======================================================== Season 09, Episode 01 #192 Feb 04 2023
Karl Fink and Gordon Smith co-chaired the meeting. Karl opened with an enthusiastic evaluation of Kahil El’Jabar and company’s performance at the Encore on Friday evening. He recommended it highly.
We were pleased to have two representatives from the Michigan legislature with us. State Representative Carrie Rheingras (District 47) and Sue Shink the State Senator (District 14). Both discussed current movements in the state legislature. Ms. Rheingras reviewed current priorities in the House of Representatives. Currently the focus is on THE LOWER MY COST PLAN. The contents of this plan include increasing the EITC allowed for Michigan from 6 to 30%; repealing the pension tax; and provision of a rebate to Michigan tax payers of approximately $200 although the final amount has not been determined. Senator Shrink added that budget plans should be available on February 8th . Questions from the attendees included and discussion ensued regarding: 1. Road funding given the possible increase of EVs when gas is not purchased. 2. Taxation in Michigan. Should it be progressive vs. a flat tax as is now the case. 3. Nestle should pay for what they draw from the Michigan aquafer not just comply with a fee applied by the State of Michigan. 4. Microplastics, single stream plastic recycling, and water infrastructure (lead piping) so that there is not another Flint and/or Berrien County event. 5. Shutting down Line 5 (Enron). This is now in the Federal court system and currently not controllable by the State of Michigan. 6. Education – book banning and Black history. Not an appetite at the state level as it is believed to be an issue for local school districts. Michigan Board of Education is advisory only not a controlling entity. 7. Community college funding stabilization for job entry and supplying business needs.
Cheryl Willoughby updated us on the Dexter Bicentennial preparations to be held in June 2024. Many hands are needed for this event and volunteers can contact Cheryl. The website should be available by the end of February. Contact her with your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/DexterBicentennial
Respectfully submitted, Lois A. Beerbaum
========================================================= Season 08, Episode 24 #191 Jan 21, 2023
Mara Greatorex (Dexter School Board President) and Karl Fink served as co-moderators.
We had a discussion about what the City of Dexter should do to honor the memory of Paul Cousins who had been a leader in many aspects of the Dexter Community. Zak Michels, Dexter City councilman discussed with us what the status was with the city. Suggestions included naming something after him including a park, a bridge, the trail through Dexter, the school outdoor lab, the fire department and a Community Fund. At the request of the family, Dexter Rotary has established a Paul Cousins Scholarship Fund.
Our congresswoman, Debbie Dingell discussed with us and answered questions on many topics including PFAS, long term care availability, debt ceiling, budget reduction, national debt. Another topic was about supporting and improving our police forces to protect the rights of all while providing effective police protection. Suggestions included providing better pre-employment screening of officers, more training and making it easier to terminate a police officer. The Fentanyl drug crisis including its causes and possible action was discussed
================================================================== Season 08, Episode 23 #190 Jan 07, 2023
John Hansen has retired from the Dexter Forum to tend to family duties. Karl is looking for a new side-kick. Caryl Burke stepped up to take the notes on today's meeting
Karl tended to the moderation duties today. There were about 30 attendees.
Gordon Smith was introduced by Ron Miller from the Dexter Senior Center as its first ever Executive Director. Gordon comes to us from Quinlan Texas with a Masters in Finance and a background in the Army. He will be focusing initially on a new space, expanding services and attendance, and sustainable funding. Gordon was engaging and enthusiastic and would love to meet you! Stop by.
AARP tax help will be available starting soon at the Chelsea Senior Center, Saline Senior Center, and Turner Senior Center in Ann Arbor. Make an appointment soon as they fill up fast.
Several newly elected officials attended
Carrie Rheingans is the new Michigan State Representative from the 47thDistrict. She is getting her office set up and expects to get her committee assignments next week. The Speaker of the Michigan House will be elected next Wednesday on 1 vote. You can reach Carrie at 517-373-8835 or CarrieRheingans@house.mi.gov
Judge Karl Barr is newly elected to the 14A District Court, currently spending most of his time in Ypsilanti.
Joe Semifero in now on the Dexter City Council
Two important recycling initiatives have been organized by Michelle Stamboulellis. These efforts are run by volunteers and they can use more volunteers.
Styrofoam recycling is available at the Dexter Mill every Sunday 12-2. “If you can break it, they take it”
Plastic film recycling is also available at Dexter Twp Hall. This includes Buschs bags, dogfood bags, salt bags, bubble wrap, boat wrap, etc
======================================================= Season 08, Episode 22 #189, Dec 17, 2022
We began (again) with a time of remembrance - this time for Paul Cousins. Paul wasn't born here and there are no roads with his family name on them but it is hard to think of another individual who has had a greater impact on our community. He rarely missed a meeting of the Forum and always brought us fresh information on whatever the topic of the day happened to be. Everyone had a Paul story to tell.
As a side note: in the formal obituary the family chose the Dexter Rotary Club as the recipient of any memorial gifts. Bene Fusilier - who worked with Paul to save Gordon Hall - has the family's permission to add Gordon Hall to that list.
Our almost new Congresswoman, Debbie Dingell, sent multiple holiday greetings by e-mail along with the news that she has contracted Covid. She is, of course, heavily vaccinated and is looking forward to a speedy recovery.
Speaking of Covid - you can again order free test kits on your computer or you can just show your Medicare card at Jensen's Pharmacy and they will give you four of them.
Since we work without a pre determined agenda we are then subject to the whims of the 'crowd' so we spent the rest of the time talking about the challenges faced by farmers. You never know.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be next year and three Saturdays from now since December is a five Saturday month. We will see you on Saturday, January 7, 2023 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================= Season 08, Episode 21 #188, Dec 03, 2022
We began with a remembrance of our friend Doug Fuller. Doug was an original and steady member of the Forum who kept us up to date on road repairs and roundabouts in our area. Several folks shared personal memories of their friendship with Doug.
Friend Rex, always a bringer of cookies and crucial information, let us know that you can get a store map at the service counter at the newly redesigned Busch's grocery store so you can have half a chance of finding what you are looking for.
We gave Debbie Dingell (thanks for the doughnuts), Jennifer Conlin, Carrie Rheingans, Karl Barr and Sanam Arab a chance to thank their new constituents and comment on their plans for the future.
We learned more about the desire of the Cornman Farms operation to expand and possibly annex its property to the city.
And it's time to talk about succession. Karl and I have entered the fifth quarter of our lives and would like to begin the process of passing the Forum torch to a new generation - you know, like people born after World War 2. We may start with a few 'guest hosts' (maybe you) just to get the process rolling.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 20 #187, Nov 19, 2022
The election is over and the dust has settled and one of the winners (Dan Alabre) showed up with verbal donuts. Everybody else was either out cowbelling off the Dreadnaught football team as the busses carried them off to their quarterfinal championship game or unloading Christmas trees across the street. So we had a very gentle meeting focused on the joys of living in Dexter - just the right thing to do as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Michelle Stamboulellis, Dexter Township clerk who actually was responsible for running the election in her area, complimented her staff on a smooth operation. She also brought us up to date on recycling issues in the township.
Cheryl Willoughby, who has assumed the role of leader of the big celebration being planned for Dexter's 200th birthday in June of 2024, gave us a glimpse of all the planning that is already underway for the big event.
Senior center board member Ann Davis helped 'clear the air' on some 'misunderstandings' at the center and promoted a fundraising drive connected to Giving Tuesday.
Heidi Patel was grateful for the nearly $50,000 raised for the Education Foundation of Dexter in their annual challenge with the similar group in Chelsea.
And Gordon Hall will be alive for the holidays as duly reported by Caryl Burke.
Karl and I join in giving thanks for the priviledge of living in this wonderful community.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 19 #186, Nov 05, 2022
It was a strange Forum this morning. Just about all of us have already voted by mail. There was nobody on the stump. Lots of candidates were present but nothing more needed to be said. Wednesday morning we will wake up in a new world sure to be filled with some surprises.
So we moved on to touch on a wide variety of subjects. The local Methodist church looks to be changing its affiliation from the United Methodists to the Global Methodists. The Lions had to leave early to begin setting up the Christmas tree lot. A new Senior Authority is being established to give senior citizens an opportunity seek a permanent source of funding. The Dexter Area Fire Department is looking into getting its own ambulance because The Huron Valley Ambulance group is so understaffed that slow response times are affecting patient safety. And we were all disturbed by the normalizing of acts of violence whether in the home of the speaker of the house or the tunnel at Michigan stadium.
The Dexter Community Fund (For Good. For Ever. For Dexter) wants you to fill out their needs survey to help guide them in the distribution of grants. aaacf.org/DexterNeedsSurvey
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 18 #185, Oct. 15, 2022
We began the meeting with a reading of a pledge. This one has been around for a long time but only recently discovered by me.
I pledge my heart to Michigan Two lands and four great waters I pledge my heart to Michigan And all her sons and daughters
Forever I will carry Wherever I may roam The beauty and the friendship Of Michigan, my true home.
And then we wore out the stump. The only thing we snuck in between speeches was an offer by Lois Birnbaum, who works out of the senior center, to help anyone who needs guidance during Medicare open enrollment with choosing the right option for their circumstance.
We heard from Sue Shink who wants to be our state senator, Fawn Armstrong who wants to be a judge, Marla Richelew who wants to be another kind of judge, Shawn Keough who wants to keep being mayor of Dexter and Jason Maciejewski, who wants to continue being our county commissioner got to bat cleanup with the bases loaded in the remaining few minutes.
If you are still seeking unbiased information on any of the candidates or issues remember the League of Women Voters has it all (including recordings of candidate interviews) on their web site vote411.org
October is a five Saturday month (we don't meet on 5th Saturdays) so our next meeting will be on Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================= Season 08, Episode 17 #184, Oct. 01, 2022
Karl was back with just a cane to show for his knee replacement surgery.
Absentee ballots are now in the hands of those who requested them early so excitement is building and the stump was full again.
Lawrence Kloss and Marie Knoerl each put one foot on the stump and did a twofer in favor of Proposal Two which is for an amendment to the Michigan constitution dealing with voting rights.
Paul McCann, the director of the Dexter library, only stood near the stump as he explained the library request for renewal of its' operating millage.
Jason Woolford (R), candidate for Michigan House district 48, was back after his victory in the August primary.
Joe Semifero, candidate for Dexter City Council, rounded out the presentations. Joe also distributed some copies of architectural drawings for the proposed new fire station and for the proposed renovation of the existing fire station.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 16 #183, Sept. 17, 2022
It was non-partisan Saturday on the Stump at the Dexter Forum. We had candidates for school board and city council, both of which are non-partisan bodies. That doesn't mean that the candidates don't have a personal party affiliation though.
Karl had the day off. Off his feet too, since he was home recovering from knee surgery. Bill Gordon kept the room balanced.
Attendance was good and questions were many so listening to the candidates was the total focus of the meeting.
And they were:
Sanam Arab- Sanam was appointed to the city council to fill a vacancy and is now running for a full term.
Rhonda Haines - Rhonda is running for a seat on the Dexter Board of Education.
Christy Vander Haagen - Christy is also running for a seat on the Dexter Board of Education.
Zach Michels - Zach is a current city council member running for mayor.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at the Dexter Wellness Center at 8:30 AM. Still lots more candidates to hear from and perhaps some folks with opinions on some of the ballot issues.
=========================================================== Season 08, Episode 15, #182, Sept. 03, 2022
The sprint towards election day has begun and the candidates are out in force and our stump is full. I don't summarize stump speeches and usually just say you have to be present to get the full effect. Well, present you were. We had the largest crowd in the history of the Dexter Forum.
Jennifer Conlin was our first speaker. She is the Democratic candidate for State Representative for the new 48th district which includes Webster Township and points north. She did not have a primary opponent so she has been waiting patiently for her turn on the stump.
Next came Melanie Szawara. She was appointed to the Dexter board of education to fill a vacancy and is now running for election to that seat.
We took a little break in the middle to let councilwoman Sanam Arab shed a little more light on the fire services bond request that will be on the city ballot.
Next came Karl Barr who was one of the two victors in the runoff for District Court 14A Judge.
And finally Dan Alabre who is also seeking election to a school board seat that he currently holds through appointment. School board seats are non-partisan and are for a term of six years (just like the US Senate).
Folks who would like to see all four school board candidates on the same stage should note that the Dexter school district will be holding a candidate forum in the Bates board room on Thursday, September 15 at 7:00 PM.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, September 17 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center. While our event is a crisp 60 minutes we take great joy is seeing people before and after the meeting getting to speak one-on-one with the folks who wish to represent them in all levels of government.
=========================================================== Season 08, Episode 14, #181, August 20, 2022
At the suggestion of Steve Bemis we began our discussion with an affirmation of the integrity of our election system. We had three election inspectors and a challenger in attendance. All talked about the checks and double checks present and the level of care that the inspectors take to 'balance the books'.
We didn't bring out the stump today just to provide a little break between the primary and general election but it will likely be full at the next four sessions. City council candidates Joe Semifero and Sanam Arab were present along with Zach Michels who is a candidate for mayor. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has become a regular and school board candidate Melanie Szawara was with us as well.
And then.....off to the races. City council has placed an issue on the November ballot to fund the construction of improved facilities for the fire department. Let's just say that there is a lot more to be learned about this proposal and, like with stump speeches, it is best to hear the discussions in person. And we did. This is just about the only thing we talked about today.
For those of you who read these notes in the SunTimesNews - the Dexter Forum is a gathering of local folks who like to discuss current events in an atmosphere that is designed to promote learning not confrontation. We meet at the Dexter Wellness Center on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8:30 to 9:30 AM. We always have several local officials in attendance who know what is going on and during election season we give candidates an opportunity to step up on our stump and tell us why we should vote for them (not why we should not vote for their opponent).
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center. We know it is a holiday weekend but we just stick to the 1st and 3d Saturdays to avoid confusion.
=========================================================== Season 08, Episode 13, #180, August 06, 2022 The post primary edition of the Dexter Forum was more wide ranging than usual beginning with the introduction of Alyshia Dyer who is a candidate for sheriff in 2024. Talk about planning ahead! You heard it here first.
We congratulated Karl Barr for earning the right to join Fawn Armstrong on the November run off for district court judge.
And then, of course, off to China. Newcomer Alex Thomas, just back from teaching English in Shanghai, helped answer the question about why Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan. And we learned about the silicon shield. Part of our interest in Taiwan stems from the fact that they produce lots of microchips for us but it turns out they produce lots of them for the Chinese as well hopefully shielding them from hostile actions by either side.
It's coming down to the wire for the council to put an issue on the November ballot about fire facilities. Fix, build or none of the above. Joe Semifero, a candidate for city council and councilperson Zach Michels, a candidate for mayor helped us understand why this has been an issue for 24 years.
And we talked some more about the proposed roundabout by the A&W. We were not sure exactly what that would accomplish but we all agreed that it would not make the underpass any bigger.
We ended with a little post mortem on the Multigenerational Activity Millage proposal that was defeated. Bad timing. Complex language. New tax at a time of high inflation. This issue was placed on the ballot by the school district and the board of education (a non partisan body) will have two positions on the fall ballot. Four candidates have filed and all four were present today and all four have already asked for a turn on our stump. We will start that process in September.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 12, #179, July 16, 2022 Karl and I sat in our new, more comfortable chairs and we switched sides just to show that we are not locked in to any particular position.
We might consider changing our name from the Dexter Forum to the What is going to happen to the Sloan property discussion group. There are now new owners and new plans being proposed for the Sloan property (south of the city of Dexter on Baker Road). This proposal has a mixture of housing types but still relies on annexation to handle the sewage. Councilman Zach, who is an urban planner in his day job, seemed enthusiastic about the discussion.
Becky Cobler, president of the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce, stood near our stump to encourage passage of the multigenerational activity millage (MAM).
Commander Gordon set us at ease about the fighter jet traffic overhead yesterday. It was the Blue Angels scaring the pants off media types who were getting a thrill ride while the pilots familiarized themselves with local landmarks in preparation for the Thunder over Michigan air show at Willow Run this weekend.
Stephen (not Steve) Ranzini gave his stump speech in favor of his candidacy for Washtenaw County Commission - District 2. This is the seat being vacated by Sue Shink who can't run for two things at the same time.
We get a little break from all of this political stuff since July is one of those five Saturday months. Our next meeting will be on Saturday, August 6, 2022 (after the primary) at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness center.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 11, #178, July 03, 2022
It is only 30 days until the primary - unless you already voted absentee - so we finished up on stump speeches by folks with primary opponents. You can feel the excitement building amongst the candidates as August 2 approaches.
First up was Kelsy Heck Wood (D) candidate for the 14th District State Senate seat in the newly drawn district that covers much of Jackson and Washtenaw Counties.
In between stump speeches I tried to get myself in trouble by discussing implications of the overturning of Roe v Wade but Karl bailed me out and got us back on track.
Next on the stump was Jason Woolford (R) candidate for the 48th House District in the newly drawn district that covers northern Washtenaw county and up into Livingston County.
While I don't try to summarize stump speeches it is fair to say that we stretched out the Q&A a little bit and got a pretty good picture of where the candidates stand.
Your job as influencers right now is to drum up a little interest in Dexter city and school board races. These are both non-partisan so will not be on the ballot until November but there are terms that are expiring and as far as I can see there are no announced candidates. The deadline for filing is coming up soon. Maybe it will be YOU?
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will on Saturday, July 16th at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center. Since July is a 5 Saturday month this will be our last meeting before the primary election.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 10, #177, June 18, 2022
Sir Paul McCartney turned 80 today which answers the question, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me - when I'm 64?"
And it was judgement day at the Forum. Fawn Armstrong and Stuart Collis were scheduled to be on the Stump and they were and then we added Torchio Feaster on an ad hoc basis and with Karl Barr in attendance (who was on the Stump last time) we had all four candidates for District Court Judge 14-A at the same time.
Aside from a little speculation about big developments on Baker Road near Jackson and some end of the school year comments from the president of the school board we basically devolved into a round table discussion on the function of our court systems. How could we not with so many lawyers in the room.
A couple of notes for former Forum attendees who are not quite ready to return to in-person sessions: the wellness center is a pretty new building with a modern air handling system. Some attendees are still masking. The sign on the door says masks are optional in accordance with local health department guidelines for fitness facilities.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be on Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center. We will have more candidates on the stump (no more judges).
* about Stump protocols* People find us. We make no attempt to go out and recruit candidates. We may not hear from every candidate for every office. We give the candidate five minutes to tell us why we should vote for them not why we should not vote for their opponent. We then allow five minutes for questions from the audience that are meant to help us understand the candidate better not to embarrass them with 'gotcha' questions. *
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 09, #176, June 04, 2022 School superintendent Chris Timmis joined us fresh from handing out diplomas to the largest ever graduating class at Dexter High School but less for celebrating and more to provide some reassurance that the Dexter schools are doing everything reasonably possible to keep kids safe. He noted that during his superintending career he has had to send out 20 letters of reassurance to parents after school shootings around the country. Pediatricians and social workers in the group all voiced concerns about the mental health of kids who have all now grown up in an era of mass shootings at schools (and churches and hospitals and concerts and grocery stores).
And then it was stump time. This is our own little special feature where we invite candidates (who have primary opponents) who have found us to step up (3/4") and give us their stump speech. The speeches are not summarized here to avoid 'misunderstandings' and to give you all a reason to attend in person.
Today we heard from: Sue Shink (D) candidate for State Senate District 14 Karl Barr (NP) candidate for District Court 14-A Carrie Rheingans (D) candidate for State Representative District 47
We ended with a little discussion about gathering signatures on petitions to run for office. For some offices like school board and state rep you can just pay a filing fee of $100 and you don't have to gather any signatures. For City council the required number is 15 (as best we can remember) and for governor it has to be 15,000. To change or make a new state law the number is more like 350,000.
========================================================== Season 08, Episode 08, #175 May 21,2022
It was a dark and stormy morning ...... but you came anyway. It is only nine weeks until the primary election (closer than you think if you vote absentee) so we met some more candidates. We will start having stump speeches at the next meeting.
And they were Jason Woodford (R) candidate for State Representative in the 48th District which includes Webster Township and points north. Jason is a pastor and a proud marine.
And our third candidate for district court judge, Stuart Collis an attorney in private practice.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined us for the first time in person along with Carrie Rheingans, candidate in the 47th District, and Jason Maciejewski our current County commissioner who is also seeking re-election and for the first time in a while we didn't just dump the whole agenda on his back.
The Multigenerational Activity Millage, that is the official name of the ballot issue that we will see in August. It is a comprehensive attempt to meet the needs of a community that has no official recreation programs and no structural method of funding programs for seniors. There will be an informational session sponsored by the school district on June 7 at 7:00PM on Zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkd-GvrTkiEt0tLDdySC3C-L84Rl-A2sD6
It is an honor to have a sitting member of congress, candidate or not, amongst us so we gave Mrs. Dingell a chance to give us a Washington 'perspective' and it was obvious from the first couple of words that the weight of world hung heavy on her shoulders from Ukraine to Buffalo to Sturgis, Michigan, home of our biggest baby food manufacturer. These are personal, emotional moments not easily conveyed in these notes.
Just to lighten things up a bit we decided to help our judge candidates understand how people decide to vote for non-partisan candidates who we don't usually know very well. For this exercise we called on Forum regular Ben True solely because of his last name (and his general good humor). For him meeting the candidates in person at the Forum has been very useful. Beyond that he confessed to a certain randomness when it comes to judges and university regents. Cough, cough.
The next meeting of the Dexter Forum will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 8:30 AM at the Dexter Wellness Center. The Stump will be activated for folks with primary opponents.
*about Stump protocols* People find us. We make no attempt to go out and recruit candidates. We may not hear from every candidate for every office. We give the candidate five minutes to tell us why we should vote for them not why we should not vote for their opponent. We then allow five minutes for questions from the audience that are meant to help us understand the candidate better not to embarrass them with 'gotcha' questions.To unsubscribe from this list please go to https://www.simplelists.com/confirm/?u=pc7UuZ8YL3Jx6avRAXRbncFLbAuIB8lK
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