Posted in Features


Now and Then – All the little children

by Jean Martin

Martin 3.0: All the little children who ‘round the table go

On Saturday the Martin family celebrated Christmas in St. Johns. For once we had all of the families there, and all of the grandchildren were there too. It was quite a crowd at the house on Ottawa Street where the Martins 2.0 all grew up.

A Look Back – Old Clinton Memorial Hospital Operating Room

by Barry Clark Bauer

This is the Operating Room at the old Clinton Memorial Hospital taken in 1955. The nurse is unidentified.

Now known as Sparrow Clinton Hospital, they recently celebrated their 90th anniversary.

Bennie and Jessie’s Pet Info – Year-Round Coat Care for Pets

A pet’s coat is one of his or her most distinctive features. They come in so many forms: the luxurious red tresses on an Irish setter, the shiny stripes on a Bengal, the mohawk of a Chinese Crested, or the pouf of a Pomeranian. A pet’s coat is a crowning glory when healthy, and one of the first things people notice when its health begins to waver through neglect or an underlying medical condition. So what are the keys to a healthy and beautiful coat, and what should you do if your dog or cat is starting to look a little mangy?

The Scoop on Shedding

Hair growth occurs in three phases: the anagen, or growing phase; the catagen, or transitional stage; and the telogen phase, or resting phase. In people and in some dogs such as poodles, the hairs spend much of their time in the anagen phase, necessitating regular cuts as the hairs continue to grow. In most breeds of dogs, the hair spends the majority of its time in the resting phase. The length of time a hair grows before stopping is highly breed dependent; this is why you don’t see a Jack Russell with a floor-length coat like a Lhasa Apso no matter how long you let it grow.

At the end of the resting phase, the hair falls out of the follicle so a new one may grow in its place, which we know as shedding. The degree to which you notice a pet’s shedding depends on the density and length of the coat; while Siamese and Persians both shed the same amount, the long hairs on a Persian may make it much more noticeable.

Although pets shed fur year-round, you may notice increased shedding in the fall as the denser winter coat comes in, and in the spring as the lighter summer coat takes over. This is most pronounced in pets with a double coat such as Akitas, Huskies, Chow Chows and Australian Shepherds. Fluffy cats, such as Maine Coons and the Norwegian Forest Cat, also experience a distinct shedding season, usually the spring.

How to Keep the Coat Healthy

In both dogs and cats, brushing is the number one thing you can do to help keep your pet’s coat shiny and healthy. In addition to removing the loosening hairs that are on the way to being shed, brushing stimulates the skin, distributes oils and helps brush off the top layer of skin that, like the hairs, sheds itself regularly. During the spring and fall shedding seasons you will need to increase the number of times a week your pet is brushed.

Bathing is also an excellent tool for coat and skin health, though the type of shampoo and frequency of grooming is highly individualized. A healthy cat who grooms frequently may not ever need a bath (much to the relief of both cat and owner). While shampooing removes dirt and accumulated oil, it can also be drying if done too frequently. Once a month is sufficient for most pets. Make sure you choose a shampoo that is specific to dogs and cats; people shampoo is often too harsh for a pet’s more sensitive skin. Pets with specific medical conditions such as seborrhea often benefit from medicated shampoos; it’s vital to follow the instructions closely to get the desired result.

Stand in front of the grooming section at any pet store and you will quickly appreciate the variety of tools and gadgets at your disposal for grooming purposes. Some brushes with flat metal blades are designed for deshedding thick undercoats, while others with softer bristles lack the strength to detangle but are better for sensitive skin. Dogs and cats who shed heavily require more frequent brushing and grooming to maintain coat health. Your groomer, veterinarian, or even breed clubs and websites can be invaluable resources to help you figure out the best tools and grooming frequencies for your individual pet.

Regular grooming also gives you the chance to evaluate your pet’s skin on a routine basis. You can check for external parasites such as fleas and ticks, feel for masses, and catch hot spots early. Skin that seems very oily or thickened, flaky, greasy, reddened, or extra-smelly warrants a trip to the veterinarian. In many cats, an unkempt coat is one of the earliest signs of illness as grooming is one of the first behaviors they stop performing when they are nauseated, tired or sore.

Does Diet Matter?

Absolutely! You’ve probably seen recommendations for a variety of supplements, pills, oils or home remedies promising to improve a pet’s coat, and with good reason—they can make a big difference. So which ones work the best?

When I was a kid, my mother used to pour a tablespoon of canola oil on our dog’s food. It made us feel like we were doing something, and sure it made our dog’s coat shiny, but it didn’t do a whole lot to actually make it healthier. These days, canola oil has been replaced by trendier choices like olive oil and coconut oil; but if you truly want to invest in the healthiest skin and coat supplements, you need to consider a quality essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement specifically formulated for a pet’s skin and coat.

Essential fatty acids are those that a pet cannot synthesize himself and therefore must be included in the diet. EFAs play a vital role as building blocks in the cells, the inflammatory response, as well as in maintaining the integrity of the skin as a barrier to the outside world. They fall into two general categories depending on their molecular makeup: omega-3 and omega-6. EFAs occur naturally from a number of sources such as flaxseed oil and fish.

What we have learned over time is that it’s not only which EFAs are present in a supplement, but in what ratios, that really determine how well they improve a pet’s health. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be between 10:1 to 4:1. Although many pet foods add EFAs to the final product, most people prefer adding their own supplementation as you have better control over both the source and the dosing of the EFAs. Your veterinarian should be able to help you find a quality supplement from a reputable manufacturer.

The time and expense of maintaining a pet’s coat is just one of the responsibilities we take on with a pet, but the rewards of a shiny, touchable pet make it all worthwhile.

Letter – Apartments in the old Bement building?

On December 6, 2017 I presented to the St. Johns Planning Commission my projected plan of building 5 apartments on the 2nd floor of my building located at 201 Spring St., St. Johns, MI and was denied a special use permit based on the size of my apartments and the 2 or 3 city parking spaces that would be needed for future tenants. (I currently have 7 private parking spaces available).

Being located in the Central Business District of St. Johns, I am not required to provide off street parking for tenants. Tenants park in the city parking lots using parking permits purchased from the City of St. Johns.

There is nothing in the city code that establishes a minimum apartment size. This is governed by the state if the city has not adopted an ordinance/code pertaining to this. Majority of my planned apartments are the size of Suntree Apartments which are subsidized by the government.

In the latter part of 2016, the planning commission approved a special use permit for a 26 room apartment/hotel in downtown St. Johns. This developer has apartments which are the same size if not smaller than my planned development. In addition, that development requires 20 or more city parking spots.

Normally I don’t ask for help, but when I feel that I am being unjustly treated to a different standard than others I will reach out.

On Monday January 8,, 2018 I present my proposed development to the City Commissioners and I ask you to attend the meeting to show support if you can.

If you can’t attend the meeting, but would like to email a show of support you can send an email before Monday to with your note addressed to the City Commissioners.

City Commission Meeting
Monday, January 08, 2018 6:00 PM
Clinton County Courthouse
Board of Commissioners Room
Suite #2200

Thanks for your support!
Susan Ouellette

Maralyn’s Pet Corner
– Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or stolen, injured, or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs, and wildlife.

2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, as dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow, or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze, or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.

9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.