Encore October 2018

Page 1

Engineering Club Finds Fun in Failure

Ashley Daneman’s Healing Music

October 2018

Chief in Charge:

KDPS' Karianne Thomas

ROI Fosters Independence

Meet Patricia Randall

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine





Join the Kalamazoo Community Foundation at its annual Community Meeting featuring New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones who will be talking about race, education and housing in America. Hannah-Jones specializes in racial injustice reporting, including civil rights, fair housing, school segregation and discrimination.






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Engineering Club Finds Fun in Failure

Ashley Daneman’s Healing Music

ROI Fosters Independence

October 2018

Meet Patricia Randall

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Chief in Charge:

KDPS' Karianne Thomas




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www.encorekalamazoo.com 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: Publisher@encorekalamazoo.com The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.



From the Editor B

y sheer chance, this issue features two incredibly dynamic women who are changing our community in ways that will have very lasting effects: Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas and Portage Mayor Patricia Randall. While we were photographing our cover and inside shots for the feature on Thomas, I caught a quick glimpse of this woman in action. In the span of an hour, she handled one crisis, hiccup and issue after another with grace, poise and humor, all while a camera was just feet from her, clicking away. She shies from the limelight, and when it’s aimed at her, she wants to share it with those she works with. Take our cover shot, for example. We wanted a simple, singular portrait of this woman; she wanted to share the spotlight with some of her men and women. You can’t say no to Thomas, not because she’s a woman with a lot of authority in Kalamazoo, but because she is sincere and authentic and makes her point without a hint of pulling rank. I also had the privilege of interviewing Randall for this month’s Back Story feature. This is a woman who started her career in public service after successfully fighting an unfair tax bill. It spurred her to get involved in Portage politics, first as a councilwoman and then as the city’s mayor. She has fought and won battles to bring Portage into the modern day, from upgrading technology to breaking down the old-boy network that existed within the city administration. At the same time, she fought another very personal battle — breast cancer. This woman has a steel will under an undeniably authentic and warm exterior. She doesn’t see herself as a woman in charge; she sees herself as a public servant. We hear time and time again from our readers that what they love about Encore is how, through our stories, they get to know the people, businesses and organizations that make up our vibrant community. Being the editor of this magazine is like being the host of a party with a guest list of thousands — every month we get to introduce you to someone new and wonderful or someone you’ve heard about but didn’t know well. Welcome to our party.

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FEATURE ‘Boom, Here I Am’

KDPS’ first female chief, Karianne Thomas is tackling a changing landscape


DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor Contributors 8 Up Front



First Things

Happenings and events in SW Michigan

Five Faves — Varieties to become the new apples of your eye


Good Sports — Junior pool players learn angles and good attitudes


Good Works




Back Story

Proud to be Home — ROI helps the disabled to "be as independent as they can be"

Not-So-Weird Science — Engineering club teaches middle schoolers to try, try again

Meet Patricia Randall — There is no doubt that Portage’s mayor is a mover

ARTS 36 Laying Down Her Burden — Ashley Daneman

uses music to heal from abuse On the cover: Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Police Chief Karianne Thomas, front and center, stands with some of the “people that make it happen”: Back row, from left: Public Safety Officer (PSO) Ellen Arnold, Sgt. Dave Juday, Assistant Chief David Boysen, PSO Alex Araujo, Captain Chris Franks and Lt. Scott VanderEnde. Front row, from left: Executive Lt. Rafael Diaz, Thomas and Lt. Danielle Guilds. Photo by Brian Powers

39 Events of Note 43 Poetry

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Jordan Bradley

Jordan stepped into two very different worlds for her stories in this issue, interviewing singer-songwriter Ashley Daneman and middle school teacher Kevin Knack, but she says she found at the core of both stories were heart and perseverance. In the musically rich world of Daneman, healing takes the stage. For Knack, it’s about the students in his engineering club finding failure and digging it. “I’m not technically inclined or very musically gifted,” Jordan says, “but speaking with Knack and Daneman exposed some universal truths: have faith in your ability to puzzle out a problem and make time to feel your feelings.” Jordan is an editorial intern with Encore.

Andrew Domino

Andrew, a frequent contributor to Encore, hung out with two disparate groups for his stories this month: folk musicians and child pool players. A fan of music, Andrew enjoyed meeting the musicians, but the lessons being taught to the kids in the pool league really resonated with him. “Pool is a game of geometry, but for a lot of the young players, the game is about more than just knowing all the angles to sink an 8-ball in the corner pocket,” he says. “It’s teaching them to be good sports, without the pressure of being part of an organized sports team.” See more of Andrew’s writing at www.dominowriting.com.

Ben Lando

Ben, a new contributor to Encore, was curious what impact Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas, less than a year in that position, would have on the city of Kalamazoo as its top law enforcement officer; how the #MeToo movement would influence her as the first female chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety; and how she would lead a police force as racism was thrust into the national spotlight. "I make it very clear," she says. "Everyone knows where I stand." A journalist for 18 years, Ben is a fourth-generation Kalamazooan who spent seven years reporting from Washington, D.C., and Baghdad before returning home in 2013.


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First Things Something Important

Speaker to address race and education Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer for The New York Times who specializes in racial injustice reporting, will be the featured speaker at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation Community Meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at Miller Auditorium. Hannah-Jones was a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient for chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in society, particularly in education. Her book on school segregation, The Problem We All Live With, will be published in 2019. "Nikole Hannah-Jones' work illustrating the systemic barriers that prevent children of color from accessing high-quality education in a segregated city is an important message in reshaping the conversations our community has around education reform," says Carrie Pickett-Erway, president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. The community meeting is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend should register at kzcf.eventbrite. com. Free parking for the event is available in the ramp adjacent to Miller Auditorium.

Something Good Hit the court for kids

Channel your inner Serena Williams or Roger Federer to help prevent child abuse in

Southwest Michigan at the Bill Wright Memorial Serve for Kids Tennis Classic Oct. 13 at West Hills Athletic Club, 2001 11th St. The event is more than just a tennis tournament. It also includes a mixer, wine and beer reception, dinner and live and silent auctions. Tennis will be played from 2-5 p.m., with the reception and dinner beginning at 4 and 5 p.m., respectively. The cost for the event is $75 for tennis and dinner, $50 for tennis only or $50 for the dinner only. Proceeds go to the Bill Wright Children’s Advocacy Center, which supports local programs to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect. Wright, who died in 2014, was a local businessman who loved to play tennis and was an advocate for children. For more information or to register, visit serveforkids.com.



Something Funny Improv Fest returns

Need a good laugh? Yeah, we all do right now, so it’s a good thing the Kalamazoo Improv Fest returns to town Oct. 19-20 at Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 315 W. Michigan Ave. Not only will audiences be able to see six shows by improv acts from Grand Rapids, Chicago and Detroit, but Usidore the Wizard and Chunt the Shapeshifter/King of the Badger will be on hand to record an episode of the podcast Hello From the Magic Tavern Presents ‘Gettin Nuts!’ at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20. For those of you feeling the need to be funny yourselves, the festival also features improv workshops at 1 and 4 p.m. Oct. 20. Festival tickets are $20-$90. For tickets, a show schedule and workshop registration, visit crawlspacetheatre.com.

Something Jazzy

Spend an evening with Branford Marsalis Ready to experience what the BBC has dubbed “a prime example of modern American jazz”? Then catch Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis’ quartet at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Cityscape Event Centre, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall. An Evening with Branford Marsalis is presented by Fontana Chamber Arts. Tickets are $35, with a limited number of $15 tickets for students ages 25 and younger with a valid ID. For tickets or more information, visit fontanamusic.org.

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Something Showy

Dance contest brings out local luminaries Who are our area’s dancing queens and kings? Find out Oct. 27 at Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars, the annual scholarship fundraiser based on the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. The Kalamazoo competition pairs notable locals with Western Michigan University dance students to perform ballroomstyle dances for a panel of celebrity judges and an audience. This year’s celebrity competitors include YWCA Kalamazoo CEO Grace Lubwama, WMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jennifer Bott and Air Zoo President and CEO Troy Thrash. The event at Miller Auditorium includes hors d'oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the dance program begins at 8:15. Tickets are $85 per person ($50 of which is tax-deductible) and available for purchase online at mywmu.com/DWTS.

Something Fashionable

Play tells women’s stories via what they wore There’s nothing quite as intimate as combining matters of the heart and matters of apparel, and that’s just what theater-goers will get when the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre presents Love, Loss, and What I Wore Oct. 5-14 at the Carver Center Studio Theatre, 426 S. Park St. Described as being “like a long heart-to-heart with your best friend,” the show features a cast of women who use clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13 and 2 p.m. Oct. 7 and 14. Tickets are $10 and available at kazoocivic.com or by calling 343-1313. Imagine a peaceful place where you can relax, refocus, or rejuvenate at the beginning or end of each day. With a custom closet, you can treat yourself to a personal haven right in your home.

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Something Bluegrass

Minneapolis band comes to Bell’s Promising moments of “musical bliss,” Minneapolis-based Kind Country will bring its energetic live show to Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Oct. 11. The band, which blends bluegrass, folk, soul and high levels of improvisation, has been recognized as one of the nation’s “up and coming bluegrass bands” by LiveforLiveMusic.com. The show begins at 8:30 p.m., with Kalamazoo funk and soul band The Mainstays as the opening act. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the show and available at Bell’s General Store, adjacent to the café, or at bellsbeer.com/eccentric-café.

Something Literary

Meet notable Michigan authors You may just get to meet your favorite Michigan author at Kalamazoo: An Evening with Notables on Oct. 18 at the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St. This event celebrates the Library of Michigan’s Notable Books program, which annually selects up to 20 books either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes. Some of those notable authors will be on hand to sign their books and talk with guests, including 2018 notables Karen Dionne, William Rapai, Stephen Mack Jones, Joel Stone, Michael G. Smith, Cindy Hunter Morgan, Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo. Also on hand will be two notables from previous years, fiction writers Bonnie Jo Campbell and Wade Rouse (who wrote as Viola Shipman). The event is free, but registration is required. To register or for more information, visit kpl.gov/ notables or call 553-7800.

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Five Faves

Awesome apples to sample this autumn by


Michigan is well known for its multitude of apple varieties. Coming into harvest season, the southwest corner of the state remains a destination for orchard visits and U-pick activities. So, to make your apple-picking trips more delicious, whether you go to an

orchard or a market, the Kalamazoo Farmers Market team chose five locally sourced apples from neighboring orchards for you to try. These apples are rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most sweet and 5 the most tart.




apples are the all-purpose apple variety. The outer skin is a deep burgundy color, and the inner flesh a hue of yellow. Unlike many other apple blossoms, Winesap blossoms are a light pink rather than white. Because of its wine-like flavor and firm flesh, this apple variety has a prominent history for being used in ciders, juices and preserves. Contrary to the idea that it is “juicy,” the Winesap keeps its firmness under heat, making it an exemplary baking apple as well. Our sweet-to-tart rating:

Otherwise known as Crispin apples, Mutsu will accompany any sweet bread, salad or cheese board. This apple, developed in Japan, debuted in that country’s markets in the 1930s and hit European and American markets under the name Crispin in the 1940s. Being a dessert apple, the Mutsu brings a sweet flavor to pies and tarts or when cubed in muffins and bread. It’s mild on the spice index of apples, making for a perfect pairing with a crisp white Michigan wine and a semisharp cheese. (We recommend Raspberry Bellavitano from The Cheese People of Grand Rapids.) Our rating:

Braeburn Originating from New Zealand, the Braeburn apple is a cross between the Lady Hamilton apple and crowd favorite, the Granny Smith. With orange streaks that vary in depth of color depending on the climate the Braeburn is grown in, this apple is sure to catch your eye. Braeburns are crisp, with a thin skin that crunches easily into a pale yellow, lightly spicy fruit. With hints of nutmeg, pear, and even cinnamon notes, this apple is one that covers all needs. Good for eating fresh off the branch or for baking, applesauce, ciders, jams and dinner dishes, this apple is one to be on the lookout for during harvest season. Our rating: About the Author Megan Kucks is the Markets Assistant Manager at PFC Natural Grocery & Deli. Helping run the local markets is a key component to her position as well as blog posting, marketing and social media management. Megan also takes part in routine farm visits to ensure that ethical and sustainable practices are being used for those that sell at the markets, as well as in-store suppliers. When not working, she is a student in the culinary and sustainable food systems program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. 14 | ENCORE OCTOBER 2018

Arkansas Black The Arkansas Black is what we

consider a “shapeshifter.” With a heavy burgundy-black color, this apple begins as a tart, dense fruit that’s perfect to eat off the branch. The Arkansas Black is also perfect for ciders and baking, since it keeps its firm consistency and will stay months in prime condition in cold storage. However, during long-term storage, this apple changes to a smooth, soft dessert apple. Our rating: for the initial flavor, for long-term flavor.

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dusty-red-hued gem accented with small gold spots, this early season varietal is a beauty on the chopping block. Paula Reds were developed in Sparta, Michigan, by Lewis Arrends. He found a by-chance seedling in his orchard and decided to give it a try. The seedling became a successful bloom, and he ended up naming this offspring of the McIntosh apple after his wife, Pauline. Paula Reds are sweet in flavor but over time can become mealy in texture. That being said, they make for an outstanding applesauce base. We view the Paula Red as one of those American standby apples — traditional, sweet, and easy to eat. Our rating:

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Good Sports

Junior pool players learn all the angles and good attitudes by



Brian Powers


ost pool players probably don’t compare themselves to karate masters, but 17-year-old Nyla Baker isn’t most pool players. “They (pool and karate) have a lot of similarities,” Baker says. “There’s strategy in when to attack and when to defend.” The recent Loy Norrix graduate holds a black belt in karate and trains in other martial arts. Since 2014, she has also been on the junior league of the Kalamazoo Amateur Poolplayers Association, the local branch of a national organization for competitive 8-ball and 9-ball. Baker is a good example of the skill development and sportsmanship that young people can experience on this junior pool league. She meets every other Saturday with other junior league players at facilities in Portage or Comstock for some friendly competition and a chance to practice her skills. The junior league, at least at first, was made up of kids who had to tag along when their mothers and fathers were playing pool in the Kalamazoo adult APA, says Tim Baker, an APA member. There were about a halfdozen junior players originally, and over the past three years it’s grown to 20 or more young players on any Saturday morning. About half of them have parents in the Kalamazoo league. Many bars offer a pool table or two for play, but Lins Long Lake Tavern, at 8496 S. Sprinkle Road, has six. That’s where APA junior and adult players gather. They’ve also met at Comstock Cue Club, but that venue was closed for repairs through the winter. Venues donate time on the tables, and players meet at 11 a.m., before business at the bars gets started. It costs $20 to participate for six months in the junior league.


Left: Junior pool league member Nyla Baker lines up a shot. Above, clockwise from left: Elijah Fontanilla takes aim; Logan Calley racks up the billiard balls; and Joseph Fontanilla, left, and Victor Malone, right, practice their shots.

Derek Fontanilla of Portage has three sons in the junior league — 11-year-old twins Isaac and Elijah and 10-year-old Joseph. All three are in their second season in the league. They started playing because they were already at Kalamazoo APA games: Derek and his wife, Katherine, have been on two adult teams for the past three years. The parents are martial artists, too; Derek heard about the APA in Kalamazoo from Tim Baker, while they were at judo class together. The Fontanilla family also has a pool table at home. Derek says that it gives the boys plenty of chances to practice. “They’ve played people who are 18 (years old),” he says. “They can go up against anybody and not feel intimidated.”

Seven to 17 The junior league has players between the ages of 7 (the APA minimum) and 17. They play mostly 9-ball, which takes less skill, and the shorter players use a shorter stick (pool cue), says Mike Keeler, the Kalamazoo APA league operator. In 9-ball, there are only nine balls on the table, and players keep their turn by sinking balls in numerical order. The object of the game is to sink the 9 ball. If you’ve already sunk the 1 and 2 balls and then use the 3 ball to sink the 9, you win

the game. This allow for quick matches — if lucky, a player can end the game before the opponent can even take a turn — and that gives young players an opportunity to play two to three games each time they get together. Skill levels are rated on a 1 to 9 scale, with 9 as the highest ranking. The APA uses its own system for determining each player’s ability, and most junior players have a skill level of 1, 2 or 3, says Keeler. Each year a national championship for the APA juniors is held in Davenport, Iowa. Nyla Baker was one of five junior players from Kalamazoo who competed there in 2016 and 2017, and she won four of her 16 games in 2017. Overall, the Kalamazoo junior players made a good showing that year: Nyla came in among the top third of players at skill levels 4 and 5, while Mikey Barber, Abigail Richards, Riley Schippers and

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This page, top: Justin McDonald gets a tip from one of the parents who help keep the junior pool league running. Bottom: Emmitt Whalen lines up a shot. Opposite page, left: Isaac Fontanilla is one of three brothers that play in the league; right: Mikey Barber often competes in tournaments.

Emmitt Whalen were all ranked skill level 1 or 2. Baker says that although she didn’t win any trophies, the variety of opponents she played against helped improve her game. “During league night, you only get to play one person,” she says. “In a tournament, it’s a lot of people. I’m interested in playing as many tournaments as I can. You meet a lot of cool kids.”

No ‘sore winners’ More important to Keeler than winning is seeing young players learn the value of sportsmanship. “It’s about getting them out of the house and meeting people,” he says. “We talk about

Brian Powers


being not being a ‘sore winner.’ There’s actually less conflict than between adult players.” Tim Baker, who helped organize the APA junior league in Kalamazoo, says that building the next generation of players has always been one of his goals. “Every game starts and ends with a handshake and wishing each other ‘Good game,’” Baker says. “We teach them sportsmanship and how to strive for self-improvement, skills they can use off the table.” Fontanilla notes that, at practices in Kalamazoo, parents of junior league players give advice not only to their own kids, but to the opponents also. He believes there’s more of a sense of cooperation and encouragement than in youth sports like ice hockey and baseball. “Now baseball is all, ‘Make your kid the next Derek Jeter,’” he says. “In pool, as long as they practice, they have an opportunity to do well.”

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Proud to be Home

ROI helps disabled to 'be as independent as they can be' ANDREW DOMINO


he work of Residential Opportunities Inc. in caring for those with physical and mental disabilities isn’t often visible to others, but after 40 years in Kalamazoo County, ROI is getting noticed. “We go to a restaurant with (clients) and staff, and when we go to pay the bill, it’s already been paid,” says ROI’s CEO, Scott Schrum. That’s because ROI has grown from an organization that began in 1978 as an effort to “deinstitutionalize” those with intellectual disabilities to an organization focused on improving quality of life for the individuals they serve by providing housing, medical care, education, job training or whatever those individuals need to be as independent as possible. ROI provides services to hundreds of people in the county, making it the largest provider of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Above: ROI client Sharon talks with staff member Jim Shields. Opposite page, clockwise from top: Client Craig, on left, with ROI staff member David Stedman; staff member Danielle Hughes hugs client Maureen; and ROI client Sarah enjoys a day outside. (Courtesy photos; clients’ last names are not used to maintain privacy.)

“We focus on the word ‘home’ and what it means,” Schrum says. “We want to help people be as independent as they can be. Part of that is having friends, relationships and family.”

Seeking independence The establishment of ROI was prompted by something that had happened hundreds of miles away. A 1972 TV report by a young Geraldo Rivera exposed unhealthy and dangerous conditions at Willowbrook State School, a New York City facility for children with intellectual disabilities. The report prompted public attention to care

Brian Powers



Several organizations, including the Kalamazoo Foundation (now the Kalamazoo Community Foundation), the Kalamazoo Association for Retarded Children, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and the Kalamazoo United Way formed ROI in response. Its doors opened in 1978. Today ROI serves clients in three broad groups: people who will always need round-the-clock care; those who will always need care, though not 24 hours a day; and those who can go on to live independently. Most of the people ROI helps come to the organization because their families need support to care for them or because their families don’t have the resources to care for them appropriately. ROI, in turn, is funded primarily

for the developmentally disabled around the country, including in Kalamazoo. Schrum said conditions for people with disabilities weren’t the same in the Kalamazoo area as they were at Willowbrook, but they weren’t what they needed to be. Institutions housing the disabled were scattered around the state, with the closest one being in Coldwater. Schrum said the facility was understaffed and unable to keep everyone appropriately clean and fed.

by Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMH) and Medicaid dollars. KCMH contracts with ROI to provide services for individuals with disabilities in the region. Because most of the individuals ROI serves just need a place to live and friends who are at their level of development, ROI established group homes throughout the county. It started with five group homes for adults, a number that has grown to 18, and those homes now house 125 people. Some of the individuals ROI serves may need

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medical treatment, while some may require assistance with basic tasks like bathing and getting dressed. Others are getting help to learn new skills to become more independent or to look for a job appropriate for their ability levels. Working with MRC Industries in Kalamazoo, ROI’s clients can become workers in fields like assembly, packaging and food service. In 2017, MRC served 184 people, though its director of human resources and community relations, Bonnie Sexton, says she doesn’t have an exact number of those referred by ROI. ROI also has a program that helps 250 of its clients manage money they earn from jobs or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits. “Along with a job comes independence in other parts of their lives too,” Sexton says.

Helping younger clients The bulk of ROI’s clients are adults, but the organization has expanded its support and services for children and teens. In 2012, it opened the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research. Children and teens diagnosed with autism live at the center, where they learn to manage their disability as they meet with professionals for 10 or more hours a week. The center opened an Left: ROI’s CEO Scott Schrum. Right: ROI client Pam.

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A frame containing the personnel file and a picture of a former Toledo police officer hangs on the wall of one of the most consequential offices in the city of Kalamazoo. It’s the office of Karianne Thomas, a 25-year veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and, as of last November, its first female chief. The photo is of her grandfather Forrest Guhl, who died in 1977. "I think he would have been shocked," she says. "I had all brothers, and I'm the one that ends up in the military and as a police officer." Much has changed since Thomas’ grandfather’s days on the beat in northern Ohio. Pot laws are liberalizing, the norms of gender identity and sexual orientation are morphing, and public condemnation of sexism and racism is shifting the cultural landscape. And at a time when police seem to be both more needed and more under a microscope than ever, Thomas says she is focusing on how KDPS officers perceive and engage with the Kalamazoo community as it and they adjust to these changes. She believes that understanding the community they work in — its history and its individuality, the good and the must-do-better — creates an empathy within her officers that’s necessary for them to do their jobs well. She has a simple philosophy: "We are all different, we are all unique, and we all have the same rights to be here."

KDPS chief tackles a changing landscape

Up through the ranks

Brian Powers

A transplant to Kalamazoo by way of Tecumseh, Michigan, Thomas doesn't shy away from her immigrant family roots — she loves Scottish pub ales and gave her two children Scottish names — or her experiences climbing her way up the ranks to the chief's office. Thomas joined the Army in 1985 and served for 15 years. She wanted to be a lawyer — a prosecutor, she insists, maybe a judge advocate general. She says she never intended to be a police officer, though. "My grandfather had become a police officer in Toledo, and I had some cousins (in law enforcement)," she says. "I thought, ‘Well, I can do that for a while until I have enough money to go to law school.' And, boom, here I am." She spent a year and a half with Western Michigan University's police department before joining KDPS, which is, per capita, the largest such department in America that combines police, fire and emergency medical responders. A photo of Forrest Guhl and his personnel file from his time as a Toledo police officer, top left, overlook his granddaughter, KDPS Chief Karianne Thomas, as she works at a standing desk in her office.

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"It's paramilitary, and I love the military,” Thomas says. “I said to myself, 'I can do that.' You can do police, fire and EMS. Cops are adrenaline junkies. We'll run into burning buildings, no problem."

Still, she pushed herself through to each promotion, from working the crime lab at gruesome crime scenes to serving as an inspector in internal affairs and then, five years ago, to deputy chief. "I grew up in this department," she says. It’s where she met her husband, now a retired detective, with whom she has two children who are now in college. "Every major thing in my life has happened while I worked for this department." And despite spending four years as a deputy chief, she didn’t necessarily have her eye on the top job. "I was counting down to retirement," the 51-year-old says. "Then I decided I didn't want to go yet." In November 2017, KDPS Chief Jeff Hadley announced he was leaving to become chief of the Chatham County Police Department in Georgia, and Thomas was chosen to fill his shoes. "There was no one else we looked at," Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema said in an interview that month with the Kalamazoo Gazette. "She has been preparing for this position for quite a while. It really made great sense to appoint her."

Being the first While much was made about her being the first female chief in KDPS history, Thomas wanted it known that she was qualified for the position by merit, which is important for any chief in order to exert authority and implement policies. What she didn’t realize, though, says Hadley, was just how significant that first–female distinction is. "It's important for the chief's ranks to be diversified," says Hadley, a white male. "Not only for role models, but it also changes the conversation in the room, whether it be African-American or Hispanic or female. It changes the conversation at the head of the table. 26 | ENCORE OCTOBER 2018

"It never mattered to her that she was the first female chief — at least it didn't initially register with her. I said, 'Karianne, you have to embrace that. You're a role model now, certainly with little girls.'" Because not everyone grows up with three brothers and five uncles or hardens herself as a "linguist interrogator" in Army human intelligence or receives a mother's instructions that women who are told they can't do something because of their gender should most definitely go for it.

Left: Karianne Thomas, center, with fellow soldiers during her days in the military at Camp Grayling. Above: Thomas and her children, Ian (left) and Quinn (center), and her husband, Dale. Opposite page, left: Thomas during a briefing. Right: Thomas discusses service calls with Lt. Gretchen Mayo, center, and Sgt. Dan Chenier.

On her desk, the one her grandfather now overlooks, sits a reminder of how things have changed: a foam caricature of a female police officer wearing a short skirt, high heels and a badge on the wrong side of her uniform, a relic that might have come from a 1950s police conference. Thomas laughs at its absurd irony as she points it out. When Thomas joined KDPS, not all of its police stations had female locker rooms. There was an atmosphere that made women feel less welcome to pursue their careers, she says. "I didn't tell the department I was pregnant until I was seven months pregnant with my first child. I thought there would be negative effects to it," she says. "Sometimes I felt I had to do a better job to do a good enough job. Whether that was true or not, that's what was in my head." "My way of dealing with male-dominated family or work situations was firmly established before I got here. I'm conscious about holding those doors open."

Empathy and trust There are other doors that Thomas is working to keep open too, such as making sure the department does not shut the door on painful incidents in its past.

Brian Powers

A year before the August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked widespread protests against alleged police racism and gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement, Kalamazoo police were grappling with evidence that racism was influencing the department’s own policing. A 2013 study of KDPS traffic-stop data showed African-American drivers were being

pulled over at higher rates than others — and more frequently taken out of their vehicles, handcuffed, searched and arrested. At the time, Thomas, a year into KDPS’ senior administration, "was steering the ship as much as I was," says Hadley, who was KDPS chief at the time. "She had a front-row seat, was at the table for all the decisions in terms of how do we move beyond the study and move the

department forward. She was always the person to hold people accountable,” he says. One of the department's first actions was a new "consent to search" policy, Thomas says, requiring that officers have "a reason you want to look in that car," instead of going on "a fishing expedition.” While an unwarranted request to search a vehicle is not illegal, Thomas says, "that doesn't make it legitimate. And we want to be legitimate. It's the trust.

"It's a slippery slope. It only takes one thing for (the public) to say, 'See, they are doing it like everyone else does it.' I’ve got a pretty high standard, and I expect the same from everybody else, and they know that." Thomas isn't shy about talking of historic and ongoing racism and how it negatively

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affects communities and about the policies she says will address it at an institutional level. "When we see that behavior, we address that behavior," she says. "Bad apples don't want to work for a department that's going to make them toe the line." Thomas is both pragmatic about KDPS' role in the community's changing cultural landscape and demanding of the department. She says she needs to convince her department not only that policy changes are necessary, but that such changes require breaking from decades of policing dogma. At the same time, she has to convince the community that KDPS is changing, and some say she has work to do in that vein. "Our police department has not arrived yet," says Shannon Sykes Nehring, a Kalamazoo city commissioner and a vocal opponent of police overreach. "As we start to dig into the data, my hope would be that she (Thomas) is very transparent in the process. I'm optimistic that she will be."

New recruiting tactics Thomas keeps the police radio in her office on while she's working. It's an adrenaline-spiking soundtrack that reminds her of her time on the street, something she doesn't want to lose touch with. But now her focus is fixed on numbers — specifically, how many officers are needed on the street now and in the future. Handwritten on the white boards on her office walls is a complex table showing years and positions — a chief's math for solving both tactical and strategic equations to build up the force and fill expected retirements four years from now. KDPS had 205 sworn officers four years ago and 227 earlier this year, and Thomas wants 241 by the end of the year. About 60 percent of the city's budget goes to public safety, and those city funds are augmented by federal and state grants. Thomas’ department currently has enough money to reach her hiring target but lacks enough of the right candidates, she says, partly

Thomas talks with officers and students during a meeting of the department's Explorer post for young adults interested in a public safety career.

because younger generations prioritize a work-life balance that public safety departments can't provide and partly because of what Thomas calls the "national climate for policing.” “People realize just how serious this job is and (that) one action can end their career and their life, and a lot of people aren't willing to take that risk," she says. In a relatively new strategy that Thomas says other departments are emulating, KDPS conducts a rigorous selection process and pays for new recruits to go to the police academy rather than having the candidates pay for the training themselves. Currently, only 15 percent of KDPS officers are female and 18 percent are minorities, and while Thomas can't legally use demographic quotas for hiring, she says this new recruiting process attracts

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candidates with "more diverse opinions" and "more diverse life experiences." In the past, she says, candidates came from a pool of academy graduates who could afford the $10,000 fee and 16 weeks without work to attend the academy, and, more often than not, they were white and male. "Now, we're doing it our way,” Thomas says. “I create my own pool. We hire the heart and train the brain." Thomas says another of her priorities is to recruit new officers who hail from the Kalamazoo area, because they best know the areas they'll be tasked with keeping safe. She believes this will help reduce the chances that police will be seen "as an occupying force." It’s part of an ongoing effort for the department to evolve after the findings of the 2013 racial profiling study, which Hadley, the chief at the time, says was unpopular in the department. "A lot of officers felt indicted," he says. "They took it personally." The department, however, looked for and implemented ways to change. When the Ferguson incident occurred and the lid blew off policing across the country, says Hadley, the department realized that it had already made strides. “It really was affirmation of our work. We were ahead of the curve by a long shot," says Hadley. “We had a lot of good, solid work behind us before Ferguson." But Thomas still must continue to innovate, preparing the department and its officers for a world that changes quickly. For example, next month Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use, and in 2011 Kalamazoo voters approved making small marijuana offenses the lowest of police priorities. "We just bought two new K-9 police dogs, and neither one is going to be trained in marijuana," Thomas says, "because you can't untrain them.” “We are already thinking that far forward."


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Not-So-Weird Science

Engineering club teaches middle schoolers to try, try again story and photos by



ny scientist will tell you that failure teaches more than success, which is why the kids in the Engineering Club at Milwood Magnet School in Kalamazoo are learning a lot. In 2013, when Kevin Knack, a sixth-grade science teacher at Milwood, saw his students’ enthusiasm for the short 3D design portion of the science curriculum he taught, he knew he needed to create a way to further that interest. The two-week segment focused on computer-aided design, or CAD, with only a small portion of that time focused on 3D design, so Knack created an after-school time to expose students to the principles and processes of engineering and let them finish projects they couldn’t complete during class time. The ad hoc afterschool program became a hit. Four years later, that afterschool time is now officially the Engineering Club. The club “is something that complements our assigned curriculum, which is not really dedicated to 3D printing and


things like that,” Knack says. “But we were finding that kids wanted more time with it, so the club is an opportunity for the kids who are interested to really dig in and mess around and practice.” The club, which has 10 to 15 members, meets Tuesdays, and the hour-long sessions are relatively free form, with students having the chance to work on any designs they can create. But when inspiration is lacking, Knack will provide challenges for them. One such challenge involves asking his students to consider the caliper of a tape dispenser. He asks them to think about why the caliper is designed the way it is. Is it more efficient physically or more cost-effective to produce? And how should they take their assumptions into consideration as they are creating their own designs? Below: From left, teacher Kevin Knack helps club member Verda Korzeniewski problem solve while Ezra Balden looks on. Opposite page, top: Reznor Kleber explains how he designed — and redesigned — a 3D printed treasure chest. Bottom: An unsuccessful print that helped club members learn about temperatures needed for 3D printing.


Evolution of a club

“We want them to realize that the first idea is not always the best idea,” Knack says, “to get that idea of revising and improving on something and just coming up with a more systematic way of arriving at these solutions.”

Revising and improving have been part of the program’s evolution as well. During its first year, the group’s CAD software wasn’t compatible with the computers available at the school, and the 3D files the students created had to be printed using a 3D printer owned by a parent volunteer. The following year, Knack says, they got the CAD program to work on the school’s computers, but then there was a conflict between the files the students created and the volunteer parent’s printer. In the third year, the group started using a different design program, Tinkercad. Students would create and tweak their files, then Knack would email them to Joe Korzeniewski, the parent volunteer and father of club member Verda Korzeniewski, to print them as he could. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 33


In 2016, the local manufacturer Forrest Company donated a 3D printer to Knack and the students, so they could design and print their ideas all in the same place. And every member can tell you a story about a failed print. “Failure’s not a problem here,” Knack admits. For example, seventh-grader Ezra Balden forgot to check the measurements of his ninja star and ended up with a not-so-lethal piece of plastic the size of a dime. Reznor Kleber, also in seventh grade, printed the base of his treasure chest four times and the lid five times before the pieces finally fit together the way he intended. And the students are not the only ones learning; Knack has been been getting quite an education himself about the capabilities and limitations of 3D printers. Knack explains that 3D printers work by melting plastic filaments into a liquid, which is poured out as a very thin layer that cools very quickly into a solid. The printer’s nozzle continues to put down layers of this liquid plastic over and over, following the instructions it’s been given by the 3D file. Making sure that the printer is calibrated on a regular basis to prevent wonky prints and that the temperature is just right to prevent warping as the plastic cools are things that Knack learned along the way.

Annabella Moran, left, and teacher Kevin Knack talk about how to design the treasure chest she wants to build.

Ready for Robotics

“A 3D printer is not exactly a ‘Star Trek’ replicator,” Knack says. “It has plenty of limitations. There are a thousand different settings and temperatures and materials.”

A good challenge Thinking critically about and working within those limitations is a challenge the Engineering Club’s members must tackle. Knack’s approach is very hands-off. While he may offer hints about where the students have gone wrong, he still prints their files even if he sees flaws beforehand.

In addition to learning design and 3D printing skills, the members of the Milwood Engineering Club are taking another step into the future: robotics. The program received 10 Sphero robots — programmable, ballsized bots — that the students will learn to program in the afterschool club. Knack’s goal is for the students to work from basic drag-and-drop commands to writing code for the robots' commands.

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When Knack is asked by a student what needs to be changed in order for a design to be print-ready, Knack responds, “I have faith in your ability to puzzle it out.” “The real-world exposure” that students get is one of the benefits of the club, says parent volunteer Korzeniewski. “Like the build cycle of having to design something and then see the real-world limitations of it and then make adjustments based on limitations that you didn’t think of when you’re just designing something on the screen,” he explains. “That kind of feedback loop is something they don’t get a lot outside of the science classroom.” Students also talked about the benefits they gain from the club and why they enjoy participating. “I like that you can create your own design,” says Annabella Moran, a seventh-grader. “If you want to do a bird or something, you have to figure out what to use. This club is really fun because sometimes we get different kinds of challenges. If it doesn’t work out, you have to fix it and try again. That’s what I like about this club.” “You’re able to make it whatever you want. There (are) restrictions, obviously,” says Kleber, “but nobody else can tell you what’s right or wrong. If you want to make it, you can make it. Whatever your mind can think of and put your mind to and work on, you can pretty much do.” There’s an additional benefit to the club that one parent mentioned — camaraderie. Jeralee Kunkee says her son, eighth-grader Shane Salmon, enjoys “finding and working with other children that are working to advance themselves.” Currently the club relies on donations from the community and volunteer time from parents and teachers. Eventually, if Knack can get school funding and grants he’s applied for, he would like to have more 3D printers and a dedicated room at the middle school to serve as a makerspace where the students can learn about the actual printing process along with the designing.

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Laying Down Her Burden

Singer-songwriter uses music to heal from abuse by



singer-songwriter Ashley Daneman speaks, she laughs easily and melodically. Listening to that laugh and looking at her folded comfortably into a chair in the sunlit showroom of Kalamazoo Piano Co., at 310 N. Rose St., you wouldn’t guess that she was a victim of domestic violence. But it’s no coincidence that Daneman is putting on a free concert of new music at Bell’s Eccentric Café Oct. 25 in partnership with an organization that provides help to victims of assault and violence, the YWCA of Kalamazoo. And it’s no coincidence that the concert is timed to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. "I was a child in a home where my mother and also my siblings got hit and verbally abused. It’s something that people don’t like to talk about in general, but we need to talk about it if it’s going to be revealed,” Daneman says. Her forthcoming album, People are Fragile, tackles the aftermath of that domestic violence. Daneman was able to record the album with the help of a Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative (KADI) grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, which requires that an artist’s project have a community impact. But Daneman says she would’ve found a way to record her fifth album “come hell or high water.” “I wrote (the grant request) to partner with the (YWCA) to hopefully have my music impact a greater portion of the community that might not normally access my

Concert of Healing Jazz What: A free concert by Ashley Daneman aimed at educating the public about domestic violence. Sponsored by the YWCA. All those attending will be offered a free copy of Daneman’s CD People are Fragile. When: 7 p.m. Oct. 25

music and also educate people about domestic violence,” Daneman says. And while the album won’t officially be released until early 2019, Daneman — whose unique sound blends modern folk and jazz — will play songs from People are Fragile at the concert and each concert-goer will receive 36 | ENCORE OCTOBER 2018

Grant Beachy

Where: Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.

Janel Naumann


Left: Singer-songwriter Ashley Daneman’s new album addresses domestic violence. Above: Daneman in the recording studio with pianist Rufus Ferguson.

a copy of the album. Representatives from the YWCA will also be on hand to talk about domestic violence and ways to identify it and help yourself or someone else who might be a victim of domestic violence. Daneman is open about the trauma she endured and how it’s necessary to heal from it and not perpetuate the cycle of abuse. Her music, especially her new album, has been a huge part of that healing. “I’ve made this album just completely without shame or selfcriticism,” Daneman says. “You know, my last album (2015’s Beauty Indestructible) was good and it was well received, but I kind of never was sure if I was good enough.”

So what’s different about the new album? A more open approach, Daneman says. She credits this to several factors — a type of therapy she’s undergone, a significant birthday, and a decision to let go of shame. Last year she began Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, or EMDR, a form of psychotherapy that helps patients process traumatic memories with the aid of rapid, rhythmic eye movement, which mimics eye movement in REM sleep and is thought to help lessen the intensity of negative emotions. Daneman says the therapy helps to feel less like the traumatic event is happening every time a person thinks of it. “When you’re traumatized,” she says, “the events and emotions get out of regular sequence in time. So (EMDR) helps you put them back in time so they’re not always with you.” As a survivor of domestic violence, Daneman says that there’s an inherent feeling of shame that hitchhikes onto that survival. In working to shed that shame, Daneman chose to record People are Fragile live, with musicians playing each song together at the same time, rather than each performer recording their part individually and then those tracks being mixed together later. Whatever happens live stays in the song. Daneman says she also experimented with adlibbing lyrics on some of the tracks. “Through the recording process, I got to practice feeling unashamed, which, for victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence, is a huge deal, because you learn that you are the problem, so this was a huge step unlearning that I am not the problem. That I am not a problem. It’s not perfect, there are mistakes, but I just refuse to feel shame about it,” Daneman says. And turning 40, which she did earlier this year, had an impact all its own.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 37


Symbolic Art

Laura Racero

Daneman hopes that attendees at her concert at Bell’s will walk away having learned about something that affects our community whether it’s right in front of their face or not. “I hope that people who don’t think about domestic violence have that on their radar,” Daneman says, “so that if they come into

The image of Daneman gracing the cover of People are Fragile takes inspiration from kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with liquid gold or silver. Literally translated, kintsugi means “golden joinery.” Daneman says that the books, experiences and ideas that influenced People are Fragile are reflective of the golden joinery of her journey toward healing and her hope that what has helped her heal will also help others. contact with someone … if someone could be helped out of domestic violence because of something that someone learned at my concert, that would be amazing. But, for the music, I think my role as an artist, me personally, is to sort of invite people into that tender place where they can feel their feelings.”

Photo: Shelly Mosman

“It’s not a bad thing, but when I turned 40, it was, like, really hard to process it,” Daneman says. “You know, I’m not 27. I’m not 32 … I’ve been trying to be like, ‘What does this mean that I’m 40?’” Daneman’s song “The Feeling of Heavy” talks about wanting to let go of shame. “They laced it up real tight, this heavy load, when I was just a little thing,” the lyrics go. While Daneman doesn’t sing the lyrics, there’s a rhythm in the way she speaks them. “So I grew up strong under the weight of heavy/ And they said, ‘Girl, this has been passed down, way down, generation to generation. It was mine and it’s yours, so get used to the feeling of heavy.’" “It talks about my desire as an adult to lay that burden down, to be free of it,” Daneman says. “And how hard it is to be free of it. Ultimately, you just have to do it for yourself and make that decision, because it’s your life.”

Gabriela Montero The William and Nancy Richardson Concert

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PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays Almost, Maine — Nine connected love stories are told by residents of an imaginary town, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 5 & 6, 2 p.m. Oct. 7, York Arena Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. Love, Loss, and What I Wore — A collection of stories in which clothing and accessories trigger memories, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 & 13, 2 p.m. Oct. 7 & 14, Carver Center Studio Theatre, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. Shakespeare in Love — A hilarious romp filled with mistaken identity and star-crossed lovers, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 11 & 12, 2 p.m. Oct. 14, Shaw Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. Ghost Stories: Chapter 2 — A blend of new and old, classic and original ghost stories, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 & 27, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. spells/signed by the heart and Beauty's Daughter — Kalamazoo College’s Senior Performance Series presents two plays, by Robert Davis and by Dael Orlandersmith, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18–20, 2 p.m. Oct. 21, Dungeon Theatre, 139 Thompson St., 337-7333. Musicals Beyond the Rainbow: The Judy Garland Musical — The life story of a Hollywood legend, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 & 11, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 & 13, 2 p.m. Oct. 7 & 14, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. Hello, Dolly! — The adventures of a widowed matchmaker in search of a bride for a "half-amillionaire," 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 & 6, 2 p.m. Oct. 7, Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Lonesome Traveler: The Concert: The Roots of American Folk Music — A concert version of the off-Broadway musical telling the story of Americana

music from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan, 3 p.m. Oct. 21, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. The Civic in Song: 1929–2018 — Senior Class Reader's Theatre musical revue, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 & 27, 2 p.m. Oct. 28, Civic Auditorium, 343-1313. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown — A zany new musical about women and the men who pursue them, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Nov. 1, 2 & 3, 2 p.m. Oct. 28 & Nov. 4, Williams Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. The Cole Porter Radio Hour — Actor Rob Johanson portrays Cole Porter in a show featuring chamber choir Kaleidosong, 4 p.m. Oct. 28, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. Other The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation—Live! — The Emmy Award-winning TV show presents a theater production with educational stories about visionaries and innovators in science, technology, engineering, math, the environment and social justice, 2 p.m. Oct. 20, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Pile — Boston-based rock, indie rock and folk quartet, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. The Willis Clan — A family of singers, dancers, musicians, writers and artists, with guest The Moxie Strings, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Puddles Pity Party — The "Sad Clown with the Golden Voice" from America's Got Talent mixes humor with tender moments, 8 p.m. Oct. 6, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Verve Pipe — Michigan-based alternative rock band, 9 p.m. Oct. 6, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Kind Country — Minneapolis-based bluegrass and folk band, with guest The Mainstays, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Chase Rice — Country musician, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Choir of Man — Combines dance, percussion and a chorus of nine men performing Broadway, folk and rock, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

Dave Bruzza Band —Greensky Bluegrass member performs a country and bluegrass show, 8 p.m. Oct. 19, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Fab Four: The Ultimate Beatles Tribute — The group performs note-for-note renditions of Beatles' songs, 8 p.m. Oct. 19, State Theatre, 345-6500. Ashley Daneman: People are Fragile Album Preview Show — The vocalist performs her original jazz and folk music, 9 p.m. Oct. 25, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. (See story on Page 36.) An Evening with Branford Marsalis — Fontana Chamber Arts presents this Grammy Awardwinning saxophonist and his band, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Cityscape Event Centre, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 382-7774. Kansas: Point of Know Return Tour — Progressive rock band, 8 p.m. Oct. 26, State Theatre, 345-6500. Passafire — Savannah-based reggae, hard rock and hip-hop band, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Bullock Performance Institute: Tri-Fi — Acoustic jazz piano trio, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300. University Jazz Orchestra — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300. Connecting Chords Music Festival — Multiple events presented by Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, Oct. 5–Nov. 25; see ccmusicfest.com for schedule. Laughing Waters Quartet — Celtic and classical music, 3 p.m. Oct. 7, on the village green, Richland, 629-4944. University Symphony Orchestra — Featuring 2018 Stulberg International String Competition silver medalist, cellist La Li, 3 p.m. Oct. 7, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. University Jazz Lab Band — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Jazz Masters Series: Billy Hart — Drummer, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300.

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EVENTS ENCORE Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back — View the film as the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams' musical score, 8 p.m. Oct. 11 & 12, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. Second Sundays Live: Stringers & Singers — Musicians from Parchment United Methodist Church, 2 p.m. Oct. 14, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747. University Wind Symphony — 3 p.m. Oct. 14, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — KSO musicians perform works by Mozart, noon Oct. 15, Atrium Lobby, Borgess Medical Center, 1521 Gull Road, 349-7759. University Symphonic Band — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — KSO musicians perform works by Mozart, noon Oct. 17, Garden Atrium, Bronson Methodist Hospital, 601 John St., 349-7759. A Bernstein Tribute — Kalamazoo Concert Band celebrates the late Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 806-6597. Bullock Performance Institute: Music of Ramon and Mischa Zupko — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, with pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., 387-2300. Sacred and Profane — Academy Street Winds concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 26, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7047. Schubert's 5th — KSO presents Schubert's Fifth Symphony, and Pablo Sáinz Villegas and KSO perform Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra — For Two Christophers, a concerto for guitar and orchestra, 8 p.m. Oct. 27, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759. Choral Showcase: Collegiate Singers, Cantus Femina, and University Chorale — 3 p.m. Oct. 28, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. KSO Woodwind Quartet — KSO musicians perform works by Beach, Tailleferre, Villa-Lobos and Françaix, 7

p.m. Oct. 30, First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., 349-7759. DANCE Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars — WMU dance students pair with local "stars" in ballroom dancing competition, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-5875. COMEDY Anthony Jeselnik: Funny Games Tour — Stand-up comic, 7 p.m. Oct. 12, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Kalamazoo Improv Festival — Improv teams from Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Kalamazoo, 5:30–11 p.m. Oct. 19 & 20, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 599-7390. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits Global Glass: A Survey of Form and Function — Exhibition surveying artists and works from the mid1960s to the present, through Oct. 14. The Way Forward: New Acquisitions at the KIA — Paintings, photography, mixed media, prints and ceramics, through Dec. 2. Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line — Large-format paintings filled with otherworldly expression, through Jan. 6. do it — An exhibition engaging the local community in dialogue that responds to instructions by artists, Oct. 27–March 3. Events ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Alliance of Kalamazoo Artists, talk by Alliance artists, Oct. 2; Global Glass: Art and Artists, talk by Laura Cotton, curator at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, U-M Dearborn, Oct. 9; Chris Ofili, The Caged Bird's Song, BBC documentary, Oct. 16; Japanese Contemporary Ceramics, talk by ceramist Julie Devers, Oct. 23; Who's Afraid of Conceptual

Art?, video, Oct. 30; sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Art League Lecture — Smithsonian conservator Ariel O'Connor discusses Frances Glessner Lee's detailed miniature crime scenes used to help train homicide investigators, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10. Book Discussion: The Madonnas of Leningrad — Pam Boudreau leads a discussion of the novel by Debra Dean, 2 p.m. Oct. 17. Unreeled: Film at the KIA: The Stories They Tell — Documentary about Kalamazoo College students writing children's books with students at Woodward Elementary, with filmmaker Danny Kim and psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18. Light Lecture: Considering Contemporary Chinese Art in a Global Context — Michelle Yun, senior curator of modern and contemporary art at Asia Society, New York, discusses trends in contemporary Chinese art, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436 On the Inside Out — An exhibition focusing on the nuanced inside/out boundary pertinent to prison life, through Oct. 28, Monroe-Brown Gallery. Robyn O'Neil: We, the Masses — An exhibition of drawings, prints, and the artist's acclaimed film, We, the Masses, through Oct. 28, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. Rita Grendze: Signs for Those Seeking Light — Cast-off books that have been cut by hand, mounted and suspended give voice to writing as a powerful visual language, through Dec. 16, Atrium Gallery. Other Venues Christopher Light — Inspirations: Flower Photography from Film to Digital, 1995–2018 — Exhibition of photography, through Oct. 29, Glen Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574. Art Hop — Art at locations around Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m., Oct. 5, 342-5059.

Yes, we know there really is a Kalamazoo! gets it. 40 | ENCORE OCTOBER 2018

ENCORE EVENTS Recycled Art in the Park — A contest and exhibit featuring sculptures made from recycled materials, noon–4 p.m. Oct. 6; outdoor artwork displayed Oct. 6–13 throughout the Celery Flats Historical Area, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, FriendsoftheParksPortage.com. Painting in the Parks — Create a masterpiece of your own, 6–9 p.m. Oct. 18, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, 329-4522. Arts and Eats Tour — A self-driving tour of Allegan and Barry counties to experience art, local food and agriculture, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 20 & 21, artsandeats. org. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Author Maria Erazo: In Search of My Father — The author discusses this biography about the struggles of a family amid adversity, 6 p.m. Oct. 1, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave., 553-7810. How FDR Segregated Kalamazoo — A discussion about the history of redlining, racially restrictive covenants and segregation in Kalamazoo, 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Alma Powell Branch Library, 1000 W. Paterson St., 553-7960. Fruitful Michigan: A History of Growing Fruit in Michigan — A look at the fruit-growing history of the state and modern developments, 7 p.m. Oct. 4, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. First Saturday @ KPL — Family event with stories, activities, special guests and door prizes, 2–3:30 p.m. Oct. 6, Central Library, 342-9837.


Mystery Book Club — Discussion of The Crows, with author Maris Soule, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — November Election 4-1-1 with League of Women Voters discussing pros and cons of the ballot issues, 10:30 a.m.–noon Oct. 20. Yum's the Word: Babaturk Food Truck — Sample Turkish cuisine with Babaturk owners Erkan and Caitlin Eyvaz, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23; registration required. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544 Go VR — An introduction to Oculus Go Virtual Reality: Meditation, Oct. 2; Travel, Oct. 16; sessions begin at 6:30 p.m.; registration required. Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 6. SciFi/Fantasy Discussion Group: Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts . . . Oh My! — Explore the lore and stories about supernatural creatures, 7 p.m. Oct. 9. Bonnie Jo Campbell — The author will read, answer questions and sign her books, 7–8:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Paint Along with Bob Ross — An episode of The Joy of Painting on painting little trees, 7 p.m. Oct. 10; registration required. International Mystery Book Discussion: Sicily, Italy — Discussion of The Shape of the Water, by Andrea Camilleri, 7 p.m. Oct. 11. Open for Discussion — Discussion of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 16.

Animals and Society Book Club — Vegan Kalamazoo's monthly book discussion, 7 p.m. Oct. 11, Boardroom, Central Library, 342-9837. Cellist Jordan Hamilton — 2 p.m. Oct. 13, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. Author Sonya Hollins — The author launches an adult edition of her juvenile book, Small Beginnings: The Photographic Journey Through the Life of Merze Tate, 6 p.m. Oct. 16, Alma Powell Branch, 553-7960. Kalamazoo: An Evening with Notables — Michigan Notable Books authors discuss their work, 7–9 p.m. Oct. 18, Central Library, 342-9837. Novel Ideas Book Club — A discussion of The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. A True Crime History of Michigan — Crime historian and author Tobin T. Buhk unveils the truth behind some of Michigan's most fiendish crimes, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Oshtemo Branch, 553-7980. Regretting Mr. Wright: Mamah Tells Her Own Story — Ellie Carlson portrays Mamah Bouton Borthwick, telling her story of her relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright, 7 p.m. Oct. 25, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of Horse Dancer, by JoJo Moyes, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Friends of the Library Book Sale — 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 6.

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EVENTS ENCORE Classic Movie: His Girl Friday — A 1940 film starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy, 2–4 p.m. Oct. 27. All Hallow's Read Book Exchange — Wear a costume and bring a book to share, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Oct. 31; registration required. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555 Wild Weather — Hands-on, immersive journey through the science of extreme weather, through January. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 Motors and Music — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra League "funraiser" features museum tours, dinner and dancing, 5–9 p.m. Oct. 4. Cars, Barns, and Blues — 5–9 p.m. Oct. 13, with cruise-in for collector cars at 5 p.m.; Big Dog Mercer performing at 6:30 p.m. Gilmore's Halloween Spooktacular — Trunk-ortreating throughout the galleries, a feature film and vintage car rides, 4–7 p.m. Oct. 25. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990 Kalamazoo A–Z — Rarely seen items from the museum's collections, through Oct. 21. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior — Designs of the American architect's houses and their interiors, through Dec. 9.


Free Self-driving Backroads Tour Artist studios and galleries Locally-sourced food and drink places Farms and farmers markets



Bikes: Science on Two Wheels — Interactive exhibits about the history and evolution of the bicycle, through Jan. 6. Your Kalamazoo Wings! The First 45 Years — The history and culture of Kalamazoo's oldest professional sports franchise, through March 31. Kalamazoo Goes Green! — Paul Abueva discusses why environmentally conscious home construction is on the rise, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 14. The Sins of Kalamazoo: Murderers and Fallen Women — Tom Dietz discusses Kalamazoo's lesspublicized past, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Farm-tober Fest — Live animal shows, wagon rides, music and kids' activities, noon–7 p.m. Oct. 6. Nature Protection, Inclusion, and Equality — Dorceta Taylor, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, explores origins of nature protection and historical and contemporary gender, class and racial dynamics in nature protection in America, 7 p.m. Oct. 11, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. Oct. 10. Owl Prowl — A nighttime walk to call to owls and listen to the sounds of the sanctuary, 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Other Venues Audubon Society of Kalamazoo — Loreen Niewenhuis speaks about her 1,000-mile Great Lakes island adventure, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., 375-7210. MISCELLANEOUS Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, 3–7 p.m. Thursdays, through October; 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, through November, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727. Portage Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through October 28, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage, 3596727. 22nd Annual Senior & Caregiver Expo — Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging presents information on community resources, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 2, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 373-5147. Dessert with Discussion: The Comeback of Spartan Barley for the Michigan Brewing Industry — Russ Freed and Dean Baas share how 1916 Spartan Barley was brought back to life and discuss current research projects on winter and spring barley, 7 p.m. Oct. 3, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-5117; registration requested. Kalamazoo Late-Night Food Truck Rally — Food trucks, artisans, booths, music and networking, 9 p.m.–midnight Oct. 5, 201–299 W. Water St. (between Rose and Church streets), 388-2830. Haunted History of Kalamazoo Tour — The paranormal history of the city, 8–10 p.m. Oct. 6, 20 & 30, starts in Bronson Park, 220-9496.

Project Connect — Health/vision screenings, dental cleanings, legal assistance, clothing giveaways and family activities, noon–4 p.m. Oct. 10, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 373-5163. Fennville Goose Festival — 5K and Gosling Run, car show, arts and crafts, carnival and parade, 6–10 p.m. Oct. 12, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Oct. 13, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 14, downtown Fennville. Kalamazoo's Ultimate Indoor Garage Sale — Home décor, electronics, clothing, baby items, antiques and collectibles, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 13, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Kalamazoo Craft Fair — Fall, Halloween and holiday shopping, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 13, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 903-5820. PalletPalooza Day — A fundraiser for Goodwill Industries featuring repurposed pallet creations in three categories: Furniture, Functional and Art & Décor, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Oct. 13, KalamazooKitty, 6883 W. Main St., with awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m., 388-2830. Bonteboktoberfest — Beer-tasting event after zoo hours, 6–10 p.m. Oct. 13, Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, 269-979-1351. Kalamazoo Record & CD Show — Collector records, music memorabilia and supplies, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Oct. 14, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 734604-2540. ZooBoo — Trick or treat at the zoo, 4–8 p.m. Oct. 18– 19 & 25–26, 1–8 p.m. Oct. 20–21 & 27–28, Binder Park Zoo, 269-979-1351. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer — A walk to help fight breast cancer, 8:30 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. walk, Oct. 20, Celery Flats, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, 861-2262. The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The 1975 film, enhanced by WMU Musical Theatre students, 6:30 & 10:30 p.m. Oct. 20, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Kalamazoo Hamfest — Network with ham operators and catch up on the latest innovations, 8 a.m.–noon Oct. 21, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 205-3560. Historical Tours & Speaker Series — Tour Stuart Manor, the Grain Elevator, the Schoolhouse and the Hayloft Theatre, including historical demonstrations, noon–3 p.m. Oct. 21, Celery Flats, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4522. Safe Halloween — Trick or treating, costume contest and pumpkin decorating, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Oct. 27, Bronson Park, 337-8191. Hocus Pocus — The 1993 film celebrates its 25th anniversary, 5 p.m. Oct. 27, State Theatre, 345-6500. Beetlejuice — The 1988 cult classic celebrates its 30th anniversary, 9:30 p.m. Oct. 27, State Theatre, 345-6500. Southwest Michigan Train Show & Sale — Featuring layouts, clinics, demonstrations and vendors, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 28, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 344-0906. Community Meeting: Nikole Hannah-Jones — Kalamazoo Community Foundation presents the New York Times journalist, who discusses race, education and housing in America, 6 p.m. Oct. 30, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 381-4416; registration required.


Flashback Day is a book that closes into night then becomes a linen napkin unfolding as morning. I like overhearing the crows’ conversations. It might rain, they say. Afternoons too hot and bleak. Nightfall still hours away. Naptime passes, sprinkling the lawn with hope. We drag into the yard the makings of a spell: the child’s pool full of water and pine needles, a cat’s skull, croquet wickets twisted into a rune, and bolted broccoli. Sparks leap from the grill as we add bits of yesterday’s evening: grimy playing cards and a firefly from a Mason jar. By the time these and dinner are consumed, evening has shut day’s book. Light the candles. Let the moths go. — Elizabeth Kerlikowske Kerlikowske is a retired Kellogg Community College English professor who is president of Kalamazoo Friends of Poetry. She lives in Kalamazoo’s Winchell neighborhood and has been known to play a highly quirky and competitive version of croquet in her yard with the poets in her writing group.



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w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 43

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BACK STORY (continued from page 46)

Treasurer) Mary Balkema said to me, ‘So, you've settled your case. Now what are you going to do for others?’” Randall recalls. “It kind of redefined what I was all about. So I got to thinking, and I ran for City Council.” She won that election and re-election and spent eight years as a councilwoman before successfully running for the mayor’s job in 2017.

What made you decide to run for mayor? I believe real change starts at the top and you can't have it unless you really go in and clean house. Our directors were all male, all white and had all been there in excess of three decades. So there was very little change in this organization; even our city manager was only the third one in the life of the city. The first two years I was on the council, I was isolated on the board. At first it was always 6-to-1 votes. I started to get some support from Jim Pearson, and it became 5-to-2 votes and slowly change came to the council. I think of myself as a public servant. I am not doing this to seek higher office. I'm not doing this for the pay. I'm doing this because I like to see change and I'd like to see progress.

Have you seen progress? Yes. For example, we have several new people on our council who have brought new ideas, especially involving technology.

We have done more investing in technology in the past three years than we did in the previous 30. When I first came to the council, the only way we posted our meetings was on paper under the glass in a case in front of City Hall. That might've been effective during the Pony Express days, but it certainly wasn't effective now. I asked for that information to be put on our website and I was met with total resistance, resistance, resistance. Well, today you can get not only our meeting minutes and our agenda online, you can get them in video form and the archives are there as well. The entire packet that I receive to prep for our meetings is available to the public — every single word of it, every single document. We've come so far, and we just couldn't have done that without technology.

What’s your next challenge? What I'm most passionate about today is our new senior center. Currently seniors make up nearly 14 percent of Portage’s population, and that (percentage) will double in 10 years. They're calling it the “silver tsunami.” The current Portage Senior Center was built in 1981 and has been offering support and socialization opportunities for our seniors, but we are so stressed for space. Our director, Kim Phillips, is phenomenal and has brought in Aging With Dignity classes, speakers and different programs, but there's only so much

she can do with our limited space. If we had more dedicated space for different things, more people could participate. So we are going to be launching a capital campaign later this fall to raise $5.5 million to transform the senior center. We want to do this without a new millage request, so we are seeking philanthropic support from local donors, businesses and known regional philanthropists.

What do you like the most about what you're doing? I just love change, and I think that we're moving in the right direction on a lot of different fronts. I am all about productivity. I know I have a two-year term and I like to see things happen. I'm not a coaster. I don't tread. I swim, I run, I'm always moving, and that's my personality and when I'm the happiest. I had breast cancer six years ago, and if it's given me anything, it was to be really in the moment and not think about the next stage of your day or dinner or whatever. It gives you a different perspective on life and the journey of it and empathy with others that are going through different things in and out of their control. And it does give you a sense of urgency. I just want to keep doing things, and I don't want to stop moving. — Interview by Marie Lee

Willis Law attorneys give back 10% of their time to the community through pro bono legal services and non-profit volunteer activity. Mariko C. Willis is an estate planning and probate attorney assisting her clients in navigating their powers of attorney, wills, trusts, trust funding, asset protection, and assisting clients with the estate and trust administration process. Mariko volunteers and gives her time back to the community as follows: -Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation -Kalamazoo Detachment of the Marine Corps League

-Wills for Heroes Providing Free Estate Plans to Kalamazoo County Sheriff Deputies and Spouses -Kalamazoo Gospel Mission

Fixed Price Legal Services Stop the


www.willis.law w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 45


Patricia Randall,

Mayor, City of Portage P

atricia Randall’s journey from mom to mayor of Portage began with a tax bill. When she and her husband, Bob, moved into their new home in Portage in 2006, they were hit with a tax bill that was 60 percent higher than the bills for surrounding homes. The Randalls were experiencing what’s called “following sales,” which is the unfair practice of a tax assessor ignoring the assessments of properties that have not recently sold while making significant changes to the assessments of properties that have recently sold. It is considered to be illegal by the State Tax Commission. Randall, who has a background in finance and banking, challenged the assessment, ultimately taking her case to the state level and winning. But it took three long years, during which she learned such unfair assessments were common throughout Portage. “We had a refund from the city for over $21,000 of overpaid taxes. When I went to the county to pick up the check, (Kalamazoo County (continued on page 45)


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