Invisible President: State of the State, Final Words of Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder

Invisible President:  State of the State, Final Words of Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

The Governor gave a long address this evening about the progress that the state of Michigan has made.  Things have changed dramatically where youth had fled in search of the creative industry which is budding in Michigan now.  Some fields will require pioneers to broker in the new things and manifest original ideas for the state.

Perhaps it was a sign of the times that the Governor cited the first African-American in Michigan’s legislature’s picture going on the wall in the capitol suggested a place for African-American leader’s in the capitol as well.

Michigan was described repeatedly as “The Comeback Kid.” Unemployment is down from 10% to 4%.  Gov. Snyder spoke briefly about budget balancing models and the use of taxes to shape the economy.   He said, “partnerships can get results.”  Gov. Snyder also spoke about private sector job creation.

Gov. Snyder in his tenure worked on the largest statewide trails for walking and cycling to make super natural areas in Michigan.  Gov. Snyder cited as chief on his agenda, “quality of life.”

The Great Lakes Center for the Performing Arts is opening.  There has been a five- fold expansion of arts and culture.

Campus sexual assault received 1.6 million in grant funding in an initiative to end sexual assault and make campuses safer.  Investment in key areas can make for dramatic changes.

Governor Snyder spoke about 76% of auto research being done in Michigan.  He also cited culture and food as a 100 billion dollar industry.  Wine and hard cider are produced in Michigan in “agri tourism.”

In terms of per capita income growth Michigan’s income grew by 28% since 2010 when the governor took office to be 6th in the nation.  The Governor described it like placing and extra $10,000 in everyone’s pocket.

Governor Snyder spoke passionately about a great start in readiness in preschool, and pre three reading that carries you throughout your education.  He spoke about getting a head start in college and completing an early year of college while still a high school student.  He spoke about skilled trades and career tech and funding for community colleges.

In the future we may all be riding in autonomous and connected vehicles.  Governor Snyder also spoke about the future alliances with Canada and a new international bridge, Gordy Howe International Bridge from Michigan to Canada.

Viewers were tickled by Governor Snyder’s description of the Detroit transformation that included some of the tallest skyscrapers going up.  He hopes to create role models for the whole state and country.

Governor Snyder spoke about key things on the rise in Michigan like teacher development, first robotics where there are 500 high school teams.  Gov. Snyder showed off a motorized vehicle down the capitol aisle equipped for a two year old with spinal bifida.

Gov. Snyder also spoke about his pioneering of the Homestead Property Tax which created a tax refund for many in Michigan.

Gov. Snyder wore a traditional tailored navy suit, periwinkle tie and a small pin.  He was uproarious at times and other times appeared to be shaking.  Classic thick fluffy feathered hair sat on his head as if it were a hat and his voice has country flair.

He said less people are in prison now, about 40,000, down from 51,804.  He spoke of vocational rehabilitation programs while in prison that prepare people coming out for top jobs.

Governor Snyder raised veteran’s income by 40%.  He has a rainy day fund with about 900 million in it.

Michigan seems solvent, fiscally responsible, and poised for growth.  Michigan is a mobility leader that started things like “MCity,” transportation research at the University of Michigan.

Next on the agenda of Gov. Snyder is a “marshall plan for talent.” Michigan plans to invest in the future of education and businesses.  Gov. Snyder is looking to promote a better Michigan that is different and has team work.  He intends increase his per pupil allotment. He is working on grading systems.

This year Michigan will host the Worlds Championship for Robotics.  Other campaigns the Governor has been working on are clean Michigan, he spoke about improving on recycling, invasive species, and pollution in lakes and rivers and emerging contaminants on cooking surfaces.

The government is in support of the children of the future who will not inherit debt, but a thriving state.  Gov. Snyder asked of Michigander’s, “how we can be great and like a family?”

Gov. Snyder said he started his administration with a 10 year plan to reinvent Michigan, and achieved it.

Michigan is a better state than it once was in 2010.  Most are staying now and returning home for opportunities.  Gov. Snyder said in his term he dealt with real problems that were remedied with “relentless positive action.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible President #1: This Weeks State of The State Address From Governor Snyder

Invisible President:  This Weeks State of the State Address from Governor Snyder

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

In this week’s televised address “State of The State” by Governor Rick Snyder, the Governor highlighted that Michigan’s citizens were “coming home” for new opportunities and peaceful natural living after leaving for jobs and schools in other states. Michigan leads in the nation in terms of a sought after place to live. Michigan residents are coming home with fresh ideas and international experience, speaking multiple languages and with a taste for fine culinary and finery in general.  Local publications like “Hour Detroit,” offer a glossy version of the local restaurant and culinary “treasure trove” in Michigan.

Michigan continues to be a down to earth place to live-good, simple, living-medium sized cities not so small that you easily become “the talk of the town.” Michigan is “The humble state.”

The Detroit area out skirts have good schools for culinary including Schoolcraft College’s culinary program for those en route to becoming a master chef.  Michigan is a good place for independent international grocery and to open a restaurant.

Michigan shined as a new hub for manufacturing where even a coupon printing factory may generate millions of dollars. Manufacturing is attracting internationals to Michigan from countries like Albania, China and the Middle East.  University of Michigan has been compared to Harvard and was recently ranked in a number one position.

Michigan for multiple reasons such as manufacturing, good schools and The Great Lakes  warmly welcomes a large Asian population primarily Chinese to the state.   There are many loved  Indian, Korean and Vietnamese Restaurants and groceries.   Africans have flocked to eastern hubs and all over. International groceries have sprung up in every strip including Kasoa Market, an African grocery that sells things like mackerel in chili sauce, fufu, gari, plantain and guava juice. There is also Hua Xing Grocery, a large Chinese market with a whole aisle of noodles, tea break snacks, sake, teas, dumplings, Chinese vegetables and fresh fish.

It’s possible to enjoy  authentic and fresh Mexican cheeses and creams from “Dos Hermanos” Grocery on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti. In Michigan we are not talking about “borders” we are welcoming our international family.  Various citizens of Michigan are hoping to make this State “inhospitable to racism” and the contrary to promote a harmonious and loving melting pot.

Marijuana is  legal with an ID card in Michigan and has attracted many new businesses and eliminated a lot of crime. There are lots of places for outdoor camping and marinas.  The primary fruit crop that does well in Michigan is apples.  There are still lots of farms and rural areas and country living in general.

New business has been attracted to Michigan with the opening of breweries, Amazon in Livonia, The Google internet browser and search engine, the automotive industry and many others assuming and unassuming such as myriad cider mills, the non-profit sector or creative industry. Michigan enjoys a nice healthy mix that is part industrial and part natural, which can be an ideal.

Governor Snyder honored the military and spoke of “sharp shooters” and honored promising youth activism including from East Lansing High School who gave him “elevator pitches” in a recent meeting.

During his term Governor Snyder created several “commissions” to look at “best practices” internationally that may benefit Michigan’s infrastructure.  Very low unemployment and problems such as the Flint water crisis were well managed and cities like Flint are enjoying “resilience” as was written by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

The Governor said “up to third grade one is learning to read” then after third grade (they are utilizing reading) and “reading to learn.” Snyder is looking at issues involved with children’s education.

The Governor is working on a long term goal around community building hoping that like a contagion successful communities will support and model for each other.

A few days after the “State of the State” some Michigan women headed to Washington D.C. for a Woman’s March on Washington including owner of “All Sewn Up Sewing School,” Anne Reinstein. Even feminist and woman’s issues are being discussed in many homes and businesses. Feminist theory classes have heated up at Eastern Michigan University in the philosophy department where Ombudsman’s were contacted and grade grievances were filed.

Detroit continues to flex where new charismatic leaders such as L. Brooks Patterson are spotlighting Oakland County’s achievements in magazines.  Some think bankruptcy may have been a “smoke screen” planted to shield Detroit from rising internationalism and growing population counts in hip neighborhoods like Hamtramck.

Michigan’s educational institutions are leading in terms of preparing technological leaders at schools like University of Michigan Dearborn with good medical schools and schools of engineering or Lawrence Tech that has good architectural engineering programs and promotes fields like “computational biology” or Data Mining entered through its mathematics and computer science program door.   Michigan’s manufacturing has always attracted good engineering programs at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Lawrence Tech, and still others at Michigan Technological University in the upper peninsula-in a natural reserved area-where the Governor is based.

 

 

 

 

Invisible President: An Analysis of Unpaid Labor in Washtenaw County and Unpaid Labor in General

An Analysis of Unpaid Labor in Washtenaw County and Unpaid Labor in General

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

A student wishing to build their resume with volunteer work or humanitarian service may elect as an option, an unpaid position.  Unpaid positions can be extremely valuable for professional development and even status greater than an employee.  What can ultimately happen to a student or anyone signing on to an unpaid position is the assignment to themselves of a zero wage which may elicit disrespect from peers or other paid workers. There is a case where a volunteer at a theater working alongside paid workers was called a “slave,” which is true of a theater in Ann Arbor. In this case the volunteers felt prestige for service work and the employees felt superiority as wage earners.

Some businesses may have the majority of their work force unpaid and be completely reliant on unpaid labor. Even when working unpaid, “thank you’s” may be hard to come by.  People will in fact look down on you when you are working without a wage.  Will you even get a reference from an unpaid position?  Will they even remember your name? Should there be a record of your employment and a reference required? Should references always be required for every position?

In some instances disrespect extends to consultants and employees who use “two voices” for management and unpaid workers. 

Many managers show a “lack of interest in paying” their employees. Payment for some managers is not their priority and barely on their radar.  A paid worker may represent a threat and upset the hierarchy?  The lower you are, the higher they feel, the less you receive, the more sushi for them.

Unpaid labor also becomes cumbersome in discussions of salary history with potential employers who may view them as a low-pay or even an unpaid equivalent.  Unpaid labor is still further cumbersome in the presence of rampant racism and historical slavery.  There is no requirement that an internship, for example be unpaid, the good ones tend to pay.

How do positions come to be unpaid? Unpaid positions may represent a kind of theft.

Just because they didn’t pay, doesn’t mean they still don’t owe. There are several options including:  the department of labor, invoicing, collections agencies or starting your own collections agency, put it on their credit report and give them a rating, harassing phone calls, threatening letters, a lawyer, a blog, government, report to news/press, racism registries with state and local government or your own, setting up your own law firm, arbitration and binding contracts, speaking in legal terms and citing infractions, public letters, out of business strategies, replacing business in your community, researching legal cases on Linux and the internet, keeping a journal, or calling the police to report theft, filing a police report or opening an “Office of Pain and Suffering” that will replace your money.

A brief sampling of Washtenaw County produced a variety of unpaid positions such as internships, docents, board members, student groups, volunteer work, student jobs, independent fundraising, starting your own business, advocacy work, consulting,  film festivals, art festivals, fashion studios, start-ups, non-profits, family businesses, searches on student employment websites and we may also include minimum wage labor as labor that is barely paid or not equivalent.

What generally happens in some cases is one person has paid themself and neglected to pay the rest of the staff, sometimes pursuing interns or volunteers.  Other times in the cases of university faculty and staff, all receive departmental budgets and often neglect to spread their budget across all employees. Unpaid labor presents a “larger piece of the pie” for someone else and perhaps overall savings or profit for the department or company.

Very often it is a failure of management to identify proper funding channels or to value others as they do themselves.  The management may reach as high as the American government that may not have considered the trials of non-profits who fill the variety of holes in the American social system when planning their budgets.  Very seldom will the national or local governments be inclusive of local businesses that serve their communities in their budgets and should.

The downfall of a community with an abundance of unpaid labor is that it indicates something about that community.  It may present evidence of poor leadership, inadequate business skills, racism, and misappropriation of funds and may even be a huge crack in the wall.  Internships may save a company money and may appear to be a win-win situation but other factors may show that accepting a low wage for your work may create devaluation of mankind and in the workplace, presenting long term obstacles.

Some people are too self-centered to be good managers and employees may find that their portion of the payroll exists in managements personal accounts.  Ego, sexism, racism, ignorance may perpetuate a belief in someone’s mind that he/she has a value that others do not hold or a need that others are not worthy.

What should be brought into policy and law is an equivalent wage.  For example it may be necessary if you have been offered a job to tally the various tasks to see if your hourly wage is adequate to cover the amount of responsibility.  Perhaps America has devalued its people and disrupted work by electing a minimum wage, not to fall below as opposed to an equivalent wage to match.  It can be terrifying to receive a minimum wage that is not in keeping with the economy.  After a while, the people start to spill out into the street, when the economies go long term unbalanced.

Possible solutions government needs to take could be a thorough analysis of businesses under their umbrella to see which of those need government support or to possibly pay all wages from the government to stabilize business and society. The Federal Reserve doesn’t represent a small budget but an arbitrary budget that should also match the budgetary needs of  the country-not what is often said by officials that there is not enough in the budget or the budget is running out-a fallacy.

It may be necessary to institute an “Office of Fee Inquiry” that sets wages, prices, rents etc. to create a unilateral approach to employment etc. and balance the economy.  Very often subtle changes, even new landlords upset the local economy and may create social problems.  Long term neglect of employees also creates social problems.  People make economic decisions all the time unmonitored and uncaring of their impact on a community. Where in that chain can be inserted supervision? Someone may move to Ann Arbor from New York, get into rentals and gauge an aggregating increase in rents and destroy the town.

How does money get into the proper hands, how do budgets get properly allocated, how do we start to make this area inhospitable to racism? At universities students can often be added to payroll or placed into a budget somewhere.  The necessary caring doesn’t exist for enough management to show concern for their constituencies lives. Perhaps a gravitation away from hierarchal business strategies can be replaced with social models.  There are many things that could be solutions to the problems created by unpaid labor.

It is strange, it is as if shoes exist for an  unpaid job.  What was it like for example, to work in the south after slavery? Employers who do not pay adequately become stigmatized as well as position histories.

Watch out, for example for poorly planned positions and vacuous position titles which may indicate a workplace where management is ill equipped and uncaring.  Positions such as “intern” or “office assistant,” may represent jobs bearing poor designation  or “unspecified labor” and offered for a lower wage.  Positions should have titles, be well crafted, and with equivalent wage.

We as a people need to reexamine our current business models and address schools of business to plan new strategies. Hierarchal business models are obsolete. We must be entering a new era, where it’s time for caring and time for sharing of wealth.

 

 

Teacher Evaluations, Ombudsman’s Office Influential in Navigating Student Concerns Offensive Language in College Text Books and Grade Grievances Plague Student Life

 

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Spring Term at Eastern Michigan University, one student who chooses to remain anonymous and will be called “Student A” found herself in the Ombudsman’s Office complaining of offensive language in her college text book. On page 33 of Student A’s, Feminist Theory Text book published by Blackwell Publishing, it was written as an example, “dirty nigger.”

In a telephone interview with Case Management Coordinator, Julia Heck, of The Ombudsman’s Office she described their responsibilities as follows:

“The Ombudsman’s Office handles policy or process, what to do if you are treated unfairly, how to navigate current processes and procedures, for addressing concerns and how to break down concerns into manageable parts, how to walk them through proper procedures to address those concerns with the instructor, or to move to the Department Head, or still further to the Dean.”

Heck said, “The Ombudsman’s Office helps to navigate until due process is heard.” On a recent appointment with the Ombudsman’s Office by Student A to ascertain what to do if college text books need to be scrutinized edited or omitted and a second issue of a grade grievance, several avenues were outlined with Case Management Coordinator.

Student A had previously met with her instructor and Department Head about her text book concerns and was disappointed in the outcome.   No plan for investigation was outlined or to edit the text book. The said “Feminist Theory: A Philosophical Anthology” textbook by Ann E. Cudd and Robin O. Andreasen was described by both instructor and department head as a historical text. One specific essay highlighted for racism was “Second Sex,” By Simone de Beauvoir. Student A received an in person meeting but was dismayed, when Professors spoke in favor of the book citing perhaps it being “caught in translation,” or “ahead of her time” and “that’s the way it was.”

Heck instructed Student A, in a meeting to write 5 brief bullet points that were referred to the Dean of Arts and Sciences for resolution. In Student A’s letter to the Dean she wrote a brief introduction, illustrated 5 bullet points, which were followed with a brief conclusion. Student A expressed in her conclusion that “the class is in need of revision.”

Heck expressed to Student A, to utilize her “Teacher Evaluation” to reach the Dean or the Professor and comment on her experience in the course. Student A felt the Teaching Evaluation had too much brevity and did not allow her to analyze or fully express her concerns to the Dean, Department Head and Professor.

Heck says, “That Teacher Evaluations allow our students to evaluate the course environment, course structure, teaching style and areas for improvement to help teachers.”

“Grade Grievances are specifically for grades,” said Heck. According to Heck, “(Teacher Evaluations have to do with) overall how you would rate this course and allow students the ability to write comments at the end.”

Student A wonders if there needs to be a more comprehensive evaluations to improve teacher performance, but also to evaluate their course materials and the given course load. Students shouldn’t be expected, according to Student A, “to work 7 days a week on a class, teachers need to measure course load.”

Student A was described by History Department’s Head as “jarred” from the racial commentary in the essay “Second Sex.” The presence of racist text in the college text book caused her to not want to read thoroughly for fear of taking- in racist material. Dispute over Student A’s performance and grade passed through the Dean of Art and Sciences email and was later scheduled for a formal Grade Grievance Committee Meeting. There is immediate concern over historical texts or classical material that may have racist content which will be handled by the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action. Student A found that everywhere she found the word “privilege” in the text book, there tended to be racist content. The case is still under investigation.

Student A after vocalizing her concern over the said text book infuriated her professor who eventually gave her an “F” in the Philosophy 226 Feminist Theory class. According to student A, perhaps it’s better to get an “F” in the course when “nigger” is in the text book, I wonder who got an “A.”

Student A speculates that her GPA and transcripts have been impacted until proceedings hopefully overturn decisions by three teachers to give her all grades below “C.”

What has been interesting for Student A is when confronted with this type of adversity when one feels their life has been ruined or college career severely marred, to look for options, bargain and guide committees, Deans and Offices towards a positive resolution. It could be suggested to give credit for the course without grade or to drop courses and receive a refund or even to receive a scholarship and grade change.

What was also apparent was that Grade Grievance Committee Members in the first of three filed Grade Grievances framed Student A as a bad student and their questions were not skilled, driven towards investigation or solution. Members of Grade Grievance Committee’s judgement may be impaired due to vulnerability of their position in the school. Teachers do not wish to oppose department heads or colleagues and would prefer to disregard one student than face job complications. Even students may not support another student and make negative assumptions or dislike conflict with faculty members.

Student A still has not received due process and hopes to overturn her grades for spring term and recall the book. It is rumored that Student A may be nominated for a “Martin Luther King Jr. Student Award” for her pioneering spirit in the face of adversity.

What really plagues student anxiety is when they peacefully broach a sensitive matter with a professor who appears to have incorrect emotions on the subject and fails to scrutinize, investigate or support the student. Never in this process did the Professor feel that it was incorrect to have “nigger” in the text book. Instead he fought to justify a failing mark that was excessively low, a whopping 48% in spite of all work completed and well done.

Student A hopes to deeply empower The Ombudsman’s Office to protect students, faculty and staff. Several cases are pending, stay tuned for the final results.

 

 

 

Ypsilanti Michigan Plea to Our New Mayor Amanda Edmonds

Saturday 10/17/2015, I sat down to write the Mayor of Ypsilanti, Amanda Edmonds, about my walks around Ypsilanti that rendered the vision of a hill for sledding in the park. Wouldn’t it be grand, the whole place would transform into a winter wonderland. I requested a hill. Perhaps, I thought a cocoa stand and ice skating alongside the hill in Riverside Park. Children would go in search of those coveted saucer sleds and Eastern Michigan University would borrow trays from the cafeteria. Wouldn’t it be grand?

A few years ago, I was riding the local bus and noticed all the trees were spotted. First one, then two, then most of the trees were all spotty and I heard acid rain was falling on Washtenaw County. It was traumatizing, I thought all the local trees were diseased. It’s been two years now and the leaves have come and gone and are going again in a fall blaze. I don’t know if whatever plagued the cities trees at the time-insects or acid rain or disease has been attended to? One man told me that trees can even fall down when they become ill, even on top of a house.  It is as if science could produce “Tree Doctors” that regularly cater to trees diverse problems.

It also occurred to me that “I can no longer sit on the grass.” I was helping a friend with some landscaping and I left with so many scars on my arms and saw within the grass what looked like a blanket of insects. I wondered if the scars would endure or if Vitamin E or a skin graph would be needed to remove the marks on my arms.  A year later the scars have faded and gone with regular treatments using Vitamin E, Calamine lotion and Cortisone Creams.  I was unable to identify the culprits or predators.  It may be dangerous to sit on the grass without covering.  Perhaps now years down the road of a booming study in Evolutionary Biology we are left with many, many species of insects which are difficult to identify.  I wonder if we need to exterminate the city?  A technological method could be employed to control numbers or large populations and make land safe.  What is the impact of insects on a city or architecture?  Every time I find insects inside of my house I wonder how they arrived?  If through a hole in the structure or waiting by the front door. Are they breeding? Do they have a nest?  What if we were to make a website for the entire city or even world to input data about what insects they find on their land and in their house and evidence about their arrival.  There are Harvard Scientists associated to the rise in insect populations that design, birth and breed large populations of insects such as E.O. Wilson. I was always a long time fan of eco-systems and nature but it did concern me one day I was in the country side that insects were far more plentiful than I realized.  I even heard that you cannot leave land empty or vacant that insects will take territory and multiply. I saw even today, my neighbor with a broom stick hitting a nest of insects off the side of his house.  The other day I opened the door to my house and four flies flew in.  It was strange I wondered if they were chipped or programmed, I saw two flies flying together in unison.

If you want to find out about what is included in Michigan’s tree population, check the Herbarium’s website at the University of Michigan for books for sale.  http://herbarium.lsa.umich.edu/herb/publications/default.asp

Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Gloria Steinem at Toledo Library November 18th, 2015 at 7pm

Authors! Authors!
Saturday, September 26, 2015
7:00 pm
Main Library
325 N Michigan St
Toledo, OH
Price: $10/general admission, $8/students

Doris Kearns Goodwin will headline the 20th anniversary celebration of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s Authors! Authors! series. Goodwin kicks off the 2015-2016 season with a reception and fund-raising dinner benefitting the Library Legacy Foundation. Gloria Steinem, Matt Groening, and Lynda Barry are also on the lineup for the season. For more information and ticket sales, call 419-259-5200 or visit web2.toledolibrary.org.

Michigan’s Google Expansion and a General Google Update

Michigan’s Google Campus Expansion
Ann Arbor Median Income Predicted to Rise
By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Staff Writer
This year in the 3rd or fourth quarter, according to Alex McDougal of the Ann Arbor News, expect to see a new Google campus at 2300 Traverwood Drive near University of Michigan’s North campus in Traverwood Business Park, just north of Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. The new Google campus could impact Michigan’s 5.6% unemployment rate and Ann Arbor’s average median income of $25.58 or the median salary of $53,200 according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Statistics.
An influx of high level technology jobs, such as the 400+ positions that formerly related to the “Adwords Advertising Program” and filled four floors in 137,000 square- foot of the Mckinley Towne Center in Downtown Ann Arbor will relocate to the campus and occupy two buildings, the first building built in 2000 and another under construction.
Veronica Grecu reported at Commercial Property Executive that “Google will break ground on an adjacent 73,000 square foot office space to be completed by the end of 2016 when the first employees start moving in.”
Currently, The Michigan Bureau of Labor Statistics lists number of jobs at 4,255,000 with 3,000 new jobs since last month and a high of 99,000 new jobs last year. Google was also reported by Crain’s Detroit to be opening new 96,000 square foot offices in Farmington Hills.
Google’s website advertised under a “Still a Student” tab scholarships, internships and positions that span the globe including an advertisement for a Software Developer Intern or Software Engineer Intern requiring a PHD. Interns were listed on the Google Website as having to “conceive & develop software applications to extend and improve on Google’s product offering.” Google offers internships to MBA students.
The Google workforce is divided into 3 key area: 1) Build cool stuff (Engineering and Design, Operations and Support, Product Management, Developer Relations and Technical Solutions), 2) Sell Cool Stuff (Sales and Account Management, Product and Customer Support, Partnerships and Sales Operations) and 3) Do Cool Stuff (Administrative and Business Strategy, Finance, Legal and Government Relations, Marketing & Communications, People Operations, Real Estate and Workplace Services, Social Impact).
A world class giant technology company, Google, has offices in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. Online Google states that, “we hail from all walks of life and speak dozens of languages, reflecting the global audience that we serve.”
Employee’s may be inspired by the jungle inspired lobby in Sydney Australia, the Mother’s Room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the New Year’s Celebrations in Beijing China, the Pub Style Lounge in Dublin Ireland or Tatami Meeting Room in Tokyo, Japan. The company offers a variety of benefits including on site physicians and comprehensive health care, travel insurance and emergency insurance even for personal vacations, new parents get time off and extra pay to welcome newborns, Tuition Reimbursement and legal advice at no cost or at a generous group discount.
Google is characterized by, “our belief in the endless possibilities of the internet.” They provide a “variety of tools to help businesses of all kinds succeed on and off the web.”

Fashion & Textiles #1: Modern Sewing

Modern Sewing
By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
According Anne Reinstein, of the “All Sewn Up Sewing School,” in Ann Arbor, “more and more students are interested in learning to sew.” Reinstein said, “Sewing is a life skill that is rarely taught in schools today.” “More and more parents recognize the value of sewing and are seeking sewing lessons for their children,” said Reinstein. “Shows like Project Runway have made sewing more popular and sewing is a fundamental skill for designing clothes,” said Reinstein.
The key reasons people sew, Reinstein said, “People sew for originality and creativity, more than saving money.” “It’s possible to make really unique clothes,” said Reinstein, “and from watching “Project Runway” their creative juices were stimulated.” Reinstein’s grandmother’s saved alot of money when they sewed in the 20’s & 30’s; sewing skills were valuable and cheaper. “Nowadays, people can go to the store and buy clothes made around the world and spend less money,” Reinstein added that “Sewing allows people to make truly unique items, be creative and get a custom fit, given how people have really unique figures and have a hard time finding things that fit properly in the store.” Modern sewing, may find people especially in small towns, with less availability of clothing selection, that choose to make their own unique items complete with monogram and tag.
One criterion for garment production that was inspired by television shows like “Project Runway,” according to Reinstein, was the “sketching of clothes which was naturally tandem with their sewing.” It is possible to sketch a garment, make a technical illustration, then a flat pattern and later cut and sew the garment. On the one hand, a design school student may make a fashion illustration and create a “toile” or sample of the garment in muslin, then a finished version in their chosen fine cloth. A design school student, may create a sketch book of “research and development” or utilize draping techniques and work with a dress form.
A design student from, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, who we will call “Leah,” desired to make a collection of Victorian shirts accompanied by three tier skirts or a functional modern Elizabethan uniform. The fashion design student, may also be concerned with printed textiles. Leah, for example after graduating a London design school, wanted to make a club like the “Fashion Fabric Club” online or a “sewing bee” and grow botanicals around her house to print onto dresses. Leah became concerned with making holiday dresses and Easter dresses then jetting off to an advanced sewing school in China. Leah was the kind of girl that hand stitched, with blanket stitch and embroidery thread, onto Manta de Algodon (muslin) in Mexico, her bathing suit, on the way to the beach.
Modern Sewing may find students concerned with “personal wardrobe.” Sewing and Dressmaking Certificate Schools such as “Stratford Career Institute,” recommends writing down your “sewing goals,” in their course book available at time of registration: “Introduction to Sewing and Fabric.”
Leah, later while a student at Stratford, recorded as her sewing goals things like: “corduroys, alterations, winter coat, quilted angel vests, bow ties, medieval dresses, flamenco dresses, NIA dance outfit, smocks, suits, quilting, caftans, period dress, costumes, dolls, Barbie clothes, boleros, clown shirts, T-shirts for her blog, bridal, needle point jackets, flannel shirts, bathrobe, nightgowns, plan sewing area and get a 4 thread overlock machine.” Leah agonizes over things like ruffles, draping and piping.
In terms of sewing area, at the “All Sewn Up Sewing School” there is a wood sewing table of counter top height covered with batting and canvas which is good for laying out patterns, cloth, cutting and ironing. Sewing machines, gauges, scissors, pins, measuring tapes, and ironing equipment are available for the students use. Some sewing studios have felt wall pockets for storing accessories, bulletin walls for pinning up patterns, baskets, drawers and bookshelves. Also common in sewing studios are the basic machine cleaning supplies like cheese cloth, lint brush, large pin, tweezers, screwdrivers in sizes of 1/8, ¼ and oil.
The average sewing and dressmaking student may find themselves making a list of supplies that includes the following: bobbins, dressmakers shears, cutting shears, scissors 5” or 6” long with a small round handle, trimming scissors, embroidery scissors, electric shears, seam ripper, cutting board, tracing wheel, dressmakers tracing paper, tailors chalk, tape measure, yard stick, square rulers, sewing gauge, tailors ham, sharps for hand sewing, pins, needles, wrist pin cushion, thimble and thread.
Pinterest had a fantastic pin-up of “how to make your own dress form” for custom garments and draping techniques by wearing a t-shirt and duct taping over the body (bust), having someone assist with cutting off your mold, then stuffing the mold with cotton and affixing the mold onto a dowel and round board stand.
In Reinstein’s Sewing School, children are showing up on Saturday’s and making: “pajama pants, skirts, head bands, hair scrunchies, small stuffed animals without moving parts, sundresses, drawstring bags and pillows.” “When children first show up they pick a pillow, a pillowcase or a drawstring bag,” said Reinstein.
In Reinstein’s Tuesday class a woman is making pajamas for her husband and an apron for her grandmother. Another female student of Reinstein’s, made 3 dresses for herself, a golfer’s cap for her son and a dress for her daughter. Reinstein said, “It’s about 50-50 clothes and home decorating” for her adult students.
Home Decorating is popular and “cheaper, but not cheap,” according to Reinstein. Reinstein spoke about people who made curtains, shower curtains, curtains for her sink on a stand to cover all the supplies, and a student who was making curtains around her 4 poster bed. Reinstein has a friend who has a business making slip covers and upholstery. Sewing yourself saves on labor. Sewing for home decorating, also allows a home owner to get a custom match to their décor. For example, a professor at Eastern Michigan University, was describing how her shower curtain just had to match, her bathroom.
Sewing classes at Washtenaw Community College teach students the fundamentals of sewing that includes: Sewing machine operation, parts and tools, patterns and fabric, darts, gathers, straight of the grain, zippers, closures, finishing a garment, and patch pocket . After Sewing Fundamental 1, there is Sewing 2 and Sewing 3 as well as Patterns that Fit, Designing with Patterns and various home decorating classes.
There are also local sewing classes at Joann Fabrics, Ann Arbor Sewing Center, Leabu Sewing Center, Nonpareil, Material Girl, at Eastern Michigan University offers and an Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising course and in Troy, IADT or Institute for Apparel Design and Technology. Joann fabric offers a 10% discount card for students who show their current student identification.
Reinstein stressed fundamentals like learning to read a pattern. Another Designer, Mary McCarthy offers a book titled, “Copy it, Duplicate Your Favorite clothes” available at www.marymccarthysews.com. Students of sewing and dressmaking may find duplicating clothing interesting or augmenting and combining several patterns to build original works. It is possible to mix and match existing patterns that work with your original designs.
Reinstein recommended taking your measurements, as is described in detail in her courses text book, as if in a tailoring program, “Reader’s Digest, New Complete Guide to Sewing.” After you take your measurements, buy patterns according to measurement, which are often two dress sizes bigger. www.Etsy.com is popular for plus size patterns, which is another common reason people sew, the availability of plus sizes.
Some patterns can be completely made up, in fact, with measurements and without a flat pattern. There is an “engineering necessity” for a dressmaker in need of complex measurements. Engineers most likely make the best fitting clothes and most attractive clothes. However, some dressmakers young and old are making heirlooms and finery, with the added value of hand made.
K’s Tailoring in Ann Arbor for example may charge a minimum of $500 to make up and even monogram a dress or outfit from a pattern of your choice. A woman who pursued clothing from K’s Tailoring may be considered “well heeled” or extremely fashionable.
“Craftsy” is the secret engine behind many of those lovely fashion illustrations on patterns at Joann Fabrics and Craft. The value of the fashion illustrations, such as on Vogue’s vintage patterns-which could be framed and mounted on the wall- probably, outweighs the pattern by art standards.
A popular quote that is often said by people who sew and was shared by Anne, “We have this competition, whoever has the most fabric, when they die, wins.” Anne said to measure your fabric, label it and store it with a dehumidifier in a basement nicely folded on the right side with a label of what it is, not to prewash the stored fabric until you are ready to sew.”
Pinterest.com provides a wealth of ideas and tips on sewing and really makes it clear that sewing is all the rage in 2015. On Pinterest for example, there was a pin-up for Puebla Dresses or China Poblana on www.themexicandress.com. Pinterest featured Indian Motif clothing, velvet fringe kimonos, patterns from the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s, men’s boxer shorts patterns, crochet edging or tatting, giant floor pillows or homemade bean bags, woven quilts (weave fabric then stitch together) or even a “batch of skirts” as if you got one simple pattern that you liked and made 30 of them in different fabrics. There was also a pin-up for little kitten door stoppers that were sand filled. On the same page as a connecting crafty thought, Pinterest featured these dragon flies made out of things like those propeller looking pieces that drop from trees.
The Craft Council featured Lillstreet’s Textile Studio, which offered a yoga and sewing retreat. Lillstreet had “an afternoon of sewing their-very-own yoga mat bag.”
Reinstein said the home sewer has better equipment in 2015 to achieve a professional garment. Early machines sewed a straight stitch, but now Reinstein said, “You can buy a machine that embroiders, or a machine that is a blind hemmer, or a serger.” “It’s possible” said Reinstein, “to make things look so finished.” “People can go to the store and buy more sophisticated equipment,” said Reinstein. According to Reinstein, “there are better tools, better equipment and better machines, which influences the increase of people sewing today.”
In Reinstein’s class at Washtenaw Community College, she showed video clips of a variety of industrial sewing machines like the “King Pin” for draperies, cushions and leather bags or the “Pfaff 263” to put together pieces of leather or the “High Tex.” In one video, a man was sewing together a leather cap and used large clamps, or clips over the leather not to make permanent pierces in the fabric.
What may account for the increase in sewing, “Sewing now” said Reinstein, “is not as tedious.” Reinstein said, “She was born with a sewing machine,” because her grandmother sewed. In African cultures, a sewing machine is given as a dowry gift. “Sewing as a child, is magical,” said Reinstein.

“The Local Markets” (Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

The Local Markets

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Kasoa Market
How hot is the shito? Fire! Fire! Fire!
sesame seeds, palm oil, bitter leaves, yucca, groundnut paste, eggplant puree, fufu, gari, Valley Rice, yam, coconut milk, Bitter Lemon, palm wine, Ting, (need Star Beer, Ghanaian Guinness, Chamonix),
wax print, net washing clothes, shea butter, African Films, wooden spoons

Hua Xing Market
The fish that plays dead doesn’t get eaten.
The fish that plays dead is the one to eat, because they are the smartest.
The different speckled fish is there to clean the tank, not to eat.
live sea bass, tilapia, frogs, and turtles,
duck, pig hearts, dried plum, bamboo shoots, lemongrass, anise seed, rose black tea, Tie Guan Yin, jasmine tea, Thai Tea, condensed milk, Tea Break Snacks, fortune cookies, green tea late candies, lemon drops, oyster crackers
rice flour, noodles, dumplings, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, chili paste, bok choy, Chinese Cabbage, long green beans, Chinese Chives, bean sprouts, green papaya, jicama, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice, sake, Sapporo, teacups, teapots, round wooden butcher block cutting boards, knives, chef hats, grass mats

European Market
poppy seed cake, yellow chocolate bars with little girls on them, St. Valentine and Nostalgia Teas

Mediterranean Market
rose water, orange blossom water, mate, sage tea, Mamoul, lamb, filet mignon, shish kebab, roasts, chicken breasts, halal meats (blessed),
dried lemons and limes, dill, zaatar, olive oil, tamarind sauce, tahini, grenadine molasses, olives, figs, coarse black pepper, spices, homemade pita, meat pies, kafta, bakery, chocolate croissant, babaganoush, hummus, grape leaves, feta, rose water deserts, almond wedding cookies
filo, falafel, samosa, Zam Zam Water

Bangladesh Market
mustard oil, spices

Whole Foods Market
peanut oil, freshly baked bread, sushi bar, teapots

Bombay Market
rose syrup, Jam E Shirin, chai masala tea, sag paneer, naan, good spicy frozen Indian,
fresh samosas, mangos, coconuts, basmati rice, spices, coriander chutney, dosa batter
Coconut Jasmine Oil, Almond Drops, Acacia Talcum, Vatika Shampoo, Chandrika Soap, ayurvedic products, Meswak Toothpaste, Babool Toothpaste
incense, tapestries, instruments, pictures Kali and Ganesh, music, cookbooks
trays, bowls & plates for Xi Xi

Hyundai Market
3 kinds of seaweed salad, fresh and dried mushroom, bulgogi, sea salt, sticky rice
teapots, bowls, cookbooks, Korean Films, exfoliating cloth, little umbrellas

Meijer’s
caramel apples, no bake cookies, Windmills, German Chocolate Cakes, carrot cakes, Girl Scout Ice Cream, Stroop Waffle (Dutch Cookies), Cracker Jack, popcorn, Hershey Bars, malted, cocoa powder, starlight mints, marmalade, maple syrup, baking needs, frozen pie shells,
Corona with lime, Shandy Leinenkugel, Squirt, carrot juice
catfish, smoked salmon, bacon selection, BBQ needs
cilantro, dill, sage, mint, jicama, avocados, navel oranges, mandarin, large apple selection, papaya, carrot juice, gherkins, baked beans, fire roasted tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, mélange greens, wheatgrass, long green beans, sprouts, 3-5 lb. bags potatoes, red wine vinegar, frozen spinach, coconut milk, whipping cream, molasses
Arm and Hammer Toothpaste, Aveeno Stress Body Wash, Sesame Body Oil, egg coloring kits,
classic 70’s music, Northern Toilet Paper, linen scented bleach, lined white paper and pens, tights, white underwear
roses, eucalyptus, spider plants

Trader Joes
brie, crackers, yoghurt, peanut butter cups, baklava tray, granola, nuts, Sangiovese, chai tea, Irish Breakfast Tea, coconut shrimp, spinach pie, vitamin c body wash, eucalyptus, flowers
General Tao’s Chicken, blueberry scones, dollar pancakes, Cherries in Merlot, Columbian Instant Coffee

Copernicus Market (Polish Deli)
herring salad, cabbage rolls, 3 bean salad, cured meats and cheeses, freshly baked bread, sweet mustards, pierogi, pickle salad, vegetable soup, mushroom soup, apple cake, poppy cake, rose petal jam, blackberry jam,
chocolate covered cherries with brandy inside, candy, crackers, Warka, Mouton Cadet

Dos Hermanos
mamey, elote, nopales, huazontle, aguacate, limon, flor de calabaza, tamal, tortilla selection, mole, salsa verde, queso fresco, guacamole, pozole, carnitas, barbacoa, tortas, diesmillo, carnes frescas
El Salvadoreno Crema, vanilla, canela (roasted cinnamon), carne asada, cerveza, Flor de Jamaica,
marzipan, playeras, Ojo de Venado, piñata, La Virgin, chicken’s feet