Traverse City Record-Eagle


About Our Bloggers

Current bloggers:

Ask the Realtor, by Mike Gaines
Mike Gaines of Re/Max Bayshore Properties answers your questions about the Traverse City area real estate market. Leave your question as a comment on any of the Ask the Realtor posts, or email Mike at

The Bright Side, by Micki Durocher Gee
Micki Durocher Gee was born and raised in Traverse City. After high school she spent 9 years living in California where she had two sons before moving back with them to TC. Micki is an eternal optimist and will usually point out the silver lining whether you like it or not. She hopes her blog will make you smile once or twice.

Front Street Wealth Management, by Jason P. Tank
Jason P. Tank, CFA, is co-owner of fee-only wealth advisory firm Front Street Wealth Management, located in Traverse City and founded in 2003. Jason holds a bachelor’s in mathematics from Michigan State University, is a former actuary and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Jason lives in Traverse City, where he and his wife Jennifer both grew up. Together, they are fortunate to be raising their three children close to both sets of grandparents. Front Street Wealth Management is the independent, fee-only, fully-discretionary wealth advisory firm for individuals, families and trusts who value proactive management of their investments and a deeper confidence in their wealth. For more information about his firm, visit, email or call 231-947-3775.

The Grayling Gadfly, by Cathy Stripe Lester
Sometimes growing up in a small town like Grayling gives a person the security to want to explore, both ideas and the rest of the world. After graduating from western Michigan University, and getting a degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Michigan, Cathy Stripe Lester worked and/or lived in Alaska, Colombia (South America), Iran, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Cornwall, England. She is now back in Grayling, where at 66 she indulges her love of the outdoors by being the oldest ski patroller at Grayling’s Hanson Hills Recreation Area. Her hobbies — not necessarily in order of either frequency or usefulness — include reading, travel, skiing, thinking, water sports, stamp collecting, chess, talking, music and generally wasting time. She has had numerous articles and short stories published, as well as a collection of stories: SURF PATROL (Windjammer Publishing, U.K., 1995, 2nd Edition 1996).

Letters from France, by Jo Anne Wilson
Jo Anne is a retired teacher of French, watercolor artist and freelance writer. She divides her time between the Grand Traverse/Leelanau County area and her favorite villages in Southern France. She spends the winter months enjoying the sunshine and mild temperatures of the Provence region in the shadow of the Luberon Mountains. In 2004, she created her own concierge, travel and guide service called “Meet Me In Provence.” Jo Anne will blog from the perspective of a Northern Michigan resident living in rural France.

Musings of a Moderate, by Bob Gilbert
Bob Gilbert began the “Musings of a Moderate” blog at the urging of his wife, who became weary of his repeated complaints about the dismal state of political discourse in today’s world (although she agrees). Bob is a retired lawyer and former law firm CEO. He is grateful to a nation which allowed him — a proverbial first in the family to go to college — to put himself through Michigan undergrad and law school. Before becoming a lawyer, Bob experienced a broad swath of America. Raised in a tiny rural hamlet, his first job, at age eleven, was as a stable boy. As a lawyer, he represented lenders and developers on major commercial projects and eventually specialized in the tax exempt finance of hospitals and affordable housing, representing hospitals, investment bankers and bond authorities on complex financial transactions ranging to over a billion dollars. He retired after serving as CEO of a law firm with 13 offices and around 600 lawyers and staff. He hopes that this broad range of practical experience has provided him with some worthwhile and balanced perspectives on the questions of the day.

Open for Business, by James Palmer
James Palmer is a longtime Traverse City resident who recently decided to take the plunge and pursue his dream of being a small-business owner. The business is Pristine Floor Care, which specializes in cleaning carpet, upholstery, and tile for both residential and commercial clients. More information can be found online at James has decided to write about his experiences of starting and running a small business in Traverse City. He has been supported in this endeavor by his wife Gretchen, and daughters Ella, Kacy and Shay. James has a master’s degree, holds a real estate license, and is a reserve police officer for the Traverse City Police Department. The Palmers are active in their local church and enjoy making maple syrup every March in their backyard.

Tour Guizhou, by John S. Porter
John S. Porter has been a resident of Traverse City for more than 35 years. He is looking forward to using this blog to tell friends and neighbors in TC about the expat lives in the City of Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China. John is a real estate appraiser in Traverse City, and maintains a company called “Certified Appraiser, LLC.” His personal appraisal activity has dropped to about zero, as he has lived in Guiyang for several years now and refers old clients to qualified local appraisers. He is currently teaching English at Guizhou Normal University in Guiyang. He remains interested in TC, having spent twelve years as East Bay Township Township Supervisor (1980-1992). The subject of his blog is to chronicle day-to-day lives in China. He says, “We are often quizzed by Chinese about the U.S. and my friends in the U.S. quiz me about China. I have many friends in local government here in China and can’t help but compare the two systems.”  Also, he remains active in TC issues and will comment from time to time on issues that are close to his heart.

Variations on a Theme, by Henry E. Klugh
Henry E. Klugh is a retired college professor who lives with his wife in Traverse City. He has done most of the things you’d expect college professors to have done: Research, textbook and research article writing, trout fishing, poker playing … and of course some teaching. After retiring he and his wife, Barbara, traveled considerably. He writes about some of that.

Weliver’s Travels, by Evelyn Weliver
Evelyn loves to travel abroad and at home with her husband Del.  She journals as they travel, does freelance writing and enjoys reading, walking, photography and having adventures. At Interlochen Center for the Arts she was Director of the Academic Library and has lived in Interlochen since 1968.  Evelyn and Del have traveled abroad independently for more than 20 years.  They have a small travel company, also called Weliver’s Travels, that organizes people for small group “traveling seminars” specializing in the culture and history of Bulgaria and nearby countries. They also accompany the tours.   She will blog about the places she is visiting and observing abroad and at home.  You may e-mail her at

Past bloggers:

Kristina Adair is a 2006 graduate of Traverse City Central High School, currently in Tanzania, Africa working in a humanitarian program.

Bryon Anderson moved to Michigan from Missouri in 1997 and quickly discovered he belonged here. He is a passionate (some say obsessive) fly fisherman, fly tier, and fly rod builder. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, he has worked as a high school teacher and long-haul truck driver, and now works for the State of Michigan as a Disability Examiner. He is the proud father of 7-year-old twins and resides in Spring Lake. He is a contributing editor of True|North|Trout.

Away From Home, by various authors
Away From Home is written by various local residents as they venture outside the Grand Traverse area into the greater world beyond our Bay.

Dee Blair is the owner of Sunnybank Garden in Traverse City and a regular columnist for our Sunday Home & Garden page. She’s also blogged about her garden since May of 2005 (see the Archives for her past blog entries). Dee has cultivated her English secret garden at Sunnybank for 15 years at 325 Sixth St., which is usually open daily from around 9 to 6 pm. Please check the sign as you drive by for further information.

Woof & Meow Spoken Here, by Dr. Craig Brakeman, DVM
Dr. Brakeman holds a biology degree from Florida State University, and graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984.   He spent 14 years in practice on large and small animals in central Florida, then moved back to Michigan in 1998.   After practicing in Cadillac for six years, Craig bought the Banfield Pet Hospital franchise in Traverse City in January of 2005.   He is married with three children loves being a veterinarian and   working in Traverse City.

Teresa Carey, native to Northern Michigan, now calls the ocean her home. She grew up in Kalkaska and began sailing professionally at the age of 18 while at the same time completing bachelors and masters degrees. After two years of teaching theater and dance at a boarding school in upstate New York, Teresa quit her job, sold or donated many of her belongings, and moved herself and her cat aboard a small, 27-foot sailboat. Now she explores the coastal U.S. in hopes of wandering the planet aboard her boat, Daphne, named in honor of her grandmother. Teresa writes about the challenges and thrills of a nomadic liveaboard life at her blog, “Sailing, Simplicity, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Selected posts are re-published here by the Record-Eagle.

Erin Crowell was born in Traverse City but grew up in the small village of Kaleva, Michigan. She graduated from Northwestern Michigan College and is currently taking classes at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, majoring in journalism. When she isn’t at school, Erin spends most of her time in Traverse City, where she’ll be living this summer. Her interests include running, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and going out with friends.

Webmaster’s World, by Jeanne Ehinger
Jeanne was the Record-Eagle’s Digital Media Manager, which means if it’s on one of the Record-Eagle’s websites, she probably put it there. Jeanne used her blog to tell you about what’s new, what’s coming up, and to generally keep you informed about all things online.

As a 2003 graduate of TC Central, Cherry Festival ambassador, Give ‘Em 40 board member, Record-Eagle intern, and former Trojan football player, Adam Fivenson‘s roots in the region run deep. Currently living in New York City, he is a more-than-casual observer of American foreign policy and international conflict. Adam returned to the U.S. in June 2008 after spending one year living in New Delhi, India, an experience which he says prompted his interest in foreign affairs.

Kathy Gibbons is the Record-Eagle’s features editor emeritus, which included editing our weekly Food section published every Monday. In the Cook’s Corner blog, she hopes to create an interactive area on the Internet where readers can post questions and comments on their personal experiences, tips and observations related to cooking. Kathy’s food experience comes from cooking for her family over the years, and although she won’t always have the answers, she’ll consult experts like chefs or culinary educators whose advice she can pass along.

Ed’s Astronomy, by Ed Hahnenberg
Edward J. Hahnenberg, BA, MA, MA, Ed.S., has been an educator and school administrator all his life.   He has always been interested in astronomy but upon retirement from teaching in 2003, he got serious about the subject and began to experiment with various kinds of telescopes.   In   2008, he helped construct his permanent domed observatory, the Hahnenberg Observatory in Lake Leelanau.   Ed’s equipment includes a Celestron 14″ telescope, a CGE Pro mount, a HyperStar Lens, a Starlight Xpress SXVR-M25C one-shot color CCD camera, an Imaging Source DFK 21AU04.AS USB CCD color camera, a Coronado PST h-alpha telescope for solar astrophotography, a Teldrad finder, a permanent pier mount, a Meade 5X TeleXtender, numerous eyepieces and color filters, Maxim DL 5, CCDOps, CCDSoft v5, and Photoshop software, and a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera. Ed writes weekly about what to find in the night sky, and shares photos he has taken of the moon, the planets, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

Theology Today & the World, by Ed Hahnenberg
Edward J. Hahnenberg, BA, MA, MA, Ed.S., has been an educator and school administrator all his life. He holds a BA in philosophy, an MA in Theology with a major in Scripture, and two graduate degrees in education. He is the author of eleven books dealing with theology and church history, He owns, with his wife Marlene, Hahnenberg Farm Market in Lake Leelanau. Both are parents to eight children, all of whom have received post-secondary degrees, mainly in education. In Theology Today & the World, Ed will blog about the history and theology of all faiths, including how ethics and morality affect global political issues.

Judy Hammond and her husband Chris are life-long Traverse City area residents. Judy became involved with Relay For Life when her niece invited her to visit their team at the Timber Ridge Resort in 2006. Seeing how much was had, Judy joined The Pedal Pushers for the 2007 Relay. Judy’s family, like most families, has been touched by cancer; her mother died of melanoma when she was still a teenager. She views the Relay For Life as her chance to help fight cancer, and to help others understand how they can help and have fun at the same time.

Jeanne M. Hannah has been a Traverse City resident since 1986 and has been practicing family law since 1985. In 2000, her mother died from a tragic and preventable toxic build-up of medications. After researching the medical problems that had overtaken her mother, Jeanne felt the information she gathered was too important not to share. The end result is her recently published book, Taking Charge: Good Medical Care for the Elderly and How to Get It. With her blog, she hopes to empower seniors and their caregivers to detect potentially fatal complications affecting the elderly, to advocate for early diagnosis and treatment, and to work with medical care providers on prevention strategies. She will discuss how seniors can live longer in nursing homes and also highlight innovative alternatives to nursing home care. For more on Jeanne’s background as it relates to her Aging In Place blog, read her first post, “Why I advocate for seniors.” Jeanne also wrote the “Ask the Family Lawyer” blog, and her background as it pertains to law is detailed below. You may contact her at

Gary Hoensheid has lived in Suttons Bay for 30 years with his wife Jana and two sons, Ryan & Taylor. Beginning March 12, Gary will hike along an Ancient Pilgrim Trail in northern Spain. His journey will begin in the town of Burgos, Spain. The trail is an ancient pilgrim trail founded as missionary route by Jesus Christ’s apostle, Saint James. Gary will travel west for 350 miles ending his journey April 10 in the town of Santiago on the Atlantic Ocean, the burial place of Saint James. He will be traveling with good friends Pat Nestor of Traverse City and Greg Wright of Frankfort. Joe Bottenhorn of Lake Leelanau will be walking the last two weeks of the pilgrimage. The good friends will stay in hostels along the way. The hike is in part is a walk-a-thon fundraiser for a 126-acre Herman Center Community Parkland purchase in Suttons Bay Township. Walk-a-thon pledges can be directed through the Grand Traverse Community Foundation Web site at Read more on Gary’s hike at »

Good News, by Danielle Horvath
Thirty-five years ago, Danielle Horvath left the city and landed on a secluded 10 acres in the back woods of Benzie County. For the first six years, she lived off the grid and snowmobiled to the nearest plowed road while building a small house. To have the “Up North” dream, her family has lived on half the income they were used to, and stuck to a “few bills, no frills” lifestyle to make it work. They recycled building materials, grew a garden, shopped flea markets and yard sales, and drove used cars. She hopes to share a blog that is interesting, maybe a little inspiring, and hopefully humorous, about life in these north woods.

Dan Kaschel is a 2005 graduate of Traverse City Central High School. As a Christian, Dan believes that morals are more than just an ends to a means, and that his actions reflect on God and other Christians. To that end, he is taking a break from his linguistics studies at NMC for a six-month mission trip to Haiti. Dan will write about his experiences there with weekly posts to our “Away From Home” blog.

Troy Keith is a lifetime resident of the northern Michigan area where he lives with his wife of 21 years, Kirsten, and his two children, Toran and Dylan. He has previously written for several publications throughout the area and currently owns two businesses, both devoted to Internet design and virtual marketing. A Libertarian at heart, Troy believes that the role of government has been unreasonably expanded over the last century and now extends well beyond the original intent of the founding fathers. A love of politics and debate has brought him to the Record Eagle Blogs and he looks forward to engaging the readers on all topics of interest.

Ted Kraimer is a fly fishing guide living in Traverse City, taking customers to many of our great local waters in pursuit of the diverse fishery. With close to 20-years of fly fishing experience, his avocation eventually became his vocation and he operates Current Works Guide Service, LLC.   Working in a fly shop while in college gave him the opportunity to teach the sport, and he has been an FFF certified casting instructor for the past 10 years. While not on the water with customers, you can find Ted fishing himself, continuing to look for that edge, or at his fly tying vise tying flies. Ted is also a fly designer for Rainy’s Flies. Through his work with T|N|T and on his own site, Ted contributes a fishing report on many of the local rivers.

Cook’s Corner, by Rebecca Lindamood
Rebecca Lindamood is a food lover, wife and mother of five perpetually hungry little boys. She is a native of beautiful Northern Michigan who now lives in the Southern Tier of New York State. She grew up cooking in the commercial kitchens of the camps and retreat centers her father managed and went on to cook in two very different restaurants — one corporate chain and one bistro — during her college years. In addition to homeschooling her sons, she currently works as a self-employed baker and hopes to open a storefront and become a culinary educator when she grows up.

An avid fly angler and fly tier, Jordan J. Lindberg was born and raised in Traverse City, graduating from the Traverse City Senior High in 1987. After stints at Albion College, Michigan State University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia, he took a teaching position for almost 10 years at Central Michigan University. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy. He and his family live in East Bay Township. Currently he serves as Executive Vice President of eFulfillment Service, Inc., and is the publisher of True|North|Trout.

Kewadin resident Susan Lucas first heard of the Michigan Heritage Foundation when the organization came to the office where she works seeking donations. Their vision of a memorial park for Michigan’s fallen soldiers touched Susan’s heart. As she read through the foundation’s information, she could picture the construction of a chapel, the building of an educational center and museum. She imagined families pausing along the trail reading memorials, while parents told of special times they had with their loved ones lost. One of Susan’s three children is a soldier was deployed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 2003, losing a friend in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She views her work with the Heritage Foundation as her way to make sure he and many others are not forgotten. Now, through her blog, she’ll share with you courageous profiles of those Michigan Fallen Heroes we should always remember.

Wyatt McDonnell got hooked on spelling bees in the 5th grade when he took first place in his school, district and county bees. At the regional bee, he was ousted in the first round on the word respite, a word that has haunted him since. The next year, he lost at the classroom level on zucchini, and the following year he was headed for the regional bee, but decided to go to China, South Korea, and Japan instead. As an 8th grader at West Junior High, Wyatt’s winning word basilica qualified him for the 2007 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Finals. After four years of competeting spelling bees, his dream has come true. Wyatt will be blogging from the finals in Washington, D.C., May 27 – June 1, 2007.

Nick Micinski graduated from Benzie Central High School in 2004 and is currently a student at Michigan State University, studying International Relations and Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy. On May 29, 2007 he leaves Michigan to circumnavigate the world and study the Muslim culture. For more about his trip, read “Around the world with $8,000,” and Nick’s first blog.

Rikki Miller is a native of Traverse City who graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2007. She attends New College of Florida, a liberal arts college in Sarasota.   Her interests include writing, literature, ecology, and anything outdoors.   She will be traveling on the Semester at Sea ship through mid-December and will sharing her experience through this blog.

Mariana (Mare) Mueller fears moving away from walking distance to Grand Traverse Bay, but as a recent Grand Valley State University graduate — eager to find a writing opportunity with pay — Mare understands that soon, she must venture far from her lifelong residence and the downtown Traverse City streets. Impassioned by effective, non-violent communication, Mare is inspired to pursue her life’s work by creating awareness and education of how such a tool can create social and personal change; ensuring a better personal life, community, nation, and world. Through her travel experiences outside of Traverse City, Michigan, USA, Mare will share her insightful observances on life as it compares and contrasts to that of our Northern Michigan norms. Mare loves dialogue; it expands her understanding. Please feel free to email her at and to check out her personal blog at

Megan Oldfield, at the time of her blog was a sophomore at Michigan Technological University where she was majoring in Business Administration, focusing of accounting. She has lived most of her life in Ohio, Illinois, and has lived in Michigan since 1998. When Megan is not attending school, she resides in Interlochen. While she enjoys the Grand Traverse area in the summer and on breaks, she has greatly enjoyed living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Houghton for the majority of the fall, winter, and spring. Megan writes of her experiences as a student at MTU and of her experiences on the Keewanaw

Everyday Engineering, by Erin Parker
Erin Parker’s family escaped from Detroit and migrated to Traverse City when he was 5 years old.   A proud graduate of NMC and the MSU college of civil and environmental engineering, Erin is a licensed professional engineer. He now lives in Lake Ann with his beautiful and patient wife, Kathy, and his two great teenage sons, Keene and Kile.   With more than 20 years in the trenches, Erin has wide-ranging experience with all sorts of engineering problems. He firmly believes that engineering is not ‘rocket science’ and that most engineering principles can be broken down into simple terms.   He looks forward to helping Record-Eagle readers by providing practical answers for the ‘everyday engineering’ questions they may have.   However, be forewarned, he may feel moved to venture into topics unrelated to engineering from time to time.   Please feel free to contact him with questions and problems at   For those wanting to learn even more about Erin Parker and his checkered past, please check out

Margaret Parsons is a recent graduate of Traverse City Central High School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Black and Gold Newspaper and is a current summer Record-Eagle reporter. This fall, Margaret will be heading oversees to attend the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, studying English Language and Literature. When she’s not studying, Margaret will be blogging about her experiences for the folks back home.

Zach Pina was first introduced to Japan via an exchange program that brought Japanese students to Northwest Michigan College back in the summer of 2003. Upon getting a language degree from the University of Findlay, he unwittingly moved to Okayama, Japan in January 2007, to work at an ill-conceived junior high school where he uses music and theater classes in teaching small Japanese children how to speak, then promptly forget English. In his spare time, he kicks the tires with his fixed gear cycle crew, translates for local tattoo and graffiti artists, and daydreams about the Japanese someday building a water park fashioned in the likeness of Grand Traverse Bay.

Claire Posner grew up in Suttons Bay and graduated from Traverse City Central High School in 2004.  After graduating from Maclaster College, she wanted to experience living in another country, so she moved to Japan to take a job teaching English.  Her original plan was to stay for a year, but two years later she is still loving her life in Japan.  She currently lives in Yokohama, a city outside of Tokyo.

Chris Rice, a 6th grader at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids, first became interested in spelling bees in the 5th grade. He did very well in the local bees and competed in the 2007 Grand Traverse Regional Spelling Bee, finishing 3rd and bowing out on the word “pinnacle.” He was hooked, and vowed that he would be in D.C. in 2008. After working hard with friends and family, his efforts were rewarded and earned the opportunity to represent all of northwest Michigan when he correctly spelled “basilica” at the 2008 regional bee.

Sara Robinson, was an eighth-grader at East Jordan Middle School when she bested 33 of the top fifth- through eighth-grade spellers to win the 2006 Grand Traverse Regional Spelling Bee and a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. She shared her experiences in this blog as she vied for the national title, May 28 through June 3, 2006.

Todd Sears, a retired Naval officer, currently lives in Northamptonshire, UK, where he teaches Critical & Creative Thinking to Intelligence professionals. He and his wife Carol, a Leelanau County native, have decided to move back to the area at some point within the next three years with their three boys, Alexander, Benjamin, and Ethan. Todd will write about a wide and eclectic variety of topics relating to his family’s move to Michigan, impulsive interests, and a sea-story or two. He thinks life is absurd. And very, very funny. He has no idea what he will do with himself when he gets Up North. His wife has no idea what she’ll do with him in England.

Gerry Sell lives in Torch Lake Township, where she writes for community newspapers, publishes the Torch Lake Views blog, and pursues her obsession with local history.   (She has taken to calling the Civil War veterans who settled in the area “my guys,” but appears otherwise harmless) She’s grateful that Antrim County doesn’t produce a lot of dramatic news, but thinks there are some pretty good stories to tell about it anyway. The Chain of Lakes twists from one corner of the county to another, providing rich opportunities for outdoor recreation and road-end disputes. Small business owners and cherry farmers and filmmakers and auto mechanics and volunteer firefighters and chefs and realtors and taxidermists and poets and librarians and retired executives from Ohio and at least one certified crank somehow manage to govern themselves in 15 townships, five villages and a lot of unincorporated but highly opinionated hamlets. There is bound to be a pony in there somewhere.

Jim Sheehan been a resident of Traverse City since 1995 and is currently attending Davenport University in the Health Information Management program. When he’s not attending schoo and working at Munson Medical Center, he isfishing, reading, and collecting guitars and antique outboard motors. Jim writes about all the things that make Traverse City a great place to live. From acts of kindness to different area attractions, he’ll be your guide to the good things going on in TC.

Amy Lynn Spitzley is not a practical person. She is, in fact, a hippie-chick mama who loves to write young adult fantasy. She has large hair to hide behind and an even larger husband, and in person is rather easily intimidated. Her children think she is a bit goofy, and she thinks the same of them. She was awarded the nickname The Perpetual Crew Member for doing stage crew on 18 shows in a row in the theatre department at Northern Michigan University, and now lives in Traverse City, Michigan, where she fills her cellphone camera with pictures of the bay, the river, the clouds, and her kids. Most days, she can be found making faces at formality until it gives up and runs away to hide under the kitchen table.

Jeremy Steck was born and raised in Leelanau County and loves calling northern Michigan home. A lifelong Detroit Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings fan, Jeremy loves the Traverse City Beach Bums and cheering on his Michigan State Spartans. He will still write about the Michigan Wolverines, just to be fair. You can email Jeremy at, and visit his personal sports blog at

Grant Stoye obsesses more about fantasy sports than he does the economy. He is a writer who lives in Traverse City and loves to talk about fantasy drafting strategies more than any rational person should. Leave a comment on any of his blogs or email a question to him at

Russ-Stick Acres, by Sherry Sutherby
A native of Petoskey, Sherry Butwell (Matz) Sutherby moved 40 miles south and stepped into a place where time stands still: Russ-Stick Acres. Life here is simple, but demanding. It is also rewarding. Every building on the 40-acre farm is hand-constructed by her husband, Russ. They love to recycle and save, whether it is wood or animals. They enjoy the winter with their sled dogs, providing tours to adventuresome folks. Horses keep them busy in the summer months. They have a soft spot for BLM-adopted Mustangs. They raise their own pork, lamb and beef, Irish Dexter. Heritage Breed chickens provide fresh farm eggs. Sherry’s passion is writing and photography. She was Assistant Editor of “The Torch Magazine,” a glossy historical magazine featuring Antrim, Otsego, Emmet and Charlevoix counties. Her work has also appeared in Michigan Country Lines, Michigan Out-of-Doors, and Grit Magazine, as well as local newspapers. When she is not pointing her Nikon D80, she is working for the State of Michigan. Sherry will be writing about her adventures of living rustic and the joy it brings to every day life experiences. Please feel free to email her at and to check out more about life at Russ-Stick Acres at

From the Sidelinesby Mark Urban
Former sports writer with the Record-Eagle, now our special sections editor.

Former Record-Eagle reporter Lindsay VanHulle and photographer Doug Tesner spent a week with students from Traverse City Christian School as they return to the Gulf Coast area to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. The students’ main project is to assist with a Baptist church in Chalmette, La., about seven miles from downtown New Orleans and east of the city’s hard-hit Ninth Ward.

Rose Street Ramblings, by Gloria Veltman
Gloria Veltman, a 60-something who feels like a young 50 (most days), owns and operates a used bookstore in Traverse City. A self-professed “perma-fudgie,” she hails from her hometown of South Haven, but has been in TC almost 14 years.   Gloria is interested in, and blogs about, everything — except maybe horror and baseball (even though she goes to at least one Beach Bums game a year).

Claire Walters is a former Record-Eagle copy editor who obtained a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. A reformed couch potato, she discovered a love of running during grad school at MSU, which grew after her move to Traverse City in November 2007. Despite the fact that her longest run to date is 10 miles, Claire recently registered for the May 23, 2009, Bayshore Marathon. Her Making Strides column, published bi-weekly in the Record-Eagle, chronicles her experiences and observations as she trains for the longest run of her life (so far). This accompanying blog contains her training schedule and training log, and invites recommendations and comments from other runners. Claire is using Hal Higdon’s 18-week “Novice I” regimen, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Jason Wertenberger has lived in Traverse City since 1989. He loves computers and the internet. Jason will blog about these things, along with anything that comes to mind, or interests him, with a technology or science bent. Feel free to email him at and check out his personal blog at

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