Category Archives: Community


Please sir can I have some more?

The 11th annual Empty Bowl event

Gregory Garofalo
Managing Editor

Food: a filling reason that gathers up all age groups to ban together for a cause. On Thurs. March 27, the young and old banded together at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church to enjoy a bread bowl of soup and support Mid-City Nutrition’s fight against hunger.
The 11th annual Empty Bread Bowls charity event brought the Port Huron community together with food, fun, and a goal to raise $22,000 for Mid-City Nutrition.
The Empty Bowl event auctions off ceramic bowls donated by private artisans and potters, while offering up a free meal and a raffle.
“It’s always a wonderful event that they put on here because they draw such a great crowd and it’s such a great cause,” said SC4 Board of Trustee’s member John Adair.
Run by event chairperson Denise Dencklau, a total of 65 volunteers were there to work the event, including pianist Johnny Needham, a musician with a love for the golden classics of Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.
200 pounds of clay were donated by Rovin Ceramics which created the 525 bowls that were donated to support the event by 45 different potters, including SC4 art students.
The amount raised was not disclosed, but the turnout was wave after wave of excited participants.
“It’s great to see the community come together,” Adair said.

Pet of the issue

Contessa and Conchita

Angie Stoecklin
Copy Editor

Meet the sister’s Contessa and Conchita. These two Chihuahua and Jack Russel mixes are eight years old, and have been together their whole lives. For that reason, BWHS volunteer Bonnie Carpenter insists that they go to the same home.
Neither dog is very vocal. According to Carpenter, they hardly ever bark and they tend to keep to their own business; except for when they are snuggling with their humans.
Although both are generally quiet, they would not do well in a home with kids. Carpenter says the ideal home for them would be with an older couple, or a single man or woman with no children.
Because of their age, Contessa and Conchita are a part of BWHS’s “Senior to Senior” program. This means that if the adopter is 60 years or older, the sisters are free. If the adopter doesn’t meet the age requirement for the program, the fee is $50 for both dogs.
If anyone is interested in adopting these two, or any pet featured in the ESG, an anonymous donor has volunteered to help cover the adoption cost. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of this offer should contact the Erie Square Gazette via the writers e-mail below.
For more information on Contessa and Conchita, contact the Blue Water Area Humane Society at 810-987-4357.

Contact Angie at

Pet of the issue – Gizmo

Angie Stoecklin
Copy Editor

He’s not a gremlin, but he is fluffy.
Gizmo is a male domestic longhair. Before being brought into the humane society, Gizmo was an outside cat. He would frequently wander into a nearby home, dashing in as the door opened. Although the family was taken by his friendly intrusion, one of the family members is allergic to cats, so they took him into the humane society.
Gizmo is estimated to be about 6 months old. He has been neutered, and his adoption fee is $100.
If anyone is interested in adopting Gizmo, or any pet featured in the ESG, an anonymous donor has offered to help with adoption costs. This donor is not affiliated with the humane society, so those interested should contact the ESG or the writer via the e-mail below.
For more information on Gizmo or other pets up for adoption at the Blue Water Area Humane Society, feel free to contact them at 810-987-4357, or visit their location at 6266 Lapeer rd., Port Huron.

Contact Angie at

Not all mustaches are created equal, but all mustaches can help others

‘Stache Bash 2014, biggest one yet

Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Staff Writer

Photo credit, Liz Whittemore

From the simplest lip fur to the twirled mustache, it was quite evident that the 4th annual ‘Stache Bash had arrived in Port Huron on Saturday March, 22.
The Blue Water Social Club (BWSC) hosted event began at Kate’s Downtown where folks could meet the 2014 ‘Stache contestants.
Within the walls of Kate’s, music by the band Two O’ Clock High leaked in from Port Huron Family Chiropractic, which had opened its doors in order to connect both businesses together.
In addition to selling merchandise, a few ‘Stache contestants sold raffle tickets that would give people a chance to win prizes donated by local shops all around Port Huron.
Twin Shutterbug Studio also took part in the Bash; offering $2 Photo Booth pictures for everyone, and free pictures for the contestants. Twin Shutterbug Studio also contributed a $200 gift card for the raffle.
Photo credit, Liz WhittemoreRyan McInnis, founder of the BWSC and ‘Stache Bash, stated that “’Stache Bash was our answer to the ‘Bras for Cancer’ that Studio 1219 had put on. They had firefighters modeling bras, and it was for a good cause. So I thought what if there was something like that, but a little more manly?” Thus, ‘Stache Bash was born in Studio 1219, until it moved to the “block party” style in 2013.
McInnis additionally said the Bash may be held at McMorran next year, but could not confirm it.
By 9 p.m., Lynch’s Irish Tavern had become packed with people waiting to see which mustaches would be “Saved or Shaved.”
Over a dozen mustached men sat on the stage, but only one mustache could be king. Chris Wiegand and his mustache “Old Blue” received the highest bid of $400.25, bid by his wife.
“She threatened to shave it off while I was sleeping,” he said onstage while “Sandman” by Metallica played in the background.
“I invited my family and friends to this and a lot of them are firefighters. Besides having fun, it goes to a good cause,” Wiegand said after having “Old Blue” shaved off by his wife and family.

Photo credit, Liz Whittemore
Photo credit, Liz Whittemore

The total amount of money raised from just the auctioning of the mustaches was $2,074. All of the money goes to The Thin Blue Line of Michigan, a charity for first responders and their families. As one person said, “This is all for a good cause, charity. I can’t think of a better reason than that.”

The Gathering

A contemporary change in the path of God

Brendan Buffa
Sports Editor

Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m., Grace’s Youth Center in the Horizon Outlet burst out in praise, as a contemporary group of young adults join one another to attend Port Huron’s newest worship community, The Gathering.
Originally established at Oakland Church in Oakland Township, co-founders Gabe Bahlhorn and Dominic J. Russo are, according to their website,, “determined to see the up and coming generation develop a passion for their creator that is undeniable.”
The Gathering had a large opening day, where over 80 people attended the first worship on Feb 25, 2014.
“We had a bigger turnout than we expected,” said Andre Gonzalez, a leader at The Gathering, “It’s really great out here, and the hearts are pure and ready for change.”
The actual worship starts at 8 p.m., but arriving early holds a treat, as The Gathering serves a dinner for attendees.
“If you’re a broke college student, get your butt down here and enjoy some free food, an awesome band and some new friends,” says Kristi Duty, a Port Huron native who has been involved with The Gathering for over 2 years.
Duty, attracted to the community after struggling through several trials and tribulations in her life, speaks of what The Gathering has done for her.
“I grew up in a rough home,” says Duty, “I always read my Bible and knew about God, I can feel him in my heart and he keeps me protected.”
“God is there, and he always wants you, even when you’re a mess. He seeks you out and loves you in your darkest moment,” Duty said.
Duty was just accepted to Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, MI to further her studies and commitment to Christ.
Sean Hurley, a band member of the worship group, says “this is exactly what I needed.”
“I’ve been leading worship for around 4 years,” said Hurley, “God is really using us in a huge way.”
If you are interested in following The Gathering, you can find their Tuesday worship at Grace’s Youth Center, located at 1661 Range Road Suite B160 in Kimball.
On Thursdays, The Gathering is at Oakland Church at 8:30pm. Oakland Church is located at 5100 North Adams Road in Oakland Township.

What’cha gonna do when Animal Mania runs all over you?

4H turns animals loose at McMorran

Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Staff Writer

The odor of a farm hung heavily in the air at the McMorran Place pavilion during the 8th annual 4H-hosted Animal Mania. The event took place last Saturday, March 15, from noon to 4 p.m.
Animal Mania brought in 1,800 people last year. This year broke that record, reeling in about 2,664 adults and children.
Lori Warchuck, coordinator for the event said, “Animal Mania was modeled after MSU’s ‘Vet-a-Visit.’ We’ve never had a bad year with Animal Mania. Each year has been good.”
Besides being a giant petting zoo for the children, Animal Mania is meant to educate, demonstrate, and show off careers that work closely with animals.
The Department of Natural Resources had a shooting simulation set up to teach kids the proper way to hold and shoot a rifle or shotgun, depending on the child’s choice. Alongside that, flyers were also handed out to promote a hunter education class.
The Sheriff’s office also brought an Animal Control truck filled with adoptable cats and dogs alongside a K9 unit. Deputy officer Mike Pink answered questions for everyone that asked what the K9 unit does alongside his German Shepard partner, Fist.
Kristy Hardy, a member of 4H, brought in her sheep to showcase how much and how different wool can be.
“It’s always good to see children learn about animals and how to respect them.” Hardy said. Hardy has been lending a helping hand with Animal Mania for the last 7 years.
Lisa Ponke, owner of Day Dreams Farm in New Haven, said that she gained many new volunteers at this event, but no adopters for any horses. When asked what her farm does for the horses, she referred to a business card that stated: “Dedicated to saving abused or neglected horses and promoting responsible ownership.”
“The two horses we have here, Bailey and Cheeroke, are going to be in our new program for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So really this event isn’t just for the kids, it expands out to the adults too,” Ponke said.

Guinness on wheels: part deux

Port Huron gets painted green, with vomit

Kristopher Reynolds
Staff Writer

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of the day that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of the Emerald Isle. In Port Huron, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in a much different fashion, involving a parade, buses full of drunkards, and enough Guinness to drown even the reddest of Irishmen.
March 15 marked the day of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, followed by a legion of party buses hauling around a cargo of inebriants and their consumers.
The parade, led by the Strathroy Legion Pipe Band, began at noon and started in Pine Grove Park gallivanting throughout downtown Port Huron, and ended in front of Port Huron’s fire trucks.
The sponsors of the parade were the Irish-American Club and the March of Dimes; both sponsors are of St. Clair County.
After the parade, Pub Crawl buses picked up their aforementioned booze-craving Irishmen and faux-Irishmen (after all, everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s).
The buses cycled through the various participating establishments from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Roughly 20 restaurants and bars marked themselves as official pub crawl stops, including Lynch’s Irish Tavern, Fuel Woodfire Grill, Palms Krystal Bar, and Seekers.
Bars were packed shoulder to shoulder, and the sidewalks weren’t much better.
Feelings on the overall atmosphere of the revelry were met with mixed reviews.
An officer of the Port Huron Police Department who asked to remain anonymous stated, “This is a terrible day to be a cop. I mean Jesus Christ, you see what a shitstorm this day is. Every officer on duty today, which is damn near all of them, is literally running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We don’t have the manpower to handle this amount of chaos, even with officers on every corner.”
Mike Vogt, 21, of Richmond on the other hand said, “I love pub crawl, I’m [expletive omitted] wasted bro! I’m going to Ireland, you just wait, (dialogue here was cut off due to the fact that Vogt was immediately removed from Tailgator’s by security for throwing a beer into the air).”
William McConnachie, 25, of St. Clair said, “I don’t really care about the holiday. I’m Scottish. But it’s a good excuse to get hammered.”
As they say in old Irish, Sláinte.

Staff writer Nicole Hatcher contributed to this story.

Empty bowls; not empty hearts

Port Huron residents step up to end hunger through the empty bowl event

Lily Petit
Staff Writer

SC4 student Shelby Castillo, 21, forms a bowl at Studio 1219 that she plans to donate to the Empty Bowl Event. Photo credit: Lily Petit
SC4 student Shelby Castillo, 21, forms a bowl at Studio 1219 that she plans to donate to the Empty Bowl Event. Photo credit: Lily Petit

Come to benefit our local soup kitchen. Stay for the entertainment and leave with a one-of-a-kind bowl made by a local potter.
The Empty Bowl event takes place on Thursday, March 27 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. It will be held in the school gym of St. Stephen’s Church located at 325 32nd street, Port Huron. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
The event is a benefit for Port Huron’s local soup kitchen, Mid-City Nutrition. The evening includes entertainment by pianist and singer, Johnny Needham. During this time there will also be a silent auction which will take place from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m.
This event is not only a fundraiser, it also helps to raise awareness of hunger in our community and worldwide. Therefore, a simple meal consisting of soup and bread will be served.
Lastly, every person will leave with a hand crafted bowl made by a local potter. One such potter, Shelby Castillo, donated her bowls last year and will be doing so again this year. She says that the event is a good way for getting artists’ name out there while helping out with a good cause.
You can purchase tickets at Weekends, Proper Framing, and Mid-City Nutrition. Or you can contact Donna Baker at 810-334-6221.
For more information on this event, contact Denise Dencklau at 810-385-3508. If you would like to donate an item for auction, contact Caroline Corby at 810-966-3536.

Food, friends, and art.

SC4 Spiral Gallery features Mike Henry for the month of March

Hannah Hunter
Staff Writer

Close friends, wine, and art. What better way to spend a Friday night?
Every month an SC4 instructor is selected to have his or her art displayed in the Spiral Gallery at Studio 1219.
This month, the Spiral Gallery featured artist is SC4 alumni Mike Henry. His show “Conversations with Light,” includes work representing the blue water area.
Henry could be found mingling among reception guests answering questions and engaging in conversation with close friends.
“I love painting light, so the theme that runs throughout the show is light,” said Henry.
According to Henry, this is his first show at Studio 1219, but in 2011 he had three other galleries at SC4. Among those three galleries were a total of 45 paintings.
Henry began his painting endeavor in 2004. While attending high school Henry took 4 consecutive years of art and thoroughly enjoyed it, but did not continue to pursue it in college.
He started a business degree but found that he was unable to sit still in class. This led him to rediscover his love of art and his talent for watercolor painting.
“It’s fantastic. Mike is a friend of mine so we go to all the shows,” said Dave Hastings from Fort Gratiot.
Studio 1219 is located on Military Street and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Lucky times for Tripod

A cat with three legs

Angie Stoecklin
Copy Editor

At first glance, he may seem like your everyday ordinary black cat, but take a closer look, and you’ll see that this normal cat is anything but.
He is known around the Blue Water Area Humane Society (BWHS) by three names, Lucky, Mr. Mom, and more commonly, Tripod.
Tripod was brought into the humane society in 2010 when he was a kitten by a couple and their three young children. They had found him with his bone sticking out of his back right leg. Unsure as to what happened to him, the volunteers then took Tripod to a veterinarian who regularly works with the humane society.
After Tripod was healed, the family who had found him asked to adopt the young feline. The staff at BWHS weren’t sure how he would deal with the healing process around three young kids, so they declined the adoption request.
“We kept him and come to find out he was obsessive compulsive, he would lick his fur until he was bald in spots,” Said Carl Erickson, a regular volunteer at BWHS.
According to, frustration and anxiety due to losing a leg can make the cat feel unsettled, and may lead to distressed and altered behavior.
This most likely explains Tripod’s obsessive licking habits.
To try and distract Tripod from his compulsive behavior, the volunteer’s placed him in a free range cat room that held a number of kittens.
“The Kitten’s just gravitate to him like he’s made out of Velcro, he washes and grooms them and no matter what room we put him in the other cats just love him,” Erickson said.
Tripod’s nurturing and loving attitude towards kittens is what gave him the nickname Mr. Mom. When his Mr. Mom personality began to take notice, Erickson and the other volunteers decided that it would be best for him to stay there as a shelter cat.
Erickson said that Tripod has no trouble getting around and climbing on the cat towers, and that his attitude is accepting, “He just acts like ‘I have three legs and that’s what I’ve got’ and he gets along fine with it.”