Two years ago, on a Facebook live video, Tino Ulicne announced to friends and family that after a year of hard work, his dream of opening a gym was finally going to be a reality. Ulicne named the Lincoln Park, MI gym, RTB (Raise The Bar).
Ulicne couldn’t have known how quickly a virus from Wuhan China and an overreaching Democrat Governor could destroy his dream of opening his own business.
Lincoln Park, a blue-collar community, whose median income in 2017 was 23.5% less than the median income elsewhere the state of MI, hasn’t had a Republican US Congressman since 1964. Representation for the city is split between two far-left Democrats US Representatives, Rashida Tlaib, and Debbie Dingell. Dingell essentially inherited the district when her elderly husband, the longest-serving member of Congress, who was in poor health, retired in 2015 shortly before he died at the age of 92.
On March 15, after the COVID pandemic became a threat to the public safety, Ulicne took the proper steps and asked his customers to use extreme caution when working out in his gym to keep themselves and others safe from spreading the virus.
The extra efforts by gym owners to keep their customers safe wasn’t good enough for Michigan’s Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, she couldn’t trust business owners to do their part, so she shut them down.
On March 16, RTB owner Tino Ulicne announced that the gym would be forced to close due to Governor Whitmer’s executive order, explaining to his customers, “It is out of our hands.”
On April 4, after several weeks of watching his gym remain empty, Tino Ulicne pleaded with customers to not spend too much money on home gyms, that he would be using the time that the gym is shut down to “fix up a couple of things,” to make his facility even better.
After months of being shut down, Ulicne announced the news on Facebook, that after Governor Whitmer lifted the ban on Michigan gyms, that his gym would be reopening on June 27th.
We spoke with Tino Ulicne who told us he was taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of the customers in his gym. Ulicne explained:
“We had enforced a policy that everyone in the gym wipes down before and after use of every item in the gym with sanitizing wipes. Those wipes were located all over the gym, roughly every 15 feet. We also had staff cleaning equipment all day long using a solution which also included bleach. I had our bathrooms cleaned morning and night and also had a professional cleaning service come do it once a week as well. We were in the works of getting it fumigated weekly with a special aerosol disinfectant. I top of all that we had the cardio machines gap to 6 feet apart or taped off. We also had the sauna‘s turned off and showers turned off. I had the drinking fountain turned off as well. We also suggested everyone wear a mask and we had mask signs and hygiene signs located all over the gym. I had my employees taking their temperature when they came in and charting their symptoms that day.”
Not so fast…
Ulicne said his gym followed the closure order until June 25. That day was once planned as the first day that gyms could legally reopen after a judge ordered an end to Whitmer’s closure after the filing of a federal lawsuit brought by a group of independent gym owners and trainers.
But an 11th-hour ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals scuttled those plans by delaying implementation of the lower court’s decision. That kept the governor’s order in place while the appeals court ponders the matter.
Many gyms decided to take the necessary precautions to keep their customers safe and remained open. Local police departments in Michigan have, for the most part, looked the other way when it comes to dealing with complaints about customers working out in gyms.
Unfortunately for Tino Ulicne, his business, which happens to be located in a district ruled by Democrats was shut down on Wednesday, for daring to defy the governor’s orders. About a dozen of the RTB’s customers who were inside the facility when the police arrived, received citations for the crime of working out.
Detroit News – The case involving RTB Gym in Lincoln Park is one of the first in Michigan in which authorities ticketed not only an owner or manager of a gym for defying the governor but all patrons who happened to be inside when officers arrived.
“We wanted to make sure that they took this seriously,” said Mayor Thomas Karnes of Lincoln Park, where the now-shuttered gym is located. “You can’t have someone basically flouting the laws and opening in violation of what the governor says you can’t do.”
Lincoln Park police entered RTB Gym, 2146 Fort St., about 12:45 p.m. and, along with a city building inspector, told everyone to leave the building and handed citations to two gym employees and the roughly 12 members who were working out, according to gym owner Tino Ulicne, who was later cited by police as well.
The building inspector ordered the gym closed and posted bright orange “DO NOT OCCUPY” signs at its entrances.
Ulicne said the gym is his livelihood and he tried to keep it open out of financial necessity, although with social-distancing rules and added spacing between the equipment. The building is a former Powerhouse gym, which he bought and rebranded in 2018.
“This is my bread and butter,” he said.
Karnes, a former police chief, said he and Lincoln Park City Council members learned that RTB Gym was open in defiance of Whitmer’s order from a citizen during Monday night’s council meeting.
RTB Gym was given a warning on Tuesday, and a manager there voluntarily closed the business, Karnes said.
City officials took further steps Wednesday upon discovering that the gym had reopened.
“If you don’t comply, there are ramifications,” the mayor said.
Ulicne said he was surprised that Lincoln Park took the actions it did. He noted how not all cities are going after gyms that remain open.
“I have competitors open, and they get a slap on the wrist,” he said. “They get a $500 fine, a $1,000 fine. They pay it, they’re open the next day. We come in, we get a warning. I expected to get a fine the next day and pay it and do the same thing, but we get everyone ticketed.”
One of the occupations hardest-hit by Governor Whitmer’s irrational executive orders over COVID-19 fears is that of a hairstylist. Curiously, Whitmer, who likes to think of herself as a champion for women, made the irrational decision to shut down the beauty and spa industry that’s made up of mostly women owners, employees, and independent contractors.
When it became clear to the Michigan Conservative Coalition that Michigan’s radical governor had no intention of allowing anyone in the business of cutting or styling hair go back to work, they decided to host “Operation Haircut,” a protest against Governor Whitmer’s overreaching executive order that allowed Michigan residents to shop at big box stores, get abortions and buy weed, but not to get a haircut. The Operation Haircut event that was held in May brought hundreds of Michigan residents to the lawn of the state’s Capitol building where dozens of hairstylists offered free haircuts, as a way to protest Governor Whitmer’s extended shutdown of their industry.
We wrote about the 7 female hairstylists who received $1,000 citations from the Michigan State Police during the event.
MEET RACHAEL: We spoke with Rachael, one of the women who received the $1,000 fine and a criminal charge for participating in the protest. Rachael told us she felt compelled to go to the protest because she was standing up for all of the other hairstylists in Michigan. She also told us she didn’t believe that Governor Whitmer has the constitutional right to prevent them from being able to make a living. Rachael, who has lived in Michigan her entire life, and owns her own business, told us that she is moving to another state in the south, as she can’t live in a state ruled by an unconstitutional governor like Gretchen Whitmer. Rachael explained that she recently received a notification from Michigan’s licensing bureau, LARA, telling her that they are looking into taking her license away as a result of her participation in the peaceful protest.
ANGELA RIGAS, a working mother of four, is also a victim of Governor Whitmer. Last week, after completing the required course to obtain her CPL (Concealed Permit License), hairstylist, Angela Rigas who was also targeted by Governor Gretchen Whitmer for peacefully protesting Governor Whitmer’s shutdown, was told she could not apply her CPL because of the criminal charge she was given for her part in the protest.
Angela is a mother of four, who told us that she became concerned after watching the riots on television and decided to take the required course to get her CPL. She was shocked to find out that the ticket she received was preventing her from obtaining a CPL permit. Like the other seven hairstylists who were targeted by Whitmer, Angela has also received a notification from LARA explaining how they are looking into revoking her license.
The criminal charge these ladies received is the equivalent of a criminal charge given to a “Common prostitute,” or ” A person who is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place.”
Here’s the $1,000 ticket that Angela received that came with criminal charges for peacefully protesting:
Earlier this month, Michigan’s Democrat Governor Whitmer stood side by side with protesters to honor the life of George Floyd and protest against police brutality in Highland Park, MI. No citations were given for protesting alongside Michigan’s radical governor.
One of the hairstylists who never had an interest in politics took part in Operation Haircut. In the video below, she explains how it made her feel patriotic to protest Governor Whitmer’s shutdown. She was also given a $1,00o citation and charged criminally for taking part in the protest.
Michigan attorney David Kallman appeared in a press conference on the steps of the state’s Capitol building, where he announced that he would be representing six of the seven hairdressers who were hit with criminal charges in addition to the fines they received for participating in the protest. According to Kallman, in addition to criminal charges for allegedly violating the governor’s executive orders, the seven hairstylists have been criminally charged under the Disorderly Persons Statute, which says they were operating an illegal business. The attorney, who’s been hired by Michigan Conservative Coalition to represent the six female hairstylists, added that all of his clients have all received notices from LARA, the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, explaining that they’re taking steps toward revoking their licenses.
Standing alongside Attorney Kallman and three of the six hairdressers he’s representing, was Owosso, MI barber, Karl Manke, who made national news when he re-opened his barbershop in defiance of Whitmer’s executive order.
A spokesperson for Michigan State Police said warnings were given first before the citations were handed out to the hairstylists for “disorderly conduct.”
MLive reports that Kallman found it “odd” that the state would “attempt to give the stylists criminal records” and “take away their livelihood” for cutting hair, which businesses have been allowed to do again statewide since June 15. He said state law allows hairstylists to cut hair during special events, such as the May 20 protest.
Kallman explained that the charges were made by Attorney General Dana Nessel, and not the local prosecutor. He also called out the riots that took place at the BLM protests that Governor Whitmer ignored and even took place in a public memorial for George Floyd with hundred of protesters during her lockdown.
Michigan Conservative Coalition President Rosanne Ponkowski also spoke out at the press conference, explaining how their group has started a GoFundMe account for the hairstylists to help pay their legal fees. Go HERE to contribute.
Kallman called out Democrat Governor Whitmer for her hypocrisy in actively trying to harm the female hairdressers desperate to go back to work while walking with BLM protesters two weeks ago. He added that the BLM protesters Governor Whitmer supported destroyed businesses and private property in several locations across the state, while the seven hairdressers she’s criminally prosecuting were simply trying to stand up for their right to make a living. Rosanne Ponkowski told the media that they used a vacuum to clean the front lawn of the Capitol building at the conclusion of “Operation Haircut,” saying that the MI State Police officers commented that it was the first time they saw protesters leave the premises cleaner than when they arrived.
Karl Manke destroyed Governor Whitmer with a blistering speech exposing her hypocrisy while defending the hairstylists right to make a living: