Best Hang Outs for Hammocking
Bitten by the Biking Bug
So much to do, so little time
The Spirited Venture of Gull Lake Distilling Co.
Meet Jamie Jannusch
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Best Hang Outs for Hammocking
Bitten by the Biking Bug
The Spirited Venture of Gull Lake Distilling Co.
Meet Jamie Jannusch
So much to do, so little time
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117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: Publisher@encorekalamazoo.com The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.
4 | ENCORE JULY 2021
ENCORE EDITOR'S NOTE
From the Editor T
he summer when I was 15, I needed transportation to 8 a.m. driver's education classes on the other side of town. My parents said, "Buy a bike." At the time, 10-speeds were all the rage, and there was no bike more beautiful than the ice-blue Raleigh 10-speed that took every last penny in my meager savings account to buy. When I got my driver's license later that summer and asked to borrow the car, my parents said, "Why? You have a bike." (They were geniuses, those two.) Fueled by Covid-19 cabin fever, sales of bicycles were up 81 percent across the country last year, and the belief of many people is that all these new bikers are going to keep riding. Even before this boom in bike sales, many in our community were actively working to make our area more bike-friendly. We asked writer Mark Wedel, who is a passionate bike rider, to explore the state of biking in the greater Kalamazoo community — what it’s like now, where it’s going, and who’s behind the efforts to make travel by two wheels safer and easier. And if you are out riding, you might want to head down the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and check out Gull Lake Distilling Co., which is a mile east of where the KRVT ends in Galesburg. In John Liberty's story on page 15, we meet T.J. and Lindsey Koch, who opened this new distillery last year amid the Covid shutdown. While some people might question the wisdom of their timing, the Kochs didn't, especially as Michigan alcohol sales surged 20 percent during the pandemic. (They are geniuses too, these two.) Also in this issue we meet Jamie Jannusch, whose youthful enthusiasm for summer camp has translated into a career. As camp director at Pretty Lake Camp, a free summer experience for area children who might not be able to afford it otherwise, she has had to reimagine and reconfigure the camp's traditional stay-overnight offerings to meet the challenges presented by Covid-19 without sacrificing the camp experience that Pretty Lake has offered for 100 years. Finally, if you are looking for a relaxing place or a way to enjoy your Encore magazine, intern Maggie Drew offers up her favorite places to "hammock" around the area. As she points out, all you need is two trees and some great scenery to redefine what it means to just "hang out." Now that vaccines are easing the pandemic, may you all revel in being with the ones you love again. And thank you for reading Encore!
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SUNDAY SUNSETS IN
SUNDAYS • 6:30 - 8 P.M. in the Maple Lake Amphitheatre Park
W. MICHIGAN AVE. • PAW PAW Paw Paw’s series of free summer concerts offer great entertainment and Sunday sunsets on the south shore of Maple Lake. There’s not a bad seat in the house on our tiered hillside, or bring a lawn chair or blanket - relax and enjoy a varied lineup of local and regional artists.
July 4 - TONY FIELDS & DOUG DECKER • R&B • Soul • Funk
July 11 - CROOKED ROOT
• Blues • Classic Rock • Country
July 18 - HARPER
• Blues and World Music
July 25 - CODA BLUE • Classic Rock
Aug. 1 - BRONK BROS.
Ever since she saw The Parent Trap as a kid, Marie has been fascinated with the concept of summer camp. That’s why she enjoyed talking to Jamie Jannusch, the camp director of Pretty Lake Camp, which gives 800 kids who couldn’t afford it otherwise a free camp experience each summer. “When I was growing up in rural Idaho, summer camp was not a thing for kids I knew. Our camp experience was confined to what we saw in movies,” Marie says. “I found it interesting to hear Jamie explain what really goes into making that kind of summer magic happen for kids. And she assured me, it’s nothing like the movie Meatballs.” Marie is the editor of Encore.
If you want to know anything about the area’s craft beverage culture, John’s your man. The co-founder and general manager of West Michigan Beer Tours, he began his foray into the craft beer world as a Kalamazoo Gazette reporter, and as the local industry expanded, so did his knowledge. "Keeping up with what's going on in the local craft beverage industry, particularly over the past 18 months, has shown me its place as a cultural linchpin in the community,” John says. “With every sip, I try to remember the amount of passion, determination and creativity the brewers and distillers have and the sacrifices they've made."
•"A Rockin' Hillbilly Extravaganza"
Aug. 8 - TYPO
• Rock • Country • Pop • Urban covers
Aug. 15 - KARI LYNCH • Country • Americana • Pop • Rock
Aug. 22 - ZION LION • Reggae
Aug. 29 - THE UNKNOWNS • Classic Rock cover music
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In case of questionable weather, a decision will be posted on Facebook by 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 6 | ENCORE JULY 2021
Mark Wedel Feeling overweight and unhealthy, Mark began riding a bicycle as an adult in July 2011. He went from feeling as if he would die after 5 miles to riding the 88-mile round trip from his house to South Haven and back that October (and also feeling as if he would die afterward). He's been hit by a 1995 Chevy Tahoe, resulting in a forehead scar, and, through his own clumsiness, wiped out and broke his collarbone in many pieces, all in the same year, 2018. Yet he still pedals about 50 to 100 miles a week when the weather's nice. He has also done solo, unsupported bike tours through the Mitten and the Upper Peninsula, along Lake Huron on the Ontario side, and from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., to stand with his muddy bike in front of the White House. He wrote the book Mule Skinner Blues about that latter ride. Asked why he does it, he'll talk about seeing a bald eagle fly above him in the U.P., then mumble something about "fun, freedom, adventure." He has been a Kalamazoo freelance journalist since 1992.
CONTENTS FEATURES Bitten by the Biking Bug
This Is How We Roll
Bicycling is booming (thanks pandemic!) and the community is making tracks to become more bike friendly
Bicyclists travel different miles in different styles
DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 6 Contributors 8 First Things A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan
13 Five Faves
Hammock Hang-Outs — Five places with sturdy trees and great views for hanging around
Spirited Beginnings — Gull Lake Distilling Co. transforms iconic Galesburg theater into sublime spot for spirits
Jamie Jannusch — She's making sure kids at Pretty Lake Camp love it as much as she does
Events of Note
On the cover: Amanda Vallejera (top) and Emma McCleary relax among towering pines in Al Sabo Land Preserve. Photo by Brian K. Powers.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
First Things Something for Everyone
Full slate of Summertime Live concerts planned
Kalamazoo blues band BlueBack
Whether you're in Portage or Parchment, Kalamazoo or Oshtemo, you can get your fill of live, outdoor music
through the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo’s Summertime Live this month. The free outdoor concerts will feature genres from Beatles and Journey cover bands to the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Performances scheduled for this month are: • July 3: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Bronson Park, 7:30 p.m.
• July 21: Grupo Latin Soul, Bates Alley, 5:30p.m.
• July 7: BlueBack, Bates Alley, 5:30 p.m.
• July 25: Farmers Alley Theatre with the KSO, Bronson Park, 4–5 p.m.
• July 12: Matt Giraud, The Stage at Kindleberger, Parchment, 6:30 p.m.
• July 25: Airtight, Flesher Field Gazebo, Oshtemo Township, 6–7:30 p.m.
• July 14: Yolanda Lavender, Bates Alley, 5:30 p.m.
• July 25: Shout! A Beatles Tribute, The Stage at Kindleberger, 6:30 p.m.
• July 15: Departure: Journey Tribute Band, Ramona Park, Portage, 7 p.m. • July 18: Kanola Band, Bronson Park, 4 p.m. • July 18: The Bronk Bros., The Stage at Kindleberger, 6:30 p.m.
• July 28: Jenuine, Bates Alley, 5:30 p.m. • July 29: Glenn Miller Orchestra, Ramona Park, 7–9 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs to the concerts. The concerts in Portage will be drive-in style. For more information or to see the schedule, visit kalamazooarts.org/concerts-in-the-park. 8 | ENCORE JULY 2021
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Kindleberger Summer Festival returns An annual summertime favorite, the Kindleberger
Summer Festival of the Performing Arts, will be held July 7–11 with a full slate of fun, including live theater performances, a parade, a French-toast breakfast and a cornhole tournament. The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. July 7 with a performance of Mamma Mia! — a musical featuring original music from the band ABBA — on The Stage at Kindleberger Park. Mamma Mia! will also be presented at 7 p.m. July 8, noon and 7 p.m. July 9 and 10, and noon July 11. The festival's youth performance of Freaky Friday will be presented at The Stage at 7 p.m. July 9 as part of the festival's Friday Fun Night, which will also include food trucks, live music and market vendors. Saturday, July 10, will be a full festival day, beginning with a French-toast breakfast put on by the Parchment Boy Scouts beginning at 7:30 a.m. The cost for the breakfast is $5 for adults and $3 for children. A parade will begin at 9 a.m., with book, art and plant sales also beginning then. A kids’ area with a dunk tank, live music, arts and crafts, and games will be open from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. For folks who like throwing bags, a cornhole tournament begins at 10 a.m. July 11. There will be two competitive divisions — social and professional — with prizes for the top three teams in each division. The cost to enter is $25 for social teams and $50 for professional teams. Teams are required to bring their own bags and boards. For more information or to see the full festival schedule, visit kindlebergerarts. org/festival-home.
Black Arts Festival features music, dance and more Celebrating Black culture and raising awareness of equity issues in our community are the focus of this year’s Black Arts Festival, set for 10 a.m.–midnight July 10 at Arcadia Creek Festival Place, in downtown Kalamazoo. Put on by the Black Arts & Cultural Center, this 35th annual event will feature live music, food trucks, art and vendors from Black-owned businesses. Capacity is limited to 500 people at the festival site at one time. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the music performances. Admission is free until 5 p.m. and $35 after 5 p.m. in order to control capacity, with all of the fees going toward the BACC’s capital campaign. The day before, the festival will host a Youth Day from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Paterson St., where kids can experience African art and dance, spray painting and virtual reality. Free food and entertainment will also be available. In addition, the Black Arts and Cultural Center has curated an augmented-reality art exhibition that will be presented at various locations in the community throughout the month. Artworks created by diverse youth and adults will "come alive" when a code is scanned using a downloadable mobile app. For the locations of the artworks or more information about the festival, visit blackartskalamazoo.org.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Something Cultural Exhibit explores hats and headwear
Placed on top of the most noticeable part of the body, hats announce everything from where we are from, to the teams we root for, to our beliefs and who we are. The significance of headwear is explored in a new exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum that runs through Oct. 24. With 89 hats and headdresses from 42 countries, The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality looks at how this headwear reflects the traditions, beliefs and gender roles of the cultures where the headwear originates. “The exhibit demonstrates how culture, creativity and skills went into the creation of each piece. Through these amazing pieces of art, visitors will explore many world cultures,” says Kalamazoo Valley Museum Director Bill McElhone. For museum hours and Covid-19 restrictions, check the museum's website, at kalamazoomuseum.org
Face cap (tiger), China
Face Off Theatre stages Pipeline A mother fighting to give her son a future is the theme of Pipeline, a drama to
be performed by Face Off Theatre Company July 16–18 at the Dormouse Theatre, 1030 Portage St. This drama by Detroit playwright Dominique Morriseau was first staged offBroadway. It focuses on an inner-city public high school teacher, Nya, who is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son, Omari, opportunities the students will never have. When a controversial incident at Omari’s private boarding school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent without turning her back on the community that made him who he is. Show times are 7:30 p.m. July 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. July 17 and 18. For ticket prices, to purchase tickets or for more information, visit faceofftheatre.com.
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Something Theatrical It's 9 to 5 at the Barn Theatre
The Guiding Light and Dolly Parton fans, rejoice! The Barn Theatre, in Augusta, will stage Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5: The Musical July 6–18, starring none other than Emmy-nominated actor Robert Newman, who played Joshua Lewis on the daytime soap The Guiding Light for 28 years. Based on the hit 1980 film, which starred Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and the stage show’s composer/lyricist, Dolly Parton, the Broadway musical adaptation follows three very different women coworkers who are struggling with a misogynistic boss and the impenetrable boys’ club at their firm and decide to exact revenge. Show times are 8 p.m. July 6–10 and 12–17 and 5 p.m. July 11 and 18. Tickets are $41–$49 and can be purchased at barntheatreschool.org or by calling 731-4121. For more information, visit barntheatreschool.org/events.
Paw Paw hosts lakeside concerts
If you're a fan of live music, inland lakes and summer evenings, Paw Paw is the place to be for its free Sunday Sunsets concert series in July and August. The concerts, presented by the Paw Paw Downtown Development Authority, will feature local and regional artists and run from 6:30–8 p.m. each Sunday at Maple Lake Amphitheatre Park, on West Michigan Avenue. The concert lineup is as follows: • July 4: Tony Fields & Doug Decker • July 11: Crooked Root • July 18: Harper • July 25: Coda Blue • Aug. 8: Typo • Aug. 15: Kari Lynch • Aug. 22: Zion Lion • Aug. 29: The Unknowns
Seating is on a tiered hillside, and concert-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. For more information, visit pawpawdda.com
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Event celebrates summer learning Even though school is out, a lot of learning can happen for youth over the summer months and the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYD Network) is celebrating that with its annual Celebration of Summer Learning from 1–4 p.m. July 15. The event, which will be presented in person and on Zoom, brings together youth and adults from the nearly 60 youth-serving community organizations to talk about why summer learning is fun, engaging and important. This is the sixth year KYD Network has held the celebration, which has traditionally been a day-long outdoor event with more than 500 participants. For the past two years, however, the event has been a hybrid of online and in-person activities. This year's theme is "Take Back My Summer!" and according to KYD Network Executive Director Meg Blinkiewicz, the theme was chosen because "it's important to see how young people are taking back their lives as we emerge from multiple pandemics, including Covid-19 and racial injustice and racism." "We're coming out of multiple pandemics and folks need to be uplifted," Blinkiewicz says. "They want to see and hear directly from young people about how they are taking back their lives, taking back their summer and their community. We're really celebrating what young people have learned about themselves, others and the world around them." The event will occur in person with youth participating at various summer program sites in Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. Viewers and participants can watch as 300 students engage in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities through kits donated by Advia Credit Union. In addition, the program will feature "roaming youth reporters" who will interview kids and adults at summer program sites about summer learning, and youth will be featured as speakers and performers at the event. The Zoom link to view the event is tinyurl.com/CofSL-2021. For more information, visit KYD Network at kydnet.org.
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ENCORE FIVE FAVES
Have a hammock? Here are five great spots to hang out by
has become so popular among Western Michigan University students that the school is incorporating an indoor hammocking lounge in the new student union that’s currently under construction. Hammocking typically involves hanging a hammock between two trees in a public space and lying in it, and this trend among the college-age set is moving into the mainstream. No backyard? No problem. The portability of today's compact, lightweight hammocks allows hammockers to make parks, preserves or any public green space into a place to "hang" with friends, read or even nap. Here are five favorite places where I like to hang out:
Asylum Lake Preserve 3836 S. Drake Road
With an abundance of trees in this beautiful nature preserve, there are countless spots to hang your hammock. You can hang near the water for a scenic view of Asylum Lake or off the trails amidst the oaks and grasses. No matter where you go, there is a guaranteed scenic view.
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FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Miller Auditorium Plaza Western Michigan University
Located in the heart of WMU’s campus, Miller Plaza has great trees to hang your hammock on, right next to the famous Miller fountain. Enjoy some shade while relaxing to the sounds of splashing water or engaging in some serious people watching.
Heritage Hall Western Michigan University’s East Campus
on top of a hill along Oakland Drive, Heritage Hall is the refurbished East Hall from WMU's early days, and its grounds offer a great view and quiet spot for hammocking. The best location to do it is on the west side of the building, in the trees facing the football stadium.
Kalamazoo College campus 1200 Academy St.
Founded in 1833, Kalamazoo College has beautiful historic buildings that make a perfect backdrop for hammocking. A favorite spot is by Trowbridge Hall, which is situated near the top of Academy Street and has plenty of hammock-friendly trees and a picturesque view of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.
Al Sabo Land Preserve (on cover) 6310 Texas Drive
Al Sabo’s expansive 741 acres provide plenty of places to hang your hammock. With countless trails to hike or mountain bike and several bodies of water, the preserve is the perfect place to spend a day out in nature. There are so many trees that you and several of your hammocking friends can hang out together. The pine forest on the Tibet Trail, not far from the preserve’s parking lot, is an especially popular hangout spot for hammockers. But be forewarned, it's also got pockets of poison ivy, so choose your spot carefully. 14 | ENCORE JULY 2021
About the Author Maggie Drew is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in journalism. When not giving campus tours to incoming freshmen through WMU's Admissions Office or working as an intern at Encore, she likes to hammock with friends, such as Emma McCleary (black print top) and Amanda Vallejera (white t-shirt), pictured in the photos.
Gull Lake Distilling Co. transforms iconic Galesburg theater by
BRIAN K. POWERS
In March, T.J. and Lindsey Koch found themselves in the head-
scratching position of celebrating the one-year anniversary of their business before they’d even hosted an official grand-opening party. The Kochs continue to bob and weave while making their foray into the world of craft spirits, wine and beer as the owners of Gull Lake Distilling Co., at 92 E. Michigan Ave., in Galesburg. The business was scheduled to open on March 21, 2020, but those plans were abruptly halted when the state entered its hard Covid-19 lockdown five days before. Since it's “quiet opening” on June 8, 2020, there have been closings, reopenings, curbside service, dine-out only and a series of other adjust-on-the-fly moments that, surprisingly, have left the Kochs refreshingly excited.
“I’m super optimistic about the future,” says T.J. Koch. “Just knowing this business and the employees can be happy and employed, work here year-round and have the turnout that we’ve had from the community, I’m ecstatic and super-optimistic about where this place is going to go. We keep putting 100 percent of our lives back into this business. Hopefully, as we get a vaccine and figure out how to deal with this virus, things will really start moving forward.” ‘The last frontier’ The Kochs moved to Richland from Chicago more than three years ago. Both were longtime educators who wanted to leave the city. Bottles await spirits to fill them at Gull Lake Distilling Co. in Galesburg.
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SAVOR ENCORE They owned a summer home in Richland, which is halfway between their respective parents, allowing more family time for the Kochs, who have two daughters, Taylor, 5, and Aden, 3. T.J., a Lansing native who graduated from Olivet College with a degree in education, says he’s had an affinity for the Kalamazoo/
Battle Creek area since his college days. During his time as at Olivet, he frequented Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall, where he was introduced to craft beverages. Then he visited Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks several years ago, and the seed of making spirits was planted. “Everyone in this state is wine- and beersavvy,” he says. “The last frontier is spirits.” A vintage location The Kochs were led to the distillery’s building in Galesburg by T.J.’s taste for vintage touches that can’t be replicated. He developed that taste while restoring historic, Clockwise from above: A still in use; unique decor is a feature of the bar; an unused bowling alley on the distillery's top floor; bottles of Gull Lake Distilling Co.'s Moonshine ready for consumption; and owners Lindsay (left) and T.J. Koch in the distillery's outdoor seating area in a photo taken in early spring. 16 | ENCORE JULY 2021
ENCORE SAVOR abandoned buildings on Chicago’s West Side during a time when he also worked as a physical education teacher in that area. The building that houses the distillery is the former Gale Theatre, built by Eli Frank in June 1941. In 1946, the movie theater’s space expanded to include a snack bar and bowling alley. The theater closed in the late ’60s, and the snack bar and bowling alley followed a few years later, according to Keith Martin, a local historian and curator of the Galesburg Historical Museum. “Oh, my gosh, it was really beautiful at the time and was a really big deal for Galesburg,” Martin says of the building. Koch says that when he and his wife bought the building, the bowling alley remained mostly untouched from its final days, with wooden pins, bowling shoes and bowling balls still in place. The new owners now display framed photos of the building’s history and plan to restore the bowling alley, located above the distillery’s taproom. It’s one of several attributes of the property that the couple hopes to optimize in the coming months and years. During the shutdown, the Kochs turned their attention to expanding its beer garden — a project they originally penciled in for a couple years after opening. The outdoor space is now about 200 feet long and 100 feet wide. In the summer, it thrived, with a variety of outdoor seating options, food trucks and yard games. In the winter, the Kochs added a heated, covered section to the patio. Room to grow The back of the property’s seven acres sits along the Great Lake-toLake Trail, a 275-mile trail that connects Port Huron and South Haven. The Kochs plan to develop a walkway to the trail in hopes of enticing cyclists and sightseers in for a drink. Their property also features a 5,000-square-foot warehouse that the Kochs envision turning into a private event space and barrelhouse where they can age spirits. “We are just in the beginning phases of our vision, and we are very excited to continue expanding to serve not only the Galesburg area, but create a destination for people to visit from all over the state,”
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Gull Lake Distilling Co. Where: 92 E. Michigan Ave., Galesburg What: Serving craft wine, beer and spirits made on-site More information: 269-200-5329 or gldistilling.com
Spirits List Vodka: Unfiltered from 100 percent wheat from BrodyBrook Farms in Barry County
Tips •G ull Lake Distilling Co. doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can bring your own food or order from Pizza King, which shares the storefront, or nearby Valentina’s Mexican Grill. • The large metal motorcycle sculpture on the bar was created by Lake Odessa-based artist Tony Jackson. It’s called “Godspeed.” • It’s very easy to drive by and miss the business. Be sure to look for the parking lot entrance east of Pizza King. There is a massive parking lot behind the building.
• In the warmer months, the business often features food trucks. This winter the owners started construction on an outdoor bar and live music stage. • Want to sample their spirits straight? Try a flight of any five spirits for $15. A howler, a 32-ounce glass to-go container, is another good choice if you want to take beer home. • Specialty cocktails range from $8– $10, while simple cocktails are $6. • The light poles in the taproom used to belong to the city of Jackson.
Gin: Made from 100 percent wheat from BrodyBrook Farms, with light juniper notes and big citrus flavor
Moonshine: 100 percent corn whiskey made from BrodyBrook Farms corn
Spiced Rum: Michigan rum infused with flavors and spices
Rum: Unaged and clear, made with 100 percent Michigan sugar-cane molasses from Pioneer Sugar
Apple Brandy: Made from apple cider from the Grand Rapids-based Hill Brothers Orchard
Maple Whiskey: Corn whiskey moonshine aged six months in maple barrels
18 | ENCORE JULY 2021
Horseradish Vodka: Vodka infused with horseradish
Built for a lifetime of relaxation… All pools built locally by Vlietstra Bros.
says Lindsey Koch, a teacher at Battle Creek Central High School. “We always tell folks that we are a tasting room and not a typical bar,” she says. “We want the atmosphere to reflect that it is a place to experience new things and to learn new things. We also wanted to be a place for everyone, so although we are primarily a distillery and focus on craft cocktails, we offer the options of beer and wine for people who prefer that. “We are also the parents of young children and wanted to create a space where families can come and feel comfortable too … . We have games and activities for children, a changing table for babies, and the large outdoor space to allow room for kids to run.” T.J.'s stepbrother-in-law Ben Bennett handles the beer brewing and winemaking, but Gull Lake Distilling Co.’s primary focus is spirits, made in an 80-gallon still. The business consistently offers at least four beers and five spirits. Its cocktail menu is updated often to reflect the tastes of the season, and the business distributes description cards about its spirits to help customers better understand the drinks. “Through the positive and friendly attitudes of the staff, along with their expert knowledge in mixology and alcohol production, we want folks to be excited to come and try new things and learn about the processes involved in alcohol production,” Lindsey Koch says.
4266 Ravine Rd. Kalamazoo, MI 49006 www.vlietstrabros.com
Summer Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5:30 pm, Saturday 9 am - 12:30 pm or by appointment
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Bitten by the Biking Bug
Groups, civic leaders work to make area more bike-friendly story by
It felt like our reality shifted in so many ways in March 2020. As
Covid-19 hit and the world shut down, I decided to ride my bike. This is a normal decision for me every spring, but I felt a little guilty. The official message was that we should all be staying home. But the sun was out, and I wanted to be out as well. I felt more guilt at my twinge of selfish excitement, thinking, "The roads will be free of cars, and the trails free of bikes! I'll have it all to myself!" And for a Tuesday afternoon, there really was little traffic. I felt more guilt as I enjoyed a little last-man-on-Earth feeling as I rode my bike from my home in the Edison neighborhood to downtown Kalamazoo, nothing but me and a few discarded medical masks drifting along Bank Street. I reached the Kal-Haven trailhead on 10th Street, and — oh, no — the trail was packed. Kids and parents, walkers, hikers, baby-stroller pushers, experienced and inexperienced cyclists. I did my best to pass people safely at the recommended 6 feet of distance, but it was almost impossible. This isn't what those apocalyptic movies about worldwide viruses promise, I thought. Instead of experiencing lonely desolation, I found crowds of people having fun and being healthy. Now, more than a year later, with vaccines available and a slow crawl back to normal happening, people still have the biking bug. It's helped to fuel the continued push by local organizations and civic leaders to make the Kalamazoo area a more bike-friendly region with safer biking routes. However, with more people riding on roads, nonmotorized paths and trails, it has also led to a shortage of new bikes. More than bike-curious Tim Krone has some frustrated customers. The owner of Pedal Bikes, which has locations in downtown Kalamazoo and on Romence Road in Portage, has had to tell angry people that "it's 100 percent beyond our control" that there just aren't any new bikes in the shop. There is a huge demand for bikes worldwide "that just sucked all of the bikes out of the supply chain,” Krone says. “And I would say the supply chain was empty probably as of September of last year — it was just completely dry. There are no bikes to buy at wholesale. We order bikes, the bikes come to us, and, nine times out of 10, we put somebody's name on it and roll it out the door." The industry is working at capacity and has yet to increase production enough to meet demand. "You don't just say, 'Hey, let's build another factory,'" Krone says of bicycle manufacturers. 20 | ENCORE JULY 2021
The shortage of bicycles and bicycle components will likely continue until 2022, according to a November 2020 story in Bicycling magazine. It'll be 2023 for eventual bike shop normality, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. report in March. Krone recommends people find a used bike or just keep the bike they have in shape. An old bike from the back of the garage can be made rideable again, though new parts are also scarce. "Last year it was just Crazytown" in Pedal's maintenance department, Krone says. The influx of new customers created long wait times for bikes to be fixed, which isn't what the customers or Krone wants. "We want you to be on your bike. We don't want it here. We don't need to be buried with them," he says. After encouraging customers to get their bikes worked on the during the winter months, Pedal's maintenance department was relatively calm in early March. But, Krone says, "we get a 70-degree Saturday, everything changes." All these new bicycle riders have meant more than just a financial upside for his business, says Krone. While the crowds that rolled onto the trails during the spring and summer of 2020 were "a full-on freak show," Krone thinks many of those new riders will keep the habit, potentially making bikers a larger, more visible segment of society. "The more of us who're out on the streets, the more people see us, and the better it is," he says. In other words, the more motor vehicle drivers are made aware of bicyclists on the streets, the safer biking will become. Two-wheeled safety There are four types of people when it comes to attitudes about biking on roadways, and safety is a big concern for the vast majority of them, according to a survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation and published in the Southwest Michigan Region Nonmotorized Transportation Plan. Those whom the plan refers to as "The Strong and the Fearless," who make up 1 percent of respondents, will ride on any road no matter the conditions or traffic levels. “The Enthused and Confident,” 6 percent of respondents, are comfortable sharing a roadway with motorized traffic but prefer to do so in designated places. The "No way, No how" crowd, 33 percent of respondents, have no interest in biking on roads, whatever the reason. But the largest segment of those surveyed, 60 percent, are "Interested but Concerned" people who would ride more on roads if they felt safer there.
A group of riders organized by Pedal passes through downtown Kalamazoo on a Thursday night ride.
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Krone says that for new riders there are two critical steps to being safe before they even put their feet on the pedals. The first is to go over their bike before they leave the garage. "Make sure you've got enough air in the tires, make sure your chain is in good shape, make sure your brakes work, make sure your wheels are on tight," he advises. The next step is to look up rules of the road for bikes. Krone recommends guidance from the League of Michigan Bicyclists, which has a website listing Michigan bike laws. Those laws define bikes as traffic, require that bicyclists obey the same traffic laws as motorists (with a few exceptions), and allow bikes on all roads except for limited-access highways (also with a few exceptions). A big issue when it comes to bicycle safety is that both those behind the wheel of a car or truck and those behind the handlebars of a bicycle need education about biking, says Paul Selden, who founded and heads Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (BFK), a volunteer-driven nonprofit focused on making the Kalamazoo area safer for bicycling. "We have to have better education for motorists and bicyclists," he says. BFK has two approaches to improving biking in our community. Its "harder approach" advocates for better infrastructure, more bike lanes, and mapping and installing of signage for safe bike routes in the community. Its "softer approach" involves safety education, Selden says. BFK gives grants to local schools so bike skills can to be taught in physical education classes, gives away helmets and bike lights, and collaborates with the Kalamazoo Bicycling Club (KBC) to stage inclusive community bike rides and "bike rodeos" (bike skills events). BFK and KBC are also behind the printing and distribution of the "Give Them 5" yard signs that have popped up around town and are meant to educate people about ordinances requiring 5 feet of passing space between cars and bikes on roads in Kalamazoo and Portage. Selden acknowledges that Covid-19 has put a damper on some of the groups' fundraising and their ability to have group events. But the pandemic has shown that "bicycling doesn't need much encouragement to break out all over the place," Selden says. "Bicycling is going to be a part of the 'we're in it together' feeling that I think this 22 | ENCORE JULY 2021
community developed so wonderfully during Covid — coming together, helping each other, realizing we have to be courteous to each other," he says. Wearing masks, staying 6 feet away from others during the pandemic, giving a warning when biking toward walkers on a trail, or being a considerate motorist who puts 5 feet of distance between their vehicle and a person on a bike when passing are all covered by Selden's favorite safety rule of all. "That's all a part of the Golden Rule," he says. "Just respect each other and treat each other as you would like to be treated. Give people a half lane of safe passing room if you're a motorist. And don't run stoplights if you're a bicyclist — you're putting yourself in danger and you're going to ruin someone else's life if you goof up and they hit you." Selden emphasizes that in a car–bike collision, one side is going to do more damage than the other, and it’s not the bike. “Motor vehicle drivers are in a position to hurt bicyclists if they wanted to," he says, asking that people remember that "the grandkids and nieces and nephews of our community are out on their bicycles on the road. They're in our hands." So many places to pedal Among the most appealing aspects of bicycling in Southwest Michigan are the many options for where to ride: trail or road, pavement or gravel or dirt. You can pedal out of your garage or carport to explore your neighborhood streets or put your bike on a rack and drive it to the Kal-Haven Trail. No matter where you're going, Krone suggests you study a map before riding.
Above: Tim Krone awaits bikes to fill his racks at Pedal (many have arrived since this photo was taken). Left: Paul Selden of Bike Friendly Kalamazoo, an organization advocating for biking in Kalamazoo. Bottom: A map of bike routes in Kalamazoo County prepared by BKF.
"It's good to think about where you're going and how you're going to get there,” he says. “It's not, in my opinion, super fun to have a ride in mind where you have to spend three miles on M-43. I don't think that's anybody's idea of heaven.” Digital apps are helpful in this regard. Google Maps (google.com/maps) has a bicycling option to highlight trails and roads with bike lanes. You can also look up cycling options on Open Street Map (openstreetmap. org), which gives a more detailed look at bikeable routes. Strava (strava.com) and Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) have "heatmaps" that highlight the most popular roads and trails based on users' recorded rides. Krone says the websites for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club (kalamazoobicycleclub. org) and Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (bikefriendlykalamazoo.org) are both good resources for routes. For mountain bikers, the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association (swmmba.co) provides information on local mountain bike trails. Many routes, lanes and trails can provide for a safe ride of a few miles to hundreds of miles. Bike tourists are willing to ride for days to traverse the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail No. 1, a 275-mile route from South Haven to Port Huron, with segments that run on the KalHaven and Kalamazoo River Valley trails. However, everyday routes that bicyclists might use to get to work, to shop or just to
infrastructure (see infobox for examples), there are aspirations and then there's reality. Bike trails can cost "a half-million a mile," Selden says. "People talk about infrastructure, (but) sometimes they ignore the fact that it's a wealthy community's game. And you have to have the real estate for it. You can't just be knocking down people's houses just to put a trail in." In many urban and rural areas, "it's not practical or cost-efficient to build trails," says Selden, "and that's where these bike routes come to the rescue." The Southwest Michigan Bikeway will make use of existing bike lanes and trails, low-traffic roads and roads with wide shoulders to develop routes connecting the neighborhoods within Kalamazoo and Portage and linking urban centers to villages and townships, from Vicksburg to Cooper, Augusta to Paw Paw. In the plans
get from point A to point B are often cut short by incomplete on-street lanes or offstreet pathways. For example, Lovers Lane has bike lanes on the Portage part of the road but not the Kalamazoo part. Even though the road is marked as a "Bike Route," in Kalamazoo there are just a few inches of paved shoulder on a narrow road, with not much room for motorists to pass safely. Another example: The city of Portage recently laid an off-street paved path along Portage Road across from the Pfizer plant, but it dead-ends at its southern point, forcing bikes to try to ride over grass or hop over to the 45-mph five-lane road. However, Portage City Manager Joseph La Margo says the city does have plans to extend the path soon to Latitude 42's beer garden. Incomplete bike routes such as these are why, since its inception in 2011, Bike Friendly Kalamazoo has advocated for a Southwest
Michigan Bikeway, a potential network of bike-friendly routes in Kalamazoo, Portage, other parts of Kalamazoo County and beyond. The organization's proposed routes were adopted into the 2016 Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan and are part of MDOT's Southwest Region Nonmotorized Transportation Plan 2020, and progress on establishing these routes has been inching forward each year. Advocates of the Southwest Michigan Bikeway aim to connect all Kalamazooarea neighborhoods with safe and practical bike routes, Selden says. "That has a lot of implications for equity and inclusion," he notes, because the route would connect neighborhoods that have long been separated by high-traffic roads. For example, the route would link Kalamazoo's bikeways to Portage's extensive network of bike infrastructure via an extension of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail from Upjohn Park (on Crosstown Parkway) to Blanche Hull Park (on South Burdick Street). That project could be completed by 2023, Selden says, and could be "the most highly used trail in the whole regional network." When it comes to creating a network of nonmotorized trails, bike lanes and other bike
Kalamazoo City Planner Christina Anderson says that the city's ultimate goal is to be bike-friendly. "I think that we are working toward that goal," Anderson says. "Each year we continue to expand our bicycle network." However, any bicycle network has to be a part of a "multimodal" system, she says, one that also incorporates privately owned motor vehicles, public transportation and pedestrians. Kalamazoo is following a transportation philosophy that focuses on moving people, not just cars, around. New U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a March video he tweeted that "it turns out that we're better off if our decisions revolve not around the car, but around the human being. ... Sometimes that human being is on foot or on a bicycle." Having someone on the federal level who has experience with the transportation issues of a Midwestern city is "pretty exciting," Anderson says. When he was mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg oversaw the transformation of that city's downtown, converting one-way streets to two-way streets, reducing speeds and narrowing roads. Kalamazoo has been working toward similar goals, hoping to eventually convert w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 23
Understanding Bike Infrastructure Bike trails: These trails come in several varieties, from paved to "improved surface" (a packed dirt surface with a thin layer of crushed rock) to just dirt to a hybrid of all those surfaces. The Kal-Haven is an improved trail that stretches from 10th Street in Oshtemo Township to South Haven, while the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a still-growing network of paved trails running from the Kal-Haven Trail to Galesburg and — once a length is completed with the construction of a revamped Kalamazoo Farmers Market this year — from Cooper Township to Reed Avenue in the Edison neighborhood. These trails are generally for nonmotorized uses (with the exception of e-bikes), but snowmobiles are allowed on the Kal-Haven in winter. Shared-use or mixed-use paths: These are paved surfaces that run along roads. Wider than sidewalks, these paths can safely accommodate both bikes and pedestrians. Portage has many of these, including along Lovers Lane and Romence and Portage roads. There's also a long shared-use path along Gull Road from Sprinkle Road to Richland. Bike lanes: These are on-road lanes for bikes. Some are protected, with bollards or other structures present to prevent motor vehicles from swerving into bikes. Except for two blocks of Kalamazoo Avenue and Porter Street, nearly all bike lanes in our area are unprotected, with only painted lines between bikes and cars.
the wide multi-lane, one-way, high-speed roads that carve up downtown into calmer two-way streets designed with the safety and needs of all residents in mind. "We have momentum that I don't think we had before in looking at our transportation system in that multimodal way, looking at all users," Anderson says. The city has staff dedicated to implementing its Kalamazoo Complete Streets Policy, which considers all road users, from bicyclists and transit riders to freight and commercial vehicles, in the design of infrastructure projects, with an eye on equity and safety for all. The work is "picking up steam," she says. In the plans are significant changes to downtown streets. "We just wrapped up Phase 1 of that project,” she says, “which was basic modeling to figure out what works, what can be converted to two-way in this first clump of work, what might need to wait until a later round, (and) where should the bike routes continue, what do we need to 24 | ENCORE JULY 2021
Sharrows: A controversial aspect of bike infrastructure, sharrows are road markings that include an outline of a bike plus arrow icons painted on the road, indicating that bikes can use the road and may be present. However, bicyclists may use all streets and roads in Michigan, except interstate highways and other roads indicated. Roads with sharrows are basically as safe, or unsafe, as any other road. A local example of a road with sharrows would be the five-lane, high-traffic length of Gull Road east of downtown Kalamazoo to Sprinkle Road. Bike routes: These are routes to get across town or the country safely and can make use of all of the infrastructure listed above. They can include lowtraffic, low-speed neighborhood streets and quiet country roads. Even state highways can be part of a bike route as long as rumble strips and a wide, paved shoulder separate bikes from semis. A route might be mapped by a local entity like the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club or by the national Adventure Cycling Association. It might be officially recognized by a city, county or state. Routes may exist as maps found online, and official routes, such as the one from Fulford Street to Lovers Lane that the author of this story frequently rides, often have signage. A great example of a network of national and state bike routes is the U.S. Bicycle Route System. USBR 35, part of this system, runs along Lake Michigan on its way from Kentucky to Sault Ste. Marie.
road diet (efforts to reduce traffic lanes and convert them to other uses), what streets serve what users." Work on the series of two-way street conversions will begin "within the next 10 years or less," she says, "and I'm being very general with our timeline." This year the city is planning pilot projects to help finalize what we'll be driving, biking and walking on about a decade from now. One of these projects is an extension of the urban trail through downtown that now connects the east and west sections of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. The new pathway will run along Kalamazoo Avenue to Douglas Avenue, and the city will be monitoring it to determine who will use it and how often they will use it. Another pilot project will be the addition of buffered bike lanes on Park Street and Westnedge Avenue. These will add a buffer of space between streetside parking spaces and bike lanes to prevent "dooring" — that common urban mishap in which a
driver opens a car door in the path of an oncoming bicyclist. These buffered lanes will also involve space between bike lanes and vehicular traffic. Societal benefits of biking Ours has long been a society focused on the automobile. When speaking about people who might need bikes for everyday travel, Selden interrupts himself to pick up the latest edition of Consumer Reports, the monthly publication that provides reviews and ratings of consumer goods, including automobiles. "An average new car, gosh, I can't believe how many tens of thousands of dollars a new car costs now," he says. People need to work to afford the payments on a new car or truck, Selden says. Many can't even afford a used clunker. Still, "they have to have an easy way to get to that job." The only options for many low-income workers are to go by bus, foot or bike — or a combination of the three. "So multimodal is the way it's gotta be," Selden says.
At the other end of the employment spectrum, companies are attracting whitecollar workers with bikes. Employers seeking higher-skilled workers may find them among bike riders, Selden says. "Some of the most highly sought-after, highly paid people are also those who enjoy bicycling as a means of staying fit, as a means of having a hip-pocket adventure once in a while, or as a sporting outlet," he says. Selden's son, Paul Selden IV, did an internship at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, and the company "gave all their interns a bicycle to get to work," says his father. He notes that in Kalamazoo, Stryker, Bronson Healthcare and Pfizer all have biking programs to attract employees. The programs provide on-site bike parking and storage, showers to use after a warm morning's ride, and incentives like earning "Downtown Dollars" for miles commuted to spend at downtown Kalamazoo businesses. Selden also sees Portage and Kalamazoo's work on bike infrastructure as a way to attract new residents and make the area a destination for cycling tourists. Similarly, Anderson says that Kalamazoo's mostly bike-unfriendly motor traffic has been an economic hindrance. While some might see reducing automobile use as a performative effort to seem "green," more ways for people using bikes and other modes to travel safely can mean more green for the local economy. "When we did the 2025 master plan back in 2016–2017, we did a market study, and one of the things noted as a barrier was transportation issues, particularly one-way streets and the perceived difficulties in traveling them," she says. Some road designs like that of Stadium Drive will likely continue to prioritize motor vehicles, Anderson says, but in a dense urban environment, streets have to prioritize everyone to allow people to feel comfortable shopping, eating, doing business and living downtown. These roads have to be "thought about as downtown streets, where the priority user might be someone who is walking, biking or taking transit," she says. Most of those who drive downtown turn into pedestrians, she points out. "You drove, you park, and that's when you become a pedestrian, to move through downtown."
ARTS COUNCIL OF GREATER KALAMAZOO PRESENTS
FREE CONCERTS IN BRONSON PARK SUNDAYS!
JULY 3 *Saturday Concert: Kalamazoo
Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 pm
JULY 18 Kanola Band, 4:00 pm JULY 25 Farmers Alley Theatre & KSO, 7:30 pm
For a complete Summer Schedule:
Visit KalamazooArts.org w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 25
This is How We Roll Bicyclists travel different miles in different styles by
Say "cyclist" and it immediately conjures up an image.
Maybe it's of an athletic type, somewhat scrawny but with enormous calves, unashamed of their skin-tight jerseys and bibs as they ride an aerodynamic carbon bike that looks like a knife cutting through air and is so light that carrying an energy bar seems to double its weight. Or maybe it's someone in a dorky helmet riding an old mountain bike that's not quite the right size, wearing a brand new bike shirt stretching over their gut and cargo shorts, or khakis stained black on the right cuff from the bike's greasy old chain. (Full disclosure: This describes the author of this piece when he started riding regularly 10 years ago. Not much has changed, except he has a better bike.) Tim Krone, owner of Pedal Bicycle, has seen all sorts of biking styles, all sorts of bikers. "Even people riding that expensive road bike — you see all kinds of body types, you see all kinds of income brackets. You see it all," he says. "Anybody can do it. You don't have to wear special types of clothes ... . Hell, you don't have to wear a helmet if you don't want to (though safety calls for one). I tend to, but, you know, nobody's going to make you, I don't think. And you don't have to wear funny-looking shoes." Look around, and just as you see different colors and styles of bikes, there are also different types of riders. But all have one thing in common: Biking puts them in touch with that 10-year-old inside who revels in the freedom of pedaling out into the fresh air.
Paul Guthrie, commuter To explain his bike commuting, Paul Guthrie talks about how he avoids putting CO2 into the atmosphere with a car and about the money he saves on gas, and of course there's the exercise. But one gets the feeling there are other reasons why he rides his bike to and from his job. Guthrie is the lab manager at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. He has a 20-mile round trip from his home in south Portage to downtown Kalamazoo. 26 | ENCORE JULY 2021
Left: Paul Guthrie commutes from Portage to downtown Kalamazoo by bike every day, including in the winter. Above: Guthrie has bright lights and a camera installed on his handle bars.
Much of his ride is on the Portage Bicentennial Trail, through a surprisingly wild strip of land in a suburban/commercial area. "You see deer, turkeys, who knows what — I think I heard a coyote the other day," Guthrie says. He sees people on bikes, on foot, pushing baby strollers, and they all seem happy and greet him with a smile or wave. "That's kind of a culture you don't get involved with when you're entombed in your metal box," he says. "On the trails, they're much more likely to wave at you and acknowledge you than those next to you in a car. I always ring my bell when coming up behind so I don't startle them." Guthrie admits that there are some inconveniences to commuting by bike. He will reluctantly drive his car to work in winter when bike lanes are "kind of a frozen slush." Rain? No problem. He puts on a light rain jacket and shoe covers. If he dresses for the cold in the morning, and Michigan weather
turns hot for the ride home, he's got pants with removable legs, jackets with removable sleeves. "There's no bad conditions, only inadequate gear," he says. In his rack bags are work clothes. Bronson provides showers, but Guthrie says he seldom arrives to work sweaty. "It's not like you have to race in. You can ride at your own pace," he says. It helps to have an employer that encourages biking. In 2017, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Bronson Healthcare the "gold" designation as a Bicycle Friendly Business because of its Bike2Work program. The hospital installed bike lockers and provided other incentives for employees to ride their bikes to work. Guthrie's main problem on the road has been motor vehicle drivers. His worst incident was in 2013 on Portage Road about a mile from his house, when "a distracted driver hit me from behind, going at least 45 mph. I was lucky. I got knocked out but had no serious injuries, but it was pretty much an eye opener."
He always tries to be seen on the road, but the driver apparently didn't notice his bike's bright, flashing lights. "She got a ticket is all," he says of the driver. Guthrie now rides with a helmet mirror to see what cars are doing as they come up from the rear. He also invested in brighter lights — "the brightest ones in the world!" he says, laughing. Guthrie also installed a bike camera to capture evidence during incidents like the one in 2020 when a driver ignored Guthrie’s right-of-way at the intersection of Kilgore Road and Lovers Lane. Guthrie and his bike survived the impact, but the driver fled. The police were able to read the license plate from Guthrie’s camera footage, "but apparently it was an improper plate." The driver hasn't been found. Overall, Guthrie says, he doesn't have trouble with other vehicles. He credits improved bike infrastructure in Portage and Kalamazoo, like the bike lanes on Burdick Street and Lovers Lane. When asked why he keeps commuting by bike after his life has been put in danger, he answers, " If you quit riding because of that, you surrender in a way. You certainly have to be very vigilant, and you can't assume anything about vehicles or drivers." Cars are convenient, and our society is built around them. So, is biking an act of rebellion against car culture? "In a way," Guthrie admits, laughing. "But rebellion's not always a bad thing."
The Turner-Crows, family riders At 8, Millie Turner already has a lifetime of memories of being on a bike. Her earliest memory: "I would say I was 2 or 3. We got this thing you could put on the front, and it was kinda like a (child's) car seat but for bikes." w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27
Types & Stereotypes of Bike Riders Road cyclists. They often speak of "watts" — literally, their pedaling power in wattage measured by sensors in their pedals or estimated on GPSenabled bike computers or apps like Strava. Additional data includes average speed, miles traveled, grades climbed and elevation gained. They will invite you to look up their Strava results, and if you do so, you are probably also a road cyclist.
Gravel bikers, ‘bikepackers,’ and fat-tire riders. Biking has fractured into multiple styles, and one might suspect this is due to an industry looking to sell more bikes.
Mountain bikers. Their social media posts include at least one photo of a bloodied body part and, if they are hardcore, an X-ray of a broken bone. They seek mountain bike trails with technical climbs, rocky descents and lots of root-bumping and stump-jumping. They tend to use the word "gnarly." Their shorts are baggy, tires are knobby, and front fork shocks are springy.
Long-distance tourers. They ride on roads and trails for weeks at a time, travel across the state or across the continent. Ask them about their last tour and they will get a haunted look as they describe that time a bald eagle flew over them and mumble something about solitude. Then they'll go into detail about the time they had to relieve themselves in the woods. Their social-media feeds have at least one photo of damp travel gear dumped out of their panniers and spread out to dry on either a campsite picnic table or a cheap motel bed. (Full disclosure: This description fits the author of this piece.)
E-bikers. This category of bike rider might trigger outrage in some road cyclists who are invested in their non-electrical watts. Riders of electric-assist bicycles do get exercise, but with a bit of a push not coming from their muscles. You can easily spot them — they're the ones smiling as they ride uphill.
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Want to travel the dirt roads but your road bike tires can't handle the bumps? Get a gravel bike, essentially a road bike but with flared drop bars for better handling and wider, knobbier tires fit for roads only farmers use. Want to travel a few days but don't want to take the weight of a tourer's baggage? Get into “bikepacking,” where you've got just the gear of a backpacker and a mountain-style bike that can go off into the woods for a camping adventure. Want to go anywhere and have people comment, "What the heck is that?!?" Get a bike with big tires that look like they belong on a motorcycle and that float on dirt, sand and snow. Soon, you too can have a fleet of bikes for every purpose, filling your garage, leaving no room for your poor, neglected car.
Illustrations by iStock/Kraftmen
Now she rides her own bike or on a tandem with her dad, Ike Turner. It's all "really fun," she says, but "when I'm on the tandem, my dad farts on me." Ike and Millie's mom, Melanie Crow, laugh when she says this. Millie is known for her bluntness and was often seen in downtown Kalamazoo as a toddler in the front bike seat yelling "Get out of the way!" at pedestrians. The family — including her sibling Milo Turner, who, now as a teen, doesn't ride with them as much — has long explored their Westwood neighborhood and beyond on bikes.
Above: The Turner-Crow family, from left, Milo, Millie (on the back of the tandem bike), Ike Turner and Melanie Crow.
"Getting ice cream!" is Millie's favorite ride. They also take the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail downtown to get tacos. Their regular KRVT ride is about 11 miles, "and Millie's been super great with that," riding her own bike, Ike says. "The hills are a bummer. They're hard for adults as well as kids." Ike is the obsessive rider in the family. In 2016 he pedaled from Kalamazoo to his home state of North Dakota. "This last year I put on 3,400 miles on my bike,” he says, “and
I would wager that more than a third of them were with Millie on the tandem." Crow is also from North Dakota, where she fell in love with bikes. "My friends and I would just ride around on the river trails," she says, “and it was just the best feeling — that childlike feeling of just exploring, going places. You want to hold onto that a little bit.” The family pedaled out to Kik Pool in Upjohn Park most summer days in 2019, but the pool closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. So last year the family had to get creative with destination options. "On the other end of Westwood, there was this house that had tons of cats, like 30 cats,” Ike says. “They're all black cats. At night, around dusk, Millie and I or Mel and I would ride over there and just hang out with these cats. We did lots of little things like that." Back when they would bike to Kik Pool, Millie rode in a trailer pulled behind Ike's bike. On one of those rides, near Bronson Hospital, Ike says, "a Jimmy John's delivery driver pulled out on us, and I went apoplectic, just yelling and screaming and cursing. I looked back, and Millie was just laughing. She got to see Dad lose his cool." Ike admits that he and Millie "yell at people a lot. It was a tense political time this past year." Aggressive drivers or the yard signs and flags of one of the presidential candidates were their usual targets. "If somebody would blast past us in a truck, we'd both let loose. And I don't know if
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I felt insulated because I had a child with me, like this person wasn't going to stomp me to death, or Millie would witness her father get murdered in front of her." Safety is important to the parents. "Just getting the right equipment is crucial and the right helmets and the right-fitting helmet, and getting your kid to wear their helmet,” Ike says. The three laugh. "We have to force it on her," Melanie admits. As a family, they enjoy trails like the KRVT and the Kal-Haven. On roads, they take low-traffic neighborhood streets in the Westwood, Stuart and Vine neighborhoods. Some people might think biking is too dangerous an activity — so why do it? "I love the feeling of biking,” Melanie says. “It's kind of like flying a little bit, flying with wheels. Walking always frustrates me because you're going too slow." Although Ike has had a few close calls with motorists while riding solo, he admits he's "obsessed" with bike riding. It makes them both feel like kids, so maybe having kids is an excuse to experience that? Melanie laughs. Ike says, "Totally!" "It's one of those lifestyle things that we don't even think about," he says. "Our older kiddo used to be more into it but has phased out of it as they got older. It happens." All parents have an "ideal vision of what you hope or want for your kids, and I have this
vision of, I hope, that they gravitate towards bikes when they get to college and see that freedom you can get from it,” he says. “And, yeah, it is dangerous ... but people all over the world have been doing this forever, or since 1890 or whenever."
Jillian Howland, group road rider The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club cut back its group rides in 2020. Covid-19 was in the air, though how much in the air to be a danger to cyclists riding together was a matter of debate.
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Above: Jillian Howland, front right, poses with one of the cycling groups she leads. Courtesy photo.
The general consensus in the bike community, KBC member Jillian Howland says, was that outdoor riding in reasonably small, distanced groups would be safe. "You know, if you're not blowin' snot rockets directly at someone, it's going to be pretty hard to catch the viral load necessary to create an infection of coronavirus,” she says. “That's how I handled it last year. There were probably four people I would ride with. Never ride more than three at a time. "
Wait, wait, back up there. "Blowin' snot rockets..."? Is this the kind of thing that gives the impression that hard-core road cyclists are unlike most people? Howland says she doesn't do that, but it's a habit that came out of bike races where the competitors didn't want to stop to politely blow their noses. "We don't want to scare anyone away!" she says with a laugh. "I think that no one wants to see that, and no one wants to accidentally get hit with one." Group riders' ways may seem mysterious: In their skin-tight "kits" pushing for an average speed that many people would struggle to hit in a sprint, they ride in a formation that makes them visible on the road and causes motorists to wait until it's safe to pass (which motorists should do, anyway). Are they athletes? Are they training for something? Where are they all going? "I put the social aspects of group riding as No. 1 one for most people," Howland says. "Everything is more fun with a group." Such as riding Howland's favorite route: the KBC's "fish inspection ride." The group rides to Plainwell to see "Rosie the Ginger Ninja," a fish sculpture installed by the former Plainwell paper mill on the Kalamazoo River. "It's a pretty big fish," she says. KBC members take selfies with it to show they did the 30+mile round trip. "Also, if you head to Richland, there's a big frog carved out of wood that some people visit," Howland says. Long KBC rides are also "a way to explore where you live or maybe a neighboring county. Get a little adventure in, feel like you've been productive. You got a lot of exercise, and you got to see something new that you didn't before." Group rides often go where Howland says she wouldn't venture alone. Being in a group also pushes her to go a little faster than she'd go alone, she says. But group members aren't elite speed demons. Many times Howland rides in a "mixed-speed group — some people are fast, some people are slow, so there is always this
unspoken courtesy where you always go as fast as the slowest rider." Another plus is that there is usually safety in numbers. But the tragedy of June 7, 2016, is still fresh in the minds of KBC riders, she says. An intoxicated driver, now serving 40 to 75 years in prison, killed five people and injured four others when he ran his pickup into nine group riders on Westnedge Avenue in Cooper Township. In general, though, group riding is safer because multiple riders are easier for drivers to see than solo riders. And with a group's many eyes and ears, someone is always quick to alert the others with a vocal update of the road situation. "You're mostly concerned, is there a car back? Does the whole group know there's a car back? Is there a car up? Does the whole group know that?" Howland says. "It's all about group communications. You're very much kind of a whole organism, not just a single rider."
And if anything should occur with a careless or aggressive driver, there are lots of witnesses. Howland says when drivers throw harassment at bikers, "it's always easier to either not take it personally or take it in stride when there's six of you on the road versus one person hollering at a single rider. I always take it way too personally. 'What the heck, man? I'm just tryin' to stay fit!'" For Howland, the rewards of biking are stronger than the hazards. "It kind of helps me slow down," she says. “I can appreciate my surroundings. I ride on some of the roads that I drive on, and whenever I'm riding I notice things that I never would have noticed had I been driving.” She remembers a sight on Eighth Street that she could only have witnessed on her bike. "A bald eagle had just caught a squirrel or a rabbit or something. Dove down in the middle of the field and started tearing it apart. And I was like, 'Oh my gosh! This is America!'"
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Please Note: Due to the Covid–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled or changed after press time. Please check with venues and organizations for up-to-date information. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays
Backyard Broadway — Farmers Alley Theatre will bring a 45-minute musical revue starring some favorite area performers (Jeremy Koch, Whitney Weiner, Este’Fan Kizer and more) to your backyard, through September; visit the website to pick a date and time that fit your schedule, farmersalleytheatre.com. Pipeline — Face Off Theatre presents award-winning African-American female playwright Dominique Morisseau's story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future without turning her back on the inner-city community that made him who he is, 7:30 p.m. July 16–17, 2 p.m. July 17–18, Dormouse Theatre, 1030 Portage St.; tickets available at faceofftheatre.com. Musicals Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5: The Musical — Based on the hit 1980 film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and the stage show’s composer/lyricist, Dolly Parton, this Broadway musical follows three women who take revenge on their misogynistic boss, 8 p.m. July 6–10 & July 13–17, 5 p.m. July 11 & 18, 7314121, barntheatreschool.org. Mamma Mia! — The hit songs of Swedish supergroup ABBA propel this tale of love, laughter and friendship, 8 p.m. July 20–24 & July 27–31, 5 p.m. July 25 & Aug. 1, 731-4121, barntheatreschool.org. MUSIC Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra — Performing as part of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo's Summertime Live concert series, 7:30 p.m. July 3, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. Matt Giraud — The Kalamazoo-based musician and American Idol contestant performs a free outdoor concert, 6:30 p.m. July 12, Kindleberger Park, Parchment, kindlebergerarts.org Departure: A Journey Tribute Band — A drivein-style concert to enjoy from your car, lawn chair or blanket, 7 p.m. July 15, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, portagemi.gov. Kanola Band — New Orleans-style jazz, a Summertime Live concert, 4 p.m. July 18, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. Bronk Bros. — Kalamazoo country music band, 6:30 p.m. July 18, Kindleberger Park, Parchment, kindlebergerarts.org. Shout! A Beatles Tribute — Tribute band plays music by the Fab Four, 6:30 p.m. July 25, Kindleberger Park, Parchment, kindlebergerarts.org. 32 | ENCORE JULY 2021
Farmers Alley Theatre & the KSO — Performing show tunes and more in this Summertime Live concert, 7:30 p.m. July 25, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org.
Intern Exhibition — The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center's annual display of its interns’ work, July 2–Aug. 27, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, kalbookarts.org.
Glenn Miller Orchestra — Enjoy big-band music in this drive-in-style concert, 7 p.m. July 29, Ramona Park, portagemi.gov.
Richland Art Fair and Richland Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17, Richland Village Square, 8951 Park St., glacv.org
Paw Paw Maple Lake Free Summer Concerts — Bring a lawn chair or blanket to hear these local and regional acts: Tony Fields & Doug Decker, July 4; Crooked Root, July 11; Harper, July 18; Coda Blue, July 25; Bronk Bros., Aug. 1; all shows begin at 6:30 p.m., Maple Lake Amphitheatre Park, W. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw, pawpawdda.com.
LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS
Beats on Bates — Weekly live outdoor music under the lights of Bates Alley, 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays: BlueBack, July 7; Yolonda Lavender, July 14; Grupo Latin Soul, July 21; Jenuine, July 28; downtownkalamazoo.org. Gun Lake Live Summer Series — Brena, July 7; The 1985 (’80s Night), July 14; Project 90 (’90s Night), July 21; Atomic Radio, July 28; shows begin at 6 p.m. rain or shine, Lakefront Pavillion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 888-486-5253. Music on the Mall — Live performances on the South Kalamazoo Mall: T-Music, July 10; Cool Lemon, July 17; Lisa Can’t Sing, July 24; Kanola Band, July 31; all shows begin at 3 p.m., downtownkalamazoo.org. State on the Street — Live concerts Fridays outside the State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St.: Ghost Bunnies, July 9; Lisa Can’t Sing, July 16; seating starting at 5 p.m., music at 5:30 p.m., kazoostate.com. Movie Music — The KSO performs memorable film scores by composer John Williams, including music from E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial and the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies, and violinist Stefan Jackiw performs a piece inspired by Hollywood's golden age, 8 p.m. July 31, Gilmore Car Museum, 6865 W. Hickory Road, kalamazoosymphony.com. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org Hours: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday & Saturday, noon–4 p.m. Sunday. Exhibitions Unveiling American Genius — Abstract and contemporary works from the KIA’s permanent collection emphasizing stories that African American, Latinx and other artists have told about our culture, art and history, ongoing. Yun-Fei Ji Exhibition — Yun-Fei, raised in China during the Cultural Revolution, uses historical folktales to speak of environmental issues and mass migration through his art, through September. Events ARTbreak — Online talks about art, artists and exhibitions: West Michigan Area Show Artists, Part 2, noon, July 13; The Life and Art of Beverly Pepper, presented by Amber Oudesma, noon, July 27; visit website to reserve a spot. Other Venues Art Hop — Featuring jewelry, pottery, sculpture, garden art and demonstrations, 6–8 p.m. July 2, downtown Kalamazoo, 342-5059 or kalamazooarts.org.
Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org Hours: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.– 2 p.m. Saturday. Library visits limited to one hour a day. Curbside pickup available. Meditation & Mindfulness — Learn to respond to life's events consciously and with greater acceptance, curiosity, creativity and kindness, 6:30 p.m. July 19 via Zoom; registration opens July 6. Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov Central Library and Oshtemo branches: 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m Saturday; Alma Powell, Eastwood and Washington Square branches: 1–6 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday; curbside services available. Reading Race Book Club — Zoom discussion of Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi, 6:30 p.m. July 13; registration required. Urban Fiction Book Club — Zoom discussion of Frost Bite: A Cold Love After All, by Tyanna, 6 p.m. July 27; registration required. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org Hours: 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday & Tuesday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Friday and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday. Summer Reading Bingo — All ages invited to attend, through Aug. 7; visit website for details. Friends of the Library Book Sale — Behind the library during the Kindleberger Festival, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 10. Observing the Moon — Amateur astronomer Joe Comiskey discusses how to look at the moon and what you might see, 8 p.m. July 14; registration required. Kindleberger Park Tree Tour — Learn about trees on a walking tour with landscape architect Sandy Bliesener, 6:30 p.m. July 20; registration required. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagedistrictlibrary.info The library is temporarily offering services at 5528 Portage Road while the building at 300 Library Lane is closed for renovations. Hours: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org Hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, 1–7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday. Going Zero Waste at Home — Author and podcast host Stephanie Sefarain shares tips on going to zero waste, 7 p.m. July 1. Summer Team Trivia — Five rounds of trivia, 7 p.m. July 8 & 22; registration required.
Zero Waste Cooking — Author and Zingerman’s Bakehouse staffer Lindsay-Jean Hard shares some tips to stop food waste, 7 p.m. July 15.
Beth Bradfish Sound Sculpture — Manipulate wire-mesh screens and sounds for an auditory experience that blends arts and sciences.
Starting a Sustainable Garden & Compost — Professor and master gardener Robert P. Holley shares some tips on sustainable gardening and composting, 7 p.m. July 29.
The Walker Brothers — A virtual exhibit about Ryan and Keith Walker, who were afflicted with the rare genetic disorder Hunter syndrome, and their lasting impact on family, friends, inclusive education and civil rights in Kalamazoo, kvmexhibits.org/2020/ walkerbrothers. Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures — Unique cultural objects highlight the surprising similarities and differences in the ways people around the world envision and depict mythical creatures, through Sept. 12. The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality — A selection of 89 hats and headdresses that speak to cultural ties and identity, through Oct. 14. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org KNC Trails open 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily; Visitor Center closed. Guided Butterfly Hike — 1:30 p.m. July 9, Delano Farm, 555 West E Ave.; 1:30 p.m. July 19, Emma Pitcher Prairie, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave.; registration required, and programs are weather-dependent.
MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555, airzoo.org Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Saturday, noon–5 p.m. Sunday.
Be the Astronaut — Experience the wonders of space through three training stations specializing in science, navigation and engineering, through September 12. Women in Air & Space — Featuring some of the earliest women in aviation, including Amelia Earhart, Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman and Katherine Wright, the Wright Brothers’ younger sister and the first female licensed pilot and Air Zoo co-founder Suzanne Parish. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday. Greatest Generation: Corvette — This exhibition includes two dozen of the rarest Corvettes from across the U.S., through March 2022. Wednesday Night Cruise-ins — Collector cars, oldies music and food, 5–8 p.m. Wednesdays on good-weather nights, through September. Deutsche Marques — An all-German auto show, including BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen vehicles, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 10. Mad Dogs & Englishmen — Britishmade vehicle show, plus swap meet area 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 11. Celebration of Brass — The Museum of the Horseless Carriage presents a five-day program featuring a car show, swap meet and on-site activities, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 16–17. Corvette Envy — Show and swap meet for Corvette enthusiasts, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 18. MOPARs at the Red Barns — An all-Chrysler car show featuring muscle cars, antique cars and special-interest vehicles, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 24. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org Hours: 10–11:30 a.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays; registration required. Filling in the Gaps: The Art of Murphy Darden — Kalamazoo resident and nonagenarian Murphy Darden explores local history, civil rights, the enduring legacy of hate, and America’s forgotten Black cowboys, kvmexhibits.org/murphy-darden. Science on a Sphere — A new permanent exhibit developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows images of atmospheric storms, climate change and ocean temperatures on an animated globe, kalamazoomuseum.org/exhibits/ science-on-sphere.htm.
Our 75th Season Takes Center Stage this Summer We are truly honored to celebrate 75 years of creating memories and building traditions, spanning generations in our community. Celebrate with us and join us at one of these incredible shows.
July 6 –18
July 20 – August 1
August 3 – 15
Tickets & Season Details at
barntheatreschool.org or call 269.731.4121 13351 M-96 AUGUSTA, MI 49012
PATRIOTIC POPS FREE CONCERT!
A community celebration presented by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
JULY 3 | 7:30 P.M. | Bronson Park
PLUS COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS!
Star Wars, Magnificent Seven, Harry Potter & Violinist Stefan Jackiw
JULY 31 | 8 P.M. | Gilmore Car Museum
ODE TO JOY Beethoven’s 9th
AUG 14 | 8 P.M. | Gilmore Car Museum
KalamazooSymphony.com | 269-349-7759 w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 33
EVENTS ENCORE Gadget Night — Members of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will discuss telescopes and accessories of all shapes, sizes and price ranges, 7–9 p.m. July 9, KNC Amphitheater. Public Sky Observing Sessions — Kalamazoo Astronomical Society events: “Venus & the First Quarter Moon,” July 17; “Jupiter, Saturn & the Deep Sky Objects of the Summer Triangle,” July 31; both events 9:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m.; check kasonline.org for possible weather-based cancellation. Other Venues Watermelon Madness — See which animals can eat a watermelon the fastest in this messy and exciting event, July 4, Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Dr., Battle Creek; binderparkzoo.org. Moonlight Expedition — A full moon hike, 9 p.m. July 24, Eliason Nature Reserve, 1614 W. Osterhout Ave., portagemi.gov. MISCELLANEOUS Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, noon–5 p.m. Thursdays, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays; night market 5–10 p.m. July 22, Mayors' Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St., pfcmarkets.com Portage Farmers Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 24, Portage City Hall, portagemi.gov/643/Farmers-Market. Geo Mystery Tours — Geocaching experience with the theme "The Habitat: An Unexpected Journey," July 1; registration required at mypark.portagemi.gov.
Friday at the Flats — Local food trucks and vendors, 4–8 p.m. July 2, Celery Flats Pavilion, 7335 Garden Lane, portagemi.gov. Kindleberger Summer Festival of the Performing Arts — Live concerts, theater performances, parade, book sale, vendors and more, July 7–12, Kindleberger Park, Parchment; kindlebergerarts.org. Workout Wednesdays — Free socially distanced workouts offered by local fitness organizations: Intentional Yoga, July 7; Guess Who’s Dancing, July 14; Down Dog Yoga Center, July 21; Rose Wellbeing, July 28; 5:30–6:30 p.m., Bronson Park; downtownkalamazoo.org. Youth Day — A Black Arts Festival event where kids can experience African art and dance, spray painting and virtual reality, with free food also available, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. July 9, Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Paterson St. blackartskalamazoo.org. Black Arts Festival — A celebration of Black culture and arts in our community with music, food vendors and more, 10 a.m.–midnight July 10, Arcadia Festival Site, downtown Kalamazoo, blackartskalamazoo.org. Shop 2nd Saturdays — Outdoor market featuring local businesses, entrepreneurs and makers, including vintage wares at the VITZ (Vintage in the Zoo) Mallmart, noon–7 p.m. July 10, Kalamazoo Mall. Talons Out Day of Honor — An event honoring American veterans with a car show, motorcycle ride, Touch a Truck, blood drive, memorial wall, Honor Flight reunion, music, beer garden and more,
July 11, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, wingseventcenter.com. Adult Pickleball League — Six-week pickleball league offered on Tuesdays (advanced), Wednesdays (intermediate) and Thursdays (recreational), 6–7:30 p.m., beginning July 13–15, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, and Lakeview Park, 9345 Portage Road, portagemi.gov. Summertime Supper — Learn how to make steak, asparagus and potato salad with Chef Amy in this Portage Culinary Academy event, 6 p.m. July 14, Stuart Manor, 7340 Garden Lane, portagemi.gov. Southwest Michigan Postcard Club Show & Sale — More than 20 dealers displaying vintage and antique postcards, photographs, ephemera and postal history items, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. July 16, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. July 17, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 517-230-0734. Ramona Beach Bonfire — Enjoy a bonfire and make s’mores, 8 p.m. July 17, Ramona Park and Beach, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, portagemi.gov. Movies in the Park — Watch Trolls World Tour from your car, 9 p.m. July 23, Ramona Park, portagemi.gov. Makers Tour: A Walking Tour of a Downtown Kalamazoo Winery, Distillery and Brewery — Presented by West Michigan Beer Tours, noon–4 p.m. July 31, beginning at Shakespeare's Pub, 241 E. Kalamazoo Ave., with stops at Kalamazoo Stillhouse, Tempo Vino Winery and Bell’s Eccentric Café, westmichiganbeertours.com.
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Apotheosis Gliding weightless through rhythmic, warm freshwater waves with the graceful ease of a flying dream I dive and rise under blue sky curving into edgeless lake and know this moment is the one I would choose as my only moment of being if I had to choose just one — Hilary Harper Harper is the author of the memoir Almost Home. She earned her degree in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina, and her writing has appeared in numerous literary publications. After living in Metro Detroit for 10 years, she is glad to be back in western Michigan and once again just a short drive from the big lake.
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INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Barn Theatre School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
On the right is the “Big Breezy” who measures a giant 13 inches tall including the sturdy wooden handle.
Binder Park Zoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Bronson Healthcare Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Comensoli’s Italian Bistro & Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Cornerstone Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
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Dave’s Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
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ENCORE BACK STORY Jamie Jannusch (continued from page 38) (those who are) blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, (have) intellectual disabilities or educational autism, (or) diabetes. I was program director for three years and then served as the assistant camp director for 10. At the end of 2016, they were restructuring, and part of that was eliminating the assistant camp director position, so I took a year away from camp trying to figure out if I wanted to stay in camping, working with the American Cancer Society as the assistant manager of Hope Lodge in Marshfield, Wisconsin, a free lodging program for cancer patients and their caregivers. After experiencing working with a national nonprofit, I realized, nope, I wasn't done with camping and wanted to get back into it. I did a nationwide search, and that led me to Pretty Lake. The next thing I knew, I had virtual interviews and was offered the position. Before I accepted, I said, "I want to see the place," because everything was done virtually, since I was about six hours away. I drove here one weekend, scoped it out and decided to take the job. What do people say when you tell them what you do? I get the question "What do you do when it's not summer?" a lot. I start preparing for the next summer. I truly believe in feedback, so each week during the summer I have staff fill out feedback forms on the camp session that just ended and I give them feedback as well. There's a debriefing with staff about the summer, and I meet with some of them throughout the course of the year, saying, "This is what I'm thinking. What are your thoughts?" I attend conferences. I'm involved in the Local Council of Leaders for the American Camp Association for Michigan and stay involved with the KYD Network (Kalamazoo Youth Development Network), participating in some of their programs. Camp doesn't just stop because kids aren't here. We're always looking for what might be the next new thing that we can add, because of many of our campers wouldn't get the camp experience
if they didn't have Pretty Lake, and we want to be able to provide a similar experience, if not the same experience, that all the other camps provide. How has the pandemic affected Pretty Lake Camp? Normally we would be doing overnight camping, and campers would be sleeping in the cabins. But with the pandemic, last year we operated with the City of Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation Department and brought kids out here for two hours a day, or we went into the city to one of their sites, bringing camp to kids for two hours. We also did camp-at-home kits in backpacks for our campers who had already registered by the time we suspended registration. We made the call early this year to proceed forward with day camp — the campers will come out for a full day and then return home at night. One of my earliest mentors always said that a good camp can be run anywhere, including a parking lot. It's about people. It's about the connection and that sense of belonging. So how does someone who is at camp all day get away from it all? I actually live on camp property, so not only do I work here, but I live here full time. I like to travel and visit family in Wisconsin. I love to golf, and I like to hike. I read and listen to podcasts. I like to be busy, like being on the lake, whether it's here or elsewhere, kayaking or paddleboarding, spending time with family and friends, having a campfire. That sounds a lot like camp. (She laughs.) The work that I do is so rewarding, and it's a lifestyle that’s not for everyone. I think that connections are key to life. What makes your life worthwhile is not about the places or the things that you did, it's the people. — Interview by Marie Lee edited for length and clarity
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BACK STORY ENCORE
Jamie Jannusch Camp Director, Pretty Lake Camp
It's rare that what you really loved doing as a child becomes your vocation as an
adult, but Jamie Jannusch is one of the lucky ones. "I fell in love with camp from an early age,” says the 41-year-old Wisconsin native. My parents sent me to a Lutheran camping system in Wisconsin from the age of 7 to 17, so I spent 10 years as a camper. It truly had a profound effect on me." So much so that Jannusch majored in youth programming and camp management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has worked in summer camps since graduating. In February 2018, she joined the staff of Pretty Lake Camp, where she works to make sure the 800 campers that attend the free, nonprofit camp each summer have a similar experience. "The community of camp gives you a sense of belonging,” Jannusch says. “You know you're not just an odd duck or someone with a disability or someone who doesn't belong. All of a sudden you have a hundred people in the same setting that are your friends, and that sense of connecting with other people has truly transformed my life." How did you get where you are today? When I went to college, I really struggled trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I initially went as an art student and was planning to go into graphic design, but after my sophomore year I was like, "This major is not for me." At the time, a former coworker of mine was working at a camp yearround in California, and I realized that working at a camp was a career option. The funny thing is that the college I was attending had a natural resource program with a camp minor, which was changed into a youth programming and camp management major. It was a perfect windfall of things in my favor. Otherwise I don't think I would have had that light bulb go off, saying, "Yeah, you can make this a career." I graduated in 2003 and was hired at the Wisconsin Lions Camp, which serves children and adults with special needs, specifically (continued on page 37) 38 | ENCORE JULY 2021
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