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Open House for City Manager Stoppels and Chief Kirk

The City of St. Johns is holding an open house for City Manager Jon Stoppels and Police Chief David Kirk on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. This event will take place at the Railroad Depot Building downtown across from the library. This will be an opportunity for residents and business owners to meet and greet the new city manager and police chief.

City Manager, Jon Stoppels
St. Johns’ new City Manager is Jon Stoppels. Mr. Stoppels has 41 years of municipal service experience including; City Management, Public Works, and Recreation. Jon was raised in the Grand Rapids area and attended both Grand Rapids Junior College and Michigan State University where he received a Bachelor’s of
Science Degree.

Since completing his education, Jon has served in several different cities across Michigan in a variety of positions most recently as City Manager of Eaton Rapids. Prior to that he was the Village Manager of Franklin and is a former City Manager and City Council member in Brighton. He also spent time in the City of Marine City, the Village of Fowlerville and Meridian Charter Township. Jon is a second generation public servant as his father served as Mayor of his home town, East Grand Rapids.

Jon and his wife, Barb McKessy, have four children between them and two grandchildren. Besides spending their free time with their family, both Jon and Barb support a number of charities, most particularly a charity that Barb co-founded, “It’s A Breast Thing” that helps breast cancer patients who are uninsured or underinsured with out-of-pocket expenses. The charity serves four Michigan counties including Clinton. In his spare time Jon enjoys woodworking, collecting antiques and playing drums with a few local bands.

Chief David Kirk
St. Johns’ new Chief of Police is David Kirk. Chief Kirk is a 27 year law enforcement professional who was born and raised in neighboring Shiawassee County where most of his family and in-laws still reside. He graduated from Corunna High School and then Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree.
In 2005, he graduated from the 222nd FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia.

After completing his studies at CMU, he took his first law enforcement job with the City of East Grand Rapids. Since that time he has been employed with the City of Owosso Police, the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Portland Police.

Over the years, Chief Kirk has had a wide variety of law enforcement assignments including Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, K-9 Handler, Narcotics Officer, Patrol Supervisor, Internal Affairs Investigator, Detective Sergeant specializing in violent crime investigations including homicides, Cold Case Homicide Investigator, Patrol Division Commander, Investigative Division Commander and most recently Chief of Police in Portland prior to accepting the position here in St. Johns. Additionally, he has acted as an instructor for the Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy and as an Adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor for Baker College.

Currently Chief Kirk resides in the City of St. Johns with his wife Heather and daughter Rachel who attends Oakview Elementary school. He also has three boys all of whom are away to college including one at the University of Michigan, one at the University of Wisconsin and one at Grand Valley State University.

Let the festivities begin

with an album by Maralyn Fink

‘Tis that time of the year, so I ventured out to check on the Christmas decorating. I found some very nice decorating, and it looked to be a lot of work. I urge you to pack up the family and head out to enjoy some of the great work and thought that were put into the decorations.

This brings back a lot of memories of Christmases past when the decorations were smaller in size, but then we had to work with what we had in the good ole days and we were happy with the result. A great job to all the decorators, and thank you for bringing some joy into people’s lives.

Light Festival and Santa Parade is December 1

Downtown activities begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1; and the parade begins at 5:45 p.m. The tree lighting is at 6:30 p.m. just west of the depot. For a full schedule go here.

Breakfast with Santa and Crafts show is December 2

Annual Christmas Festival is scheduled for this Saturday, December2 from 8 am to 3 pm at the CC RESA Building. Breakfast with Santa will be 8-10:30 a.m., and Kids Crafts begin at noon.

The Toys for Tots benefit program on December 2 will start at 7:00 p.m. and will take place in the beautiful historic Wilson Center Auditorium located in downtown St. Johns. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Christmas At Paine-Gillam-Scott House Museum

The Paine-Gillam-Scott House Museum invites you to Christmas at the Museum. Their hours for the 2017 Christmas season now include Saturdays from 1-4 pm along with Wednesdays 2-6:30 pm and Sundays 1-4 pm.

This weekend the museum is open Saturday afternoon, so include the museum in your visit to the 15th Annual Christmas Festival at CC RESA Building. On Sunday please join us from 1-4 pm for the book signing by Wayne Summers for the new edition of “Clinton County Schools”. Don’t miss the 2017 Christmas season display and the Early Transportation and Fashion Exhibit.

The Museum will close for the winter Monday, December 18 and reopen in May of 2018.

The Museum is located at 106 Maple Street, west of the Courthouse. For further information, please contact the Museum at, call 989-224-2894. The website is and events are posted on Facebook.

Let the festivities continue

City Pizza Party with Santa is December 15

Join the City of St. Johns in bringing in the holidays this year with our Pizza Party with Santa. It will be held on Friday December 15 from 5:45 to 7:15. The doors open at 5:30. For more information ontact the recreation department at (989)224-8944 ext. 228 or email

Mint City Singers concert at the Wilson – December 15

Mint City Singers invite you to enjoy a December Choral Concert “As the World Turns: Equinox” on December 15 at 7:30 pm. Free will offering

St Johns Community Band to present Annual Christmas Concert – December 8

The St. Johns Community Band will present their annual Community Christmas Concert on Friday, December 8 starting at 7:00 p.m. in the beautiful historic Wilson Center Auditorium. This is the 13th straight year that the band has performed at this annual event.

The concert will include a nice mix of holiday favorites including “The Holly and the Ivy,” The Little Drummer Boy,” “All Alone For Christmas” and more. David Link will direct this year’s concert.

St. Johns High School Band Director Roy Davis, Jr. and David Link founded the SJ Community Band 14 years ago. The band has been performing at local events ever since.

There is no admission charge to the concert, but the band will be accepting donations for the Wilson Center Auditorium lighting project. The Wilson Center Auditorium is located at 101 W. Cass St. in downtown St. Johns, just south of the Courthouse.

Holiday Pops coming Saturday, December 9

Mid-Michigan residents are in for a rare holiday treat when the popular Lansing Concert Band “Big Band” jazz ensemble presents their special Holiday Pops Concert. This program will take place on Saturday, December 9 starting at 7:00 p.m. in the beautiful and historic Wilson Center Auditorium.

The program entitled, “Big Band Saturday Night,” will consist of exciting swing arrangements of many holiday favorites along with jazz standards from the “Great American Songbook!”

“There are a lot of excellent big band holiday arrangements out there,” says Bill Tennant, concert host. “All the great bands and arrangers from the swing era put forth an abundance of great holiday music that is still around today. We will hear some of those wonderful tunes along with other familiar music from that great era.”

The LCB “Big Band” was formed in 1993, when several members of the Lansing Concert Band wanted a jazz performance opportunity. Trumpet player Jim Kasprzak, the band’s founder and current leader, stepped forward, giving birth to the “Big Band” to the delight of performers and listeners alike.

Several years ago the Big Band first added female vocalist Kelly Sandula-Gruner and later male vocalist Dan Templin to their personnel. These two additions opened the band up to a plethora of fine vocal arrangements, enhancing the band’s sound and repertoire.

“We’re looking forward to our St. Johns performance,” says director Kasprzak. “Performing in the Wilson Center Auditorium is a real treat with its intimate setting and great acoustics. We specifically put this show together for this one performance.”

Tickets for this special concert will be available at the door for only $10 – Adults, $5 – Seniors and Students. Children 12 and under will be admitted free. A portion of the proceeds will be going to the Wilson Center Auditorium lighting project.
The Wilson Center Auditorium is located at 101 W. Cass St. in downtown St. Johns, just south of the Courthouse.

FOMR to meet December 6

The Friends of the Maple River (FOMR) will be holding their December meeting in the Briggs District Library Conference Room in St. Johns on Wednesday, December 6th. The meeting will start at 6:30 PM. Briggs District Library is located at 108 E. Railroad Street at the north end of downtown St. Johns. Park on Railroad Street and come in through the main library entrance located on Railroad Street across from the Depot/Pavilion. Anyone interested in our watershed is welcome to attend the meeting.

The FOMR will be conducting a variety of year end business, including consideration of the 2018 calendar and activities like Clean Up, Float Trip and Quiet Water Symposium. The meeting will also focus on cooperation with the Clinton Conservation District particularly as relates to the Upper Maple River Watershed Management Plan. Current Conservation District Executive Director Kelcie Sweeney will provide updates on the watershed management plan as well as other cooperative efforts it has with the Friends.

Come check out what’s up with FOMR and see the Briggs District Library all decked out for the holiday season.

As always, check the website or find them on Facebook at Friends of the Maple River to stay in touch with what FOMR is up to. For for more information or to become a member, supporter, or donor of FOMR, contact them at: email: