Category Archives: Feature


Celebrity Chefs Face Off

Celebrity Chefs Face Off

Twana Pinskey

Editor In Chief

Paying it forward” and giving back to one’s community is something Black River Café co-owner, Bill Senk believes in.

Senk’s Black River Café and Speak Easy, was the location for “Celebrity Chef Night,” May 25, in Port Huron, to benefit the St. Clair County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels Program.

It is such a good program. It provides peace of mind for the senior’s families,” said Senk, explaining the reason for supporting the Meals on Wheels program. “It allowed my father to remain in his home for the last five years of his life.”

Three chefs from various radio stations, Paul Miller WPHM Morning Show 1380-AM, Shawn Michel WBTI-FM 96.3 Morning Show, and Mike Gaylord host of the Everything Classic Show WHLS-AM 1450 and 1590-AM Port Huron and 1470-AM Flint, were the three celebrity chefs donating their culinary expertise for the event.

Chef Paul Photo by: Twana Pinskey SC4 Adjunct Advisor and WSGR-FM 91.3 Advisor, Paul Miller prepared his prize winning Chicken Piccata with Herb Pappardelle Pasta dish at the Celebrity Chef Cook Off at Black River Café in Port Huron on May 25.

Miller, a SC4 Communications Department Adjunct Instructor and advisor for WSGR-FM 91.3, took home honors for the best dish, Chicken Piccata with Herb Pappardelle Pasta.

I don’t have a signature dish, “stated Miller. He explained he had made the Chicken Piccata in the past so thought it would be good for the event. As to his experience working with the Café staff, Miller was made to feel welcome. “I was afraid I’d be in the way. The chef (Ryan Senk) and his staff were helpful. They respected my creative integrity.”

There are millions of ways to get involved,” replied Miller. He felt lack of money shouldn’t keep SC4 students from getting involved in their communities. As for the cash prize of $100, Miller immediately donated it back to the Meals on Wheels Program.

According to Laura Neysem, Executive Director of the St. Clair County Program, the Meals on Wheels Program is available to homebound seniors 60 and over. Neysem explained their program has been affected by the tough economic times and they appreciated the support of participating chefs and the Black River Café.

11,000 meals a day are served county wide,” said Neysem. “This (Celebrity Chef cook-off) is a wonderful thing that everyone collaborates on and it means everything to us.”

Home delivered meals are available to homebound seniors 60 and over regardless of their income. The suggested donation per meal is $2.

For information on how to volunteer or to arrange meal delivery for someone in need, call 987-8811 or 1-800-297-0099.

They all float down here

Float down attendees, (l to r)Tammi Sheffer of Port Huron, in back Gary Tucker of Port Huron, Danielle Aldrick(sunglasses) Port Huron, center, (wearing mask) “Guy Fawkes” from parts unknown, Missy Pachecos (glasses on head) of Sandusky, David Fryxell(hat) of Port Huron and in front, Danielle Aldrich of Port Huron. Aug. 15.
Float down attendees, (l to r)Tammi Sheffer of Port Huron, in back Gary Tucker of Port Huron, Danielle Aldrick(sunglasses) Port Huron, center, (wearing mask) “Guy Fawkes” from parts unknown, Missy Pachecos (glasses on head) of Sandusky, David Fryxell(hat) of Port Huron and in front, Danielle Aldrich of Port Huron. Aug. 15.

They all float down here

Carrie Sass

Production Editor

If the Blue Water area was given a say in what would happen with next year’s Float Down, they might suggest that the city support it if this year’s estimated 2000 participants are any indication.

The Port Huron Float Down unofficially happened on Aug. 15, 2010 at 1 p.m. There were no serious injuries reported by The Coast Guard and law enforcement came prepared for the unsanctioned event.

The unofficial Float Down gathered much of its support from a fan page on the networking site, Facebook, where the date and time were announced “for anyone that happened to show up and float down.” despite the City of Port Huron’s debate over the events fate. There is no official number but it is speculated that over 2000 people participated, according to the non-events Facebook page. Many supporters of the event argued against the concerns of the Police Department and the Coast Guard.

To address concerns from local citizens about floaters that exited the route onto private property, the Moose Lodge provided participants with a safe and legal place to exit the water. “Our group of floaters even stopped and ‘docked’ our floats on a dock by a home alongside the river, and joined their party. They had built a giant slip-and-slide, had food and drinks, and were inviting everybody up to hang out and have a good time.” said Kirbylynn Wright-Alexander, 21 of Marysville.

The lack of incident during the Float Down has left some people in the community wondering; what about next year? According to the Facebook page, next year may have even more participants. Among suggestions for next year are: more places to exit along the beach and a more organization.

“If you’re going to have the Coast Guard out there anyway, why not just recognize it as an event and organize it?” questioned Tabitha Johnsen, 20 of Port Huron. Johnsen is among the floaters challenging city officials to sanction the Port Huron Float Down.

Photos Credit: Twana Pinskey

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A Cool Place to Be

In the beginning, there was Pastime Hobbies. And according to its regulars, it was good. While other stores came and went, Pastime Hobbies served gamers in Port Huron for over 20 years.
Jeff Kenny worked at Pastime for his father Gary in charge of games. In 2009, Jeff branched off from Pastime Hobbies and founded Cool City Games. And the gamers of Port Huron followed.
“I am the Moses of gaming, and these are my people,” joked Kenny.
Located just north of the local comic shop and pizza place, Cool City Games has become the newest home to the gaming scene. Walk through the front door and you’ll be greeted by miniatures, cards, books and board games.
Come in through the back door, and you’ll see where the magic happens. Space marines battle aliens on hostile planets. Jedi clash with Sith lords for control of the empire. Planeswalkers attack each other with spells and creatures.
The game room is the cultural hub of Cool City. Board games, a poker set and boxes of cards line the back wall. Patrons sit at tables, pitting their skills against one another. A sign hangs over the wall reading, “Beware of Steve,” referring to Kenny’s brother.
The game room was one of the most important factors, according to Kenny. “I could still use more space.”
The split from Pastime Hobbies was, “something my father and I had been discussing for several years,” according to Kenny. “It came sooner than I thought it would.”
“An opportunity presented itself for me to buy a portion of that business,” said Kenny. With his father’s blessing, Kenny opened the doors to Cool City Games March 4, 2009.
According to employee Mike Beaver, the first item sold by the store was a miniature for the tabletop war-game “Warhammer.” “Warhammer” would also be the first game played at the store.
Cool City regular John Bright prefers the new space. “[In Pastime Hobbies] you were off in a separate room,” said Bright. “You didn’t feel so much part of the store, whereas here you’re almost integrated.”
“I think it’s great,” said Christine Carr, Bright’s girlfriend and business partner. “No offense to Gary, but I like this place better.”
“Pastime was a hobby store with a game room,” said Bright.
“And this is a gaming store,” added Carr.
Ask anyone why they keep coming back to Cool City, and the answer is the same: the sense of community.
“For 15 years I’ve built up a very, very loyal base of customers that continue to support me,” said Kenny.
“Jeff wants a very ‘Cheers’ environment, plain and simple,” said Bright. “He’s created a very club-like atmosphere.”
In addition to being regulars at Cool City games, Bright and his girlfriend also run “Magic: The Gathering” tournaments and has a business within the store buying and selling cards.
“We’re not in it for pure profit; we’re here to basically provide a hobby for ourselves and everybody else,” said Bright.
While not officially an employee, Bright has become another helpful face, ready to assist players with any questions they might have.
“It usually has a pretty good atmosphere,” said SC4 librarian Brennan Murphy. “A lot of different people come in to play different games. It’s a good place to go if you want to pick up a game.”
Even the younger crowd has embraced Cool City games.
“It’s great,” said Port Huron High School student Justin Martin. “Everybody is friendly. People come in, and they always want to help out. And it’s great that they’re not mad because we’re the younger crowd. They actually kind of encourage the younger crowd.”
“They’re everyday people,” said fellow student Kyle Gratz.
Financially, Cool City’s first year has been a good one.
“I would attribute it to the niche that I’m catering to, and the fact that there really isn’t any other competition,” said Kenny.
According to Kenny, business picks up whenever a new subset of “Magic: The Gathering” is released. “Going through the books, it just glares out at you whenever those weekends are.”
While business has been good, it hasn’t been perfect. Kenny noted a trend toward “down-spending” thanks to the local economy. Regulars who might have supposed multiple hobbies are now only nurturing one or two.
The new business also had its share of surprises, including a “disappointing” holiday season. “I was used to Pastime Hobbies’ holiday season, where we sold trains and all those ‘big ticket’ items,” said Kenny.
Holiday season aside, Kenny says he has no complaints. “It’s been great with foot traffic from the college.”
Cool City Games has kept afloat financially, but Kenny and others said money is a secondary goal of the store.
“I’ve got exactly what I bargained for,” said Kenny. “Probably about 75 percent of my customers have become pretty good friends. It’s a nice position to be in.”