Horn Hometown Tour: Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland

After serving chicken dinners and meeting with customers at the Bavarian Inn, Sen. Ken Horn stopped by the world-famous Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland for part two of a special three-part series in his own hometown of Frankenmuth.

Carla Bronner-Spletzer — Bronner’s vice president and daughter of the fabled Wally Bronner — and her staff developed an itinerary that kept the senator busy during his visit to the world’s largest Christmas store.

Before getting to work, Bronner-Spletzer and Horn explored the life and legacy of the late Bronner, looked over various memorabilia from Bronner’s life and discussed the history of what started as a hobby in 1945 in the basement of the young Bronner’s parents’ house.

Today, Bronner’s store is a 27-acre complex that employs three generations of the family and roughly 700 employees during the peak of the Christmas season.

Watch as Horn is put to work showing off his “talent” in decorating Christmas cookies and personalizing Christmas tree ornaments (where the senator painted ornaments for his grandchildren).

The showroom fills the customers with the Christmas Spirit all year long. While it is an inspiring site to behold, it is only one-third of the store. Behind the scenes is an immense warehouse of Christmas joy — where Bronner’s workers pack and ship a few of the store’s 220,000 annual online and catalog orders.

You can check out this video and videos of previous tours by clicking here.

Stamas completes 2016 Heritage Route 23 Legislative Tour

Sen. Jim Stamas and several state and local officials recently completed a two-day legislative tour of Heritage Route 23.

“My goal in leading this successful tour was to bring attention to Michigan’s sunrise side and to better engage state leaders with the community on local issues critical to the region,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “This hands-on tour offered us a unique chance to bring together multiple state department directors, tourism officials and economic development leaders to see what northeastern Michigan has to offer, promote tourism in the region and help improve the area economy.”

Beginning at Wheeler’s Restaurant in Standish, the tour traveled 200 miles along the U.S. 23 Heritage Route from Standish to Mackinaw City — finishing with a stop at the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.

In addition to seeing the museum in Mackinaw City with Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, and Travel Michigan Vice President Dave Lorenz, some of the tour highlights included:

  • Visiting a Standish grain elevator and Alpena dairy farm with MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams;
  • Checking out the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse in Rogers City with DNR Director Bill Moritz;
  • Seeing the MidMichigan Medical Center in Alpena with Michigan DHHS Director Nick Lyon;
  • Attending the “Good Morning Alpena” breakfast at the Brown Trout Festival; and
  • Touring a veterans office in Rogers City with Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, chair of the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security Committee.

Also joining Stamas on the tour were Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle; Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Rep. Brad Jacobsen, R-Oxford; DEQ Director Keith Creagh; and numerous other officials from state and local government.

Heritage Route 23 along Lake Huron is one of Michigan’s hidden gems. Families can experience spectacular lake views, check out numerous historical and cultural sites and enjoy a wide variety of recreational opportunities — from relaxing on miles of beaches to staying at one of more than 50 area campgrounds to visiting one of many historic lighthouses.

To discover more information on Heritage Route 23, visit www.us23heritageroute.org.

Revving up for Michigan International Speedway race weekend

The FireKeepers Casino 400 is this Sunday, June 12. It is the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races that will take place this year at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS).

As we get ready for the race, the Michigan Senate Republicans would like to remind residents of the tremendous impact to the state economy and the local community that MIS makes every year.

The racing weekends are more than just about racing cars. They are about supporting Michigan jobs, attracting tourists, increasing the state’ visibility and giving a financial boost to the region and state.

MIS generates more than $414 million in economic activity each year. It also pays more than $10.5 million in state sales taxes, use taxes and local property taxes.

Roughly 385,000 people visit the track on an annual basis — with more than half of the attendees at NASCAR events coming from outside the state.

In addition to the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, the speedway will host the Pure Michigan 400 in August.

MIS has expanded beyond auto racing to become a year-round destination with the addition of automotive research and development programs and non-motorsports events, including a Tough Mudder obstacle course and the Faster Horses three-day-long country music festival.

MIS is also active in the community, such as hosting the state’s largest single-day blood drive. Recently, the track’s charitable arm MIS Cares, awarded scholarships to 14 local high school seniors and improvement grants to six area school districts.

As residents watch this weekend’s race at NASCAR’s fastest track, let’s remember that the cars revving up for a thrilling showdown are the latest of 48 years of racing action at MIS, which contributes a great amount to the state economy, its local community and our way of life.

For more information about MIS and its upcoming events, visit www.mispeedway.com.