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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rents have doubled in the last 3-6 years in Washtenaw County

Rents have doubled in the last 3-6 years in Washtenaw County

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Landlords have been known to come in and buy new properties and want higher and higher rents to increase their profits.  It happened in New York City where there was less ownership and a severely unbalanced economy where the public’s paycheck or where the median income was about $40,000 and the rents on the cheap end were $1600 and all the way sky high up to even $10,000 per month if you rented a pent house.

The point is the economy starts to unbalance when all the greed streams in via rentals and student exploitation and all of a sudden there is a marginalized population that doesn’t make it over the bar who has to either move or becomes homeless.   Washtenaw County  just experienced rapid rent growth in Ypsilanti where a  woman may have rented a $500-$600 apartment 6 years ago and now is faced with lows that are in the thousands-rents have doubled.    One land lady sold her building and right away the new landlord wanted to raise the rents  over and over and never stopped wanting more for the building.

I am appealing to Washtenaw County Leadership, we need to set up an “Office of Fee Inquiry” that sets prices that are fair and in keeping with the economy.  There are now not  affordable rents for students in Ypsilanti. Students have to double up and triple up to afford an apartment.  There are also extremely high rents in Ann Arbor around the University of Michigan.

It is predicted that rents will ruin this county making it unaffordable or unappealing to study and an unbalanced economy may make the poor even poorer.   Most student jobs only pay $8-$10 an hour.  If you look on craigslist at rents and at employment you will see a dramatic difference between low wages and high rents which are incompatible.  Wages didn’t go up, rents doubled. We have a problem with the economy.  In a city like Ypsilanti where rents really should be $300, $400, $500, $600ish-things are $1000, $1050, $1300, $1650.  The average student cannot work full time and even if he did work full time would earn ~$1280 at $8.00 per hour which would suggest he could afford perhaps a $250 or $300 rent. The current housing situation is not realistic.

What happened in New York after rents skyrocketed should really be a lesson for us all.  We need a place that will cap and price rents so that greed does not take over and before things like homelessness start to really become a problem.  We need to place caps and laws on landlords not to ruin our economy.  Washtenaw County is getting ruined.

 

 

 

Halloween, A Barometer of Health

Halloween, A Barometer of Health

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Back in the 70’s in certain neighborhoods in Michigan or apartment complexes, on Halloween children got into costumes and went door to door with little pumpkins or bags or even pillow cases to fit more candy.  People put up decorations and in big bowls handed out candy to every neighborhood child generally between 5-8 PM on Halloween.  In 2017, it appears that some neighborhoods are too dangerous for children to go door to door and it becomes a “barometer of health” for a community, is my community safe for children?  Back in the 70’s elementary school teachers at schools like Spartan Village Elementary prepared kids for Trick or Treating giving them directions to “check” all their candy or beware of apples or unpackaged goods that could be tampered with.  Some people loved the opportunity to give to local children and gave Halloween pencils.  Generally when candy ran out, people starting giving pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to children and the average child came home with a little cash.  People hauled out those big jars of saved coins and some even wrapped pennies in cloth or plastics.  Children got home and spread out their candies, organizing selections and counting candy bars, checking for favorites and even engaging in a few swaps with siblings.  These are the kids with silver fillings in every tooth that hit the dentist when they drilled cavities.  Halloween was great!

Some parents get together with friends and make their children’s bags of candy entirely themselves without going door to door.  Some parents also hire a tailor to make their children’s costumes.  Buy a cake, make punch and play music and games.  Working professionals are finding solutions to make sure their kids have the best of times.  It’s also good to start planning Halloween two months in advance, so around August, some people start to plan Halloween. Some parents will organize 20 or so houses in their neighborhood for children to Trick or Treat at and place signs on all their doors. Some even drive around for Trick or Treating.

People with children may want to look for solutions for continuing the holiday and also problem solving within their community when people don’t seem to be safe with children.  One possible solution would be to have the police perform background checks and issue signage for front lawns and front doors to alert children that this household is a checked and safe household that wants to participate in the holiday.  It would be great if the police issued certified Halloween signs. Signs could also be posted like “sorry kids candy has run out.”   It’s interesting to see which neighborhoods are still able to maintain the holiday with ease and without crime that may be better places to raise children.

Some possible alternatives could be for businesses to develop their client base of the future and participate in handing out candies.  Another would be for shopping malls to be safe places for Halloween trick or treating.  Schools may have their own Halloween festivities that kick off the day.  Back in the 70’s kids were bobbing for apples, playing musical chairs, eating cupcakes and generally having spooktacular good times.

One solution I heard of were these pop up warehouses that feature haunted houses etc. and you pay a general admission and go around to stands collecting a variety of candy.  What Halloween ends up being is a holiday geared towards safety and how to have a good time, safely.

There are many ways to catch the fever at cider mills or on farms or on hay rides or planning parties or making a  bonfire, or even with an outdoor fireplace, singing songs or sewing costumes, or making quick breads or shopping for old and traditional Halloween candies or writing spooky stories or telling stories or making a goth writing group or wearing rainbow hair or wigs or black eyeliner, or maybe a trip to the cemetery to visit the dead.

It is up to each of us to use this opportunity to make our neighborhoods safer for children.  People may want to distribute photocopies to get it going in their neighborhood or schedule a neighborhood meeting or even consult the police.  It’s time to gear up for next year!  The City of Ann Arbor had a lot of festivities planned for the holiday and distributed an email that went around.  Things were planned in parks as well as setting official kick off times and closing times.  Halloween can be a fun way to engage in community building.

It may even be nice in student areas to promote some college trick or treating for older students who would love a big bag of diverse candy.  Don’t forget to wear your spirited colors like orange and black.

In other parts of the world Halloween may be holidays like Dia de los muertos or Day of the Dead in Mexico.  Halloween may also be a time of witch covens or paganism.   Search your local public library for books on Day of the Dead or interesting Halloween celebrations!  Halloween just passed but make a good plan for next year!!!

Don’t forget to stock up on oral care, preserve your teeth and make a trip to the dentist!! You may even want Prilosec for those belly aches?

 

 

 

Invisible President: Taking the local social system into one’s own hands. I aim to recondition.

Taking the local social system into one’s own hands.  I aim to recondition.

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

The invisible posting was written in bold text:   Help Wanted! A designer for a “new social system.”    What really needs to be placed in the classified ads is assistance for leadership whose work for this state falls short of loving and valued.  Take housing issues for example, where mass media branding of “persons without housing” created “homelessness,” and stigmatization and even psychological problems that could kill those in distress.  The help arrives not before it’s too late, but once one is out on a limb, with no one and nothing and resorting to shelters like the Delonis Shelter in Ann Arbor or being directed to camp grounds outside in the woods.  It is as if our current leadership decided our people just weren’t worth it, or if they could not step to the plate correctly and with financial projections- to exit.  “People without housing” is what needs to be reconditioned after Ann Arbor, particularly hostile directed its citizens to camp grounds outside in the woods when without housing, where many died.  What I aim to recondition is never to say “the homeless person,” but to say the person without housing or having a temporary housing issue.  It’s kind of like the disease branding and how that devastated so many people to be addressed as a disease title like “schizophrenic.”  People should in that case-I aim to recondition-say a person suffering with the illness of schizophrenia and never, never a schizophrenic as if that were his modus operandi complete.  Strange titles lead people to believe that people are fundamentally those things, when actually they are not.

It dawned on me that what we chiefly need first are good designs and to promote those designs and begin to manifest and implement something new and I felt strangely capable by even caring, even as a humanitarian and recognized that our current leadership may not be aware or qualified to grip the problem.  We could use Statisticians.  We could use formula designers and architects to lay a new template.  Should you feel capable to redesign our social system, I welcome your designs.  We need new designs and very often we can figure out what organizations we need and start to chart a course.  It would be great to do research and make a speech to University of Michigan Business School or Eastern Michigan University Certified Non Profit Professionals (CNP) about where our holes are in this community for future graduates to build businesses or organizations around.  There are many ways to start to bridge those gaps and chart a new course but we need to give up accepting the status quo.  There is a proverb, “no bad-better,” meaning not to criticize but to replace with a solution.  Sometimes revolutionaries will build another one next to it.

The solution should be within our ideal minds-for example not the woods, or a warming center, or on the floor, but perhaps an ideal, in an apartment, with a grant or basic human account, or in a hotel or transitional housing, but not what we currently have-woods, warming center, floors and inhumanity.  We need to value ourselves more. We need to make the system we want.  We don’t need the aftermath of once they have closed all the programs and likely reallocated the programs monies and left us with this pitiful social system where everyone feels shame to walk through the door.  We need a social system that is humane, in touch with the needs of our population, includes a “net” for us when we are falling, one for which we can be proud and not experience stigma or shame.  We can place a ban on birthing, until we have established a social system, reconditioned ourselves and have “value to man.”

 

 

Invisible President: Happy Life!!! Things to do with Family and Friends in Michigan, Nearby and Elsewhere

Happy Life!!!  Things to do with Family and Friends, Michigan, Nearby and elsewhere

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Ludington

Tawas Point State park

Mackinac Island

Empire

Traverse City

Maumee Bay Erie Oregon Ohio

Muskegon

Pentwater

Pinckney Recreation Area

Waterloo Trails

Frankenmuth

South Haven

Grand Haven

Beulah

Germack  Nuts and Coffee

Sanders  Chocolate

Sophie Pickles

Kowalski Sausages

Flea Markets

Antique Shops

Fair Grounds

Camping

Opera

Theater

Outdoor Concerts

Art Fair

Sea World

Cedar Point

Value World, Salvation Army Thrifting

Tireman Road Detroit- Coneys, flea market by Islamic Center

Sand Dunes-Muskegon

Go Cart places East Lansing

International Grocery Circuit

Cook books

Hour Detroit Magazines Search for Good Culinary

Chicago

Toledo Zoo

Detroit Zoo

Portrait or to Draw at Detroit Zoo

Antique Photo Frankenmuth

Portrait Innovations portraits

Spa, plastic, mani, pedi, Fran Coy Salon etc.

DIA

Michigan Theater

Ruth’s Steak House

Comic Book Place Detroit

Eastern Market & Local shops around it

Save A Lot  to buy Soul Food

Fish Bone’s Aretha Franklin’s Restaurant

Kid’s clothes (Indian tunics, Chinese outfits-Value world, online, Ragstock, Flamenco Dresses

Bookstores, Literati

Sheet Music shopping

Looking at Instruments

Brewing Pub

Fish Fry on Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti

Grinders or Submarine

Make a Spaghetti bake

We can get “cut beef” to make an African stew from Kasoa Market

Shop for Music

Kilwins get a caramel apple

Copernicus Polish Market in Ann Arbor get everything and Mouton Cadet

Cocktails

RV or Pop Up Van

Vacation house, lake and boat

State parks

Waterloo trails

Pinckney Trails

Ford Park and Trails

Petoskey flea markets

See eye glasses

Rock shop

Cherry Festivals

Cider Mills

Christmas lights

Country drive

Apple orchards

Berry Festivals

Sundae’s “Traveler’s Club” Okemos formerly Miller Farms (serves kiddie cocktails and sundaes)

Church

Environmental Interests:  Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Leslie Nature Center, The Nature Conservancy, The Ecology Center, Inland Seas Education Association, Master Rain Gardeners

 

Hay rides, search Michigan Farms

Swimming

Drive Thrus (fast food)

Grocery Shopping

Sommerset Mall

Fairlane Mall

12 Oaks Mall

Go to Library

Study or Research

Butcher Shop

Fish Market

Middle Eastern Markets in Dearborn (lamb, arabic coffee)

Downtown Detroit

Greek Town

Cruises going around Michigan

Fisher Theater

Antique shops

Find antique fair grounds

Fishing

Target, wooden plates

The Ark live music

Catch a lecture

Penny Stamps (lectures)

Make a fire in or out, fireplace or fire pit or camping or everyday fire, get song books or guitar or other instrument

Holidays!!

International Institute Events

Record Store downtown

Treasure Mart

Fruit markets

Kresge Bird Sanctuary

Riverside Art Center

Quilt Center

Ice Cream Cones

Coney Islands for Coneys!!

Bucket of Chicken go the park

Downtown Ann Arbor

Downtown Manchester

Lodi Township/Pleasant Lake Road Country side

Milan Cider Mill

Blicks Art Supply

Water colors to the Beach

Rent a house Pentwater

Sunsets

Race car track

Rent a pop up van

Rent a sports car

Rent a luxury new car

DIA Films

UMMA exhibitions

Ecorse Road Ice Cream stand

Wiards Cider Mill

County Fairs

Meijers Christmas time Popcorn tins, Brachs Chews

Salt City Antiques on Michigan Ave Ypsilanti

Smiths Antiques, Michigan Ave, Ann Arbor

Christmas tree ornament shopping

Fresh tree some years, Produce Station

Getting Fire wood

Collecting dishes, cook books

Croquet

Good Will thrifting

Nuway Thrift Store Kalamazoo

Fur shops of Furriers of Detroit

Gospel Music

Sheet Music

Clavichord Recital catch at EMU

Tree lightings

Cocoa and Marshmallows

S’mores

Girl Scout Cookies

Popcorn

Lots of Baking

Shopping and cooking

Haircut

Aveda perfume oils, haircuts, nice shampoos

Canada?

Train to Toronto

Upper Peninsula Forests and nature

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Chicago list-Uncle Fun’s, Penny’s Noodle Shop, Heaven on 7, Blues, Maxwell Street Flea Market, Devon Ave. Indian Shops, Wicker Park, Magnificent Mile, Pilsen, South Loop, John Fluevog Chicago/Wicker Park

ABC or Best Buy

Tim Hortons

Duncan Donuts

General Taos Chicken

Canopy Bed

 

Stony Creek market

9012 Stony Creek at Willis

734-482-7504 wines and craft beer

 

Learn to ice skate

Detroit Opera House

A2 yoga.net  2030 Commerce blvd a2 yoga

Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute

Rosewholesale.com

 

www.mynamenecklace.com

 

Lu Ban Interior Contraction LLC

2184 New burgh Dr

Troy, Mi 48083

248-689-2888

 

Deck, Fence

248-835-8138

 

Golden Lawn Service

248-390-4067

Hua Xing Market

Kasoa Market

Hyundai Market

Mediterranean Market

Bombay Market

Alladins

Roses Market

European Market

Corpernicus Market

Meijers

Trader Joes

Whole Foods Market

Produce Station

Dos Hermanos Market

Bangladesh Market

 

Wen’s Kitchen Supply

31658 John R. Road

Madison Heights, MI 48701

248-589-2483

www.Tripadvisor.com

Shanghai rentals

 

Thepopcornfactory.com/jolly

Bike Riding

WCC

Westside Furniture Consignment Emporium   www.wfce.net

Tie and Dye

Silk screen

Art Projects

Drawing

Kites

Textiles( Placemats, napkins, quilts, fabrics, throws, sweaters, table clothes, blankets, ties, socks, jeans, overalls, tennis shoes)

A knitting machine

Boot shop Chelsea

BBQ

Sporting Events, Detroit Lions, Pistons, Red Wings

UM foot ball, EMU, high school and little league

Exercise Classes

Current Magazine regular list of events

Host a Party

Mexican Fiesta

Safari Night

Full Moon Bazaar

Tomukun Korean BBQ

Dibella’s Subs

Cocktail parties with Kiddie cocktails

Form a choir

Choir director

Nature Walk

Long Walk-nice places to walk?

Pizza party

Around fire place

Song Books

Put in pizza oven

tail gating or in house versions with appetizers

big holidays

vacations

yoga retreats

Annual or around calendar repeated from former article:  rent a cottage, birthdays, dinner parties, time alone, teaching time, reading- time start a box of books to take to the cottage, nature walks, camping, BBQ’s, family reunions, Mexican Fiestas, Christmas parties, cocktail parties, kids sleep overs, cocoa parties, disco nights, fire side sing alongs, full moon parties, caroling, pilgrimages, spiritual times, fasting, keep track of old friends, trip with a friend, cruise, renew vows, anniversaries, traditions, go out to favorite restaurants every year same time, pool parties, parks, plays and favorite theaters, concerts, playing music with friends, recitals, annual performances, playing games or cards, scrabble night, read poems with writer friends or poetry readings, exhibitions, private film screenings, non-profit events, Oktoberfest etc.

 

African Walking Treks

 

Invisible President: Thinking about the Quality of Life in the State of Michigan

Invisible President :  Thinking About the Quality of  Life in the State of Michigan

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

There are many considerations to think about when developing one’s State.  A good way to develop businesses for one’s State and to make it more appealing for the long haul are looking at things that make it good for people with disabilities, good for the elderly, good for children, good for diversity, good for internationalism, good for businesses to thrive, good for nature, good housing prices, low cost foods, low cost of living, low rents for students, good schools, good roads, no pollution and great culinary.

Size of one’s house can be an interesting consideration to keep energy costs low and lawn care easy and property taxes low or make it easy to pay off while you’re young.  Michigan has a good selection of houses in a variety of sizes from baby houses to luxury estates.  When thinking of what one will always be able to afford at different stages in one’s life it may be interesting to gauge the stability of your job over time, the consistency and strength of one’s income, and look realistically at one’s belongings to be able to accommodate one’s present and future belongings within a space, plus one’s family, extended family and grandchildren.  It may be more appealing to acquire a 10 year mortgage and plan for easier spending in older more fragile years.  Wouldn’t it be great if we curbed property taxes on the elderly so people can really have peace when they are aging and stay in their homes.

Michigan is a really appealing place to retire and build one’s life for the long term for many reasons.  It’s a great Christmas State with 4 distinct seasons. There are many beaches and lots of water in general in the state.  There are also  places to enjoy nature as well as many nature reserves and State Parks for camping in nature or near the beach.  Many persons in Michigan enjoy a primary residence and vacation house on one of Michigan’s variety of rivers and lakes.   Many people get older spending all summer on one of Michigan’s lake’s fishing.  Even if you don’t have a lake house, you can launch a boat or tow a boat to a public beach. There are tons of places to exercise and keep fit do yoga or martial arts or nice gyms that keep Michigan’s population healthy.  Many persons in Michigan will install pools or Jacuzzis. Michigan has a variety of lakes each with their own claim to fame, some have islands, some have certain kinds of fish that appeal to a community, some have beaches and walk ways, marinas and it goes on and on.  We can always dig more lakes!

After traveling in my younger days, I really hope that we can keep Michigan “cheap,” with a low cost of living to make it easier for students to study and in the end have a smarter population.  If we have cheap housing or even a ghetto, we should place a good school there where students can live cheaply.

I hope that we can have inexpensive access to foods as well as international foods that bring a lot culture and cache.  Some countries I studied in overseas the cost of living was so high as a student I could barely wash my clothes or cut my hair etc.  Let’s keep it cheap, cheap, and cheap.  We need more monies for advanced studies like PHD’s and to build scholars cities with lots of books and book fairs.    I hope we can collect even books from out local writers which are many (including me).

I hope that we can be hospitable to internationalism and really fight all racism and keep it out of the State and make this a safe haven.  I think what we really need is more monies for education plus to seed the State with more opportunities for merit and notoriety and both can be business ideas for people engaged in MBA’s.  For example someone could run an award like the Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.

There are good programs for low income, including subsidies for people with disabilities, however we could use a better “net” to catch someone who may be falling and cannot pay a variety of things.  Right now in Michigan the “net” is not good enough to catch one before foreclosure and eliminate that as an option or to catch one before homelessness and eliminate that as an option.  People also have problems paying off credit cards, paying household bills and  having their general needs met.  We need places for free clothes, free food, free resources or necessities-those are good businesses to start-we need a free world.    I once went to Salvation Army when I was short on my rent and they help in court not before the relationship is ruined and terminal, there is almost nothing that will help you in the event you cannot pay rent in Michigan and there should be.  We need to build up our “net” in Michigan, so when we are falling there is something there to catch us.

I think the overarching idea is not to just build a bank account, but to build one’s community or to build one’s State and family.  Churches should know I think there are USDA Grants to start food pantries and feed low income persons, young people, students, parents or people with disabilities, or unemployed.  Perhaps that’s a viable business a minister or community could engage in?  Perhaps an MBA coming out of school could start a Food Pantry?

I think what is missing from Michigan is development of the creative sector.  There are a lot of students in art schools and I wonder what is the full capacity of the creative sector to absorb our graduates?   What would be good is to direct more artists to architecture schools like Lawrence Tech and to Skilled Trades for more industrial craft skills or to natural resources or to manufacturing or to development of the sector.  You may have thought about painting but how about erect a sky scraper?  We could use an “eclectic gallery district,” more museums, family entertainment, more theaters, more music venues, more community art centers-a bigger and more vibrant creative sector.   We need to build skills not only as curators but as exhibition designers.  I think the key is perhaps to think outside the box and really think creatively about community needs, industrial strengths and how to build things up in and out of galleries-how to liberate and how to become a community builder.

I would like to see art that goes with the State or extends its cultural offerings.  It would be really great to see all the houses lit up for the holidays and people really decorating their porches  every holiday and also planting shrubs, grass, trees and flowers.  There are flowers you can plant that will come back year after year and really hearty flowers that stagger their blooms.  At Meijer’s you can pick up seeds for even $2 and have something growing.

I would love it if Michigan were known for great beaches, great camping, fire places in and out, cider mills, great music, great cities and schools ranked #1 and even Christmas.  Eastern Michigan University for example has a really fantastic music program.  Some people have gotten into ancient instruments like clavichords and harpsichords and kind of live an ancient life style of the Middle Ages.  EMU has great voice instructors and a community music school as well.

What I think is needed are salary subsidies for industries that may be physically demanding or high skill low pay like manufacturing or skilled trades.  We need more pensions and in general  “governmental salary subsidies,” to offset wages for teachers and other fields like the non- profit sector etc.  We can’t always expect our businesses revolving capital to be the equivalent of our salary necessity.

We need to coach our youth on how to save and build wealth and be a stashaholic for older days while they are young.  Young people need to build up 401K’s and pensions, once you’re old it’s too late.  You need to stash throughout your youth before you get sick, disabled or suffer from old age.  It’s nice to keep an emergency fund or even to start family trusts to cover and smooth some of the bumps of life.  It’s really great to stash for children in life insurance policies etc. to build wealth and plan on inheritance.

In general Michigan’s real estate is affordable and diverse.  I think we could use more architects to tear down some older properties and old ghettos and rebuild nice areas.  I found “over building” and adding onto houses or developing properties or lands to be nice and viable.  Add a pool, add some tile work, add an out building-value the property, make it historic even, make it creative, add a dance studio that is maybe just an empty room can be high lux.

I find when your building to think about your education, educating your children, your creativity, and your fitness.  You can build a track around your property line.  You  can install for $20,000-$30,000 a pool, you can put in tennis courts or buy a boat and a cheap boat you can get are kayaks or canoes that fit on cars or in garages?  It’s not hard to live really, really good and even cheap.  Find boat launches or memberships at marinas figure out how to tap into our nature for a beautiful life.

It’s nice to collect cookbooks and build your library.  Buy Amazon gift cards for children, students and everyone to buy books are nice way to give during back to school or for the holidays.  Also planning around the calendar: nice sporting events and tail gating or in house versions with appetizers, big holidays, vacations, retreats, rent a cottage, birthdays, dinner parties, time alone, teaching time, reading- time start a box of books to take to the cottage, nature walks, camping, BBQ’s, family reunions, Mexican Fiestas, Christmas parties, cocktail parties, kids sleep overs, cocoa parties, disco nights, fire side sing alongs, full moon parties, caroling, pilgrimages, spiritual times, fasting, keep track of old friends, trip with a friend, cruise, renew vows, anniversaries, traditions, go out to favorite restaurants every year same time, pool parties, parks, plays and favorite theaters, concerts, playing music with friends, recitals, annual performances, playing games or cards, scrabble night,  kiddie cocktail hour, read poems with writer friends, exhibitions, private film screenings, non profit events, Oktoberfest etc.

Michigan is great! Getting older in Michigan is fantastic.  Also hats off to our neighbors that we utilize like Chicago, Ohio and Canada.  Love Michigan, build Michigan, have a good life.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Spring and Summer Book List

Spring/Summer Book List

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Falun Gong Writings

Drawing books

The Art of Teaching Art By Deborah Rockman

Visual Thinking  By Rudolf Arnheim

The Art of Responsive Drawing   By Nathan Goldstein

Keys to Drawing By Dodson

Herbarium Books on Trees and Lichens and Michigan Nature

Lake Living books (Hiking tips, Fishing)

Recipe books

Dictionary to read

Language work books

French books

Twi Books

Spanish books

Publish Songbooks

Piano music

Read Latin

Grammar

Style Manual

Bon Appetit

Chef Books

The Only Grant Writing Book You’ll Ever Need  Ellen Karsh

The Everything Fundraising Book

New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising Small Non Profits Mary Louise Mussoline

Jossey Bass Series

www.josseybass.com

Idiots Guide to Grant Making

Journals

Barnard Journals

The Elements of Style By Strunk, W Jr

Nation of Nations:  A Narrative History of The American Republic By, J.W. Davidson

Racial and Ethnic Relations By  J.R. Feagin

International Relations  By J.S. Goldstein

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy  By Hirsch, Kett

A People and a Nation:  A History of The United States  By, M.B. Norton

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy  J. Rosati

Women and The American Experience by N. Woloch

Atlas of The World   Oxford University Press

The Heritage of World Civilizations By A.M. Craig

  1. Central Asia: The Challenges of Independence By B. Rumer

Modern Latin America, T. E. Skidmore

Macroeconomics:  Economic Growth, Fluctuations and Policy R.E. Papell Hall

Principles of Microeconomics, G. Mankiw

Public Policy in the United States:  At The Dawn of The Twenty First Century By M.E. Rushefsky

Economic Policy Beyond the Headlines G.P. Shultz

Psychology and Life R..J. Gerrig

Psychology  Gross J Gleitman

Fundamentals of Management  R.W. Griffin

Managing Across Cultures By S. Schneider

Employment Discrimination Law D.P. Twomey

The Dynamics of Mass Communication  J.R. Dominick

The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook:  A Guide to Documents, Databases and Techniques

New Writing and Reporting  and Reporting for Today’s Media  B.D. Itule

Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands  By, T. Morrison

Public Speaking:  Finding Your Voice Plus New My Communication Lab with Etext  M. Osborn

Intercultural Communications:  A Reader By, L.A. Samovar

The Longman Guide to Style and Writing on the Internet  M.C. sammons

New Perspectives on Computer Concepts   J.J. Parson

Meditation

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Policy

U.S. News and World Report

The Economist

The New York Times

The Washington Post

Los Angeles Times

The Wall Street Journal

Pimsleur

Chess

Piano Music and Study books

Communications

Press Releases

Graphic Design

Linguistics

One King’s Lane

Wealth Through Workshops

A Pattern Book By Ryan Molloy

Servant Leadership By Robert K. Greenleaf

Leader to Leader Journal Spring 2006

Situational Leadership Hershey Blanched

Kouzes & Posner Model of Transformational Leadership

Lynda.com

Fileshare.com

Textile and crafting books

Dictionaries of the World

Dying textiles books

Popcorn Cook book

HTML + CSS

Design and Build Websites by Jon duckett

Javascript + JQuery  Jon Duckett

Java Murach

Tailoring:  the Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket By, Editors of CPi

Classic Tailoring Techniques for Menswear:  A Constructionn Guide

Tailoring (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

Illustrated Guide to Sewing: Tailorinng A Complete Course on Making a Professional Suit

Couture Sewing:  Tailoring Techniques By, Claire Shaeffer

The Complete Book of Tailoring  By, Adele P. Margolis

The Shirtmaking Workbook:  Pattern, Design, and construction Resources More than 100 pattern downloads for collars, cuffs & Plackets.

Photoshop CS6 Visual Quick Start Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Afua Osei-Bonsu Chosen for Next Gen Leadership Award 2016

Hi Afua,

“Congratulations! You have been chosen as a Next Generation Nonprofit Leader by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance!  Your selection as a NextGen Leader is a nationally recognized honor for you personally, as well as for your campus’ Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program.”

NLA