just getting started
Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com 1
from the editor
join the club:
become a blue water woman patron
“You like me, right now, you like me!”
-- Sally Field, in 1985, upon winning her second Academy Award for Best Actress
I recently experienced my own Sally Field moment when I received some very special
and much needed emotional and financial support for Blue Water Woman magazine.
Thank you to our loyal and ever-so-supportive advertisers
Blue Water Woman magazine has been blessed with a very loyal group of advertisers.
They. Make. This. Publication. Happen. I cannot express that sentiment – and profound
thankfulness – enough.
Charter advertisers who have been with the publication since the first year include
McLaren Port Huron; Blue Water Counseling; Curves; Edward Jones—Cathy Wilkinson;
Farm Bureau Insurance – Kim Judge and Tammy Hutchinson; Port Huron ENT;
Regency on the Lake; Silk’s Flowers; Smith Family Funeral Home; and Sonja’s Hair
All of them believe in the power of sharing women’s stories and, without explanation,
they understand why that is important.
Support women in our community: Become a patron of Blue Water Woman magazine!
Visit our new and improved website (www.BlueWaterWoman.com) and click on the
“Individual Sponsorships” page or visit our
Facebook page and click on the blue “Shop Now”
tab on the right just below the cover photo.
Both will take you to our new Patreon.com
page. Patreon is a safe, secure subscription service
that helps us collect income so we can keep doing
what we love to do: writing stories about the
awesome women in the Blue Water Area!
editor patti samar, fourth from left,
& 2017 Blue Water Woman of the Year
Why become a sponsor/patron of Blue Water
The obvious reason is rather altruistic: you
just believe in supporting a local business that is
written and designed to support the women in
Additionally, depending on the level of support
you wish to provide on a monthly basis, patrons will receive a number of benefits. Visit our
Patreon page at www.patreon.com/BlueWaterWoman to learn more about them!
Thank you to the first charter member of our Blue Water Woman Patreon Club!
I set up the Blue Water Woman Patreon page in late March of this year. I set it up, told
my husband about it, linked it to the Blue Water Woman website and Facebook page, but
didn’t tell another soul about it. I decided to write about it in this issue of the magazine and
officially “unveil” it here.
And then, out of the blue, just this week, I received an email from Patreon telling me
that someone had become a patron!
I burst into tears as I shared this news with my husband. “Why are you crying?” he
asked. This was my “You like me, right now, you like me!” moment.
“Because I really didn’t think anyone would ever pay for me to do this,” I sobbed.
I do not know and have never met Dayle Ann Farrimond of St. Clair. But she stumbled
upon our Patreon page while exploring the Blue Water Woman Facebook page and website.
And she decided to offer her support. And why?
“I’m all about women supporting women,” she said.
And it really is that simple.
If you are so inclined to become a patron, I will be forever in your debt. If you would
rather just continue to read the magazine, that is another form of support. We need
readers, advertisers and patrons and I appreciate each and every one of you.
libby busdicker 4
anita ashford 6
renee barr 8
in Blue Water Woman!
just ask our advertisers!
The ad deadline for the next issue
of Blue Water Woman is August 1, 2017.
Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!
Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;
sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!
What a deal!
For more information, contact Patti Samar
at 810-300-2176 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
volume 7, number 2 Summer 2017
Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,
511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.
Editor & Publisher:
Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company
Patti Samar at email@example.com
Questions, comments or story ideas?
Contact Patti Samar at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication
for women living, working and playing in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.
Its stories and features are written and designed
to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.
© Blue Water Woman is the property
of Patti Samar of The Write Company
The Write Company is a writing, graphic design
and marketing consultation firm.
View our online portfolio at: www.TheWriteCompany.net
Editor & Publisher
Blue Water Woman
2 Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com
Protect your world
Auto • Home • Life • Retirement
Let us cook
so you can enjoy the party
Insurance subject to terms, qualifications and availability. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate
Indemnity Co., Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. Life insurance
offered through Allstate Life Ins. Co. & Allstate Assurance Co. Northbrook, IL; Lincoln Benefit Life Co., Lincoln, NE;
and American Heritage Life Insurance Co., Jacksonville, FL . Securities offered by Personal Financial Representatives
through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member FINRA,
SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727. © 2010 Allstate Insurance Co.
Catering services that satisfy all palates
Not just Italian...we offer a wide variety of menu choices!
Weddings • Showers • Parties • Wine Tastings
~ Reserve the restaurant & serve up to 75. ~
~ Off-site at venue of your choice & serve up to 200! ~
~ We can create a completely custom menu for any group, big or small ~
Contact us today to reserve your date!
3822 Pine Grove Ave • Fort Gratiot
Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com 3
by Patti Samar
4 Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com
Libby Busdicker is the quintessential young professional in the Blue
At 26 years old, the young attorney is what many elders in the
community want to see more of: a home-grown young professional
who left the community to pursue a college degree -- and then a law
degree -- who has returned to the area to pursue her career and enjoy
the experience of living in the middle of the rebirth of the Port Huron
Busdicker, who grew up in Fort Gratiot, is in her second year serving
as a law clerk in the 31st circuit court, working for the Honorable
Michael West and the Honorable Cynthia Lane.
“The job I have right now is almost exclusively research and
writing,” said Busdicker, who noted that those were the tasks that
drew her to law school in the first place. “I get to do the research and
write the opinions.”
She has learned a lot working in the courthouse and credits the
expansion of her legal knowledge to the judges she serves.
“They both teach me different things and I learn how they think
through different issues.”
She said she also works closely with the law clerk who serves
Circuit Court Chief Judge Daniel Kelly. “We work through problems
together,” she said. “It’s a really good working environment.”
During her off-hours, Busdicker can be found riding her bicycle
to-and-from various locations around town. And although she was not
interested in politics while an undergraduate in college, she has more
recently been attending the monthly meetings of the St. Clair County
Democrats and the Blue Water Progressives.
“A lot of my hobbies are really nerdy,” she said with a laugh. “I went
to college and had no political engagement at all.” Therefore, she didn’t
exactly follow in the footsteps of her parents, both of whom were very
involved in politics in college, and both of whom are conservatives,
with her father campaigning for Ronald Reagan and her mother a
founder of the college Republicans at Michigan State University.
“But, then I came home and it’s typical for kids to go away to college
and come back and see things differently,” she said. And though all are
respectful of one another, “We disagree on a lot of things now,” she
said with a laugh.
Though she and her college girlfriends didn’t talk about politics then,
she keeps in touch with them and has discovered that they share her
political beliefs, as well. And even though they are all living in different
places, the group decided to head to Washington, D.C. this past
January for the Women’s March.
“After the election last fall, it energized us all independently,”
Busdicker said. “We all simultaneously decided we wanted to do this
women’s march together and we had never really talked about politics
before. One friend wants to run for office and another one is interested
in international development.
“I just learn so much from them. I’m in awe of them and I want to
make myself better because of them.”
Busdicker said her attendance and participation at political gatherings
came about because she was surprised by the election last fall.
“I fall into this group of people who were shocked by this election,”
she said. “I’ve been trying to go to meetings and local events. The idea
that we could go another decade without a woman president is like the
Twilight Zone to me.
“I support policies that affect all women. I’m really just getting
started. I’m really critically thinking about what I want my role to be.”
Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com 5
by PATTI SAMAR
6 Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com
There isn’t much about life in Port Huron that Mayor Pro-Tem Anita
Ashford hasn’t experienced and doesn’t love. Her passion for helping
people and a desire to make a positive impact on the community and
its residents led her, years ago, to a life of service to God, her family and
The lifelong city resident is proud to represent her hometown on the
city council in her second go-around as a politician, having first served
on the council for 10 years from 1989 to 1999.
“The third time is the charm,” she said with a laugh, noting that it
originally took her three attempts to win a seat on city council.
Ashford views her service on the city council as a way to give back to
the community while also helping people learn how to make positive
change in their own lives.
“That’s part of my destiny, to care about people and to empower
people,” she said. “I try to be a catalyst to change lives. I try to help
people get a little bit closer to their dreams in life.”
The Port Huron Catholic High School graduate – public school
officials asked her mother if she could be transferred there in order to
help eliminate racial segregation at a time when segregation had been
common – she went on to earn an associate degree in criminal justice
at St. Clair County Community College and then a bachelor’s degree in
human resources administration from Concordia University.
Initially, she worked multiple jobs to make ends meet but eventually
earned a position at Detroit Edison – now known as DTE – working in
the security department. She is still employed by DTE, having served
the company for 40 years. She now works at the company’s China
Township location as a continuous improvement expert, where she
oversees special projects and deals with human resources issues.
Ashford has long been involved in numerous community projects,
organizations and endeavors, including the Southside Coalition, Citizens
Against Crime and the Blue Water Transit Authority. She has also
served on committees for the Michigan Municipal League and the
Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments.
For many years she has been active in the NAACP, where she served
as a national officer and she has been active in the local chapter. “I was
a member of the national VIP security team,” she said, noting that the
NAACP offers security services to members or supporters all over the
She served on the VIP security team for 23 years, beginning in
1978. Among those she was honored to serve was Rosa Parks, a civil
rights icon who resided in Detroit in her later life. The NAACP offered
continuous security services to Mrs. Parks after she was robbed and
beaten in her Detroit home in 1994 when Parks was 81 years old.
Others Ashford met during her time on NAACP VIP security detail
included poet Maya Angelou, former president of South Africa Nelson
Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton.
“They (NAACP) flew us everywhere,” to help cover VIP security
detail, Ashford said. “Wherever we went, I always made sure I
visited a church there and I visited the neighborhoods to see how the
residents were living so I could bring ideas back here,” she said. “Those
experiences made me a better public servant.”
Ashford’s experiences observing big city neighborhoods over the years
have helped her better understand some of the big city problems that
have come to Port Huron, as well as opportunities that the community
could undertake, as well.
“I think the marketing of downtown is important,” she said. “And
strategically, our neighborhoods need to be different. We have home
owners and we have renters and we need to be able to service all of them.
“Some of our residents need to be empowered to change their
circumstances and learn what is available to them and help them
contribute to the city. We need to do more to help these people climb
out of poverty. We need to lead in such a way so they feel they can do it
Every day is the perfect day
to send flowers.
Love reading this magazine? Want to see it continue?
become a sponsor of Blue Water Woman magazine!
SponSorShipS Start at juSt $1 per month!
Businesses and individuals are welcome to become sponsors!
Visit the “Individual Sponsorship” page on our website today!
Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com 7
by patti samar
8 SPRING Summer 2017 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com
Renee Barr helps kids make their dreams come true.
Barr, theater coordinator at McMorran Place and director of theatrical
productions for a number of local theater organizations, has served as a
mentor, teacher and theatrical director to youth throughout the Port Huron
area for more than 20 years.
And as a wife, mother of four and theatrical director for several
generations of students, Barr knows it is important to nurture the dreams
of her students because she has been allowed to dream big herself.
A graduate of Port Huron High School, Barr didn’t get bitten by the
theater bug until she was a student at St. Clair County Community College.
“I had a job working in the (SC4) theater and that’s when I really got
interested,” she said. “But what I really wanted was to become a famous
Throughout her college career – she later transferred to Oakland
University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in communications with
a minor in theater – she dabbled in theater and similar pursuits. She entered
pageants to earn scholarship money and was the 1989 Miss Blue Water,
which sent her to Muskegon to vie for the Miss Michigan crown.
“They must have said, ‘We’ve got to give that gal a crown…she keeps
coming back!’” she said with a laugh about her win in the Miss Blue Water
During that time she also worked in a position of honor at the North
American International Auto Show in Detroit. “I was a spokesmodel for
the auto show,” she said. “It was a way to put myself through college and
be seen. I was hoping that maybe someone would see me and put me in a
After college, Barr chose to return to her hometown where she eventually
married a local resident and began teaching theater at SC4. That led
to opportunities to teach drama for the Port Huron Schools where she
continues to direct plays at Thomas Edison Elementary School, Fort
Gratiot Middle School and Port Huron Northern High School. She also
teaches theater camps throughout the year for the city of Port Huron
At McMorran Place, she serves as the theater coordinator for events. “I
help with anything our clients need when they use the theater.”
And while Barr works closely with McMorran’s clients to ensure great
customer service, it is clear that her passion lies in working with young
people and watching them grow through their theatrical experiences.
“I’m really lucky,” she said of the students with whom she has had the
opportunity to work throughout the years. “Some of them I lose to sports
and jobs, but some of them I’ve had from the time they were eight years old
all the way through high school graduation.”
Most of the productions Barr directs – with children of all ages – are
musical productions. “I work with them on acting, theory and character
development,” she said. She noted that the community has been very
supportive and that is appreciated.
“If we don’t have audiences, we don’t have revenue and then it is harder
to continue,” she said.
The theatrical experience is not just about being or becoming a star, Barr
noted. “It’s more than just about being on stage. It’s the triumph of being
on stage after being so shy to begin with.”
Additionally, students learn leadership, organizational and people skills.
“My high school kids will help with middle school or elementary school
productions and they become the mentors,” she said. “Not only do they
help the younger students, but they are teaching the parents who are
volunteers but non-theater people, how to do their jobs backstage. It’s a
Barr remembers her early experiences acting, performing in pageants and
working as a spokesmodel and what a profound influence they all had on
her and the way that mentoring adults encouraged her along the way.
“All of those things helped me and when I’m working with kids, I
always tell them the sky is the limit and it is amazing how that fuels them,
especially when they hear that from an adult who is not their parent,” she
all your life’s moments
Providing complimentary lodging
for families of hospitalized patients
Two locations conveniently located within steps
of both McLaren Port Huron & Lake Huron Medical Center.
To make reservations, call:
(810) 385-8800 | 7147 Lakeshore Road, Lakeport
Summer 2017 BlueWaterWoman.com 9