Posted in Features


A Tribute in honor of my brother-in-law, Thomas W. Beechler

courtesy of Jon J. Ricker

Long-time St Johns residents will remember the Beechler name as a well-known family in both the business and residential community stretching back to pre-World War II. As owners and proprietors of the Clinton Theater in downtown St Johns, Tom’s parents, Bill and Gerry, operated the town’s entertainment hub for many decades until its closing. Tom and his sisters were raised in St Johns and were often seen helping their parents on movie nights.

Front row, l. to r.: Canum, Bashore, Sandy Briggs, Tom Beechler, Wiseman, Moon, Terry Bacon.

Throughout his school years, Tom was an avid athlete. He was particularly passionate about basketball, and his name was always prominent in the Rodney B. Wilson High School game recaps.

Post high school, Tom attended college and then joined the US Army serving his country in Germany until his discharge. During this time he married his high school sweetheart Carol Ricker, my sister, and returned to St. Johns in September 1959 to live and start their family.

Over the years Tom and his dad could be regularly seen at Walker’s Cafe for breakfast, and Tom also enjoyed the occasional gathering with friends at Bruno’s after a hard day at work. He was a life-long employee of Federal Mogul Corporation until his retirement.

Tom and Carol’s three children, Robin, Scott and Rhonda were born and raised in St Johns and lived there until the company relocated them to the Blacksburg, Virginia plant in the early 1970s.

An overt University of Michigan supporter, Tom was always there for a friend-in-need and always approachable to those that knew him well. He passionately loved his family, basketball, Michigan and his many life-long friends from St. Johns. He will be dearly missed by all – but certainly not forgotten by all those who’s lives he touched.

Condolences can be sent to the families at: 1758 Sawmill Hill Rd NW Willis VA 24380.

A Look Back – Roberts Ceramics

by Barry Clark Bauer

Helen Roberts is painting a ceramic piece at her business, Roberts Ceramics, at 107 W. Railroad St.

The customer went through the process of picking out a mold to be filled with a plaster mix; and when that set up, they cleaned and painted the item that would be fired (baked) in Roberts’ oven to turn it into a finished produce. Roberts was located in the old St. Johns Bowling Alley building.

Bennie and Jessie’s Pet Info – How to Tell If Dogs Are Feline Friendly

“Dogs and cats, living together…mass hysteria!” (Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters, 1984). This quote always comes to mind when I see pictures of dogs and cats happily co-existing, snuggled up together, grooming each other, and living a life of peace and harmony. Then I think of my own dog, a Siberian Husky, who, despite growing up with two cats, became a critter killer, no matter what the species. If it was small and ran fast, he was after it, thanks to his natural prey instinct.

As the age-old cliché goes, dogs and cats are as compatible as cats and mice. It may be due to breed, experience, or just personality. But don’t let reputation completely deter you from having both creatures in your home. Now, I have two dogs and a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and they are living happily ever after.

Every individual dog has his own personality traits, and some don’t follow the rules. For instance, although they are a high-risk breed, Alaskan Malamutes are also very protective of their pack. And if they have grown up with or raised a kitten, they are likely to protect it until the end.

Relationships that are built early on in life are usually the safest. A puppy who has grown up around a cat will most likely never turn on it. He may dislike other cats or small animals he meets, but not his own. However, if natural prey instincts kick in, harm may come to your feline family member. There’s never a 100 percent way of knowing how it will go between two animals, because they are just that: animals.

Introducing a New Dog to Your Cat

If you have a cat at home and would like to introduce a new dog to the family, it may be best to bring in a puppy. Otherwise, an adult dog can be risky. However, there are ways to tell if that lovable dog at the shelter, begging to come home with you, will work out. Dogs respond well to their natural senses, and you can learn a lot from their body language.

A new study revealed that dogs are more responsive to cat sounds than to the sight or smell of a cat. So, if you are interested in a particular shelter dog and want to assess whether he will fare well in your home with cats, bring a recording of cat sounds to the meet and greet, and see how the dog reacts. A dog with a history of harming cats will take longer to orient himself to the cat sounds, the study found.

Always ask the shelter or rescue organization about the dog’s previous history and his behavior around people and other animals, if available. No matter how desperate those puppy eyes are, trust that history will repeat itself. If the dog has gone after a cat or other small animal in the past, he most likely will again.

All in all, make sure to do your research before bringing a new pet into your household. Look into the dog’s breed. Is he bred for hunting small prey, such as sight hounds (e.g., Greyhounds, Whippets)? Does he have a strong natural prey instinct, such as Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, or Malamutes? Is he a Weimaraner, which is never recommended near cats? If any of these breeds are of interest to you, it may not be worth the risk of endangering your house cat near them.

If you are bringing home an adult dog, be sure to familiarize him with the sounds of your cat, and see how he reacts. And always, always closely supervise first introductions and interactions between any two animals. You can never completely predict or trust how the two will respond to each other, and it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Natasha Feduik is a licensed veterinary technician with Garden City Park Animal Hospital in New York, where she has been practicing for 10 years. Natasha received her degree in veterinary technology from Purdue University. Natasha has two dogs, a cat, and three birds at home and is passionate about helping people take the best possible care of their animal companions.

Letters – Farewell and thanks

From Scott Berg via Facebook

Today my heart is heavy. We will be saying goodbye to one of our Clinton County Emergency Services Team teammates. Ryan Martin tragically took his own life on Wednesday. He was an Army veteran who suffered from PTSD, TBI and depression. Ryan was a dedicated team member and had a find this past summer of a six year old autistic child.

The hardest part was that our team was called out to assist in scene support and negotiations during a four hour attempt to talk him out of pulling the trigger. I was personally communicating with him via Facebook messenger just a few hundred yards from where he had parked his vehicle. He had reached out to me and I, along with the negotiators on the phone, worked feverishly to keep him with us. In the end his demons won the battle.

Tough situations are difficult to deal with as search and rescue professionals, but are compounded when they are one of your own. I would ask you to keep our Clinton County Emergency Services Team in your thoughts and prayers today. Also keep Ryan’s family lifted up as well. Not only was I Ryan’s Commander but was also his friend. We are doing well during this time of grief and unanswered questions, and appreciate the support from those whom I have already spoken to.

Keep your loved ones close and cherish the moments you share.

Scott and K-9 Keela
Clinton County Emergency Services Team


I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has taken a moment over the last several days to spare a kind word or who came to say their goodbyes to my little brother, Ryan Martin.

Many have said that they have no words. They are right. There are no words. There are no words to properly express sorrow, grief, or love.

Only actions. Actions were something Ryan was really good at. If we could all find ways to be a little kinder to each other, that’s the best way to honor his memory and maybe make up for the hole he left behind.

Kateri Martin Konik and the Martin family

[Editor’s note: Kudows to the Knights of Columbus and the women of the Rosary Altar Society from St. Joseph Church for their repeat of the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes. They were told to prepare to feed 150 friends and family members, and they were able to accommodate at least 180.]