift Brothers – Acoustic Folk Pop/Rock
July 29 – Clique Vocals – Jazz Ballads. Pops. Contemporary Mix Dan Templin & Kelly Sandula-Gruner
Aug 5 – Sally Potter – Banjo-Playing Americana Singer
Aug 12 – Kate Hinote Trio – Alternative Folk From Detroit With Guitar and Violin
Aug 19 – Steve Berkemeier – Singer/Songwriter Covering Songs You’ll Love
Aug 26 – Siusan O’Rourke and Zig Zeitler – Irish. Celtic. Folk

The Food Establishments

The Following Downtown Food Establishments have partnered with the concerts. Please check out their “Brown Bag” specials each Friday to enjoy at the concert.

Bruno’s Bar, St Johns Brewing Co., Main Street Café and Pizza, Dershey’s Café, Swany’s Pub and Grub, Mazz’s Endzone Party Store, Domino’s Pizza, Global Coffee Co., Waypoint Coffee Company, Oh Mi Organics, Spun Confection, and Cupcakes and Kisses

Bring your lawn chairs. Pick up some food. Enjoy the wonderful music.

Sparrow Clinton Hospital names Kris Tennant as new interim president

Sparrow Clinton Hospital caregivers have welcomed longtime healthcare leader Kris Tennant as the hospital’s new interim president. Tennant stepped into the role upon the recent retirement of former SCH President Beth Daugherty.

Previously serving as vice president of Patient Experience for Sparrow Health System, Tennant offers 16 years of experience with Sparrow and 30-plus years as a highly skilled, inspiring and innovative healthcare leader. In her role as director of Rehabilitation Services, and later as director of Mary Free Bed at Sparrow, she successfully led her team to earn the nationwide title of Top Performer in Overall Quality of Care for Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals over four consecutive years – expanding the program and improving the quality of care for patients.

Her clinical background includes acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient services in both the hospital and private sectors, and skilled nursing. She received her Master of Physical Therapy from Andrews University in Dayton, Ohio; a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University; and an Associate of Arts in Social Work from Southwestern Michigan College.

Inspired by her own life experiences, Tennant brings an empathetic and holistic approach to healthcare and leadership – always putting the needs of patients and caregivers first and delivering leading-edge medicine.

“I enjoy cultivating strong relationships and seeking community involvement and collaboration,” Tennant said. “I am looking forward to working with the communities Sparrow Clinton has the privilege to serve.”

For more on Sparrow Clinton, go to

Spy book by St. Johns native wins International Multicultural Award

The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker by former resident Janet (Kloeckner) Halfmann has won a 2022 Skipping Stones Honor Award. “Skipping Stones” is an award-winning children’s magazine fostering multicultural and global education. The awards were announced June 20.

Here’s how the magazine describes the winners: These . . . works promote an understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and/or encourage a deeper awareness of nature, ecology, and diversity.” Find out more at

The Clothesline Code is a true forgotten-to-history story about a formerly enslaved couple who came up with a clever code using laundry on a clothesline to spy on Confederate troop movements for the Union army during the Civil War. Published by Brandylane Publishers and illustrated by Trisha Mason, the book ws released in February, 2021.

Janet is the author of 50 nonfiction and fiction books for children.

Two other books also recently won awards:
Who Is Singing? (Honors in the Penelope’s Prize Children’s Picture Book Awards)
Caterpillar’s Surprise (Best Children’s Book Finalist in the Maxy Awards)

Janet grew up on a farm in the St. Johns/Fowler area and now lives in Wisconsin. Her books are available in retail and online bookstores. Signed copies of this book and others are available locally at the Art and Soul Art Gallery in downtown St. Johns and Becker Furniture in Fowler. Find out more at