On a morning when most reasonable citizens would have stayed home our hearty band of curious folks showed up anyway and we had a lot to talk about.
Commissioner Martinez-Kratz got us started on a discussion about the proposed trail parallel to Dexter-Chelsea road that appears to run through private property along the route of the little Boland railroad that never was. Mark O'lexa pointed out that this was part of a greater trail system hooking up Dexter, Chelsea, Stockbridge and the world beyond. Amtrak is involved because they want to close the private crossings along the way. The road commission is involved because they would like to separate cars from bicycles. The parks commission is involved because this enhances the border-to-border trail. This segment is in Lima Township so naturally they are involved. Lots of positives here along with lots issues with ownership and land use conflicts. We don't try to solve these issues - we just try to illuminate them.
Doug Fuller noted that Michael Ford and the RTA (Regional Transit Authority) had parted company and Doug was trying to gin up some rumors about succession but nothing stuck.
Tabea Tracksdorf, an exchange student from Potsdam, Germany (accompanied by her host dad Zach Michels) gave us an opportunity to further international relations by offering to help her on the way to selling the obligatory 60 bags of mulch necessary for her to play on the lacrosse team at Dexter High School.
Springtime is fundraising time and we had infomercials for three upcoming events.
1. Sandy Koski was promoting the annual golf outing sponsored by the Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy (they serve the needs of people with disabilities). She will be happy to sell you a ticket to the event which will be held on May 17. 2. Dan Chapman, who is on the board of the Dexter Senior Center, promoted their Swing into Spring fundraiser featuring George Bedard and the Kingpins. The event will be held at the Dexter KC Hall on Saturday, April 22. Tickets are $50 or $75 and Dan can get them for you. 3. Nancy Paul from Faith in Action gave us the FIA elevator speech and let us know they are still looking for a permanent location for their food pantry in Dexter after moving four times in six years. She was also promoting their spring benefit banquet and auction which will be held on Saturday, April 29 at Chelsea Hospital (now known formally as St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea). One component of the event is the awarding of the Howard S. Holmes Humanitarian Award which we learned this morning will be awarded to a surprised (and temporarily speechless) John Hansen.
Infomercials are typically reserved for non-profit community events but there is room in our world for profit seeking capitalists as well so we gave Elmo Morales time (after he first entertained us with two verses of 'Varsity') to announce the soft opening of Elmo's Ping Pong Palace in the Country Market shopping center.
Al Ruhlig, our resident farmer, brought us up to date on the construction of new power lines and natural gas pipelines in our area and specifically on his land. Al is remarkably calm about these intrusions and is more concerned about the gradual loss of farmland across the nation.
Rod Anderson and Pam Byrnes are starting a discussion group in Chelsea and we allowed some time for them seek advice on how to get off to a great start. Lots of folks chimed in but Barb Fuller nailed it when she answered the question "why do you come to the Forum" by saying, "if you are not here they talk about you". She was paraphrasing the official quip about all meetings. If you are not at the table - you are on the menu.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, April 1 (don't go there) 2017 at The Dexter Wellness Center on Baker Road.
All good things must come to an end and our relationship with our secret admirer has moved to another level. The treat is that he is regularly among us offering wisdom and counsel.
We learned that the Dairy Queen is getting a new roof in preparation for opening for the season and our historic A&W is already up and serving frosty mugs. These are two of the institutions that define our little city.
Greg Dill, our new Washtenaw County administrator, joined us and we got a little peek into the 300 million dollar organization that he leads. He answered all of our questions and left us with the feeling that our county government is in good hands.
Jim Davis wants us to consider allowing 'modified' golf carts on city streets. As with most of our discussions we learned that there are lots of exceptions to the notion that roads are for cars only - think bicycles, snowmobiles, farm equipment and Amish buggies. Greg Brand Googled the applicable state law and reported that cities have lots of latitude in this area.
Councilman Zach Michels probed the group about the proposed residential development south of town on Baker Road (Sloane/Kingsley property). Annexation means more density with city water and sewer and non-annexation means less density and more loss of open space. The issues appear to be well understood and nobody needed the stump to advocate one way or the other. The resolution of this proposal lies in the hands of our elected officials at the City and Township level.
It is always nice to have John Evans of Swisher Commercial (plug) join us. He always knows more than he can tell us but he did say he is really busy trying to find suitable space for several new business ventures.
Paul Cousins let us know that property by the American Legion is now in the mix for the site of the new fire station. The committee will recommend a site by the end of the month.
It looks like a double roundabout will appear at the intersections of Baker-Dan Hoey and Shield roads sometime in 2018 according to our inside sources.
Our only infomercial was an announcement for Coffee and Conversation at St. James Episcopal Church, 3279 Broad St. on Saturday, March 11 from 3-5 PM in honor of International Women's Day.
Notes - 2016
On Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 11:02 AM, John Hansen <email@example.com> wrote: We added a new feature to the Forum. Folks often ask before we get started if they can make a (brief) announcement about a community event so we have added the category of Infomercial.
Dan Chapman got us started with a rousing endorsement of The Full Monty - the current offering at the Encore Theater.
Paul McCann explained the millage renewal issue on the ballot that provides operating funds for our district library. It is down there near the bottom of the ballot and is non-partisan so you have fill the bubble.
Michelle Deatrick (D), candidate for Washtenaw County Commission District 2 took her turn on the Stump. The 2nd District includes Webster Township and goes east all of the way to the Wayne County line.
Michelle was followed by Gretchen Driskell (D) candidate for the 7th District Congressional seat. The 7th District covers a broad swath of Southeastern Michigan outside of Wayne County.
Stump speeches, as you know by now, are not paraphrased. One of the purposes of the Forum is to bring you face to face with the candidates so you can reach your own conclusions.
Ann Davis and Julie Schumaker snuck in another Infomercial about the Dexter Community Fund - a division of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (www.AAACF.org). The fund is in its infancy but has already raised over $200,000 in gifts and pledges. Another point of pride for our community.
For those folks following the progress of the City of Dexter facilities study committee it was announced that this group will be meeting on October 21st.