--Notes of June 02, 2018-- My computer and I lost the addresses of the last 20 or so people who signed up to be on this list so if you are reading this on the web site, We Love Dexter or the Chamber newsletter and you are wondering why you did not get your own copy that is why. Please sign up again at the next meeting or send me your address.
There were no tables in the room today (except one for the press and Mona) because the Wellness Center needed them for their 5th birthday party. It gave us a chance to test the concept. We are thinking about it.
Karl led a discussion about our session with Bridge magazine. Most found it to be an interesting change of pace for the Forum. We will probably give it another try next election cycle if it is available to us.
The fire hall project continues to be a 'burning' issue with progress noted. (Early arrivals were treated to a pun smack down featuring our own Richard Weaver and Mary, the Sun Times News reporter who came out of nowhere to be a contender.)
Jason Maciejewski climbed up on the stump and asked us to vote for him in the primary race for county commission district one which includes the City of Dexter, Dexter Township, Scio Township and points west. Jason, a Democrat, is challenging the incumbent Democrat Kent Martinez-Kratz. Stump speeches are not summarized - you have to be there.
We always have to talk about traffic so we did. All of the improvement projects are causing headaches but we know that the butterflies will break out of their cocoons soon. Then we will be back to complaining about traffic volume which is only going to get worse.
Paul Cousins gave us a peek at a project involving the piece of land just across the river on the corner of Mast and Huron River Drive. Apparently the City, Webster Township and just about any agency with lots of initials - HCMA, HRWC, B2B, etc. - are looking at the site as a trail head for walkers and kayakers to relieve problems with access and parking in the area. Always happy to hear when everyone is working together on a project.
We had a little time left so we called on Webster Township trustee John Scharf to give us a Webster update. Webster is considering a new fire station to help improve emergency response times.
================================================ --Notes of MAY 19, 2018--
We hosted the Bridge Magazine Truth Tour. Dwayne Barnes guided us through a series of policy choices and we responded using little 'clickers' that anonymously recorded our preferences on the overhead screen. The Bridge folks aggregate the results with others from all over the state and create a citizen driven policy agenda for use by our legislature.
This was a departure from our usual format but those present seemed pleased with the concept. It is difficult to summarize the event so it falls in the category of you had to be there to appreciate it. We may get some shareable results at some point and when we do I'll pass them along.
*****UPDATE**** I would like to thank you for hosting a Michigan Truth Tour Townhall. The turnout was great and I think we had a really good discussion as well. We at the Center appreciate the time it takes for our hosts to select a venue, recruit an audience and hold the event.
As we proceed with the truth tour we will continue to engage and inform Michigan residents. Once the campaign is over (November 6, 2018) we will begin our work of analyzing the data we found and will create a citizens agenda report that will go to our leaders in Lansing. I will keep you in the loop on our progress.
Lastly, I've attached the results from our town hall. Feel free to follow up with me if you have any questions or need more information.
Thanks again for your hard work!
Dwayne Barnes Engagement Strategy and Urban Outreach Coordinator The Center for Michigan/Bridge Magazine Cell:(313) 288-9475 http://www.bridgemi.com/
========-=============================== --Notes of MAY 05, 2018--
Today we started with dog parks. The closest current park is near N. Territorial and Zeeb and is a private membership operation. There are no nearby public parks and none in the hopper as far as we could tell. Dr. Westhoff cautioned folks to make sure that dog parks are safe for your dog. Not all parks screen out agressive pups.
What's going on at the corner of Baker and Dan Hoey? Councilman Michels explained that prior to doing road improvements the City tries to upgrade all of the underground stuff so they don't end up tearing up a brand new road surface to fix something that could have been done in advance. The current work is in advance of the new roundabouts in that area.
Which led us right into our next topic. Matt McDonell from the Washtenaw County Road Commission brought in a diagram of the double roundabout at Baker/Dan Hoey/Shield that is about to happen. The diagram was helpful but the dialog was even more interesting. The WCRC doesn't just build a road all by itself. Funding has to be collected from a variety of sources and working relationships have to be formed with all concerned. Utility poles have to be relocated and underground work (see above) has to be done by others in advance. The City was involved in design and will add lighting and landscaping to what will be the de facto entrance to the City. The school district negotiated better access to the parking lot at Creekside school which also serves the big athletic fields. The Walkabout Creek apartment complex gets a nice new entrance as well. No houses will be demolished as a part of this project. It is going to be a mess but we are going to love it when it's done.
Information was distributed about a document destruction service provided by the Dexter United Methodist Church on May 19 and it was noted that the Dexter farmer's market is open for the season.
Elmo Morales noted that it was the first anniversary of Elmo's Ping Pong Palace and then he left some with a tear in their eye as we helped him sing the chorus of If You Knew Susan Like I knew Susan in memory of his recently departed wife. ======================================
Dexter Forum Notes 4-21-18 ======================= We began the meeting with a discussion of the challenges involved in providing broadband internet service to rural residents at the end of 'the last mile'. High speed internet access has become almost essential to modern life but is still not universally available. We learned that Sharon Township has a proposal on the ballot to build its own system and we also learned that a group of private citizens financed their own tower in Webster Township.
Officer Egeler of the marine patrol division brought us up to date on marine safety issues. Make sure your craft is registered and has a current sticker on the hull. Make sure that you have enough life jackets for every person. Be aware that many marine accidents involve alcohol. And watch out for a bill moving through the legislature that will require registration for everything from kayaks to paddle boards to rubber duckies.
There were several infomercials for upcoming events. Folks are encouraged to leave their flyers on the table just outside our meeting room.
We learned that the construction activity on Dexter Ann Arbor Road near Old National Bank is for a new child care center.
Progress continues on the deliberations over our fire/police/municipal service facilities with a recent 4-3 vote declaring what will not be done (improve current fire station). This issue was well covered in the most recent Sun Times News.
We wrapped up with a progress report on the Voters not Politicians ballot proposal to establish an independent commission to draw our legislative boundaries. They are confident that they have enough signatures and are just awaiting official approval to be on the November ballot. ======================================
Dexter Forum Notes 4-7-18
Paul Cousins let us know that his neighbor and our friend Mary Ellen Miller has undergone some serious neurosurgery. She may have some memory issues when she returns so be sure to re-introduce yourselves when you see her.
It was noted that the folks in Flint will no longer be supplied with free bottled drinking water. There was considerable frustration with this whole issue and a lack of trust in the folks who have declared the water safe since they seem to be the same folks who denied the problem in the first place.
We gave Adam Dreher a chance to introduce himself. Adam is the Democrat candidate for state senate district 22 which includes most of us. The seat is currently held by Senator Joe Hune who is term limited. The Republican candidate is Lana Theis who visited us earlier this year. This is only the second election under the new district lines that moved all of western Washtenaw County into a district with all of Livingston County.
We had our usual round of infomercials for upcoming community events. Sponsors are encouraged to bring a handout for their events to insure accurate transmission of details.
Doug Fuller, our Road Scholar, confirmed that the road commission did indeed turn back a federal grant that would have funded the removal of a lot more trees in the right of way of our rural roads. This is a good example of the government listening to the people and being willing to take a step back to better understand the situation.
Rex Reed wanted to compliment the road commission employees for their great work clearing our roads during a difficult winter and thank them for risking their lives to try to fill all of the potholes. We were then cautioned to stock up on food and beverages since our two major connections to Ann Arbor will be undergoing significant construction, perhaps simultaneously, this spring/summer.
Larry Kestenbaum, our County Clerk/Register of Deeds, comes by now and then and we always try to give him a little time to talk about elections. He explained the new audit system put in place by the state and again assured us of the safety and accuracy of our system.
The City of Dexter will be taking citizen testimony on the notion of moving their elections from the odd years to the even years to line up with other state and national elections and will be voting on a proposal relating to a new fire station at its meeting on Monday, April 9.
====================================== Dexter Forum Notes 3-17-18 There was no green beer but there was a lot of sunshine and a clear hint of spring as we settled in to develop our agenda for the morning.
Our first question was about the new school construction project that is well underway. In true Forum style it just happened that the construction supervisor, Greg Brand - a third generation Dreadnaught, was in attendance. He told us that the footings are in for the new school with a completion date around Christmas. Most of the other school buildings have some additions or modifications scheduled as well and the schools are working with the road commission on adjustments to the double roundabout coming this summer.
When first timer Jerry Cyr introduced himself and indicated that he was from the Huron Clinton Metro Park Authority there was an audible expression of surprise from the crowd. Like, wow, they are coming to us? Just last year many people learned for the first time at the Forum of the plan to close our golf course. The community rose up, the parks folks listened and today Jerry brought us the good news about a fresh commitment to the course. We also learned that the reason that we cant have a driving range is because the only reasonable area is a protected massasauga rattlesnake habitat. You just don't get this kind of information from the main stream media.
We had infomercials about the upcoming Blues festival in Ann Arbor and programs at the Ford Library.
Donna Lasinski, our state representative, was present so we gave her some time to bring us up to date on the shenanigans (I just used that term because its St. Patrick's Day) in Lansing. Donna does a nice job of explaining things as a representative of all of the district so we did not have to run and get the stump. It is budget season in Lansing with attempts to improve funding for schools and roads. Visiting high school students were praised for their passionate advocacy for school safety.
Progress was noted on the construction of the 200 or so condo units circling downtown Dexter. Bulldozers are clearing one site, shovels are in the ground for another and the City is involved in positive planning for the third site.
We had just a little time left to discuss the new proposals being developed for the RTA (Regional Transit Authority). It seems like nothing will ever appeal to Oakland or Macomb County which leaves just Washtenaw and Wayne at the table. We will watch and wait. '