Category Archives: Community


Civil rights and immigrants in our community

Nichole Hatcher
Staff Writer

Michigan Department of Civil Rights celebrates 50 years. In 1964, Michigan was the first state to add civil rights to the state constitution. Deputy Director for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Leslee Fritz job is to help fight against discrimination and the laws that enforce them. Her department sees an average of 125 cases a year regarding same.
“Michigan is the only state in the United States that takes civil rights so serious,” stated Leslee Fritz, deputy director for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
Steve Tobocman, director of “Global Detroit,” talked about the economic impact of immigration on our society.
“Immigration just means that you were born from another country. It doesn’t mean that you are illegal or that you don’t belong in the United States,” said Tobocman.
According to Tobocman, 28 percent of all small businesses were started by immigrants.
“Some of our biggest brand names in the United States were started from immigrants: Ebay, Levis, Budweiser, Google, Meijer and many more. This is why “Global Detroit” wants to make Detroit a welcoming mat for immigrants, so they can draw in more jobs and a get our economy booming.” Tobocman said before asking the questions, “Are immigrants’ job makers? Or job takers?”
The four panelists consisted of Port Huron’s mayor Pauline Repp, SC4 professor Michael Bellman, port director of U.S. Custom and Border Protection Dave Dusellier, and the president of the “Community Foundation of St. Clair,” Randy Maiers. The Panel discussion moderator was Daniel B. Casey from the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.
Casey asked the panelists what the impact immigration has on our community.
Repp replied, “There are many benefits of having immigrants and one of them is that they tend to have higher education.” Repp believes that one of our biggest concerns is the language barrier.
Dusellier said their primary mission is to, “Protect our community by not allowing the bad people over.” Border Protection is trying to make it easier for the good to come over by working with people and companies.
Maiers believes that it is us as a community that is making it hard for the immigrants to want to be here. He stated, “We are a closed community. We need to work on our interactions with others and make people want to come back to our community.”
“We need more diversity in the school” said Belleman. He also believes the greater the diversity, the more students will learn.
According to Belleman, the school should have better understanding on what the businesses want, so the teachers can prepare the students for life after college.

Port Huron’s Grammys: the “BWammys”

The second coming of the Blue Water Music Awards


Erick Fredendall

   Last year Port Huron hosted the first Blue Water Music Awards (BWMA) in an evening filled with music, tuxedos, and a drunken clown.

   Now BWMA is back, and takes place Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post #8.

    The black-tie event is structured as a traditional award show with various awards presented and local performers playing throughout the night.

   Organizer David Whitt created the event in 2013 to celebrate what he calls the city’s greatest commodity- the musicians.

   According to Whitt, candidates for the awards are proposed by the BWMA Academy, a group of local music producers, promoters, musicians, artists, and hardcore fans.

   After being nominated by the Academy, the nominees are placed into sixteen different categories.

   The categories include Best Venue, Best Female Artist, Best Original Performance, Best Cover Performance, Roadie Award, Paul Thompson Award, Not Rock, WTF Award, Rookie of the Year, Best Export/Import, Album of the Year, and the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

   Three new categories are being added to this year’s BWMA: Producer of the Year, Best DJ/Electronic Performer, and Best Hip Hop Performer.

   After nominations, the Academy turns over the nominated talent to the public, who cast their votes on the BWMA’s website,

   Public voting ends Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

   The night will also feature acts by Charlie James & the Silver Devils, Rhinos & Winos, Fifth Avenue, Yeddie in the Woods, Dick Hickey, Manifest the Machine, and Cool Kids Communication.

   There is no cover charge for this event, although formal attire is expected.

   American Legion Post #8 is located on 1026 6th St. near downtown Port Huron.

College Christians stand for Christ

Local house church for college teens and young adults

Gregory Garofalo
Managing Editor

In a world that is progressively becoming more politically correct and that, according to Washington Post, one third of Americans under thirty hold no religious affiliation; it can be intimidating for a young college student to hold a faith in Christ in this slightly secular society.
Lately however, a group has formed together with the goal to give encouragement and empowerment to college Christians. The aptly named “Tuesday Group” meets every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at 4225 Janice Court Rd. The group is open to anyone who wishes to attend, be it a believer or someone whose curiosity is peaked about who this Jesus really is.
“Tuesday Group” goes beyond superficial religion by putting faith into action through prayer, worship, and learning how to apply scripture to everyday life.
“It’s amazing to see what God is doing with this group” said Josh Sabo, leader of the group and worship leader at Colonial Woods Missionary Church. “God has picked us up from the shallow end, thrown us into the deep and we’re still swimming. We’ve seen God really working in people’s lives, the power of faith and miracles are literally working right before us and it just keeps getting better.”
The group offers refuge to college Christians by giving them encouragement to grow and discover their faith, while learning how to inspire others by applying this belief to their lives through fellowship and community.
“If I wasn’t in a community of believers it could feel very discouraging living a Christian life on my own, but I’m not” said Andrew Ferriel, freshman at SC4. “I follow Christ, because it’s the only thing that sustains me, that gives me clarity and truth. It’s nice to share that with others of my age and genre of mindset.”
This remnant of young believers meets in the basement of James and Chelsea Branch. The couple puts up with filling their basement with roughly twenty to thirty people every week, all in the name spreading God’s word to the young adults of Port Huron.
“I feel it’s really important for people to know that this is going on and for college Christians to know they’re not alone” said Kirsten Hill, sophomore student at SC4. “Being a young Christian, it can feel like you’re very much alone at times. That’s one of the points of the group though; you don’t have to feel alone.”
For any questions about the Tuesday Group, check out the “20 Somethings College Group” Facebook page, or contact Josh Sabo at

Pot full of bills

WeedSmokinMichigan and marijuana: where we stand
Angie Stoecklin

Copy Editor

As a small number of states are making the decision to legalize and/or decriminalize marijuana, it may lead Michigan residents to wonder where their state stands.
There are four bills related to the use of medical marijuana that are either on the table or pending review through the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate.
Only one out of four proposed bills have become law, but it still requires the federal government to change the classification of marijuana in order to go into effect.

Here’s how it works:

Senate Bill 660 allows pharmacies to sell pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to patients with debilitating medical conditions. However, this law only goes into effect if the federal government reclassifies marijuana from an illegal drug to a prescription drug.
“Because the federal government has yet to reclassify marijuana, we will not see an impact anytime soon,” said state representative Jeff Irwin, who seems to have high hopes about marijuana’s future.
Irwin is a state representative of District 53, which includes Ann Arbor. He is responsible for introducing House Bill 4623, a legislation that would reduce minor marijuana possession to a civil infraction in the state of Michigan.
Under this proposed bill, a person caught with an ounce or less of marijuana which they illegally obtained will no longer be immediately subject to jail time, substantial fines, or probation.
Instead, on a person’s first offense, the punishment is a $25 fine, on the second offense, the fine is no more than $50, and on the third offense, it is no more than $100.

Why this matters:

According to the FBI/ Uniform Crime Reporting Program Data report, Michigan spent $94,838,792 enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010.
The amount has only grown in recent years. The almost $95 million expense includes court costs, and probation costs; which, if House Bill 4623 is adopted, would nearly disappear. “(If passed,) the state would immediately save millions of dollars each year,” Irwin said.
According to Irwin’s proposal, decriminalization is not a new concept. Seventeen states have already decriminalized possession of marijuana, and eight others are considering legislation to do the same.
Since House Bill 4623 has only been proposed and not yet voted on, it’s unclear whether or not Michigan will join the 17 states.
St. Clair and Sanilac counties representative, Paul Muxlow, is unsure whether House Bill 4623 will lead to decriminalization: “I cannot say for certain if Michigan will decriminalize marijuana in the near future, however, I do not think the votes are currently in the legislature for such an action to occur.”
Despite the decriminalization bill standing at the gate of proposal, the House has just passed two other bills related to marijuana. One of those bills, 4271, allows provisioning centers (dispensaries) to operate under the Medical Marihuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act.

How this changes things:

According to the current Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a person holding their medical marijuana card has to go through their own registered caregiver in order to get their medicine.
To be a caregiver, a person must be over 21 years of age and hold a valid registration card allowing them to grow marijuana for registered patients. With provisioning centers back in operation, a person can obtain their medicine by going into any dispensary and purchasing it.
The bill also states that the existence of a provisioning center is controlled by the local communities that they are in and cannot be within a thousand foot radius of a school or church.
The Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4271 in mid-December. It now joins another bill that is also waiting to be reviewed by the Senate.
House Bill 5104 restores the rights of patients to use other products such as topical ointments and edibles. If this bill passes through the Senate, medical marijuana patients will be able to consume the substance in other forms as long as they are pertinent to the patient’s condition.
These marijuana infused products can be obtained through a person’s primary caregiver or through the provisioning centers, if 4271 passes through the Senate.

What all of this means for marijuana legalization:

Although there is no specific law or bill indicating that marijuana will be sold recreationally in Michigan, Rep. Irwin believes that it should be legal and regulated like alcohol.
According to Rep. Irwin, he isn’t the only one with that belief.
“The idea is gathering a lot of momentum, and we are starting to see opinions coming together from both sides of the political spectrum.”
Whether or not the current bills making their way through the process of approval or disapproval will pass remains to be seen, but if they do pass, their success may determine whether or not a bill approving marijuana for recreational use is on the horizon.

Contact Angie at

One last show

pollock at lynchsSC4 president putting down the guitar after one last fundraiser
Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor

The SC4 Foundation and Lynch’s Irish Tavern is hosting “The sounds of SC4 President Dr. Kevin A Pollock” Thursday, Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There will be no entry charge, though donations are encouraged.
After two successful performances, the college president is playing one last show, this time to raise money for SC4’s athletics.
According to Pollock, he was hesitant to agree to do the performances.
“I thought some people would say it’s not becoming of SC4’s president to be sitting at a bar playing music,” said Pollock. “Somebody asked me if I would do it and I said okay, one time. Now it’s three times, and that’s enough.”
SC4’s Director of College Advancement and Alumni Relations David Goetze has worked collecting donations at Pollock’s previous performances.
“Dr. Pollock has been wonderful, I don’t know of any other college president that raises money like he does,” said Goetze. “He’ll do whatever it takes to make things happen for our students.”
SC4 student Sarah Donaldson appreciates the personal time he takes to raise money for SC4 and the students.
“I think that he’s setting a really good example for the students and faculty,” said Donaldson. “I’d love to go if I didn’t have a prior commitment.”
Pollock’s first performance in Feb. 2013 raised $5,270 for the Nasr Natural Science Museum, now located in the Clara E. Mackenzie building on SC4’s Port Huron campus. The second performance in Oct. 2013 raised $3,278 for SC4’s Friends of the Arts.
“Between the other two we’ve raised about $8,500,” said Pollock. “If we raised $1,500 at this next one, that’s $10,000. For a fundraiser that doesn’t cost us anything, you have to consider that a success.”
A raffle for four tickets to a Detroit Tigers baseball game for Saturday, May 10 will be held during the performance.
SC4 women’s basketball players Nece Garrison and Aja Williams think the proceeds will greatly help.
According to Garrison, some team members are playing without the assistance of a scholarship.
Williams is hoping for updated equipment.
“Our team is ranked pretty high, but we don’t have a lot of gear to show that we’re from SC4,” said Williams.
Pollock thinks this may draw out a different crowd than past performances; community members who love sports.
“We have people that want to make donations to our student athletes; this gives them a chance to come out to one spot to show their support,” said Pollock.
Reservations are encouraged and can be made at Lynch’s Irish Tavern.

Pet of the issue – Princess

Angie Stoecklin
Copy Editor

Princess is a one-year-old Siamese mix. She was brought into the humane society with a litter of six kittens, who have since all been weaned and are awaiting adoption.
Princess is the kind of cat who keeps to herself, rarely seeking out attention, but will not protest if one wishes to pick her up or pet her. She is described by the employees at the humane society as a quiet, good cat.
Princess is now spayed and up to date on all her shots. Her adoption fee is $100.
For more information about Princess or other animals up for adoption, contact the Blue Water Humane Society at 810-987-4357.

Contact Angie at

Frozen fun hits downtown

Photo by Greg Garofalo
Photo by Greg Garofalo
Chilly Fest 2014
Gregory Garofalo
Managing Editor

Despite the bitter cold, residents of Port Huron banded together to celebrate the annual Chilly Fest. No, the spirit of festivities could not be defeated as participants enjoyed a weekend of ice sculpting, live music and shows, and of course chili.
“We offer a very low cost event to the community, and give a low cost event to everyone” Said Amanda Dickenson, co-coordinator of the event. “It’s a fun way to break up the winter months and give people a chance to get out and enjoy our beautiful community.”
Due to the beyond freezing temperatures and wind speeds, Friday’s events were moved into Mcmorran’s theater. Despite nature’s obstacle, morale was at an all-time high.
The event started off on Friday night with live musical performances of Port Huron’s own Cliff Erickson, who won yet another Port Huron audience over with his guitar covers, some of which included: “Toes in the Water,” and “Mrs. Robinson.”
“I love this city, I was born and raised here” said Erickson. “There’s amazing work being done behind the scenes here (at Chilly fest.) It’s a tough deal to put together something where people want to go to.” Erickson wasn’t the only local celebrity to enjoy the festivities; Mayor Pauline Repp was also in attendance.
“I think that they’re doing a great job, especially with the weather the way it is. It’s nice that they improvised and brought it inside for the concerts tonight with it being so windy… the whole thing should be very good” said Repp.
The night progressed with crowds warming up at the liquor bars and Starbucks stands, and ended with a live show of Metalhead’s tribute to KISS, face paint and all.
Saturday paid host to a slew of events going on downtown, some of which included: Face painting, downhill mattress racing, an ice museum, more live music, an ice bar, and of course the chili. The highlights of Saturday included Mark Rosenthal’s Animal Magic, and The Detroit Flyhouse Circus.
Mark Rosenthal put on an animal show and displayed several exotic animals to the audience, which included: An African Serval, The Giant Porcupine, a woodchuck, and the world’s largest sloth. After his show was finished, Rosenthal prompted his audience to buy his book, of which the proceeds go to his exotic animal rescue organization.
Spectators continued to enjoy themselves as the afternoon and evening progressed. All around downtown, families viewed ice sculptures and gathered around fire bins placed throughout town, roasting marshmallows while fighting off the bitter cold.
The Detroit Flyhouse Circus made an appearance, wowing crowds with dangerous acrobatics, treacherous sword juggling, strapping strong men and freaky fire eating. The crowds “oohed” and “ahhed” and some even gasped as they’re eyes were glued to the performers throughout the entire show.
The event was an apparent success as hundreds of local residents came out and risked the cold to show everyone that one does not need a sunny day on the beach to have fun.

Pet of the Issue – Wolverine

Gorgeous eyes on a gorgeous cat. Photo credit: Angie Stoecklin

   Say hello to Wolverine. He is a 4 year old all white male who is most likely a Main Coon mix since he is a rather large feline. A very vocal and people-friendly creature, Wolverine arrived at the humane society for no other reason than that he did not get along with the other cats his previous owners had.

He would do best as the only cat in the household, unless his new owner was to adopt his sister Sassy, another white cat who arrived with him. Both cats are spayed and neutered. Continue reading Pet of the Issue – Wolverine

Faster education

‘Blue Water Middle College: An Overview’


College proves time and time again to be one of the most difficult tasks a person can undertake, both in time and economics (as many wallets, empty bank accounts, and loan statements around SC4 will show).

Considering everyone must already dedicate 12 years of their life in order to hold a free bare minimum education, the thought of paying thousands to hundreds of thousands to attend a post-school for several years after being violently thrown out into the ‘real’ world is migraine inducing. Continue reading Faster education

Bringing Art to the People

December Art Hop brings artists and locals to downtown businesses


The Blue Water Young Professionals, along with 25 local artists and 20 downtown businesses teamed up for 2013’s last Art Hop on Dec. 7.

Art Hop
Rose Norton sits at her photography display in Elite Feet. Photo by Emily Mainguy.

Art Hop is an event that has been happening since 2012 according to the events website, It is an event that occurs monthly in which local area artists set up artwork in a downtown business for visitors to stroll around and see what Port Huron offers. Continue reading Bringing Art to the People