Archive | Monthly Gathering

September Monthly Gathering – Illicit Drug Use, the Opioid Crisis, and the DEA

The high availability and corresponding demand leading to the misuse of illicit and prescription drugs, including opioids is a crisis without geographic, demographic, or socioeconomic boundaries. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for conducting investigations and collecting intelligence related to the importation, distribution, and abuse of controlled substances. This presentation will provide an overview of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and introduce the DEA as a community resource for drug education information.  DEA Community Outreach Specialist Richard Isaacson will detail the current opioid epidemic afflicting the U.S., including fentanyl related issues. Other drug issues to be covered will include prescription drugs (other than opioids), growth in cocaine use, marijuana / THC current events, and vaping / Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). 

Rich Isaacson graduated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Isaacson was hired by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1991. Upon graduation, Special Agent (S/A) Isaacson was assigned to the Detroit Field Division where he served in a variety of enforcement capacities, including the Mobile Enforcement Team and the RedRum Homicide Task Force.

Mr. Isaacson was appointed as DEA Detroit’s Demand Reduction Coordinator (DRC) in 2000. As the DRC, S/A Isaacson was responsible for overseeing all drug prevention activities conducted by the DEA in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In 2005, Isaacson was awarded the PRIDE Youth Programs, National Drug Enforcement Agent of the Year Award, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 2007, Isaacson was assigned to serve as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Detroit Field Division, responsible for coordinating all of DEA’s media and public relations in the three state region. He remained in that position until retiring in December of 2017.

In 2018, Isaacson began his tenure as a Community Outreach Specialist, focusing on raising awareness to the dangers of substance abuse. He is contracted to do that work under the guidance of the DEA, working out of the Detroit Field Division.

The program takes place on Saturday, September 21th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30pm. The program begins at 7:00pm. Please note the new starting time!
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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August Monthly Gathering – Faygo, The Flavor of Detroit

The Faygo story is not only the history of a company that has forged a bond with a city and its residents for more than a century, but a reflection of the spirit and history of Detroit itself. The story of Faygo, Detroit’s beloved soda pop, begins over a hundred years ago with two Russian immigrant brothers who were looking to get out of the baking business. Starting with little more than pots, pails, hoses, and a one-horse wagon, Ben and Perry Feigenson launched their business in the middle of the 1907 global financial meltdown. Through recessions and the Great Depression, wartime politics, the rise and fall of Detroit’s population, and the never-ending challenges to the industry, the Feigensons persisted.

Joe Grimm, author of the “The Faygo Book”, will share the values that made Faygo an integral part of communities across Michigan. “The Faygo Book” is the story of a pop, a people, and a place. These stories and facts will tickle the taste buds and memories of Detroiters and Faygo lovers everywhere, with a few award-winning TV commercials thrown in. “The Faygo Book” is a 2019 Michigan Notable Book. Stay sharp because there WILL be a pop quiz. Why, we might even have a sing-along.

Mr. Grimm says he wrote “The Faygo Book” after building up a tremendous thirst on his previous book, “Coney Detroit.” Both are published by Wayne State University Press. Grimm, a lifelong Detroit area resident, is a journalism professor at Michigan State University. With his students or by himself, he has published more than 20 books. One MSU student gave Grimm the contact for high school English teacher Susie Feigenson, granddaughter of Ben, one of Faygo’s founding brothers. She was key to writing and illustrating the book. Grimm’s favorite Faygo flavor is Rock & Rye.

The program takes place on Saturday, August 17th, at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield. Doors open at 5pm. The program begins at 6pm. Please note the new starting time! Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

The program takes place on Saturday, August 17th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 5pm. The program begins at 6pm. Please note the new starting time!
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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June Monthly Gathering – Secret Detroit (Shhhhh!): A visit with the Motor City’s weird, wonderful, and obscure

There is another Detroit, one you may not be familiar with. There are wonderful and mysterious places to see around the city; Unique destinations that only Detroit could have. This presentation is a love letter to the city, that explores and investigate things that are odd, unexpected and extraordinary. Author Karen Dybis, by showcasing the city’s most unusual, will also provide insights on what went right and what went wrong during Detroit’s more than 300 years of history, as well as a really fun way to see all that the Motor City has to offer. With stories and tall tales, this presentation is a must for all current and wanna-be urban explorers and history buffs.

Karen Dybis is a metro Detroit reporter with more than 20 years of experience working at newspapers, freelancing for magazines and offering coverage of the growing Detroit renaissance for national publications. She is the author of four local-history books, including “Secret Detroit,” “The Witch of Delray,” “Better Made in Michigan,” and “The Ford-Wyoming Drive-In,” She is working on her fifth book, a work of fiction, set in 1920s Detroit. 

The program takes place on Saturday, June 15th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 5pm. The program begins at 6pm. Please note the new starting time!
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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May Monthly Gathering – How to Put a Man on the Moon!

In a speech he delivered on September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, characterized outer space as “a new frontier”, and declared “We choose to go to the Moon…” His words gave rise to what became Project Apollo, one of the most remarkable endeavors of human history. The project resulted in landing the first humans on the Moon, on July 20, 1969, followed by four subsequent lunar landings, the last of which occurring in 1972. Despite these impressive achievements, NASA’s major projects following Apollo, most notably the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, failed to capture the public imagination the way the Apollo Project did.

Joining us on May 18th, to help gain a better understanding of Project Apollo, will be Clifford Marko. Cliff started his career in journalism and covered the US space program from Project Apollo, and on from there. Cliff has enjoyed a multidimensional professional life as an Attorney, Corporate Counsel, President/CEO and radio/TV producer, reporter, and on-air host.

The program takes place on Saturday, May 18th, at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield. 23925 Northwestern Hwy Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 5pm. The program begins at 6pm. Please note the new starting time! Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Fishbone’s Cafe, located on the North side of Northwestern, 1500 feet North of 12 Mile, to socialize. The address is: 29244 Northwestern Hwy, in Southfield.

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March Monthly Gathering – The Mysterious World of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

By now you’ve probably heard about cryptocurrency. A family member, friend, neighbor, doctor, Uber driver, sales associate, server, barista, or passer-by on the street, has probably told you how he or she is getting rich quick with virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, or one of the lesser-known 1,300-plus investable cryptocurrencies.

But how much do you really know about them? If you’re like most folks (Including me), not much. Well, let’s fix that!

Join us for an introductory, but comprehensive, overview of the fast-moving world of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, and Blockchain, the technology that makes it work. 

We will tackle the history, as well as extremely volatile, exotic, and often confusing nature of cryptocurrencies, that exists together with blockchain, in this quickly evolving space. We will also explore the varied practical and theoretical applications of the blockchain technology, which go far beyond its potential implications within the business sector. 

Guiding us will be Angela Palacios, CFP®, AIF®, and registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., where she specializes in investment and macro-economic research.

The program takes place on Saturday, March 16th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 5pm. The program begins at 6pm. Please note the new starting time!

Adult members: $4, or a strip of 4 tickets – $12
Adult guests: $5
Children 12 and under: $2
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

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