Salted with Sharks

Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

Pride of BC: Let’s Talk about Bullying in Schools

In Breaking, Education, Kid Stuff, Law & Order, Open Season on December 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

An anti-bullying group for parents holds its first meeting tomorrow at Benzie High School’s SEEDS room at 6:30 pm. The group is a spinoff of the kids’ anti-bullying Pride group that formed earlier this year. All are welcome to come out and discuss how we can be nicer to each other. Tomorrow’s meeting will be facilitated by SEEDS coordinator Josh Stoltz.

Stoltz says the group will be a way to channel some energy that’s built up over this issue recently, and a way for parents to communicate with each other about their concerns and present them with a “unified voice” to school administrators. Local bullying incidents made the news this year.

Vickie Slater, who teaches dance through SEEDS, said Benzie High School students got the idea for their Pride group from a school with a similar group in Newaygo and took the initiative to make their own program. They have instigated “High Five Fridays,” where students high five each other in the hallways and each find five complimentary, positive things to say to five other students. They also discuss other teen issues, such as the homelessness rate among teens in the Traverse area.

A student-created performance that deals with teen issues such as drugs, suicide, and homelessness is planned for March.

For now, the teen Pride group is just at Benzie Central, but at least one student has expressed an interest in forming a Frankfort chapter. If enough students decide to get together Slater said she’ll help coordinate. “Things don’t usually take off or become successful unless the take responsibility for it,” Slater said.

Fundraisers! Get Your Name on a Plank, or Donate to the Elberta Beach Road Project

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

For just $10 you can have your name (or any name you want) etched onto the Elberta Beach boardwalk or on a picnic table in the Marina/Penfold park for, well, not eternity, but a bunch of whiles! Go here.

This also just in: a fundraiser to establish a permanent, well demarcated road on Elberta Beach, contiguous with the platted road known as Lakeside Boulevard, has been set up with a PayPal button and everything. Proceeds will go toward road construction and signage. The Village leadership hopes the official road and signage will discourage offroading on the beach, an activity which is actually against federal and state law anyway, but has been hard to enforce due to lack of manpower. Donate here.

Holiday Festivities in Elberta

In Calendar, Open Season on December 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

Next Friday, 12/21, at 6 pm, celebrate the winter Solstice in Elberta with a placing of luminaries and a (re)lighting of the Marina Park tree. Bring your own candle and can or use one of the ones the organizers, Diane Jenks and Sue Oseland, will have on hand. A can decorating workshop will be also held at the Community Building on Sunday at 3 pm.

The last day of the Elberta Park and Rec Christmas tree sale is also next Friday. Help us offload the rest of these great trees. They truly are “Needlefast.” Great shapes and smells still available.

Alert Readers: A Message from Don Tanner

In Alert Reader, Gov't Watch, Politics on December 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

THE ALERT WELCOMES LETTERS FROM OUR READERS! Call or text 231-399-0098, send mail to Elberta Alert Letters, PO Box 357, Elberta, MI 49628, or write to Letters may be edited for length. Profanity will be indicated but not replicated.

THANK YOU, voters of Blaine, Gilmore, Joyfield and Weldon Townships and
the Villages of Elberta and Thompsonville for allowing me to continue to serve as your county commissioner.

I welcome constiuents’ calls at 231-383-3623. Visit my website,, for updates on my work and Benzie County government issues.

Best to all in the New Year,
Don Tanner
District 7 Benzie County Commissioner

What’s Eating the Local Food Movement?

In Breaking, Calendar, Education, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck, Uncategorized on December 3, 2012 at 3:21 am

By Emily Votruba

EVENT Tuesday, December 4. The Northern Michigan Culinary Arts Community invites the public to a talk by Patty Cantrell, “Local Food: A Prescription for National Healing.” With free, locally sourced appetizers made by SEEDS kids and some of our area’s most talented chefs. 7 pm to 8:30 pm at the Frankfort Rec Center, across from the Frankfort Laundromat. 

It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home, the saying goes.

So why don’t you get more of your food from northern Michigan/Benzie County/Elberta producers? Serious question.

Maybe you’ve found it’s a lot more expensive. Maybe you haven’t found the items you want or need. Maybe you haven’t been able to find locally grown food at all.

For whatever reason, it’s crazy, says Patty Cantrell, “that it’s easier for a farm to send potatoes halfway around the country and back in a potato chip bag than it is to send them freshly dug out of the ground to a school down the road.”

Cantrell expounded on our country’s bizarre food-system “superhighway,” and the ways in which Michigan producers and distributors are working to restore sanity during a TED Talk she gave in February. Tomorrow night she’ll speak more about the hows and whys of local food at the Frankfort Rec Center, in a program put on by the Northern Michigan Culinary Arts Community (NMCAC), an educational nonprofit formed this year.

“I credit Patty with beginning the conversation about local food here,” says Suz McLaughlin, of Still Grinning Kitchens, one of the cofounders of NMCAC. “Farm-to-table, the farm-to-school program…the reason we now have companies like Cherry Capital Foods. It’s pretty much because of her.”

We’ve come a long way in the two decades Cantrell has spent finding ways for farmers to take side trips off the superhighway and provide for their own communities. During twelve years with the Michigan Land Use Institute, she created a marketing program for local food with a 10-county reach, developed the farm-t0-school network, and started a program to help farmers develop business skills. The movement has blossomed with the growing understanding that eating closer to home is healthier in every way.

It’s fitting that Cantrell will speak at the Frankfort Rec Center—after the Council on Aging moved the senior center out of the building, the center was developed as an “incubator kitchen” by McLaughlin and Jim Barnes, of Crystal Lake Catering Company. With a lot of elbow grease and their own funds, they improved the kitchen facilities with the dream of providing a place for food entrepreneurs to test their ideas and launch their businesses right here, in their own neighborhood.

With education and distribution systems in place like the ones Cantrell and NMCAC are building, it should someday be easier—and more cost effective all around—to buy an Elberta peach from Elberta than one from an industrial operation in Georgia.

“We are making our way back to each other, and moving forward as a result,” says Cantrell. Come see where the conversation leads tomorrow night.

Gov Watch: Bills to Take the Public Out of Michigan Education?

In Breaking, Education, Politics, Uncategorized on December 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

By Emily Votruba

State legislators may soon vote on a set of bills that would make sweeping “emergency manager”–style changes to state public education, while making it easier to establish private and charter schools. The Benzie Democrats and Frankfort–Elberta Schools superintendent Tom Stobie have voiced their concern, as has Bloomfield Hills Schools superintendent Rob Glass, along with citizens such as Marvin Dunn, writing in the Lansing State Journal. The story broke out on the Daily Kos site November 28 first under the headline, “MICHIGAN: HOLY F*CKING SH*T. Spread the word on this NOW,” which was revised November 29 to “Michigan Public School System Being Destroyed. RIGHT NOW.” That post includes a phone script to aid those who wish to call their reps in opposition to the bills.

In his letter to reps Booher and Franz, published on the Benzie Dems website, Tom Stobie calls the bills “extremely troubling.”

House Bill 6004/Senate Bill 1358 (currently the same text) Would create a single, statewide school district under the Education Achievement Authority, similar to the Emergency Manager system just voted down in a referendum in the November election. The EAA would be managed by a governor-appointed agent to shut down underperforming schools. The EAA could sell or lease school districts’ unused buildings to charter or private schools without permission from local residents. The EAA would report directly to the governor rather than to the State Board of Education.

House Bill 5923 Allows for several new forms of charter and online schools, many of which can be created by the EAA. These schools may have selective enrollment/dis-enrollment policies—they don’t have to take all children in their neighborhood. The bill does not include any changes or increases in funding, but would draw from the same funding pool as community-governed public schools. Schools established under the EAA can be exempt from regular state education laws and requirements, such as the MEAP test.

Senate Bill 620 “The Parent Trigger” bill, passed by the Senate in June, now in Committee.  It allows a low-performing school to be changed to a so-called “conversion school” if a petition is signed by 51% of the teachers at the school and 51% of the parents/legal guardians of students in that school.

At post time, the bills are all with the House and Senate Education Committees.


Honorable Senator Darwin Booher State Capitol P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 49909 Phone: 517-373-1725

Honorable Representative Ray Franz S-1385 House Office Building P.O. Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909 Phone: 517-373-0825

Christmas Tree Sale Set for Friday after Thanksgiving

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm

It was such a moneymaker last year (clearing about $500), and so much fun, that the Village Parks and Rec Commission will sell Christmas trees again this year on Russ Mix’s lot, between Lane Plumbing and the post office on Frankfort Avenue. This year they’ll sell last year’s popular Fraser firs ($30) and two sizes of blue spruce ($30 and $25).

Plans were finalized at the P&R meeting on Wednesday. Bill O’Dwyer suggested the price point from last year was good, and if they wanted to increase revenue they should increase inventory and the sale period.

The sale begins the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 23, and will run every day until Christmas Eve from about UPDATED: 4 pm to 8 pm Monday through Friday, and Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 6 pm. P&R hopes to get increased business from the lunch crowd at the reopened Mayfair Tavern.

If you’d like to volunteer to sell trees, contact P&R VP Jennifer Wilkins at 231-651-0798.

One of the road signs used last year, made by Emily Votruba and Art Melendez, will be repurposed—with “blue spruce” instead of “Scotch pine.”

Election Results 2012

In Breaking, Politics on November 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Our turnout was about 73%, down from 2004 (79.2%) and 2008 (77.9%). 478 ballots were cast, including 5 from overseas.

Thank you to election workers Carole Anne Lee, Pat Appleton, Cathleen Christie, Nancy Wing, and Charlie Hendershott, with great assistance from Sharyn Bower. Poll watchers were Karen Roberts and Mike Madden.

New Village trustees: Jennifer Wilkins (113 votes); Joyce Gatrell (98). Ken Holmes was re-elected with 94 points. Bill Soper was not re-elected (86).

In the new District VII county commission race, Donald Tanner won Gilmore with 274 vs. Adrian Poulisse with 175.

We voted no on all the ballot proposals.

We voted for John Mead (268) over John Daugherty (140) for probate judge.

We voted for Gary McDowell (288) over Dan Benishek (149) for Congress.

We voted for Debbie Stabenow (321) over Pete Hoekstra (131) for Senator.

We voted for Allen O’Shea (291) over Ray Franz (166) for District 101 State House rep.

In the sheriff race, we voted for independent candidate Coury Carland (220) by a small margin over Ted Schendel (201).

And for president of the United States, we chose Barack Obama (289) over Mitt Romney (177). Three of us voted for the US Taxpayers candidate Virgil Goode, and three for the Green candidate Jill Stein.

For more detailed results, including number of write-ins, see the photos of the official ticker below. And thanks for playing!

As a pdf: Gilmore Elberta Election Results 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ballot Cheat Sheet

In Breaking, Politics on November 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

Sheriff Race 2012: Indy Candidate Carland

In Breaking, Law & Order, Politics on November 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm

By Bob Kenison and Emily Votruba

Back in July of this year, the Alert’s Morgan Feger interviewed the candidates for Benzie County sheriff—three Republicans. Ted Schendel won the August primary and would have been unopposed in the general election. But in July, Coury Carland announced he was running for the position as an Independent.

Coury Carland is a 2000 graduate of Frankfort High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in political science, with double minors in history and economics. He is now completing his master’s degree in international relations/comparative politics at CMU. An adjunct professor at Saginaw Valley State University, he teaches courses on the American political system and world politics, among other subjects. He is also an active member in the Lions Club.

At the League of Women Voters candidate forum on October 24, Carland, who requires a wheelchair because of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (aka “brittle bone” disease), addressed the question of his physical ability to serve: “Can you be sheriff in a wheelchair?… I am totally independent. By the end of this week I will have driven about 1,000 miles commuting between Benzie County and Saginaw to teach class…I like to remind people that our 32nd president, Franklin Roosevelt, was in a wheelchair, and he served three terms, [during which] he defeated Nazi Germany, he defeated Imperial Japan, and he got us through probably one of the toughest times in American history since the American Civil War. Good things come in unique packages. For any of you who have further questions, I’m more than happy to answer them. I want to make sure people feel comfortable discussing that.”

What motivates you to seek the sheriff job? Read the rest of this entry »