Following Up

Following Up with your feedback on our previous issue. As always, please share your thoughts at NMUMAG@NMU.EDU

As an NMU graduate I am proud of my alma mater and the many graduates who have chosen to return to Detroit and it make it their home.  My wife, son, and I are one of the families that moved “south of 8 mile” or back into Detroit. Most people thought we were beyond insane when we did this. But this was my lifelong dream and I am so fortunate to have a wife and son who came to realize it was their dream also.  We decided then it was time to “put up or shut up.”  Our story started almost 8 years ago now and there are no regrets. The story is long but both interesting and incredible (at least that is our opinion).  When I was a little boy I had an aunt and uncle who lived in a neighborhood of northwest Detroit called Palmer Woods, built during the rise of the auto industry in Detroit and home to many stately mansions and homes. My aunt and uncle living there greatly influenced me as a young boy and I swore that one day I, too, would live in Palmer Woods.

So my wife and I began to look around Detroit at the many historic neighborhoods, keeping our search a secret with the exception of sharing it with another NMU graduate who was a real estate agent at the time… We first “discovered” our house 18 months before we finally purchased it. During these 18 months “our” home was sold 3 times to 3 different purchasers but failed at closing each time. Also during these 18 months the bank dropped the asking price of our house from $249,000 to $89,000. In December 2008 we made an offer of $79,000, which the bank accepted, only to cancel the sale the day before our original closing date. They called several weeks later saying, “We changed our mind, do you still want the home?” “YES!” was our response.  Yes, we paid $79,000 for a 7,000 square foot historic mansion in Palmer Woods, Detroit, Michigan, which sits on a ½ acre lot. The home was in really rough shape, though… During these 3 years the home sat vacant and we are aware of a least one incidence where squatters got into the home and further damaged it.  You can also imagine how badly winter in Michigan can damage an unheated home.

My wife and I have been working diligently and continuously on restoring this treasure that we now call home for almost 6 years. During this time the home next to ours was also a victim of mortgage fraud and foreclosure, ultimately resulting in the home having to be torn down. I bring this up because George Romney, the former Governor of Michigan and father to Mitt Romney, lived in this home that had to be torn down. My wife and I have since acquired this additional ½ acre of land. We have volunteered to open our home for two concerts raising money for the Palmer Woods Homeowner’s Association... My wife, son, and I love to share our story of rebuilding Detroit one home and one family at a time.

Stephen G. Lakotish, Class of 1981


Regarding the Alumni on Tap/U.P. Beer Tour

Northern Magazine regrets not noting that the Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming is also an alumni-owned brewery with many family connections to NMU. Paul Argall ’74 was the founder of the 19-year-old business, which is now owned by his son Brad Argall ’97, daughter Michelle LaMere ’98 and her husband, Ryan LeMere ’97. We hope fellow alums will stop in to sample a tap such as Don’t Get Me Stouted, Rope’s Golden Wheat and Wanderlust IPA.


Great piece profiling UP breweries from NMU alumni. There are a few of us south of the bridge as well. I opened Beards Brewery in Petoskey while finishing up my final semester in 2012. I would get out of class at 9:30 pm on Thursday, drive south and get to Petoskey by 2 am, and work sixteen-hour days on Friday and Saturday, and “half days” at 8 hours on Sunday (leaving time for laundry, homework, and breakfast with my family), and Monday morning before driving up at 2 pm to catch my first class of the week at 6 pm with Professor Haltof in Jamrich. Graduated in May, opened the doors in August.

Ben Slocum ‘12


… I just want to let you know that the brewery-side of the industry is not the only one receiving NMU alumni. I am not sure if other NMU alumni are growing hops, but I am right here in Michigan’s Thumb. I grew-up on the farm, but moved out west after graduation to work in law enforcement. Long story short, we decided to move back to the farm to grow hops (in addition to other commodities) for the booming industry. We are now in our 4th year of growing.

Eric A. Dusci ‘00, President

American Patriot Hops, LLC

Member of the Hop Growers of America