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The Return of Pretty Penmanship

February 2020

The father of legal pot Martin Chilcutt

What’s Water to Beer? Everything

Revitalizing the Riviera Theatre

Meet Rebekah Kik

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

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What’s Water to Beer? Everything

The Return of Pretty Penmanship

Revitalizing the Riviera Theatre

February 2020

Meet Rebekah Kik

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

The father of legal pot Martin Chilcutt


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From the Editor I

don’t know how many times I discuss Encore’s stories with people and they say things like “What? That person lives in Kalamazoo?” or “Really, we have that in Kalamazoo?” For a community with such a rich culture, it seems as if our residents are perpetually surprised to discover all the interesting and amazing people, places and things under their noses. Take our cover story on Martin Chilcutt. Chilcutt is the father of medical marijuana in Colorado and Michigan. If you have or are using medical cannabis or any products using CBD, you have this charming octogenarian to thank. The fact that a man who has accomplished so much for those suffering from the effects of chemotherapy, PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments lives a quiet life on a tree-lined street in Kalamazoo comes as a surprise to many. Another surprise: that Rebekah Kik, the city’s director of community planning and economic development, is also an artist. Kik, the subject of our Back Story feature this month, oversees such mundane things as building code enforcement and rental property inspections by day but is cleverly creative at night. She also has a fun sense of humor as well, which is evident in the sayings she painstakingly stamps onto silverware. And yet another "Huh, I didn’t know that" moment: the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy has 18 beautiful places to get out in nature, and these natural spots are just as intriguing in the winter as in other seasons, as you can learn in our Five Faves feature. When I told someone recently that my New Year’s resolution was to hike in all of the SWMLC preserves, they were, well, surprised. Not that I was going to hike, but that there were all these beautiful natural preserves for the public to enjoy. We hope that these stories and others in this month's issue not only surprise you but delight you too. Thanks for reading!

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Feb r ua r y 2020

FEATURE The Father of Legal Pot

How Martin Chilcutt helped make marijuana mainstream


DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors Up Front


First Things — A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan

14 Five Faves — Where to take a walk on the wild side this winter






Back Story

More Than Pretty Penmanship — Items with handcrafted, stylized script are regaining popularity

‘No Water, No Beer’ — Brewers take action to ensure their key ingredient is more than good

Meet Rebekah Kik — She’s an urban planner with a clever, artistic side

ARTS 32 Revitalized Riviera — Family brings back Three Rivers' theater’s original beauty and purpose 36 Events of Note On the cover: Martin Chilcutt in the living room of his Kalamazoo home. Photo by Brian K. Powers.

43 Poetry

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Chris Killian

Chris, who penned our cover story on medical marijuana pioneer Martin Chilcutt, says Chilcutt’s story intrigued him because those who use marijuana medicinally or recreationally may not even be aware they are walking on the path he blazed. “Even though he doesn't ask for recognition for his decades-long efforts to push cannabis’s use as medicine, those who have benefited from his work should at least know the pioneer he is in the state’s cannabis culture,” Chris says. “Chilcutt is a disarming man who, when he knows what he wants, usually gets it.” Chris also wrote about the family behind Three Rivers’ Riviera Theatre for this issue. He is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Detroit Free Press, Grand Rapids Press and Kalamazoo Gazette and on radio station WMUK.

John Liberty

Because he has his finger on the pulse of the area’s craft brewing industry, we were excited when John, the general manager and cofounder of West Michigan Beer Tours, approached us about doing a story about water quality and beer. He has closely followed the industry for more than 12 years as a journalist and beer tourism professional. “There is no more important ingredient in good beer than good water,” John says. “And with all the attention given to the quality of Michigan’s water as of late, it’s good to see how breweries not only use water, but dispose of it as well.”

Marie Lee

A couple years ago Marie saw an Art Hop exhibition of Rebekah Kik’s watercolors. At the time, Kik was a city planner for Kalamazoo, and Marie thought it was intriguing that someone who oversees planning of city streets and buildings would also be an artist. In interviewing Kik for this month’s Back Story feature, she found that Kik’s vocation (she is now the city’s director of community planning and economic development) and avocation are closely aligned. “When there’s a challenge or a problem to solve, Rebekah’s go-to method is to literally sketch it out,” Marie says. “She’s very visual and creative, which gives her a unique perspective as she helps move the city’s development forward.” Marie is Encore’s editor.

Lisa Mackinder

For this month’s issue, Lisa spoke with Heather Tyler, owner of Heather Lynette Calligraphy, in Portage, and Kristina Scobie, manager and graphic designer at Noteworthy Invitations by Design, in Richland. Both Tyler and Scobie talked about the rising popularity of calligraphy and handwritten invitations and other items for events. “The digital age can be impersonal,” Lisa says, “and both Heather and Kristina’s customers seek unique and personalized items for events that demonstrate who they are and speak as to what their event is about.” You can read more of Lisa’s writing, including updates on subjects she’s written about for Encore, at lisamackinder.com.

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First Things Something Moving

Dance Theatre of Harlem comes to Miller With a message of empowerment through arts, the

Dance Theatre of Harlem Company will bring its innovative vision for ballet to Miller Auditorium at 8 p.m. Feb. 21. And thanks to a special promotion with Miller Auditorium, Encore readers can get 15% discount on tickets. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company tours nationally and internationally. The 17-member, multi-ethnic company performs a repertoire that includes treasured classics, neoclassical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garland, as well as innovative contemporary works that use the language of ballet to celebrate African-American culture. Tickets are $25-$45. Get the Encore discount by purchasing through this link: bit.ly/2QT0vh2.

Something Romantic

Hear the symphony’s Sounds of Love From

waltzes to West Side Story, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is serving up a smorgasbord of romantic standards on Valentine’s Day. Its Sounds of Love concert begins at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at Chenery Auditorium and will include classical works as well as songs from opera, Broadway and film. Special guest performers are soprano Antonina Chehovska and tenor Cooper Nolan. Tickets are $24-$60 and can be purchased at kalamazoosymphony.com.

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Something Funny

Stand-up standout to perform Rising stand-up comedian Nate Bargatze, known for his clean and relatable comedy, will appear at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 at the State Theatre. Bargatze has been named one of the best new comedians by several publications, including Esquire and Rolling Stone. His debut special, Full Time Magic, premiered on Comedy Central in 2015, followed by his album, Yelled at by a Clown, which reached No. 1 on iTunes Comedy. Tickets are $35–$49.75. A VIP experience, which includes a meetand-greet session with Bargatze, is $149. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit kazoostate.com.

Something Busy

Bee School coming to KVCC Whether you are a beekeeping “new-bee” or have had a

brood box for bees for awhile, you can expand your apiary acumen at Kalamazoo Bee School on Feb. 15 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Texas Township campus. Sponsored by the Kalamazoo Bee Club, this annual daylong event will feature presentations and networking among beginner and well-seasoned beekeepers, as well as vendors of equipment and supplies. It will start with an 8:30 a.m. keynote address by beekeeping specialist Dr. Jim Tew, who will speak on “The Seasonal Orbit of Honey Bees’ Society.” The cost to attend is $67 with lunch or $55 without lunch. Student rates are $42 with lunch or $30 without. To register or for more information, visit kalamazoobeeclub.com.


Something Theatrical

Civic to stage Romance Guaranteed A seedy Detroit restaurant, a spaghetti dinner and a match made via the internet. What could go wrong, or right? That question will be explored in Romance Guaranteed, an original comedy by award-winning local playwright Art Nemitz being staged Feb. 14–23 in the Civic Theatre’s Carver Center, 426 S. Park St. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 15, 21 and 22 and 2 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23. The play is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets are $15 and available at kazoocivic.com or by calling 343-1313.


Something Local

Darcy Wilkin to launch new CD If the name Darcy Wilkin sounds familiar, it’s probably

because this singer-songwriter from Kalamazoo has a few alter egos: She is a member of the local Americana band The Corn Fed Girls and half of the duo Danger Deer and co-hosts weekly the Grassroots radio show with her dad, Mark Sahlgren, on WMUK 102.1 FM. She is also a solo artist who is launching the release of her new CD, Bristol, with a show at Bell’s Eccentric Café on Feb. 8. The show will also feature some of Wilkin’s fellow musicians, including Corn Fed Girls member Sarah Fuerst, Cori Somers, Bill Caskey, Drew Howard and Sahlgren. The seated show begins at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the show and available at Etix.com and Bell's General Store.

Something New

Festival spotlights local playwrights New works by eight local playwrights will be performed at the Theatre Kalamazoo New Play Festival Feb 15-16 at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre inside the Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. This is the 10th year of the New Play Festival, which provides a platform for playwrights from Kalamazoo County to develop and share their work with the community. Featured playwrights this year are Shelby Alexander, Rebecca Chan, Emma Fergusson, Bethany Gibson, Danielle Kropveld, Amber Palmer, Tucker Rafferty and Dawn Richberg. In addition, the opening night of Romance Guaranteed by local playwright Art Nemitz will launch the festival with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Civic Theatre’s Carver Center. The festival schedule includes performances of consecutive plays at 2, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 2 p.m. Feb. 16. In addition, a playwriting workshop led by Dr. Steve Feffer is offered at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Jolliffe Theatre. The community is invited to participate and participants should bring a five-minute scene to share and register in advance by emailing steve.feffer@wmich.edu. All Feb. 15 and 16 events are free. For more information and schedule, visit TheatreKalamazoo.com or Facebook.com/TheatreKalamazoo. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 11


Something Natural Learn how to identify trees

If you can’t tell a burr oak from a birch but would like to, the

Winter Tree Identification Workshop being held 1–4 p.m. Feb. 8 at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, in Augusta, may be just what you need. The workshop includes a hike on the sanctuary’s scenic trails to practice identifying tree species, warm beverages to enjoy and informational materials to take home. An alternate date is set for Feb. 14, in case of inclement weather. The cost is $30 for sanctuary members and $40 for others. To register or for more information, visit birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu or call 269-671-2150.



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Something Wintry

Fish hatchery to host winter fun Winter in Michigan is inevitable so you may as well enjoy it, and a day of sampling winter activities is just the way to do it. Check out the free Wild About Winter Activity Day from 10 a.m.– 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, in Mattawan. The event features guided snowshoe walks at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., a winter scavenger hunt, an Ice Fishing Discovery Table where you can learn about this activity, a winter scavenger hunt, jig making and hatchery tours. You can top it all off by warming up with some hot cocoa by the fire. For more information, visit michigan.gov/wolflakevc or call 668-2876.

UPCOMING SHOWS Feb 8 Ira Park, Detective & His Hawaiian Mystery Adventure Feb 22 Grandma’s Garden of Eaton

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Something Artistic

Find bargains at Garage Sale Art Fair If you like art fairs and love a good bargain, then you’ll want to grab your shopping bags and head over to the annual Garage Sale Art Fair Feb. 29 at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center. More than 140 artists will be selling their overstocks, seconds, leftover supplies and things they're just tired of. The event runs from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and admission is $5, or free for children. For more information, visit garagesaleartfair.com.

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Five Faves

These nature preserves offer winter wonders by


For a new appreciation of the natural beauty and wonder that

abounds in Southwest Michigan, see it in the winter. One of the best ways to do that is to visit one of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy’s 18 nature preserves. To get you off on the right foot, SWMLC staff members share their personal recommendations for experiencing different types of winter wonderlands.

Bow in the Clouds Preserve 3400 block of Nazareth Road, Kalamazoo Leave life’s stresses behind and explore the quiet sanctuary of

Bow in the Clouds Preserve. Despite its location off busy Nazareth Road, the preserve offers a peaceful respite amid nature’s grace. Follow a short trail to an observation deck overlooking the winter wetland far below and feel your tension begin to melt away. As you walk through the woods to the quiet marshland bowl, traffic noise fades and the only sounds you hear may be the tinkling of icy Spring Valley Creek and a chickadee commenting on your bulky clothes. A boardwalk leads you far out into the marsh, where the sky is huge and your problems get smaller. You fall into the moment and forget everything else. — Amelia Hansen, Communications Specialist

Chipman Preserve 8300 block of East Main Street, Galesburg Have you ever imagined what it might be like to climb through the coat closet to Narnia or visit Hogsmeade’s Forbidden Forest at Christmastime? If so, you should come to the Chipman Preserve this winter. The stillness of the white, powdery prairie will draw you into a magical wonderland of winding pathways beneath archways of snow-covered trees. The silence of falling snowflakes is punctuated by the calls of cardinals and blue jays, whose fat, fluffy bodies adorn the branches of leafless oaks and bristly green pines alike. Tiny footprints disappearing into the snow provide evidence of the busy lives of the creatures in the subnivean zone (the area between the surface of the ground and the bottom of the snowpack). — C. Miko Dargitz, Development Associate



Portman Nature Preserve 28000 block of 49th Avenue, Paw Paw As the colorful pop of goldenrods fades away with the coming of winter, the raw patterns of nature stand out in full relief at Portman Nature Preserve. The preserve’s 2.5-mile trail system offers views of three lakes, revealed by the absence of summer’s foliage. On a winter evening, stopping with our mouths agape, we admired the setting sun low on the western horizon over Mud Lake. What we hadn’t noticed our first time by that lake were the precise depressions of lily pads etched into the ice, their subtle green silhouettes just visible. It was reassurance that in winter, there is an abundance of life just below the surface patiently waiting to emerge. — Mitch Lettow, Stewardship Director

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area 18th Avenue, South Haven

Black River Preserve 69000 block of Eighth Avenue, South Haven

What better place to feel the visceral gray ache of Michigan winter skies than at the lakeshore? With barrier-free access to the beach and available overlooks, Pilgrim Haven Natural Area provides the perfect vantage point to watch the crashing wintertide waves. There is something healing about the smell of open fresh water that helps fight the ennui brought about by a lack of vitamin D. Comfortably situated a short drive beyond downtown South Haven and with parking, this natural area offers an easy trail through woods and meadow, and is incredibly welcoming and accessible should the snow start flying.

When cabin fever strikes this winter, consider a short drive out to the 121-acre Black River Preserve for a rejuvenating change of scenery. Only 50 minutes from Kalamazoo, Black River Preserve offers beautiful, rolling, wooded terrain that is sure to warm you up as you hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski. Depending on which trail or trails you follow, you can limit your adventure to a quarter mile or cover nearly four miles (by using all seven connected trails)! Boasting open meadows, lush wetlands, peaceful oak savannas and river overlooks, as well as upland and floodplain forest, Black River Preserve beckons visitors in every season.

— Nicole Speedy, Administrative Manager

— Hilary Hunt, Land Protection Specialist

About the SWMLC The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy is a local nonprofit conservation organization that works to improve habitat, protect water quality, support biodiversity, connect people with nature, and help families conserve the land they love. You can find directions, maps and other information about each preserve mentioned in this Five Faves feature by going to www.swmlc.org.

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More Than Pretty Penmanship

Items with handcrafted, stylized script regain popularity LISA MACKINDER

Brian Powers



eather Tyler became passionate about calligraphy after watching videos on Instagram, but she never dreamed her passion would turn into a business. The opportunity kind of fell in her lap, says Tyler, the owner of Heather Lynette Calligraphy, a Portage-based company that specializes in art, stationery and calligraphy. “I would make (handwritten) signs for my own home, and people would come over and be like, ‘Oh, do you sell stuff?’” says the 25-yearold Tyler. 16 | ENCORE FEBRUARY 2020

So she decided to give it a shot. Tyler created handwritten and calligraphic invitations, welcome signs and items for weddings, including guest lists written on mirrors and name tags for tables. In 2018, she posted images of her work on Instagram. Did it take long to generate interest? Tyler laughs, shakes her head and gives an emphatic “no.” The response was enthusiastic. Tyler shrugs and says she remembers thinking, “I guess this (calligraphy) is a thing … .”



More than a thing actually: It keeps Tyler extremely busy, and demand for it continues trending upward. “It’s getting bigger, and I’m super excited about it,” says Tyler, who also studies graphic design and business marketing at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Personalized products

Brian Powers

Heather Tyler, above, creates handwritten and calligraphic items including invitations (left), custom signs (right) and such things as name tags, programs and other items for weddings and special events.

Given the ease of online ordering — not to mention that cursive isn’t taught in most schools these days — the demand for calligraphy and handwritten invitations might seem surprising. But, in fact, the customization is a sought-after specialty, says Kristina Scobie, graphic designer and manager of Noteworthy Invitations by Design, a store at 8801 N. 32nd St. in Richland that specializes in special event, party and wedding invitations. “There are brides who want that on their primary invitation, but there are also brides who want each envelope specifically created,” Scobie says. It’s not only calligraphy and handwritten invitations that customers seek. They want the script created on signage, table toppers and other items. Both Scobie and Tyler identify one item in particular as trending right now: calligraphy on acrylic signage. These signs are used for seating charts and parking directions, among other w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 17


things, including an “acrylic sign to show specialty drinks that might sit on your bar that’s custom to your bride and your groom,” says Scobie. Recently Tyler outfitted an acrylic seating chart that featured the swirls and curls of her expressive writing with a hand-cut copper stand. “I made it out of copper piping and cut it down to the right dimensions,” she says.

Seeking something special

Kristina Scobie, top right, manager of Noteworthy Invitations by Design in Richland, says people like the “surprise and delight” elements of custom handwritten items, such as these invitations produced by her store.


Brian Powers

What’s behind this old-school trend of flowery script and pretty penmanship? Scobie compares it to the farm-to-table movement occurring with restaurants. Just as people want something special to eat, they also desire special items for their weddings and events. In the digital age, when people have access “to so much,” she says, a bit of a “backlash” is taking place. Customers are wanting personalized products unique to them. “It’s more intimate,” Scobie says. “That’s our bottom line. We really feel strongly that to create invitations in this way is a lot more special than going online and ordering something that everybody can order.” Along with the resurgence of handwritten and modern calligraphy, Scobie sees clients requesting matte materials, ribbon wraps and wax seals. “A lot of people like ‘surprise and delight’ elements,” she says, “where when you receive the invitation (and) as you open it, maybe the inner flap has a pop of color or a really beautiful pattern. And then on each piece of the invitation there might be a little custom painting or hand lettering.”


Another trend is for spot calligraphy, “where names or the location (of the event) on your invitation is in calligraphy and then everything else is done in print,” Tyler explains.

Brian Powers

Learning loops Sometime after the holidays — because during the holidays customers keep Noteworthy staff busy creating personalized party invitations and holiday cards — Scobie’s store plans to offer workshops, including classes on calligraphy. Depending on the class topic, Scobie says, there is room for about 30 to 35 people. “I was thinking we could do custom-painted gift tags,” Scobie says. “We would bring in a calligrapher to teach how to write (things like) “For You” or “Thank You” on little wooden gift tags. I’ve (also) been thinking about those globes that people paint and put a little quote on.” Scobie came from a corporate management position in graphic design to manage Noteworthy and enjoys experiencing a more personal relationship with clients. “I really wanted to be more involved with the actual customer or client,” she says, “to sit one-on-one and really speak to them and find out what they’re looking for and be able to work with them on that level.” The market for personalized invitations and products also brings her back to her roots: design. Scobie likes developing invitations at Noteworthy, whether for weddings, ugly sweater parties or summer barbecues. “I love that we can turn off our computers and we’re doing a lot of hand painting and calligraphy,” she says.

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The Father of

Legal Pot Martin Chilcutt helped make marijuana mainstream by


Under cover of darkness on a Sunday evening, when police presence was at its lowest, Martin Chilcutt pulled his car into a North Denver shopping center parking lot, turned off the engine and waited for his contact to arrive. When he did, the man told Chilcutt to give him his keys and then instructed him to head inside the store for at least a half hour — to buy a few things, pretend to browse, anything really, as long as he didn't draw attention to himself. Chilcutt emerged from the store at the agreed-upon time, took back his keys, started the engine and drove into the night — carefully.

Martin Chilcutt on the deck of his Kalamazoo home.


Brian Powers w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 21

Brian Powers

In the trunk was a large garbage bag full of marijuana, perhaps 20 pounds or so, worth tens of thousands of dollars. When he arrived at his apartment, Chilcutt got to work, dumping handfuls of pot onto a white sheet, then measuring out amounts, which he placed in Ziploc bags. No money was exchanged during this clandestine cannabis meeting; the pot was a gift from a grower Chilcutt knew. The dozens of sandwich bags full of cannabis were going someplace else. It was the late 1990s, and Chilcutt was a retired psychotherapist. Many of the men he counseled in group therapy sessions had suffered from serious diseases — AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis. Some of them used cannabis — when they could find it — to alleviate their symptoms and receive a respite from their suffering. Chilcutt, who uses cannabis himself, had become a Robin Hood of sorts, handing out the bags of marijuana free of charge to his clients and anyone else who needed it. “I am a strong humanist,” he says, speaking from a plump chair in the cozy living room of his Kalamazoo home. “I have a deep conscience. I’m a compassionate person. I care deeply about people. I knew how marijuana could help people who were suffering, and there was no way I was not going to help them.” At that time, marijuana was nowhere near as accepted in society as it is becoming today. In 1990, only 25 percent of Americans favored its legalization, compared to 62 percent in 2018, according to data from the Gallup polling firm. Pot was very much underground. Medical marijuana was almost unheard of, with only one state — deep blue California — having a medical cannabis law, which was passed in 1996. Chilcutt views cannabis as medicine that has as much, if not more, efficacy in treating a host of problems than any prescription drug. He’s seen it help people he cared about. Disabled himself from cancers he developed as a result of radiation exposure when he was serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s, it had helped him for decades. In his eyes, it was a travesty that a substance so safe and useful should be kept out of the hands of those who wanted it. It was a question of freedom and choice, a matter of justice, he says. So, keeping in spirit with one of his favorite quotes, Gandhi’s “Make the injustice visible,” Chilcutt decided to light a way forward. Alone on his Denver porch one warm evening in 1998, he looked up into a starfilled sky and said, “Goddammit, I have to do this. I have to make this legal for patients.” Raising his hands toward the moon, he exclaimed, “Universe, help me. Support me.” The path he would tread in the next few years would be one fraught with peril, from shady associates with nefarious motivations to public officials he believes tried to sabotage his plans. The work ahead was as steep as the mountains just west of the Mile High City. In those first few months, next to no one thought he would get the issue on the ballot, much less that it would pass. “My friends said, ‘Marty, you’re wasting your time,’” he says. “But I just told them, ‘Watch. You’ll see.’”


This photo of Chilcutt during his efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Colorado ran in the Rocky Mountain News when it was announced the initiative would be on the ballot.

The experiences he had in Colorado spearheading the effort provided him with invaluable experience for his eventual move back to Michigan, his home state, where he would become a father of sorts of the state’s medical marijuana movement, an effort that forever changed the way cannabis is viewed here.

First, Colorado Colorado in the late 1990s had a high percentage of people who took cannabis, but it also had a strong conservative streak. Chilcutt’s advocacy group, Coloradans for Medical Rights, faced a united front of opposition, from the governor to law enforcement to the religious community and many others. He was going to need resources if he had any hope of getting the issue on the ballot.

the measure in order to alleviate the often debilitating symptoms of their ailments. Chilcutt’s name became well known on the pages of The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News. Whether he wanted to or not, he’d become the de facto face of the movement, but he aimed to keep things in perspective. “Everybody seemed to want a piece of me,” he says, “but I always made it a medical issue. It wasn't about me. I was just there making things happen. It was about the patients. I was doing it out of the goodness of my heart. Nothing less, nothing more.” By the fall of 1998, Chilcutt’s group had submitted well over the nearly 50,000 signatures necessary to get the issue on the ballot. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, and enthusiasm was high. Then things came to a sudden halt. Victoria Buckley, Colorado’s then-Secretary of State and a Republican, announced that a review of petition signatures revealed that Chilcutt’s group had fallen short of the number needed to get the proposal on the ballot. The issue made its way through the courts, eventually landing in the Colorado Supreme Court, which sided with Buckley just a month before the 1998 election. “We didn't know what the hell to do at that point,” Chilcutt says, “but we still had faith.”

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Brian Powers


So he traveled to California, where he’d lived for decades, and began to make connections with cannabis advocates in the Bay Area. At one meeting in Oakland, armed guards took him to the 10th floor of a building, where cannabis was being sold illegally. It unnerved Chilcutt. “It was pretty shady what was going on, but I had to start somewhere,” he says. He wound up in Santa Monica, at a meeting with people who developed cannabis campaigns. They told Chilcutt they had access to big donors, including The Lindesmith Center, a George Sorosbacked think tank that devoted its research to liberalizing the nation’s drug laws. A few months later Chilcutt heard back from the agency. “They said, ‘We’re going to take a chance on you,’” he says. “That’s when things really started moving.” Armed with $250,000 from the center spread out over six months, Chilcutt and his cohort of supporters got to work. They hired a polling firm to gauge the level of support for medical cannabis, found that the majority of those polled supported it, and then set about gathering signatures to get the initiative on the Colorado ballot. Chilcutt appeared on TV and radio, often accompanied by people with serious diseases who spoke of how they supported

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A dramatic turn of events took shape just months later. Cannabis in the late 2000s was still very much underground in In July 1999, Buckley died suddenly in her home of a heart attack. Michigan, so when Chilcutt attended a meeting of cannabis growers While making an assessment of the office Buckley had left behind, and supporters at a rural Southwest Michigan location, he didn’t her replacement, Donetta Davidson, found several boxes of signatures reveal his plans to anyone, wary of the possibility of undercover law for the initiative in a closet. Davidson counted the signatures and enforcement being there, something he had been anxious about in determined Buckley staffers had improperly disqualified 2,500. She Colorado as well. announced the measure would be on the November 2000 ballot. “You have to be really careful in the beginning,” he says. “You have Chilcutt’s group believed they had been the victims of a partisan to be prepared to be exposed.” public official intent on foiling He listened and took in the their efforts. Davidson said at scene. Hundreds of people the time that a short-staffed “I knew I was good at what I was doing. I never were in attendance. Chilcutt Buckley had perhaps been in says he left knowing that at played games with people. I let the issue and the middle of recounting the least there was a foundation idea speak for itself. It was always about petitions when she died. — however hidden — to build helping people.” Chilcutt didn't want to upon. And build he did. enter the fray, saying only of Chilcutt talked to local – Martin Chilcutt Buckley at the time, “Bless her elected officials to gauge heart, she’s gone.” their support for medical The initiative passed easily. At an election night party at his home, cannabis. He found only one — former Kalamazoo city commissioner where guests were greeted with freshly rolled joints and cannabis Don Cooney — open to the idea. Other prominent community brownies, Chilcutt reveled in the success of the moment. He’d proved members wouldn't touch the idea, seeing it as economic and political Kryptonite. Undeterred, Chilcutt began constructing a diverse web of the cynics wrong. “I knew it was going to pass from the beginning,” he says. “And clandestine support, funding the effort in Michigan out of his own it did for all the right reasons. I’d told my friends to watch and see. pocket, following the successful script written and honed in the Rocky Mountain State. Success, he told his detractors, would come. After all, Then they saw.” he had proof. Next stop, Michigan “I told them all, ‘You are going to be shocked with how many people Years went by after the success in Colorado, and Chilcutt decided will support this effort. This is going to pass. Just wait,’” he says. In in 2007 to return home to Kalamazoo, his hometown, carrying with many ways, it looked like the same play being acted out. Only the him more than just his belongings. He also brought a plan. setting was different. Michigan, he thought, needed a medical cannabis law too. Polling showed support for the idea. A campaign infrastructure “Initially people here thought I was nuts,” he says. “They said things was put together. Chilcutt found legal counsel supportive of the like, ‘Marty, Colorado is a liberal state full of hippies.’ I told them idea. Momentum began to build. A successful petition drive got the otherwise.” issue on the 2008 general election ballot in a presidential election

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year when turnout and enthusiasm on the left was high, with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. The initiative passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Predictably, Chilcutt was not surprised. “I knew I was good at what I was doing,” he says. “I never played games with people. I let the issue and idea speak for itself. It was always about helping people.” But he didn't rest on his laurels. After Michigan’s successful vote, he wrote the directors of the Veterans Affairs hospitals in Ann Arbor and Battle Creek asking that they not get in the way of veterans using cannabis. Chilcutt, a U.S. Navy veteran who was exposed to radiation from nuclear test explosions in the South Pacific in the 1950s, developed several types of cancers in his 40s. He treated himself with cannabis and received a great deal of benefit in doing so, he says. No veteran, he thought, should fear using cannabis to treat any manner of disease conditions — brought about by battle or not. Starting in 2007, he received help from Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, a group that lobbies the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to accept cannabis use for veterans in states with a medical cannabis law. Writing to the VA hospital directors was a gutsy move in some ways. Although a majority of states have some sort of law allowing cannabis use, it is still a Schedule I controlled substance on par with heroin, LSD and methamphetamine in the eyes of the federal government, which funds the VA. But the VA in Michigan ultimately complied with Chilcutt’s request. “These vets deserve to be able to take cannabis,” he says. “Some of them have PTSD, trauma, several other psychological conditions. Cannabis helps. We shouldn't be punitive with this. It’s medicine.”

‘Wanted to improve society’ There is an apparent, if often unspoken, motivation shared by many cannabis advocates, Chilcutt included. Medical marijuana laws, they say, are the foot-in-the-door type of legislation meant to get people

who are not familiar with cannabis comfortable with it. The ultimate goal is full legalization. Indeed, of the 11 states that currently have a recreational cannabis law, all had a medical marijuana law on the books first. All but three states — Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota — have some form of law that allows for either medical or recreational cannabis possession and use. One could argue that Chilcutt is the patriarch of Michigan’s more than decade-long legislative journey of cannabis legalization. It’s hard to imagine the 2018 recreational law passing if the 2008 initiative didn’t pass first. So, with a recreational pot market estimated to be worth $1.7 billion, do those now profiting in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry owe Chilcutt a handshake and a pat on the back? He doesn't think so. “No one owes me anything,” he says. “I just wanted to make a change, a difference. I wanted to try to improve society.” Chilcutt is 86 years old. In his small but warm and inviting home, piles of books and magazines are arranged in towers like stacks of Jenga blocks, some seeming ready to topple over. Sticky notes and documents cover a table whose top can’t be seen, where Chilcutt’s laptop lies open to a New York Times Magazine article. His mind is sharp, his wit quick, his energy palpable. Yes, he is an octogenarian. No, he will not be denied. Absolutely, he says, his cannabis use — which began at age 18 — has contributed to his longevity. He has one more trick up his sleeve, another initiative close to his heart that he wants to see on the ballot. But he won’t share what it is — at least not yet. “I am keeping that close for now,” he says. “When the time is right, you’ll know.” Reading the tea leaves of that statement, whatever is swirling in Chilcutt’s mind is bound to ruffle some feathers, make some waves. And prove a lot of people wrong.

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Brewers take action to ensure the quality of their key ingredient by



hen discussing the reputation of Michigan water and its connection to the state’s beer industry, Bell’s Brewery founder and president Larry Bell says, “No water, no beer.” No single ingredient is more important to beer than water. It makes up 90 to 95 percent of the content of beer. Kalamazoo — and Michigan in general — also boast a geological history that suits them well for beer making, specifically darker styles, which has helped make the state a leader in the craft beer industry. The last decade produced an explosion of breweries in the state. During that same time span, several Michigan communities have grappled with a variety of water-related problems, including oil spills, lead contamination and PFAS pollution, that could or are having an effect on the industry. Some breweries, including Bell’s Brewery and Rockford Brewing Co., have had fairly public battles with those responsible for the problem or have had to address the issue on social media and with customers. Bell says Kalamazoo has “excellent water” and that his company, which uses city water, is “very fortunate in having a great aquifer we draw from.” But Bell’s, as well as other members of Michigan’s beer industry, are becoming increasingly involved in the conversation about water. “The problem is the perception of what’s going on with Michigan water. That concerns me,” says Bell, whose company is the seventh largest craft brewery in the U.S. “Between the PFAS, Flint, the oil spill here in the Kalamazoo River and Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, we are putting Michigan water in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.” In addition to perception, there’s the management side of the equation. Breweries use a lot of water. Depending on its size and efficiency, a brewery can use a volume of water in making beer that is anywhere from four to 12 times greater than the volume of beer produced. Many brewers say they want to be good stewards of the resource. Industry professionals also note the significant difference between surface water and groundwater. The latter is deeper down, often under a layer of rock, providing a buffer from potential pollutants.

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Michigan’s water As the single largest ingredient by weight in beer, water takes center stage. Michigan’s water composition played a major role in making the state one of the leaders in U.S. craft beer, according to Steve Bertman, an organic chemist and professor at Western Michigan University’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and one of the architects of WMU’s Sustainable Brewing Program. He works closely with students and beer industry professionals on a variety of topics, including those related to water. “We have very-high-pH, well-buffered hard water because of the geologic history,” Bertman says. “There’s no planet bedrock. You have to go really far down — hundreds of feet, 400 or 500 feet — to get to bedrock. We are sitting on top of essentially limestone till left over by the glacier. That makes our water alkaline and high in carbonate. If you look at the composition, it’s pretty similar to the water in Bavaria, like in Munich.” Today it is common for larger breweries to strip their water of minerals and add components to fit the style of beer they are making, Bertman says. In the late 1980s or


early ’90s, Bell says, he learned he needed to install filters at Bell’s original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo because of the high level of iron in city water and how it interacted with his Cherry Stout. “If you mix cherry juice with high-ironconcentration water, you get blood-like flavor in the beer,” he says. Latitude 42 Brewing Co., in Portage, is one of a few western Michigan breweries — along with Presidential Brewing Co., in Portage, and Perrin Brewing Co., in Comstock Park, among others — to treat its water prior to brewing. Latitude 42 uses carbon filtration and a reverse-osmosis (RO) system. Latitude 42 head brewer and founder Scott Freitas said inconsistencies in pH testing (for acidity levels) from the city of Portage’s water report during the course of a year prompted Latitude 42 to invest in the system. Freitas, who has also brewed in California, Hawaii and Oregon, said Latitude 42 takes its water “down to zero” and uses brewing salts to add minerals back to the water. Freitas says the system, which produces a 15,000-gallon reservoir, means his water can mimic any in the world. “It wasn’t cheap,” Freitas says of the RO system. He also notes that he doesn’t drink


Mike Babb has more than 40 years of experience in the beer industry. He worked at Coors Brewing Co., in Colorado, for 25 years and has traveled across the world as a brewing educator and consultant. He moved to Kalamazoo in 2003 to be the advanced hop product director at Kalsec, a company that develops spice and herb flavor extracts as well as hop products for the food and beverage industry. Then, starting in 2014, he developed the curriculum at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Sustainable Brewing Program and began teaching there. He retired earlier this year. “There is definitely more awareness in terms of trying to conserve water than there used to be,” Babb says. “And because there are more analytic methods, as well as greater potential for pollutants, it is of much higher priority than it once was.”



tap water and only drinks RO water, which is also available to patrons at the Portage taproom. “It’s better water. You can taste the difference,” he says.

How much breweries use Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in total number of breweries and is closing in on 400. There are 14 breweries in Kalamazoo County

alone, including six in downtown Kalamazoo, with most opening since late 2013. Breweries report their production in barrels. One barrel is 31 gallons, or about 248 pints. For example, if a brewery makes 400 barrels in a year, or 12,400 gallons, it may use between 49,600 and 148,800 gallons of water to produce that amount. For perspective on how much beer is produced by local breweries, Tibbs Brewing Co. made about 250 barrels in 2018, whereas Bell’s made 476,544 barrels.

then the 5.2 that got dumped on the floor,” says Modic, who joined Bell’s in 2013. “Sixpoint-two is terrible for a brewery of our size and with someone in my position. Our best during my tenure was 4.3. We’re down this year to 5.2, but I’d like to be below 4.5 as a standard.” Modic’s standards are high because the issue of water management and water quality matters that much to Bell’s. “The Cube” was part of a $5 million project that came on line in December 2014 and processes more than

As fiduciaries for over 30 years, we remain dedicated to serving the interests of our clients and their families. Walker Modic agonizes over another number: 6.2. As the environmental and social sustainability manager at Bell’s Brewery, Modic closely monitors the brewery’s use of water — both coming in and going out — at its Bell’s Bio-Energy Building, also called “B3" or “The Cube” by employees. He’s quick to share how much room he sees for improvement when talking about the volume of water used to produce beer at the Comstock Township brewery. “For every volume of beer — whether that’s an ounce, gallon or barrel — you’ve got the one that’s sitting in your glass and

Clockwise from top left: Waste from the brewing process goes through Bell's water treatment system; a Bell's employee tests the quality of the treated water; and Bell's wastewater before treatment.

100,000 gallons of Bell’s wastewater daily, removing suspended solids and biological oxygen demand (BOD) before sending the treated water to the city. The treatment process is done without drawing electricity from the grid or using natural heat or gas. It generates methane, which is used to power portions of the brewery. The energy needed to perform the treatment is a byproduct of the treatment, Modic says, and the project is expected to pay for itself within 10 years.


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Brian Powers

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Above and right: Latitude 42 treats its water before brewing using carbon filtration and reverse-osmosis systems.

Treating wastewater Bell’s conservation-mindedness is important, since last year the brewery entered “The Big 5” list of local industries for the first time in the eyes of the city of Kalamazoo and its Water Reclamation Plant, or KWRP. The rest of “The Big 5” are Pfizer, Graphic Packaging, Kalsec and Allnex. Due to the volume of wastewater they send to the city’s plant, these businesses are monitored on a daily basis. Previously, Bell’s was monitored quarterly, according to Jim Cornell, Kalamazoo’s wastewater division manager. The water reclamation plant provides treatment services to more than 200,000 residents in 22 Kalamazoo-area municipal jurisdictions, spanning about 900 linear miles of sewage lines. The city has the capacity to treat up to about 53 million gallons of water daily and is consistently treating between 26 and 28 million gallons of water per day. Even with its relatively large size by brewery standards, Bell’s sends about 200,000 gallons of wastewater to the plant, or about 1 percent of the plant’s typical daily treatment amount, according to city staff. Bell’s wastewater accounts for about 7 percent of the plant’s BOD. KWRP and city representatives say the rest of the area’s breweries combined are


not considered significant contributors to the plant’s treatment work. The next largest brewery in terms of water sent to the plant was Arcadia Brewing Co., which sent around 7,000 gallons of water a day before closing in September. However, the “fermented waste” from breweries is “good for our bugs,” the city says. “Our plant is very used to it. We use microorganisms to process waste, and they enjoy that kind of waste versus someone like Allnex (a company that makes coating resins) that has a lot more chemical waste,” says Steve Rochow, the city’s senior environmental services supervisor. KWRP and city staff say they worked with Bell’s on “The Cube” project. While in the long term the project’s water conservation may mean less money flowing to the city to treat the brewery’s wastewater, it’s an environmentally responsible move and one that could prove financially (continued on page 42)

Troubled Waters

Brewers’ efforts to keep water safe • Bell’s Brewery fought Enbridge’s dredge pad cleanup proposal near the Comstock Township brewery following the 2010 Enbridge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. • Around the same time it opened in early 2015, Tenacity Brewing Co. in Flint posted on Facebook and displayed at its bar the lead-free water tests at its brewery during the peak of the city’s water crisis. • Breweries in California during the drought of 2015 were asked to reduce production, and did, to avoid further strain on the limited water supply. • As early as 2017, Rockford Brewing Co. had to address concerns from patrons over PFAS contamination stemming from the nearby Wolverine World Wide former tannery.

Brian Powers

• Last summer Toledo, Ohio’s Maumee Bay Brewing Co., in collaboration with the Ohio Environmental Council, released a green-colored beer called “Algae Blooms” to draw attention to the toxic algal blooms in the Lake Erie region. • In October, more than 60 breweries from across the country encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court to back the Clean Water Act as the Trump Administration made efforts to roll back the law’s regulatory powers. — John Liberty

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Revitalized Riviera

Family brings back theater’s original beauty and purpose

Brian Powers


ruce Monroe knew what treasures were hidden inside Three Rivers’ historic Riviera Theatre when he saw the words “For Sale” on the building’s marquee more than a decade ago. But it was going to take a lot of time, sweat and money to buff them back to their original shine. Thankfully for Three Rivers, Monroe decided to take a chance and buy the building, which has become a kind of beacon in the quaint downtown of this St. Joseph County city, according to its mayor. 32 | ENCORE FEBRUARY 2020

Brian Powers



Monroe’s reasons for purchasing the theater were many. He didn’t want to see the nearly 100-year-old venue — where vaudeville performers once graced the stage — to wither away. He is also a native of St. Joseph County, and his family roots run deep through the Riviera — his grandmother played the pipe organ during silent films there, his mother danced on the stage, and his great uncle once managed the place.


But making the Riviera his own wasn’t just a way to keep the memory of his loved ones alive. It was also a way for Monroe, now 70, to give back to a community he has a soft spot for. “Small-town America is struggling,” he says, “but I thought this community deserved a first-class theater. It adds so much to the life and culture of a town.” Left: Restoring and operating the Riviera Theatre is a Monroe family affair, including, front row, from left: Colin Monroe, Cynthia Giacobone, Bruce Monroe and Evan Monroe; back row, from left: Danielle Moreland, Tristan Monroe, Cian Monroe and Brendan Monroe. Right: The painted ceiling dome amplifies sound to the back of the theater. Below: The theater’s stage was once hidden behind a large canvas that served as a movie screen.

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booth was located. Before they were famous, Amos and Andy played the room, as did Johnny Weissmuller, the original Tarzan. Renovations of the theater took place in the 1940s and 1970s. The facility became a full-time movie theater, and things began to change. Much of the opulent detail was covered with burlap or painted over, and the


Brian Powers

When Monroe, who was retired from a successful career at the Johnson Corp., purchased the historic Riviera Theatre in 2005, the building’s beauty lay beneath years of neglect and needed to be painstakingly revealed. After three years of careful work — at a cost “in the seven figures,” Monroe says — the theater was brought back to life in 2008. Designed by acclaimed Midwest architect J.C. Brompton, the theater was built in 1925, with construction starting that spring and completed by Christmas. At the time, it was full of opulent detail, including hand-carved cherubs smiling above gold-painted trim and hand-stenciled patterns adorning high walls. A dome in the ceiling allowed for the voices of vaudeville performers to reach the back rows, and hand-laid tile greeted customers in the foyer, where the ticket

Brian Powers

Painstaking project

Several images showing the restored detail in the theater, including hand-carved cherubs (top), speakers (right), and lighting (above).

stage was obscured behind a large canvas movie screen. “That’s one of the first things we removed,” says Danielle Moreland, executive director of the Riviera, and wife to Brendan, one of


Monroe’s three sons (the other two are Colin and Evan). “My husband took an ax to it.” The Monroes didn’t have much of an idea about what the original colors of the theater’s walls and trim had been — the old pictures they had were black and white. So they carefully chipped away small sections of paint to reveal the original colors. The theater’s utilities got an overhaul as well, and a new roof was installed. LED lighting was placed throughout, and a Lake Michigan sunset scene was painted within the unique dome. Damaged original plaster molding was repaired or replaced. Near the entrance, a small bar was constructed that features drinks and a small menu, including pizza and small plates. “We tried to keep the renovations as authentic as possible,” Bruce Monroe says. Originally, the theater had 750 seats. Today it has a little more than half that number. “People are a little bigger these days,” Moreland says.

Eclectic entertainment The work was a team effort, with all of the Monroes pitching in. After all, Three Rivers is their home, a place they want to grow and prosper. And therein lies much of the motivation for the programming the theater provides. The theater is open Thursday through Sunday, and paying customers can catch a

wide variety of music acts from all sorts of genres, from bluegrass to rock to jazz. “Nothing is off the table,” Moreland says. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It might be hard to find another venue of its size in the region that can claim to host a more diverse offering of events. Recent performers and performances that have graced the stage include magicians, local plays, symphony orchestras and a band called 1964, considered by critics to be the best of the Beatles tribute bands. The theater has hosted weddings, graduation ceremonies and business events. It has beamed the Super Bowl on the big screen, served mint juleps while the Kentucky Derby was shown, and offered documentary and foreign films to the public. Three Rivers Mayor Thomas Lowry Jr. says the Riviera is one of the town’s biggest draws now, as well as an economic generator for the downtown. “It brings entertainment of all kinds to town that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” he says. “From the movies to live bands and other live acts, the theater is a big draw. Plus, they have the best pizza in town.” The rejuvenated Riviera Theatre also provides a boost to other downtown businesses, Lowry says, introducing folks throughout the region to this town of 7,700 residents.

“The Riviera has become one of the anchors of downtown,” he says. “It introduces outof-towners to our city, and after the show is done many of them choose to spend money at another business downtown.”

Giving back But for the Monroes it’s not all about turning a profit — it is also about giving back. Each year the theater offers free admission for a Christmas movie during the holiday season. If an organization needs space to raise money for a benevolent cause, they open the theater doors. “We want this to be a community space,” Bruce Monroe says. “We couldn't be here without them. It’s our way of saying thank you.” “That a local family decided to buy it and save it means they are truly invested in our town. That means a lot,” says Mayor Lowry. Sometimes Monroe sees people peering through the windows, wondering what lies within the old theater. “Then I go outside and grab them and bring them inside,” he says. “Some of them have never seen anything like it. When they look around, many of them say, ‘I knew there was something amazing inside here.’”

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The Belle of Amherst — William Luce's classic play about Emily Dickinson's secluded life, 8 p.m. Feb. 28 & 29, March 6, 7, 13 & 14, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. PERFORMING ARTS



Les Misérables — A new production of the classic Broadway musical, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1; 1 & 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.


Blood at the Root — Dominique Morisseau's play based on the true story of the Jena Six, black students convicted in the 2006 beating of a white student in Jena, Louisiana, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 6, 7 & 8; 2 p.m. Feb. 2 & 9, York Arena Theater, WMU, 387-6222. Born Yesterday — A 1946 political comedy still relevant in today's climate, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 7, 8, 14 & 15; 2 p.m. Feb. 2 & 9, Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Restoration Comedy — A wife tries to woo back her prodigal husband by learning the "art of lewdness," 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 8, 13, 14, & 15; 2 p.m. Feb. 16, Williams Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. The Cake — A baker in North Carolina is asked to make a cake for the girl she raised, who is marrying another woman, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22; 2 p.m. Feb. 9, 16, 23, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. Ira Park, Detective & His Hawaiian Mystery Adventure — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. Feb. 8, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. Romance Guaranteed — Romantic comedy by the local playwright Art Nemitz, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 15, 21 & 22; 2 p.m. Feb. 16 & 23, Carver Center Studio, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. New Play Festival — Presented by Theatre Kalamazoo, performances 2, 4 & 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15; 2 p.m. Feb. 16, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, TheatreKalamazoo.com. Sex Please, We're Sixty — Skits & Giggles presents this good, clean, hilarious adult play, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 22 & 28; 2 p.m. Feb. 23 & 29, The Cellar Stage, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave., 207-0712. Grandma's Garden of Eaton — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. Feb. 22, First Baptist Church, 342-5059. Silent Sky — A play based on the true story of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, Feb. 27–March 1, Kalamazoo College’s Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St., for show times and tickets visit festivalplayouse.kzoo.edu. Race — A provocative new tale of sex, guilt and bold accusations, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 & 29, March 6, 7, 13 & 14; 2 p.m. March 1 & 8, Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St., 343-1313. 36 | ENCORE FEBRUARY 2020

Chicago — Center Stage Theatre presents an adaptation of the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, 7 p.m. Feb. 21; 2 p.m. Feb 22 & 23, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., kzoocst.com. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Joshua Davis — Americana songs from this finalist of The Voice, 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332.

The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston — Starring Belinda Davids, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Alice Howe & Freebo — Modern folk singer/ songwriter, 8 p.m. Feb. 6, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Darcy Wilkin CD Release — Americana singer/ songwriter, 7 p.m. Feb. 8, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. 2nd Sundays Live: Zion Lion — Reggae band, 2 p.m. Feb. 9, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747. Sweet Water Warblers — Gospel, bluegrass and soul trio, 7 p.m. Feb. 13, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Go Rounds & Earth Radio —Indie rock, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Los Colognes — Indie rock, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Dave Bruzza: Unsafe at Any Speed — Bluegrass, 8 p.m. Feb. 28, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More

Gold Company — WMU's vocal jazz ensemble, 8 p.m. Feb. 7; 2 & 8 p.m. Feb. 8, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300. University Symphony Orchestra — 3 p.m. Feb. 9, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Defining Romanticism — Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra performs works by Wagner, Saint-Saëns and Schumann, 4 p.m. Feb. 9, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759. Western Winds — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Sounds of Love — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra celebrates love with classical, jazz and Broadway music, 8 p.m. Feb. 14, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759. Concerto Competition Finals — 3 p.m. Feb. 15, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Crescendo Academy of Music Student Recital — 2 p.m. Feb. 16, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave., 345-6664. University Wind Symphony and University Concert Band — 3 p.m. Feb. 16, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. University Symphonic Band — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Tenor John Wesley Wright — With WMU's Amphion, Anima, WMU Collegiate Singers, and University Chorale, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, with preconcert talk at 7 p.m., Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300. Takács Quartet — Fontana presents this string quartet based at the University of Colorado, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, with pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m., Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Classics Uncorked: Winter — KSO highlights Stravinsky's Soldier’s Tale, 8 p.m. Feb. 21 & 22, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 349-7759.

Showstoppers! — Kalamazoo Singers perform songs from favorite musicals and operas, 7 p.m. Feb. 22, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., kalamazoosingers.org.

Family Concert: Carnival of the Animals — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performs Saint-Saëns' classic with the Westhuizen Duo, choreographer Heather Mitchell's Youth Dance Company, and Rootead Community Healing Arts, 3 p.m. Feb. 2, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 349-7759.

The Homefront — Kalamazoo Concert Band presents musical memories from World War II, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759.

KSO Artists in Residence — A free community classical concert, 7 p.m. Feb. 4, First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., 349-7759.


Piano Battle — The audience decides who wins in a battle between two pianists, 8 p.m. Feb. 7, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

Birds on a Wire — WMU's new-music ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Ebony Vision Dance Ensemble Showcase — Choreography promoting the artistry of people of color, rooted in Afrocentric jazz, 7 p.m. Feb. 1, Multimedia Room, Dalton Center, WMU, 387-5830.

Riverdance — A reinvention of this dance and music production, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Winter Gala Dance Concert — WMU dancers perform works by guest artists, faculty and students, featuring "Three Themes" from George Ballentine's The Four Temperaments, 8 p.m. Feb. 20, 21 & 22; 2 p.m. Feb. 22 & 23, Shaw Theatre, WMU, 387-2300.

All you need is love.

Dance Theatre of Harlem — This touring company presents 21st-century ballet to celebrate African-American culture, 8 p.m. Feb. 21, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300 COMEDY Nate Bargatze — Stand-up comedian, 7 p.m. Feb. 29, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits

Resilience: African-American Artists as Agents of Change — An exhibition of works from the KIA's permanent collection, through Feb. 2. Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review — Juried exhibition of works by KIA art school faculty, through March 8.


LOVE IS (Volume 3)


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Nielsen Symphony No. 3 “Espansiva” Vaughan Williams Toward the Unknown Region Brahms Schicksalslied Bach Festival Chorus & Kalamazoo Philharmonia Join us for a pre-concert talk at 6:30 pm

David Park: A Retrospective — An exhibition of nearly 100 of the artist's paintings and drawings that span his career from the 1930s to 1960, through March 15. Natural Forms: Contemporary Works by Japanese Women — Works in ceramics and on paper from the KIA collection are paired with works from private lenders examining the history and innovations of Japanese ceramic making, through March 22. Events Sunday Guided Tour — Docent-led tours: Natural Forms: Contemporary Art by Japanese Women, Feb. 2; Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review, Feb. 9; David Park: A Retrospective, Feb. 16, sessions begin at 2 p.m. ArtBreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: As Is by Nick Cave, Part 1, documentary, Feb. 4; Jill Eggers on David Park, talk by Grand Valley State University painting professor, Feb. 11; As Is by Nick Cave, Part 2, Feb. 18; Jacob Lawrence's Legend of John Brown, talk by KIA docent Jim Carter, Feb. 25; sessions begin at noon. Art League Lecture: It's All About Love — KIA Chief Curator Rehema Barber combines scholarship, love and art in time for Valentine's Day, 10 a.m. Feb. 12. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 37

EVENTS ENCORE Unreeled: Film at the KIA — View The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, documentary, followed by a discussion with historian Jamon Jordan, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Gallery Concert with Chromic — New York City-based composer-performer duo performs with toy piano, improvisation and electronics, 7 p.m. Feb. 18. Book Discussion: The Nickel Boys — Lisa Brock leads a discussion of the book by Colson Whitehead, 2 p.m. Feb. 19.

Artist Talk by Tylonn Sawyer — American figurative artist, educator and curator, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436 Dwayne Lowder — Collection of works by former WMU art professor, through March 8, MonroeBrown and Netzorg and Kerr Galleries.

17 Days (Vol. 12) — One artist's video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery.

Join us for:

Showstoppers! The biggest moments in musical theatre

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2020 ~ 7:00 pm Comstock Community Auditorium Tickets available online at www.kalamazoosingers.org

Visiting Artist Lectures — Mary Foyder, Feb. 6; Erik Waterkotte, Feb. 13; Laleh Mehran, Feb. 18; Chris Coleman, Feb. 20; all lectures begin at 5:30 p.m., Room 2008. Other Venues Solo Gallery: Carrie Penny — Acrylic and watercolor paintings featuring natural elements, through February, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. Exhibition of Works by Local Black Artists — Plus musical performances and readings by black authors and community leaders, 5–8 p.m. Feb. 7, KVCC Center for New Media, Arcadia Commons Campus, 202 N. Rose St., kvcc.edu. Art Hop — Art at various Kalamazoo locations, 5–9 p.m. Feb. 7, 342-5059. Jean Buescher Bartlett: Book. Art. Object. — Letterpress printed and handmade books, Feb. 7– March 27, with opening 6–9 p.m. Feb. 7, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., 373-4938. Art Reception: Michigan Art Education Association Region 5 — View art and chat with the artists, 2–4 p.m. Feb. 9, Portage District Library, 329-4544. Blue Heat — Glass Art Kalamazoo gala and auction, 7 p.m.–10 p.m. Feb. 22, Glass Art Kalamazoo, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., glassartkalamazoo.org. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Telestrellas: Latino Soap Operas — Watch Hispanic telenovelas in Spanish with English subtitles and discuss, 6 p.m. Feb. 3, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave., 553-7800. Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7800. Winter Vitality — Nutritionist and doula Kama Mitchell shares tips and recipes for staying well, 6–7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Eastwood Branch, 553-7800. It's Crime We Talk: A True Crime Book Club — Discussion of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, who will join via Skype, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 553-7800. ¡Hola! Hello! — For English speakers practicing Spanish and vice versa, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19, Washington Square Branch, 1244 Portage St., 553-7800. Immigration and Human Rights: 2020 Asylum Update — Explore the law and regulations regarding asylum and the asylum process, 6 p.m. Feb. 24, Oshtemo Branch, 553-7800.


ENCORE EVENTS Urban Fiction Book Club — Discussion of Never Be the Same, by Silk White, 6 p.m. Feb. 24, Eastwood Branch, 553-7800.

Learning About Lavender — Janene Rowlinson of Shades of Lavender Farms shows how to grow, harvest and cook with lavender, 6 p.m. Feb. 11.


National African-American Read in 2020: Afrofuturism — Read, listen, and share books that highlight African-American contributions to science fiction, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson St., 553-7800.

RCL Book Club & Dessert — Discussion of We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 7–8:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

2020 Lecture Series — Driving Through the Jim Crow Era, John Burton & Robin Nott, Feb. 2; The Hackett Automobile Museum: A History, Ted O'Dell, Feb. 9; Saving the Porsche 911, Lori Schutz, Feb. 16; Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses, Dianna Stampfler, Feb. 23; all sessions begin at 3 p.m.

A Historical Tour of Lake Michigan Islands — Learn the intriguing histories found among these islands, 7 p.m. Feb. 27, Central Library, 553-7800. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747

Other Venues Poets in Print — Julia Kolchinisky Dasbach and Sandra Lim, 7 p.m. Feb. 22, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938.

Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089

Pint With the Past — Beer-tasting fundraiser, 7 p.m.–10 p.m. Feb. 15.

Parchment Book Group — Discussion of We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of Jade Dragon Mountain, by Elsa Hart, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Yum's the Word: New Orleans — Learn about and sample New Orleans fare with Chef Curtis Woods of PJW Creole Cuisine, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19; registration required. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544


Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.– 3 p.m. Feb. 8. SciFi/Fantasy Discussion Group: The Hunks — Discuss the hunks of science fiction and fantasy, 7 p.m. Feb. 11. International Mystery Book Discussion: Nigeria — Discuss My Sister, The Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite, 7 p.m. Feb. 13. Open for Discussion — Discussion of We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 18. Traveling While Black: A VR Experience — A virtual reality experience that immerses you in the long history of restriction of movement for black Americans, 6 & 7 p.m. Feb. 19.

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Reading Together: Book Discussion — Discussion of We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 7 p.m. Feb. 26. Reading Together: Finding Alternatives for Our Sustenance — Watch and discuss the movie Eating Animals and share ideas, 1–4 p.m. Feb. 29. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085 RCL Mystery Club — Put your sleuthing skills to the test to solve a mystery, 6–8 p.m. Feb. 5.

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EVENTS ENCORE For the Birds — Special guests, arts, crafts, music and activities to celebrate our local bird population, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 22.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990

Filling in the Gaps: The Art of Murphy Darden — Art focused on black cowboys, Darden's NATURE personal experiences in Mississippi, civil rights Kellogg Bird Sanctuary heroes and Kalamazoo's African-American 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 community, through March 29. Winter Tree Identification — Take an interactive League of Women Voters: The First 100 winter hike and learn to identify common Years — Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Michigan trees, 1–4 p.m. Feb. 8; registration the Kalamazoo Area League of Women Voters, required. through March 31. Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk Wicked Plants: The Exhibit — Visit a creepy and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. Feb. 12. Victorian home and learn about the world's most Other Venues villainous plants, through May 17. Storytelling Festival: Growing Stories — Authors, publishers, and storytellers come together to help grow stories, 5–8 p.m. Feb. 7; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 8.

Nature Lover's Date Night — A snowshoe hike, bonfire and refreshments, 6–8 p.m. Feb. 7, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center, 34270 County Road 652, 668-2876.

Seeing Stars: How Birds Use the Night Sky to Orient During Migration — Jen Owen, director of the MSU Bird Observatory, describes bird migration and how birds use the stars, 7–9:15 p.m. Feb. 7, Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Civil Rights for People with Disabilities — Talk Center, 600 W. Vine St., Suite 400, kasonline.org. by Miranda Grunwell from Disability Network Owl Love You Forever — Learn which Michigan Southwest Michigan, 1:30 p.m. Feb. 9. owls are getting "cuddly" during this season of love, Feb. 14, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574.

Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights — An exhibit that shares stories of people with disabilities and their fight for civil rights, Feb. 9–June 7.

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Winter Activity Day — Features a winter scavenger hunt, Ice Fishing Discovery Table, jig making and hatchery tours, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb. 15, with guided snowshoe walks at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, michigan.gov/wolflakevc, 668-2876. Kalamazoo Astronomical Society Remote Viewing Session — View the night sky in this indoor observing session, 9–11 p.m. Feb. 15, Room 1110, Rood Hall, WMU, 373-8942. Audubon Society of Kalamazoo — Janyce Ryan speaks on "Invasive Forest Pests," 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., 375-7210. MISCELLANEOUS Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week — Restaurants feature specials with fixed-price menus, through Feb. 9, participating downtown Kalamazoo restaurants, 344-0795.

Tales of Ramona Park — Exhibition of the history of Ramona Park, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., through February, Portage City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., 329-4522. Ice Breaker Festival — Ice sculptures, chili cookoff, skating, cardboard sled race and frozen fish fling, Feb. 1–2, South Haven, southhaven.org. Winter Auto Swap Meet — Hosted by the Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 1, 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Feb. 2, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 873-8675. Winter Snow Party — Snowman building contest and cardboard sledding, noon–3 p.m. Feb. 1, Oakland Drive Park, 7650 Oakland Drive, 329-4522. Shipshewana on the Road — Indoor market with new and used items, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Feb. 8, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 9, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 979-8888.


Mascot Madness — Skate with a menagerie of mascots and take photos, 3–5 p.m. Feb. 8, Ice Rink at Millennium Park, 280 Romence Road, Portage, 329-4522.

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Southwest Michigan Ballroom Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing with DJ Dan Stratton, 3:30–6 p.m. Feb. 9, with Terry Worrall teaching the American tango at 2:30 p.m., Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St., swmbd.org.

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Annual Bee School — James Tew and other experts on “bee-ginner” through advanced topics related to beekeeping, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 15, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 6767 West O Ave., kalamazoobeeclub.com; registration required.

ENCORE EVENTS Kalamazoo Area Law Enforcement Panel Discussion — Area safety representatives address violence and enforcement in Kalamazoo, followed by a Q&A, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Feb. 12, Room 128, KVCC Arcadia Commons Campus, 202 N. Rose St., kvcc.edu.

Movie & Conversation: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War — Henry Louis Gates Jr. narrates this documentary about the AfricanAmerican experience and the Reconstruction Era, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Feb. 26, Room 128, KVCC Arcadia Commons Campus, kvcc.edu.

Valentine's Dinner — Four-course dinner and jazz musicians Terry Lower and Edye Evans Hyde, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Feb. 14, W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2400.

Ladies' Night Out: Have a Heart: Celebrating Women's Minds, Bodies and Souls — Presentation by Chris Lampen-Crowell of Gazelle Sports, plus local vendors, appetizers and wine, 5–7 p.m. Feb. 27, Ladies' Library Association, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710, bit.ly/37cHA6E

Valentine's Skate Date — Skate to love songs and ballads, 7–9 p.m. Feb. 14, Ice Rink at Millennium Park, 329-4522.

2019–20 Freedom Speaker Series — Vivien Sansour lectures on "The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library: A Journey of Reclaiming Life in One of the World's Centers of Diversity — Palestine," Feb. 20; WMU President Edward Montgomery speaks on "Academia and Public Policy: Uneasy Allies or Moral Enemies," Feb. 27; both lectures begin at 7 p.m., University Center for the Humanities, 2452 Knauss Hall, WMU, wmich.edu/humanities. Garage Sale Art Fair — Overstocks, seconds and leftover supplies, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 29, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, www.garagesaleartfair.com.

Kalamazoo MT&PCA Fur Auction — Auction and raw fur sale, 8 a.m. Feb. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 426-6364. Saturday Flea Market — Used items, antiques, handcrafted items and much more, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 383-8778. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 779-9851. Healthy & Fit Expo — Vendors, speaker and presentation on wellness, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 517-706-1011. Kalamazoo Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing at 8 p.m., with American tango lesson at 7 p.m. Feb. 15, The Point Community Center, 2595 N. 10th St., kalamazoodance.org. Afrofest: Michigan's Largest Afro Party — Celebrate Black History Month through food, laughter and music, 6:30–11 p.m. Feb. 22, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 338-0070.

Grease: A Sing-A-Long Movie Event! — Sing along with the classic 1978 movie, 7 p.m. Feb. 22, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10K & 5K — Kalamazoo Area Runners, Susan G. Komen Michigan and the city of Portage host this event, 8 a.m. Feb. 23, Loy Norrix High School, 606 E. Kilgore Road, runsignup.com/Race/MI/ Kalamazoo/WinterBlastHalfMarathon10k5k.

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SAVOR ENCORE No water, No Beer (continued from page 31) rewarding for Bell’s as well. “We like the money, but we like our industries as well,” Cornell says. Shannon Deater, the city’s environmental services programs manager, says she communicates often with local breweries, as well as home brewers, that want to know more about the water they are using and how it affects their processes. Rochow says the city is encouraged by other steps brewers take with their raw materials, including giving spent grain from the brewing process to local farmers for livestock feed. “One of the things I’ve been impressed with is that they are very into sustainability and their impact on not only the community but the environment,” Rochow says. “There’s something special about that group. They are very conscious about how they can use byproducts to feed cattle or composting.” Bell’s is one of several Michigan breweries to come face-to-face with a water-related environmental issue that directly affected the area surrounding its brewing facility. The Enbridge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in 2010 helped motivate owner Larry Bell to pursue efforts like the installation of “The Cube” as well as advocacy and lobbying initiatives. “The whole thing with the spill in the Kalamazoo River really opened my eyes to what could happen with water,” he says. It’s not the only example. About 10 months before Tenacity Brewing Co. opened its doors in Flint in February 2015, the city of Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, triggering one of the largest civic disasters in the country’s history. To ease fears about its beer, the brewery posted on social media and displayed at its bar its most recent water tests. Rockford Brewing Co. co-owner Seth Rivard says he had customers asking as early as 2017 whether the beer was safe to drink, following revelations that Wolverine World Wide’s former tannery had contaminated the nearby Rogue River with PFAs, according to an interview earlier this year with MiBiz. Yet PFAS contamination is not a topic that's being widely discussed in the brewing industry, according to local breweries. It's still early in the PFAS conversation, and there's not a lot known yet, explains WMU’s Bertman. Bertman says PFAS testing equipment is incredibly expensive and not anything a craft brewery could afford. He said there’s nothing in the brewing process that would remove or lessen PFAS, unlike some other pollutants that can be managed in the boiling stage. For now, breweries can only react to any testing results from the municipality monitoring their water supply. If there is any PFAS concern, breweries can be proactive and install carbon filters, but there is no data measuring the effectiveness of them against PFAS. What would a brewery do if it received a warning about high PFAS levels?


Brian Powers

Dealing with contamination

Latitude 42 tests the water to ensure quality before using it to brew beer.

“I wouldn’t brew until I’m told it’s safe to brew again,” says Latitude 42’s Freitas. “I’d hope I’d have enough beer on hand to sit on for a week or whatever it would take. If there’s a problem with the water system, they (Portage officials) will call us.”

‘We just keep on it’ In June, Fermenta, a nonprofit trade group initiated by women and committed to education, networking, diversity and empowerment within the fermented beverage and food industries, held a seminar in Lansing called “Fresh Water. Great Taste: The Importance of Water in Fermentation Production.” It featured beer industry professionals, educators and politicians. Brewers and industry experts use words such as “vigilance” and “scrutiny” when discussing water sources and water protection. Fracking and agricultural runoff are also coming up in what Babb says is “cascading into a bigger and bigger issue.” Bell agrees on the importance of clean water to brewers. “We just keep on it,” he says. “If brewers can’t talk about clean water, who can? This is our No. 1 ingredient.”


The Bright Light of Afternoons I’ve lost the freshness of the morning, the slashing sunlight and clean blue sky, warm steam from the chimneys, frost on the roofs and blades of grass. Now, shortly past noon, the world is bleached by light, the shadows rolled back inside the trunks of the trees. My pen slips out of my hand onto my notebook as I brood on the unlikelihood of things returning. — Scott Peterson

Before retiring, Peterson was an educator in Mattawan. He also taught writing classes at Western Michigan University and was a teacher and teacher consultant for the National Writing Project. He continues to live in the Kalamazoo area. HIs essays and poetry have appeared in Longridge Review, Topology, Plain Song Review and other anthologies and journals.

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ENCORE BACK STORY Rebekah Kik (continued from page 46) “Sometimes developers, engineers and architects have a hard time getting their vision across or can’t quite see the city's vision or how those come together,” she says. “I'll say, ‘Why don't we do a work session together?’ And we’ll lay down tracing paper and draw it out. Now I have a couple of developers that are like, ‘Hey, Rebekah, we've got an idea and we want to sit down with you and sketch.’ That's my sweet spot that makes this job so incredible.” How did you get where you are today? I knew after high school I wanted to do something artistic, and my mom, who worked for an architect, kept pushing me to try architecture. I started out at Western Michigan University and transferred to Kalamazoo Valley Community College and took my mom’s advice. I took a drafting course and learned things like descriptive geometry and the engineering and really liked it. After (earning) my associate’s (degree), I went to Andrews University for architecture. I worked at Eckert Wordell (an architecture, engineering and interior design firm in Kalamazoo) after I graduated. In 2005, when architecture and the construction business started to feel the first pokes of the recession, my boss suggested I think about getting a master’s degree in addition to my architecture degree. Notre Dame had just started a master’s program in architecture and architectural design. I was accepted on a full scholarship and got a teaching stipend. It was just an incredible, incredible experience that took my planning fever to a whole new level. After graduation, I went to Pittsburgh to work, and after five months I was laid off. It was awful. I started doing volunteer work with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation on different design projects for areas where there were a lot of dilapidated buildings and disinvestment and ended up landing a job in Orlando, Florida, with a firm that was very forward thinking. They were tearing highways down and putting neighborhoods back together. I worked with some of this country's most incredible designers and engineers, including Dan Burden, who is the nation’s top expert on walkability, and Ian Lockwood, who has worked on the conversion of one-way streets to two-way all over the country. They hired me to do their drawings, and as I was illustrating for them, they’d ask me to show them, “What does that look like when you shrink a road and you have more land for a building?” Or (they’d say), “Draw some buildings there to see how they look.” We held charettes, where the community would tell us, “We want to see a park there” or “We want to see row houses there in that

old parking lot,” and I would draw it up. That’s when what I did at Western and KVCC and at Andrews and Notre Dame finally coalesced and I learned that my art mattered. I came back to Kalamazoo and worked as a consultant and then became city planner. In 2016, I was promoted to the director of community planning and (economic) development. I spent a year under Jerome Kiscorni, learning economic development and managing that department with him so that I could then become the director of community planning and economic development when he retired. How is art still part of your day-to-day work? You know, urban design is its own language. That's why when you go to Boston, it feels like Boston, (or) you go to Los Angeles and it's Los Angeles. Every city has a language, and you unearth it and figure it out. You learn the city’s block sizes and street sizes. I do that by drawing it. It commits it to memory, both flat, like on a map, but also three-dimensionally. When I work with nonprofits and the neighborhoods and they don't have a lot of money, I'm like, “I'll bring my paints.” I've got a ridiculous box of markers from my consultant days. And I’lI bring this box with me and tracing paper and I’ll design it out with them. What about outside of work? I do art that feeds my soul. I've always had an Etsy shop as a little side hustle. In between jobs, I started doing watercolor house portraits. I would get orders from people who wanted portraits made of their family lake house, even if it was just a place they rented. More recently, I have taken online master classes from artists who are teaching their style of work. I took one where I learned how to sketch on my iPad Pro. Now I create stamped silverware — I put all these little sayings on spoons and other pieces. I was on Pinterest and saw a stamped spoon, and I was, like, “What? Typography on spoons?” I love typography. I Googled and Googled and couldn't find out how to do it, so I taught myself. There is a trick to stamping a double curved surface — there’s some fun spacing you have to contend with. Kik’s stamped silverware can be seen online at etsy.com; search for “RebekahsValentine.” — Interviewed by Marie Lee and edited for length and clarity

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Rebekah Kik

Director of Community Planning & Economic Development, City of Kalamazoo W

hen Rebekah Kik looks at the streets, land and buildings of Kalamazoo, she does it with an artist’s eye. She can’t help it. That’s because this urban planner and Parchment native is an architect by training who feeds her soul by creating watercolors, sketches and, most recently, stamped silverware with custom messages. Kik’s creative eye comes in handy as she heads a more-than-40-person department that oversees the city’s building and trades, economic development, community development, planning and zoning, and rental housing and inspections. (continued on page 45)


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