Tag Archives: Community

Nihilism & gastronomics: Finding the best burger in town

Robert Kroll

Guest Writer

When presented with the task of reviewing the “Best Burger in Port Huron,” I didn’t back down. Other writers at the ESG were unable to step to the challenge. My reputation as a nihilistic burger eater was picked up on and my quest was laid out.

The only real scientific aspect of this project is that I will just go for a regular, no-frills burger. During my search, I may very well have missed the “great white buffalo” of burgers in town. I will do my best here to fairly present what I have put my body through.

Power’s

I haven’t been to Power’s since I was a regular student here, so this is a treat.

I order a quarter pound burger with cheese, fries and a coke. I am very pleased with what I have been served. The texture is perfect and the beef ground just enough.

Grade:  4 – Win

Calories so far:  4,000

Mama Vicki’s

For the sake of continuity, I once again order a quarter pound cheeseburger, fries, and a coke. I finish it off easily.

But there is nothing significant to sway my opinion about the burger. There is nothing wrong with it, but there is also nothing that I’m going crazy about either.

Grade: 3 – Passing

Calories so far: 5,000

Zebra Bar

I ordered the “Classic” cheeseburger, which is actually 1/3 of a pound, costs about 50 cents cheaper than the Mama Vicki’s, and is amazing.

The major perk though is the bun. While not the texture of the Power’s burger, it was toasted. This is a game changer. This is like pulling Steve Yzerman from a Stanley Cup finals game and replacing him with Gordie Howe.

Grade: 5 – EPIC WIN

Calories so far: 7,000

Quay Street Brewery

I went for the Brew House Burger, which is the Quay version of everything that came before, this time with mandatory beer batter fries. Regrettably, this was the only chance I’d get to have any sort of beer with this meal.

The burger was good, but it occupied a middle ground between Mama Vicki’s and the Zebra. It was better than Mama Vicki’s, but the toasted bun at Zebra set a precedent, like how every new Metallica album is compared to “the old stuff.”

Grade: 4 – WIN

End calories: OVER 9,000

Wrapping it up

I hereby declare that, for now, the Zebra has the best burger in Port Huron.

Let there be light

Rachel Olivia Kobylas

Staff Writer

Dozens of people flocked to a very chilly and very operational Goodells County Park on April 16 and 17. The chill in the air didn’t dampen spirits, nor did it hinder attendance at the event.

Don Gardner, one of the Park Rangers present at the DNR (e)’s display said, “You know it’s cold, when all the officers are fighting to wear the ‘Smokey the Bear’ suit.”

Children happily snapped pictures with “Smokey” and buzzed about petting areas that Tiger Bunny Acres provided.

Many gardening enthusiasts read, purchased and entered to win rain barrels. Families sampled foods from various vendors, while others purchased organic seeds and plants from Woods Edge Herb Farm.

Despite the chill in the air, Earth Fair 2010 brought people together for a purpose.

Learning of how to start, or progress in living a greener lifestyle abounded throughout the two day event. Learning experiences at each vendor’s table were vast, and geared toward any age group or knowledge level.

Children stayed busy and studious along a river walk area where they could learn about, and get up close views of crayfish, fish, bugs and other plant life found in St. Clair County rivers and streams.

Within reaching distance, their parents enjoyed the water filtration display, and learned about our local watersheds.

SC4 was a visible presence at Earth Fair as the Green Team, Alternative Energy Program, and the Engineering Program took up an expanse of half of one barn with various green displays.

Anthony Szuminski, 20, freshman of SC4, also participated with the college and took his own time to experience Earth Fair. His involvement at this year’s Earth Fair was due to “personal interest, for class and the Engineering Club. We helped build a lot of the displays. We helped create the connection for the energy to power the light up on one of the bikes.”

A student of Professor Bob Hunckler’s Intro to Sustainable Energy Concepts, Szuminski hopes to be at next year’s Earth Fair. “I’d give it an eight, there was a lot of cool people and it was fun to work with the kids.”

Filling empty bowls

Cadi Parker

Staff Writer

Bowls made by SC4’s clay students, ready to serve as reminders for the cause, awaiting selection at the dinner, March 25. Photo by Cadi Parker
Bowls made by SC4’s clay students, ready to serve as reminders for the cause, awaiting selection at the dinner, March 25. Photo by Cadi Parker

 

   Across the world there are many that stay hungry throughout the day, or may just not know if they will have at least one meal to eat come next sunrise.

   “Empty Bowls” is part of an International awareness campaign to recognize and help deplete hunger across the world.

   A local effort began in Port Huron seven years ago, and has been more successful in providing food for our locals each year.

   This year’s “Empty Bowls” dinner drew hundreds of charitable and hungry area residents to St. Stephen’s Parish Hall of Port Huron on March 25.

   The 2010 “Empty Bowl” dinner benefit had zero overhead and drew in well over 300 guests, according to Eileen Jay, who served as an artist liaison and volunteer for the event.

   The Parish was packed, guests filled every table.

   Event Co-Coordinator, Terry Krueger said, “Every year this gets to be bigger and bigger, people sit down, eat and stay to talk and mingle with others. I just don’t know where I’m going to put them all.”

   The hundreds of attendees were able to choose from multiple types of soup and chili and take home their own “empty bowl” created by area artists and students from all levels of education, including our college.

   Rachelle Heydens, 20, a SC4 student, donated her first bowl at this year’s event. Heydens was unable to attend the event, but said, “I had never heard of empty bowls before, until my clay class. I felt good that I was making and giving something up, that will someday help someone.” Heydens also wishes she could have made more to donate.

   The proceeds from donations and a silent auction held at the event increased more than 10% from the previous year will help provide the Mid-City Nutrition Program with funds for its soup kitchen.

   The final tally is not exact, but according to Jay, “this year has been the best year ever for attendance, for the number of bowls donated and for the success of the silent auction.” Totals are expected to exceed 13,000 dollars.

   Jay also said, “This community has such a heart. For people to turn out like they did, and give so generously, the dinner was a fabulous success.”

College Tuition: Priced Right?

Twana Pinskey

In-district students will pay $2.50 a contact hourin tuition increase at SC4 beginning fall of 2010. Photos by Twana Pinskey
In-district students will pay $2.50 a contact hourin tuition increase at SC4 beginning fall of 2010. Photos by Twana Pinskey

Photo Editor

   Despite recession declines, tuition costs are on the rise all over the United States. Michigan, one of the hardest hit states is not immune to these rising costs.

   St. Clair County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted to approve a tuition increase at their March 18 meeting.

   As a result, students registering for in district fall classes will pay $89 per contact hour, up from $86.50 per contact hour. This is only a $2.50 per contact hour increase for in district students.

   Out of district students will pay $170 per contact hour up from $165 per contact hour. Out of state students will face only a $7 per contact hour increase.

   SC4 alumni Kenda Pakulski, of St. Clair, feels that as a community college, the continuation of raising tuition has been ongoing since she was a student.

   “It is outrageous that instead of promoting and making the [acquirement] of an education easier, SC4 is making it harder to get an education for those of modest monetary means,” replied Pakulski.

   “A $2.50 per contact hour increase? Does that include parking costs?” asked freshman student, Carrie Sass of Port Huron.

   Ivy League schools such as Harvard are not immune to tough economic times either. According to www.newser.com, Harvard Law School had to suspend their free tuition program for students willing to work five years in public service areas after twice as many expected signed up.

   “No one wants to pay higher costs,” replied Shawn Starkey, Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing at SC4. Starkey sited lost state aid and a decrease in millage revenues as being part of deciding factors in the minimal tuition increase.

   SC4 Student Government vice president, Chuck King, echoed Starkey’s sentiments. King said, “As much as we all hate to see increases in any form, with Michigan’s current economy all of us are going to have to bear the brunt of increased costs.”

     There does appear to be a silver lining in this cloud after all. King explained that with the passing of H.R. 4872 Healthcare and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act 2010, riders for scholarship assistance will be offered in health professions for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

A century of being prepared

This vintage Boy Scout handbook and plaque are among the many scouting memorabilia exhibits on display at the Port Huron Museum through April 25. Photos by: Twana Pinskey
This vintage Boy Scout handbook and plaque are among the many scouting memorabilia exhibits on display at the Port Huron Museum through April 25. Photos by: Twana Pinskey

Twana Pinskey

Photo Editor    

   Boy Scouts of America website states that boy scouts was founded to help young people attain skills necessary to become responsible, well rounded citizens.

Founded in 1910, the scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.

  Port Huron Museum, in collaboration with Blue Water council of Boy Scouts of America, opened the “Celebrating 100 years of Scouting” exhibit at the Main Museum in Port Huron Feb 6th and will continue the exhibit through April 25.

   According to the “Scout-o-rama” web site, there are many celebrities who are former scouts: Walter Cronkite, journalist, television anchor; movie mogul, Steven Spielberg; Henry Hank Aaron, baseball player; Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist; Mark Spitz, Olympic swimming gold medalist.

   SC4’s President, Dr. Kevin Pollock, is an Eagle Scout having attained this status on March 25, 1973 with troop 368 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. “It gave me a lot of opportunity to see things from different perspectives,” said Dr. Pollock. According to Pollock, the Eagle Scout ceremony and going to Camp Tapico in Grayling, Michigan were among his favorite memories of scouting.

   According to the museum’s Web site, the exhibit was designed by their curator of exhibits and collections, Suzette Brombley. “Most of the material used to build this exhibit was donated,” explained Brombley.

   The history of scouting in America is shown through exhibits such as photographs, old uniforms, patches, personal recollections of former scouts, hands on activities such as knot tying and practicing firearms skills with a laser simulator.

   According to Holly Madock, museum manager of volunteers, in addition to this variety of activities, groups can schedule an overnight stay as part of the scouting experience.

   “It went really well when we did our last overnight stay,” said Madock. She explained another overnight is being planned for April 16. Adults are required to stay with the overnighters.

   Other scouting activities offered at the museum include identification of animal tracks, and “secrets of the pinewood derby.”

   Museum hours are 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Further information on this exhibit can be obtained by calling the museum at:  810-982-0891.

From the heart

Photo by Cadi Parker; Students’ bowls are shown off by Jason Stier, Riverview East’s art teacher, for Eileen Jay (right), artist liaison for the International Empty Bowls Event, early Monday morning.
Photo by Cadi Parker; Students’ bowls are shown off by Jason Stier, Riverview East’s art teacher, for Eileen Jay (right), artist liaison for the International Empty Bowls Event, early Monday morning.

Cadi Parker

Staff Writer

Many struggle weekly to keep food on the table.

Some may feel lucky to have just one meal a day.

Even within our community many go hungry to feed their children, or perhaps their children stay hungry, too. This need for nourishment is worldwide, but there is a way to help.

Port Huron is having its seventh annual International Empty Bowl Event today.

For $25 anyone can come eat, and choose a bowl to take home to remember the event, and the reason that the benefit exists.

The dinner will be held at St. Stephens Catholic Church Parish Hall located at 325 32nd Street in Port Huron. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. and will last until 7 p.m.

Featured at the event will be a silent auction and a chance to meet some of the artists and students that worked hard to come up with nearly 300 “empty bowls” for each guest that attends the dinner.

Eileen Jay, artist liaison, said, “This year the event has been moved to St. Stephen’s to accommodate for the event’s growth.”

“Last year, the event brought in $11,500, and that was in a recession,” said, Jay.

This year’s hopes are high for the amount of money raised and there will also be “no overhead; everything has been donated and everyone is serving as volunteers.”

Every penny will go directly to the Mid-City Nutrition Program and their soup kitchen artists and students alike were all volunteers.

Many local artists donated their time, as well as their own pieces, to schools to teach children different methods of making bowls for the event. Jason Stier, a Riverview East (St. Clair) art teacher, said, “Having Mark Harris visit helped take the intimidation away from throwing on the wheel.” This time taken by artists helps students to learn and create art for a cause.

High school students aren’t the only ones donating. The Montessori Children’s Academy in St. Clair is also providing bowls created by students with the help of other artists.

Celeste Skalnek, SC4’s ceramics/pottery teacher, also encouraged her students to create works of art for the “Empty Bowls dinners.” She said, “I have always done bowls.” Skalnek has even been talking up the event “since the first day of class.”

Last year, the Soup Kitchen provided 54,906 meals to homeless or hungry locals, but the International Empty Bowl event should help take the heat for much of the expenses.

A century of being prepared

Twana Pinskey

Photo Editor

Boy Scouts of America website states that boy scouts was founded to help young people attain skills necessary to become responsible, well rounded citizens.

Founded in 1910, the scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.

Feb. 6, Port Huron Museum, in collaboration with Blue Water council of Boy Scouts of America, opened the “Celebrating 100 years of Scouting” exhibit at the Main Museum in Port Huron and will continue the exhibit through April 25.

According to the “Scout-o-rama” web site, there are many celebrities who are former scouts: Walter Cronkite, journalist, television anchor; movie mogul, Steven Spielberg; Henry Hank Aaron, baseball player; Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist; Mark Spitz, Olympic swimming gold medalist.

SC4’s President, Dr. Kevin Pollock, is an Eagle Scout having attained this status on March 25, 1973 with troop 368 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. “It gave me a lot of opportunity to see things from different perspectives,” said Dr. Pollock. According to Pollock, the Eagle Scout ceremony and going to Camp Tapico in Grayling, Michigan were among his favorite memories of scouting.

According to the museum’s Web site, the exhibit was designed by their curator of exhibits and collections, Suzette Brombley. “Most of the material used to build this exhibit was donated,” explained Brombley.

The history of scouting in America is shown through exhibits such as photographs, old uniforms, patches, personal recollections of former scouts, hands on activities such as knot tying and practicing firearms skills with a laser simulator.

According to Holly Madock, museum manager of volunteers, in addition to this variety of activities, groups can schedule an overnight stay as part of the scouting experience.

“It went really well when we did our last overnight stay,” said Madock. She explained another overnight is being planned for April 16. Adults are required to stay with the overnighters.

Other scouting activities offered at the museum include identification of animal tracks, and “secrets of the pinewood derby.”

Museum hours are 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Further information on this exhibit can be obtained by calling the museum at:  810-982-0891.

Quiero tacos

Twana Pinskey

Photo Editor

   Children helping others were at the heart of the annual “Speed the Light” banquet at the Marysville Assembly of God Church Sunday, Feb. 28.

   Children of the “Youth Awakening” program spent the evening taking food orders, delivering beverages and appetizers such as nachos. Guests dined on tacos and a variety of deserts.

   Volunteer Amber Warner, 16, of Port Huron, spent the evening face painting guests for donations. “I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. It’s a lot of fun.”

   Jeff Coulter of Port Huron has attended this annual event for the past few years. Coulter, a SC4 student, is leader of SC4’s “Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

   An anonymous donation to strolling minstrels resulted in Coulter being serenaded by the minstrels at the banquet. “This is great to see. I’ve volunteered in the kitchen the past two years,” replied Coulter.

    Marysville Assembly of God youth pastor, Jeff Turner, explained that their church has participated in this event for 20 years. Turner has been youth pastor for seven years. The annual banquet, hosted by the church’s youth, exceeded their fundraising goal last year.

   “Last year, our goal was to raise $2000 and we raised $6000,” replied Turner. According to Turner, this year’s goal was to match or exceed $6000. Monies raised from this year’s banquet, currently stand at $3500.

     According to the “National Youth Ministries” website, “Speed the Light” is a student initiated charitable program, founded in 1944, that uses monies raised to provide much needed equipment to missionaries in the United States and over 180 countries around the world.

   Information on the “Speed of Light” program and how you can donate can be obtained by calling 810-364-6164.

Putting on the Ritz

Twana Pinskey

Photo Editor

   Taking a trip abroad isn’t necessary to experience an “Evening in Paris.” All one needs to do is attend Studio 1219’s Black and White Gala; “An Evening in Paris” Sat. Feb. 27 in Port Huron.

     Studio 1219’s website states they are the largest public art venue in the thumb area. 1219 hosts a variety of activities such as art classes, “girl’s night out “and birthday party packages.

   Their ability to host an event like the Black and White Gala is an easily met challenge for Executive Director, Lee Perry.

   This event invites guests to come dressed in their finest black and white attire.

   Included in the 35 dollar per person fee is an evening of music, dancing, food and wine.

   Available during the fundraising activities are, “Drawings for Dollars” and silent and live auctions as well as the opportunity to have your picture taken in Paris. Further information can be obtained by calling 810-984-2787.

Ice Ice Baby

Jessica Meneghin

Staff Writer

   The dead of winter is an icy time in St. Clair County. From the glacial build-up on

Lake Huron to the thick sheets covering the Black and St. Clair Rivers, locals have ice on all sides.

   And yet, how much thought is really given the frozen element surrounding us?

   At Knowlton’s Ice Museum of North America, the answer is: a whole lot.

   The history of ice harvesting has very close ties to the Great Lakes, and even though the industry is mechanized today, Knowlton’s makes a unique effort to keep memories of the “iceman” days alive.

   Knowlton’s Ice Museum, located at 317 Grand River Ave., not only features a collection of ice industry memorabilia spanning at least 30 years, but also provides their guests an original crash-course in the history of ice.

   Judy Knowlton, who runs the museum “pretty much alone these days,” is a treasure trove of information all by herself.

   As the daughter of Norman F. “Mickey” Knowlton, founder of Party Time Ice, Judy is full of cold, hard facts about the ice business and its history.

   For instance: Did you know that ice, at one point, was one of the 10 largest industries in the U.S.? Or that there was a time when Port Huron had over 30 operating ice companies?

   Judy Knowlton nurses a lifelong sentiment for the ice industry, and she has reserves of these kinds of facts just waiting to be accessed.

   “We‘re one of the only museums dedicated to the natural history of harvesting ice” is one of the first things Judy tells her patrons.

   Before she begins an official tour, Judy leads visitors through the middle of the museum passed rainbow walls of antique ice tongs, saws, chippers and crushers to a small film-screening area, where everyone is treated to a 15 minute educational video called “The History of Ice Harvesting.”

   “The History of Ice Harvesting” was made about three years ago and features Norman F. Knowlton, himself.

   Pride for St. Clair County shines through the film’s every minute, and accordingly, it begins and ends the story of ice on the shores of Lake Huron.

   According to film (later verified by Judy), in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, farmers would chop out and drag back to their barns large chunks of ice. They covered it with a little dirt and straw, and it would last through spring and summer.

   As of 1790, the film said the farmers and the flush were the only people indulging in the luxury that was provided by storing ice. But a crazy business venture by a Bostonian merchant named Frederic Tudor would soon change that.

   After a trip to the Caribbean, Tudor thought that he could make a fortune exporting ice from the lakes and ponds of his home state, Massachusetts, to Havana.

   In 1806, The Tudor Ice Company successfully transported an 80-ton load of ice from Boston to Martinique.

   And so the international ice trade began.

   The 1807 Jeffersonian Embargo would cause the business’s rise to be slow, but it gained speed, seeing more success around 1817-1818. And soon delivering ice from northern states to warmer southern climates became the norm.

   In 1833, ice was shipped from Massachusetts to India. 

   By the 1840’s ice was regularly being sent all over the world.

   Here in the U.S., methods of ice harvesting had to improve to keep up with the explosion in the industry. And improve they did, when an American inventor named Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth attached a metal saw to a horse and called it the “ice plow.”

   According to “The History of Ice Harvesting,” crews of ice-cutters would scrape the ice clean of snow, and use the ice plow to mark the ice into a grid of identical 300-lb blocks. The blocks were then floated out and raised by ramps into ice houses for storing.

   Most ice houses could store up to 10,000 tons of ice. It would take about two weeks to fill an ice house, and they used sawdust as an insulator, keeping the ice cold and fresh.

   Judy reported that many ice houses still pepper the shores of northern lakes and rivers today.

   In 1861, the ice industry took another leap with the invention of the icebox.

   Improved technology for harvesting and storage equaled cheaper, more efficient production. Because of this, the United States became the first country to have refrigeration become commonplace.

   By the turn of the century ice was a hot commodity with Americans consuming more than two million tons of ice each year, and the iceman was a familiar sight on the streets of town.

   Every week when the ice wagon made its rounds, housewives all over America were posting in their front windows the amount of ice they required: 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds.

   On sweltering summer days, children gathered in the street around the iceman’s truck hoping for handouts of ice slivers.

   Refrigeration completely transformed the American diet; before that the only options for food preservation were salting, smoking, spicing or pickling.

   At this time, companies such as the Lakeside Ice Co., Port Huron Ice, Canal Ice, the Purity Ice Co., and many others littered the Port Huron area.

   Judy Knowlton’s eyes become as wide as saucers when she talks about the huge ice houses that sprung up along the Black River and Lake Huron and how the railroad had to get involved to help service the overwhelming demand.

   Unfortunately, even every great era must someday see its end.

   As the populations of big, northern cities like Detroit grew, the waters became polluted.

   The Downriver News Herald reported the Detroit River getting so bad that consuming ice from it meant risking developing Typhoid fever.

   The industry started to start looking even further north; to cleaner waters and colder winters.

   But it was with the 1913 invention of the Domelre, which stood for domestic electric refrigerator, that the ice industry took its final blow and ice companies all over the country shuttered to a close including the many here in Port Huron.

   Today, ice is not harvested; it’s manufactured by big machines at about 800 pounds per day.

   Twenty-first century refrigerators, with their freezers and newfangled ice-makers, conveniently provide people with the ice they need for the home but there is still a demand for commercially-made ice.

   It’s produced using one of several different modern processes. Then it’s bagged and shipped to warehouses, bars, party stores and restaurants everywhere.

   In 2004 the Knowlton family sold Party Time Ice to a national conglomerate, Arctic Glacier Premium Ice. But even though Arctic Glacier is the sole ice company in Port Huron these days, the Knowltons still work hard to ensure industry’s history here is not forgotten.