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.”







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: 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


Tawas Point State park

Mackinac Island


Traverse City

Maumee Bay Erie Oregon Ohio



Pinckney Recreation Area

Waterloo Trails


South Haven

Grand Haven


Germack  Nuts and Coffee

Sanders  Chocolate

Sophie Pickles

Kowalski Sausages

Flea Markets

Antique Shops

Fair Grounds




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


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.


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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


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


Girl Scout Cookies


Lots of Baking

Shopping and cooking


Aveda perfume oils, haircuts, nice shampoos


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  2030 Commerce blvd a2 yoga

Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute


Lu Ban Interior Contraction LLC

2184 New burgh Dr

Troy, Mi 48083



Deck, Fence



Golden Lawn Service


Hua Xing Market

Kasoa Market

Hyundai Market

Mediterranean Market

Bombay Market


Roses Market

European Market

Corpernicus Market


Trader Joes

Whole Foods Market

Produce Station

Dos Hermanos Market

Bangladesh Market


Wen’s Kitchen Supply

31658 John R. Road

Madison Heights, MI 48701


Shanghai rentals

Bike Riding


Westside Furniture Consignment Emporium

Tie and Dye

Silk screen

Art Projects



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

A knitting machine

Boot shop Chelsea


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


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.






Just Released “The Pearl Reader” By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

To order “The Pearl Reader” and “Magic 8 and The Bone Marrow Sucker,” two delightful collections of poems by Ghanaian-American poet, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu, see below links.  Available from the website, or the publisher on or from or Chapters in Indigo in Canada and coming soon on Barnes and Noble online. Enter your contact information at to receive future notices about upcoming book releases.

Magic 8 & the Bone Marrow Sucker:

In Canada:

The Pearl Reader: