Category Archives: Community


Erogenous, Electric, and Erotic: A phantasmagoria of fish nets

Photo credit: David P. Kalaf
Photo credit: David P. Kalaf

Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

Energetic, electric, and erogenous. The Rocky Horror Show takes over the McMorran Place again, with fishnets and corsets.
The midnight performance became a night to remember with new cast members held their own on stage even as the audience continued yelling.
Not only did the cast entertain, but once again, a crowd of fantastically dressed in Halloween costumes, character costumes and a little lingerie flooded the auditorium enthusiastically.
This is the fourth year I’ve experienced Rocky Horror and I am blown away by the cast and crew for putting on such a fun show.

Angie Stoecklin

The famous audience participation wonder of a profanity-encouraging show returned to McMorran for the sixth year in a row. And I must say it was an absolute joy.
I attended the first Rocky Horror Live show at McMorran in 2009. At the time I knew almost everyone in the play and I also knew that they had extensive theatre backgrounds. Because I did not know what the actors’ talent looked like this year, I was a little skeptical at first about spending $20 on a ticket with my standards set so high. But I must say that I was not disappointed.
The actor’s held their own, even when the audience got exceptionally loud and extra vocal. Yes I know, that’s the point of Rocky, but in comparison to the other year I attended, it seemed like the audience was a bit too comfortable with yelling things. Every second of the show.
I will say that it seemed like the actors were more focused on not breaking character than they were on their singing. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the singing was awful, I just felt that there should have been a bit more time spent on the musical numbers and their perfection. It is a musical after all.
Overall, this year’s Rocky Horror show was well acted, fully embraced by the audience both with outfits and participation, and full of laughter, curse words, and corsets.
Just how Rocky should be.

Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor

Long legs, fish nets, and lingerie playfully scampered about the inside of McMorran as I walked in to find my seat. Dressed head to toe in hippie garb made me stick out like a sore thumb, but as a Rocky Horror “virgin,” I didn’t really know how I was supposed to look.
Everything seemed pretty off-the-wall, but my fellow Erie Square Gazette crewmen reminded me that Rocky Horror wasn’t made for the faint of heart.
The first thing they did before the show started was call all the “virgins” up to the stage. I was nervous at first, thinking I would be one of maybe a dozen on stage. Surprise came to me when almost the whole stage was filled with “virgins.” That made me feel better about this being my first show.
I learned how to yell “slut” and “asshole” at Brad and Janet. I tossed insults at the actors, and told the narrator to shut his hole.
When “Time Warp” started playing, I grew nervous at the thought of getting up and dancing at a show I knew nothing about. Then I remembered that everyone is in stockings and has makeup on, so I pulled my knees in tight, and became insane off the pelvic thrust.
Once you stop caring that anyone is watching, it makes the show that much more enjoyable. And while I didn’t understand the entire story due to hecklers, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Rocky Horror is an over-the-top play that works with the dirty mind of every adult, and gives you plenty of chances to have fun no matter what your preference is. I paid $20 for a seat, and I would have no problem buying up the $30 front row seats in the future.

A greater step to a bigger mission

Photo Credit: Nancy Licata
Photo Credit: Nancy Licata

Richard Bernstien runs for Justice in the Supreme Court
Angie Stoecklin

When first meeting someone, how do we judge them? Usually for most people, it’s a visual judgment, whether negative or positive. Richard Bernstein, Democratic candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court Justice, never had that option. Born with Congenital Cataracts and Retinitis Pigmentosa, Bernstein faces life looking through a different perspective.
“When a blind person goes through life, not knowing what the sky or the ocean looks like, we learn to live in a different kind of world,” Bernstein said.
The different kind of world Bernstein speaks of, as he puts it, is purely spiritual. Being blind, Bernstein says he appreciates things in a spiritual framework.
“I appreciate the world in a context limited to darkness, so I see everything in a spiritual essence.”
He doesn’t see his blindness as a disability though, being unable to see, he is unable to use vision as a basis for judgment. According to him, the visual component is what causes the greatest degree of prejudice.
“That’s the beauty of being blind, you tend to know people for who they are and what they are, on a more spiritual level,” Bernstein said.
While Bernstein doesn’t see his blindness as a fallback in his life, he acknowledges that he had to face many challenges that most people do not. One of the biggest challenges he faced was law school.
Law school students are expected to sit through hours of lectures, and take home 15-page fact patterns (facts of a situation, and/or summary of events). Student’s with the gift of sight would simply read through them and take notes. Since Bernstein did not have that option, he went about retaining such information in a different way.
“I would internalize everything my professors said. I would have the fact pattern read to me ten or 15 times until I had that memorized and internalized completely,” Bernstein explained.
His method, while effective, took him four times longer than it would for someone else to study the same fact pattern. Although law school was an “immense struggle” as he put it, Bernstein said that his faith in God gave him the strength to get through it.
“I prayed every day to God. I promised him that if he gave me the opportunity to get through school that I would dedicate my life to representing people with special needs who otherwise didn’t have access to the judicial system,” Bernstein said.
Since his start as an attorney, Bernstein set up his family law firm’s public service division, representing people who don’t have access to legal representation.
“I do it all for free, and I do it completely pro bono. I dedicated myself to making sure that people with special needs as well as our nation’s veterans have access to things that allow them to have a better life.” By “access to a better life” Bernstein gives examples such as public transportation, aviation, and education.
At the University of Michigan for example, he wanted people with disabilities to have access to the stadium. As a result, building codes were redefined not just at U of M, but on a national basis according to Bernstein.
In a case against US Aviation, Bernstein and his colleagues were able to provide access for people with disabilities a greater access to airports and airplanes.
These strides in representing people with disabilities are only a small fraction of what Bernstein has done for the disabled.
Bernstein believes that there is a greater purpose, and a greater mission in life in terms of why we are on this earth, and what we’re supposed to do with it.
“If you live your life with a greater sense of purpose and mission and you believe that you are part of something bigger than yourself, it allows for a fuller and greater life to exist,” Bernstein said.
When Bernstein is not fighting for the rights of the disabled, he is competing in marathons, 18 to be exact, as well as an Iron Man competition. He believes that athletics gives people strength and allows people the chance to overcome and face the difficulties of life.
Currently, Bernstein is running for Michigan’s Supreme Court Justice. If he obtains the position, Bernstein says he will still be able to do work for foundations, organizations, and non-governmental organizations. “As Justice I can still do the kind of work that I want to do to make a difference for people and have a positive effect on people.” While he won’t be an attorney for people, he will still be helping those in need, just from a different perspective. “I want to use the resources I was blessed with in order to enhance and make life better for other people.”
Bernstein has a lot to say about his purpose in life, and through his blindness, has lived his entire life through a perspective that most people don’t understand. He encourages people to enjoy their lives while they can, and to live it with the greatest degree of perspective.
Bernstein says, “You don’t realize what can happen each and every day. You don’t realize what can happen to you or the things that can occur, so live life to the fullest. Things can change in a matter of an instant, and they can change dramatically.”
The results of the Election will be posted after this issue of the ESG goes to print. So at this point it is unknown whether Bernstein will achieve his goal of becoming Justice. But if he does not, Bernstein says that he will not give up on helping those in need.

Halloween, booze, and charity

Photo credit: Angie Stoecklin
Photo credit: Angie Stoecklin

Zombie crawl makes its way through downtown Port Huron
Angie Stoecklin

Zombies invade Port Huron, again, and this time it’s for a good cause.
The 5th annual Zombie Crawl took place Saturday Oct. 18, drawing in an estimated 600 people. The event started at Casey’s Pizza and Subs, where participants brought canned foods in order to get their faces painted.
According to event creator Mike Higgins, the canned food drive is a new addition to Zombie Crawl. Zombies from all around Port Huron seemed to welcome the new charity with open arms.
“I think anything we can do to help people in need is a good thing. It’s a fun way to do it and it beats paying a cover charge for bars,” said Mike Carnaghi, 49, of Kimball Township.
Some Zombies did their own makeup, while others waited patiently at Casey’s to get their face painted by professional makeup artists.
Higgins, who came up with the idea of Zombie Crawl some 5 and a half years ago, said that he came up with the idea after a night of drinking. “I just thought you know what, zombies and drunk people are really similar, why not combine the two,” Higgins said.
Higgins, co-creator of Blue Water Social Club, said that Zombie Crawl is one of the three social events that the club does each year. The other two are the Stash Bash in March, and Paddle and Pour in late summer.
The Zombie Crawl started at Caseys, it then migrated to the Raven Coffee House, then to Fuel, and ended up at the Roach, where there were two DJ’s between the inside and outside areas.
Although there were a large number of participants, the event went off without a hitch without any quarrels. According to Higgins, the point of the event, being just to have fun in this Halloween season, seemed to be well communicated to all who attended Zombie Crawl.
“I just love the whole Halloween thing, always have. Meeting friends, going to have a few drinks and hanging out,” Carnaghi said.



Michigan candidates come to a head Tues, Nov. 4

Some general facts for voting in the general election
Lily Petit
Staff Writer

Yard signs, biting political commercials and phone polls are bringing the general election to the eyes and ears of Michigan residents.
The general election is less than two weeks away which means candidates are pushing harder than ever to win over the undecided voters.
Rick Snyder, republican, is up for re-election. Mark Schauer, former U.S. Representative, is the democratic candidate for Governor.
According to nonpartisan voter guides created by social and political activist Paul Loeb and his team,
Rick Snyder supports
• Increasing funding for higher education
• Increasing minimum wage
• Highly restricting abortions
Rick Snyder does not support
• Legalizing marijuana
• Legalizing gay marriage
Mark Schauer supports
• Increasing funding for higher education
• Increasing minimum wage
• Legalizing gay marriage
Mark Schauer does not support
• Highly restricting abortions
Mark Schauer is also open to the decriminalization of marijuana.
Mary Buzuma, Libertarian, Mark McFarlin, U.S. Taxpayers party, and Paul Homeniuk, Green Party, are also running for governor. To find more information on these candidates, Becky Lubbers, SC4 political science professor, suggests
The general election will also cover voting for the State Senate, Secretary of State, Attorney General, state proposals, county specific elections and more.
Gary Peters, democrat, is a U.S. Representative running for the State Senate. Peters is running against Terri Lynn Land, republican and former Michigan Secretary of State.
According to nonpartisan voter guides created by Paul Loeb, social and political activist, and his team,
Gary Peters supports
• Increasing minimum wage
• Legalizing gay marriage
Gary Peters does not support
• Highly restricting abortions
Terri Lynn Land supports
• Increasing minimum wage, but not to the proposed $10.10 per hour.
• Highly restricted abortions
Terri Lynn Land does not support
• Legalizing gay marriage
Candidates also running for State Senate include, Jim Fulner, Libertarian, Richard Matkin, U.S. Taxpayers and Chris Wahmhof, Green Party.
Delani Thibodeau, 19, president of the Marketing and Management club will be voting in the 2014 general election. Thibodeau thinks everyone should vote, “especially women since we haven’t always had the right. We are the future of this country. We need to be more proactive,” added Thibodeau.
Becky Lubbers, SC4 political science professor of 12 years, says students can have a significant impact in the polls. Lubbers encourages students to vote saying, “it is both your right and your responsibility. You pay taxes. You drive on the roads. You breathe the air and drink the water. In a world where more and more people are literally fighting, laying their lives on the line in the cause of freedom and democracy, you live in a country where it is your birthright.”
The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voter identification cards show your precinct and polling location.
If you do not have a card you can find the information at the Michigan Voter Information Center at
A valid form of ID is required to vote.

Blues and Folk music unite

Blues group and local band reel in crowd at SC4’s theatre
Angie Stoecklin

On the night of Oct. 4, the audience in SC4’s Fine Arts theatre exploded with applause when Coordinator of the Arts Celeste Skalnek announced that she was thrilled to have Madcat Midnight Blues performing SC4.
The event featured opening band Gasoline Gypsies, a local Folk band consisting of former SC4 students, and continued with Blues group, Madcat Midnight Blues Journey. The concert didn’t end until 45 minutes after it was supposed to, but that didn’t take away from the energy exhibited by either the bands’ or the audience members.
Sherry Shelany, 68, of Fort Gratiot, stated that the people of Port Huron need to realize the outstanding talent in town, as well as the talent that is brought into town to perform alongside local artists.
“The Gasoline Gypsies are an excellent, fabulous band and people need to hear them. But to have somebody of Peter Madcat Ruth’s stature come to town and be able to hear them and see the way they react with each other on stage is wonderful,” Shelany said.
Madcat Midnight Blues Journey is a four-piece Blues band; performing Blues pieces bordering on different genres from country to rock and roll. The band consists of lead singer and Harmonica player, Peter “Madcat” Ruth, guitar player and keyboardist, Drew “Captian Midnight” Howard, bass player Mark “Papa” Schrock, and percussionist Michael “Kid” Shimmin.
According to frontman Peter “Madcat” Ruth, when Skalnek contacted him and asked if he would like to perform at SC4, he didn’t hesitate to say yes, and he was not disappointed.
“I’m glad we could do it. It’s such a beautiful auditorium; the sound system is really good, and the people running the sound system are great at what they do,” Ruth said.
The band performed the previous night in Kalamazoo. But they made the drive for the opportunity to perform on the east side of the state, which, according the Ruth wasn’t the only change the band had been looking forward to.
“We’ve been playing outdoor concerts all summer long. And it’s been fun because there’s a whole different energy about outdoor concerts. But when you’re indoors and have that back wall and enclosed space, you play differently, the musician adjusts to the room and it’s such a nice theater that we were kind of being more subtle in a way, which was nice,” said Ruth.
Ruth stated that although each member of the band had to drive at least an hour on their way out of Port Huron, they appreciated the opportunity.
“We’re really glad to be here and share our music with the folks over here (Port Huron),” Ruth said.

NASA astronaut to speak in Fine Arts Theatre

SC4’s 2nd annual STEM conference
Angie Stoecklin

SC4’s 2nd annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Conference will feature Michigan native and NASA astronaut Dr. Feustel as keynote speaker and teacher of specific workshops.
STEM will kick off at 7p.m. on Friday Oct. 24 in SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre with Dr. Feustel talking of his experiences while working for NASA. The event will continue on Saturday Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon with interactive workshops including archaeology, astronomy, chemistry, robotics, and species and habitats.
Dr. Feustel, raised in lake Orion and a graduate of Oakland Community College, possesses a bachelor’s degree in solid earth sciences, and a master’s degree in geophysics from Purdue University. He also has a Ph.D. in geological studies which he acquired from Queens University.
He started out as a geophysicist at NASA, and was then selected as a mission specialist at NASA which gave him the opportunity to travel through space.
The STEM Conference is free for anyone wishing to attend. This includes K-12 students and their families.
Those who wish to attend the event must register online at More information on the STEM is available via that link as well.

Kick-off, beer’s big month

Photo credit: Therese Padgham
Photo credit: Therese Padgham

Wolverine’s market Oktoberfest festival returns
Therese Padgham
Guest Writer

Sept. 27, 2014 was a pitcher-perfect-day for the second craft beer Oktoberfest at Kiefer Park in Port Huron. Hundreds joined at the park on scenic St. Clair River to celebrate the beer tasting festival. A dozen Michigan brew houses presented both keg and bottled products from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oktoberfest included more than 60 national and international brands, ranging from traditional ale to exotic stout.
Port Huron’s Thumb Coast Brewing Co. served Lake Pilot Cream Ale, while Detroit’s Atwater Brewery served Vanilla Java Porter. Many local breweries including, Roho Red by Griffin Claw, offered color, taste, aroma and body.
Attractions included more than just beer; the crafters infused their hopped-up recipes with complexities from coffee, chocolate, fruit and spices.
Many local restaurants, including Fuel Wood Fire Grill presented themselves at the event, offering their signature specialties. Dave Peters of Mountain Babies performed their Freak Folk sound and their ambient vocals. But it was the ice-cold samples of that naturally fermented bitter brew with the frothy head that starred the event.
“Brew Bold, Pour Proud,” is the motto and practice of his team year-round.
In addition, Oktoberfest’s event sponsor Wolverine Market hosted the international wine and beer tasting events. Wolverine’s Certified Sommelier, Andy Bakko, shared: “Next year we will add wine and bring more music.” He went on to say, “this event was cosponsored by Citizens for a Vibrant Community – Art on the River.” CVC is a nonprofit group that uses proceeds to promote art and music.
Wolverine Market enjoys promoting their products at special events. Oktoberfest organizer Nate Bakko finds this year’s attendance a positive sign for future events. He has plans to promote in 2015 using radio. This year, the WSAQ/WBTI truck was on-site providing live broadcast to the community.
To ensure greater pre-sales, Bakko wants to advertise events to the west side of the state and Canada. “The north-end of Port Huron enjoys the Canadian customers,” said Bakko. “We want those customers to discover what downtown has to offer.”
Wolverine Market has extensive wine and beer selections with locations in Port Huron and Marysville.

Still Running; still got it

Photo Credit: Lily Petit
Photo Credit: Lily Petit

Acoustic band provides a twist on the usual sound
Lily Petit
Staff Writer

Still Running consists of the acoustic sounds of Mike Mercatante, 54, and Jenna Reed, 46, who entertain the customers of The Raven Café every last Saturday of the month.
For nine years Still Running has been providing an eclectic mix of rock, country, and folk style music. They offer covers and original pieces which they blend into their performances.
They believe their mixture of voices and their unusual original songs help them stand out. Mercatante said they like to turn human interest stories into songs, such as their song “Robert Immolation” that commemorates the death of a homeless man that Reed knew.
“We try to think outside of the ordinary love song,” said Mercatante.
Brittany White, 19, of Kimball, a waitress at The Raven Café, said she heard Still Running play a few times since she’s been working at The Raven, and that they usually draw a good size crowd. White says Mike and Jenna are very sweet as she pointed out how they promoted the lemon cake dessert before taking a break from the stage.
After the break, Jesse Peart, 21, of Port Huron joined Still Running on the stage to accompany them with his djembe, an African drum. Peart met Mercatante and Reed through shows around Port Huron and they invited him to play his drum with them at some shows.
Peart has been playing the djembe for ten years and also plays drums for his jazz band, “Little Big Band.” Peart described Still Running’s style as “soulful, feel good music.”
Nick Wiczko, 25, of Port Huron enjoyed the show Saturday, Sep. 27, saying Still Running was “music that puts a smile on your face.”
Mercatante, Detroit, and Reed, Chicago, hail from heavily musically talented cities, but they say that Port Huron has stepped up to its music scene. Mercatante is an award winning guitarist and Reed has classical voice training.
Peart said, “She’s got the voice of an angel and the soul of a blues artist.”
Still Running will be performing Oct. 10 at Lexington Brewing Company. To keep up with all of Still Running’s shows, like them on Facebook at Still Running. Their album “One” can be found on

The end of an era

Photo Credit: Greg Garofalo
Photo Credit: Greg Garofalo

Manifest the Machine goes out with a bang
Gregory Garofalo
Lifestyle Editor

The Schwonk Sound Stead, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. The infamous music venue has long been a popular hangout for the college students of SC4, no matter the genre of the band, the grand brick house on 7th and Griswold always draws a crowd.
However, on Sunday Sept. 28, it wasn’t the appearance of a new band that drew the hefty crowds, but the passing of a legend: Manifest the Machine.
Manifest the Machine is a local Post-Rock genre. The band consists of Travis Boone on the keyboard, Chris Strobbe on guitar, Zach Nye on bass guitar, and Corey Strobbe on the drums. They started as a three piece Blues Rock band and gradually progressed into what most would call Post-Rock, Experimental, or Ambient.
“I just can’t put into words how much you guys mean to us,” said an emotional Boone to his fans, “We decided that we need to take some time, we are not sure we are coming back, so just thank you.”
Upon asking him how his last show felt, Bonne remarked: “It feels good to say goodbye to everyone who supported us.”
It wasn’t only fans that were sad to see the local band go, but other musicians as well. Nick Ranger, co-singer and bass player of The Tiny Ugly Germs commented, “I’ll just say the scene is losing a really good band, but at least they are going out at Port Huron’s flagship venue. It’s really sad to see this band go.”
Ally Evenson, a local singer who performs with the band on and off, said the entire event was an odd bittersweet.
“I’ve been singing with them since January and it’s been amazing. It’s one of those feelings where I can just be myself. I can just express myself,” said Evenson.
Manisfest the Machine was not the only talent at the venue that evening, The Tiny Ugly Germs also made an appearance, as well as a new group who was new to not only to Port Huron, but to The States as well.
“We sold all of our stuff in Australia and bought a one way ticket to Europe,” said Raj Siva-Rajah, lead singer of the Australian band Sunpilots, “We just said: ‘let’s go for it.’ We make just enough money to get us to the next place, and we’ve been doing that for four years. Music is just in our blood and none of us can see ourselves doing anything else.”
To find out more about The Shchwonk and its upcoming shows, check out their Facebook page at:

Cracking the secrets of The Vault

Photo Credit: Gregory Garofalo
Photo Credit: Gregory Garofalo

The Vault Sweet Shop cuts the ribbon
Gregory Garofalo
Lifestyle Editor

The Vault. A treasure trove of untold sweets and ice cream flavors.
Recently purchased Round Island Sweet Shop, has been re-named and re-purposed since May 23.
“We just launched sandwiches,” says Vault co-owner James Branch, “We have phases and plans moving forward. Our first phase was to build up capital of ice cream over the summer which we did, and to buy equipment to start doing sandwiches to survive throughout the winter. We just signed with the Chamber of Commerce so we could do the ribbon cutting and gain some publicity to some awesome tasting sandwiches.”
Branch went on to describe one of the Vault’s main attractions: Their Rice Krispy treats.
“We’re starting our new baked line of Rice Krispy treats. Our biggest selling item has been our stuffed Oreo Rice Krispy treats. We now have our double chocolate, Reese’s peanut butter cup, Trix stuffed, and M&M stuffed, along with our Oreo stuffed.”
Branch, being a man of faith, stresses that while he and co-owner Josh Sabo are dedicated Christians, they are Christians running a business, not a Christian business.
“The opportunities that this gives us for ministry are immense, and we are going to use them as they come. However, first and foremost we are going to run this as a business. So far we’ve had a big presence and that’s allowed us to minister in ways we haven’t thought of before. Last week we were handing out half sandwiches to the cars that were stuck waiting for the draw bridge, and we had a lady pray over us and our business. When you look at Jesus Christ’s ministry he was with people, this gives us the opportunity to be with people on a daily business.”
The Vault Sweet Shoppe is located at 902 Military St in Port Huron.