Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

Benzie Emergency Management Seeks Feedback on Its Natural Hazards Draft Plan

In Agriculture, Community Alert, E Beach, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Green Elbertians, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Public Safety, Transportation, Water, Weather, Wildlife on January 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Get back to Frank Post, our county emergency management coordinator, by email or phone asap! (, 231-882-0567)

Read and download the draft plan here: 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan

More information is available at the Region 7 website.

Near Beer, Cont’d: Frankfort Beer Week

In Agriculture, Calendar, Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, GOOD NEWS, On and off the Apron, Open Season, The Mess Deck on September 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Frankfort holds its first-ever Beer Week the second week of Hoptober, Monday through Saturday, celebrating our new deeply local beer scene (thank you, Stormcloud Brewing Company). More than a dozen restaurants will be participating, creating unique items just for this event, made with Michigan beer. Stormcloud will tap their annual Harvest Tripel, a Belgian-style libation made from fresh Empire Hops Farm hops; then at Saturday’s wrapup they’ll debut a Belgian-German Oktoberfest batch. On Tuesday come feast at Coho Café’s Beer Dinner with New Holland Brewing Company brews. On Thursday the 9th, the Garden Theater hosts The Michigan Beer Film, a documentary about Michigan’s geysering craft beer industry. Paul Starr, of “I’m a Beer Hound” fame, will be in Frankfort to provide three nights of beer-tasting instruction; you’ll learn how to drink beer with Michigan-made Mindo Chocolate, Hilltop Ice Cream, and locally smoked bacon. And if you’re all, “I make my own beer,” enter the homebrew competition. The winner gets a chance to use the Stormcloud facility, and the knowledge of brewmaster Brian Confer, to brew their beer and have it there on tap. Don’t forget to check out the selection of beer-related books and novelties across the street at Frankfort Bookstore. If you’re not from here, sign on for the Frankfort Beer Week Package at Harbor Lights Resort, including a welcome basket with a growler fill at Stormcloud. With Fall Fest activities taking place every weekend, Frankfort Beer Week is just one more reason to stick around, or get here, this October. http://www.facebook/fbwEmily Votruba


Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

In Agriculture, Breaking, Fishing, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on April 11, 2014 at 7:30 am



DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incidentDRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 2 DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 3

DRAFT Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

Audio of April 10 regular Beulah Village meeting.

Frankfort’s Kinda Progressive Zoning Ordinance

In Agriculture, Community Alert, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Uncategorized on February 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Frankfort Zoning District Map

By Emily Votruba

It’s probably not anarcho-syndicalism in the making, but the City of Frankfort’s planning commission under the leadership of Bruce Ogilvie has put together a fairly progressive and forward-thinking zoning ordinance. The comment period is NOW, and the public hearing is set for Tuesday, March 11. Take a minute to read it and either weep or rejoice, depending on your POV.

Some Frankfort property owners (this one included) will be stoked to find that the minimum footprint for a residential dwelling in the North Residential and Rural districts has shrunk from 1,000 square feet to Read the rest of this entry »

Gourmet Community Dinners Taunt Winter Storms

In Agriculture, Calendar, The Mess Deck on February 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The Northern Michigan Culinary Arts Community makes a second attempt to kick off its community dinner series at Grow Benzie on Sunday, February 9 at 5 pm.

As with all NMCAC events, menus are volunteer-made from scratch and feature locally produced ingredients. Dinner is served at 5 and runs until everyone is fed or the food runs out. Your (suggested) donation of $8 goes toward NMCAC’s 2014 Culinary Scholarship fund for Benzie County students. But the real benefit is immediate: tasty, healthy, soul satisfying meals shared with friends and neighbors.

Join NMCAC at Grow Benzie’s building at 5885 Frankfort Highway (M-115) in Benzonia February 9, 25; March 9, 25; and April 8.

2014 NMCAC Winter Series

Paul May Benefit Oct. 13

In Agriculture, Calendar, Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, Farmers' Market, Green Elbertians on September 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

Paul May Fundraiser Poster

Putney Occupancy Rate Appeal Continues Tomorrow

In Agriculture, Community Alert, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron on September 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Tomorrow night at 6 pm at the Community Building, the Elberta Zoning Board of Appeals continues its hearing on Loy Putney’s appeal of the Council’s decision to require an occupancy rate of no more than one person per 165 square feet in his new Bay Valley Inn apartments, which he is using for migrant worker housing. The housing was approved this winter under MDARD regulations at an occupancy rate of 1 person per 100 square feet and is already inhabited by about 17 people, who had moved in as of May. Mr. Putney received his special use permit from the Village of Elberta in June.—Emily Votruba

Continued Hearing on Putney Appeal

Ag Futures: Paul May Fundraiser Brings Community Together

In Agriculture, Community Alert, On and off the Apron on August 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

By Emily Votruba

Tuesday night’s fundraiser for Paul May, our local beef/lamb/poultry/dairy farmer who has bladder cancer, raised over $21,000, with more coming in, according to one of the event’s main volunteers, Becky Noffsinger. Chef Glen Noffsinger, who did the cooking for the estimated 320 people in attendance, had only 3 pieces of chicken left (he’s a pro!). At least one $5,000 matching offer helped sweeten the pot of donations.

Paul May expressed his gratitude in brief but moving terms as the evening kicked off. “Thank you for helping me,” he said in summation, to loud applause. The crowd joined in a Paul Mayified version of “Old Macdonald Had a Farm.” Much better music then followed, performed by Clearwater and the Trinity Lutheran Praise Band.

Among the many luminaries of agriculture and other walks of life were Mark and Jill Baker, of Baker’s Green Acres, in Marion. They are currently embroiled in a legal battle with the DNR over their heirloom hogs, which the State has labeled an invasive species. Now subject to $700,000 in fines, and more in court fees, Baker is also forbidden to sell any of the hogs. With no court date in sight, Baker has had to kill several of the animals, which he’s now having trouble feeding. “They [the DNR and State] are trying to starve us out,” he said. (Read more about Baker’s problem here.)

The Frankfort–Elberta community is pulling together to help the Mays in other ways, too, to keep their farm and animals alive. As Sharron May wrote on her blog on Wednesday: “All in all 15 people are sharing the chores that Paul did 7 days a week, twice a day before and after working another job. Unlike the good old days (before subsidies, centralization and mega-farms), the income from farming alone can no longer support a family or send multiple kids to college as it once did.” You can read more about the nitty gritty of what it takes to fill in for one hardworking farmer here.

People turned out to show how much they appreciate Paul as a friend and his service to his community: his pioneering work to provide healthy, safe, sustainable food that gives back to the land more than it takes. It’s brave and difficult and often lonely work in the current climate of industrial food production. On Tuesday night, it was clear that Paul is not alone. Ψ

Paul May Fundraiser 2 Paul May Fundraiser 1

Putney Appeal Hearing to Continue September 4

In Agriculture, Breaking, Community Alert, Infrastructure and Planning on August 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Tonight the Zoning Board of Appeals, with new members Holly O’Dwyer and and Mark Held, after hearing public comment and a statement from Loy Putney’s attorney, Brad Putney, decided to continue the hearing on September 4 to give ZBA members more time to review the appeal exhibits, some of which they received from the Putney team as late as Tuesday.

Several members of the public spoke during public comment, though none commented directly on the matter at hand, the appeal of the occupancy restriction placed by council at the July 9 meeting at which Putney’s special permit application was approved. Council, on the recommendation of the Planning Commission, set an occupancy limit of no more than one person per 165 square feet. Putney had already configured his interior spaces and been approved by MDARD for an occupancy rate of 1 person per 100 square feet.

Brad Putney strongly suggested that the Putneys are willing to appeal their case to the Supreme Court, arguing that council is violating both the state and federal constitution by placing this restriction on the structure, and that the action constitutes a government “taking” of property. He also argued that the Village is in violation of the Right to Farm act, which he said by precedent (citing a case in Shelby Township) overrides local zoning.

The next hearing will take place September 4 at 6 pm at the Village Community Building, 401 First Street.


Putney Appeals Square Footage per Person Requirement

In Agriculture, Breaking, Community Alert, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron on August 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Sometime between the afternoon of August 20 and 12:30 pm on August 21, Sharyn Bower posted this notice. Loy Putney is appealing the stipulation of council that he house no more than 1 person per 165 sq ft at the Bay Valley worker housing apartments. Since Putney had already completed much of the work on the building before his special use permit was approved, and had followed MDARD guidelines of 100 sq ft per person, he would have to make structural changes or split up families in order to comply with the occupancy requirement.

Putney Appeal