Friday, May 23, 2014

The Homestead Offers Statement Following Threatening Phone Call to Michigan Senator Stabenow

In the wake of a threatening phone call made recently to the Traverse City offices of Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, a discussion has emerged around the federal H-2B visa program, which allows employers to hire foreign guest workers for seasonal positions when the employers are unable to fill those jobs with local workers.

According to, the Leelanau County Sherriff’s office quoted the caller, a 61-year-old woman in Kasson Township, as demanding that Stabenow “‘stop illegals from coming into the country and taking away jobs from local workers.’” The woman went on to threaten that such “illegals” (referring specifically to the H-2B guest workers at The Homestead, a resort in Glen Arbor) would “be shot on sight” if Senator Stabenow failed to satisfy the caller’s demands. The same caller later admitted to the Sherriff’s office that she had placed an anonymous phone call to Adriene Kokowicz, a Vice President of The Homestead, in which she claimed to be a college student and requested information on the resort’s H-2B employees as part of a school research project.

As many comments on’s Facebook page and other social media outlets have observed, the guest workers employed at The Homestead and elsewhere through H-2B visa programs are not “illegals”: they have legal work visas and, thus, neither their presence in the U.S. nor their employment here is illegal. The purpose of H-2B visas is to enable foreign recipients to live and work in the U.S. legally, for a period of time, in specific positions that employers are otherwise unable to fill. Contrary to a common misunderstanding, H-2B workers do not work for lower pay or escape payroll taxes and other deductions: the H-2B program requires that employers pay all legally-required taxes and that participating workers be paid at or above the prevailing rate for comparable positions in the area. Kokowicz said The Homestead’s guest workers in the housekeeping department made between $12.13 and $14.14 per hour. The U.S. Department of Labor wage requirement for these positions is $10.21 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. State Senators recently voted to raise the Michigan minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 per hour. Thus, the wages that are being paid are far above all minimums.

Jamie Jewell, another Vice President at The Homestead, analyzed the actual cost to the resort for participating in the H-2B program. “There’s a perception that employers are trying to save money by hiring foreign workers… but people don’t realize that employers pay legal fees, governmental fees and one way travel expenses in addition to wages. We paid $15,893 in legal fees, another $10,200 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and another $28,000 for travel expenses.” She continued, “We’ve all been upset not only by calls and threats, but also by some of the ill-informed online comments about immigration… Just this year, we used outdoor, print, display and digital ads to let workers know that we had many positions available. Unfortunately, there were not enough local workers to fill the available jobs.”

The Homestead’s President, Bob Kuras, reacted to the news from Stabenow’s office by saying that he is “shocked and profoundly disheartened to know that any member of our community would treat our Jamaican guests or any other worker with anything less than the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The matter is now in the hands of the Leelanau County Prosecutor’s office, and may ultimately involve federal authorities. In the meantime, members of The Homestead community are pulling together to support their Jamaican guest workers, many of whom have come back year-after-year and have become much-loved team members and friends.

For more information on the H-2B visa program, visit and

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Palace Sports & Entertainment Presents 2nd Annual Michigan Beer Fest - Saturday, June 14 - DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston

Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) is celebrating great beers from nearly four dozen breweries and hosting an online contest to name an exclusive craft beer at the second annual Michigan Beerfest at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Saturday, June 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets, $30 in advance and $35 at the door, are on sale now at, The Palace Ticket Store and all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets may be also charged by phone to American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard by calling 800.745.3000. Parking is included in the price.

Patrons receive tickets for 10 four-ounce beer samples to taste beers from over 50 regional and national breweries. There will also be a “designated driver” ticket for $10 that includes two non-alcoholic beverages. Beerfest will also showcase craft beer seminars; live music; and a variety of food trucks.

Detroit-based Atwater Brewery and PS&E are co-hosting a contest to name an exclusive craft beer, awarding the winner “Beer for a Year” and two passes to this year’s Michigan Beer Fest. Applicants 21 years and older submitted their name for the craft beer and a panel of judges will narrow the entries down to three finalists. The public will decide the grand prize winner by voting online until May 21. The three finalists and one randomly selected voter will receive two passes to this year’s Michigan Beer Fest.

“As Detroit’s brewery, Atwater is excited to participate and partner with the 2014 Michigan Beerfest and showcase our award winning products to the best beer drinkers in the country,” said Mark F. Rieth, Atwater Brewery Owner. “We enjoy collaborating with other local companies like PS&E to make the experience even better for the public and this is going to be a great one!”


51 North Brewery
Anchor Steam
Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Arbor Brewing Company
Arcadia Ales
Atwater Brewery
Bell’s Brewery
Blue Moon Brewing Co.
Boston Beer Co,
Boulder Beer
Brewery Vivant
Brooklyn Brewery
Cheboygan Brewing Co.
Cranker’s Brewery
Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Dragonmead Microbrewery
Falling Down Beer Co.
Founders Brewing Co.
Frankenmuth Brewery
Goose Island Brewery
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Griffin Claw Brewing Co.
Harpoon Brewery
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.
Latitude 42 Brewing Co.
Liberty Street Brewing Co.
Magic Hat Brewing Co
McKenzie's Hard Cider
Millking it Productions
Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
New Holland Brewing Co.
North Peak Brewing Co.
Perrin Brewing
Right Brain Brewery
Rochester Mills Beer Co.
Round Barn Brewery
Saugatuck Brewing Co.
Shiner Bock
Short’s Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Stone Brewing Co.
Superior Lakes Mead
Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
Tommyknocker Brewery
Uncle John's Cider Mill
Vandermill Ciders
Vermont Hard Cider Co.
Virtue Cider

But there’s more than beer:

• Select breweries will participate in a “Tap Takeover” – every hour a different brewery (to be announced) will be highlighted at the “takeover,” offering samples of a limited supply of a featured brew;

• Food trucks from Dago Joe’s, El Guapo Grill, Mac Shack, People's Pierogi Collective, Shimmy Shack and strEAT mobile bistro;

• And vintage truck lovers will get a chance to check out refurbished and repurposed, mint condition trucks from Powers Distributing – the only drivable 1946 Mack Truck in the world, a 1936 Chevrolet and a 1952 Dodge.

Proceeds from the Michigan Beerfest will benefit Lighthouse PATH, one of the three program subsidiaries of Lighthouse of Oakland County empowerment program which provides two years of transitional housing in a safe and structured environment that offers homeless mothers an opportunity to rebuild their lives by helping them gain the skills needed for future success. They will have representatives on site to provide craft beer samplings. For more information on Lighthouse PATH, go to

Michigan Beerfest at DTE Energy Music Theatre is part of the Belle Tire Concert Series.

About Lighthouse of Oakland County: Lighthouse of Oakland County and its three program subsidiaries (Lighthouse Emergency Services, Lighthouse PATH and Lighthouse Community Development) have been providing services to low-income individuals, seniors and families in southeast Michigan since 1972. They offer a continuum of programs and services to help people reach their goal of financial stability and self-sufficiency. Lighthouse PATH is a transitional supportive housing program designed to help homeless women and children gain the skills and confidence needed to live safely and independently.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lansing Beer Week & Lansing Beer Fest Coming Up Mid June (Fest tickets on sale May 14 - 10am)

I’m a Beer Hound and Motor City Brew Tours presents the 3rd Annual Lansing Beer Week will take place from June 20 to June 28, 2014. This weeklong celebration will feature Michigan craft beer themed events throughout the greater Lansing area. The goal of Lansing Beer Week is to raise awareness of the craft beer industry while promoting patronage to local establishments and stimulating the greater Lansing area’s retail economy and Michigan made products.

Local breweries and beer centric bars will be offering craft beer themed events ranging from beer dinners to tap takeovers to special giveaways. Participating establishments include Zoobies Tavern, REO Town Pub, Midtown Beer Company, Reno's East and Reno's West, BAD Brewery, Tin Can, Taps 25, Nuthouse Sports Grill, Lansing Lugnuts, That's How We Brew, HopCat - East Lansing, Eagle Monk Brewery & Pub, What Up Dawg and Peppino's - East Lansing.

Lansing Beer Week concludes with Lansing Beer Fest in the Reo Town area of downtown Lansing on Saturday June 28th. The second annual Lansing Beer Fest is an outdoor beer festival occurring on Washington Avenue between South and Elm streets. The beer festival will feature 30 Michigan Breweries and nearly 100 craft beers and hard ciders. To see the full list of breweries attending, please visit the Lansing Beer Fest website. In addition to the great beer selection, the festival will feature live music by Mark Wayne Warner, Joe Wright and Lights & Caves. Food and vendors will be available to all attendees. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Reo Town Commercial Association.

Lansing Beer Fest tickets will officially go on sale Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 10am.

Learn more about all of the Lansing Beer Week events at:

Learn more about all of the Lansing Beer Fest at:

About I'm a Beer Hound
I'm a Beer Hound is a Michigan Beer News Website, Membership Card and Event Promoter.
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About “Motor City Brew Tours”
Guided Bus, Bike & Walking Tours to Michigan Breweries.
Find us online: http://MotorCityBrewTours