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Our August 30th Picnic


We were blessed with just about perfect picnic weather yesterday, and this, accompanied by your extraordinary participation, made it a day to remember.
 
Ace reporter Teresa Reynhout photographed the event; all of the photo credits go to her.
 
So let's see.  What do you need to have a picnic?
 
 
Well, first you're going to need a tent.  Here is ours going up on Saturday.  See those ominous clouds?  THEY STAYED AWAY!!   Next, you'll need a place to hold the picnic, and a wonderful host ...
 
 

... which we certainly had.  This is Ken Unterbrink, along with Joseph Neuman, a boy whom he helps. The picnic was held at Ellie and Ken Unterbrink's home in the Chelsea area.

So once you have a place, the next thing you'll need is ...

 
 
 
... a chef!  This is Mike Sroufe, hog roaster extrordinaire.  Mike not only cooked the pig, he also prepared some venison and some turkey.  Yummy!
 
 
When you have all that going for you, you're bound to attract a crowd, and boy did we ever.  Here's a look at us from across "Lake Ellie" ...
 
 
... and here's a closer look.  We think that about 250 people showed up ... although one of our volunteers insists that there were well over 300.  Until the Thursday before the event, we thought we were going to have a nice, solid 130 person event.  Then in the last two days, 75 more people RSVP'd and we realized that this was not going to be an ordinary picnic.  We had to scramble to find extra chairs and tables [fortunately, Mike the hog roaster had plenty of meat for us], and we even went so far as to send out an e-mail reminding folks that they COULD bring their own blankets and picnic on Ken's very nice lawn.  Fortunately, some of the attendees did, and that freed up enough tables so that we were [just!] able to accomodate the crowd.
 
Now, in addition to meat, we also needed other food, but this was never a worry because one thing we were sure of is that Michiganders REALLY know how to put on a pass-around [potluck?] dinner ...
 
 
... and here it is.  No, this photo is not an exaggeration.  This really is what the food tables looked like [and how crowded they were].  And isn't it a REALLY good thing that John Balbach suggested as we were setting up that we should move the food tables so they were accessible from both sides!  By the way -- does anybody know who made the red white and blue cupcakes??
 
Once the crowd and the food are taken care of, the next thing you need is ...
 
 
... volunteers!  Here are Dennis Grysen and David Adamson.  Dennis was an enormous help at this picnic--it was he who figured out where we could find more tables and chairs early Sunday morning.  And Dave, of course, has been our super volunteer all summer.  He gave up his button retailing assignment to be the "checker-inner" at this event.  Now, speaking of buttons ...
 
 
... here is Eric Lielbriedis, who took over the button board for the day, and ...
 
 
... here is the incomparable Marlene Chockley, who took care of most of the purchases needed for the picnic, and who spent the day signing up precinct delegates.  That's Len Chockley with Marlene; he was very helpful as we were setting up the tables, and he was the one who figured out how to eliminate the "squeal" from the sound system when speakers were talking.
 
Now of course people do lots of different things in addition to eating at picnics. Sometimes, for example ...
 
 
... they hold little reunions.  Here is the Western Washtnaw group on the gazebo next to Lake Ellie. At Dexter Daze, one of the Wright girls [standing in front], had a T-Shirt that said something like "Yes, I enjoy operating small machines that propel lead projectiles at high velocities."  When some rather clueless young boy came up and asked her what that was all about, she said "I shoot guns, dummy!"  It was a great moment.  Another thing folks did was ...
 
 
... look at our button board.  Meanwhile, young boys ...
 
 
... entertained dreams of gridiron glory while young moms ...
 
 
... introduced their daughters to the joys of sliding.  That's Rebecca Schneider with her daughter Ava--watch out for that top step, Ava!
 
Now.  No political picnic would be complete without speeches, and we certainly had those. 
 
 
This might be called "At Tale of Two Chairmen" as Michigan Republican Party chair Ron Weiser speaks, while Washenaw County Party chair [and MC for the event] Mark Boonstra looks on.  Chairman Weiser reminded us of the old [unfunny] joke where people ask you "Oh.  Are you the Ann Arbor Republican"? [As if there is only one--or at any event, very few.]  Not today, guys.  Not today!
 
Chairmen weren't the only people who spoke, though ...
 
 
... here is Rick Snyder, candidate for governor, inviting people to join his "ReInvent Michigan" campaign.  And speaking of candidates, we had a lot of them for people to meet ...
 
 
... here is gubernatorial candidate and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard with Barbara Issel. Barbara, her husband Lou, and their daughter Cynthia said that they had a great time at the picnic.
 
 
Here is Hannah Murray, Chelsea resident, environmental engineer, and soon-to-be lawyer (?) talking with Rick Snyder.  We had a lot more that just governor's office candidates, though ...
 
 
 
This is State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.  Mike and the Michigan Senate are about the only thing standing between us and more Granholm tax hikes.  [Do you think she'll ever learn??] Mike, shown here with Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land,  is running to be the state's next Attorney General; in this race, he is competing with ...
 
 
 ... former State Senator, former U.S. Congressman, and former judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals Bill Schuette.   Judge Schuette, shown here with his daughter Heidi, once noted that "As a judge, I know the difference between the bad guys and the good guys ..." 

The other state-wide race next year will be to replace Terri Lynn Land as Secretary of State.  Two of the candidates in this race showed up: 

 
 
State Senator Cameron Brown, shown here with his wife Helen, and ...
 
 
Calhoun County Clerk and Register of Deeds Anne Norlander, standing here with Pittsfield Township's Bob Bykowski, and Matt Cauley from Saline.  Matt is the guy who drives the fire truck for us in parades around the County.
 
As if those weren't enough, we also had candidates for federal races, starting with the 7th Congressional District where we got pictures of three of the contendors:
 
 
Here, Marvin Carlson and his wife Sue are talking to a consituent, while an interested Kurt Koehler [previous County Comissioner District Candidate] looks on.  Then we have
 
 
relative newcomer, lawyer, and ex-marine Brian Rooney [and yes, he is from the Pittsburgh Steeler-owning Rooney family] .  Finally, there is
 
 
Congressman Tim Walberg, who, in spite of the Obama landslide, came within an eyelash of holding on to this seat in 2008.  The Congressman here is standing with the Reynhouts [wonder who Teresa got to snap the picture?]  Look at the size of young David!  Jeff and Teresa are raising a giant!
 
OK.  In the 15th Congressional District we have ...
 
 
Jack Lynch [shown here with his wife Lisa].  Jack challenged the been-there-forever 15th District Congressman John Dingel in 2008.  He didn't win, but he DID gain valuable campaign experience. Could 2010 be the year when Dingel, at last, is retired??
 
Two seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are opening up in 2010, and we already have [at least potential] candidates for both of them.  In the 52nd house district we have
 
 
... a potential candidate in current District One County Commissioner Mark Ouimet, here with Judge Kirk and Ibana TabbeyMark has been an extremely successful County Commissioner, managing to preserve some out-county services such as road patrol in spite of the Ann Arbor Commissioners' desire to spend all of the [considerable] tax money which we out-county people pay inside the urban areas of the county
 
In the 55th house district [only part of which is in Washtenaw County] we have
 
 
Joe Zurawski, standing here with the last Republican to hold the 52nd house seat Gene deRossett. Joe is York Township's supervisor, and has managed to keep his township's spending in line with its resources, in spite of recent property tax value declines [a talent that would be useful in Lansing?]. Joe is being challenged in this race by:
 
 
... Rick Olson, sitting here with his wife Linda.  Rick is a relative newcomer to Washtenaw County, but he is proving to be an outstanding volunteer and he gathered extensive political experience in the state of Washington before he moved here.
 
Finally, one more picture to sort of sum things up:
 
 
Here are Peggy Haynes and Jennifer Helmer.  Peggy, you may remember, is the last Republican to hold County-Wide office here.  She was county Clerk and Register of Deeds, but was swept out in the 2004 election.  Jennifer is a dynamite worker for the Michigan State Republican Party who  actually worked in the County Clerk's office for Peggy "back in the day".  She is now married to David Helmer, and she is the one who brought the audio system that our speakers used at the picnic.
 
Could 2012 -- the next time there will be county-wide elections -- mark the return of the Republicans here in Washtenaw County?  Are we seeing the beginnings of a Republican resurgence??
 
We don't know yet.  But, as our state Republican Party chair, Ron Weiser, never stops reminding us, the first step toward THAT happy outcome is to "Win in '10"!!
 
Wyckham
 
P.S.  I KNOW this e-mail was a bit long, but the picnic yesterday was an extraordinary event, and I thought it needed to be very well documented.