blue water woman--summer 2017--yumpu

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libby busdicker<br />

just getting started<br />

FREE<br />

SUMMER <strong>2017</strong>

Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 1

from the editor<br />

join the club:<br />

become a <strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> patron<br />

“You like me, right now, you like me!”<br />

-- Sally Field, in 1985, upon winning her second Academy Award for Best Actress<br />

I recently experienced my own Sally Field moment when I received some very special<br />

and much needed emotional and financial support for Blue Water Woman magazine.<br />

Thank you to our loyal and ever-so-supportive advertisers<br />

Blue Water Woman magazine has been blessed with a very loyal group of advertisers.<br />

They. Make. This. Publication. Happen. I cannot express that sentiment – and profound<br />

thankfulness – enough.<br />

Charter advertisers who have been with the publication since the first year include<br />

McLaren Port Huron; Blue Water Counseling; Curves; Edward Jones—Cathy Wilkinson;<br />

Farm Bureau Insurance – Kim Judge and Tammy Hutchinson; Port Huron ENT;<br />

Regency on the Lake; Silk’s Flowers; Smith Family Funeral Home; and Sonja’s Hair<br />

Salon.<br />

All of them believe in the power of sharing women’s stories and, without explanation,<br />

they understand why that is important.<br />

Support women in our community: Become a patron of Blue Water Woman magazine!<br />

Visit our new and improved website (www.BlueWaterWoman.com) and click on the<br />

“Individual Sponsorships” page or visit our<br />

Facebook page and click on the <strong>blue</strong> “Shop Now”<br />

tab on the right just below the cover photo.<br />

Both will take you to our new Patreon.com<br />

page. Patreon is a safe, secure subscription service<br />

that helps us collect income so we can keep doing<br />

what we love to do: writing stories about the<br />

awesome women in the Blue Water Area!<br />

editor patti samar, fourth from left,<br />

& <strong>2017</strong> Blue Water Woman of the Year<br />

Why become a sponsor/patron of Blue Water<br />

Woman?<br />

The obvious reason is rather altruistic: you<br />

just believe in supporting a local business that is<br />

written and designed to support the women in<br />

this community.<br />

Additionally, depending on the level of support<br />

Award Recipients<br />

you wish to provide on a monthly basis, patrons will receive a number of benefits. Visit our<br />

Patreon page at www.patreon.com/BlueWaterWoman to learn more about them!<br />

Thank you to the first charter member of our Blue Water Woman Patreon Club!<br />

I set up the Blue Water Woman Patreon page in late March of this year. I set it up, told<br />

my husband about it, linked it to the Blue Water Woman website and Facebook page, but<br />

didn’t tell another soul about it. I decided to write about it in this issue of the magazine and<br />

officially “unveil” it here.<br />

And then, out of the <strong>blue</strong>, just this week, I received an email from Patreon telling me<br />

that someone had become a patron!<br />

I burst into tears as I shared this news with my husband. “Why are you crying?” he<br />

asked. This was my “You like me, right now, you like me!” moment.<br />

“Because I really didn’t think anyone would ever pay for me to do this,” I sobbed.<br />

I do not know and have never met Dayle Ann Farrimond of St. Clair. But she stumbled<br />

upon our Patreon page while exploring the Blue Water Woman Facebook page and website.<br />

And she decided to offer her support. And why?<br />

“I’m all about women supporting women,” she said.<br />

And it really is that simple.<br />

If you are so inclined to become a patron, I will be forever in your debt. If you would<br />

rather just continue to read the magazine, that is another form of support. We need<br />

readers, advertisers and patrons and I appreciate each and every one of you.<br />

Peace,<br />


libby busdicker 4<br />

anita ashford 6<br />

renee barr 8<br />

advertise<br />

in Blue Water Woman!<br />

it works!<br />

just ask our advertisers!<br />

The ad deadline for the next issue<br />

of Blue Water Woman is August 1, <strong>2017</strong>.<br />

Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!<br />

Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;<br />

sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!<br />

What a deal!<br />

For more information, contact Patti Samar<br />

at 810-300-2176 or email her at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

volume 7, number 2 Summer <strong>2017</strong><br />

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,<br />

511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.<br />

Editor & Publisher:<br />

Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company<br />

Advertising:<br />

Patti Samar at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Questions, comments or story ideas?<br />

Contact Patti Samar at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Mission:<br />

Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication<br />

for women living, working and playing in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.<br />

Its stories and features are written and designed<br />

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.<br />

www.BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

© Blue Water Woman is the property<br />

of Patti Samar of The Write Company<br />

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design<br />

and marketing consultation firm.<br />

View our online portfolio at: www.TheWriteCompany.net<br />

Patti Samar<br />

Editor & Publisher<br />

Blue Water Woman<br />

2 Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

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started<br />

by Patti Samar<br />


4 Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Libby Busdicker is the quintessential young professional in the Blue<br />

Water Area.<br />

At 26 years old, the young attorney is what many elders in the<br />

community want to see more of: a home-grown young professional<br />

who left the community to pursue a college degree -- and then a law<br />

degree -- who has returned to the area to pursue her career and enjoy<br />

the experience of living in the middle of the rebirth of the Port Huron<br />

area.<br />

Busdicker, who grew up in Fort Gratiot, is in her second year serving<br />

as a law clerk in the 31st circuit court, working for the Honorable<br />

Michael West and the Honorable Cynthia Lane.<br />

“The job I have right now is almost exclusively research and<br />

writing,” said Busdicker, who noted that those were the tasks that<br />

drew her to law school in the first place. “I get to do the research and<br />

write the opinions.”<br />

She has learned a lot working in the courthouse and credits the<br />

expansion of her legal knowledge to the judges she serves.<br />

“They both teach me different things and I learn how they think<br />

through different issues.”<br />

She said she also works closely with the law clerk who serves<br />

Circuit Court Chief Judge Daniel Kelly. “We work through problems<br />

together,” she said. “It’s a really good working environment.”<br />

During her off-hours, Busdicker can be found riding her bicycle<br />

to-and-from various locations around town. And although she was not<br />

interested in politics while an undergraduate in college, she has more<br />

recently been attending the monthly meetings of the St. Clair County<br />

Democrats and the Blue Water Progressives.<br />

“A lot of my hobbies are really nerdy,” she said with a laugh. “I went<br />

to college and had no political engagement at all.” Therefore, she didn’t<br />

exactly follow in the footsteps of her parents, both of whom were very<br />

involved in politics in college, and both of whom are conservatives,<br />

with her father campaigning for Ronald Reagan and her mother a<br />

founder of the college Republicans at Michigan State University.<br />

“But, then I came home and it’s typical for kids to go away to college<br />

and come back and see things differently,” she said. And though all are<br />

respectful of one another, “We disagree on a lot of things now,” she<br />

said with a laugh.<br />

Though she and her college girlfriends didn’t talk about politics then,<br />

she keeps in touch with them and has discovered that they share her<br />

political beliefs, as well. And even though they are all living in different<br />

places, the group decided to head to Washington, D.C. this past<br />

January for the Women’s March.<br />

“After the election last fall, it energized us all independently,”<br />

Busdicker said. “We all simultaneously decided we wanted to do this<br />

women’s march together and we had never really talked about politics<br />

before. One friend wants to run for office and another one is interested<br />

in international development.<br />

“I just learn so much from them. I’m in awe of them and I want to<br />

make myself better because of them.”<br />

Busdicker said her attendance and participation at political gatherings<br />

came about because she was surprised by the election last fall.<br />

“I fall into this group of people who were shocked by this election,”<br />

she said. “I’ve been trying to go to meetings and local events. The idea<br />

that we could go another decade without a <strong>woman</strong> president is like the<br />

Twilight Zone to me.<br />

“I support policies that affect all women. I’m really just getting<br />

started. I’m really critically thinking about what I want my role to be.”

Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 5


people<br />

by PATTI SAMAR<br />

Anita ashford<br />

6 Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

There isn’t much about life in Port Huron that Mayor Pro-Tem Anita<br />

Ashford hasn’t experienced and doesn’t love. Her passion for helping<br />

people and a desire to make a positive impact on the community and<br />

its residents led her, years ago, to a life of service to God, her family and<br />

her city.<br />

The lifelong city resident is proud to represent her hometown on the<br />

city council in her second go-around as a politician, having first served<br />

on the council for 10 years from 1989 to 1999.<br />

“The third time is the charm,” she said with a laugh, noting that it<br />

originally took her three attempts to win a seat on city council.<br />

Ashford views her service on the city council as a way to give back to<br />

the community while also helping people learn how to make positive<br />

change in their own lives.<br />

“That’s part of my destiny, to care about people and to empower<br />

people,” she said. “I try to be a catalyst to change lives. I try to help<br />

people get a little bit closer to their dreams in life.”<br />

The Port Huron Catholic High School graduate – public school<br />

officials asked her mother if she could be transferred there in order to<br />

help eliminate racial segregation at a time when segregation had been<br />

common – she went on to earn an associate degree in criminal justice<br />

at St. Clair County Community College and then a bachelor’s degree in<br />

human resources administration from Concordia University.<br />

Initially, she worked multiple jobs to make ends meet but eventually<br />

earned a position at Detroit Edison – now known as DTE – working in<br />

the security department. She is still employed by DTE, having served<br />

the company for 40 years. She now works at the company’s China<br />

Township location as a continuous improvement expert, where she<br />

oversees special projects and deals with human resources issues.<br />

Ashford has long been involved in numerous community projects,<br />

organizations and endeavors, including the Southside Coalition, Citizens<br />

Against Crime and the Blue Water Transit Authority. She has also<br />

served on committees for the Michigan Municipal League and the<br />

Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments.<br />

For many years she has been active in the NAACP, where she served<br />

as a national officer and she has been active in the local chapter. “I was<br />

a member of the national VIP security team,” she said, noting that the<br />

NAACP offers security services to members or supporters all over the<br />

country.<br />

She served on the VIP security team for 23 years, beginning in<br />

1978. Among those she was honored to serve was Rosa Parks, a civil<br />

rights icon who resided in Detroit in her later life. The NAACP offered<br />

continuous security services to Mrs. Parks after she was robbed and<br />

beaten in her Detroit home in 1994 when Parks was 81 years old.<br />

Others Ashford met during her time on NAACP VIP security detail<br />

included poet Maya Angelou, former president of South Africa Nelson<br />

Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton.<br />

“They (NAACP) flew us everywhere,” to help cover VIP security<br />

detail, Ashford said. “Wherever we went, I always made sure I<br />

visited a church there and I visited the neighborhoods to see how the<br />

residents were living so I could bring ideas back here,” she said. “Those<br />

experiences made me a better public servant.”<br />

Ashford’s experiences observing big city neighborhoods over the years<br />

have helped her better understand some of the big city problems that<br />

have come to Port Huron, as well as opportunities that the community<br />

could undertake, as well.<br />

“I think the marketing of downtown is important,” she said. “And<br />

strategically, our neighborhoods need to be different. We have home<br />

owners and we have renters and we need to be able to service all of them.<br />

“Some of our residents need to be empowered to change their<br />

circumstances and learn what is available to them and help them<br />

contribute to the city. We need to do more to help these people climb<br />

out of poverty. We need to lead in such a way so they feel they can do it<br />


Every day is the perfect day<br />

to send flowers.<br />

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Love reading this magazine? Want to see it continue?<br />

become a sponsor of Blue Water Woman magazine!<br />

SponSorShipS Start at juSt $1 per month!<br />

Businesses and individuals are welcome to become sponsors!<br />

Visit the “Individual Sponsorship” page on our website today!<br />

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Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 7

ig<br />

dreams<br />

by patti samar<br />

renee barr<br />

8 SPRING Summer <strong>2017</strong> <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Renee Barr helps kids make their dreams come true.<br />

Barr, theater coordinator at McMorran Place and director of theatrical<br />

productions for a number of local theater organizations, has served as a<br />

mentor, teacher and theatrical director to youth throughout the Port Huron<br />

area for more than 20 years.<br />

And as a wife, mother of four and theatrical director for several<br />

generations of students, Barr knows it is important to nurture the dreams<br />

of her students because she has been allowed to dream big herself.<br />

A graduate of Port Huron High School, Barr didn’t get bitten by the<br />

theater bug until she was a student at St. Clair County Community College.<br />

“I had a job working in the (SC4) theater and that’s when I really got<br />

interested,” she said. “But what I really wanted was to become a famous<br />

actress.”<br />

Throughout her college career – she later transferred to Oakland<br />

University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in communications with<br />

a minor in theater – she dabbled in theater and similar pursuits. She entered<br />

pageants to earn scholarship money and was the 1989 Miss Blue Water,<br />

which sent her to Muskegon to vie for the Miss Michigan crown.<br />

“They must have said, ‘We’ve got to give that gal a crown…she keeps<br />

coming back!’” she said with a laugh about her win in the Miss Blue Water<br />

pageant.<br />

During that time she also worked in a position of honor at the North<br />

American International Auto Show in Detroit. “I was a spokesmodel for<br />

the auto show,” she said. “It was a way to put myself through college and<br />

be seen. I was hoping that maybe someone would see me and put me in a<br />

commercial.”<br />

After college, Barr chose to return to her hometown where she eventually<br />

married a local resident and began teaching theater at SC4. That led<br />

to opportunities to teach drama for the Port Huron Schools where she<br />

continues to direct plays at Thomas Edison Elementary School, Fort<br />

Gratiot Middle School and Port Huron Northern High School. She also<br />

teaches theater camps throughout the year for the city of Port Huron<br />

recreation department.<br />

At McMorran Place, she serves as the theater coordinator for events. “I<br />

help with anything our clients need when they use the theater.”<br />

And while Barr works closely with McMorran’s clients to ensure great<br />

customer service, it is clear that her passion lies in working with young<br />

people and watching them grow through their theatrical experiences.<br />

“I’m really lucky,” she said of the students with whom she has had the<br />

opportunity to work throughout the years. “Some of them I lose to sports<br />

and jobs, but some of them I’ve had from the time they were eight years old<br />

all the way through high school graduation.”<br />

Most of the productions Barr directs – with children of all ages – are<br />

musical productions. “I work with them on acting, theory and character<br />

development,” she said. She noted that the community has been very<br />

supportive and that is appreciated.<br />

“If we don’t have audiences, we don’t have revenue and then it is harder<br />

to continue,” she said.<br />

The theatrical experience is not just about being or becoming a star, Barr<br />

noted. “It’s more than just about being on stage. It’s the triumph of being<br />

on stage after being so shy to begin with.”<br />

Additionally, students learn leadership, organizational and people skills.<br />

“My high school kids will help with middle school or elementary school<br />

productions and they become the mentors,” she said. “Not only do they<br />

help the younger students, but they are teaching the parents who are<br />

volunteers but non-theater people, how to do their jobs backstage. It’s a<br />

great experience.”<br />

Barr remembers her early experiences acting, performing in pageants and<br />

working as a spokesmodel and what a profound influence they all had on<br />

her and the way that mentoring adults encouraged her along the way.<br />

“All of those things helped me and when I’m working with kids, I<br />

always tell them the sky is the limit and it is amazing how that fuels them,<br />

especially when they hear that from an adult who is not their parent,” she<br />


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Summer <strong>2017</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 9

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