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Schools that Are Too Cool

The Stamped Robin Is Going Next Door

The Author/Artist Behind Nerdy Babies

Meet Sid Ellis

Putting the Neighbor Back in Neighborhood

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Schools that Are Too Cool

November 2020

The Stamped Robin Is Going Next Door

The Author/Artist Behind Nerdy Babies

Meet Sid Ellis

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Putting the Neighbor Back in Neighborhood


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marie lee


alexis stubelt

Photographer brian k. powers

Contributing Writers

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From the Editor W

e produce the content of each monthly issue of Encore several weeks before the magazine’s publication date, so it can be challenging sometimes to write an Editor’s Note that is relevant and timely. This month is the best example of that by far. By the time you read this, the world may be a very different place. The pandemic may be back in full swing, we all may be isolating at home again or we may see an emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine. We might have re-elected the president or elected a new one. If ever there were a time when a crystal ball would have come in handy, it was in October. But here’s a constant to celebrate: During these times of uncertainty, Encore can still be counted on to provide informative content that celebrates the great people, places and organizations in our community. We have heard from many readers that during times of social distancing and isolation, reading Encore has given them a sense of connection to the community that they have been missing. And we keep on doing just that with this month’s issue. Our cover feature looks at a new “pocket neighborhood” In Texas Township — an innovative housing development that puts the neighbor back in neighborhood. It’s being created by Dave and Shari Groendyk, of Dave’s Glass, along with several partners. We also introduce you to Emily and Matt Deering-Caruso, the entrepreneurs behind the craft-cocktail haven The Stamped Robin. They and their partners, Mack and Walker Chrisman, were in the midst of a major expansion when Covid-19 shut the world down, but instead of facing catastrophe, they found opportunity. You’ll also meet Emmy Kastner, who writes and illustrates the Nerdy Babies book series, and Sid Ellis, a longtime fixture on the local arts scene who is heading the 100-year-old Douglass Community Association at a critical time for this organization that serves the residents of Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. And since November is a month for gratitude, I want to say this emphatically and often: All of us at Encore are so grateful to all our advertisers who have stuck with us and allowed us to publish each month, and to our loyal readers, who give us a reason to keep doing so. If these uncertain and odd times have given us nothing else, it is a heightened awareness of the important connections between us all. Stay healthy, stay safe, and be kind to one another.

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November 2020

FEATURE ‘It’s All About the Porch’ New Texas Township 'pocket development' emphasizes neighborliness

Meet the Groendyks:

The enterprising family behind Belle Meade and Dave’s Glass

20 25

DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors Up Front


First Things — A round-up of things happening in SW Michigan this month


Five Faves — History and building details that will make you actually like school




Back Story

Unmasking Opportunity — When the pandemic crashed its expansion plans, The Stamped Robin ‘pivoted’ to new enterprises

Meet Sid Ellis — After a long career in the arts, he’s ‘where I’m supposed to be’ at the Douglass Community Association

ARTS 27 Artistic Author — Writing and illustrating feed the soul of Nerdy Babies creator Emmy Kastner 32 Events of Note 35 Poetry On the cover: Sue Visser pokes her head outside to greet visitors on the porch of her home in the new ‘pocket neighborhood’ of Belle Meade in Texas Township. Photo by Brian K. Powers. Above: An illustration by Emmy Kastner from one of her Nerdy Babies books.

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Marie Lee

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Four out of four ducks agree...

Marie, the editor of Encore, was awed by the individuals she met while working on stories for this month’s issue: Sid Ellis, a longtime and active fixture in the arts community who now heads the Douglass Community Association, and partners Emily and Matt Deering-Caruso and Matt and Walker Chrisman, the 20-something entrepreneurs who are embarking on an ambitious business expansion of popular craft-cocktail bar The Stamped Robin. “Sid Ellis just loves life and what he’s doing,� says Marie. “It’s so obvious when you talk to him. He makes an impact for so many people through his work and his art, and it gives him true joy.� For the Deering-Carusos and Chrismans, she kept thinking of one word: “wunderkind.� “They have experienced a lot of challenges as young entrepreneurs,� she says. “To see how they used their foresight, creativity and drive to deal with circumstances from Covid-19 that could have killed their business and aspirations is not only inspiring, but encouraging.�

Lisa Mackinder

We are happy to see Lisa, a frequent Encore contributor, back on the pages of this issue. Lisa, a Portage-based freelance writer, penned this month’s cover story on Belle Meade, the area’s first “pocket neighborhood,� under development in Texas Township. Lisa spent time with Dave and Shari Groendyk, who were the impetus behind the development, as well as with several of the residents. “They were all great to speak with, very friendly and funny and absolutely in love with where they have chosen to live,� Lisa says. “The way the houses are situated around a common area and how the development is planned really puts the neighbor back in neighborhood.�

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Creative spirits cannot help but create. Julie was inspired to learn about the career progression of local children’s author and illustrator Emmy Kastner, who is a former teacher. “When teaching high school science, Emmy had her students create picture books to demonstrate what they learned in her class,� Julie says. Like Emmy, Julie worked in a handful of non-publishing careers before becoming a writer, and she was happy to meet a kindred spirit. “Late bloomers need to stick together,� she says. Following a brief stint in local news reporting, Julie, now a Kalamazoo-based freelance writer, worked as a crime victim advocate, local business owner, and municipal and educational marketer before returning to writing full time.


First Things Something Important

Summit on Racism offered virtually The annual Summit on Racism, to be held virtually Nov. 12-14, is especially timely this year as the Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately impacts people of color, the economy struggles and there’s growing acknowledgment of racism in America. #Beyond 400: The Virtual Summit on Racism will feature speakers, online conversations and video shorts designed to bring the local community together for an open dialogue regarding race and eradicating racism. The summit is hosted by the Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE). Among the speakers is keynoter Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle educator and leading voice on issues of educational equity, the school-to-prison-pipeline, standardized testing, the Black Lives Matter at School movement, and social justice unionism. He will speak from 6–8 p.m. Nov. 12. Several simultaneous sessions will run from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Nov. 13, on topics such as racial disparities in health, responsible law enforcement and implicit bias. At 10 a.m. Nov. 14, a multi-media presentation on 400 years of African-American history will be presented by local historian Michelle Johnson. The virtual summit will be accessed through Zoom. The cost to register is $30, or $20 for students. There are also discounts for groups and teachers. To register or for more information, visit sharekazoo.org.

Something on Saturdays Catch Stulberg medalists in concert

Three free recitals by recent Stulberg International String Competition

Something Local

Kalamatopia features makers’ market It has local artisans and wares, it’s outdoors, you can sip a beer, spirits or hot mulled wine and it’s just in time for holiday shopping. What’s not to love about Kalamatopia? This one-night event, from 5-8:30 p.m. Nov. 13 on the North Kalamazoo Mall, will feature vendors from Kalamazoo and other parts of Michigan, with booths lining the mall from East Michigan Avenue to Water Street. The event is put on by the Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center and is free to attend, with beverages and products priced separately. CDC social distancing guidelines will be followed, and masks are required for attendees and vendors. For more information, visit kalamatopia.com.

medalists will take place on consecutive Saturdays this month as the Stulberg goes virtual. Each performer will offer a 45- to 60-minute program from their home stage that will be broadcast via the Stulberg’s website, stulberg.org. All recitals will begin at 10:30 a.m. The recital schedule and performers are: • Nov. 7 — Cellist Oliver Herbert, 2015 Silver Medalist. • Nov. 14 — Violist Hae Sue Lee, 2015 Bronze Medalist. • Nov. 21 — Violinist Charlotte Marckx, 2018 Gold Medalist. For more information, visit stulberg.org.

Charlotte Marckx

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Something Artsy

KIA hosts sale online and in person The annual Holiday Sale

Brooklyn Rider

Something Musical

String quartet gives virtual concert Brooklyn Rider, the group that NPR credits with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble,” will present a virtual concert from New York Nov. 20, presented by Kalamazoo’s Fontana Chamber Arts. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. Can’t tune in on Nov. 20? Not to worry, a ticket provides online viewing access to a recording of the concert for 30 days. Passcodes for access will be emailed to ticket buyers upon purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit fontanamusic.org or call 382-7774.

at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a highly anticipated shopping extravaganza, and, despite Covid-19, this year is no different. Except it will be. The traditional sale runs from Nov. 19-21 at the KIA, and the online sale from Nov. 9–Dec. 21. Some items will be available both online and in person, but most items will be available in only one format or the other, according to Maya Mokzran, KIA member services officer. The online sale can be accessed at kiarts.org. The in-person sale will be held from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Nov. 19 for KIA members only and 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Nov. 20 and 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Nov. 21 for members and others. Because of Covid-19, however, those wishing to attend the in-person sale must secure a timed, ticketed spot by registering beforehand at kiarts.org. In response to the pandemic, the KIA also is offering personal shoppers for a small fee. KIA staff and volunteers will shop for individuals by collecting information on what they are looking for, whom they are buying for and their budget. Once the personal shoppers have picked out items, they will place Zoom calls to clients to confirm purchases. Pickup of purchased items will be coordinated in the weeks following the sale. For more information, visit kiarts.org or call 349-7775.

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Something Live-Streamed Last Gasp Collective to perform

We’re all getting used to the idea of living-room concerts by now — watching our favorite artists livestream performances while we sit blissfully on our couches — so here’s one to add to your calendar. A performance by Kalamazoo’s own Last Gasp Collective will be streamed live at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 from the Kalamazoo State Theatre, as part of the theater’s Artist Spotlight Livestream Series. The ensemble’s music features melodic cello and saxophone lines, jazz guitar voicings and gospel piano underneath soulful voices and poetic lyricism. The group’s most recent album, Seen Not Heard, won a 2020 Jammie Award for Best Album by a New Artist from the West Michigan radio station WYCE (88.1 FM). Tickets are $10–$30 and available at kazoostate.ticketspice.com/last-gasp-collective.

Something Dramatic One-woman show looks at social justice

A homeless woman’s 20-year quest to right a social wrong is the focus of The Conviction of Lady Lorraine, an original one-woman teleplay that is being streamed online by Farmers’ Alley Theatre. Dwandra Nickole Lampkin, an associate theater professor at Western Michigan University and a frequent performer in Farmers Alley Theatre’s productions, wrote and performs in this drama about a writer who has a powerful meeting with a homeless woman named Lady Lorraine near the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The show, which was professionally filmed in October by Chicago-based film company Waltzing Mechanics, is available through Nov. 8 on the Broadway On Demand platform. BOD is accessible through Apple TV, Roku, Amazon and personal computers and devices. Tickets are $19.95 and are available on the Farmers Alley website, farmersalleytheatre.com.

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Five Faves

Historian picks favorite Kalamazoo school buildings by


Our memories of school might include a favorite teacher, an unforgettable fellow student or a memorable class. Many people might remember some aspects of the buildings where they attended school, but they might not have paid close attention to specific details about a building or learned its history. Over our lives, we spend a huge amount of time in school buildings, as students, teachers, parents or staff members. Here I highlight some of my favorite Kalamazoo school buildings, looking at specific features that make these buildings special.

Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts 922 W. Maple St. Many times school buildings reflect the theory of the day regarding which building design would be best for educating students. In 1945, Kalamazoo Public Schools began plans for a new multi-story junior high school. Within four years, however, those plans were changed to a one-story concept. Considered more economical, this design allowed for more daylight in the rooms. Noisier classrooms for shop and music were isolated to other wings. Other junior high buildings in Kalamazoo subsequently followed this plan. The new building, designed by Louis C. Kingscott & Associates and initially named South Junior High School, opened in 1951. The school became the Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts in 2001.


Woodward School for Technology and Research 606 Stuart Ave. Since Woodward School opened in 1880, several different school buildings have been located on this property. The fifth structure, designed by the local architectural firm Billingham & Cobb and completed in 1930, is by far the most elaborate. This company designed eight school buildings for Kalamazoo Public Schools in the 1920s, but the style chosen for Woodward Elementary School differed greatly from the style the company usually used. This classic symmetrical Georgian-Colonial Revival has a central portico decorated with six metal Corinthian columns 26 feet high and a second portico on the east side, both with fanlight windows. The central tower also is a unique feature, giving the building some stature. Since 1997, Woodward has been a magnet school emphasizing technology and research.


Old Kalamazoo Central High School (Community Education Center) 714 S. Westnedge Ave.

This building is the fourth high school on this site. The first was completed in 1858. The current building, an example of Collegiate Gothic style, has recessed arched entrances, crenelations at the top, and decorative buttresses on its front façade. Since 1972, it has housed a variety of Kalamazoo Public Schools programs, along with the already existing Chenery Auditorium. The sections completed in 1913, which were designed by the Grand Rapids architectural firm of Robinson & Campau, included the manual training building to the south and the gymnasium to the northwest. In 1922, voters approved construction of an additional Robinson & Campau classroom building spanning South Westnedge Avenue, with an additional classroom building on the north side and the auditorium, designed by local architect Rockwell LeRoy.

Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School 2321 S. Park St. Parkwood-Upjohn is on my list not because I spent 11 years here as a parent volunteer, but because this building was originally two separate schools that are different architecturally. Parkwood, designed by Billingham & Cobb and opened in 1921, is an example of Collegiate Gothic similar to many schools built during these years. The Upjohn School, completed in 1939, served students who were

visually, hearing or physically challenged. This Georgian-Colonial structure, designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, had aids for students such as handrails and padded benches. Artistically painted panels of fishing and gardening scenes are in the hallway. In addition, the library features a terra-cotta mural depicting some of Aesop’s fables, pictured below, and one of the classrooms has a tiled fireplace.

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Kalamazoo College Quadrangle 1200 Academy St. Choosing just one building on the Kalamazoo College campus is hard. Choosing the entire Quadrangle in the center of campus is easier. Kalamazoo College traces its beginnings to 1833. Its first building was erected on Cedar Street, between Park Street and Westnedge Avenue. The college moved to its current site in 1850. Plans to relocate the campus to West Main Street changed in the early 1920s when President Allan Hoben chose to have the college remain on its existing site and retain a small, intimate atmosphere, considered good for the students. Florence Robinson, a landscape architect and a former Kalamazoo College student who graduated in 1908, designed the campus expansion. Three new buildings were constructed between 1927 and 1932: a classroom, a library and a chapel. Added later were a student center and dormitory, completing the “Quad.�

About the Author Lynn Houghton is the regional history curator at the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, located in the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, on Oakland Drive. She is the co-author of the book Kalamazoo Lost and Found and leads the Gazelle Sports Historic Walks and other public history programs. She also participated in the PBS series 10 Streets That Shaped 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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Unmasking Opportunity

Pandemic forces partners to ‘pivot’ to new enterprises BY MARIE LEE


classes as well as a coffee bar called Two Twins. Then Covid-19 crashed their party. But, to borrow that old phrase “when life hands you lemons … ,” the four found opportunity in catastrophe. Or, as Emily says, “we pivoted.” “When we saw the West Coast shut down and then the East Coast was shutting down, we knew it was coming,” she says. “Matt started spending hours upon hours upon hours developing an e-commerce website over the course of less than a week, and

we essentially launched Next Door online (nextdoorwinestore.com) and began doing wine delivery and pickup for customers.” Using The Stamped Robin’s strong socialmedia following, they let customers know that Next Door and The Stamped Robin were open for business. In addition to wine and spirits, they featured “create-your-owncocktail kits” with all the ingredients (minus the alcohol) and recipe cards for The Stamped Robin’s signature cocktails. During a period when people were isolated at home and could use a good libation or

Brian Powers

ast year The Stamped Robin, a popular Kalamazoo bar serving wine and craft cocktails, was ready to expand to “help people drink better at the end of the day,” says co-owner Matt Deering-Caruso. He and his wife and co-owner, Emily Deering-Caruso, who are 27 and 29, respectively, and partners Mack and Walker Chrisman, 28 and 26, began renovating the long-vacant space adjacent to their lounge at 128 S. Portage St. for a new retail shop called Next Door that would feature wines, vermouths, craft beers, tasting events and



Left: Partners, from left, Mack and Walker Chrisman and Emily and Matt DeeringCaruso, stand in front of a bar found in a pole barn near Detroit that will be the focal point of the new café bar Two Twins. Top and bottom: The new enterprises will replicate the “at home” vibe of The Stamped Robin.

two, their new business model of “let us bring you something to drink” was a hit. “It was never really the initial strategy for us to get into e-commerce with Next Door,” Matt admits. “We always believed in the brick and mortar first and then eventually scaling to a digital presence. We didn't want to open e-commerce to just hustle to make money. We wanted to make sure that we could still supply great beer, wine and libations to people and carry the experience and energy of the Robin to a digital platform.” With construction on the new space at a complete standstill, the new online model and grants from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the federal Small Business Administration and the Michigan Small Business Restart Program allowed them to continue operating without laying off any of their six employees. “Instead of us being bartenders, we were all delivery drivers,” Matt says, laughing. But they weren’t quite done innovating. When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allowed Michigan bars and restaurants to reopen in June, The Stamped Robin did so but was limited as to the number of patrons it could serve. So, as Matt says, they decided to “take the w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 17


show on the road,” creating Little Bird, a mobile cocktail cart that brings libations to small outdoor gatherings. “That's kind of my bread and butter right now,” Matt says. “We built a program for small groups with time limits, so I'm able to go into a dinner party for six, make a couple of cocktails for 30 minutes, pack it up and do that three more times in a day. We had a ton of fun with this over the summer.”

Back to business Even with the lifted restrictions, it still took several months to get their brick-and-mortar renovations back in gear. The partners’ plans included exposed brick walls, a vintage tin ceiling, a pre-Prohibition bar saved from a pole barn north of Detroit, and reclaimed wood flooring acquired from a middle school in Indiana. But their contractors had a backlog of clients, as did city inspectors, so the partners did what they could when they could, including stripping paint from each tin ceiling tile by hand and dismantling and reinstalling the wood floor in their new space board by board. “It was a massive undertaking,” Matt admits. “I mean we had brothers, sisters, moms, friends, everybody … ,” Emily adds.


Brian Powers

Clockwise from far left: The new space includes repurposed basketball court flooring; Emily Deering-Caruso opens the curtain separating The Stamped Robin from Next Door/Two Twins where her dog Carson waits patiently; the mobile cocktail cart Little Bird; each tile of the tin ceiling was stripped of paint by hand; the signature Robin from the cocktail bar.

“It was definitely a village effort, for sure,” Matt says. Next Door is now on track to open this month. On a day in October, as Mack Chrisman, in painter’s whites, rolled primer on new drywall in the space, he admitted to looking forward to putting construction behind him and getting back to creating the city’s first café bar, serving not only coffee, but also coffee-centric alcoholic cocktails. “Customers can expect a well-refined menu of specialty coffee offerings, ranging from traditional espresso beverages to experimental process pour-overs,” Chrisman says.

A double duality Chrisman is no stranger to local coffee aficionados: The self-described “coffee nerd” is a sought-after consultant who brought his coffee expertise to both Fido Motors Café, at 1415 Fulford St., and Civil House Coffee, at 344 N. Rose St. He has a decade of experience in the world of coffee, including spending time in Nashville, Tennessee, learning the ins and outs of coffee.

The coffee bar’s name, Two Twins, not only reflects the partners’ dual husband-and-wife teams, it also reflects its connection to The Stamped Robin. “It has to do with the duality between caffeine and alcohol. One's an upper, one's a downer,” explains Chrisman. “But the way that we enjoy them and the culture that

ENCORE SAVOR surrounds those things is the same. People come together and they have drinks and they talk about life and it dissolves the social barriers between people.” At the same time, the way the flavor components of grapes make certain wines taste the way they do is similar to the way coffee beans — more specifically, how they’re roasted — affect the flavor profile of a brew. Which is why Two Twins will serve brews made with ethically sourced, single-origin coffee beans from Proud Mary Coffee, a roaster that operates out of Portland, Oregon, and Australia. “The product will speak for itself,” says Chrisman. The greater Kalamazoo region has no shortage of coffee-oriented cafés, from quick stops to more intentional destinations, where fresh ground pour-overs take time to create. Two Twins will have both, Chrisman says. Rotating roasts in self-serve urns will be available for $2.50 to $3.50 a cup, paid for on the honor system. The results of moreextravagant coffee-making processes, like the fermentation of beans in a container that removes all oxygen from the air inside before they are sent to the roaster, will start at about $6 a cup. In addition to brewing the coffee, Chrisman says he is excited to offer bags of Proud Mary’s coffee for sale, including some of the

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company’s award-winning, limited-release coffees. “They have these really high-end, awardwinning coffees that are extremely limited in quantity and in extremely high demand. At Christmas, we’ll be selling 100 grams of this coffee in these really cool little metal tins. If you have someone in your life who is a coffee snob, there’s no greater gift than coffee that there’s maybe only 200 pounds in existence in the whole entire world.” As the partners finish the space and prepare it for opening, they know that Covid-19 is still a threat and can derail their plans yet again. But they don’t fear it. “When Covid hit,” says Matt, “we were like, ‘OK, we got this new thing. We got to figure it out.’ There was lots of battening down the hatches and adjusting to different things. But, you know, we kept seeing the good things that we were able to do because of it. I believe if we didn't have the shutdown that our e-commerce wouldn’t be up right now or Little Bird, our mobile bar. And now we're going to open a brick-and-mortar (business) with an already solid following. “For us to have this digital backbone to this business and then also have a physical location will be a really nice unity.”

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down at thepractice nursing home.and isyour Is thata certified true? 491 West South is andanCounselors irrevocable for persons Michael J. WillisStreet is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys at Law, is licensed totrust law in Florida and Michigan, in registered ascircumstances public accountant that can be 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, Kalamazoo,insignifies MI 49007 established with foryour the Heextent exceed that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized the highestassets levels of skill to and integrity. is listed in thethey Best Lawyers in America. the protected 269.492.1040 amount (whichYes. under Michigan law will cap folks at a little Most often when talkover on$125,000). trust planning, they are www.willis.law 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. amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors Law, istrust licensed toispractice law in Florida andand Michigan,the and isassets registered asare a certified public accountant established in an Ifatthe irrevocable effectively 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 recognizedincome for the highest stream levels of skill and integrity.to He isyou listed inper the Bestthe Lawyersterms in America.of the trust, then in annuity back such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid 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.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 19

‘All About the Front Porch’ New pocket development emphasizes neighborliness BY LISA MACKINDER


n the spring of 2016, when Dave and Shari Groendyk visited Inglenook, a pocket neighborhood in Carmel, Indiana, one thing quickly became apparent: its neighborliness. The Groendyks, owners of Dave’s Glass in Texas Corners, were there on a scouting mission to see about building a pocket neighborhood on some land they owned near their shop. As the couple strolled Inglenook’s sidewalks and Shari snapped photos of houses, a resident relaxing on his porch called out to them, “Hi, can I help you?” “And the next thing we knew, we were taking a tour of his home,” says Shari. After the tour, the three stood outside chatting when a couple of women approached them, looking for the home of someone hosting a bridal shower.

Brian Powers

A row of custom-designed, colorful houses, each boasting a front porch, faces an open common area in Belle Meade.


w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 21

Brian Powers Clockwise from top: Shari and Dave Groendyk brought the pocket neighborhood concept to Kalamazoo; from left, homeowners Wayne Cavanaugh, Julie Raedy and Liz Thirtle talk with Dan Shugars on the porch of his Belle Meade home; each home’s exterior is unique: interiors of homes in Belle Meade show owners’ individuality.

“Tell me their last name,’” the man asked the women, says Dave. “They said ‘Smith’ or whatever, and the man said, ‘Oh, yeah, a street down. Second house on the left.’” Residents of pocket neighborhoods know the surrounding houses by the families that live in them, Dave explains, not by their street addresses — and that’s the point. Neighbors actually know each other. “It’s all about community,” Dave says. Porches are a must That visit was enough to compel the Groendyks and five other investors to develop Belle Meade, a new pocket neighborhood in Texas Corners. The idea isn’t necessarily new. A similar concept to the pocket neighborhood was used in the historic Radburn development in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The original concept there, “the Radburn design,” was based on English “garden city” models and involved an entire town, but bankruptcy of the city housing corporation left the project incomplete, according to the website of the PBS station WTTW. The neighborhood that was developed, however, with homes facing shared common areas, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005, according to the Radburn Association’s website.


Fast forward almost a century and the idea has been reborn, but is now called a pocket neighborhood. Ross Chapin, owner of Ross Chapin Architects in Langley, Washington, coined the term to describe a neighborhood where there are “nearby neighbors coming together around a shared space.” “Pocket neighborhoods are set up in little pods,” Dave explains. “You have five houses facing five houses and common space in between.” At Belle Meade, the occupants of a pod’s 10 houses decide collectively how to utilize their common space. They might, for example, decide to construct a gazebo or fire pit or plant a flower or vegetable garden. Another characteristic that distinguishes a pocket neighborhood from typical housing developments is design — it’s not a “cookie cutter” kind of place. The houses’ exterior designs, which highlight front porches, are throwbacks to the 1920s or 1930s, Shari says. “It’s all about the front porch,” Dave says. “It’s all about being neighborly.” As for the pocket neighborhood in Texas Township, another thing that distinguishes it is its colorfulness. “We encourage color — bright,

vivid colors,” Shari says. “There’s always a need for a white house and a gray house, but we love it when they (the homeowners) do things outside the box and choose a soft blue or yellow or red or something like that.” An intriguing concept A decade ago, Shari first learned of pocket neighborhoods while reading a story about them in Parade magazine and was immediately intrigued. But other distractions kept her interest at bay. “I had kind of stepped away from the business (Dave’s Glass) a little bit because our grandkids were starting to go into day care,” Shari explains. “So my job was to pick up whichever one of the four’s turn it was to get picked up.” Shari says she anticipated being the only grandma picking up children, but in reality “it was mainly grandparents that were picking up the kids.” While talking with those other grandparents, Shari learned that many had relocated from Chicago or the east side of the state to help their children raise their grandchildren. “I just thought, ‘What’s it like for them?’” Shari says. “How do they meet people?” Pocket neighborhoods kept popping into her thoughts. “By having houses facing houses, with the sidewalk and everything in between — that’s how you get to know people,” she says. From research to reality In 2015, the Groendyks began researching the idea of building a pocket neighborhood in Texas Township, on 10 acres of land they had purchased in the 1980s. They developed Texas Corners Plaza on the front of the property, and, Dave says, they could have built more businesses, but they believed a pocket neighborhood would better serve the community. Belle Meade is a 55-year-olds-and-up community, Shari says, although a HUD law requires that 20 percent of the development’s residents be under that age. The Groendyks gathered a group of like-minded individuals as investors: Steve Bosch, owner of Bosch Architecture Engineering Interior Design; Larry Loeks, of DeLoof Construction Inc.; Jeff Scheffers, of Visser Construction; and two silent partners. Texas Township is one of the fastest-growing townships in the state — its population has grown 17 percent since 2010, according

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 23

Larry and Lorrie Loeks chat with Belle Meade neighbor Tony Truelove.

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to U.S. Census Bureau data — and the community needs more housing, Dave says, especially for township residents who want to downsize but don’t want to leave the area. The Groendyks themselves fit into this category. “We are so intrinsically a part of this community,” Shari says. “We’re both on committees over at the township. I do the elections. He’s on the DDA (Downtown Development Authority). We don’t want to leave our community. This is our home.” Like-minded neighbors Wayne and Cheryl Cavanaugh, who moved into Belle Meade in August, formerly lived in a home on 12 wooded acres in the township. They loved the rural lifestyle, Wayne Cavanaugh says, but, upon becoming empty nesters, realized their “nest was way too big.” The couple looked at condos and townhouses but didn’t want to share walls with neighbors and weren’t into the cookiecutter appearances those developments tended to have. “We wanted something that we could put our own stamp on,” Cavanaugh says. On a business trip to Portland, Oregon, Cavanaugh heard about pocket neighborhoods, drove through one and fell in love with it. The Cavanaughs started researching pocket neighborhoods, he says, and were surprised to find one was under development only three miles from their house. “The variety of house sizes, the old-time feeling of an active neighborhood, owning a custom home and small yard without the labor and time (the association handles this) and being nestled in our great little village of Texas Township was too intriguing to resist,” Cavanaugh says.

From Dave’s Glass to Belle Meade, the Groendyks are an enterprising family In April 1978, when Dave Groendyk approached his wife, Shari, about starting their own glass business, he was met with a bit of resistance — Shari thoroughly enjoyed her occupation at the time as a reference librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library. “He dragged little Shari kicking and screaming out of the library,” she jokes, laughing. “We started our business, and the rest is history.” Dave learned about the glass business working alongside his father, Henry Groendyk, who was a foreman at the former Koerts Paint & Glass, on Portage Street in downtown Kalamazoo. After working there for 10 years, Dave realized that they could operate their own glass business. “We had nothing (monetarily),” Shari says. “But we both have work ethic and we know how to persevere. I mean we’re just persistent, disciplined people.” The couple started Dave’s Glass inside of a garage and, after that, rented a farmer’s storage building. Their big business break came because of an act of nature. “It’s sad to say it,” Shari says, “but it was the tornado of 1980.” To replace all of the broken glass in area buildings, the couple, along with Dave’s dad, worked 20 hours a day seven days a week from May 14 until the end of November of that year, replacing glass damaged by the tornado. They also hired temporary workers to do some of the carrying and cleanup. “The economy at that time was in a recession,” Shari says, “and there were men in trucks driving around town asking if they could be hired.” On weekends, the Groendyks’ children, then-6-year-old Derek and then-4-year-old Stephanie would tag along “to be helpful in small ways.” “Maybe that’s when they began to learn a work ethic,” Shari jokes. Eventually, Dave’s Glass rented a building at Texas Corners that had housed a hardware store and needed much repair and renovation.

The Groendyks, clockwise from bottom left: Shari, Dave, Derek and Erica on the glass staircase in the showroom of Dave’s Glass.

When Dave brought Shari to view the space, she was not pleased. “He took me down there to that spot and I just thought, ‘Is this what we’ve come to?’” she says, grimacing. “It was so depressing. It was horrible!” But she pushed past her initial reluctance, and they “begged and borrowed” enough money to purchase the building and renovate, Dave says. Dave’s Glass remained in that building for 30 years, until last January, when the company moved into a brand new building behind Texas Corners Plaza. Their son, Derek Groendyk, runs the business now with wife, Erica Groendyk, who helps in the showroom and handles the bookkeeping. “It’s been a great ride,” Shari says, admitting that’s why she and Dave haven’t quite been able to fully retire yet. Then she chuckles and says of Derek and Erica, “Sometimes I’m sure they’re also thinking, ‘Why don’t they go away now?’”

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Brian Powers

The Cavanaughs say they like having so many businesses and recreational opportunities within walking distance, including restaurants, fitness centers, physician offices, dog grooming and the Al Sabo Preserve. “While we have all this access, we are tucked into our own private and quiet little enclave surrounded by tall evergreens,” Cavanaugh says.

Claim Your Space!

An aerial view showing the Belle Meade development which includes a clubhouse with a pool, seen adjacent to the development on the bottom right.

So far, 10 houses have been built in Belle Meade, with a total of 48 houses planned. House sizes range from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet of living space, and all of the houses have basements. The homes’ (continued on page 31)

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An Artistic Author

Writing and illustrating feed the soul of Nerdy Babies creator Brian Powers


Glass artist Gloria Badiner in her Mattawan studio.


mmy Kastner knew from an early age that she was a writer, but it took her decades to say it out loud. “It’s such a weird thing because, in retrospect, I have been a student of picture books and children’s books my whole life,” she says from her Kalamazoo studio, located above Factory Coffee, the North Side coffee shop her husband, Dan, owns and operates. Decades ago, it was another children’s author, Jon Scieszka, who first told a very young Kastner that she was a writer. “I told him I wanted to be a writer, and he told me as long as I was writing anything, I already was a writer,” she says. That was in fourth grade. But, despite that nod from someone she looked up to, Kastner admits she fought imposter syndrome well into her adult life. Today, however, she proudly calls herself an author and illustrator. She has had four children’s books published by Macmillan Publishers. They’re part of her Nerdy Baby series, which explores subjects related to nature and science. She also has two more books in the series coming out soon and has a stand-alone children’s picture book in the works.

Left: Emmy Kastner in her studio, where she has authored and illustrated four books in the Nerdy Babies series of children’s books. Above: An illustration from the Nerdy Babies Ocean. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27


An evolution Kastner is originally from Ortonville, Michigan. After graduating from Western Michigan University, she taught high school science and language arts, first in Battle Creek and then in San Francisco. Although she and her husband loved California, they returned to Kalamazoo, where she co-founded the nonprofit youth literacy program Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) with Anne Hensley and served as its co-executive director until 2018. Through all the moves and changes, Kastner says, art and storytelling have been constants in her life. But her writing and illustrating career and creative process have


This page, top: An illustration from Nerdy Babies Space. Bottom: There are four books in the Nerdy Babies series so far. Opposite page, from left: Kastner at work in her studio on a new book titled A Very Big Fall; pages from Nerdy Babies Weather.

come a long way since her father first handed over an electric typewriter to her. She laughs as she recalls that she skipped most of the creative process for her first book manuscript, “The Bear Who Came Alive,” which she wrote in elementary school and that was based on her stuffed bear. “I just went to town,” she says. “I went straight to final draft.” That first book is still unpublished, but it started Kastner on her path. She created the Nerdy Babies series after watching her

daughter memorize and recite her picture books. “I thought it would be great for kids to learn about science in the same way,” says Kastner. With that spark of an idea, she created the first two Nerdy Babies books, Nerdy Babies Space and Nerdy Babies Ocean. As she wrote the stories, the characters — a cast of babies that Kastner illustrated and developed as an inclusive representation of scientists — came to life.

Brian Powers


Kastner lets the characters take turns being the lead character of their own book, and she spends about six months writing and illustrating each book. Using inspirations from her love for science and nature and her children, she has had a different creative process for each book, she says. “I kind of go with the flow for every book. Some start with visuals. Some start with the theme or idea.” While Kastner has drawn from the knowledge she already had as a science teacher for the first books, she says as the series grows and the topics expand she spends more time researching and reaching out to expert scientists for vetting. The next two books in the Nerdy Babies series will focus on dinosaurs and transportation and will hit store bookshelves in 2021. “What’s really fun about writing this series is that it is not 100 percent essential for the readers to read all of the books in order,” she explains.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 29


Sources of inspiration Kastner’s latest book project came about after she created a painting of three leaves that turned out to look like characters. She stepped back and realized there was a bigger story to be told. Words and more images followed, resulting in the book A Very Big Fall, which will be released in 2022. Kastner says she devotes time each day to creating art. She works from her studio, a large, open space that she currently shares with her three kids while they learn remotely. “I love to paint," she says. “I love the traditional medium. It’s exciting to me.” Kastner says she finds inspiration for her books in unexpected places. “I’m in a lot of different places when ideas come up,” she says. To make sure the inspirations are not lost, she keeps a running list of ideas on her phone and always carries a sketch pad. “I love art, and I love storytelling,” she says. “There is something magical when those things collide.”

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The 1838, the clubhouse at Belle Meade, is named for the year Texas Township was founded.

Pocket Neighborhood (continued from page 26)

interiors can be customized by homeowners and have so far proven as distinct as the exteriors. Take a home currently under construction, for example. “It’s going to look like a Florida house,” Dave says. “It’s got these beautiful, bright colors.” A nod to history Before going into business with her husband at Dave’s Glass, Shari was a reference librarian in the government documents area of the Kalamazoo Public Library. Understanding the importance of history, Shari wanted to incorporate Texas Township’s past into Belle Meade. “I had a blast going back into the (Local) History room and researching about who the founding fathers (of Texas Township) were and how this (township) came about,” she says. Belle Meade’s clubhouse is named for the year Texas Township was founded: The 1838. The house models are named for six of Texas Corners’ founders: The McClin, The Campbell, The Ambrose, The Towers, The Bishop and The Julia. “We had to have a woman,” Shari says. “I could not not have a woman.” The Julia bears the name of Julia Mills Morton, an early teacher in the township. Morton was trained at the (former) Cedar Park Female Seminary, in Schoolcraft, and went on to teach for schools in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. Based on Shari’s research, when Julia married Owen P. Morton from Texas Township, she became one of the township’s first teachers. Even the names of Belle Meade’s streets, such as Switch Grass Ridge, Milkweed Trail and Coneflower Cove, were chosen by research. “They’re all named after native plants that thrive in Michigan,” she says.

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

The Conviction of Lady Lorraine — An original one-woman teleplay, written and performed by Dwandra Nickole Lampkin, in which a writer has a brief but powerful encounter with a homeless woman on a quest to right a social wrong, through Nov. 8; see farmersalleytheatre.com for tickets. Revue

By Request: Farmers Alley Favorites — A virtual fundraiser featuring Farmers Alley talent performing songs and scenes from the theater’s history, Nov. 21–29; see farmersalleytheatre.com for tickets. MUSIC Bands Livestream: Last Gasp Collective — The ensemble features melodic cello or saxophone lines, jazz guitar voicings, and gospel piano underneath soulful voices and poetic lyricism, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, kazoostate.com. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Saturdays with the Stulberg — A virtual concert series featuring recitals by recent Stulberg International String Competition medalists: cellist Oliver Herbert, Nov. 7; violist Hae Sue Lee, Nov. 14; violinist Charlotte Marckx, Nov. 21; all concerts are broadcast at 10:30 a.m., stulberg.org. Pierre-Laurent Aimard — This French pianist performs in the Gilmore Piano Masters series, livestreamed from Teldex Studio in Berlin, 2 p.m. Nov. 8; see thegilmore.org for details. Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra — Webstream performance of Overture to Taras Bulba, by Mykola Lysenko, and Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius, 4 p.m. Nov. 8, kalamazoojuniorsymphony.com. Brooklyn Rider — Fontana Chamber Arts presents this string quartet performing an eclectic repertoire, premiering 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, with online viewing for 30 days, 382-7774, fontanamusic.org.


Gilmore Rising Star Dominic Cheli — This American pianist performs works by Vine, Adams and Beethoven, live-streamed from the Wellspring Theater, 4 p.m. Nov. 29; see thegilmore.org for details. DANCE Choreography and Cocktails: Wellspring Through the Years — Featuring Cori Terry’s piece Only in Passing, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20; see wellspringdance.org/events for details. Wellspring Fall Concert of Dance — 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21; see wellspringdance.org/events for details. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org Galleries are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; book tickets on the KIA website.

West Michigan Area Show — Works by regional artists in a variety of media viewable online at my.matterport.com/ show/?m=gJz6AfrCvPG&help=1. Cultural Encounters: Art of the Asian Diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1945-Present — An exhibition using modern and contemporary art to consider how migration from China, Japan, India and Indonesia influenced cultural exchange and fusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. On display in the main galleries through Jan. 17. Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Holiday Sale — Artwork on sale at the KIA 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Nov. 19 for members only; 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Nov. 20 and 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Nov. 21 for all members of the public; online sale runs Nov. 9–Dec. 21; see “First Things” in this issue for more information. Other Venues

Things of Steel & Alynn Guerra: Artists in the Glen Vista — Things of Steel’s exhibits Seeking Peace and Steel Thoughts and Alynn Guerra’s Expecting Nightmares are on display through Nov. 28, Glen Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org Make Room — Multi-sensory installations that amplify black voices, promote causes and drive narrative change, through Dec. 12, Black Arts & Cultural Center, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, registration required to control capacity, blackartskalamazoo.org. Kalamazoo Book Arts Center’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition — Online exhibition highlighting the variety and creativity of visiting artists, through Dec. 18, kalbookarts.org.

Virtual Art Hop — Hosted by Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, 5-9 p.m. Nov. 6, facebook.com/ acgk.359. Virtual Student Show — Showcasing artwork from students at KVCC, WMU, Kalamazoo College, Crescendo Academy and Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, 5–6:30 p.m. Nov. 6; kalamazooarts.org or facebook.com/acgk.359. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov All KPL locations are open with reduced hours and some limits on services; see website for more information. Page Turners Book Club — Online discussion of There There, by Tommy Orange, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2; registration required. Reading Race Book Group — Online discussion of Sabrina & Corina, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10; registration required. How to Unstick a Painted Window — An Old House Owners Workshop video series about window anatomy, 6 p.m. Nov. 12, kpl.gov/event/ how-to-unstick-a-painted-window. 2020 Youth Literature Seminar — An online seminar featuring award-winning authors Candace Fleming, Varian Johnson and Paula Yoo, 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Nov. 13, kpl.gov/yls; registration required. Meet the Author: Dr. Louis Moore, Civil Rights and the Black Athlete — The author shines a light on the complexities between sports figures and equality in this online event, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19; registration required. Classics Revisited — An online discussion of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 7–9 p.m. Nov. 19; registration required. For Colored Girls Book Club — An online discussion of Passing, by Nella Larsen, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27; registration required. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org The library is open with new hours and curbside delivery service available; see website for more information. Book Sale — 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. every Saturday, outside in front of the library.

Holidays with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival!

Hoopla Book Club — Zoom discussion of The Ungrateful Refugee, by Dina Nayeri, 1 p.m. Nov. 5; register on library website. Mayflower at 400: The Ship, the Passengers, the Legacy — Online presentation by Grace Bliss Smith about the Mayflower, 7 p.m. Nov. 9; register on library website. Mystery Book Club — Zoom discussion of any mystery book you have read, 4 p.m. Nov. 16; find the link on the library website. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagedistrictlibrary.info The library is open with new hours, and curbside pickup is also available by appointment; see website for details. Local Author Spotlight on Zoom — Meet Hedy Habra, author of the award-winning poetry collection The Taste of the Earth, 7 p.m. Nov. 4; registration required. Swinging on a Star: Living on the International Space Station – Learn about how astronauts train for the ISS, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9 on Zoom; registration required.

Virtual Concert SUN | DEC 6 | 4 pm

In the spirit of the greatest TV holiday specials, Kalamazoo Bach Festival presents an online virtual concert experience that will have you bursting with joy as you enjoy a cup of cheer with us! Revel in the holiday splendor of Stetson Chapel, enjoy visits by carolers in festive costuming at your virtual doorstep, rejoice in a refreshing new arrangement of Let There Be Peace on Earth and the world premiere of a new text setting of J.S. Bach's Cantata Wachet auf that strengthens our Bach Festival message of equity and social justice. Take a journey through magical holiday images of Kalamazoo over the years, and have your heart and your ears filled with holiday cheer as we celebrate the season together.

Tickets on Sale Now! Visit KalamazooBachFestival.org

International Mystery Book Discussion — Online discussion of The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley, 7 p.m. Nov. 12; registration required. The Blade of the Pirate: Swords in the Caribbean Colonies – Historian Jerry Berg takes his audience back to the era of the high seas and the black flag, prerecorded video on the library’s YouTube channel and Facebook, 2 p.m. Nov. 14. Book Buzz — Online discussion of Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 7 p.m. Nov. 18; registration required. Book Discussion with Author Mary Doria Russell — Discussion of The Women of Copper Country, 7 p.m. Nov. 19; registration required. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org The library is open at limited capacity, and scheduled curbside pickup is available; see website for details. Virtual Mystery Club — Discuss a new mystery every month, including Nov. 3; see website for more information or to register. Facebook Live Trivia — A new game of trivia each month, 7 p.m. Nov. 5, facebook.com/search/ events/?q=richland community.

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MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555, airzoo.org The museum is open, but there is limited occupancy because of Covid-19 and amusement rides are not available; online ticketing is encouraged. Mondays are for vulnerable people.

Flight & Flak: The Art of Paul Wentzel, Sr. — Oil and acrylic works spanning military aviation history, on temporary loan from the Selfridge Military Air Museum, an ongoing exhibit through at least the end of the year. Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence — A temporary poster exhibit exploring the struggle to give women the vote, an ongoing exhibit through at least the end of the year. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org

website recognizing the 40th anniversary of the tornado, kvmexhibits.org.

The Ecology of Dams — Learn how dams change the ecology of a river, with DNR Fisheries biologist Matt Diana, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15 premiere on YouTube and Facebook. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org The Visitor Center is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday and 1–5 p.m. Sunday, and trails are open 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily. See VISUAL ARTS listings for exhibits in the Glen Vista Gallery. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510, birdsanctuary@kbs.msu.edu The grounds are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. WednesdaySunday for trail hikes.

As of press time, the museum was still closed because of Covid-19, but these exhibits are available virtually:

Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado — A virtual exhibit on the museum’s

Fall Migration Celebration — Celebrate the fall waterfowl migration by viewing birds on Wintergreen Lake or participating in a scavenger hunt and storybook hike, anytime during regular hours, Nov. 1-30.

Community Bankers of Michigan name SHAUNNA PADGETT 2020 Rising Star

Birds and Coffee Walk Online — Learn about five types of ducks, 10 a.m. Nov. 11; registration required. Other Venues Ranger Hike: Fall Color Hike — Walk through Schrier Park and the Eliason Reserve to see the changing leaves and gather leaves to make art with the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 2 p.m. Nov. 1, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, portagemi.gov. Online Viewing Sessions with the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society — A Zoom viewing session with the KAS Remote Telescope, located under the dark desert skies in Arizona, 8:30–10:30 p.m. Nov. 7, cloud date Nov. 14, kasonline.org. John Ball Zoo Program: Habitats — Meet animals and discover how they meet their basic needs in different types of habitats, from deserts to wetlands, 10 a.m. Nov. 15, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, portagemi.gov. MISCELLANEOUS Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 21, 1204 Bank St., pfcmarkets.com. Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead virtual celebration filled with music, folkloric dances and traditional art, sponsored by the Hispanic American Council, 6–8 p.m. Nov. 2, elconciliokzoo.org. Mom-to-Mom Sale/Indoor Garage Sale — Home decor, furniture, antiques, baby gear, toys and collectibles, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Nov. 7, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 903-5820. Virtual 2020 Summit on Racism — This year’s theme is “400 Years After Slavery Began: A Collective Conversation to Chart a Better Future,” hosted by the Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE), Nov. 12–14; registration and more information at sharekazoo.org. Kalamatopia — Local and other Michigan artisans display their wares, with beverages also available for purchase, 5–8:30 p.m. Nov. 13, North Kalamazoo Mall by the Radisson Plaza Hotel, kalamatopia.com.

The Rising Star Award recognizes one outstanding banker, whose involvement and dedication signifies the best in community banking. “We are proud to have Shaunna on our team at First National Bank of Michigan, she does a fantastic job for us. Shaunna is the perfect choice and the entire team at First National Bank of Michigan is delighted for her.” said Daniel Bitzer, President and CEO.

fnbmichigan.com Kalamazoo | Portage | Grand Rapids | Holland | Lansing 34 | ENCORE NOVEMBER 2020

Alligator Sanctuary Program — Meet reptiles, including American alligators, lizards, tortoises and a snake, 2 p.m. Nov. 15, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, portagemi.gov. The Holiday Craft Show — More than 250 booths featuring artists, crafters and vendors, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Nov. 21, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Nov. 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Antique Toy Show — Antique, vintage and collectible toys, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Nov. 28, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 262-366-1314, uniqueeventsshows.com/Kalamazoo_Circus_ Maximus_Toy_Show.html.


Gravy For some it’s the little bonus you get over and above what you were attempting, a small, appreciated luxury, not expected. But though these days everyone raves about deep-fried turkey—smoked, too—we come from gravy people. Tradition. No matter how succulent the meat, to go without a thick savory sauce to accent it would be a hardship. It’s not an extra. One can make do with butter and flour and broth— we had to by the third day, the other leftovers persevering after your gravy gleaned from pan drippings was long gone. But though the substitute was voluptuous, brown, even flavorful, it lacked the Maillard reaction’s magic, which fires certain sugars and amino acids into more than the sum of their parts.

Good gravy unites the meal’s main attractions—turkey, stuffing, potatoes—into a feast. Transporting. Why have I not known this until now? Why was this Thanksgiving the tastiest ever? Yours is not the gravy of my youth, nor is this stuffing recipe for that matter, but I followed it with pride, grateful to be a part of this family’s traditions, not to mention the new custodian of your turkey roaster. — Kit Almy Almy, a longtime Encore contributor and poet, works at the Washington Square Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. More than ever this year, she tries to make do with what's on hand and be grateful for what she can. Some recent examples from her gratitude journal are lakes, naps, comedy, cousins, low humidity, haircuts and fresh tomatoes.

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Sid Ellis (continued from page 38)

Ellis’ long career in Kalamazoo has had a strong base in the arts. The Detroit native began acting in local productions and discovered puppeteering and storytelling. He produced his own show on what is now Public Media Network called Try God’s Love, which he describes as “a Christian Carol Burnett Show.” In 2008, he became the first fulltime paid executive director of the Black Arts & Cultural Center, where he worked until 2014. He left that organization to head Colleagues International, which hosts international visitors from a broad range of fields, and then became the director of mission advancement at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo. In 2019, he took the helm of the Douglass Community Association, a century-old organization that serves as a center for social, recreational and community development activities for residents of Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. What is the job leading “the Douglass” like? I am a connector. I connect people to people, people to organizations, and organizations to people. I do fundraising fund development, which I call “friend-raising.” I’m also the face of the organization. I'm out doing things, trying to collaborate with organizations and trying to bring organizations here to do a variety of different things. It's all about serving the people and making sure that those under me have all the tools that they need to do what they have to do. How do you describe the Douglass Community Association to someone unfamiliar with it? The Douglass Community Association is a hub of community services for the Northside population and the surrounding areas, so any and everyone in Kalamazoo, of course. We have more than 16 organizations and programs that are either housed or hosted at our center, including the Alma Powell Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo; the NAACP; Northside Preschool Organization, which assists parents with getting their kids into preschools; Michigan Works! (offering employment support services); the Momentum program (offering training in life skills and employment readiness); Rootead (a program addressing birth justice and body awareness for women); and Loaves & Fishes (feeding the hungry). We're a one-stop shop for a variety of social needs for the community — you can come here for one thing and you can find another. You can come to the library and see we’ve got the Boys and Girls Club, so maybe your kids can come to that. You can go to Loaves & Fishes and see that we have the public library here. It’s easily accessible to the Northside community — people can walk here,

which is very convenient. We have a very friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. We make people comfortable. You want to make them feel good about coming here. You have an extensive background and obvious passion for the arts, so what drew you to this job? I'm a servant of the community and have been since the mid1980s, when I started volunteering and helping a variety of different organizations. I became a mentor and was until last year, when I decided for my son's senior year I would commit to mentoring him. Wherever there was a need, if I could fill it, I did, whether it was helping to set up chairs or cleaning up areas or working in the children's ministry at church. I just always loved serving people. The Douglass Community Association is over a hundred years old and is an established organization that has been set up to facilitate serving people’s needs and helping people progress. I want to see people progress. I don't want to just feed people. I want to teach them how to feed themselves. I want to help develop youth and our families. How does your background in the arts intersect with your position at the Douglass? It’s made me a better speaker and better at communicating with people to tell the story of the Douglass and what we're doing, as well as what the other organizations that are here are doing. We are also connected to the arts here. We’ve had the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre come do workshops, and when I was with the Black Arts & Cultural Center, I came here and hosted workshops on a variety of different things. How do you feed your artistic soul? I'm involved in All Ears Theatre (a radio theater program) and usually act in and direct at least one play with them each year. I performed in Gem of the Ocean with Western Michigan University's theater department in 2019, and I’m a member of its Theatre Guild, which assists students who have financial issues. I also serve on the board of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. What makes you the most happy? Of course, my wife wants me to say her and my boys (who are 22 and 18). (He chuckles.) But, you know, I'm 57 years old and I'm really enjoying life. And I'm very happy with where I'm at in terms of a job and career. I'm where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to do. I enjoy life. I enjoy being around people. Just living life makes me happy. — Interview by Marie Lee and edited for length and clarity

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Sid Ellis

Executive Director, Douglass Community Association


couple of times Kalamazoo has come very close to losing Sid Ellis, one of its longtime arts advocates and community servants. In the mid-1980s, the Davenport University graduate had his car packed and ready to drive to Texas, where there was a big boom in jobs. “I was literally putting my suitcase in the car and got a phone call,” he recalls. That call was for a job as an operator at AT&T (then Michigan Bell) in Kalamazoo, which he ultimately took. The second time, he left Kalamazoo for Chicago to begin a career as an extra in television commercials. “I was in the car driving there, and I felt that God was telling me not to. And I turned around and came back,” he says. “That's when I started producing more stage theater. And then I got married, and 27 years and two kids later, I’m still here. Every time I tried to leave Kalamazoo, something great happened.”

Brian Powers

(continued on page 37)


New Exhibition Opens October 23rd Cultural Encounters: Art of the Asian Diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean 1945-Present This exhibition, on display in the main level galleries, uses modern and contemporary art to consider how migration from China, Japan, India, and Indonesia influenced cultural exchange and fusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Please reserve your tickets at www.kiarts.org Left to right: Soeki Irodikromo, Untitled, 1986, oil on canvas. Wilfredo Lam, Retrato, 1982, lithograph. Tikashi Fukushima, Verde (Green), 1972, oil on canvas.

47th Annual

New Longer Hours and Online Sales! Thursday, Nov 19th 11am–8pm Members Only Day Friday, Nov 20th 11am–8pm

Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy!!

Saturday, Nov 21st 9am–4pm

Shop From the Comfort of Your Home! Book a Personal Shopper Nov 19th–20th by appt only Enjoy our new Online Virtual Sale which runs Nov 9th–Dec 21th

Timed tickets required to attend but they are FREE and can be booked at www.kiarts.org

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