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, August, 15, 2020 at 8:30 AM ************* INDEPENDENCE DAY ********** ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ <<< The "Stump">> ---- Expect continued Stump activity as we approach the elections. ---- ------------------------------------------------------------------ ************************************** "It is the year of the big election. There will possibly be three others before the big one, but the big one 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 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 speecheson 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.