Relay for Life enjoys great weather
by Maralyn Fink

I attended the Relay For Life held at the City Park this year. Great weather for walking!

Fawns rest undisturbed at cemetery

Another fawn was seen resting few days ago at Mt. Rest Cemetery. Visitors are asked to let them be, please. Even the lawn care group has to be cautious and steer clear of them so as not to spook them to keep from hurting themselves by jumping up. They don’t have the strength yet.

Schmidt celebrates 25 years as corrections officer

Congratulations to Corrections Officer Kevin Schmidt on his achievement of 25 years of faithful and dedicated service in the Corrections Division at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Schmidt will officially retire from the Sheriff’s Office on May 31.

Officer Schmidt’s commitment and longevity in his role demonstrate his unwavering dedication to upholding the values of the Sheriff’s Office and ensuring the safety and well-being of both staff and inmates. His years of service reflect a strong work ethic, professionalism, and a genuine passion for his responsibilities. Throughout his career, Officer Schmidt has undoubtedly made a positive impact within the Corrections Division, fostering a secure and orderly environment while treating individuals with respect and dignity. His experience and expertise are invaluable assets to the team and his contributions have helped shape the success of the Sheriff’s Office.

As Officer Schmidt celebrates this impressive milestone, it is important to acknowledge the daily sacrifices that he has made, the challenges he has overcome, and the commitment he has shown day in and day out. His dedication and loyalty serve as an inspiration to his colleagues and a testament to his true character.

Sheriff Dush and the entire Clinton County Sheriff’s Office extend their congratulations to Corrections Officer Kevin Schmidt for his 25 years of dedicated service. They all want to wish him well as this chapter in his life closes and others are now opened.

Derby recognizes Wainwright

The St. Johns Soapbox Derby acknowledged Art Wainwright for his long-standing service as the The Voice for the Soap Box Derby. Art aka “The Duke” has been heard over the loud speakers announcing racers since 1968.

Teresa Merrill – with supplemental materials
by Maralyn Fink

Teresa Bowler was born in 1888. She came from a family of teachers, two sisters and five cousins all in education. Her mother substituted, but did not have a certificate. After Teresa graduated from the Lapeer High School, she attended Ypsilanti Normal School and upon completion she came to St. Johns. This was approximately 1908. She taught third and fourth grade. She also taught catechism for her church. After about three years, she left the St. Johns area and went to Hastings, Michigan as Critic Teacher of Barry County Normal School. When Teresa Bowler first started teaching, she received $24.50 a month.

When Teresa first came to St. Johns she came as a single gal. She was considered a “belle” of the younger set. It did not take Robert Merrill long to start romancing her. He won her heart and they were married October 15, 1913.

In 1930 Teresa Merrill moved back to St. Johns to teach fifth and sixth grades. She also became principal of the East Ward school and remained there until 1957. Twenty-seven years of teaching is a long time. She loved every minute of it and worked diligently with the youngsters. She was always ready to help that boy or girl that may have been in trouble or needed assistance in one way or another.

Besides being an influential educator in the community Teresa was also the original chairman of the St. Johns Hospital Auxiliary which initiated the building of the Clinton Memorial Hospital. She worked very hard on this project, and after the hospital was built. the Auxiliary worked to get curtains and bedding for it. She remained on the Hospital Board seventeen years and often attended meetings after that. She is very proud of the hospital and often remarked., “All the hard work paid off.”

Teresa was an original member and secretary-treasurer of the Library Board which saw to it that a library was established in St. Johns. She was president of the St, Johns Women’s Club and the St. Joseph Altar Society.

Because Teresa was such a dedicated person to her pupils and Community, the St. Johns Board of Education at their March 31, 1976 meeting voted to honor this gracious lady by renaming the East Ward school-Teresa Merrill Elementary School.

On June 3, 1976, the PTA had an Open House to honor Teresa. At this time a plaque honoring the new name was presented to the school by Superintendent Earl Lancaster. This plaque is to hanging in the school hall. The School Board also presented Teresa with a memorial plaque. The Guest Book used at the Open House was donated by a dear friend of Teresa, Marguarite Travis Norfleete. Marguarite Norfleete attended East Ward school in 1894.

Theresa’s husband passed away August 3, 1975. Theresa remained at their home at 509 E. Walker in St. Johns.

Supplementary materials

East Ward School becomes Theresa Merrill Elementary

“I never wanted to do anything but teach,” says Theresa Merrill, a St.Johns 6th grade teacher and principal of East Ward School for 27 years.

Twenty-seven years is a long time to work diligently with children, but Theresa says she did it because she loved it all, and many of her students will attest to that fact.

In recognition of Theresa Merrill’s dedication to education and the tremendous influence she had upon instilling good in many young lives, the St.Johns Board of Education at their March 3t meeting voted to re-name the East Ward School in honor of this woman, and it will hence forth be known as the Theresa Merrill Elementary School.

Mrs. Merrill, who is modest about her educational accomplishments, graduated from Lapeer High School and went on to Ypsilanti Normal School and received her bachelor of arts degree from the Central Normal School, now known as Central Michigan University.

After graduating she was a critic teacher at the Barry County Normal School and later became principal of the East Ward School as well as the school’s 6th grade teacher.

She had come from a family of teachers, 5 of her cousins being teachers as well as her 2 sisters. Her mother also substituted but did not have a certified degree.

When she first started teaching, she earned about $24,50 a month, “And I thought that was tops,” said Theresa. She remembers some grandmothers sitting in her classes, observing what their grandchildren were learning.

Possibly what she treasures most of her teaching career were her efforts to help young boys who had social problems or got in trouble for one reason or another. “This was the kind of boy I liked best,’ she says now.

Many of her former students still come to visit, and it is always a joy for her to hear what they are doing now in life.

Through her many years of teaching she taught with “more kindness than anything else,” explaining “That was the best way.”

Besides being an influential educator in the community, Theresa was also the original chairman of the Hospital Auxiliary which initiated the building of Clinton Memorial Hospital. She remained on the Hospital Board 17 years and remarks now when she passes by the hospital, “It paid off very well.”
Theresa was also an original member and secretary-treasurer of the library board which saw to it that a library was established in St. Johns Other social obligations she took upon herself included the presidency of the St. Johns Women’s Club and the St. Joseph Altar Society.

She has helped her community and her community has acknowledged her efforts by naming an educational institution after her – Theresa Merrill Elementary School.

Clinton County New obituary
At age of 95
Teresa Merrill, prominent educator passes away

Teresa A. Merrill, 95, prominent St. Johns school teacher, died Tuesday, March 29 at Clinton Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Merrill had been a teacher in St. Johns since 1906 and had the East Ward School named in her honor. The school is now used for the continuing education program.

Born in Port Huron, Michigan on March 28, 1888, she had resided in the St. Johns area most of her life. She graduated from Ypsilanti Normal College In 1906 and then began her teaching career In St. Johns. She married Robert Merrill in Lapeer on Oct. 15, 1913. Mrs. Merrill was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Funeral services for Teresa A. Merrill were held Wednesday, March 30 at 1 p.m. Burial was held In the Mt. Rest Cemetery with the Rev. Father William Hankerd officiating.

Left to survive are her niece and nephews, Mr. and Mrs. Firmin Smith of Taylor and Mrs. Florene Henderson of Ventura, California. She is also preceded in death by four sisters.

Kindness was Teresa’s style
by Peter W. Bronson

One of Clinton County’s leading educators, Teresa Merrill, died March 29, the day after her 95th birthday.

Mrs. Merrill, the former Miss Teresa Bowler of Elba, Mich., began teaching at Central Elementary School in St. Johns in 1907 and married local businessman Robert Merrill here in 1913.

“She was a very gracious and loving person,” said her next door neighbor for 53 years, Lorraine Hoffman [sic] of 507 E. Walker. “She was a very dedicated person.”

Mrs. Merrill’s dedication to her community surfaces again and again in local history. In addition to her well remembered efforts as an educator, she organized and led a drive which resulted in construction of Clinton Memorial Hospital and was one of the founders of St. Johns’ first local library.

A 1905 graduate of Lapeer High School, Mrs. Merrill came from a family of teachers. Her mother, two sisters and five cousins taught school. Her own teaching career began with graduation from Ypsilanti Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in 1906. She later earned her bachelor of arts from Mt. Pleasant Normal College (now Central Michigan University).

Following several years teaching first and second grade students at Central Elementary, she became the head of Clinton County Normal in 1912.

Mrs. Merrill returned to St. Johns Public Schools in 1928, when she began teaching fifth and sixth grade students at East Ward Elementary. That school, located just a few blocks from the Merrill home, was later renamed Teresa Merrill School in 1976.

In an interview with the Clinton County News held shortly after the school was dedicated to her, Mrs. Merrill reflected on her 27 years of teaching in St. Johns. “I never wanted to do anything but teach, ” she said.

Hired at a salary of $24.50 a month – “And I thought that was tops,” she said – her favorite students were troubled or trouble-making boys. “This was the kind of boy I really liked best.”

Her efforts, she said, were to teach, “More with kindness than anything else. That was the best way.”
“When I became superintendent in 1952, she was principal at East Ward and also taught fifth and sixth grades,” former St. Johns superintendent Earl Lancaster said. “She was a tremendous lady. She had a very soft voice and related with the kids very well.”

Mrs. Merrill was one of the first solicitors for funds to build Clinton Memorial Hospital, which was begun in 1927, and became the original chairman of the hospital auxiliary, serving with that organization for 17 years. “It paid off very well,” she said in 1976. She remained an honorary member of the auxiliary until her death.

She also helped with soliciting funds for the Clinton Area Care Center, now known as Hazel I. Findlay Country Manor.

“I knew her for a number of years and she was very community-minded and conscientious about doing anything she could to help,” Clinton County Historical Society member Charles Coletta said. “She was already quite old when the drive for the care center was begun, but I was the chairperson and she called and wanted to help anyway.”

Mrs. Merrill and her husband, who died in 1975, had no children. “She always said her children were her students and she loved teaching,” said Miss Hoffman [sic]. “She said once she’d do it all over again. She really loved the children.”

Mrs. Merrill also helped to organize a local library board and establish St. Johns Public Library. She was a member of the board and served as secretary from its founding in 1940 to her resignation in 1965.
She attended St. Joseph Catholic Church, and belonged to the St. Joseph’s Altar Society, and was also a former president of the St. Johns Woman’s Club.

She is survived by nieces and nephews, Mr. and Mrs. Firmin Smith of Taylor, and Mrs. Florence Henderson of Ventura, Cal.

“She was a wonderful person,” her neighbor said. “Just a grand, grand person.”


Teresa Merrill remembered
by Jean Martin

Teresa Merrill served as the Secretary of the Library Board for more than 25 years.
She was married to attorney Robert Merrill and taught in Saint Johns for many years. In 1958 she retired from teaching after having been the principal of East Ward School for 26 years. In 1976 the school was named Teresa Merrill School in her honor.

As time went on the next generation began to run for office and take over their fathers’ businesses. After having taught for so many years, Mrs. Merrill began to believe that she actually had taught every younger person in the community. And whenever she began to speak about them, she inevitably recalled that each had been her special favorite.

Mrs. Merrill was a faithful Catholic. She attended Mass every Sunday without fail; and every Sunday without fail she would greet the pastor on her way out, pat him on the cheek and say, “That was just wonderful, Darlin’.”

Then one Sunday, when even the pastor himself had not been too pleased with his homily, Mrs. Merrill greeted him at the door, patted him on the cheek and said, “Just couldn’t get it together this morning, could you, Darlin’?”

Mrs. Merrill lived alone for some years after the death of her husband. Finally the day came when she could no longer stay in her own home. At the Rivard Nursing Home some of the employees, who had been raised in a different era, were dismayed by her behavior. At each meal Mrs. Merrill insisted upon presiding at the head of the table with her hair freshly done, dressed for dinner.

Next week: Demolition of Teresa Merrill School

Remember When – City opts to locate in new courthouse in 1998

St. Johns City Commissioners voted 5-0 last week to enter into an equity ownership arrangement with Clinton County on the new courthouse building.

The decision helps pave the way for the city to relocate its offices from the Municipal Building into the new county facility, pending final contract negotiations between the two parties.

Tentative design plans call for the city to occupy about 6,730 square-feet of dedicated space on the main floor in the east wing of the new courthouse. The city would also have the use of approximately 3,800 square-feet of shared space, including conference rooms and the commission room.

The preliminary cost estimate for overall construction is $15 million, with the city’s share estimated at $1.2 million.

The county and city will bond separately for the project. Bonds would be payable over a 20-year period.

County and officials are continuing to work on a formula for shared operating expenses, and are also devising provisions for either party to “cash out” of the arrangement if necessary after the bonds are paid back.

The cooperative venture will be cost-effective and beneficial for both governmental units and their residents, officials say.

“The arrangement will allow both of us to serve people better,” said St. Johns City Manager Randy Humphrey, noting the concept of shared space is one of the main purposes of the collaborative idea.

The city had conducted its own facility study several years ago on renovating the current Municipal Building. The estimated renovation cost at that time was $750,000.

City officials believe that renovation costs today would be close to the new construction estimate of the buy-in at the county building.

The move to the courthouse and upcoming opening of Briggs Library raises the question of a future use for the Municipal Building site. That decision has not been made, Humphrey said.

“The construction process timeline for the courthouse will allow the commissioners to have ample opportunity to study what the best use of the building and site will be,” the city manager said.

“We’re certain they will be asking for the public’s input.”

Letters – Lions looking for their history

The St. Johns Lions Club is proud to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, an important milestone in the history of St. Johns.

I am looking for newspaper articles and photos about club activities and local donations over the history of the club’s 75 years and will send additional information as often as possible until our actual celebration event on November 9.

Thank you and have a good week.

– Lion Gloria Carnicom, Secretary
St. Johns Lions Club

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – 11 Hypoallergenic Cats for People With Allergies

More than 46 million homes in the U.S. have a cat. But if you’re allergic, opening your house to a feline friend can be … complicated. That said, there are some “hypoallergenic” cats that can be a good fit for your allergies.

What Is a Hypoallergenic Cat?

While all cats produce allergens in their fur, saliva, and urine, some breeds (commonly called “hypoallergenic cats”) produce lower levels of the proteins that trigger allergies. There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat, but certain breeds might be a better fit for some people who sneeze and itch around kitties.

Here are some of the most common cat breeds for people with allergies. Keep in mind that, before bringing home a “hypoallergenic” cat, spend time with the breed to determine how your allergies react.

1. Siberian

Siberians are a popular hypoallergenic breed. Despite having thick, long hair, they produce less allergen-causing proteins than many other cats. Along with being a good cat for allergies, Siberians are friendly, affectionate, and make great ­family pets—if you can keep up with their regular grooming needs.

2. Siamese

Another hypoallergenic cat is the Siamese. While there are zero non-shedding cats, this blue-eyed feline has a short coat that doesn’t shed heavily. This means they don’t produce as many allergens as some other breeds. Known for their vocal nature and adoration for their pet parents, Siamese cats have a lot to offer. However, they can be demanding in terms of attention and aren’t a good fit for families that are often away from home.

3. Bengal

Bengal cats are a unique hypoallergenic breed. Their gorgeous, spotted short coat comes from their Asian leopard cat ancestors, giving them a wild appearance that makes them stand out. But these energetic and intelligent cats can be a handful for the unsuspecting pet parent, and some cities have regulations—or full-on bans—in place against them.

4. Russian Blue

Hypoallergenic Russian Blue cats have an affectionate personality and a quiet nature that make them popular pets. These calm kitties can be shy around strangers and may take some time to warm up to new people.

5. Sphynx

Compared to other cat breeds, Sphynx cats have a unique hypoallergenic quality: their near-nakedness. Sphynx cats can be completely bald or have a thin layer of peach fuzz, but all produce fewer allergens than many furry breeds. But that lack of hair doesn’t mean they don’t need to be groomed—for their skin to remain healthy and free of oil, they need regular maintenance.

6. Devon Rex

With short, curly hair, the Devon Rex is another one of the best cats for allergies. This breed is affectionate and intelligent, but they need a lot of attention from their family. So, if you are away from home for long periods of time, the Devon Rex may not be the best breed for you.

7. Cornish Rex

Like the Devon Rex, the curly hair and affectionate personality of Cornish Rex cats make them popular pets. They’re known for loving attention and being great with kids. A Cornish Rex cat is high-energy and requires a lot of playtime and exercise, plus regular grooming sessions to keep their curly coat healthy. So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, they might not be the best choice.

8. Javanese

Javanese cats are another hypoallergenic cat breed with a longer coat. Because of this, they need consistent grooming to prevent their fur from matting. These vocal kitties are playful, smart, and love being around people—so much so, that they might seem a bit demanding for pet parents looking for a more independent cat.

9. Balinese

The Balinese is a long-haired breed closely related to the Siamese. As another affectionate cat breed, the Balinese is a great fit for all kinds of families, including those with children. They are also smart kitties and can be trained to do tricks.

10. Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthair cats have a sleek and elegant appearance. Along with being a good cat for allergies, they require only minimal grooming because of their short coat. Bringing home an Oriental Shorthair gives you the perfect combination of intelligence and playfulness. Known for their activity and curiosity, they can be fun companions, love being around people, and have a distinct meow that sounds like a cute goose honk.

11. Burmese

The short-haired Burmese is another hypoallergenic cat breed that doesn’t need much grooming. They’re affectionate, smart, and high-energy—meaning they need lots of playtime and exercise.

Tips for Adopting a Hypoallergenic Cat

– Do Your Research

If you’re looking for a “hypoallergenic” cat, you need to do your research to find the right fit. Getting to know the cat in person is crucial before bringing them home. By doing this, you can determine if the breed triggers your allergies and how you react.
Talk With Your Allergy Specialist

Consulting with an allergy specialist to determine the severity of your symptoms can be helpful before you bring home a new cat. They might also provide medication recommendations that can ease your symptoms.
Keep Your Home Clean

Regular cats shed a lot of hair and dander, which can accumulate on furniture, carpets, and clothing. In addition to being difficult to clean, this can exacerbate allergy symptoms. It’s easier to keep the house clean when you have a hypoallergenic cat, as they shed less and produce less dander. That said, it’s just as important to keep up with cleaning up any fur that falls from hypoallergenic cats, to keep your sniffles to a minimum.

– Talk With Your Veterinarian

In addition to choosing a “hypoallergenic” cat breed, there’s an innovated cat food line (Purina® Pro Plan® LIVECLEAR) that’s formulated to significantly reduce the major allergens in the hair, dandruff, and saliva of cats. Your veterinarian can help you determine if this diet would be a good fit for you and your cat.