Salted with Sharks

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Petals & Perks: The Europification of Main Street Continues

In Culture Bluffs, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on May 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

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Alert reporter Chip Marks spoke with Chris and Victoria Mekas about their new combination coffee and flower shop, which opened for business May 15 in the old Java 429 spot on Main Street. Chip got this response and some great photos.

We took occupancy of the commercial space at 429 Main Street in January of 2013. Victoria has been wanting to open a flower shop in Frankfort for a few years, but there has not been any prime retail space available until this year. We received a phone call when the space became available. After pondering the pros and cons Read the rest of this entry »

Psst…Party at Juliet’s House

In Culture Bluffs, Kid Stuff, Lakeside Shakespeare, The Mess Deck on May 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

By Emily Votruba

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On May 25 at 7 pm, Frankfort–Elberta’s very own Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre company will transform Oliver Art Center into the House of Capulet for “An Evening in Verona”—a fun theatrical party with a purpose.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, which gets you local food and wine as well as entertainment. But just as important, says Amy Daniels-Moehle, Lakeside’s new director of community development, is that the company wants us all to get to know each other better. “They come every year and they’re here and gone so quickly. The rehearsals start in Chicago during the second week in June. They practice like crazy until they arrive July 20, they stay until August 2 and then they go back to their other jobs.”

Lakeside Shakespeare has been coming here every summer since 2003, just for us.

On May 15 the troupe Read the rest of this entry »

Rainbow, May 21, 2013, about 7:30 pm

In Alert Reader, Breaking, Community Alert, GOOD NEWS, Open Season, Weather on May 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

By Marilyn Maslo

We may not have a literal pot of gold, but on nights like these, soft rain under sunshine making a full-on 180-degree rainbow, we sure do feel lucky. Thanks, Marilyn Maslo, for capturing the moment.

We may not have a literal pot of gold, but on nights like these, soft rain under sunshine making a full-on 180-degree rainbow, we sure do feel lucky. Thanks, Marilyn Maslo, for capturing the moment.

Gilmore Township Meeting Report, April 2013

In Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Politics, Uncategorized on May 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm

By James Ward

April 9, 2013

ELBERTA LIBRARYPresent: Carl Noffsinger, Doug Holmes, Ron Beyette, Sharyn Bower. Guest: Don Tanner, James Ward

Don Tanner, our county commissioner for District 7, spoke about the reorganization of health care services. Benzie County is among the 21 counties in the Northern Zone that shares state funding for mental health services. He noted that the Grand Traverse Band provided grants to the Special Olympics, the Sheriff’s Department, and Grow Benzie. Benzie Area Christian Neighbors also received a grant.

The minutes from the previous meeting and the Treasurer’s report were accepted.

Clerk Sharyn Bower said the Board of Review went well and said that a grave owner has requested a tree removal at the cemetery.

Under old business, township board supervisor Carl Noffsinger noted that he will discuss cemetery maintenance with Mr. Eric Anderson, the groundskeeper. He discussed the need to verify the township’s role in enforcing fines for failure to submit a property transfer document continues to be tabled pending further research.

The board discussed the current contract with the fire department.

Carl Noffsinger was appointed by the board to be the emergency contact person for County Emergency ServicesΨ

Gilmore meetings posting 2013-14

Free Yoga for Veterans at Betsie Hosick Fitness Center

In Community Alert, Health, Our Men and Women in Uniform on May 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Starting next Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, Betsie Hosick Health & Fitness Center will offer a free yoga class at 1 pm. Eric Pyne will teach this weekly class. Betsie Hosick is located off 115 at 102 Airport Road, near the Frankfort Airport and next to Charlie’s Natural Food Market. Call (231) 352-9661 for more information.

Why did you decide to offer this class for veterans?                                                                                              For some reason, yoga in the U.S. has gotten the image of being a rich ladies’ sport.  In fact the roots of yoga can be traced to the physical and spiritual practices of ancient warriors. I’m offering the class for free because I feel a duty to the men and women who have put our country above their personal safety.

What if someone’s never done yoga before?
If you’ve never done yoga before, TRY IT.  It is scientifically proven to reduce stress.
What particular school or system will you teach?
I have been trained in a type of yoga that was developed by Roger Eischens. He studied with B.K.S. Iyengar, and adapted his methods to the body types he saw in the U.S. I make no claim to be part of any particular school or system.
How should people prepare for this class?
Please prepare for this class by wearing clothing that you are comfortable moving and sweating in.  If you have a yoga mat, belts, or blocks, please bring them.
What if someone is badly injured?
Please bring any injuries you have to my attention, especially if they are currently causing pain. I’m offering this class specifically in the hope that sharing the training I have had will be of some use in healing.
What can students expect to happen during each class?
People should expect an opportunity to use their own awareness as a tool for healing. I will give directions for poses and breathing and ask questions. Class is expected to last for an hour and a half.

Putney Team Responds to PC’s Request for Additional Information on “Elberta School Apartments” Plan Ahead of Hearing Tonight

In Agriculture, Community Alert, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron on May 7, 2013 at 9:46 am

By Emily Votruba

Last night (May 6), the Alert received an email from Loy Putney’s attorney, Bradley Putney, with answers to some of the questions the Planning Commission asked at the first hearing on his proposed Elberta School Apartments, on April 16. According to Village attorney Edgar Roy, a number of the questions were sent to the Putney team in writing before that first hearing, but at the hearing the Putney team did not have answers prepared. The second hearing is scheduled for tonight at 7 pm at the Elberta Library.

May 6 letter from Brad Putney to Village attorney Edgar Roy regarding Planning Commission questions.

May 6 letter from Brad Putney to Village attorney Edgar Roy regarding Planning Commission questions.

In the letter above, Brad Putney said he would provide the 21 page pdf of answers to the Village Hall (presumably the Village Office) this morning. View the pdf here Putney Team Answers to the 4-19-13 List of Planning Commission Questions

Support Outdoor Education and Blooming Michigan Artistry

In Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, Education, Green Elbertians, Kid Stuff on May 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm

By Lena Wilson

Many potent life lessons come through interaction with young people in our lives. By making an effort to pay closer attention and ask questions we’re reminded, though we didn’t know we had forgotten, how to play and act in the moment. Though the children certainly don’t intend to influence thought or create change, by observing their growth one can be transformed, just as poor soil can be aided to become a rich humus. This experience of becoming more like a child feels like remembering and seems to be as vast a reservoir for exploration as life itself.
How can we set up the learning stage so that we can learn from our children? How can we give them room and nourishment to grow? An active example of experience-based nature education in our area is the Human Nature School in Traverse City, Michigan. The Human Nature School was founded by Matt Miller and Kriya Townsend, who modeled their school and programs after their two years of experience at the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) in Washington State. Jon Young, the founder of WAS, began his nature programming on the East Coast but moved to Washington, where nature connection programming was flourishing. Matt and Kriya have been running programs in Michigan for almost three years. The school has an office in Building 50 in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Many of their programs are held in the parkland surrounding the Village.
The heart of the Human Nature School is the home-school youth program that runs year round. The kids in the youth program are ages 6 to 13, and a pre-K group meets for ages 4 and 5. During each class, the group shares in a circle: stories, gratitude, dance moves, take-home challenges, etc. They practice making one-match fires, learning about bow drill fire technique, animal tracking, shelter making, and working with knives. Days are often spent focusing on learning about the flora and fauna of our area. The kids and instructors really enjoy playing games that focus on awareness, tactics, and animal forms. They journal, sing songs, and get dirty. All around, days at the Human Nature School are jam packed with fun. On most class days the students have a chance to explore nature on their own, something that is, surprisingly, a rare thing for many of them. What a pleasure it is to see the eyes of youth shine.
The Human Nature School is funded by donations, student tuition, and small occasional fundraisers like a Barn Dance and a concert by Joe Reilly. Student tuition is only $5 an hour, with sibling discounts and need-based scholarships covering up to 100% of a student’s tuition. The school is greatly supported by its enthusiastic community. It’s a new school—a shiny new, lime green sprout.
I’ve been volunteering with the school since September 2011 and have come to love this community and the kids. As a gift for the school I’ve drawn designs for three nature T-shirts and created a fundraiser campaign to print the shirts for the students and school inventory. The success of this project also supports me, Lena Wilson, as a young artist. My artwork will be seen and appreciated by many people if printed on shirts, and this will serve as a great portfolio project. After the shirts are paid for, 8% of the goal amount is budgeted to pay myself for the designs and the many hours I’ve put into promotion and the project webpage. All the income generated from future shirt sales will go directly to the school.
May 16 is the last day of the fundraising drive to fund the shirts on Kickstarter. Please consider checking out my personal website,, where you can find information on the Human Nature School T-shirt fundraiser, or go directly to the campaign’s webpage at Call (231) 740-3469 or write to me at with any questions or if you wish to contribute and do not want to use the internet. Ψ
One of three T-shirt designs made by Lena Wilson as a benefit for the Human Nature School.

One of three T-shirt designs made by Lena Wilson as a benefit for the Human Nature School.

Agenda for May 7 County Commissioners Meeting

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

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New Sleeping Bear Birding Trail Is First in State

In Breaking, Education, Elsewhere in BenCo..., GOOD NEWS, Green Elbertians, On and off the Apron, Open Season on May 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (from Douglas Cook, president, Benzie Audubon Club)

April 2013


Michigan’s coastline and habitat diversity have long been a draw to bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.  Birders and eco-tourists spend millions each year in the enjoyment of their pursuits.  Now, the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail, Michigan’s first birding trail, has been formed to connect exceptional birding areas and promote an area that Good Morning America awarded the Most Beautiful Place in America.

The Trail’s new website,, will help guide birders to 35 recommended birding sites scattered along 123 miles of Michigan’s Highway M-22.  The website is smartphone compatible and includes a web-based map that will lead travelers from Manistee, northward  through Benzie County, around the Leelanau peninsula and eventually to Traverse City.

The Trail is anchored by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which has over 71,000 acres of public land and 35 miles of beaches, including vital habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird that needs vast stretches of undisturbed beach.  Another rare species, the Kirtland’s Warbler, nests in an area that is an hour’s drive from the Trail.  The National Lakeshore is an Important Bird Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and there have been 321 different species recorded along the Trail.

Birding trails are successful in Texas, Arizona, and along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.   Dave Barrons, chairman and co-founder of this grassroots effort says the Sleeping Bear area’s distinct seasons, diverse topography, extensive shoreline and large number of natural areas with public access make it a naturalist’s paradise.  Barrons says: “I always knew we had the resources to add birding to the area’s tourism brand but the surprise was just how much access to diverse, public land there is along M-22.  We have been able to build from a wide range of birding sites that already have public parking and strong stewardship. Some trail initiatives have to attack that challenge first.”  “This is not just a single trail where you get out and hike around looking for birds,” he says. “It’s a travel route, a way of connecting a number of birding sites in a way that allows you to include them in your itinerary and enjoy some incredible scenery.”

Mick Seymour, Operations Director and co-founder says, “Birders have never had a better opportunity to make a difference and contribute to citizen science.  We now have the ability to meticulously record what we see and hear through the use of eBird and the built-in GPS technology.  Birders all over the world are recording where, when, and how many and this data is enormously valuable to the science and understanding of species distribution and abundance.  Our Trail embraces this technology and aims to be a microcosm and model for the eBird initiative.” The Trail is especially committed to developing electronic reporting and interactive mapping features which will distinguish it from existing trails.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Birding Trail is being developed in partnership with Michigan Audubon, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, The Leelanau Conservancy, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.


–      48 million Americans report they are active birdwatchers; approx 16 million birdwatch while traveling

–      more than $32 billion in retail sales

–      more than $13 billion in state and federal taxes

–      more than 863, 000 jobs

………… Us Fish and Wildlife Service:  Birding in the US; A Demographic and Economic Analysis, 2001