Page 1

Surf with Guitar UP!

See Wild Spaces as a Steward

Hidden in Plain Sight Our Annual See Your Town Like a Tourist Issue

Unusual & Unique Local Sights

Meet Jane Ghosh

. M.D




WMed Benefactors of the Year

William D. Johnston and Ronda E. Stryker We formally recognize Mr. William D. Johnston and Ms. Ronda E. Stryker for their leadership in co-chairing the medical school’s tenth anniversary gala WMed Live: A First Decade Celebration. Bill and Ronda have been enthusiastic in their celebration of the achievements earned by WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Their leadership played an instrumental role in honoring Dean Emeritus Hal Jenson, MD for his decade of leadership as the founding dean of Kalamazoo’s premier medical school. We appreciate Bill and Ronda for their advocacy in encouraging members of our regional community to support medical education diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. We proudly recognize Bill Johnston and Ronda Stryker for their bold leadership, inspiring vision, and generous financial support for advancing the mission of WMed and its place in the field of medical education. Thank you Bill and Ronda!

WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine proudly recognizes two Kalamazoo couples as the medical school benefactors of the year for 2021.

William U. Parfet and Barbara A. Parfet We formally recognize Mr. William U. Parfet and Mrs. Barbara A. Parfet for co-chairing the medical school’s tenth anniversary gala, WMed Live: A First Decade Celebration. Bill and Barbara have been enthusiastic in their desire to celebrate the first ten years of accomplishments of WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Bill and Barbara have been tireless in their advocacy and personal support for the mission of the medical school, the development of the medical school’s physical facilities, and encouraging philanthropy through the WMed Philanthropy Council, the Dean’s Circle Leadership Giving Society, and the planned giving programs of the medical school. We proudly recognize Bill Parfet and Barbara Parfet for their inspiring vision, bold leadership, and generous financial support for advancing the mission of WMed and its place in the field of medical education. Thank you Bill and Barbara!

Surf with Guitar UP!

See Wild Spaces as a Steward

Unusual & Unique Local Sights

Meet Jane Ghosh

Hidden in Plain Sight Our Annual See Your Town Like a Tourist Issue

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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.


From the Editor I

imagine right now many of us feel a bit like Dorothy opening her door and stepping from a monochrome Kansas into a beautiful technicolor Oz. The world feels like it’s cracking open a bit, allowing us to emerge from a gloomy, overcast Covid-19 year into summer with all its glory — its bright warmth, its outdoor concerts and its abundant and beautiful natural areas. And this opening up is good timing too because this month’s magazine is the See Your Town Like a Tourist issue — our annual spotlight on great places and things to do in our area that, as residents, we might take for granted. This year’s theme is “Hidden in Plain Sight,” and we bring to light unique and wonderful discoveries right under our noses, including curious art installations, important historic sites, and natural places nestled in the city and beyond. We encourage readers to examine their community from a new or different perspective, such as kayaking or canoeing down the Kalamazoo River to see the city’s industrial side. Or, with the knowledge bestowed by historian Lynn Houghton, visit one of her favorite city parks. Or take writer Jordan Bradley’s advice and really get to know the land around you by volunteering as a land steward. For our staff, creating this annual issue is like having that first glass of lemonade of the summer: It feels refreshing and new and begs to be savored. And I encourage you to do just that — enjoy every word and image in this issue and see your hometown with new eyes, like Dorothy walking into Oz. We know you’ll be amazed as you realize the wonders right under your nose that you’ve been missing.

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When “Financial security from generation to generation” is your wealth management firm’s tagline, you tend to take a long-term view of market performance. You also tend to be optimistic, given that historical market data overwhelmingly favors that mindset—even in the midst of a pandemic. A profound sense of gratitude helps. Gratitude to the pharmaceutical firms who have produced vaccines in record time; to the many who are visibly fighting the virus day and night at risk to their health; and to the equal number of good people who, beyond the spotlight, are providing products, services and hope to so many. As author Mary Anne Radmacher once said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” With you, and in good measure thanks to you, we will prevail.

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CONTENTS FEATURES Hidden in Plain Sight


Walk in the Park


Hidden Treasures


It’s Natural


Our annual See Your Town Like a Tourist issue invites you to discover the world already under your nose

City parks with fascinating histories

Discover how the old saying “If you want to hide treasure, put it in plain sight” is true

Doing good is a great way to get to know wild spaces

DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors 10 First Things A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan

38 Back Story

Meet Jane Ghosh — The Discover Kalamazoo CEO and Portage native works to attract visitors to her home turf


New Century Surf


Events of Note

The Gavan brothers are at core of Guitar UP!’s retro, upbeat sound

On the cover: Photo illustration by Brian K. Powers

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 7


Let’s find your happy place.

Jordan Bradley

Whether you are in the market for a new home, wondering if it’s the time to refinance, or have questions regarding down payment assistance, our mortgage lenders can help you find the program that is right for you and your budget. We want to help you find your happy place. mercbank.com/mortgage All loans subject to approval

In exploring topics for our annual See Your Town Like a Tourist issue, Jordan found a new way to connect with the community and nature at the same time: volunteering as a land steward. “With so many of us turning to nature during difficult pandemic times,” she says, “volunteering to help maintain the space is a wonderful way to give back but also to continue that connection.” Being able to connect with like-minded people during a pandemic doesn’t hurt either, she adds. Jordan is a Kalamazoo-based freelance writer.

Marie Lee Marie, who penned this issue’s main story, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” says that even after living in Kalamazoo for 24 years, she is amazed at what she still doesn’t know about the area. And the quirkier her discoveries, the better they are, she says, such as the two art installations Between Theorems and The Circular Ruin. “I mean, a gold Einstein throwing a Frisbee or hidden art pillars? Who’d have thought you’d find those here?” she asks. Marie is the editor of Encore.

John Liberty

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As the general manager of West Michigan Beer Tours, John is tied into the tourism marketing of the area and welcomed the chance to interview Discover Kalamazoo’s new CEO, Jane Ghosh. “Not only does Jane, who is a native of Portage, have a lot of pride and knowledge of this community, she also brings a marketing and leadership background that will mark a new era for the organization,” John says. When not giving tours of the area’s craft beverage makers or playing Wiffle ball, John pens features for Encore as a freelance writer.

Mark Wedel

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mark has found himself drawn to the upbeat surf music of Guitar UP! — a local band that he writes about for this issue. “There’s some sort of psychological benefit of listening to '60s guitar instrumentals,” Wedel says. “During these trying times, Guitar UP!’s jazz and classical tunes done surf-style are just the kind of surf-and-sun escapism we need.” Mark is a Kalamazoo-based freelance writer.

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First Things Something Artistic

Check out Chalk the Lot See masterpieces in the making as local artists create chalk

art at DeNooyer Chevrolet’s Chalk the Lot event on June 12. The community is invited to watch as artists create one-ofa-kind works on the dealership’s lot at 5800 Stadium Drive. The event also will feature refreshments and summertime games. The art creation happens from 7 a.m.-noon, with judging occurring from noon-1 p.m. and awards to follow. The event wraps up at 2 p.m. Artists will compete in one of three categories: student (high school age), adult (18 or older) or family/team (four members or fewer). The top prizes are $250 and one-year memberships to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. A People’s Choice Award will also be given and voting for it will be open until noon June 18. For more information, visit denooyer.com/chalkthelot.

Something Healing Concert offers chance to grieve and unite

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra are partnering to create a musical reflection on the losses of the last year and build a sense of unity in a collaborative concert to be livestreamed at 8 p.m. June 24. Light Eternal: A Virtual Concert Premiere for Unity and Reflection will combine vocal and orchestral music with spoken-word performances in a concert that will be available for viewing on YouTube. The program will feature Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, a musical metaphor for the dark and light moments of grief, with performances by soprano Jessica Louise Coe and baritone Gerald J. Case-Blanchard. Interspersed between the movements will be poetry by spoken-word artists. “We’ve all experienced loss over the past year from the global pandemic and have witnessed violence that we have endured as a society. We felt we needed to create a space to reflect, heal, and grieve to bring us closer together as a community,” says Cori Somers, executive director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival. Tickets are $5-$99, based on the number of viewers gathering together to experience the performance. The concert will be available for viewing until July 23. For tickets or more information, visit KalamazooBachFestival.org or call 337-7407. 10 | ENCORE JUNE 2021





SUNDAYS • 6:30 - 8 P.M. in the Maple Lake Amphitheatre Park


Something to Celebrate Juneteenth marks day of freedom

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Soul Artistry are teaming up again this year to

offer a virtual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom. The event, whose details were still being finalized at press time, is set for 1-3 p.m. June 19 and will feature poetry, dance and music performed by youth artists. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration in the U.S. commemorating the end of slavery. This Facebook Live event can be viewed at tinyurl.com/kzoojuneteenth.

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


• Blues • Classic Rock • Country

July 18 - HARPER

• Blues and World Music

Something Welcoming

July 25 - CODA BLUE

Meet WMed’s new dean

• Classic Rock


can find out what’s in store for the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and meet the school’s new dean, Dr. Paula Termuhlen, from 4–6 p.m. June 9 at the medical school’s Upjohn Campus, 300 Portage St. Termuhlen, who started at WMed in May, succeeds Dr. Hal Jenson, who retired after leading the medical school from its inception in 2011. Termuhlen comes to Kalamazoo after serving for 16 years as the regional dean for the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School. A surgeon, Termuhlen is widely published as the author of articles on surgical oncology and surgical education. The meet-the-dean event will begin at 4 p.m., with remarks at 5 p.m., and will include food and drinks in individually wrapped packages, with designated areas for consumption. Guests are required to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination, and CDC social distancing guidelines will be observed. Reservations are requested and can be made at tinyurl.com/z5bfu8sv.

Aug. 1 - BRONK BROS. •"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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pandemic slumber and is ready and raring to go. Beginning this month, downtown offers a host of in-person events and activities, including markets, live music, community art, exercise classes and “walktails.” Big weekend, new name Kicking off the schedule will be JumpstART Weekend June 3–6, previously called June Jubilee. It will include Art on the Mall, a new version of the Do-Dah Parade, and free gallery admission to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Art on the Mall, organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, will happen from noon–8 p.m. June 4 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 5 on the Kalamazoo Mall and South Street. It will feature artworks of many types, demonstrations and live entertainment. The much-loved Do-Dah Parade begins at 11 a.m. June 5 with a new socially distanced twist. Adhering to a theme of “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” parade units will be stationary and socially distanced throughout downtown and parade-goers can either walk or ride bikes on either side of the viewing space. More information can be found at dodahkzoo.com. The KIA Arts Fair, one of the oldest finearts fairs in the U.S., is back this year but virtual as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. The fair will be online June 3–6, and art enthusiasts will be able to engage with the artists in real time and purchase art. Access will be available at kiarts.org. The KIA will also be offering free admission to its galleries during the weekend. Outdoor music is back Music lovers will find weekly opportunities to enjoy live local music downtown through Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership’s Beats on Bates and Music on the Mall series.


Images of downtown summer events: Musical performances in Bates Alley (top), Art on the Mall (center), and weekly workouts in in Bronson Park (bottom).

Beats on Bates will take place from 5:30–8:30 p.m. every Wednesday under the lights of Bates Alley, which runs parallel to Michigan Avenue between Portage Road and Edwards Street. The lineup for June is: • June 2: Out of Favor Boys, blues • June 9: Kandace Lavender, poet, vocalist and hip-hop lyricist • June 16: An Dro, Celtic music and dance • June 23: Zion Lion Reggae Band, reggae •June 30: LaSoulfulRock, soul on saxophone and flute Music on the Mall will bring live performances to the part of the Kalamazoo Mall across from Gazelle Sports from 3–6 p.m. Saturdays. This month’s lineup is: • J une 12: Kevin Collins, jazz and percussion • June 19: Allie Garland, singer/ songwriter and multi-instrumentalist • June 26: J.Cam.G, Afro-beat, hip-hop and soul

Work out or shop Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership is offering a way to be active through its weekly fitness class series Workout Wednesdays, from 5:30–6:30 p.m. in Bronson Park. The sessions are conducted by local fitness organizations, and the lineup for June is: • June 2: Bent 9 Hot Yoga, Barre & Fitness • June 9: Wellspring Dance Academy • J une 16: Ascension Borgess Health & Fitness • June 23: Down Dog Yoga Center • June 30: Fit Bella Vei If shopping is more your thing, downtown has you covered there too. In addition to the brick-and-mortar retail stores, an outdoor market will be offered by DKP on the second Saturday of every month on the north end of the Kalamazoo Mall (behind the Kalamazoo Valley Community College downtown campus). The market will feature 70-plus vendors, including "VITZ (Vintage in the Zoo) Mallmart,” with regional vendors of vintage wares, and “Zoo Flea,” offering craft and maker vendors.

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Something Musical

Summertime Live concerts revived Now here’s a sign of normalcy: the free summer

concerts are returning to parks around Greater Kalamazoo have returned. Sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, the Summertime Live Concert Series begins this month. CDC social distancing guidelines will be followed and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to the concerts. The concert schedule for June, by location, is: Bronson Park, downtown Kalamazoo, all concerts begin at 4 p.m. • June 6: Cabildo, alternative Latin rock

Flesher Field, 3664 S. 9th St., Oshtemo • June 27: Last Gasp Collective, 5:30 p.m. Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, Portage

• June 20: Kalamazoo Concert Band

• June 17: Shania Twin: Shania Twain Tribute, 7 p.m.

• June 27: Indika, reggae

For more information, visit kalamazooarts.org.

Something Friendly

Say hello to downtown ambassadors Beginning in May, a small army of blueshirted men and women took to the streets to make downtown Kalamazoo safer, cleaner and friendlier. The downtown ambassadors are full-time employees who patrol the downtown with an eye on safety, cleanliness and maintenance needs while engaging with visitors and businesses. Ambassadors’ duties include cleaning up trash and weeds, power washing and graffiti removal, reporting maintenance issues, escorting people to cars and providing information on downtown.

Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership has contracted with Block by Block, a Kentucky-based organization, to oversee the ambassador program. Block by Block provides ambassador training and management for downtowns in 120 cities across the country, including Grand Rapids; South Bend, Indiana; Austin, Texas; Toledo, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky. A team of five ambassadors are connected via two-way radio and are on duty downtown from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 7

For This

a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday and 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To reach the ambassadors to request a service or report a problem, call 5685402 or send an email to ambassadors@ downtownkalamazoo.org.

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Look closer or you might miss these great SW Michigan sights Did you know Kalamazoo has its own Stonehenge? Or that certain street names are stamped into the sidewalks? Or that there is an active archaeological dig every summer in Niles? What about the area’s Underground Railroad sites — do you know about those? This year's annual See Your Town Like a Tourist issue celebrates the things we often don’t see — gems of our area that get overlooked because, well, we live here and forget about them or don’t know about them in the first place. This issue is dedicated to seeing your community through new eyes — and finding unexpected treasures when you do.

Inside:  ool city parks with C histories

 nique & unusual local U wonders under your nose I t’s natural: volunteer w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 15 to see wild places

Five Faves

City parks with fascinating histories worth a closer look LYNN HOUGHTON

With their green space and accessibility, parks add much to a community, no matter its size. They help people get close to nature and provide places to relax, gather and play. Parks have been a part of Kalamazoo since its beginnings in the early 19th century. Currently there are more than 30 parks and public spaces of varying sizes and purposes scattered throughout the city. Many have changed over the years but remain spaces where people can enjoy nature and enjoy being with others. Here are five of my favorite parks in Kalamazoo.

Brian Powers


Bronson Park 200 S. Rose St. The oldest park in Kalamazoo has seen a number of changes in the last three years, among them the removal of a controversial fountain sculpture, the addition of two electronic signs, and the filling-in of a reflecting pool. But there were also many earlier changes on these 3.6 acres of land, which became a park in the 1850s. Nearly 20 years before that, two squares of land were given to Kalamazoo County by Titus Bronson for the community’s first academy and first jail. Once those buildings were gone, the land became what it is now: a haven for people to rest and enjoy greenspace and a gathering site for rallies, protests, performances, fairs and fireworks. Although the park’s flowers and holiday decorations may come and go, what will not change is the role this park plays in being a community space in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo.

Milham Park 607 E. Kilgore Road The desire for a large public park led Kalamazoo to acquire 66 acres of the John Milham farm in 1910. The park tripled in size by 1929 and attracted those wanting to picnic or even camp overnight or play on its croquet, volleyball, shuffleboard and tennis courts. A golf course, boat lagoon, bathhouse and pool were added in 1927, along with a zoo that during its 50 years of existence hosted a menagerie of animals, including deer, buffalo, guinea pigs, monkeys, bears, skunks and an alligator. Many of these amenities are now gone, but the park remains, giving us, as Western Michigan University’s then-president Dwight Waldo said at its dedication, “the better, the fuller and larger life.” 16 | ENCORE JUNE 2021

Spring Valley Park 2600 Mt. Olivet Road

South Westnedge Park 1101 S. Westnedge Ave.

more than 35 years, runners and walkers, including myself, have come to this park on New Year’s Day to participate in the John Daly Memorial One One Run, sponsored by Gazelle Sports. Kalamazoo opened this 186-acre park on the northeast side of the city in 1956, with plans for picnic sites, recreational areas, a golf course, and even a lake for fishing and boating. It took three years to complete everything, with the exception of the golf course. That plan was dropped when Eastern Hills Golf Course opened three miles away. The park’s name comes from the springs that feed the lake and the valley where the city’s largest park is situated. At its dedication, it was said that the park would make Kalamazoo a “better place to work, to play and to prosper.”


Brian Powers


What is now a small park in the Vine neighborhood was Kalamazoo’s first cemetery. It has been estimated that between 1833 and 1862

nearly 500 people were buried there. Once Riverside Cemetery on Riverview Drive opened in 1862, many of the bodies interred in this first cemetery were moved, but there is no accurate account of exactly how many. The consensus is that a number remain buried on this land. In the 1880s, Kalamazoo made the site a park, adding walkways, trees, lighting and a fountain. R. Carlisle Burdick, son of the couple who donated the land for the cemetery, unsuccessfully sued the city, claiming a violation of the original use. The area remained parkland and received improvements more than 30 years ago that were funded by the Vine Neighborhood Association. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 17

Crane Park 2001 S. Westnedge Ave.

Brian Powers

For some people this is a park they pass as they

drive up and down South Westnedge Avenue. For others, like me, it’s a neighborhood park. And for many, it is a place of beauty, with its well-tended flower gardens. In 1911, Edgar Crane left 10 acres near his home to the city. The park blossomed by 1941, when Works Progess Administration (WPA) funds during the Depression fostered the planting of more than 250 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees, along with the building of rock walls, brick roads and walkways. The gardens were designed to show residents how they could landscape their properties. Today the gardens are maintained by master gardeners and volunteers who care for the perennial beds, which are filled with a wide variety of native plants. Historical images courtesy of Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections.

About the Author Lynn Houghton is the regional history curator at the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections. She leads the Gazelle Sports Historic Walks, a series of free architectural and historic walks at various locations in Kalamazoo County during the summer and fall, and is the co-author of Kalamazoo Lost and Found, a book on Kalamazoo history and architecture. She also participated in the PBS series 10 That Changed America. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from WMU and a master’s in library and information science from Wayne State University.

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Hidden Treasures

Unique & unusual local wonders right under your nose

20 | ENCORE JUNE 2021



ou may pass by them every day and overlook them. You may stumble upon one accidentally and wonder, “What is this place?” Or you may not know about them at all. Southwest Michigan abounds with unique and interesting sights that residents of the area often forget about or have never known were there. Here we highlight several places and things right in our backyard that we believe are worth a closer look. See Kalamazoo’s Own‘Stonehenge’ Along the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, just east of Mayors’ Riverfront Park, a short spur trail leads up to a secluded stand of trees and brush encircling four tall cement pillars. Informally given the moniker “Kalamazoo’s Stonehenge,” the pillars are intricately adorned with impressions of objects in bas-relief — some clearly symbolic of the area, such as a Checker cab, a stalk of celery and a beer bottle; others not so much, like the cartoonish head of former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon. In 2019, WMUK reporter Sehvilla Mann set out to find out the history of this forgotten sculpture and discovered that it was created by Kalamazoo artist Mitchell Wilcox, with contributions from another local artist, Ladislav Hanka Jr., and has been there for more than two decades. It’s actually titled The Circular Ruin, and Mitchell told Mann that each pillar represents a different era in Kalamazoo’s history. You can find out more of the story behind the piece at wmuk.org/post/ whys-kalamazoos-forgotten-stonehenge.

These Sites Are Au Naturel It’s not easy to find a nature preserve in the middle of a city, but the greater Kalamazoo area is a paradox. The area offers a number of such places nestled in the midst of neighborhoods and commercial corridors. And while the grassy prairie of the Asylum Lake Preserve is easily seen as one drives down stretches of South Drake Road or Parkview Avenue, here are a few other preserves you need to look a little harder to find: The 140-acre Lillian Anderson Arboretum, located at 7787 W. Main St., is on the south side of M-43 just past Oshtemo Township Park. Owned by Kalamazoo College, its marsh, meadow and pine and deciduous forests are used by the college for research, but the arboretum is open free to the public from dawn to dusk. Its 2.2-mile trail is an easy loop that offers lake views and abundant bird watching. Find trail maps and more information at arboretum.kzoo.edu. With its 250 acres, Bishop’s Bog is a holdover from the last Ice Age and is believed to be the largest relict bog in Michigan, meaning one that has survived from an earlier era. Registered with the Nature Conservancy, the bog is home to several rare plant species, including the orange fringed orchid and the stemless pink ladyslipper. Bishop’s Bog is accessible from five city parks and preserves in Portage — West Lake Nature Preserve, South Westnedge Park, Schrier Park, Left: Among other things, a face or two can be found in the sculpture The Circular Ruin, pictured below, which has been located just east of Mayors' Riverfront Park for nearly two decades.

Brian Powers


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Courtesy 22 | ENCORE JUNE 2021



the Eliason Nature Preserve and Bishop’s Bog Preserve — and is the centerpiece of the Portage SouthCentral Greenway, a six-mile pathway that links the five parks and preserves. Much of the Bishop’s Bog Preserve’s 1.2-mile trail is floating, taking the wanderer through marshes and wetlands. Be forewarned, though: With the higher water levels the area has experienced the last few years, the floating walkway tends to “squirt” water up through its holes, giving users either an unwelcome surprise or a refreshing spritz, depending on their perspective. For trail maps and more information on Bishop’s Bog, visit the Portage website’s Parks & Recreation Division page, at portagemi.gov/ facilities. Tucked neatly into the heart of Kalamazoo’s Winchell, Hillcrest and Westnedge Hill neighborhoods is Kleinstuck Preserve, a 48-acre nature preserve owned and managed by Western Michigan University. This unique ecosystem includes upland forest, swamp forest, shrub carr and marshland and is home to a variety of plants and animals. A favorite spot among local birdwatchers, the property is open to the public and is used by WMU and other institutions for research and education. The preserve and its 1.2-mile loop trail are accessible from Chevy Chase Boulevard (where there are several parking spaces), Stearns Avenue, Hudson Avenue or a trail that runs behind the tennis courts at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo. The conservation group Stewards of Kleinstuck recently purchased an adjacent 12 acres to add to the preserve.

Can You Dig It? Every summer an active archaeological dig occurs on the banks of the St. Joseph River in Niles that people can view and even participate in. The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project is unearthing Fort St. Joseph, which was established as a mission in the 1680s by French Jesuits and was one of the earliest European settlements in the western Great Lakes region. The fort became a garrison and trading post, and for almost 80 years French priests, enlisted men and traders lived there. Excavation of the site began in 1998 as a collaboration of WMU archaeologists, Support the Fort Inc. and the city of Niles. Each summer WMU students participate in a field camp excavation at the site, which also hosts summer camps for elementary through highschool-age students. On Aug. 7 and 8 the project will host its annual open house, which will include speakers, reenactors and archeologists at work. The public can also attend the project’s summer lecture series, the details of which were still being worked out at press time. Because of Covid-19, there may be restrictions in place for attendance at these events, so be sure to visit wmich.edu/fortstjoseph for up-to-date information.

Brian Powers Brian Powers

Brian Powers

Tour Underground Railroad Sites More than 150 years ago, several small communities in Cass County were pivotal elements of the Underground Railroad, helping nearly 2,000 escaped slaves from the American South find freedom as they passed through Michigan on the secret network's Quaker and Illinois “lines.” In an effort to bring that history to light, the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County has created a self-guided driving tour of 20 Underground Railroad sites in and around Vandalia. The tour includes such sites as the restored home and carriage house of Underground Railroad station master James E. Bonine; the Chain Lake Baptist Church in Cassopolis, founded in 1838 and one of the oldest African-American churches in Michigan and the birthplace of the area's Anti-Slavery Society; and the Cass County Courthouse, where abolitionists turned back slave catchers who had stormed local Quaker farms to retrieve runaways during the 1847 Kentucky Raid. A printable map is available at urscc.org; maps are also available at the Underground Railroad historical marker in Milo Barnes Park, on M-60 in Vandalia. Vandalia also hosts the annual Underground Railroad Days on the second weekend of July (July 9-11 this year). This three-day festival celebrates the region’s role in the abolitionist movement. In the past the festival has included guided tours of several historic sites; a soul food dinner; a living-history portrayal of Michigan's 102nd United States Colored Troops regiment, which served in the Civil War; plus music and vendors. Due to Covid-19, the 2020 festival was cancelled, but at press time organizers of the Underground Railroad Days expected it to be held this year. For more information, visit villageofvandaliami.com. Take a Paddling Tour

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: A trail in Lillian Anderson Arboretum; the marsh in Kleinstuck Preserve; students engaging in an archaeological dig at Fort St. Joseph; and the floating trail through Bishop’s Bog. This page: Sights on the Underground Railroad driving tour include the Bonine house (top), the Cass County Courthouse (bottom left) and the Bonine Carriage House (bottom right).

Kayaking or canoeing the Kalamazoo River from Comstock to Cooper Township is scenic, but in more ways than you might think. It’s an interesting way to see — and hear — some less-seen industrial aspects of the area as well as its natural beauty. Depending on your skill and comfort level, you can begin the roughly 10-mile trip at one of two currently open launch sites in

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Brian Powers

or near Comstock. The Department of Natural Resources Comstock Township Access, about a mile east of the intersection of M-96 and Business Route 94 and less than a half-mile west of River Street, offers gentle put-in waters. More-experienced paddlers will find the current a little faster upstream at the launch site at Merrill Park, located at the corner of Comstock Avenue and River Street. This stretch of the river offers glimpses of the Kalamazoo area’s industrial side and its past industry, including the former site of the Georgia Pacific paper manufacturing complex, which is now vacant land, Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers’ active scrapyard and the Grand Elk Railroad yard. The river will also take you past Mayors’ Riverfront Park and Red Arrow Golf Course, under East Michigan Avenue and past the former Arcadia Brewing Co. facility. You’ll continue through Kalamazoo’s Northside area, past the Graphic Packaging paper mill, which is currently undergoing a massive expansion that is visible from the river. Once you pass under Mosel Avenue, through Parchment and into Cooper Township, the scenery becomes more natural and wooded as the river runs alongside the Kalamazoo Nature Center. The D Avenue launch is private, and there is a small fee to take out there.

Brian Powers

From top left: You can see the city’s industrial side floating the Kalamazoo River; Einstein throwing a frisbee on WMU’s Parkview Campus; history at Vicksburg Historical Village & Depot Museum; and colorful quilt blocks on the Vicksburg Quilt Trail.






Please send your questions to:

Please send your questions to:

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. Willis Law 491 West South Street Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.492.1040 www.willis.law

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A.




My husband is going into a nursing home. I’ve been told it is possible for me to create a trust and protect my assets from the spend down at the nursing home. Is that true?


SenatorLAWYER Bernie Sanders proposed A. Q. a new bill related A.to the estate tax. What does it say? A.

Yes. Most often when folks talk on trust planning, they are referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally is set up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there Please send your questions to: husband going into a nursing home.that I’ve told it is is anMy irrevocable trustisfor persons in your circumstances can been be established withtoyour assetsatotrust the extent they exceed protected possible for me create and protect my the assets from the spend Willis Law amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). down at the nursing home. Is that true? 491 West South Street If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an Kalamazoo, MI 49007 MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS annuity LAW income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in 269.492.1040 such Yes. a circumstance the trustwhen will no folks longer talk be considered Most often on trusta countable planning, they are www.willis.law asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid Please send your questions to: referencing a My revocable trust. Ingoing fact, that case probably more intois atheand nursing purposes. This is husband a sophisticatedis planning technique, I highly home. I’ve been told it is thanencourage 99% of you the time. counsel A revocable trust underthisMichigan law generally before implementing or possible toforseekme to create a trust andtechnique protect my assets from the spend is set only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there anyup other Medicaid planning. Willis Law MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A.


Willis Law 491 West South Street Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. 491 West South Street Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.492.1040 www.willis.law 269.492.1040 www.willis.law


at thetrust nursing home. Is that true? is an down irrevocable for persons in your circumstances that can be established with your assets to the extent they exceed the protected amount (whichYes. under Michigan law will cap folks at a little Most often when talkover on$125,000). trust planning, they are If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more annuity income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there asset, isbutset instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid purposes. is a sophisticated I highly is an This irrevocable trust forplanning personstechnique, in your and circumstances that can be encourage you to seek this technique or the protected established withcounsel your before assetsimplementing to the extent they exceed any other Medicaid planning.

Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.



amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000).

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such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid

A. It says trouble for wealthy Americans. The current estate tax exemption (gen-

erally, the amount one may own or control without paying estate tax) would drop from $11.7 Million (today) to $3.5 Million, effective January 1, 2022, under Senator Sanders’ bill. Further, where today the estate tax exemption is “unified” with the gift tax exemption (so each of us may give away as much as $11.7M without paying gift or estate tax), this new proposal would drop the gift exemption to $1M and any gift during life in excess of that amount would be subject to tax. The bill also attacks some of the more sophisticated techniques that are employed by estate planning lawyers to minimize against the estate tax. Given Senator Sanders’ bill, and President Biden’s intention to tax wealthy Americans, at death, on capital gains, we may be in a narrowing window to “plan ahead” of a very different tax structure for estates and gifts in the future. Gabriel Giron in his Kalamazoo home.

Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

24 | ENCORE JUNE 2021


This is a sophisticated technique, and I highly Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneyspurposes. and Counselors at Law, isplanning licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent encouragewhich you to seek before implementing this over technique or Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, hascounsel been rating lawyers for a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. any other Medicaid planning. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

See Einstein Tossing a Frisbee Even though the Frisbee was invented after renowned scientist Alfred Einstein died in 1955, he can still be seen throwing one on WMU’s Parkview Campus. A welded steel sculpture titled Between Theorems depicts a golden, bedraggled Einstein having fun with a flying disc. The sculpture was created by Montana artist Jim Dolan and entered in 2012’s Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids. It was there that John A. Kapenga, WMU associate professor of computer science, and his wife, Karen Woodin, saw it and purchased it with the intention of putting it in their yard. Instead, they had it installed near the main entrance to WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where it has become a mascot of sorts for WMU’s High Performance Computational Science Laboratory.

Siesta Silver Jewelry/Brian K. Powers

Brian Powers

More information about paddling the Kalamazoo River can be found at kalamazooriver.org or michiganwatertrails.org.

Society are available to answer questions about Vicksburg area history. The village is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit vicksburghistory.org. After you check out the village, go on a scavenger hunt of sorts by following the Vicksburg Quilt Trail. The trail is 45 miles long and features 24 8-by-8-foot quilt blocks placed on the sides of buildings throughout Vicksburg and at many area farms. It takes about two hours by car to see all the quilts. To get a map and more information, visit

vicksburghistory.org/quilt-trail. The trail also has a Facebook page at facebook.com/ VicksburgQuiltTrail. If you’d rather get some exercise while seeking out some of the quilt blocks, Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s annual Fall Bike Tour, with at least seven routes of various lengths, will include glimpses of the Quilt Trail. The Sept. 19 tour starts and ends on the grounds of Vicksburg’s Historic Village. For more information on the bike tour, visit fallbikecelebration.org.

Go Back in Time By driving 15 miles south from Kalamazoo you can take a trip back in time at the Vicksburg Historical Village & Depot Museum, at 300 N. Richardson St. What began in 1990 as The Depot Museum, housing artifacts and documents of Vicksburg’s history, has grown to include nine additional buildings displaying artifacts that reflect the rural community from the 1890s to 1932. Visitors can see a train caboose and boxcar, a cemetery, a farmstead, a gazebo, a newspaper office and print shop, a Railway Express Agency shipping office, Strong School, a former township hall, a village garage, and a general store and sweet shop. Volunteers from the Vicksburg Historical w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 25

It’s Natural

Doing good is a great way to get to know the wild spaces

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ou’re outdoors, you’re giving back, and you’re experiencing some of the great natural resources in your own part of the world: Meet volunteer stewardship. Volunteer stewards are key to restoring and maintaining fragile native ecosystems across our region. Groups like the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, among others, are always looking for volunteer stewards to help care for parks and nature preserves, doing everything from maintaining trails to culling invasive species and planting wildflower seeds. Spring and summer efforts for both organizations typically start in April with a simple, yet cathartic project: pulling garlic mustard, an invasive plant from Europe that multiplies quickly and easily in Michigan forests. After the Covid-heightened cabin fever of the past year, the sheer physicality of yanking these invasive plants from the ground in the name of the greater good sounds kind of satisfying. “When conservation becomes a hands-on activity and you tell kids or adults or whoever that as long as they learn to identify the right plants when they can go in there with loppers and chop them down and stack up piles and stuff like that (that) they're actually making a positive impact, you really do get a little bit of that release,” says Mitch Lettow, director of stewardship at SWMLC. Last year, in response to Covid-19 restrictions and socialdistancing measures, SWMLC held off on organizing group workdays to pull garlic mustard in the organization’s preserves, instead opting for a self-guided effort that turned out to be pretty successful, Lettow says. Preserves with clusters of garlic mustard were outfitted with instructional signs and photos for visitors to reference. Lettow estimates that about 500 large black garbage bags’ worth of garlic mustard plants were pulled during the season. Because of this success, the self-guided garlic mustard pulls are continuing this year. Group workdays are also being held again after last year’s hiatus. Kelsey Dillon, a natural resources steward with the DNR, says she saw a rise in volunteer participants last summer as well, although her projects were in-person, limited to fewer than 25 people and socially distanced. People “were wanting to get outdoors and help the environment more because they really turned to the parks and the recreation areas during Covid,” she says, “and so we saw a really big spike in interest for our volunteer program.” This year the 25-person limit for workdays has been lifted, Dillon says. Workdays for both organizations typically have participants ranging in age from 5 to 75. If the weather has been rainy and


Nature’s Pull

Left: Pretty, but invasive, garlic mustard is taking over wild spaces across the area. Above: A Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff member helps a volunteer identify the weed during an event to pull it in state parks.

suddenly a workday is sunny, it will usually have more participants, Lettow says. If pulling weeds isn’t your thing, both the conservancy and the DNR organize workdays for planting wildflower seeds to replace invasive species and bring natural spaces back into balance. Lettow has been with SWMLC for more than 15 years, beginning his time with the conservancy group as a volunteer before being hired to do stewardship work in 2010. He landed the position as director of stewardship in 2019. “Once I started to volunteer for SWMLC, I really felt like I was making an impact,” Lettow says. “A lot of environmental and conservation issues that you hear about, you feel a little bit helpless to change them, so I really like the way that made me feel.” No Experience Required For those new to engaging in outdoor stewardship, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: Be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. And wear long pants, since it’s not uncommon to run into ticks and poison ivy. “It’s like 100 percent a judgment-free zone,” Lettow says. “Wear your raggedy, hole-filled shirt that you garden or work around the yard or on the house or whatever in.” Some projects require volunteers to bring only a pair of gloves, but others require extra equipment like loppers or handsaws to get the

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Become a Land Steward These are some of the local organizations and governmental bodies that provide opportunities for you to become a volunteer steward of natural areas: Kalamazoo County In addition to county parks, the county maintains the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, a paved trail that winds through many natural areas and along some city streets. Volunteer activities include trail cleanup to remove litter, debris and invasive plants and surveying trail users about how and why the trail is used. More info: 383-8778, kalcounty.com/parks/krvt/volunteers.htm Kalamazoo Nature Center Provides nature experience and education on its 1,100 acres of wooded, rolling countryside north of Kalamazoo. Volunteer activities include bird banding and citizen science programs, conservation of local endangered species and management of wildlife habitat. More info: naturecenter.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer Kalamazoo River Watershed Council Works to restore and protect the Kalamazoo River, its tributaries and watershed. Volunteer activities include removing litter and garbage from the river and watershed and guiding canoe trips. More info: kalamazooriver.org/act/volunteer 28 | ENCORE JUNE 2021

Amelia Hansen, SWMLC

Below: Volunteers with the Stewards of Kleinstuck work on clearing the preserve’s trails during the winter months. Right: SWMLC volunteers, from left, Lorri Walch (crouching), Chuck Quoss, Dave Walch and Terry O'Connor, examine plants as SWMLC Stewardship Mitch Lettow, at right, talks about the natural flora.

job done. Because of Covid-19, participants are encouraged to drive separately to meetups, bring their own equipment if possible and not share tools while working. Also, they should be sure to know where they’re going, since SWMLC holds workdays in nearly 50 preserves in nine counties, including Barry, Calhoun and Kalamazoo. However, experience is not a requirement to participate for workdays, Dillon says. “Our volunteers come from master gardeners

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Oversees the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources. Among these resources are 20 state parks and other natural areas across southern Michigan, including the Kal-Haven Trail and the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery. Volunteers help with cleanup work, fighting invasive species and improving wildlife habitat. A calendar of volunteer stewardship workdays is available on the DNR website. There are also opportunities for individuals to volunteer on their own schedule. More info: tinyurl.com/j699m8c4 Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy Works to preserve and protect wild and scenic places, improve habitats and connect people with nature as it owns more than 15,000 acres across the nine counties of Southwest Michigan, including 18 public preserves and 30 limited-access preserves. Volunteer activities include lopping brush, putting up signs, collecting seeds, pulling invasive plants and conducting species inventories. More info: swmlc.org/volunteer Stewards of Kleinstuck Helps maintain and preserve the 48-acre natural area in the heart of Kalamazoo. Volunteer activities include invasive plant pulls and cleanup. Volunteer workdays are scheduled for the second Sunday of each month. More info: stewardsofkleinstuck.org

and folks that worked in the restoration ecology field — so, experts — all the way to people just coming out for the first time that maybe have only hiked a trail once before,” she explains. Setting Stewards Up for Success Dillon says that each time she leads a workday she steps into the effort with the intention of setting volunteer stewards up for success. “You get this really cool little packaged ecology lesson in every project with us, which is fun,” she says. “I love engaging with people and making sure they understand why they are so, so important to our volunteer program.” Dillon says that she’s always sure to explain the ecosystem she and the crew are working in — her favorites are the dwindling oak barrens more common in the southeastern part of the state — and how the invasive species are affecting the area. She includes a thorough explanation of how to identify and properly remove the species — information that can be used in your backyard as well. “We have a million things to do, “ she says, “so for someone to take time out of their day to come volunteer with us, I wanna make sure they know their purpose, make sure they know they’re valuable, that they know something about what they’re doing, that they can take those skills with them.” The Land Gives Back As much as volunteers enrich the natural area they work in, they walk away enriched by the land and by their co-stewards. Over the course of his eight years with SWMLC, Lettow says, other volunteers have taught him a lot about everything from best equipment and techniques for removing certain species to new perspectives on conservancy. For Dillon, the friendships and bonds made during workdays are just as important as the conservancy work. “Another thing I love to do is make connections among the volunteers, because you already have so much in common with everyone else coming out to this volunteer workday,” she says. “And Covid presented a little challenge for creating these connections among participants, but you just get to meet so many people that already share all of these amazing values.”

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New Century Surf

Gavan brothers at core of Guitar UP!’s retro sound by


That mid-century instrumental twangy

rock 'n' roll that some call "surf" can conjure many moods other than those spurred by beaches, waves and bikinis. It can spawn visions of a moody night in a gritty urban setting, as when the Kalamazoo band Guitar UP! was playing the Old Dog Tavern's outdoor stage a couple years ago. Under a full moon on downtown Kalamazoo’s east side, where the city’s industrial past is never completely eliminated by the many brewpubs that have sprung up there, a loud train blew through on the tracks just yards from the stage. "We probably broke into 'Rumble' at that point, right?" guitarist Shawn Gavan says. "That's our thing." Of course, they did. Crossing bells at Kalamazoo Avenue started dinging, the train blasted its horn, and the band launched into a classic that was dangerously loud from the start. The original 1958 recording of Link Wray's "Rumble" was banned from many radio stations because concerned citizens feared its title and menacing sound would cause gang fights. But name aside, the song was also appropriate because in 1997 Shawn's younger brother and Guitar UP! bandmate Jay Gavan went to see a senior citizen play in Kalamazoo's legendary music bar The Club Soda: Link Wray himself. Jay remembers that Wray walked onto the stage as the backup band played an intro. "He's just taking his time, and then — he's not even playing a chord or a song, he's just playing open strings — 'BRAAANG!' And then he goes to the mic and yells, 'Guitar UP!'" Wray was yelling across the room at the sound guy, who gave him a look of "You're up all the way, dude!" Jay says. So, when the Gavan brothers formed their twangy band, the name was obvious. Guitar UP! also features Bryan Heany on drums and Mark Duval on bass, but the core 30 | ENCORE JUNE 2021

of the band was formed by the two brothers tied by a bond of guitars and surf music. Homemade music In 1978, Shawn was 11 and Jay 8 when Shawn started taking guitar lessons. "Mel Bay stuff," Shawn says, bringing up memories of the lesson book and its simple tunes for beginners. "And you were bored out of your mind," Jay adds, revealing that their mother ultimately asked the instructor to teach Shawn “some songs that he'd like.” The teacher, a former big-band player in his 60s, got out the hippest guitar music he knew: The Ventures, whose 1960 hit "Walk Don't Run" led to more than 250 albums of instrumental rock. It wasn't exactly hip anymore in 1978, but Shawn took to it. Shawn would pick out "Walk Don't Run," and as soon as he put his guitar down, Jay would grab it and try it himself. "Just mimic what he was doing," Jay says. When they reached their early teens, they were both

Above: Guitar UP! is (clockwise from left) Shawn Gavan, Mark Duval, Brian Heany and Jay Gavan. Right: A poster promoting a pre-pandemic performance by the band at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids (top) and the band performing live (bottom).

playing “some of the (surf) repertoire without even knowing what it was," Jay says. Around 1984, Shawn and a few high school friends formed a band. "We didn't have a singer, so the songs that made sense (to play) were The Ventures' songs," he says. They needed a bass player, so he turned to his little brother. But Jay needed a bass, so Shawn made him one. "I had an old bass neck pulled from the trash heap somewhere and slapped that on a slab of plywood with a guitar pickup and some chrome bike fender cut and bent out to make a bridge," Shawn says. "It was pretty awful but worked." Jay, then around 13, started patiently learning to play the junkyard instrument, picking out the bass parts from Van Halen and other rockers of the time. "John Taylor (bass player) of Duran Duran blew my mind," says Jay.


The band didn't work out, so Shawn went on to join Phoenix, a cover band that played local bars and weddings (not the French alternative band of the same name from this century). "You got into a bad-ass cover band, rockin' the world with Phoenix, and left me in the lurch with a homemade bass," Jay says to his brother. Back together It would be decades before the brothers played together again. Jay,

now 50, eventually became a history professor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He also teaches kids to play rock as an instructor for the Kalamazoo Academy of Rock and has been in a few bands this century, from the protest rock band The Army to the gypsy jazz band The Birdseed Salesmen. Shawn, 53, has worked in telephony as a communications engineer. During family get-togethers, the brothers would break out the surf guitars. "We'd always talk about how we should do this, but it never came together," Jay says. When The Army broke up, Jay and Shawn did a few jam sessions and found themselves getting twangy again. In 2012 they made Guitar UP! official. The band put out the EP Liquid Sunshine in 2017, followed by Western Pacific in 2019. The band’s tunes stylistically show that surf music isn't all about the beach. Western Pacific has sounds that recall spies, drag-strip hot rods, and bad hombres on horseback. "For me, I dig a lot of the movie soundtracks from the mid-'60s, even before that,” Shawn says. “A lot of it was in parallel to the surf scene — the spaghetti western-type and spy-type soundtrack stuff that was going on." There are no lyrics to guide the listener. "Without a singer, you have to imagine what you're hearing,” Shawn says. “I think a lot of that music is a mood-setter, like for a movie." "You don't immediately conjure up a vocalist or even what the band looks like," Jay adds. "The memories when you hear that stuff are often cinematic."

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See Guitar UP!

June Schedule


What: Guitar UP! performs

JUNE 6 CABILDO - Latin Rock Collective JUNE 20 KALAMAZOO CONCERT BAND JUNE 27 INDIKA - Reggae For a complete Summer Schedule:

Visit KalamazooArts.org

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Recognizable tunes A strength of the original surf bands was their use of great melodies and recognizable tunes, Jay points out. He remembers seeing contemporary surf band Los Straitjackets wow an audience by playing Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from Titanic)." "They played that, and that was beautiful, because it's a really well-known melody, a simple melody. But you do it in that style and it's awesome, way better than the original,” Jay says. “I'd rather hear a guitar twang that out than (Celine Dion)."

When: 6 p.m. July 2 Where: Allegan's Riverfront stage Can’t make the show? Give ‘em a listen here: guitarupsurfband.com Hearing this version of the song inspired the quartet's pandemic project: doing surf covers of classical and jazz tunes. For example, they turn Chopin's 1832 Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 2 into something teens in a surf movie could twist to. The band’s surf/jazz/samba rendition of Brazilian Antônio Carlos Jobim's “Surfboard” feels like a sunny escape. Prior to the pandemic, Guitar UP! played a lot of shows in Kalamazoo and had regular gigs at the Grand Rapids retro-music club the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill. Guitar UP! was about to do its first show in Chicago when the lockdown came. During the pandemic the band has kept up recording in their individual studios, but the band members hadn't been in the same room since February 2020. When they do perform together again, Jay hopes it’s like the time Guitar UP! opened for the Russian surf band Messer Chups at the Tip Top in late 2019. "The bass player for that band is like this tall, supermodel-looking woman. They're playing the same style of music, but you could see all the people in front of the stage just like…," he says, with his mouth hanging open. "They were transported so far from Grand Rapids, Michigan," he says. "Your mind goes elsewhere when that music starts."


Please Note: Due to the Covid–19 virus, some of these events may be cancelled or changed after press time. Please check with venues and organizations for up-to-date information. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER

Backyard Broadway — Farmers Alley Theater will bring a 45-minute musical revue starring some favorite area performers (Jeremy Koch, Whitney Weiner, Este ‘Fan Kizer and more) to your backyard. Visit farmersalleytheatre.com to pick a date and time that fit your schedule, June through September, farmersalleytheatre.com. Diamond Jubilee Gala — The Barn Theatre celebrates its 75th season with songs, theater performances and more, 7 p.m. June 25 & 26, 2 p.m. June 27, barntheatreschool.org/events. MUSIC

Light Eternal: A Virtual Concert Premiere for Unity and Reflection — Kalamazoo Bach Festival and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra present a livestreamed concert combining vocal and orchestral music and spoken word performances reflecting on the collective grief experienced in 2020, 8 p.m. June 24, YouTube, kalamazoobachfestival.org. DANCE

ARTbreak — Program about art, artists and exhibitions: West Michigan Area Show juror talk by Larry Ossei-Mensah, noon-1 p.m. June 1; Japanese ceramics collection talk by Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, 6-7 p.m. June 15; artists of the West Michigan Area Show, noon-1 p.m. June 29; all talks are online; visit website to reserve a spot.

Student Concert of Dance — A live outdoor performance by students of the Wellspring Dance Academy, 4 p.m. June 6, Overlander Bandshell, 7999 S. Westnedge Ave., 342-4354, wellspringdance.org.

Virtual KIA Arts Fair — Celebrating the 70th anniversary of one of the oldest fine-arts fairs in the U.S., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. June 3-6, with opportunities to buy art; visit website for more information.


Yun-Fei Ji — The artist speaks online with KIA Chief Curator Rehema Barber about his life and work, 6-7 p.m. June 17; visit website to register.

Media Project Incubator — Learn how to make a Public Media Network program, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through June; open to all, but PMN is especially interested in shows made by people of color, LGBTQ folks, immigrants and people of marginalized genders; publicmedianet.org.

Gun Lake Live Summer Series — Funkle Jesse, June 2; Union Guns, June 9; Typo, June 16; Soulstice, June 23; Jedi Mind Trip, June 30; food and beverages served, starting at 5 p.m.; shows begin at 6 p.m. rain or shine, Lakefront Pavillion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 888-486-5253.

Voices for Change Documentary Collaborative — Learn how to produce a three- to five-minute documentary video on a topic important to you, 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays through June; virtual and hybrid options available; publicmedianet.org/ workshops.

Beats on Bates — Weekly live outdoor music under the lights of Bates Alley, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays: Out of Favor Boys, June 2; Kandace Lavender, June 9; An Dro, June 16; Zion Lion, June 23; LaSoulfulRock, June 30; downtownkalamazoo.org.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org

State on the Street — Live concerts Fridays outside the State Theatre: LaSoulfulRock, June 4; James Reeser & The Backseat Drivers, June 11; Dylan Tolbert, June 18; seating starting at 5 p.m. and music at 5:30, 404 S. Burdick, kazoostate.com. Music on the Mall — Live performances on the South Kalamazoo Mall, 3-6 p.m. Saturdays, through September: Kevin Collins, June 12; Allie Garland, June 19; J. Cam. G, June 26; downtownkalamazoo.org. Summertime Live — Free, live outdoor concerts sponsored by the Arts Council of Kalamazoo: Cabildo, 4 p.m. June 6, Bronson Park; Shania Twin, Shania Twain Tribute, 7 p.m. June 17, Ramona Park, Portage; Kalamazoo Concert Band, 4 p.m. June 20, Bronson Park; Indika, 4 p.m. June 27, Bronson Park; Last Gasp Collective, 5:30 p.m. June 27, Flesher Field, Oshtemo; kalamazooarts.org.



As of press time, the galleries were open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. You can register to visit on the website or walk in if space is available. Exhibitions

From Earth and Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection — Some of the most cutting-edge works the Boston-based collectors have acquired in the past three years, through June 17. 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 — Raised in China during the Cultural Revolution, Yun-Fei uses historical folktales to speak of environmental issues and mass migration through his art, June-September.

Other Venues

The Illustrated Accordion — An exhibition featuring books created in the accordion form, through June 18, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, kalbookarts.org. Westminster Art Festival — A celebration of art, Earth care and faith, with the theme “What Country Do Rains Come From?” Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen St., Portage, through June 30, westminsterartfestival.org. Art Hop/Art on the Mall — Featuring jewelry, pottery, sculptures, garden art, demonstrations and live entertainment, South Kalamazoo Mall and South Street, noon–8 p.m. June 4, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 5, 342-5059, kalamazooarts.org. Artist Happy Hour — A monthly online event featuring group or panel discussions to connect artists and share information about Kalamazoo’s arts scene and beyond, 6–7:30 p.m. fourth Wednesday of the month, beginning June 23; register at kalamazooarts.org. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org Library hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Masks are required, and library visits are limited to one hour a day. Painting in Merrill Park — Lauren Lasater teaches techniques for painting drinkable glassware, 6-7:30 p.m. June 17, Merrill Park, 5845 Comstock Ave.; registration required.

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Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov As of press time, all KPL locations were open for curbside service only. Page Turners Book Club — Zoom discussion of The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel, 6:30 p.m. June 7; registration required. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org The library is open 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, June 7–Aug. 7. Kindleberger Park History Walk — Learn about park landmarks and their history on a walk with local historian Cheryl Lyon-Jenness, 6:30 p.m. June 15, Kindleberger Park Historical Marker, 401 S. Riverview Drive, Parchment. Portage District Library Temporary location: 5528 Portage Road, 329-4544, portagedistrictlibrary.info Hours: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday; curbside service available 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday–Friday. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org As of press time, the library was open at 50 percent capacity from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 1-7 p.m. Thursday; and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.

The H2O Show — Exhibit of 25 miniature prints by the Southwest Michigan Printmakers based on the theme of water, through July. Summer Reading Kick-Off — With fun and games, 1–3 p.m. June 18, Richland Village Square. Summer Team Trivia — Five rounds of trivia, 7 p.m. June 24; registration required. Chalk the Walk — Decorate the sidewalk, 10 a.m.– noon June 26, outside the library.

and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Online ticketing is encouraged. Mondays 9-11 a.m. are for vulnerable people.

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. Also, information on Air Zoo co-founder Suzanne Parish, who was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.), and Three Oaks native Lois Phillips, a U.S. Marines corporal who used flight simulators to provide instrument training during World War II. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org The museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; see website for Covid-19 guidelines.

Greatest Generation: Corvette — This exhibition includes two dozen of the rarest Corvettes from all around 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. Vintage Motorcycle Weekend — A classic event with thousands of motorcycles, from rare to iconic rides of the past 100 years, with vintage motorcycles for sale as well as cycle parts and memorabilia swap meet, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 12–13. Micro/Mini Meet — Yearly gathering of microand mini-cars, including classics like Isetta, Messerschmitt and Mini Cooper, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 18-19. All Air-Cooled Gathering — Annual event featuring rare air-cooled cars, free spectator admission for members, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 19. Congress of Motorcars — Featuring vehicles produced in 1942 or earlier, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 25 & 26.


Oldsmobiles & Orphans — Retired and discontinued brands in addition to Oldsmobiles, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 27.

Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555, airzoo.org

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

The museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. MondaySaturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, at limited occupancy because of Covid-19. Amusement rides are temporarily closed, but Kittyhawk Cafe has reopened 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

The museum is open 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; registration required.

34 | ENCORE JUNE 2021

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. Beth Bradfish Sound Sculpture — Manipulate wire-mesh screens and sounds for an auditory experience that blends arts and sciences. 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. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org The Visitor Center remained closed at press time, but trails are open 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily and programs continue with Covid precautions. Public Observing Session — A Kalamazoo Astronomical Society event highlighting the moon and double stars, 9:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m.; check kasonline.org for possible weather-based cancellation. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510, birdsanctuary@kbs.msu.edu The trails are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. WednesdaySunday. At press time the Resource Center was closed, but public restrooms at the back of the auditorium building were open. Birds and Coffee Chat Online — Grab your morning beverage and learn about a new bird species in Southwest Michigan, 10 a.m. June 9; registration required. Father’s Day — Dads get in free, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 20. Other Venues

Cosmic Instability: How a Smooth Early Universe Grew into Everyone You Know — Nobel Prize Laureate John C. Mather discusses the James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in October; his talk via Zoom is presented by the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, 7-9:15 p.m. June 4; register at kasonline.org.


Garlic Mustard Pull — Learn to identify, remove and dispose of this invasive plant, 9 a.m.–noon June 6, Lexington Green Park, 4750 Pittsford St., portagemi.gov. MISCELLANEOUS 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 a different mystery revealed each month, at various Portage park locations; this month’s event is June 1, with the theme “Weird Science”; registration required at mypark.portagemi.gov. Workout Wednesdays — Free socially distanced workouts offered by local fitness organizations: Bent 9 Yoga, Barre & Fitness, June 2; Wellspring Dance Academy, June 9; Ascension Borgess Health & Fitness, June 16; Down Dog Yoga Center, June 23; Fit Bella Vei, June 30; 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, through September, Bronson Park, downtownkalamazoo.org. Friday at the Flats — Local food trucks and vendors, 4–8 p.m. June 4, Celery Flats Pavilion, 7335 Garden Lane, portagemi.gov.

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. June 12, Kalamazoo Mall. Smart Cycling — Learn to ride your bike safely, with information on maintenance, riding in traffic and more, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. June 12, Portage City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave.; registration required at portagemi.gov. Portage Repticon — Get up close with different types of reptiles, noon–4 p.m. June 12, Celery Flats, 7335 Garden Lane, portagemi.gov. Chalk the Lot — Watch local artists create chalk masterpieces on pavement during this judged competition, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. June 12, DeNooyer Chevrolet, 5800 Stadium Drive. Kzoo Parks Summer Cinema — See Spare Parts on a large LED video board, 7 p.m. June 18, El Concilio, 930 Lake St., kzooparks.org. Family Fishing Fair — Explore the world of fishing, boating and aquatic conservation, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. June 19, Ramona Park, portagemi.gov.

Soul Food: Truths, Tastes & Traditions — Learn about the history of Juneteenth and explore soul food cuisine with Monifa Jumanne and a guest chef, 3 p.m. June 19, Portage Senior Center, 320 Library Lane; registration required by June 5 at portagemi.gov. Adult Pickleball Clinic — A course for beginners, 5:30 p.m. June 21, Ramona Park; registration required at mypark.portagemi.gov. Movies in the Park — Watch Jumanji: The Next Level from your car, 9 p.m. June 25, Ramona Park, portagemi.gov. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 26, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., kalamazooreptileexpo.com. Great American Campout — Reserve a campsite and enjoy classic summer activities, including s’mores eating, scavenger hunts, a bonfire and a night hike, 3 p.m. June 26–10:30 a.m. June 27, Ramona Park; registration required at mypark. portagemi.gov.

Do-Dah Parade — With the theme “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”; the units will be stationary and socially distanced throughout downtown, with parade-goers walking or biking along the route to view, begins at 11 a.m. June 5, dodahkzoo.com. Paddlesports Sampler — Learn about and experience a variety of watercraft, from kayaks and canoes to stand-up paddleboards, 10 a.m.-noon June 5 and 19 and 6-8 p.m. June 22, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road; registration required at mypark.portagemi.gov. Hippie Fest — A grassroots festival celebrating peace, love and all things groovy, with live music, bohemian shopping, vintage hippie car show, doit-yourself tie-dye, giant bubble garden, cirque performers and food vendors, noon-7 p.m. June 5, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 383-8778. Meet Dr. Paula Termuhlen — Meet the new CEO, president and dean of the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed), with networking, beverages and hors d’oeuvres, 4–6 p.m. June 9, WMed, 300 Portage St. Touch-A-Truck — View and learn about fire trucks, police cars, large construction equipment, race cars and more via Facebook Live, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. June 12, kalamazoo.jl.org/Touch-A-Truck.

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ENCORE BACK STORY Jane Ghosh (continued from page 38) in 2016. Ghosh knows the pull of family and hopes to leverage that in attracting tourists here. “I think Kalamazoo residents can be our very best ambassadors,” she says. “Most people who come to Kalamazoo come to see family and friends. If they are trying to choose whether to meet here or there, we want to help them give their family and friends a reason to meet here.” What would surprise people about your personality? I’m very competitive. That would be one thing that might surprise people. When I was a kid, I got kicked off a go-kart track for running my uncle off the road. The family doesn’t like to play games with me anymore. What was your mindset in the initial months at Discover Kalamazoo? It was clear to me, both understanding what was happening in the world with Covid as well as what I learned through the interview process, that the (Discover Kalamazoo) team had a very tough year. We are funded through the accommodations tax revenue, which is based on visitors coming to stay in Kalamazoo. Not nearly as many visitors came to stay in Kalamazoo in 2020 as had in prior years, and many companies in the hospitality industry had layoffs and furloughs. I was so appreciative of the resilience of the team for having made it through that. Even before I started the interviewing

process, Discover Kalamazoo was a beacon of positivity to me in a very difficult year. Do you follow Discover Kalamazoo on Facebook? All this terrible stuff is happening around us and really difficult things happening to the team, but you’d never know it. It was, “What can you do in Kalamazoo? What are fun things to do outside and socially distanced?” My first priority was to recognize the tough year that they had, but to also help us think about how we are going forward, what recovery looks like, and to focus on the future with an amazingly talented team. Could you lay out your post-pandemic path for Kalamazoo County? I really do think Kalamazoo is well positioned to recover quickly out of the pandemic. A lot of the things that are unique about Kalamazoo relative to the rest of the country are things that will be a benefit for us in recovery. For example, Kalamazoo gets way more visits from leisure visitors than business travelers, even more than the country as a whole. Those are the visits that will recover more quickly. Business travel will be more of a laggard. Kalamazoo visitors also are way more likely to come via car than via airplane. Road trips are expected to recover much more quickly than airplane travel. A lot of visits to Kalamazoo are planned on short notice. The average time of planning a visit to Kalamazoo is 19 days. As soon as I found

out I was getting my vaccine, I was doing the math and saying, “When can I get out and visit?” Lastly, most people who come to Kalamazoo come to visit friends and family. Those are the people we haven’t been able to see. We’ve just developed our Discover Kalamazoo long-term strategy, and our objective is to recover faster than the country as a whole. For domestic travel, the forecast is the country will get back to 2019 levels in 2024. Our objective is to get back to 2019 levels of visitor spending in 2023 at the latest. Name a few old favorites in the area or new discoveries you've made. The Nature Center. My one son went to Nature’s Way Preschool, which is the world’s coolest preschool. Period. To be able to have animals in your classroom? Amazing. Also, the parks and trails. It’s a wonderful resource. For a community our size, the county parks and city parks are quite phenomenal. The Air Zoo. The Gilmore Car Museum. My kids were in Scouting and they used to do events at the Air Zoo. My younger son is an aerospace engineering student at the University of Michigan. I asked him, “Would it be fair to say it’s because of your exposure in high school?" He said, “Absolutely.” — Interview by John Liberty, edited for length and clarity

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Jane Ghosh

Executive Director & CEO, Discover Kalamazoo

Jane Ghosh may have grown up here, but she is still

finding plenty to discover about her hometown. After 26 years leading marketing departments at Johnson & Johnson (Tokyo, Japan and New Jersey) and Kellogg Co. (Battle Creek), in December Ghosh joined Discover Kalamazoo, as executive director and CEO of

this destination marketing organization for Kalamazoo County. Ghosh was raised in Portage and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University in 1990. After living in the United Kingdom and New Jersey, she and her family moved to the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area

Brian Powers

(continued on page 37)

38 | ENCORE JUNE 2021

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Profile for Encore Magazine

Encore Magazine June 2021  

Southwest Michigan Magazine: See Your Town Like a Tourist issue invites you to discover the world hidden in plain sight, City parks with fas...

Encore Magazine June 2021  

Southwest Michigan Magazine: See Your Town Like a Tourist issue invites you to discover the world hidden in plain sight, City parks with fas...

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