December. 04, 2021
It is the first week of Christmas and the town is buzzing with holiday activities. We seem to really want Christmas this year. Faithful or not we really want the joy of the season. So......be the joy. People need you.
Aimee let us know that the Dexter Guardian will be the centerfold of the Chelsea Guardian for a while as they sort things out.
Folks who attended State Representative Donna Lasinski's coffee hour at Joe and Rosies reported a packed house. In addition to her usual legislative update she spent some time talking about the need for civility in our community discussions. (The Dexter Forum was founded, at least in part, to provide a platform for civil discussion and we continue to do so.)
Park commissioner Miller let us know that there has been some discussion about adding a handrail to the gazebo in response to popular demand.
Oxford. Why is it so much worse just because it is a town just like ours and not that far away? School board member Elise Bruderly gave a very reassuring report on how well our own Dexter schools have modified our buildings and planned and drilled to deal with potential disasters. Oxford probably did the same - and still.
The senior center is approaching normal programming with masks and vaccines required. No food or coffee yet but folks are returning.
We got into a bit of a discussion about the open enrollment period for Medicare folks. Commercial insurers are advertising heavily to get you to switch to their "Advantage" programs that seem to provide broader coverage at no extra cost. This is an individual decision where you might be trading broader for shallower. The senior center has a volunteer advisor to help you make the decision.
Karl reminded us that we are all Wolverines tonight as Michigan fights for the Big Ten championship. The green and whites were quiet but they know we would be on their side if the cleat was on the other foot.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 8:30 AM on Zoom.
Dexter Forum Notes Nov. 06, 2021
People often ask me what the Dexter Forum is all about. I usually respond with some comment about an opportunity for civil discussion but I realize that my vocabulary is out of date and what we actually are is influencers. We listen and learn and become a source of good information about our community and then we spread it around. It is in that role that we agreed to turn this weeks session over to the board of the Dexter Senior Center and their consultant, Sue Ann Savas, to help as they map out the road ahead for the seniors.
We used a UM Zoom account which caused some glitches for some including me. My audio and video didn't match and I felt like I was listening to a bunch of chipmunks in my break out room but I am confident that the purpose of the meeting was well served and that good information was gathered. I sure we will hear more about this as time goes by.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 8:30 AM and we will again be using our Fauser supplied Zoom account. Just so you don't get the codes mixed up be sure to look for your meeting reminder on Wednesday, November 17.
Dexter Forum Notes Oct. 16, 2021
It has been a beautiful fall so far and finally the thermometer figured out that it should fall, too.
We covered a wide range of topics this morning beginning with an update from parks commissioner Ron Miller. They have a couple of vacancies on the commission if you are interested in this avenue of community service. Ron tells us that, among other things, there may be public ping pong tables in our future.
Senior center board member Ann Davis will be bringing a consultant to our next meeting for the purpose of conducting a 'listening session' regarding the future of programming for the center. We have been helpful to the county commission and Bridge magazine in past sessions like this and, since many of us qualify as seniors, we should be helpful here as well.
Gordon Darr is promoting the New Horizons Band and Community Choir and encourages interested folks to drop in and check it out at their next meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 PM at The Dexter United Methodist Church.
Heidi Patel was pleased with the contributions that have been flowing in to the Education Foundation of Dexter's rivalry contest with the Chelsea Education Foundation.
Ryan Henyard, Avalon Housing board member, let us know that the Hilltop View project remains on schedule for an early winter opening. Thankfully, he did not make me ask why he was wearing a headband with fuzzy pink trim or what it would take for him to dye his afro pink. Something to do with breast cancer research. You can help him with his fundraising goal at rmwp.henyard.com
County treasurer Catherine McClary continues to amaze us with her broadening resume which now includes foster cat mom. This has to do with helping a family facing foreclosure.
And then it all got serious, and personal, as John Scharf recounted an encounter with a (homeless) man pushing a loaded shopping cart north on Zeeb Road out in the middle of nowhere. There is no shoulder so the man was in a travel lane with cars going 55+ miles per hour. The sheriff responded but indicated that the man refused assistance. John tried other means of finding help but the bottom line is that there is no agency that provides outreach in situations like this. Community Mental Health was suggested as a resource 734-544-3050
Some other stories were shared about homelessness and we agreed that, with the end of the meeting near, we should revisit the topic at a future meeting.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 8:30 AM on Zoom. A major focus of the meeting will be helping the senior center design programs for the future.
Dexter Forum Notes Sat, Oct 2, 10:23 AM
The first thing we learned on this beautiful fall morning was that the Education Foundation of Dexter is holding its annual fundraising competition with the Chelsea Education Foundation in conjunction with the Dexter-Chelsea football game on Friday, October 22. Both school districts are lucky to have such supportive communities so keep it all going and contribute generously.
Folks were encouraged to attend the annual Chamber dinner on Thursday, October 7 at Chela's where, among other things, our own Paul Cousins will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. (Non-chamber members are welcome.)
Jason Maciejewski helped us understand the drafts of the new state house and senate district lines that are out for comment. It looks like we will be in the senate district with Jackson County instead of Livingston County and that our house district will also extend farther west.
He also reported that the county has made progress in allocating the 70 million American Rescue Plan dollars with the first big project being the funding for the extension of high speed internet to all of the unserved portions of the county.
The big news from school board president Mara was that there wasn't really any big news. School is back in session just like in the good old days. The band will march in the homecoming parade this week and everyone will have a good time. There are still lots of job openings in the district so don't get too close or you may find yourself behind the wheel of a school bus.
Dexter Forum Notes Saturday, September 18, 2021
The Zoom link for this morning's meeting took us to an official meeting of the Washtenaw County Re-districting Commission where we were able to join other folks from around the county in providing suggestions for the drawing of the new lines for county commissioners. I think we were helpful and I am certain that we all learned a little more about this important task that takes place after each national census.
When the official meeting was concluded we hung around and held an abbreviated version of our regular meeting.
We gave our new prosecuting attorney, Eli Savit (a Webster Township resident) a chance to introduce himself and we congratulated councilwoman Arab on the birth of her son.
Dexter Forum Notes Saturday, September 4, 2021
The magic of Zoom and the generosity of Sam Fauser brought us together on this fine pre-fall morning.
We sent cyber birthday wishes to our friend Al Ruhlig who is celebrating his 101st birthday.
Ryan Henyard, county parks photo ambassador, extolled the virtues of our wild places while out doing his actual photography.
County treasurer Catherine McClary brought us up to date on the re-districting process for our 9 county commissioners. Our next Forum meeting on September 18 will be rolled into an official county listening session on the re-districting process.
School Board president Mara G. noted that school is back in session, live, in person and masked. And, under her leadership the boys varsity football team is 2-0. Note: my new neighbor Esmee, an exchange student from the Netherlands is playing in the wide receiver position. She had never played football before but when I asked her what she knew about the game she said, "isn't it pretty much a matter of just getting the ball to the other end of the field"? Yes it is. Yes it is.
Commissioner Maciejewski talked about the process of allocating the 70 some million federal dollars that the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan. High on the list will be extending broadband access to unserved parts of the county.
Some where in the middle of this many people lost their power and had to re-join the session. Karl noted that this was probably just DTE's way of letting us know that we don't need a storm for a power outage.
Caryl Burke promoted Gordon Hall Days and the 50th anniversary celebration of the Dexter Historical Society.
And then her husband Michael, a fully vaccinated citizen, gave us a personal account of what it is like to be a breakthrough Covid survivor. He quarantined in their RV, lost 10 pounds in 10 days and used the term "sickest I have ever been in my life". We thank him for being willing to share this very personal information.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, September 18 at 8:30 AM on Zoom. You will get an official meeting link at the usual time but it will be from the county and the single focus of the meeting will be the county re-districting process and we may be joined by a cast of thousands since it will be an official county meeting governed by the open meetings act. Karl and I will welcome you all and then turn the meeting over to County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum.
****IMPORTANT UPDATE***** from John Hansen...
It is now OFFICIAL!
It only took about two minutes before the first person stepped up to offer Zoom services to the Forum. Our new angel in the cyberworld is Sam Fauser. Thank you Sam!
The next meeting of the Forum will be this Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 8:30 AM
Dexter Forum Notes - AUG 21, 2021
Folks who attend the Dexter Forum are, as we know, a very wise group which probably explains why so many of them stayed home. Lets face it - infections, including breakthrough infections, are up, its the middle of summer and everything is running smoothly including traffic over the Mast Road bridge so it was a good day to stay home and mow the lawn.
We did have a pleasant fireside chat but nothing rose to the level of requiring further comment.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will probably be at the Dexter Wellness Center on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 8:30 AM.
Dexter Forum Notes - AUG 07, 2021
We met undercover... but most people were recognizable... even with masks.
We congratulated Mara Greaterex on her appointment as the president of the Dexter Board of Education. The school district is looking full speed ahead for the fall unless things change. What's the chance of that?
Our State Representative and Democratic Leader of the House covered the waterfront on state issues. This is budget time complicated (in a good way) by the presence of pandemic aid from Washington. She and councilperson Cousins compared notes on the difficulty involved in passing regulations related to ethics.
Road commissioner Fuller, who never makes predictions, predicted that the Mast Road bridge will be back in full service by the end of the month.
We are going to go day by day with our plans while following whatever guidelines apply but currently plan on our next meeting being on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
Dexter Forum Notes - July 17, 2021
Trash pick up is still a problem in the townships but not in the city of Dexter. This topic was 'recycled' from the last meeting.
The commission that is charged with drawing our new district boundaries for state and national representatives is being challenged by the late arrival of census information but will still be expected to finish on time according to the latest court decisions.
Lori Kintz (of the fighting Pegasus's) briefed us on the new project undertaken by the 5 Healthy Towns folks. It is basically a community bulletin board to promote activities in Dexter, Chelsea, Stockbridge, Manchester and Grass Lake. You can check it out at Onebigconnection.org There is not much there yet but that is the point of her presentation. Follow the steps to add your favorite events.
Mara Greatorex, temporary acting interim president of the board of education, indicated that the board would complete the process of filling the two empty seats on the board by the end of the month at which time the board will appoint a permanent, new president. At this time the district plans call for full time in person instruction this fall.
And, as usual, we learned another interesting factoid from our favorite road commissioner. While reflecting on the flooding problems on some of the expressways in Wayne County Doug pointed out that none of the roads cared for by the Washtenaw County Road Commission are dependent on pumps. If there were any he would require that someone check on a regular basis to see if they actually worked.
Dexter Forum Notes. July 03, 2021
We celebrated our Independence, not just from the British, but also (cautiously) from the virus by returning to our home base at the Wellness Center. Karl showed his independence by celebrating with his extended family on the shores of Lake Michigan. John Scharff anchored the conservative stool.
We noted the passing of long term attendee Buzz Sellman and the transition to care by another regular, Don Thackery. We have been meeting together for long enough now to have developed a level of personal care for one another.
The Dexter Historical Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with attendant hoopla. This is more about the museum than Gordon Hall but they own that too.
Another Gordon, Darr that is, spoke on behalf of the Hudson Education Center's new subsidiary The Hudson Music Center's new venture called the New Horizon Band. This is geared towards older folks who might be beginners on their instrument but will include more experienced folks as teachers and mentors. www.hecmusic.org
Jack Campbell, our builder friend, let us know that land is expensive, lumber is really expensive and labor is expensive and hard to find but everything else is great.
The real star of the show was a visit by our newest City council member, Sanam Arab. Sanam has been in the community for 5-6 years and worked her way up to council through service on the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee. We gave her a chance to tell us a little about herself before dunking her in the fire station issue. She handled that well. John Scharff, also an elected official who serves as the treasurer of Webster Township, kindly pointed out that the new, soon-to-be-dedicated fire hall there was built on time and under budget with cash saved up over the decades. A penny here, a penny there.......
Dexter Forum Notes June 19, 2021
Smiles. People had smiles. No masks. It felt good to be back live, in person. So we talked trash - not insults, we don't do that, but real garbage. The township folks especially, were having frequent problems with missed pick-ups and recycling mixed in with regular trash. We placed the blame on a shortage of drivers, a soft market for recyclables and, oh yeah, us - we produce too much waste.
Now here is another thing you can only learn at the Forum. Why doesn't someone pickup all the signs and barrels left along side the road now that Miller Road is open again? The answer is efficiency. The contractor who rents those items out is gambling that their new destination is closer than their storage yard so instead of moving them twice they just wait for a new order to come in and move them once. Now you know.
We talked a lot about adjustments in the labor market. Fewer folks want to be teachers and police officers and many entry level jobs are going unfilled while 'techy' kinds of people can basically name their own salary.
Speaking of job openings - there are now two open seats on the school board and the City council is still running with one empty chair.
Dexter Forum Notes June 05 2021
We picked the right time to ask about the re-opening of Miller Road. It was today!
Today is siren testing day. Steve Bemis is part of a group that listens to the sirens and reports on how well they work. There are all sorts of 'behind the scenes' things like that you learn about only at the Dexter Forum.
The new Webster Township fire hall is on the verge of becoming fully operational.
Mary and Dan from the senior center board let us know that the senior center is re-opening - softly. Just another ray of sunshine after a long year of closings.
The Encore Theater is up and running with some concert style offerings. Folks who have had sneak peeks are very impressed with the beautifully remodeled old school facilities.
Karen Roberts continues to keep us up to date on issues with the planning commission. Accessory dwelling units (also known as granny flats) are on the agenda this week along with continuing discussion about form based design and special zoning along 2nd street in the car wash area where one side of the street is all commercial and the other side is all residential.
The Mast Road bridge project has switched sides which makes you think they are close to half done. The one way traffic adjustment seems to be working well except during the afternoon rush hour.
The city council has run out the clock on the replacement process for filling the current council vacancy. Two of the five applicants recommended by the mayor failed to get the required four votes. It is unclear what happens now.
This will be our last Zoom meeting. The Forum will be returning to live sessions with the meetings to be held at the Dexter United Methodist Church until such time as we can return to our old home at the Wellness Center. The church is just down the road from the cider mill on Huron River Drive. Use the first driveway and follow the signs directing you to the Dexter Forum.
******For over a year John Newman has used his personal Zoom account and given his time as moderator to keep us up and running. We thank him and wish him well in his new life in Colorado.******
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, June 19, 2021 - live and in person - at the Dexter United Methodist Church. Fully vaccinated folks are welcome without masks - but let's be careful out there. The virus is still out there trying to find sneaky ways to cause trouble.
John and Karl
Dexter Forum Notes- MAY 15, 2021
There's going to be a party. A birthday party. Our friend Sanam announced that the Dexter Arts Culture and Heritage committee will be the coordinating body for the City of Dexter's 200th birthday in 2024. Talk about planning ahead.
We shared our general confusion with the sudden lifting of mask requirements for vaccinated people in most, but not all places. For some it is a big jump into a mask optional world trusting those who have not been vaccinated to be wearing a mask. Local regulations will still apply. Already some big stores have announced that they will still require masks.
The vacancy on the City council remains as the council conducted a non vote on the mayor's nominee. The 60 day window for filling the vacancy is closing but no one seemed quite sure what happens if the time expires.
The Dexter community garden had to be relocated to accommodate new construction and the new plot turned out to be filled with poison ivy making it unusable. Mother nature wins anther round.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, June 5 at 8:30 AM and it will be our last meeting on Zoom. We will be moving back to in-person sessions beginning on June 19. We will have all of the details worked out by next time.
Dexter Forum Notes- and more are on page 10... back to the start of the Dexter Forum on Page 1 --- Enjoy...