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It’s hip to MOCK gov!

14 May

By Heather Litle

I love the month of May. Spring has arrived (hopefully!) and the promise of a great summer filled with family, friends and fun is just around the corner. The sun is finally shining, the flowers are blooming and with that comes the possibility of more date nights and girl’s nights out!

May also kicks-off the 2014 MATRIX:MIDLAND Festival and it’s tagline: ‘It’s hip to be HERE’ couldn’t be any more true this season. With a lineup featuring Huey Lewis and the News (SOLD OUT…sorry!), Tiempo Libre, ChefSteps and Brian Regan just to name a few, it is no wonder this is one of the hottest Festivals in the region. To kick it all off, though, is Capitol Steps, with a wickedly funny cast that holds nothing back and where it doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, they will MOCK both.

capstepslive-reyna2014-jumpingstepsPhoto courtesy of Midland Center for the Arts

Capitol Steps has been satirizing current events, politics, and the latest scandals from Capitol Hill for the last 30 years. These former Washington insiders will take a stab at anyone within reach and will win everyone’s vote of approval.

Don’t take my word for it though. Take a look for yourself. Below is my favorite YouTube clip of Capitol Steps called Lirty Dies. I promise you will be hooked by the 1 minute mark, although you shouldn’t stop there!

So call the babysitter or grab your friends and get down to the Midland Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 31st at 8:00pm. You won’t be sorry!

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Pilsners & Politics: Jeff Mayes

15 Jan

What’s better than an evening of drinks with fellow young professionals? Throwing politics into the mix! At the year’s first Pilsners & Politics event, hosted at the Midland Center for the Arts’ Saints and Sinners lounge, a group of 18 young (or young at heart) professionals gathered to enjoy a brew and talk about the political climate in Michigan at the start of an important election year.

Our guest was Jeff Mayes, who got into politics at age 12 by helping a friend’s dad run for office. Jeff himself was elected from Bay City to the Michigan House of Representatives at age 33. After six years in the House, Jeff moved on to his current position as the Director of Economic Development Strategy for Consumers Energy. At the event, he took some time to reflect back on his past life in politics, and how there are a lot of positives we don’t always see.

Jeff Mayes

Jeff Mayes (MLive photo)

This was a great evening for several reasons:

  1. We got to ask a lot of questions. With the Internet, the pace of life and the general political climate, it can seem like all politicians do is give speeches. Pilsners & Politics events are small enough to put the focus on what the attendees want to know, and they’re relaxed enough to let the speaker be candid with his or her responses… even if one of the attendees is taking notes for a blog post.
  2. It wasn’t a typical political discussion. As in, we didn’t focus on people or specific issues as much as the overall political process: What do we do about polarization between the political parties? What’s it like getting into office? What’s it like getting out of office? How do you work across the aisle? These are the kinds of things you don’t always have time to ask in a crowded room – but when you’re sitting in a small circle with a drink, you can get answers.
  3. Things are actually pretty good out there. Jeff mentioned that politicians quickly find it’s in their own best interest to compromise. “Government is very much an interactive sport,” he said. “New people hit first and then they’re shocked and appalled when others hit back.” He said politicians quickly find they have leeway to compromise on any issue, and the best part of politics was “really working with others to get to solutions.” Even though cooperation doesn’t often get reported (“because it doesn’t sell papers”), it’s happening every day.
  4. We learned everyone can be politically active. Anybody can run for office, Jeff assured us, as long as they’re willing to commit the time it takes. “You have to say, ‘Until Election Day, I’m suspending my life to some degree,’” he said. But the rewards are great, not least because political involvement opens people’s eyes to new and different sides of their community and local issues.
  5. Beer. Actually, I had a mixed drink. But that was good too.

If relaxing, having a drink and getting real political answers sounds like a good time (and it is), keep an eye out for upcoming Pilsners & Politics events later this year. In the meantime, comment on this post and let us know what other politically themed events or gatherings you’d like to see! With almost every single Michigan office up for reelection this year, 2014 is a crucial time for us to be involved in shaping our state’s political future.

MYPros in 2013: We Didn’t Take This Year Lying Down!

15 Jan

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I was going to start off this blog post by saying something like “wow 2013 has come and gone, and… Can you believe it’s already 2014!” But that seems so generic and I tend to try to do things a little differently! So I am going to start by saying that I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for MYPros. In 2013 we accomplished so much and added a few more layers to this program. If you’re someone who likes to go by the numbers, here’s a breakdown of the 2013 MYPros program.

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  • There were 14 total young professional events.
  • MYPros hosted 10 total events for the year and we were hosted by Saginaw and Bay City YPs for four events, two per city.
  • MYPros held four luncheons, four social events (two were regional) and two Pilsners & Politics.
  • There were 527 total young professionals that attended at least one MYPros event.  I have to say that again…that’s 527 individuals!
  • We raised $2,300 to pay for MYPros t-shirts to be given out to YP’s. We raised this money by hosting the “Fury at Currie” golf outing.
  • We started a new giving circle in Midland specifically for young professionals, the 100 Young Professionals Club. The 100 YP Club’s goal is to obtain 100 members; in our first year we have 46 members.
  • The 100 YP Club held two meetings and donated a total of $3,900 in 2013; $1,600 to Midland Area Homes and $2,300 to Creative 360.
  • In 2013, the MYPros Communications Subcommittee created 12 newsletters, one every month.
  • The Communications Subcommittee also unveiled the new MYPros blog in July of 2013. To date we have had 2,146 hits in just six months.
  • The MYPros Marquee was created in 2013 as a resource for young professionals to find out what’s going on in the community and all the fun events happening.
  • 2013 was the last year our wonderful, fearless leader, Karl Ieuter of Ieuter Insurance Group, was Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee.  A special thank you goes out to Karl; he has devoted much of his time to this program and has been a dedicated Chair for the past three years. Thank you Karl!

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So after all this you might be asking, what’s next in 2014? Well here’s a peek into the upcoming year…

  • Ben Morlock of The Dow Chemical Company  will be Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee, and Trish Ross of Members First Credit Union will be Chair-Elect.
  • New this year, MYPros will host two orientation sessions for new members of MYPros. This will help new YP’s learn more about the program and how they can get involved. These sessions will be sponsored by Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School.
  • We will continue with our events, hosting four luncheons, social events and Pilsners & Politics.
  • The 100 YP Club will meet twice this year again and we hope by the end of 2014 we will reach our goal of 100 members!
  • We will continue to grow the MYPros blog and newsletter, as well as the MYPros Marquee.

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This is just a sample of what’s to come in 2014! Thank you to all of you who help to make the MYPros program what it is today, either by volunteering on a committee or attending events. Without all of your participation we wouldn’t have this program. So thank you again for making 2013 a success! If you have any comments or suggestions for programming in 2014, please feel free to email me your thoughts at jmaki@macc.org.  I always love to hear new ideas!

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“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants to be happy.” -Benjamin Franklin [Guest Post]

13 Jan

By Sydney Allen, MYPros Government Issues Chair,

Greater Midland Community Centers, Inc.

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Beer and politics have long gone hand in hand—since the beginning of America, even! President George Washington was apparently an avid beer connoisseur and even made his own homebrew. Flash forward 224 years to the Presidential tenure of Number 44, Barack Obama where polling questions are asked, like, “which Presidential candidate would you most like to have a beer with?” and meetings consisting of  “Beer Summits” are actually a thing. Ever heard of the White House Honey Ale? Well, you can’t buy it at Eastman Party Store, but the true aficionados can brew their own at home with this easy to follow recipe straight from the White House brewmaster.

President Obama with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley during the “Beer Summit” in 2009.

President Obama with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley during the “Beer Summit” in 2009.

This White House home brew experiment is all made possible by President Obama’s early predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, who in 1978, signed into law a bill legalizing home beer brewing which until that point had been illegal since prohibition began in 1920. Speaking of prohibition, did you know that the Great Depression began during the height of prohibition era? Not that I’m trying to peg prohibition as a key factor in causing the Black Tuesday Market crash of 1929 but…

Thankfully, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who campaigned on the promise to end prohibition, signed the 21st Amendment in 1933 which again legalized the consumption of alcohol and opened the gateway for the now 2,000+ breweries found nationwide.

Democrats aren’t the only ones making strides with the “proper drink for Americans.” Luckily for Busch, er, I mean, Bush…in 2004, Americans resoundingly chose our 43rd President over Senator John Kerry as the person they’d most like to have a beer with. The beer drinkers’ voices were heard and George W. Bush was elected to his 2nd four-year term. Unfortunately, for Americans, President Bush has been sober since 1986 so it’s non-alcoholic only selections for Dubya.

President Bush laughs with German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007.

President Bush laughs with German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007.

Ever visited the Ronald Reagan Pub? Well clearly you’ve never been to Ballyporeen, Ireland then! The Irish pub renamed their establishment after our 40th U.S. President made a stop there in 1984. There is now a replica of the Ronald Reagan Pub located in Reagan’s Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

President Reagan receiving a beer during a visit to O’Farrell’s Pub in Ballyporeen, Ireland in 1984.

President Reagan receiving a beer during a visit to O’Farrell’s Pub in Ballyporeen, Ireland in 1984.

Beer unites generations, political ideology and turns strangers into friends. Cheers to you, President Obama for popularizing the “Beer Summit” – serving politics up to the American people as it should be, with an ice cold pilsner.

Join us on Tuesday, January 14 for Pilsners and Politics featuring a lively conversation with former State Representative Jeff Mayes (D) Bay City. Spaces are limited. Register today to secure your spot!

I Don’t Even Know Who Nancy Pelosi Is.

20 Aug

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We’ve got another Pilsners and Politics event coming up next week with State Representative Kevin Cotter, and I know what you’re thinking (Unless you’re Sydney Allen, Chair of the MYPros Gov. Issues Committee)…”Government stuff is so boring” or “I don’t know anything about politics I will be so out of the loop at this event.” Well, I am here to tell you that I don’t even know who Nancy Pelosi is and I actually enjoy these events!  Now I must admit that normally, I probably wouldn’t even think about attending an event about government issues.  However, I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to organize these events and attend them as well. These events are not just for the super well-informed political person.  This event is more of an intro to government and politics. I have never felt that I was the ignorant person in the room while everyone else knows it all, nor have I ever thought this event was boring. It’s actually very interesting.  I have really started to enjoy learning the ins and outs of government, and learn why things are the way they are. And more importantly, how I can get involved rather than just live with the status quo and complain about it.  So to that end, we have a Pilsners and Politics event coming up on August 27th in the Saints and Sinners Lounge at the Midland Center for the Arts. We keep the registration limited to 30 people so that it’s more informal and conversational.  We are almost full so register today!  And hey, even if you leave there deciding that politics isn’t really for you, at least you got a beer out of the deal! 🙂 Click to register.