Welcome - For the near future, we will host VIRTUAL Meetings-
***The Forum is co-moderated by Karl Fink and John Hansen.
If you wish to be added to the Forum Mailing List just send a request toRepHansen@aol.com. or KarlVFink@gmail.com -You will get meeting reminders, meeting notes and nothing else.-
The next virtual meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, September, 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM ****************************************************** To attend virtual meetings please join the "Forum Mailing List" as noted above to get the sign in info ****************************************************** ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ <<< The "Stump">> ---- "Stump Activity" is in full implementation as we approach the election. ---- ------------------------------------------------------------------ ************************************** "The the big election is coming. We will Listen and Learn." **************************************
Who We Are-
The Dexter Forum is supported by the Dexter Wellness Coalition as part of the 5 Healthy Towns initiative to "help connect with others in healthy ways". The purpose of the Forum is to create an opportunity for interested women and men to gather to discuss important issues facing our community. All are welcome on a drop-in basis. The group meets on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
The Forum in action- Picture credit to Amy Hydlauff from an Article in "Connected"
-Latest FORUM Notes--
"We make the agenda at the meeting so you never know what's on peoples' minds until you ask." =========================================== FORUM Notes - September 05 2020
It's all about voting now. Not just who for but also how the whole process will be handled. We heard from Ed Golembieski, the head guy in the County Clerk's office who is directly responsible for the conduct of the election process in Washtenaw County. He let us know that the ballots are at the printer and those who have requested absentee ballots should start receiving them around September 22. Because of all of the various municipalities and commissions there are actually 203 different ballots. Even here in little Dexter we have some folks who are in county commission district 1 and some who are in district 2 and therefor need different ballots.
The county is in good shape for the expected large turnout. They are actually printing more ballots than there are registered voters to allow for spoilage. The big need is for poll workers. Poll workers have typically been retired folks who should not be risking exposure during Covid times. Maybe it's your turn to provide this important service.
Nancy Schewe reminded us of the League of Women Voters guide to the election. They have published statements from all of the candidates on the ballot at their website Vote411.org
We heard stump speeches from: Catherine McClary (D) candidate for Washtenaw County Treasurer Nick Roumel (non-partisan) candidate for Judge Donna Lasinski (D) candidate for State Representative District 52
The next (Zoom) meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, September 19 at 8:30 AM. We will have folks on the stump who are running for judge, school board county commission and city council.
John and Karl
FORUM Notes. August 15, 2020
We had a mellow session of the Dexter Forum this morning befitting the time of year and the afterglow of the primary election. We even had to re-boot the whole thing and start over to get rid of an annoying echo.
Our first topic concerned the sudden ending of the high school football season and the impact it will have on spring sports if it is moved to spring. I believe it is Newton's second law that says that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Football meet track and lacrosse and soccer and marching band.
Work is progressing on our new trail which is now visible from the road on Baker across from the health center.
We congratulated our primary winners and acknowledged all of the other candidates who either did not have a primary opponent or are running in non-partisan races.
We spent the rest of the time reflecting on the primary election itself. Turnout was very high due at least in part to the large number of absentee voters. Some polling places looked like hospital rooms. Many returned their absentee ballots in person at drop boxes to avoid problems with postal delivery times. All in all a nice trial run for what is expected to be a blockbuster of a fall election.
August is a five Saturday month so our next meeting will be on September 5th at 8:30 AM via Zoom. You will receive a reminder on the Wednesday before the meeting.
============================================ FORUM Notes August 01, 2020
We began by talking about the prospect for re-opening the schools this fall. There is a big combined public forum/school board meeting (on Zoom) on Monday, August 3 to review the district's plans which must be submitted to the state by August 17. Everything will depend on how bad the virus is but plans include full opening, virtual classes and combinations of the two. This is going to go down to the wire. It seems clear that the school board and administration are trying to do what is best for parents, students and staff. No easy solutions here.
Clerk Kestenbaum confirmed that there has been a huge increase in absentee voters. This was expected and all is going well at this time. There was a lot of concern about postage and US Mail delivery times but cooperation seems good in that area. Michigan has always had absentee voting so we know how to handle this. It is just the volume that is different.
Caryle Burke reports that the historical society has had a good summer of construction with the completion of the bathrooms at Gordon Hall and the eviction of the bats at the museum.
Other projects around the city include the completion of the re-paving of Hudson Street and the continued progress on the walking trail. The economy has put a hold on the live-work project on Baker between Forest and Grand. It looks like there will be a Dollar Store coming to our town soon.
The Sun Times News is no longer publishing a print edition and the on-line version has not added any new content for quite a while. The Guardian is publishing every other week. These are hard times for small town newspapers.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, August 15 at 8:30 AM
*******Special Bonus Section*******
Karl and I did a little planning for the upcoming Forum sessions as it relates to stump speeches. We think that they are an important part of the Forum but we do not want to be overwhelmed by them either. We still need time to talk about bats and potholes and such. There are lots of contested races on the November ballot so we developed some guidelines.
1. We do not solicit candidates. We wait for them to come to us. In the past we have been able to accommodate all requests but that might change this fall. 2. We will give preference to people in contested races, people who have previously attended a Forum session and people in races that most of us can vote in. (Our attendees are mostly from the City of Dexter and Webster and Dexter Townships.) 3. We may allocate different amounts of time say for school board where we all can vote and city council where only a third or so can vote. 4. We will have stump speeches on September 5 and 19 and October 3 and 17. 5. We ask that candidates tell us why we should vote for them not why we should not vote for their opponent.
We are trying to make the best of the Zoom situation. The best part of our in-person sessions was the ability to talk one-on-one before and after the meeting with the candidates. We look forward to the return of those days - and everything else, too.
Karl and John
==================================================== FORUM Notes July 18, 2020
We had three screens worth of visitors to listen to a bunch of stump speeches today.
But first we learned that hearings are underway to enable higher speed Amtrak trains to whisk through Dexter. And we learned that the stuff going in in front of Meijer's will be a little strip mall with chain restaurants and services.
The two most contested races on the August ballot are for prosecuting attorney and circuit court judge. Today we heard stump speeches from Amy Reiser who is running for the Judge position and Hugo Mack and Eli Savit who are running for the prosecutor's position. Last week we had the other three so we have heard from all six candidates. There is no incumbent in either race so we are guaranteed to see some new faces.
All township races come up every four years. These are partisan races and there are some contested primaries. In Webster Township there are five Republicans running for the four trustee positions and we had two of them on the stump - Cameron Horvath and JJ Harms. Four of these folks will move on to face two Democrats in the fall.
Looking past August to the big November election - we have three seats open on the city council and three seats open on the Dexter school board. These are non-partisan races. The filing deadline is in just three days - July 21. Our trusted inside sources indicate that there will be five candidates for the school board and probably at least three for city council although none have filed for council at this time.
Many more people are expected to vote by mail this time at least in part because every one can now and also because of the virus. With all due respect to the postal service (ever notice how whenever someone says with all due respect that they are about to say something disrespectful) mail delivery has been a little spotty lately so either mail it early or, better yet, drop off your ballot at your clerk's office. While you are there poke your head in and thank them for their service. They are essential workers too.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:30 AM on Zoom. You will receive a reminder with the Zoom code on Wednesday, July 29.
John and Karl
===================================================== FORUM Notes **Independence Day** 2020 We celebrated Independence Day by exercising our right to free speech and gathering to discuss issues facing our community and to listen to some of the people who want to represent us.
We hauled out the virtual stump for candidates for Circuit Court Judge and Prosecuting Attorney. Both of these positions are open due to retirements. We gave the candidates each 5 minutes on the stump to tell us why we should vote for them and then we allowed a little time for questions. You have to be 'present' to hear them because I don't think it is wise for me to try to summarize their presentations. Wouldn't be prudent, as President Bush used to say.
Prosecuting Attorney - We heard from Arianne Slay. She is one of three democrats running. The winner of the primary is the likely winner in November. Hugo Mack is scheduled on the stump at our next meeting.
Circuit Court Judge - We heard from Nick Roumel and Tracey Van Den Bergh. This is a non-partisan race where you are asked to vote for one candidate but there will be two winners who advance to the general election in November. Amy Reiser, the third candidate, is scheduled on the stump at our next meeting.
Dick Weaver pointed out that The Encore Theater is trying to stay active by scheduling some outdoor concerts behind their Broad Street property. We all want to help our local businesses survive these difficult times.
Elise Bruderly announced her candidacy for the Dexter Board of Education. Since it is a non-partisan race it will be on the November ballot. There are three positions available.
John Scharff cautioned us about a drawback with voting by mail. When you vote in person in a primary election and you accidentally vote on both the republican and democrat side of the ballot the counting machine rejects your ballot and you get a chance to fix the problem. Your mail ballot is counted on the day of the election and there is no second chance. (The non-partisan and proposal votes are counted).
School board member Barbara Read encouraged folks to contact other members of the board if they have concerns about having closed meetings of board committees that have only advisory powers.
And then, of course, we have bats in the belfry. Real bats. Real belfry. The Dexter Historical Society is housed in an old church where bats are causing significant damage in the belfry. Caryle Burke noted that the bats are charging $10,000 to leave. A $5,000 matching grant has been received but the other $5,000 is currently hiding in your pocket.
We will meet again on Saturday, July 18th at 8:30 AM via Zoom. We will use the same access code but I will send it out again with the meeting reminder the Wednesday before.