Meeting in Lake Ann 2018

Our June meeting in Lake Ann
The Benzie Dems held their June meeting at the cool old town hall in downtown Lake Ann—
a chance to meet with our East Side members and friends.
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County Conservation District Director Tadd Peacock asked Benzie Dems
to support a millage increase for the non-profit that is on the Aug. 7 Primary ballot.
An average house now pays about $10 annually for the District’s services—
the increase would bump it up to $12.50. Afterwards, we voted to endorse the proposal.
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Steve Thompson (l.) talks to our Congressional candidate, Matt Morgan,
at our picnic in Lake Ann’s downtown park.
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After the meeting we offered
voter registration and a free picnic in the park.
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Benzie Dems secretary Jill Kimball enjoys a hot dog prepared by master griller John Beeman.
Thanks, Jill, for leading our charge into Lake Ann—and thanks, John, for helping to rustle up the grub!
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On Saturday, June 23, Benzie Dem Robb Bollenberg (r.) thew a benefit picnic
at his farm to support Kathy Wiejaczka’s run for the Michigan House.
Her husband Kent looks happy about that!
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Kathy Wiejaczka (l.) showed up wearing one of her brand new campaign shirts, “People First for the 101st."
She’s running for the state house of representatives, joined here by Amanda and her husband, Kent.
Before squaring off against the Republican candidate, Kathy must win the Aug. 7 primary.
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Benzie Dem Keira Duvernoy (l.) talks policy with Kathy Wiejaczka (r.)
over hot dogs and lemonade at our Lake Ann picnic.
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March Madness 2018

March 2: Chili Friday Movie Night #2 Our second Movie, Reefer Madness, was funny: dead-serious in its time, this absurd film dropped jaws,
drew big laughs, and reminded us way too much of a certain U.S. attorney general. Thanks to Mary Robling
and Steve Thompson for their fine chilis; Linda Farrell for the salad, and Jim Dulzo for the cornbread.
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March 16: Movie Night #3 The final Chili Friday Movie was “greatest hits” from Michael Moore’s Bravo Series.
The Awful Truth amazed us with its irony and prescience about today’s off-the-rail politics,
from health care to guns to sex scandals.
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Relaxing before the movie— 101st House District candidate Kathy Weijeczka (right) and her husband, Kent (left) with friends. Thanks to Kathy,
who fixed us up with some good chili while campaigning for office! Thanks, also, to Dodie Fitzgerald for chili,
Lori Hill for cornbread, Deanne Loll for salad, and those wonderful, unsung peeps who brought awesome deserts!
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Monthly Meeting w/Serious Klatchin’ & Four Candidates Debut! On March 17, we were back at HQ to introduce county commission and state senate candidates
and sign people up as precinct delegates—the key to local party-building...
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Elizabeth Shrake and her mom, Irene, baked Irish shortbread and some fudge-brownie thangs for our 9:30 a.m. Koffee Klatch
to go with the bagels, fruit salad, cookies, sausage bites and, of course….coffee!
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Treasurer John Chahbazi (left) and Vice-Chair Mike Ross liked the spread. Fullscreen Mike Taillard (left), the Benzie Dem running for the 35th District State Senate seat,
introduced himself at the meeting and talked about his speciality—economics.
He also chatted with Don Smeltzer (right), formerly a Benzie County commissioner
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Here’s Carroll Volpe, among our most veteran Benzie Dems (left),
meeting Caroline Yaste, one of our newest. Welcome, Caroline!
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John Beeman’s been a big help with this winters Chili Friday Movie Nights.
Annie Browning’s one of our newest members, and an increasingly active volunteer!
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Kat Hibbard (left), who brought the sausages, and Judy Bosma, are both steady Benzie Dems! Fullscreen Another meeting highlight was Mark Willette Green’s announcement that he’s running for county commissioner in District 2.
Go, Mark, Go! Here he is with (left to right) his wife, Virginia, Keira Duvernoy, and Jan Gulliver-Kline
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March 22: The Close Up Dinner! This is one of the coolest things we do—throw a dinner with our friends at the Platte River Inn,
with proceeds dedicated to helping five Benzie Central students travel to Washington for a giant,
week-long civics lesson, called Project Close Up. Lots of Benzie Dems and friends showed up
and we raised some serious cash.
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Party Chair Jim Dulzo hands off Benzie Dems’ check to Donna Balazovic,
Benzie Central’s civics and government teacher and Close Up coordinator.
The five young women are (left to right) Hannah Lilly, Mercedes Deeren, Ally Heinz,
Thea Grey, and Annabelle Fortine.
With nearly 90 dinners sold, extra donations from many diners, and the Party’s check,
the Benzie Dems’ Close Up Dinner raised close to $2,000!
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101st Congressional District candidate and Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka meet with the Close Up students
and shared her excitement about running for the U.S. House seat currently occupied by Jack Bergman.
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Democrat Benzie County Commissioner Coury Carland chats with
Close Up student Ally Heinz in the busy Platte River Inn dining room.
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Commissioner Carland and Benzie Dem Mary Robling, who organized the Close Up Dinner,
had a fine time while waiting for their dinners.
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Party Treasurer John Chahbazi brought along a few neighbors to support Benzie’s Close Up teens. Fullscreen Membership chair Mary Scholl (l.) chats with fellow Dem Rick Robb,
a founder of the Benzie Advocates, and his wife, Jan.
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They drove all the way from TC to dine at the Close Up Dinner:
Linda Pepper (left), and Sylvia and Allan McCullough are strong Grand Traverse Democrats,
they read our email blasts, decided to check us out, and said they were mighty glad they did!
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Annie Browning, Rev. Steve Thompson, and 35th Senate District candidate Mike Taillard
enjoyed the hearty chicken dinner.
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Two brand-new Benzie Dems—Jana Goldman and Tim Smith—are also new to the county
and said they’re really pleased to see Democrats so active—movies, candidates, meetings, fundraisers.
They were really quite surprised!
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And finally, some of our favorite usual suspects—David Green (l.), Kathy & Mike Ross, Suzanne Green, and Lynda Jamison.
Thanks for always being there, you guys (and gals)!
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March 24: March for Our Lives, Manistee Edition This day was really emotional for many people. Most Benzie Dems headed to Traverse City
for the march there, but some of us headed to Manistee to support our friends in the next county.
We were glad to be part of the more than 100 folks who showed up, marched around the downtown,
attracted more than a few friendly honks, and then listened to a few speakers.
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Here’s what the parade looked like at the start. Fullscreen This young woman drove up from Ludington, where there was no march,
so that she could thank all of the adults who are so strongly supporting the March for Our Lives movement.
She was deeply moved by our march, and we were touched by her, too!
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Our state House candidate, Kathy Wiejaczka, spoke, as well.
She talked about how she’s cared for people her whole life,
as a nurse, and that her first priority is the safety and well-being of people across the region,
not big donors, especially the NRA. She’s depending on everyday people like us
to keep her campaign going, and backs the goals of the March for Our Lives movement.
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35th state Senate district candidate (and Homestead Township resident) Mike Taillard also spoke.
He said that getting more data about gun violence is crucial to figuring out how best to control it.
While he’s glad the new budget bill allows research to resume,
he said far more needs to be done to find best solutions.
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And here’s Mike with one of his volunteers, Logan Walworth, of Mason County. Fullscreen And some friendly faces from Benzie, too: Kathy Houston (left) and Elizabeth Shrake (right) Fullscreen Plus (left to right) Deanne Loll, Kat Hibbard, and Robert Fitzke! Fullscreen

July 4th 2018 Parade

Lots of Benzie Dems lining up at 9:30 for the Frankfort Parade Fullscreen County Commissioner candidate Linda Farrell (l) with State Attorney General candidate Dana Nessel
and one of her supporters all set to march in Frankfort.
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Our membership chair, Mary Scholl, with a message for any holiday, any time. Fullscreen County commission candidate Mark Willette-Green and his wife, Virginia (r.) with Benzie Dem Keira Duvernoy. Fullscreen Mike Taillard hiding out with his family (that’s Ashleigh in the center) just before parade time in Frankfort. Fullscreen It’s showtime in Frankfort! Fullscreen David Johnson sits atop the cab, ready to lead his fellow Benzie Dems in patriotic songs. Fullscreen Our social media maven, Aubrey Ann Parker, gives our singing two thumbs up! Fullscreen Benzie Dems Deanne Loll and Robert Fitzke walked the walk in Frankfort! Fullscreen Here are young folks who are ready to lead! Fullscreen Here’s our entire contingent, takin’ it to the streets...of Beulah! Fullscreen Our core group of singers are all set to serenade Beulah with our favorite patriotic tunes! Fullscreen Sue & Don Pyne, Carroll Volpe ride in style. Carroll’s sign for Munson nurses got lots of applause! Fullscreen Can you spot our two county commission candidates and our official pencil pusher? Fullscreen Benzie Dems on patrol: Lori Hill carried the flag, Robb Bollenberg helped keep the beat. Fullscreen We left Beulah’s parade fans with this parting message... Fullscreen Benzie Dem Keira Duvernoy multi-tasks--handing out flyers and singing with backup vocalist Jim Dulzo. Fullscreen Benzie Dem David Johnson, who led us in song for both parades, looks for his lost voice,
while Dems parade organizer Sue Koenig surveys her royal realm.
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Benzie Dems Mike Ross (l), part of the Line 5 pitchfork crowd, and Jim Sheets call it a day! Fullscreen

July 4th 2017 Parade