Forum Previous Notes 12.
Season 08. Episode 07 #174. May 07, 2022
There is always a new face at the Forum, especially during election season, and today it belonged to Fawn Armstrong who is a candidate for District Court Judge. In addition to the standard lawyerly qualifications she is a military veteran who was deployed to Iraq. She currently lives in Saline but is a previous Dexter resident.
County commissioner Shink touched on the activities of the commission as they work through the allocation of the American Recovery Program dollars. Somehow that led us off into guessing how the road commission will make up for the lost fuel tax dollars caused by people switching to electric or hybrid vehicles.
The board of education has voted to place a question on the August ballot requesting an increase of one mill for the purpose of funding recreation programs. It includes funding for little kids right on through the senior years. There was lots of interest (some of us actually are seniors) and a general desire for more details.
It is never good news when members of an elected board sue each other as has happened in Scio township. Our 'Scio insider' says it boils down to a difference of opinion between the clerk and the supervisor that has gotten out of hand and threatens the good order of the township.
Karl was an alternate delegate to the recent Republican gathering designed to give a leg up to the party's eventual choices for attorney general, secretary of state and the education boards. Karl was discreet but hinted that there were violations of Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 8:30 AM at an undisclosed location. Watch for the reminder on May 18 for details.
Season 08 Episode 06 #173 April 16, 2022
We had 'holiday level' attendance but covered a wide range of topics nonetheless. Starting with some observations about the war in Ukraine. Seems like a lot of bad options. Watch Ukraine get reduced to rubble or go nuke to nuke with the Russians.
We had our usual concerns about bad roads and bad drivers.
We learned more about the recreation millage request under consideration by the school board. It is broadly focused to consider the needs of senior citizens and young folks as well. The issue might be ready for the August primary ballot.
Webster Township residents were encouraged to advocate for using some of the American Recovery dollars coming its way for the installation of (at least) one warning siren.
Karl Barr, a candidate for District Judge 14-A, joined us again. He expects to have 1-3 opponents for the seat when the dust settles on April 19, the final filing date.
April is one of those five Saturday months so our next meeting will be three weeks from now on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
Season 08 Episode 05, Number 172, 04-02-2022
Well it wasn't Saturday Night Live but it was Saturday Morning Live for the first time in a long time and a nice group of heavily vaccinated and partially masked somewhat socially distanced community influencers were in attendance.
We did dig into our bag of chestnut issues and talk about land use and development for a while. There is always a new rumor about the Sloan Kingsley property along Baker Road and now the big new development proposed for the intersection of Baker and Jackson. It really helps to have a real developer in the room who can help us see the issues from all points of view.
This is an election year and the new district lines and term limits are bringing forth a new set of candidates and new connections with Jackson County. So the stars of the show this morning were four of those new candidates and we gave them each time to introduce themselves. They will all be invited to step up on the stump in due time.
Carrie Rheingans (D) is a candidate for the 47th house district which includes the City of Dexter, Scio Township and points east and west.
Jennifer Conlin (D) is a candidate for the 48th house district which includes Webster and Dexter Townships .
Kelsey Heck Wood (D) is a candidate for the 14th Senate District.
Karl Barr (NP) is a candidate for District Court Judge 14-A which includes most of us and most of Washtenaw County.
Candidates speak for themselves and I don't try to summarize their presentations.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 8:30 AM live and in-person at the Dexter Wellness Center.
Season 08 Episode 04, Number 171, 03-19-2022
There is always a 'fresh face' at the Forum and this time it was Lois Beerbaum, a recent arrival from Wayne County who wanted some help with her road. Maybe we should change the name from St. Patrick's Day to St. Pothole's Day since they seem to coincide. She felt passed around by her township and road commission. We are all quite used to the pothole issue, I think the term underinvestment was mentioned, and I am sure that she will make her voice heard as we move forward. She has also found our senior center and serves as a medicare/medicaid advisor.
The field is becoming more clear for our new state representative districts as we approach the filing deadline of April 19. Today we met Carrie Rheingans, a Democrat, running in the new 47th district. The district includes the City of Dexter and Scio Township along with part of Ann Arbor and points west including some of Jackson County.
North of us, now known as Karl's side of the river, is the 48th district which includes Dexter and Webster townships and points north. We hope to meet those candidates soon. There will also be a judicial race on the primary ballot if there are more than two candidates. School board and city council candidates don't need to file until July since they are non-partisan races and don't need primaries.
It looks like there will also be a school sponsored recreation proposal on the August primary ballot that includes support for our senior center. Lots of stump speeches to look forward to.
City residents are going to be asked to participate in a community survey to provide guidance to the council as they plan for the future.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 8:30 AM and it will be LIVE at the Dexter Wellness Center.
Season 8, Episode 03. Number 170, 03-05-2022
The Dexter Forum isn't the only thing that happens on the first (and third) Saturday of the month - we also get to test our emergency sirens as we were reminded by Steve Bemis our official siren monitor.
We had a special guest this morning, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who will be running to represent us in the new 6th District which now includes all of Washtenaw County along with some of her previous downriver territory. We were happy to share some of our local concerns with her and she was willing to work in cooperation with our current Congressman Tim Walberg to guide resources in our direction.
Councilman Michels let us know that the city council has committed to putting an issue on the November ballot regarding the fire station. Pretty much the choices remain to build new or upgrade the old but we don't know yet which it will be. He also mentioned that the council was working to resolve the issues related to the proposed new brewery/sports complex across the creek from Mill Creek North Park. Parking seems to be the big problem.
Current county commissioner and frequent forum attendee Sue Shink announced that she is running for our state senate seat. We are no longer tied up with Brighton and Howell but are now attached to Jackson County. These new districts are the result of the citizen's redistricting process and are likely to draw spirited primary contests in both parties since there is no actual incumbent.
You don't have to raise your hand to get called on at the forum. We have such a widely experienced group that sometimes you will get called on when it is obvious that you have something valuable to share with us which was the case when we asked Commander Chris Gordon (USN-Ret.) for his perspective on the invasion of Ukraine. Our main takeaway is understanding another military acronym - DIME. These are the elements of power in international relations. Diplomacy. Information. Military. Economic. Chris observed that we have been focusing on the diplomacy, information and economic levers while trying to keep the military part less involved at this time.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 8:30 AM. We will let you know how or where as we watch the local infection numbers. We are really eager to get back to live meetings.
Season 8 - Episode 02 Number 169. 02-19-2022
Ron Miller from Parks and Rec got us started with a report on future plans for Mill Creek North Park which is the park behind the fire station. They are in the information gathering phase and would be happy to hear from you.
And Thelma Tucker talked about planning for expanded use for the Webster Township historic village buildings. It feels like we are beginning to think outside the mask and getting back to the things that make the Dexter area a great place to live.
And....Karl and I are eager to get back to meeting in person particularly as we look ahead to a busy August primary and general election in the fall. With all the new district lines there are likely to be plenty of new folks that we will want to get to know. We are checking out meeting sites and looking to you for your level of willingness to attend in person.
And...there is always something new and different to learn about like the potential relocation of our district court from Chelsea to Saline. Most of us are not all that eager to go to court but if we have to go it would be nice to have it nearby so we could go over and have lunch at the Common Grill - oops! - congratulations to Craig Common for 30 wonderful years.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 8:30 AM - still on Zoom.
Season 8 - Episode 1 Number 168 02-05-2022
Steve Petty has followed Amy Heydlauff as the executive in charge of The Five Healthy Towns Foundation and he joined us along with Matt Pegouskie to bring us up to date on foundation activities.
It was noted that a large (355 unit) senior focused housing development is being proposed for the one corner of Baker and I-94 that does not have a truck stop.
Our three senior center board members assured us that the senior center is conducting as many activities as possible while being sensitive to the very vulnerable population they serve and that planning for the future is well underway.
And then followed a lengthy and actually quite heartwarming discussion on the efforts by our county treasurer, Catherine McClary, and Webster Township treasurer, John Scharf, to help people struggling to pay their property taxes avoid foreclosure. Apparently the bureaucratic process required to insure that the right people get the right considerations can be insurmountable by many of the folks who are most in need. It's nice to know that the people charged by law with conducting the foreclosure process seem to be doing everything in their power to help prevent these fiscal and personal catastrophes.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 8:30 AM on Zoom.
January 15, 2022
We were back in action after a little break and I am back at my desk after going out to fetch my free box of K95 masks. Distribution began at the western county building on Zeeb Road at 10 AM and concluded at 10:10 AM with long lines backed up in both directions. Better luck next time. At least lots of folks are taking the new mask guidelines seriously.
We started off with a discussion about redistricting - both efforts - county wide for commissioners and state wide for congress and state house and senate. We learned that the county grew about 8% in the last decade and since the growth was more or less evenly spread the committee did the sensible thing and left the lines pretty much alone.
Clerk Kestenbaum is delighted that all of Washtenaw County is now in one congressional district (the 6th). We do know that Debbie Dingell will move to this area to run for this seat which she already represents a significant part of. You have to look at the maps to understand the state senate and house districts - and you have to wait for the inevitable lawsuits to be settled to really know what is going on. In any case potential candidates need to file by
April 19 to be on the November ballot.
Aimee from the Dexter Guardian let us know that the newspaper hopes to resume publishing again soon but currently will continue to be included in the Chelsea Guardian.
And then we heard about the struggles involved in spending the one-time funds coming our way as a result of pandemic induced federal spending. County wide broadband for sure, maybe a parking lot in Webster and lots to be determined.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, February 5, 2022 (January is a five Saturday month) at 8:30 AM on Zoom.
Special Note -- Jan 01 2022
We have never done this before. All the first and third Saturdays have fallen in such a way that we never cancelled a meeting in all of our seven years. But, this one is different. New Years morning? And a big game the night before that probably won't end before midnight. Let's take a break.
There will NOT be a meeting of the Dexter Forum on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The next meeting will be on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Happy New Year
John and Karl
December 18, 2021
We did not discuss the Omigod! variant because we wanted to stay positive in the spirit of the season.
We tried to rustle up some rumors about the future of the space formerly occupied by the Dexter Pharmacy but all we could come up with is that the building is basically a condominium and the offices there will be occupied by somebody someday.
Gordon Hall has a match type fundraising effort underway to pay for the cost of installing a geo-thermal heating system so the building can be used year round.
George Curtis introduced us to BraverAngels.org which is a national group with goals similar to ours - civil discussion of current events.
Councilwoman Sanam Arab talked about renovations to make the new city hall more user friendly and about the resuscitation of the fire station issue.
Lion Gene Utke thanked the community for the early sell-out at the tree lot and assured us that the profits will continue to enrich our town.
Commissioner Maciejewski talked about the deliberations involved in allocating the Washtenaw Rescue funds.
School board member Bruderly clued us in to the 4x4 block scheduling at the high school which allows students to take eight classes per semester instead of six which helps students explore more elective areas. Not all roads to success pass through 4-year colleges.
Ann Davis reminded us that it is time to renew our membership in the Senior Center, anyone can be a member/supporter, and since the dues are only $20 it would be easy to add on a little extra as the seniors plan for the future.
Ryan Henyard has re-issued his local giving guide for those of you who wish to expand your local philanthropy. Do your givin' while you're livin' so you're knowin' where it's goin'.
Karen Roberts and friends have been diligently working on a revision of our planning and zoning ordinances and they want you to pay attention now while it still matters.
Steve Bemis encouraged us to check with our tax preparers to make sure we take advantage of a one time only deal to donate up to $600 per household on top of the usual standard deduction.
And for no good reason other than a smile here are the words to the Dexter Choir recruitment anthem
"All God's creatures have a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
And the others just clap their hands, or their paws, or whatever they got
And the rest of us stamp our feet."