Chelsea Forum Had Much to Talk About

By Mary Hall

There were several people in attendance at the Chelsea Forum on November 17 at the senior center in Chelsea.

The first item on the day’s agenda was Washtenaw County having passed a proposal to have “Racial Equality” in county programs and in county hiring that was passed in September of 2018 according to their web site.  While most at the forum thought this, at face value, was a good idea, others had serious concerns about discrimination against Caucasians.  Some noted the irony of this situation, but one gentleman (who will remain nameless at his request) who had read the policy thoroughly found this matter to be very serious.  He brought his laptop to the meeting and had the policy pulled up so he could read aloud the verbiage that had him upset. He stated “Although they don’t use the word ‘quota’ anyone who reads this policy can tell that it is exactly about that – meeting quotas.” He went on to explain that he feared that minorities who are less qualified than their Caucasian counterparts would be hired. He stressed that this would not just affect job applicants who might be denied employment even though they are the most qualified.  He went on to say that everyone in Washtenaw County could potentially receive less than stellar service if unqualified people were hired just to meet a quota. He stressed that he has no problem with qualified minorities being employed by the county.

Another concern was raised by a woman in attendance (also remaining nameless) who happens to be part of the Meals on Wheels Program.  She stated that even though funds are supposed to be distributed throughout the county on a per person equivalency, that is not actually the case. She gave the example of Ypsilanti, which has a more diverse population and is generally a less affluent area as compared to Chelsea, which is less diverse and is a more affluent area. As a result, the Chelsea area Meals on Wheels Program receives less funding per person than Ypsilanti. This leaves the Chelsea area Meals on Wheels in a situation of under-funding, so they have to do their own, separate fund raising to make up the difference. She fears that with this new “Racial Equality” program, this situation could get worse. It should be noted that this woman was not Caucasian, which makes her a double minority.

After some friendly debate on both sides of the issue, the group moved on to the next topic.

The next item on the agenda was the subject of how the Veteran’s Day celebrations were handled. While everyone agreed that it was so nice to have that day set aside for ceremonies and speakers, one man in particular had mixed feelings.

Rod Anderson stated that he too was grateful that people took the time to prepare for and carry out Veteran’s Day celebrations; he also felt that those in charge might need a bit of education before planning next year’s celebrations.

Rod’s reason for being a little upset is because he feels that a lot of people, party planners included, do not understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. He explained “Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember those who lost their lives while in service.  It is never appropriate to say ‘Happy Memorial Day’, yet I hear it every year.” He went on to explain “Veteran’s Day is the day set aside to thank former and current service men and woman for their service.”  He felt that Chelsea’s Veteran’s Day Ceremonies should not have included fallen service people.  He stated “There was a sign that said ‘Salute to the Fallen’ and at Silver Maples, they showed a movie that had nothing to do with Veteran’s Day. It was a PBS movie more suited for Memorial Day.”  Others at the meeting agreed that this, in fact, did happen, but a few stated it did not bother them. Still others said they hadn’t known the difference, could understand Rod’s feelings and were grateful for his clarification.

The next topic on the agenda was the Chelsea Teacher’s contract. Rick Catherman was in attendance and was able to fill the group in on the details.  He explained that the talks, which actually began in October of 2017, were finalized and the new contract was settled on October 30, 2018.  The terms of the new contract began on November 6, 2018.  He also explained that the new contract is not retroactive to the beginning of the school year, so through November 5, 2018 they will receive pay and benefits based on the prior contract.  The new contract, Catherman explained, will expire in June of 2020.

The final piece of business up for discussion came from Patrick Zieske.  Patrick, along with three partners, Abby Hurst, Kathy Kennedy and Sharon Norton, will be opening a business called Agricole within the next six to seven months. 

The store, located at the corner of Main and Jackson St., will be a combination of a farmer’s market and a grocery store. In this way, according to Patrick, farmers can offer their product without having to be on site. There will be guidelines to keep produce “as non-GMO as possible” says Patrick. Along witih produce, the store will carry such things as meat, eggs, milk, bread, pastries and coffee.  

There will be more information about Agricole as plans come along.  For now, you can visit their temporary web site at .  They plan to have their permanent website up in approximately one to two weeks.  The site address will remain the same.

The next Chelsea Forum Meeting will take place on the third Saturday of December, the 15th, at 9am, in the Senior Center located on Washington St, Chelsea, MI.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

Leave a Reply