Encore October 2016

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Food Innovation at KVCC

October 2016

Literacy Program Focuses on Families

Meet Grace Lubwama

Generations Grow Gull Lake View

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Sculptor of Scrap The creative world of Steve Curl


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where you live There are many reasons to love living in Kalamazoo County. But the truth is, our community still has needs. We believe, by working together, we can make it a place where every person can reach full potential. A place where we all love to live. There are many ways to show your love for Kalamazoo. Call 269.381.4416 or visit www.kalfound.org to learn how you can be part of our work.

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Contributing Writers

lisa mackinder, kara norman, emily townsend


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Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2016, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to:

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, you may visit www.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.

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FEATURES From Seed to Saute


Family Time


KVCC students learn food innovation from the ground up

Lift Up Through Literacy focuses on families to improve kids' achievement

DEPARTMENTS 6 Contributors Up Front 8 First Things — Happenings in SW Michigan 10 Kalamazoo in Kuala Lumpur — Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo Café in Malaysia


Good Works


Savor Flavorful Selection — Shop owner offers unique teas, chocolates, oils, vinegars and more



Culinary Competitors — March of Dimes' annual event brings out the best bites from local chefs


Family Drive — Four generations of Scotts keep Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort growing

Back Story

Meet Grace Lubwama — YWCA’s head is tackling tough community issues


34 A Planet of Possibilities Sculptor Steve Curl has a lot of stuff to make a lot

of art

38 Events of Note

On the cover: Artist Steve Curl sees potential where most of us see scrap, such as this giant Tiki head he created from a cast-off truck bed liner. Photo by Brian Powers.

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Lisa Mackinder

Lisa is a true foodie in this issue. She enlightens readers on Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s innovative food and health curriculum, learns secrets from chefs participating in the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction and introduces readers to Polly Kragt, owner of the gourmet shops ChocolaTea and The Pantry on Tap. Lisa says she came away with admiration for all those who work in the food industry, especially the chefs she spoke with. “It’s not only about creating fantastic dishes, but also the logistics that go into making those dishes a reality,” she says. “These talented chefs make it appear easy and seamless.”

Kara Norman

Kara lives in Kalamazoo, where she chases her toddler down the pedestrian mall, pretends to cook dinner and writes a blog about reading, travel and how motherhood has changed her, mostly for the better. This month, she interviews artist, sculptor and man-about-junkyards Steve Curl, who is the perfect docent for the rambling collection of raw materials and finished works on his property. Kara can think of nothing better than amassing 10-cent doohickeys and stacks of baking pans that might one day prove useful, and she salutes Curl’s habit of feeding his muse so abundantly. You can find more of Kara’s work at karanorman.com.

Emily Townsend

Emily loves a great story, so she had a busy month. Her story “Family Time” describes how a Kalamazoo Public Schools’ program seeks to change the lives of Kalamazoo children and families. She also introduces readers to members of the Scott family, who built the thriving Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort. And she tells the saga of four Malaysian restaurateurs who loved Kalamazoo so much that they named their restaurant near Kuala Lumpur after our city. “It doesn’t matter if you are on a golf course or in Malaysia or sitting with a child, you can find great stories anywhere,” Emily says. You can read more of her writing at soundandscrawl.com.

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First Things Something Fun

Celebrate Bronson Park Not only is Bronson Park home to a registered historic fountain and the site of many PokeStops and an annual art fair, but now it’s getting its own party. The community is invited to “Celebrate! Bronson Park” from 6-10 p.m. Oct 20. The event will honor this green jewel in the heart of Kalamazoo with live music, family activities and food trucks. Actors in costume from different historical periods will stroll the park giving “Bronson Park History Comes Alive” performances and discussing fun historical facts about the park. In addition, renovation details for the park, including restoration of the Fountain of the Pioneer, and additions to the park will be revealed at the celebration. More than $700,000 has been raised for the Bronson Park 21st Century Campaign, which will help fund the restorations and additions planned for the park. For more information, visit kalamazoocity.org/bronsonpark.

Something Romantic Romeo and Juliet at WMU

Many of us remember reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in high school, but it's just not the same as seeing it as The Bard meant it to be presented. Audiences will be able to do just that when The University Theatre presents Shakespeare’s most famous romantic tragedy Oct. 7–16 at Western Michigan University’s Shaw Theatre. Presented in period style, the play about star-crossed lovers and their family battles will have you breathlessly whispering the lines “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?” and “Parting is such sweet sorrow” along with those tragic teen lovers. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 8, 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. Oct. 16. Tickets are $18—$20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit wmutheatre.com or call 387-6222.

8 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

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Something Musical

Ridenours return for concert The father-and-son classical music virtuosos Rich and Brandon Ridenour, who are former Kalamazoo residents, will return to their roots to perform a concert Oct. 17 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen St. in Portage. The two accomplished musicians both have a worldwide following. Rich, a pianist and arranger with more than 50 recordings to his credit, performs with orchestras around the world. Brandon, a trumpeter who was a member of the Canadian Brass for eight years (after joining the group at age 20), now performs and composes music with the classical/pop group Useful Chamber. Their local concert begins at 7 p.m., and offerings will be accepted to support the arts ministry at Westminster Presbyterian Church. For more information, visit wpcportage.org and click on “Events” or call 344-3966.

Something Unique

Marketplace brings together diverse vendors More than 150 vendors with wares ranging from vintage items and painted furniture to bohemian clothing and handmade home décor will be at the KalamazooKitty Marketplace Oct. 16 at the Kalamazoo Speedway, 7656 Ravine Road. The event, which runs from 10 a.m.—3 p.m., is described by organizer and KalamazooKitty store owner Kitty Copeland as a way “to showcase local vendors and shops in one place.” This is the second KalamazooKitty Marketplace; the first, held in May, attracted more than 6,000 shoppers. In addition to vendors, there will also be a variety of food trucks, music and vintage campers on hand. Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased at both KalamazooKitty store locations (4217 Portage St. and 6883 W. Main St.) or at the gate the day of the event. For more information, visit kalamazookitty.com.

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Kalamazoo in Kuala Lumpur

Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo Café in Malaysia by

Emily Townsend

Alia Zulasmin

In a small strip mall in Petaling Jaya, a

10 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

Malaysian city just outside Kuala Lumpur, the word “Kalamazoo” in large red and white lettering adorns the outside of a creamcolored restaurant. Inside is an establishment devoted to celebrating a Midwestern city and food from the other side of the planet. Kalamazoo is a Potawatomi word for boiling waters which in the U.S. has come to refer to an exotic place with an exotic name, as in “from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo.” But as strange as the name Kalamazoo may sound to some Americans, the word is even oddersounding in Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country with a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. “Customers always ask, ‘What does Kalamazoo mean?’” says Lawrence Choy, co-owner of the Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café, “so we — the owners — tell them that Kalamazoo is a place in Michigan where we studied at Western Michigan University.” While on study abroad at WMU from 2001-03, Choy, Alex Teo, Tisha Ng and Tracy Lee learned to love American food in an unlikely environment: dormitory cafeterias. Choy says his favorite cafeteria dish was “fried ravioli with a good amount of meat sauce over it.” “When we were at Western, all of us worked in the cafeterias at one point in time, mostly in Bigelow and Burnham,” Choy says in a phone interview. “We always would hang out after work. We got to talking and realized that food and beverage work was really fun. We decided during that time that we might one day want to open a café or restaurant of our own.” Since the late 1960s, more than 2,500 Malaysian students have attended WMU through its program with Sunway University, according to the WMU Office of Study Left to right: Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café owners Alex Teo, Tracy Lee, Lawrence Choy, and Tisha Ng stand at the serving bar in their restaurant.

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Above: Tracy Lee sets the table for the weekly owners' meeting after hours on a Wednesday night, which is usually the only time they can all get together and talk about the business. Below: Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café is decorated with Kalamazoo, Michigan, and U.S. swag, including the exotic phenomenon of leaves changing colors in autumn.

“Those would be the best times in university,” Choy adds, his voice softening with nostalgia. The four students returned to Malaysia and pursued careers: Choy and Teo in computer science, Ng as a journalist and Lee as a psychologist. However, they couldn’t shake their restaurant dreams. “About a year or two after coming back, we decided, ‘No, we are still young. If we want to do this, we might as well do it now,’” Choy says. After spending a couple of years looking for property, designing a menu and saving money from their corporate jobs, they bit the bullet and got a bank loan. Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café opened its doors on Oct. 25, 2010. The restaurant serves diner breakfast classics, 12 burger options, soups, salads, French fries and milkshakes. Barbecued ribs are a crowd favorite, says Choy, a claim confirmed by the restaurant’s online reviews. “We make our own sauces. One thing we put into our sauce

Abroad. But in 2001, the year that Choy, Teo, Ng and Lee planned to head for the United States, the Sunway program was almost suspended after the 9/11 attacks. In the end, Choy and Teo had to sit out the first semester, staying in Malaysia for further visa checks, while Ng and Lee were permitted to start on time. “We definitely began late because we were men from a Muslim country after 9/11,” Choy says. “I guess it was a crazy time to be in the U.S.” Once in Kalamazoo, the foursome fell in love with more than just American food, says Choy. “The reason we named (our restaurant) Kalamazoo is because we miss Kalamazoo that much. We had the best time. We’d go to the laundromat on Stadium, and then there’s the donut place that’s open 24 hours and the time we ran down to South Haven in the middle of the night.

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Alia Zulasmin

is beer. That’s a bit different from the local flavors here. We like it a bit tangy so we use Somersby apple cider.” The first years were rocky. “Business was pretty slow,” Choy says. “People were just starting to get to know about us. We changed the flavors a lot. And we listened to our customers.” For example, he says, Malaysian customers felt the portions were too big and the sauces too sweet. “We slowly tweaked each and every item until the customers were mostly happy about them,” he says. The owners have found creative ways to make their American fare meet Malaysian tastes. For instance, their catering arm has found a niche market catering events other than weddings. “People here are used to curries in chafing dishes at weddings,” says Choy. “They really try to make it as fancy as possible. In terms

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Above: Lawrence Choy, left, and Alex Teo prepare cappuccino for the owners' meeting.

of catering, we’re very different than the other companies. We don’t do traditional Malaysian dishes; we do American. So it’s a lot of finger food and meatloaves or racks of ribs. We have burgers off of a pit. It’s not what people are used to. Most of our weekends are booked for birthday parties and graduations.” Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café now turns a profit and has healthy lunch rushes and weekend crowds, Choy says. The restaurant also has a loyal following of Malaysian WMU alumni, says Choy, and WMU administrators have visited the restaurant when in town. Occasionally, American tourists stop by, curious about a restaurant named after a relatively small U.S. city. Mostly, though, Kalamazoo Restaurant & Café serves Malaysian diners amused by the American food restaurant with a strange name.

encore Good works

Culinary Competitors

Auction brings out the best bites from local chefs by

Lisa Mackinder

Shane Sheldon, owner of Bold, describes the dish he’s prepared at the Signature Chefs Auction.

our colleagues are producing. This helps put our own work in perspective and self-realize our own strengths and weaknesses as chefs.”

The food


t’s not just the opportunity to create tantalizing, bite-size dishes to help fight birth defects, premature births and infant mortality that draws local chefs to participate in the annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. It’s the chance for a little friendly competition. “Most of the chefs know each other outside of the event,” says Patricia McDonald, development manager for the local March of Dimes organization. “We have Millennium Group — we have four restaurants with them involved this year. Three restaurants from the Radisson are participating, and within their own they’ll throw down a challenge. It gets to be inside competition for them.” Local chefs outside of those restaurant groups also appreciate a good-natured rivalry, including John Korycki, director of culinary education at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus and former chef of Zazios, who competed in the event before becoming a judge last year; Chris Kidd, chef de cuisine/partner of Rustica in Kalamazoo; and chef Andy Havey, of Bold in Texas Corners. Because chefs rarely see each other, an event like this offers a chance to interact and check out each other’s dishes, Kidd explains. “This brings out the competitive side in any chef, which is naturally necessary in such a competitive industry,” Kidd says. “At the Signature Chefs Auction we get to size each other up and also appreciate what

At the annual Signature Chefs Auction — now in its 23rd year — participating chefs typically provide three mini-offerings, often a savory dish, an appetizer and a dessert. Guests sample dishes from approximately 15 restaurants. Each chef brings a unique skill set to the event. For example, Kidd, who studied at the Culinary Institute of the Arts in New York City and worked alongside Wolfgang Puck at Spago in Beverly Hills, describes his food as classic European. Korycki, who competed in the event for 10 years, received his culinary degree at Kendall College in Chicago and for more than 20 years has traveled to Italy to continue learning and perfecting Italian dishes. Havey, who studied at Johnson & Wales in South Carolina and once cooked for 2,500 people at a private Kenny Loggins concert, creates dishes with a Southwestern flair. “Southwestern, Tex-Mex — we do a lot of that,” Havey says. “I spent time in Mexico so I really enjoy Mexican flavors.” With so many chefs at one event seeking to win “Overall Best Dish,” it pushes them to strive harder and produce at a high level. “(We) spend a little more time skimming and reducing a sauce, plan ahead to make sure the best produce will be available for the event, revitalize and freshen up old classic recipes or even create something new specifically for the event,” Kidd says. “The Signature Chefs Auction and the competition that accompanies help us cook the best food possible.”

The challenges and logistics The chefs make it look easy, but they face logistical challenges. The small space they have to work in at the competition makes it hard to cook, says Havey, and with a small burner a chef can do only

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Jack, one of her two donkeys, adoringly receives a kiss from Bonnie Jo Campbell at her family’s Comstock farm.

so much. Plus, the dishes they create have to withstand being held hot for a few hours. “That’s probably the biggest challenge,” Havey says. “Because you could come up with a great idea that would just wow people and then you think about the execution and you’re like, 'How am I going to do that?'" After participating in a few of these events, Korycki says, a chef discovers something else: what not to serve. That happened to Korycki — with scallops. “We got one of the top three awards for the dish,” he says, “but it was so hard to do. It was non-stop cooking and skewering of scallops.” After an experience like that, Korycki says, a chef steers toward something simple yet delicious that involves easy assembly — perhaps a red wine beef Bolognese sauce with polenta or tortellini, for which most of the work has taken place prior to the event. The Bold team also experienced a nevertry-that-again moment during their first Signature Chefs Auction, says owner Shane Sheldon. He and Havey tried to run their chef’s table with only the two of them. “We thought we would be just fine,” he says. “We handled it but didn’t really get to interact with the guests. Last time for that. Now we bring a small army.” Satisfying the guests and the judges also proves tricky. Almost everyone loves meat and potatoes, Korycki says, but judges might

desire something more exotic. “If you put octopus and peas on a plate, it’s like, ‘Ooh, that’s a little pushing it for Kalamazoo,’” he says. “But the judges really like that because it’s different.”

The judging Korycki will serve as a judge again this year, voting along with the other judges on which dishes to name “Best Overall,” “Best Taste” and “Best Presentation.”

“As a judge I have very simple tastes,” Korycki says, “but I want those taste buds to be pleased. I’m always looking at the good points of the dish and rating that dish that way. If it could have used a little more of this — that’s where you make your judgment.” The taste portion of the judging is a blind tasting and the judges have no idea which chef created which dish. Tasting the food is Korycki’s favorite part of the event. “Here you’re getting little bites,

We Do Donuts

little tastes, and you’re seeing what the whole Kalamazoo community is doing then and there,” he says. “It’s being able to taste that variety of food that’s being done here within this little, beautiful, international city called Kalamazoo.” He says the judges will often confer with one another, asking, “How do they do that?” or “What is that flavor that I taste?” Korycki says he is able to identify most flavors in a dish, with a few exceptions — some forms of Asian, Caribbean and Indian cooking, he says, have layers upon layers of spice.

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tibl s i s e r Ir

Left: Auction attendees watch as items are bid on. Above: John Korycki, at right, has been a participating chef in past years; this year he will serve as a judge.

The auction packages The competitiveness of this event also extends to the guests. During the live auction they bid on packages offered by participating restaurants. Last year Bold offered a private “Stash List Wine Dinner” for 14 people at The Grille Room of the Moors Golf Club. It consisted of a seven-course dinner, each course paired with wines from Bold’s private cellar. “We try to do something different every year,” Sheldon says. “We try to get as creative as we can.” Zazios’ package was “Dinner at the Chef’s Table at Zazios,” which included a sevencourse dinner for 12, and Rustica offered a “Regional Experience at Rustica” that provided a five-course dinner for eight highlighting classical and contemporary cuisine and regional wine pairings. The winning bids for the restaurant packages generally meet or go above their value, McDonald says, and last year one package valued at $900 went for $2,800. “That buildup of competing, a lot of times, that’s what people are looking for,” McDonald says. “It allows more of the room to get engaged in the bidding.”


BRONSON PARK Thursday, October 20 6–10pm

BIG CHANGES ARE COMING… Join us at the Bronson Park kick-off party as we honor its history and celebrate the future. Live Music Family Activities Food Trucks Bronson Park History Comes Alive Performances Park Renovation Details Revealed!

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Our past, our park, our future – cultivating our common ground.

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Tea, Spice and Everything Nice

Specialty food shop finds success offering 'flavor experience' by

Lisa Mackinder

16 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

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hocolaTea and The Pantry on Tap — the first selling tea and chocolates and the second specializing in oils and vinegars — share a common denominator: “the flavor experience,” says Polly Kragt, owner of these two shops on South Westnedge Avenue just north of Centre Avenue. It’s no surprise that Kragt focused on flavor-oriented shops. When she was growing up in an Italian family, robust flavors abounded at the dinner table. In 2008, she opened ChocolaTea and introduced the Kalamazoo area to tea accompanied by chocolate. Not run-ofthe-mill tea supplied in a to-go cup with a

Above: A love for flavor brought ChocolaTea and The Pantry on Tap owner Polly Kragt into the specialty food business. Left: Jars of many spices available at The Pantry on Tap.

bag, but tea served the “correct way,” says Kragt. Each tea must be steeped at a certain temperature, Kragt explains, and for a certain amount of time. And leaving a tea bag in the cup? Kragt cringes. She says that creates a bitter flavor. For 20 years, Kragt worked as a pediatric nurse at Bronson Methodist Hospital. In a way, nursing led her to tea. Her passion started during long hours of study back in nursing school, when she tossed three tea bags into a pot and poured hot water on them. Then one day her eye caught directions on the side of the tea box. “I found there’s a little bit of an art here,” she says. “Your tea tastes better if you follow directions. And then I discovered loose tea. I found it in a shop in Chicago. I bought some, and that just started the whole thing (the tea obsession) long before I opened (the shop).” Entrepreneurial spirit runs in Kragt’s family. She is the only family member who entered college to study something other than business, but she says she still recognized her own entrepreneurial spirit. When the time came to answer that calling, Kragt knew exactly what type of business to open. “People who are addicted to shoes should open a shoe store,” she says, laughing. “My addiction was tea.” Kragt did her homework, traveling to tea shows and visiting tea shops on the West Coast. But she says she never stops learning or listening. After her daughter discovered a new tea trend while attending college in Colorado and suggested it to her, Kragt started serving boba tea. Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a tea mixed with milk that has tapioca balls in the bottom. (Variations include tea mixed with fruit or fruit jellies.) It originated in Taiwan, spread throughout East Asia and then caught on across the western coast of the U.S. Referring to the tapioca balls, Kragt says, “They come dry and they’re pretty much tasteless, but they’re chewy, so you slurp and chew.” Although boba tea proved a hit at ChocolaTea, Kragt says tea lattes remain the shop’s specialty — and its biggest seller. The 20-seat, 1,400-square-foot store now offers more than 15 varieties of lattes. To accompany

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Brian Powers

savor encore

From left: Among the wares offered in Kragt’s shops are specialty tea blends, flavored oils and gourmet chocolates and confections.

the tea, Kragt provides 80 specialty chocolates. The top seller is sea salt caramel. A few years ago, Kragt caught the entrepreneurial fever again — this time for oil and vinegar. In 2012, while at The Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, she met the owner of a Montana-based oil-andvinegar store who wanted to expand and sell products wholesale. Kragt visited her store

in Montana, where the owner educated Kragt on how such a store would do in the Kalamazoo area. “It’s definitely a niche market,” Kragt says, “and I felt Kalamazoo needed it.” When a 1,500-square-foot space a few doors down from ChocolaTea became available, Kragt snatched it up. The Pantry on Tap opened in January 2015. “It’s the same kind of passion I had when I opened ChocolaTea,” Kragt says. “Now I like to look at things about oil and vinegar.”

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Customers can taste the oils and vinegars at the store’s sampling bar. Kragt says The Pantry’s best-seller “hands down” is the caramelized garlic olive oil. Overall, she notes, flavored olive oils sell better than traditional ones. In vinegars, The Pantry sells quite a bit of balsamic, especially peach and pear, “because they’re sweeter and thicker and people like to use them for salad dressings,” Kragt says. Her store also carries 140 spices and an array of salts, such as bacon and Thai ginger. When Kragt opened The Pantry, she envisioned it as strictly a retail shop, but customers’ interests prompted her to change course. Many wanted to know how to

use oils and vinegars beyond a dip for bread. Kragt now offers simple cooking classes on dressings and marinades. Eventually she wants to install a full kitchen in the back of the store for more extensive cooking lessons. “I think there’s a lot of growth that can happen here,” Kragt says. “I’ve already expanded my spice section because customers wanted more things, so we’re just in the baby stages.”

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Enterprise ENCORE

Family Drive

Four generations of Scotts keeps Gull Lake View growing Emily Townsend

Brian Powers


Jon Scott is likely the only golf course owner in the world to

compare metal music with golf course design. “When I listen to a band like Tool, the music is really complicated — there’s a lot of different time signatures, crescendos and decrescendos. It’s just complex and beautiful. I imagine designing golf courses is a little like orchestrating this music,” says Scott, a third-generation owner and president of the Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort. “It needs to be challenging but not beat you to death. Anyone can make a good golf hole, but it’s difficult to make a great golf course, because the whole thing has to fit together. I consider golf courses to be art on one of the biggest scales you can imagine.” 20 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

It’s easy to see how Scott learned to love large-scale landscape art. Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort — located south of Gull Lake and just east of Richland, his childhood home — is huge. The resort encompasses 1,500 acres, with five championship courses (and soon a sixth), lodging and dining, event facilities, houses and condos. Since the club’s first 18-hole course was built in 1962 by Jon’s grandparents, Darl and Litha Scott, golf courses have experienced a rollercoaster of popularity. To keep one step ahead of the market, the family has valued customer service and unique course design, coming at challenges as a community-oriented family business, says Bill Johnson, vice president of the company and veteran golf pro.

encore Enterprise

“It started with Grandpa Darl and his wife, Litha, who built the business model of success, knowing what the customer wants and to keep expanding, adding special amenities every year — something visitors can remember,” Johnson says, warmly referring to his employer’s family as his own.

Six courses by spring


In the spring Gull Lake View will open its sixth course — Stoatin Brae, Gaelic for “Big Hill.” “It has a real Scottish feel to it — a lot of humps and bumps and a lot of movement. The course sits high up on a bluff, “ says Johnson of

the links-style course. (The term “links” is derived from the Old English word “hlinc,” meaning rising ground or ridge, and is used to refer not only to a golf course in general but to a certain style of course like the ones built near the shores of Scotland, according to the website DearSportsFan.com.) “All of our other courses are tree-lined, like most Michigan golf courses. This one has no trees. If the wind lays down, it’ll be fun and a bit easier to get a good score. If it’s really blowing, you’ll have to think a little harder about what you’re doing.” Gull Lake View’s development of a new course is a bit of a surprise in the face of a national golf industry recession. The United States is experiencing a gradual decline in the number of golf courses to correct an oversupply of golf clubs built between the 1960s and the early 2000s, according to a 2015 report published by the National Golf Foundation. The U.S. currently has 15,372 courses, down from a peak of 16,052. Gull Lake View has avoided becoming part of the “correction” by marketing itself as a golfing destination with variety, pulling customers from larger cities across the Midwest and Canada by offering the opportunity to play 18 holes a day for five days without ever playing the same hole twice. Last year Gull Lake View’s resort villas hosted more than 15,000 overnight guests. Additionally, the golf course and resort is a hub for the local golf community, hosting golf teams from Gull Lake High School, Olivet College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College for practice

and tournaments alike as well as offering 18 weekly leagues and a Wednesday-night five-hole Happy Hour event. During golf season, the resort is home to six or more themed tournaments per month.

Family tradition lives on Golf is in the Scott family’s blood. Darl Scott was the superintendent of Gull Lake Country Club when “he decided to leave and build his own golf course,” says grandson Jon Scott. Jon Scott’s father, Charlie Scott, worked as a golf course construction superintendent through the 1970s at Wadsworth Golf Construction, building a dozen courses throughout the Midwest. Charlie’s brother Jim Scott also worked in the industry, as the director of golf at Gull Lake View for about 40 years, according to Jon Scott. His final title was president when he retired in 2010. “There’s a tradition in our family to wake up each day and work and look after the business,” Jon Scott says. “I think that makes our courses a lot different than most others.” The family tradition has continued with Jon’s 20-year-old son, Alex, who has taken a year off from his college studies to work as a grounds intern at Castle Stuart Golf Links, in Aberdeen, Scotland, a

Opposite page: Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort third-generation owners Starla and Jon Scott stand next to Vice President Bill Johnson and Head Golf Professional Matt Hudson out on Stoatin Brae, the resort's soon-to-be sixth golf course. Above, left and right: a Scott family reunion on the green in the 1980s, when the fourth generation of impassioned golfers, Alex Scott, was a baby; a Scott family reunion in 1999.

world-famous venue and host of the 2016 Scottish Open. Jon visited his son shortly after that tournament in July. Alex already knows he wants to be the fourth generation in his family to work in the golf business, but his father had no idea he would oversee the courses he was raised on. “I started to study pre-med at Michigan State, but I got so bored with all the biology and chemistry,” Jon Scott says, so he switched his major to landscape architecture and also got a bachelor’s degree in crop and soil science from MSU. “I guess you could define me as a dirt guy,” he jokes. Scott also received a Master of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University and a law degree from Cooley Law School. After years of being a “professional student,” Scott ended up coming back to the family business in 1993. “I’ve always loved being w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 21

Enterprise ENCORE on golf courses. At some point I realized the fact that what we’re really doing here (at Gull Lake View) is giving people the opportunity to have a really good time and detach from reality and enjoy themselves. I think that's the biggest part of our business that resonates with me.” Scott contrasts the family-owned and — managed Gull Lake View with golf courses that outsource management to national companies like Troon, Clubcorp and Kempersports. These companies, he says, “treat courses like a franchise.”

“Management companies don’t really have any skin in the game,” Scott says. “If I don’t do my best, I don’t eat. That’s a pretty great incentive for me to work my butt off, really care what’s going on and really know my customers.” Customers have responded to this attentiveness by returning year after year. Johnson estimates there are several dozen families who have been coming to Gull Lake View for two decades or more and a handful of families who have visited consistently for three or four decades. This past spring,

in honor of longtime customers who died this year, Scott planted two crab-apple trees among dogwoods on the West Course. “They and their families felt so strongly about this golf course they wanted to memorialize their lost ones out here,” Scott says. “I can’t tell you what kind of emotional impact that has on me.”

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From Seed to Saute

KVCC students learn food innovation from the ground up Lisa Mackinder


hen a 2013 state study indicated that more than 64 percent of Kalamazoo County adults were overweight or obese, Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), Bronson Methodist Hospital and Kalamazoo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) decided to do something about it. The coalition knew the root of this health crisis was also its solution: food. It responded with the creation of the Bronson Healthy Living Campus, adjacent to downtown Kalamazoo, which opened for classes this year and includes KVCC’s Food Innovation Center and Culinary/ Allied Health Building and the mental health department’s Integrated Health Services Clinic. “I think that we’ve been cognizant of the fact that food and health are top issues for the community,” says Mike Collins, vice president for college and student relations at KVCC. The Bronson Healthy Living Campus utilizes an approach to this problem that focuses on the relationship between food and health. Its programs currently include certificates and associate and transfer degrees in the culinary arts, sustainable brewing, nursing, emergency medical technology, and respiratory care. Hands-on experiences are the hallmark of the programs. For example, students in the culinary-arts program will spend time working in the Food Innovation Center’s 10,000-square-foot greenhouse and 16,400-square-foot indoor growing spaces and its Food Hub. “You’ll potentially have this class who is harvesting and taking food into the Food Hub area and then in the afternoon or the next morning — if they’re in the culinary program — they’ll be receiving the same stuff they harvested the day before,” says Ben Bylsma, production manager at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus.

Getting started The emergence of the Bronson Healthy Living Campus resulted from ongoing study performed by the coalition, starting in 2013. Preliminary work incorporated a series of focus-group meetings with local farmers, restaurateurs and others in the food-service industry. The coalition visited folks involved with the Greening of Detroit, a collaboration in Detroit that seeks to repurpose land to create productive green spaces with trees and community gardens. The partners also visited food hubs in Michigan, including Cherry Capital Foods in Traverse City, West Michigan FarmLink in Grand Rapids, and Sprout Food Hub in Battle Creek. As defined by the National Food Hub Collaboration, a food hub “is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers in order to satisfy wholesale, retail and institutional demand.” 24 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

Brian Powers

Rachel Bair, director of sustainable and innovative Food systems at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus, participated in a national food hub management program at the University of Vermont and visited several food hubs in that state. “The joke among food hubbers is that if you’ve seen one food hub, you’ve seen one food hub — by that we mean that every one is different,” she says. “Each local market has different gaps that the hub is looking to fill.” In Kalamazoo, the coalition focused its business model on the institutional market, such as local hospitals, public schools, colleges and universities. Bronson donated the 14-acre tract on which the campus sits. “Bronson was really interested because they have a corporate goal of sourcing about 60 percent of their food from local sources, and right now they have not been able to get to that number,” says KVCC’s Collins. KVCC had also been entertaining the idea of a new culinary program. Eventually, the two paths merged. The distinguishing factor of KVCC’s culinary program, Collins says, is that its students not only gain a strong culinary education, but also work on the farm and truly embrace the farm-to-table concept. Does he believe that the Food Innovation Center will help Bronson reach that goal of sourcing 60 percent locally? “I think they’ll be able to exceed that,” he says.

Growing and selling food Bair says the Food Hub will function like a business, acting as a local food aggregator, processor and distributor. It will take in fresh produce from local farms and its own greenhouse and growing spaces, and students will wash, chop, peel and translate it into an easy, ready-to-use form to sell to area institutions such as Bronson Hospital, Borgess Medical Center, KVCC, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Public Schools. “These outlets serve many meals daily,” she says. “Bronson alone serves 1.5 million meals a year.” Bylsma, the produce manager, says while local institutions want to get more food locally, there’s been a problem that has stood in their way: processing the food. “Typically potatoes have dirt on them, carrots have tops on them, and they (the institutions) don’t have the capacity to process (the food) and to do that extra labor that goes into it,” he explains. “So KVCC identified that need to take these potatoes from local farms and peel them, cube them, so they go to food processing in a format that the institutions are used to.”

Brian Powers

story by

photography by

Rachel Bair, director of sustainable and innovative food systems at Bronson Healthy Living Campus, checks on crops growing in the program’s greenhouse.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 25

Once the coalition partners work out the kinks of this institutional business model, they plan to consider other ideas, such as distributing food from local farms to restaurants and chefs or area grocery retailers, Bair says. Other ideas being explored include a multi-farm CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, a food truck to use as a mobile food stand or to provide nutrition education and cooking demonstrations, and the creation of retail spaces. The farm-to-table movement has significant application for KVCC’s students. Through the culinary institute, the Food Hub and the greenhouse and other growing spaces, those in the Associate of Applied Science degree program in Culinary Arts and Sustainable Food Systems will gain hands-on experience growing, processing and preparing food. Students will plant, harvest and process crops, then learn how to prepare the food into healthy, tasteful meals served at the restaurant in the Culinary/Allied Health Building. This farm-to-table work is an important part of the students’ learning experience and provides appreciation of what it takes to grow good food, says John Korycki, director of culinary education at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. KVCC students will grow vegetables in the Food Innovation Center’s greenhouse and in a 10,000-square-foot fenced area that has four 25- by 48-foot raised beds. Eventually, the FIC will also have a hoop house, which is a passive solar greenhouse. Local farmers will be tapped to teach the 12-week Summer/Fall Crops Practicum and the 15-week Winter Crops Practicum to approximately 24 students per session. Within these practicums, students become familiar with hydroponics, a process of growing plants in sand, gravel or liquid; aeroponics, a process of growing plants in an air or mist environment; and aquaponics, a process that combines hydroponics and aquaculture (the rearing of aquatic animals or cultivation of aquatic plants for food) and utilizes waste from farmed fish to provide nutrients to plants. The students also learn about vertical growing in the FIC’s 3,000-square-foot grow room, in which they raise basil, chard, lettuce and other greens. Bylsma says this kind of system works well in urban areas, where square footage comes at a premium. 26 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

“Instead of having a pump for every single bed, I have one pump that runs all four beds,” he says. “It’s one of those things where you pay more for the structure but less for electricity, and you only have one pump instead of four.” In the vertical growing system, there is a reservoir below the lowest bed. The pump is used to push the water from the reservoir to the top bed. “Each bed is equipped with a bell siphon, which allows it to fill to a level we have set and then drain completely, filling the bed below it,” Bylsma explains. “This runs two to three times per week.” Closely observing costs and conducting experiments will be other elements of the students’ study. The FIC has experimented with different kinds of lights, working with a group of local high school students who conducted a research project growing groups of radish seedlings using 12, eight or four bulbs. The study showed little difference in growth rates among the samples. “You can, in theory, use a third of the energy to get the same result,” Bair says. “No farmer is going to take that risk (of experimenting) if their profit is depending on it, but we’re an educational facility and we can do those studies and then share the results.”

Learning the seasons Bylsma, Bair and Korycki all say that learning about the seasonality of produce represents one of the biggest components of students’ education. KVCC’s future chefs

will learn that sourcing food locally means understanding when crops are harvested — such as the fact that local asparagus is available only in May and June. “One of the activities (is) creating a crop calendar,” Bylsma says. “For them (at first) it’s just a piece of paper, and then it’s like they actually think critically about this.” Students also learn what to expect when buying local produce — such as that green beans may come with the tips still on them. A chef at an area institution bought green beans locally and was surprised when they arrived with the tips, Byslma says. The institution had to pull workers from other duties to snap the beans and remove the tips. By working on the farm, culinary students won’t face those surprises. “The culinary students who take our classes will go on into their careers as chefs knowing how to work with farmers, how to handle farm fresh produce and understand the cycles of it and how long they would have to wait if they wanted to special order a crop,” Bair says. The FIC provides students with a great experience, Bair says, but it’s a microcosm. The greenhouse has eight zucchini plants, for example, while a farm might grow an acre, so

the FIC is establishing partnerships with local farms to allow students opportunities to gain experience working on farms as well. “Those plans are relatively new,” Bair says, “but there are probably half a dozen farms in the area that have agreed to work with us and have our students placed there.” Over the next five years, she says, the program’s offerings will extend into areas such as food production and processing, and all will have a strong food-safety component.

Leading the hubbub

Clockwise from top left: Swiss chard grown in the greenhouse; students tending crops in the outdoor growing beds; Ben Bylsma and Rachel Bair; and Lee Arbogast, KVCC instructor of crops, leads a class.

As those at the helm of the FIC, Bair and Bylsma are well suited to nurture the center’s development. Raised on fresh summer produce from her grandparents’ and parents’ gardens, Bair forged an early connection with nature. In sixth grade, after writing a paper about overpopulation, she declared herself an environmentalist. She earned an undergraduate degree in biology. After a few years working full time in a research lab, Bair wanted to work outside on issues of sustainability and food access. She returned to school and earned master's degrees in natural resources and the environment and public health from the University of Michigan.

“Food is such an intimate connection that we have with the earth and with each other,” she says. “Our ability to create technological and social systems to feed ourselves is a huge part of what makes us human. Our basic need to eat connects us all, so I find food to be a great entry point for starting a conversation about sustainability.” Prior to working at the FIC, Bair spent the past five years working as the Double Up Food Bucks program director at Fair Food Network, a nonprofit based in Ann Arbor. Double Up Food Bucks started as a pilot program in Detroit that matches food stamps at farmers' markets. By the time she left Fair Food Network, Double Up Food Bucks was functioning statewide in Michigan and had two replications outside of the state. Now it is national, Bair says, and still managed by the Fair Food Network. “I just got very well connected to the various networks and players in our food system, and I’ve continued to stay involved with those networks in this new role,” she says. Before he came to the FIC, Bylsma worked for the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids on a program called Mixed Greens, w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27

which focused on building food gardens at local elementary schools and providing programming and curriculum about gardening and cooking for the children. He also assisted in establishing a stillthriving farm in Jenison and then joined the Peace Corps, where he solidified his desire to become a farmer. Bylsma and his wife, Kristen, returned to Michigan and purchased a 20-acre farm in Caledonia with a greenhouse that allowed for year-round operation. They named it Real Food Farm. Real Food Farm grows tomatoes — primarily hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes — and Bylsma innovates to deliver a delicious product. Most greenhouse tomatoes come from extensive greenhouses with 30 to 60 acres under one roof, Bylsma says. These large operations, he says, have advantages, such as the ability to invest in specialized equipment because the cost is spread over a large amount of production, but they also have a major disadvantage: The surrounding communities can’t consume the massive number of tomatoes grown there, which means they get shipped across the country. “The fruits must be picked earlier to be hard enough to be shipped,” he says, “but while that tomato will turn red on the truck, it can’t develop more sugars and flavor since it has been separated from the plant.” Because tomatoes from smaller growers don’t travel great distances, they retain better flavor and nutritional value. At Real Food Farm, Bylsma has adapted ideas and converted them down to a scale accessible to a small grower. Though a grower the size of Real Food Farm can’t afford a computerized control system for irrigation — Bylsma says it can cost tens of thousands of dollars

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KVCC student Tristin Janson, left, and production manager Ben Bylsma, far right, work a row of plants as Rachel Bair and instructor Lee Arbogast (center left and right, respectively) observe.

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the food system,” Bylsma says, “but that with adaptions this food can be produced with the resources we have readily available.” Bylsma brings his love of innovation to the FIC, applying it to the different growing systems there. Being given the authority to innovate with those systems led Bylsma to take this position. “We will be constantly tweaking and modifying them to try to improve on their DOWNTOWN BATTLE CREEK design,” he says. Bylsma says he is “stuck on” finding ways to grow produce out of season. Although Michigan is a major supplier of fruits and vegetables for the nation and world, the state Trusted since 1942, Constance Brown Hearing Centers, is limited by its growing season, he says. He where personalized service and technology meet wants more food dollars staying in Michigan during the off-season. Kalamazoo “I think that there are many other benefits 1634 Gull Rd. PERFORMANCE WITH ENERGY STAR as well,” Bylsma says, “such as HOME less fuel used Suite 201 269.343.2601 for transport and a fresher product.” PARTICIPATING CONTRACTOR CO-OP ADVERTISING PROGRAM

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Family Time for Literacy Parents, kids learn tools to improve reading, writing and even math

A mother moves her finger along with the words, a literacy development skill, as she reads to her daughter in the preschool classroom at a weekly Lift Up Through Literacy event at Skyridge Church.

story by

Emily Townsend

photography by

Brian Powers


t’s a Wednesday night at Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo. Children are everywhere, as young as 1 to middle-schoolers. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, older siblings and caretakers are also on hand. No matter what their age, they are all here for one reason — to learn. Not just at Skyridge Church but in various locations all over Kalamazoo families come to 90-minute meetups every week for eight weeks to brush up on their literacy skills, as a part of Lift Up Through Literacy, a Kalamazoo Public Schools program created to combat the district’s achievement gap. The gap, characterized as a persistent disparity in academic performance between different populations of students such as racial groups and economic groups, plays out in many ways during a student’s career and shows in district-wide graduation rates. In Kalamazoo County, 89 percent of middle-class students in the Class of 2013 graduated on time with their class, compared to 55 percent of students from low-income families, according to a 2015 survey by Bridge Magazine. Because literacy rates are an indicator of future graduation rates, attacking the gap through improved literacy is key. According to a 2010 Promise Alliance report, “Children who are not reading at a proficient level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school before graduating. Students growing up in low-income neighborhoods who cannot read with proficiency are six times more likely to leave high school without a degree.” To boost literacy, Lift Up Through Literacy utilizes the most influential educators for children: their parents. But many times, these parents need at-home skills such as knowing how to read with children, how to discuss books and how to teach letter drawing, so the program works to provide parents with these tools. “We’re teaching parents how to read a book to their children," says Lift Up Through Literacy Director Barbara Witzak. "We sing songs in the newborn program, play games with the preschoolers. Everything is interactive so that the coaches are modeling for the parents exactly how they can work with their children to help devise some strategies outside of school." w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 31

At Skyridge, children, with their caretakers, are divided into three classrooms based on their ages: babies and toddlers in one room, preschoolers in another, and school-age children in the family literacy classroom, where tonight is Pizza Night — paper pizza that is. On a buffet table are cardboard crusts and a smorgasbord of paper, “funfetti” and foam toppings resembling such things as pepperoni and vegetables, with price tags on each. “They (the students and caretakers) can buy either a 12-inch pizza or 9-inch pizza. They have only $1 to buy all of their toppings,” explains Sylvia Washington, district- level coach for the program, as she puts out toy bills and coins. “They have to think about money and also dividing the pizza up into fractions so everyone gets a slice.” Families fill out their menu worksheets with the goal of creating a pizza with the most toppings that comes in under budget. Above them on the whiteboard, the vocabulary words “circumference” and “diameter” are written. The activity might seem math-heavy for a literacy program, but Washington — with 24 years in public education and 10 years in reading recovery work — says “numeracy is literacy.” Lift Up Through Literacy lesson plans “connect right back to what we’re teaching in the Kalamazoo Public Schools and to the core state standards,” she says. “We are connecting with the district literacy and math coordinators.” Cedric Gunn, 7, dashes up to the toppings table, squinting at the price tag of each ingredient, then runs back to his father, two brothers and sister, where they confer, adding numbers together on a menu worksheet. Lance Gunn, Cedric’s father, has been bringing his four elementaryage children to Lift Up Through Literacy sessions for four years. He lives down the street from Skyridge Church but heard about the program for the first time at his family church, Mount Zion Baptist, another community host site. “Someone told me about the literacy classes at Mount Zion, but on a school night it’s much more convenient to walk to this church,” says Gunn, who doesn’t always have access to a car. “Coming here is something great to do with the kids to beat the heat. We all look forward to coming. The kids love to read, and it’s nice to talk to the other parents.” “Everyone comes from a different situation,” says Witzak, who is emphatic that anyone can join the program, no matter their background. “We have sites spread out around town so that parents should be able to get to us even if they don’t have a car, and we provide tokens if they need to take the bus.” Witzak, who helped start the program in 2011, says consistent attendance at the sessions is more likely to occur when there is a worthwhile incentive for families. To that end, Lift Up Through Literacy classes provide a light meal and child care. For families who come to all eight weeks of a session, there are door prizes, field trips and an end-of-session party. Additionally, there are make-up evenings to accommodate families with irregular schedules. The program has grown significantly since 2011, when it started with 35 families. In a 2012 article in the Kalamazoo Gazette, KPS Superintendent Michael Rice said the growth is the result of growing recognition in the community of the importance of literacy.

32 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

Above: In the family literature class, a site literacy coach helps Cedric Gunn, 7, add up his pizza toppings in a lesson on menu reading and money counting. Right: A father models letter tracing for his son in the preschool classroom.

Last year, nine community sites — seven churches, Interfaith Homes and the Boys & Girls Club — hosted more than 545 families, in three eight-week sessions. “This is part of an explosion of involvement in literacy in the community, and not just the traditional promoters of literacy," Rice told the Gazette. "It's churches, youth-service providers, community organizations that realize the importance" of literacy in academic and life success. On a table opposite the pizza ingredients is a pile of books hidden under a sheet, waiting to be unveiled. Washington explains that each week each child “gets to pick out a book for their own personal home libraries. There’s fiction, nonfiction and math-related books. We try to hear children’s suggestions when we are making our next order.” She has heard from parents that the free book program “inspires families to check out a wide variety of books when they go to the library.” Next to the books, Linda Hawkins sits with her grandson Oronde Hawkins. “That make sense?” she asks the fifth-grader, pointing to the menu. “You’re 5 cents over, honey. You’ll have to subtract one topping.” She points at the sheet-covered pile of books. “He loves the takehome books. He likes to feel comfortable with what he picks, not have me telling him what he’s supposed to read. He’ll read a page, and then I’ll read a page. I get to feel like a student too,” Hawkins saying, laughing. The grandmother and grandson started coming to the literacy evenings at Skyridge Church after Hawkins recognized her grandson needed reading help. A friend at work recommended the program. “He looks forward to coming to these evenings,” she says. “He calls me the night before and makes sure I’m still coming to pick him up.

He has fun and he’s interacting. His mom is too busy to come so I said, ‘That’s OK. Granny will do it.’” Hawkins is a big reader herself, favoring Danielle Steel books. She says Oronde loves to read dinosaur and monster books on a tablet and to read before bedtime. One classroom over, preschoolers and their parents are pasting together words. Tonyeaka Williams sits with her 4-year-old daughter,

“I want to prepare her before she starts school,” Williams says. “I didn’t have a resource like this when my older kids were getting ready for school. The parents had lessons on how to teach letter drawing today. That’s so helpful.” Williams has also found benefits in participating in a newly implemented parent book club during the last 30 minutes of class. The group is currently reading Parenting with

Coriah. This is Williams’ fourth eight-week session at Lift Up Through Literacy. She brings all four of her kids and attends the evening literacy events twice a week, at Skyridge Church and at Stones Church. She can work with her older elementary-age children one night of the week and then her youngest, Coriah, on the other night.

Love and Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, which Williams says has been instrumental in changing her parenting approach. “Before this class, I was likely to yell when my kids misbehaved,” Williams says. “Since this class, I’ve been setting Coriah aside until we both calm down. I think it’s going a lot smoother than with my older kids.”

At the end of the west hallway is one more classroom, full of tykes ages 2 and younger and their parents. Parents, mostly women, hold their little ones and gesture along with a coach singing a nursery rhyme about words around the world. Sitting at the edge of the singing group, Whitney Puente says she also participates in the parent book club. “I love learning other parents’ opinions, hearing what they’re going through,” says the mother of 16-monthold Emma. Puente is a special education paraprofessional for KPS who is attending Western Michigan University to become a special education teacher. She heard about Lift Up Through Literacy at work. “I think not only is it important to play, do activities and work on life skills, but it’s really good for her to be in a group setting,” Puente says of Emma, who is an only child and hasn’t started going to day care. “I’m working on including her in on chores, giving her little tasks and also setting boundaries, letting her know what is and isn’t OK. These were great tips from the other parents.” The hour-and-a-half session has gone quickly. Parents are now packing up backpacks, and children are making their selections from the take-home book pile when a tantalizing aroma fills the air. It turns out tonight is more than just a paper pizza party. Parents perk up and the kids cheer as boxes of pizza arrive. It’s a fitting celebration for the end of the session.

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A Planet of Possibilities

The world of artist and man-about-junkyards Steve Curl by

Kara Norman

Most people who give directions to their house do not use the

words “You’ll know you have the right place when you start seeing the giant black plastic Tiki heads,” but artist and Plainwell resident Steve Curl uses many things most people don’t. Curl’s giant Tiki heads, made from discarded truck bed liners, are among the many artworks he creates from items he finds on the sides of roads and at flea markets, thrift stores or half-price days at estate sales. A friend once told him he had enough stuff to have his own planet, so, as an artist, the 53-year-old Curl goes by the name Planet Steve. In his garage a 14-foot robot made of recycled plastic towers over a collection of materials: metallic robots, extension cords, a giant chicken mask. “Be careful backing up,” Curl says. “Check your footing first because it’s just piles everywhere.” Plastic deer heads hang above Curl as he talks. 34 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

Inside the house that he shares with his wife of 22 years, Sara Shields, a senior vice president at PNC bank in Grand Rapids, the collection continues. Despite the number and variety of objects here — masks and helmets fashioned from recycled plastic items, a series of “butler robots” inspired by Rosie of The Jetsons cartoon — there is order. One corner of the basement houses Curl’s studio — “my nerd center,” says Curl — a room filled with possibility. A wall of cubbies displays cans of spray paint in every color imaginable. Across the room, a large TV looms in front of an antique barber chair, surrounded by workbenches teeming with tools. Curl describes his home — a three-story mid-century house set back from the road — as “eccentric and worn down,” a phrase that also describes much of the material he uses. His furnace room holds a trashcan full of aluminum bats that will become robot legs. Another

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room looks like the storage closet of a mad Midwestern cook — its floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with muffin tins, novelty cake pans, ladles, pitchers and Bundt cake pans of all sizes that would take three lifetimes of baking to use. All are made of aluminum, because it’s lightweight and cheap. Some of them cost Curl 10 cents. “I mostly know where things are in here,” Curl says and then laughs, as if no one would believe that statement. “When I’m creating, I just yank things out and there will be an avalanche and I’ll make a huge mess. Then I’ll come back and restack everything.” Curl sells his art through private commissions and at the annual Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair, the only fair he participates in. He also makes art for friends, and his first large-scale robot, named Aluminus, was purchased by the KIA.

Above: Steve Curl, sitting on the left by the TV screen, is captured in his “nerd center,” in this panoramic photograph taken by his father David Curl. Below: Two of Steve Curl’s robot sculptures.

Curl comes from a creative clan. His parents exhibited their work jointly at the KIA Fair in the 1970s. His father, David Curl, a retired academic and Air Force

Brian Powers


colonel, is a photographer who documents Steve’s evolving studio every few years. His mom, Dorothy Goodwin — who worked in public health as a registered nurse until she retired and still volunteers, at age 82, at Bronson Methodist Hospital — is a fiber artist and weaver. He has one older sister, a writer married to a poet. “Pretty much my whole immediate family is published,” he says. “I’m the only one who isn’t.” Unless you count a photo of a piece of jewelry he made that graces the cover of the book The Jewelry of Burning Man. “That’s close enough, right?” he asks with a laugh. Curl is very involved in the community of people who attend Burning Man, a weeklong

Above: Curl sits among the pieces and parts that may one day become art. Right: Curl has shelves of aluminum baking pans and kitchen items he uses to craft his sculptures, like the spaceman at left.

festival in the Nevada desert that describes itself as “a crucible of creativity.” The festival has regional offshoots including one in Montague, Michigan, called Lakes of Fire, which Curl regularly attends. One year he made Lakes of Fire’s central effigy: a two-story whale built of wood, featuring a promenade deck, firefighter's pole, spiral staircase and flaming blowhole, all of which he constructed while listening to a Moby Dick audiobook. Curl’s trajectory as an artist evolved in much the same way as the eclectic collection of stuff he houses in his “nerd center.” As a

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kid, Curl performed magic shows for birthday parties and built his first robots with the late Corwin Rife, former Kalamazoo Public Museum curator, for a sci-fi-themed summer reading program. In the early 1980s, Curl dropped out of art school at the University of Michigan and ran the now-defunct Record and Tape Exchange store in Ann Arbor. Since then, he’s held numerous jobs — in vintage clothing and warehouse management, at a one-hour film lab, and as a “tube bender” making neon signs. (“Interesting skill set for that, but also hot and dangerous,” he says.) He also worked for six years cutting and casting blocks of radiation shielding at the West Michigan Cancer Center before a machine replaced him. Curl now works as an event coordinator for the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, taking down art shows and hanging new ones all over town at the end and beginning of every month. He hangs art for shows at Bronson Methodist Hospital, the Arts Council’s gallery and other Art Hop venues. Curl grew up in Plainwell, where his parents operated a state-sponsored tree farm on their property until the local paper mills closed. Now, descendants of the trees Curl planted in his youth live on his land, along with a tarp-covered dome full of collected materials and piles of other things too big to bring inside, like truck bed liners for future giant Tiki heads.

See Steve Curl’s Work What: Two of Curl’s 8-foot robots and other works created by the sculptor When: Nov.1–30 Where: Brite Eyes Brewing, 1156 South Burdick St., Kalamazoo More Info: visit briteeyesbrewingco.com Curl shows off his outdoor “foundry,” where he refines aluminum and casts it into different shapes. Mixing sand with used motor oil until it gets to “Play-Doh consistency,” he creates molds that he fills with aluminum he melts in a bonfire. Curl grows animated as he describes the best type of wood for a refining fire — “something that’s good and dense and burns hot.” His voice takes on a tone that says: I know what I’m talking about here. It also says: I love this part. “It’s a fascinating process, and it’s a beautiful thing,” Curl says. “It always takes into the evening, and you get this red-hot pot glowing in the dark.” Curl generally avoids repetitive works, but he’s been casting duplicate pieces for a friend who requested them to give as gifts at an upcoming Burning Man event. “I get really bored repeating myself,” he says. “It’s important for me to keep the process as much like play as I can keep it.”

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PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays Baby with the Bathwater — A satirical comedy exploring the journey of parenting, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, 7 & 8; 2 p.m. Oct. 2, York Arena Theatre, WMU, 387-5360. Romeo and Juliet — Shakespeare's romantic tragedy about star-crossed lovers, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7–8 & 13–15, 2 p.m. Oct. 16, Shaw Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. Much Ado About Nothing — Shakespeare's comedy about the twists and turns in romantic relationships, 7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., Oct. 7–22, Parish Theatre, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. Vincent — A one-man show about Vincent Van Gogh's life, loves and family, 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Oct. 7–29, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. Emergency — This one-person show by Daniel Lee Beaty includes slam poetry, a cast of 40 characters and song, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7047. The Foreigner — A classic comedy of mistaken identity and cultural confusion, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28–29 & Nov. 3–5, 2 p.m. Nov. 6, Williams Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. Musicals 1776 — Farmers Alley Theatre presents the Tony Award-winning musical about the birth of our nation, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., through Oct. 16, Little Theatre, 798 Oakland Drive, 343-2727. Dirty Dancing — The love story of a young girl and a camp's dance instructor, 3 & 8 p.m. Oct. 1, 1 p.m. Oct. 2, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. Oklahoma! — A classic love story set in Indian territory after the turn of the 20th century, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, 7 & 8; 2 p.m. Oct. 2 & 9, Civic Theatre, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Peppa Pig Live! — Live musical show featuring lifesize characters, 6 p.m. Oct. 12, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. The Book of Mormon — The Tony Award-winning musical about two Mormon missionaries sharing their scriptures in a Ugandan village, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18–20, 8 p.m. Oct. 21–22, 2 p.m. Oct. 22, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. The Pirates of Penzance: In Concert — Senior Class Reader's Theatre presents the tale of a band of soft-tempered pirates, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28, 2 p.m. Oct. 29 & 30, Civic Theatre, 343-1313. Mulan, Jr. — Center Stage Theatre presents the youth production, Oct. 28–30, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., 348-7469. Other The New Vic Theatre's Golden Gala — Music, stories, special guests and silent auction, 8 p.m. Oct. 1, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. 38 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

A Movie Picture Show Spectacular — 1975 musical horror comedy film, enhanced by WMU musical theatre student actors, 9 p.m. Oct. 28, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls — English folk singer and his backup band, 8 p.m. Oct. 1, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Soul-Filled Sundays — FlyLiteGemini with Joe Chamberlin, folk/rock/blues, 5–7 p.m. Oct. 2; Sydney Burnham, blues/ folk/ funk/rock, 5–7 p.m. Oct. 9; The Brass Rail, local brass quintet, 4–6 p.m. Oct. 16; Loren Johnson, acoustic singer/songwriter, 5–7 p.m. Oct. 23; Carter Lezman, acoustic folk and pop, 5–7 p.m. Oct. 30, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 701 E. Michigan Ave., 276-0458. Ghost Popestar — Swedish heavy metal band, 8 p.m. Oct. 4, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Blackalicious — California hip-hop duo, 9 p.m. Oct. 4, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Live Music at Arcadia Ales — Curtis Lee Putman, country/blues, Oct. 5; The Sam Pilnick Project, modern acoustic jazz collective, Oct. 12; Steve Pesch, guitarist, Oct. 19; Alex Mendenall, folk/soul/ funk/jazz, Oct. 26; all shows 7–9 p.m., Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. Kip Moore — Country music artist, 8 p.m. Oct. 6, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Nappy Roots — Southern rap quartet, 9 p.m. Oct. 6, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Art Hop at Arcadia Ales — Allie Garland, 15-yearold prodigy who sings rock, jazz and pop, 6–9 p.m. Oct. 7, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. The Whigs — Garage rock band from Athens, Georgia, 9 p.m. Oct. 7, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Mustard Plug — Grand Rapids-based ska/punk band, 9 p.m. Oct. 8, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Live Concert at Arcadia Ales — ByJr, Kalamazoo funk/soul trio, 9–11 p.m. Oct. 8, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. Loreena McKennitt — Canadian musician performing world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, State Theatre, 345-6500. Papadosio — Eclectic sounds with a space music vibe, 9 p.m. Oct. 13, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Particle & Kung Fu — Electronic funk, 9 p.m. Oct. 14, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. John Brown's Body — Boston reggae band, 9 p.m. Oct. 15, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. TECH N9NE — American rapper and actor, 8 p.m. Oct. 16, State Theatre, 345-6500. Colbie Caillat — Singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, State Theatre, 345-6500. Big Something — Alternative rock, 9 p.m. Oct. 20, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Music Hop at Arcadia Ales — Chris Shideler, acoustic folk, 6–7 p.m.; Edge of Midnight, pop/ rock/blues cover duo, 7–9 p.m. Oct. 21, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. Head for the Hills & The Henhouse Prowlers — Bluegrass bands, 9 p.m. Oct. 21, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

The Jake Kershaw Band — Blues, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Mangia Pizza & Pasta, 3112 S. Ninth St., 372-4600. Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers — Michiganbased folk-pop band, 9 p.m. Oct. 22, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Halestorm — Grammy Award-winning hard-rock band, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25, State Theatre, 345-6500. Leon Russell — Singer/songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 8 p.m. Oct. 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Haunted Fest 2016 — Featuring Marshmello, Nghtmre, Pierce Fulton and KRNE, 7 p.m. Oct. 28, Wings Event Center, 345-1125. Nightmare on Burdick St. — Grand Rapids folkrock band Domestic Problems and Detroit-based quintet Mega 80's, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Red Sea Pedestrians’ 8th Annual Masquerade Ball — With the band performing music from The Big Lebowski with the Corn Fed Girls, 9 p.m. Oct. 29, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Bertrand Chamayou — Fontana presents the internationally acclaimed French pianist, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Wellspring Theater, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 382-7774. Chenery Gospel Series Fall Fest — Featuring the Mark Trammell Quartet, Greater Vision and Second Half Quartet, 7 p.m. Oct. 7, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 349-7759. Guest Artist Recital: Latitude 49 — Mixed chamber-contemporary music ensemble, 8 p.m. Oct. 7, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Stulberg Silver Medalist Zeyu Victor Li — The violinist performs with the WMU University Symphony Orchestra, 3 p.m. Oct. 9, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 343-2776. University Symphony Orchestra — 3 p.m. Oct. 9, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. The World of Rossini — The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra explores the life and inspiration of the composer, 3 p.m. Oct. 9, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 349-7759. University Jazz Lab Band — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Flutist Martha Councell-Vargas and Pianist Jeremy Siskind — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Collect/Project — Guest artist recital by contemporary music interpreters, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Pianist Jeremy Siskind — Faculty recital, 8 p.m. Oct. 14, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Crescendo Café & Open House — Music, KSO petting zoo and local food, 1–4 p.m., Oct. 15, Crescendo Academy of Music, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 345-6664. Pianist Tim Ehlen — Guest artist recital, 8 p.m. Oct. 15, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Sarkozy Brunch Concerts — The KSO BurdickThorne String Quartet performs chamber favorites, 11 a.m. Oct. 16, Sarkozy Bakery, 350 E. Michigan Ave., 349-7759. University Symphonic Band — 3 p.m. Oct. 16, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667.

Gilmore Rising Star Emmet Cohen — The American pianist performs jazz, 4 p.m. Oct. 16, Wellspring Theater, Epic Center, 342-1166. Ridenours in Concert — Father-and-son duo, pianist Rich Ridenour and trumpeter Brandon Ridenour, 7 p.m. Oct. 17, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen St., Portage, 344-3966. Violist Michael Hall — Guest artist recital, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Guitarist Fareed Haque and Double Bassist Tom Knific — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. It's About Time — Kalamazoo Concert Band concert dedicated to the concept of time, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759. WMU Choral Showcase — Featuring University Chorale, Cantus Femina and Collegiate Singers, 3 p.m. Oct. 23, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Prism Quartet — Guest artist recital by saxophone quartet, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. University Concert Band — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Sphinx Virtuosi — Professional chamber orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Jazz Masters Series: Drummer Peter Erskine — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Stephanie Blythe, "Sing America!" — Fontana presents the mezzo-soprano in a concert of favorite American songs, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 382-7774. Barber and Bartok — Violinist Liza Ferschtman performs Barber's violin concerto with the KSO, 8 p.m. Oct. 29, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. Michigan Festival of Sacred Music — Music of diverse religious traditions, Oct. 29– Nov. 2 (times and venues vary), mfsm.us or 382-2910. Rose Ensemble — Guest artist recital by vocal group, 2 p.m. Oct. 30, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Music Without Borders — Featuring many artists, including Kalamazoo Male Chorus, Loy Norrix High School Orchestra, flutist Gary Stroutsos, percussionist Carolyn Koebel, vibraphonist Jim Cooper, and flutist Ken Morgan, 3 p.m. Oct. 30, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1747 W. Milham Ave., Portage, 381-3188. DANCE Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars — WMU dance students pair with local “stars” in ballroom dance competition, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-5875. Orchesis Dance Concert — A concert composed entirely of student work, 8 p.m. Oct. 26–29, 2 p.m. Oct. 29–30, Dalton Center, Studio B, WMU, 387-2300. COMEDY Amy Schumer — American stand-up comedian and actress, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125.





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VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits Eternal Beauty: Egg Tempera Paintings by Fred Wessel — Fifteen of Wessel's realist portraits, through Oct. 2. Renee Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman — The artist explores African cultural traditions in contemporary America, through Oct. 23. Reaching into Infinity: Chul Hyun Ahn — Sculptures by the Korean artist, through Nov. 6. Scaled Up: Sculpture by Marcia Wood — An exhibition of works by the Kalamazoo sculptor, Oct. 1–Dec. 31. Wadada Leo Smith: Ankhrasmation, The Language Scores, 1967–2015 — The jazz musician and artist exhibits musical scores composed of color, line and shape, Oct. 15–March 5. Events Sunday Public Tours — Tour exhibitions with a docent: Fred Wessel's Egg Tempera Paintings, Oct. 2; Realism in the KIA Collection, Oct. 9; Abstraction in the KIA Collection, Oct. 16; Last Chance at Renee Stout, Oct. 23; Wadada Leo Smith, Oct. 30; all sessions begin at 2 p.m. ARTbreak — A weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: The Mexican Muralist Movement with Dr. Maria Malott, talk, Oct. 4; Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographic Journey, video, Oct. 11; Meet the Artists of the Eclectic Glass Guild, talk, Oct. 18; Bigger Than Life, talk on monumental public sculptures, Oct. 25; all sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Everyone's a Member Day — Free museum admission 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Oct. 7, with exhibition reception 5–8 p.m. Thursday Evenings — Unreeled: Films at the KIA: Recent Work by Cristen Leifheit, Oct. 13; Marcia Wood, Pioneering Regional Artist, Oct. 20; Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Family Event, Oct. 27; all sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. Book Discussion: Billion Dollar Painter: The Triumph and Tragedy of Thomas Kinkade — Discussion of the book by G. Eric Kuskey, 2 p.m. Oct. 19, Meader Fine Arts Library, 585-9291. Get the Picture: Mary Hatch's "White Lies" — Michelle Stempien gives a detailed analysis of the painting, noon Oct. 20. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436 Jason Bernagozzi: Citystream — A multi-channel video installation about the city of Syracuse, New York, through Oct. 2, Atrium Gallery. After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion, Politics and Culture in Contemporary South African Art — Featuring 14 artists’ responses to the political climate in post-apartheid South Africa, through Oct. 28, Monroe-Brown Gallery and Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. Other Venues ArtPrize — International art competition, through Oct. 9, various venues in Grand Rapids, artprize.org. Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Open House Party — Featuring a giant globe, forest mural, animal cards, papermaking and food, 1–4 p.m. Oct. 1, Kalamazoo

Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938. Art Hop — Art at locations around Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. Oct. 7, 342-5059. Fiber Art and Quilting — Kathy Veenstra displays her fiber art and Ellen Hoyt shows her themed quilt squares, 5–9 p.m. Oct. 7, Ladies' Library, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710. Arts & 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. 15 & 16, www. artsandeats.org. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library First Saturday @ KPL — Stories, activities and door prizes, 2–3:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. Gunpowder Percy Reading — WMU professor Grace Tiffany reads from her new book and actor Chuck Bentley reads from Shakespeare's works, 6 p.m. Oct. 4, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Land Grab: The Movie — An eccentric mogul's dream to create the world's largest urban farm in Detroit, 7 p.m. Oct. 6, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 180 Portage St., 532-7990; tickets available at Central Library. Powell Book Discussion Group — Discussion of Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 6 p.m. Oct. 11, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson Ave., 553-7960; registration required. Tamales for Day of the Dead — Maria Hernandez demonstrates how to make tamales in honor of family members who have died, 6 p.m. Oct. 17, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave., 553-7810. Embracing Forgiveness — Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee share their story of prison and forgiveness, 6 p.m. Oct. 25, Alma Powell Branch, 553-7960; registration required. 3rd Annual Can Poetry Be Funny? — A reading by Friends of Poetry, 7 p.m. Oct. 25, Central Library, 342-9837. Israelite House of David: Musical Traditions — Benton Harbor's Israelite House of David's music industry and its impact on the development of Southwest Michigan, 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Central Library, 342-9837. Friends of Gamelan — Traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali, 2–4 p.m. Oct. 29, Central Library, 342-9837. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Fall into Fashion Show — View trendy fall fashions from 360° and Caroline's Classic Attire, 2 p.m. Oct. 2. Parchment Book Club — Discussion of Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, 7 p.m. Oct. 3. Second Sundays Live — Patricia Pettinga and Bill Willging perform folk and blues, 2 p.m. Oct. 9. Genre Gyration Book Club — Discussion of The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, 7 p.m. Oct. 12. Front Page: Donuts and Discussion — A current events panel discussion with local media, educators, politicians and special guests, 10:30 a.m.–noon Oct. 15.

Life Hacks: Get Organized for the Holidays — Creative storage and time-saving ideas with Rose Hathaway of Fly Away Clutter, 2 p.m. Oct. 19. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544 Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion — Discussion of technology inspired by science fiction, 7 p.m. Oct. 3. Understanding Dyslexia — Heidi Turchan of SLD Read discusses dyslexia and how to support struggling readers, 7 p.m. Oct. 6; registration required. Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 8. Top Shelf Reads — Discussion of Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen, 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Open for Discussion — Discussion of A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18. PDL Writers Workshop — Getting started, with author Matthew Gilman, 6–8 p.m. Oct. 18. Meet the Chef: Meatballs and More Meatballs — Learn meatball variations from Chris Capalbo of Youz Guys Sausage, 2 & 6 p.m. Oct. 24; registration required. Must Be 21+: Game, Doodle, Color — 7–8:30 p.m. Oct. 24. Other Venues Gwen Frostic Reading Series — WMU Alumni Reading with Dustin Hoffman, Glenn Shaheen and Iliana Rocha, 8 p.m. Oct. 6, Rooms 157–159, Bernhard Center, WMU, 387-2572. Pumpkin Craft — Make and decorate a pumpkin from an embroidery hoop, paint and fabric, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Comstock Township Library, 6130 King Highway, 345-0136. October Book Group — Discussion of Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, 7 p.m. Oct. 13, Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St., 629-9085. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, 382-6555 POPnology — Hands-on exhibit of pop culture’s impact on technology, through Oct. 2. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 The Golden Age of the Sports Car — Featuring sports cars of the 1940s–60s, Oct. 1–April 30. Keep Your Motor Running — A family-friendly 5K run and walk on the museum campus, 8 a.m. Oct. 1. Movie Night Under the Stars — Featuring American Graffiti, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Spooktacular Fundraiser — A safe Halloween experience with trunk-or-treat and a film, 4–7 p.m. Oct. 27. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990 Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling within the Forces of Nature — An exhibit investigating ways that humans extract, use and discard energy, water and other natural resources, through Jan. 8. Let's Dance — An exhibit about dance bands, dance halls and clothing in Kalamazoo from the 1920s to 1980s, through Jan. 16.



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Holly Northrup's "Minimal" Jewelry Exhibition — During Art Hop, starting 5 p.m. Oct. 7. Crawlspace Eviction — Improv theater troupe, 6 p.m. Oct. 7. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here — Music from the classic rock album, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 4 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 1, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon — The rock group's album set to visuals, 8 p.m. Oct. 7, 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 31, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium. Chemistry Day — The Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society and the museum show how chemistry is used on a daily basis, noon–4 p.m. Oct. 8. Solve a Mystery with Chemistry — KVCC faculty member Kim Hilton presents hands-on activities to help identify substances, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Early Cemeteries in Kalamazoo — Historian Tom Dietz tells of stories buried in Kalamazoo's earliest cemeteries, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Geocaching Extravaganza — Explore the woods and find hidden caches, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 1. Bird Banding Up Close — Visit with bird banders and test your bird identification skills, 9–10:30 a.m. Oct. 8 & 22. Fermenting Fun — Learn the science of fermentation and make and take quick pickles, 2 p.m. Oct. 9. Golf Cart Tour: Willard Rose Prairie — Tour the prairie and forests in fall color, 4 p.m. Oct. 10. Prairie Exploration — A guided stroll through the Emma Pitcher tall-grass prairie, 2 p.m. Oct. 16. Fall Color Hike — Hike through the woods to scenic overlooks, 2 p.m. Oct. 23. Discover the Raptor Ridge Trail — Explore seasonal changes in habitats on the trail, 2 p.m. Oct. 30. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute 701 W. Cloverdale Road, Hastings, 721-4190 October Brunch, Artist's Presentation & Bicycle Tour — Susan Badger shares her work in watercolor and a 12-mile bike ride goes through the trails, 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. brunch, 12:15–1 p.m. artist's presentation, 2 p.m. bicycle tour, Oct. 9. Farm to Table Dinner Series — A multiple-course plated dinner highlighting local farmers and brewers, 6–8 p.m. Oct. 29. Other Venues Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. Oct. 12, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 6712510. Fall Color Golf Cart Tour — Enjoy the colors of the season from a golf cart, 10 a.m. Oct. 13, campground area at Markin Glen County Park, 5300 N. Westnedge Ave., 383-8778; registration required. Audubon Society of Kalamazoo — Bill Sweetman speaks on "Amazing Wanderers," 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., 375-7210.

MISCELLANEOUS Fall Stamp & Cover Show — Buy and sell stamps, covers, postcards and supplies, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Oct. 1, 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Oct. 2, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 517-676-4160. Eco Raft Race — A race of rafts constructed of ecofriendly materials, 2–4 p.m. Oct. 1, on the Kalamazoo River, with launch at Mayors' Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St., 337-8191. Kalamazoo Fashion Week — Fashion shows, seminars, community service and social and networking events, Oct. 1–7, various Kalamazoo venues; for schedule, go to kalamazoofashionweek.com. Victorian High Tea — 2–4 p.m. Oct. 2, Ladies' Library, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710; reservation required. St. Luke's Animal Fair — Rides, petting zoo, Zoomobile and pet blessing, 2–5 p.m. Oct. 2, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 247 W. Lovell St., 345-8553. Kalamazoo Farmers' Market — 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues., Thurs. & Sat. in October, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727. Kalamazoo Indoor Flea & Antique Market — New and used items, antiques and handcrafted items, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues. & Wed,. Oct. 4–26; 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 29, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 383-8761. Senior & Caregiver Expo — Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging presents information on community resources, with free health screenings, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 4, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 373-5147. Gazelle Sports Historic Walk — A look at the city's history and architecture: Oct. 7, Milwood

neighborhood, meeting at Miles Avenue and Portage Street; Oct. 21, South Street Historic District, meeting at Gazelle Sports, 214 S. Kalamazoo Mall; both walks 8–9:30 a.m., 342-5996. Fennville Goose Festival 2016 — Wild Goose Chase 5K, car show, arts and crafts, carnival and parade, 6–9 p.m. Oct. 7, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Oct. 8, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 9, downtown Fennville. SW Michigan Postcard Club Show & Sale — Postcards from 1890s to present, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 8, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 517-230-0734. Motorcycle Swap Meet — Buy, sell and trade new and used motorcycle parts and bikes, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Oct. 9, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Kalamazoo Record & CD Show — New and used records and CDs, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Oct. 9, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 734-604-2540. Fall Color Cruise — Enjoy a bike ride and autumn scenery along the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, noon–3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, starting at Markin Glen County Park, 5300 N. Westnedge Ave., 383-8778. Project Connect — Health/vision screenings, dental cleanings, legal assistance, clothing giveaways and family activities, noon–4 p.m. Oct. 12, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 373-5163. Fall Fest Craft Show — Crafters, vendors, bakers and candy stations, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 217-8704. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10

a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 779-9851. Bonteboktoberfest — Beer-tasting event after zoo hours, 6–10 p.m. Oct. 15, Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, 979-1351. Kalamazoo Hamfest & Amateur Radio Swap & Shop — Network with other hams and catch up on latest innovations, 8 a.m.–noon Oct. 16, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 205-3560. Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally — Food trucks, booths, music and networking, 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Oct. 21– 22, Water Street, between Rose and Church streets, 388-2830. Kalamazoo's Ultimate Indoor Garage Sale — Home décor, electronics, clothing and more, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Murder Mystery Dinner — A night of suspense, entertainment and dinner, 6 p.m. Oct. 28, W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2400. Safe Halloween — Costume contests, pumpkin racing, bounce house and other fall-themed activities, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Oct. 29, Bronson Park, 3838191. Southwest Michigan Train Show & Sale — Operating layouts, clinics and vendors, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Oct. 30, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 344-0906.

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The Printed Page— for Ideas that Stick Imagine that moment in front of the TV when the commercials come on. What do you do? It may not be that surprising, but many of us tune out. We talk, grab a snack, or we check our phone to scroll through texts—anything but look at the commercials. What might surprise you is the number of people who look through their daily mail. Flyers, coupon sheets, and newspaper inserts get more attention during TV commercials than the actual commercials! When the time comes to spend your business’s marketing budget, look at the difference between interruption advertising and invitation advertising. Will your message interrupt people? Or, like the flyers and coupons that come in the mail, will it invite people to find something on their time and on their own terms? When your reader gives you a warm welcome, you know you’ve found a great first step in your advertising. Print creates the invitation.

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Advantage Private Nursing Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Ayres Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Ballet Arts Ensemble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Battle Creek Art Walk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 The Beacon Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Better World Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Bronson Health Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Celebrate! Bronson Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Christmas Décor by Naylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Constance Brown Hearing Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Confection with Convictions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 DeHaan Remodeling Specialists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 DeNooyer Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Farmers Alley Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 FarmNGarden Garden Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

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FYI Family Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Gilmore Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Great Lakes Shipping Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Halls, Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 HRM Innovations, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Valley Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23







Lewis, Reed & Allen, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 MacKenzies’ Café Bakery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Maple Hill Auto Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Masonry Heater Design House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Mercantile Bank of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Ministry with Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Naylor Landscape Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Oakland Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Old National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Precision Printer Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Principle Food & Drink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Professional Clinicians & Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Jeff K. Ross Financial Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Sherman Lake YMCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


VanderSalm’s Flowershop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 WMU Homecoming Campus Classic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

44 | Encore OCTOBER 2016

BACK STORY (continued from page 46)

Angeles, which was going through a downsizing. I got a letter about the YWCA job from an executive recruiter, who said, “Grace, I think this is a good fit for you.” I don’t remember even filling out the application. I was interviewing for two other jobs, and when the board of the YWCA wanted to fly me out for an interview, I almost didn’t come. But inside of my spirit, there was something pushing me to come.

What brought you to the U.S. in the first place? I was born and raised in Uganda, but I have been in the U.S. for the last 20 years. I came to Boston University for graduate school and then moved to Los Angeles. I grew up during the civil war in Uganda and the reign of Idi Amin, and my childhood experiences are from when Uganda was going through a lot of stuff. That was really key to why my parents pushed education. Education wasn’t free in Uganda. Even though they didn’t have money, my parents sold everything they had, slept on floors and didn’t wear shoes to make sure their six children went to the best schools. My parents believed education was the way for us to get out of poverty. I came here saying once I was done I would go back to Uganda. But what made me stay is that the public health issues happening in my country and in the U.S. are very similar, especially for the most vulnerable families. I felt I could make a difference and gain experience.

Have you had any challenges living here? I have been here for two years and would say, as a person of color moving to the Midwest from a big city like Los Angeles, it’s easier to feel you are different here. Even though I have opportunities such as my education, position and networks that help me overcome barriers people of color experience, I still feel different. I have to find ways to navigate that because at the end of the day I am still a mother of two black boys (ages 7 and 9), and I have to remember that in spite of all the things I have in my favor, I have to raise my sons as two black boys in a country now where that can be

hard. I want them to be trained well and have all the opportunities they need to excel.

Do you feel your parents were right about education as a way out of poverty? Yes, my parents were perfectly right. That’s why I love The Kalamazoo Promise. This community has made a goal of looking at education as a foundation for economic development and addressing all the other determinants of social health. If we all aligned our strategies with The Promise — where we push educational opportunities and access and resources for the most vulnerable families that live in Kalamazoo — I think in 10 to 20 years we will see the benefit of education being key for families to get out of poverty. But it’s going to take the village. If the village bombards resources to families that live in poverty, aligns those resources to The Promise and removes barriers, I think Kalamazoo will be a community that the nation will look to and ask, “How did you create that transformation for those families?”

What kind of work does the YWCA do? The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women and can be broken down into three areas: improving lives of children, caring for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and advancing women’s issues of public policy. We are the only provider of a domestic violence shelter and sexual assault nurse examinations in Kalamazoo County. We are also leading the infant mortality initiative in Kalamazoo, where black babies die four times more than white babies; in 2013, our infant mortality for African-American babies was the second highest in the state.

It seems like the YWCA is taking on our community’s toughest issues. We are, but knowing the history of leadership at the YWCA of Kalamazoo, I think we are positioned to get the community to address these issues. Does that mean we can do it by ourselves? No. Our goal is to be a convener to address these issues and help elevate best practices to address the issues the YWCA cares about.


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Grace Lubwama Executive Director, YWCA


or a woman with a very serious mission, Grace Lubwama can win you over with her infectious laugh. At the helm of the YWCA of Kalamazoo, the 44-year-old Lubwama oversees an agency addressing some of the most critical problems in our community — poverty, domestic violence, sexual assault and infant mortality. These are weighty issues that Lubwama, a Ugandan native, discusses with intensity and passion, but always with an optimistic and positive demeanor. When asked how she can be so upbeat, she laughs. “I love people and I love laughing,” she says. “It makes life so much easier.”

How did you end up in Kalamazoo?

Brian Powers

I always tell people, “I don’t even know how I ended up in Kalamazoo,” because I had never heard of it before I came here. I was working for World Vision in Los

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(continued on page 45)

“When you walk into this place you know that whatever you need to take care of, you can take care of it here.” – William M.

For over 30 years, Ministry with Community has been a sanctuary. It has been a place of healing and compassion, of gratitude and forgiveness, and more than enough victories to keep us moving forward. Thanks to your generosity, our new facility has transformed the way we serve our members, and the way our members see themselves. As we start on this new path, your annual support is more important than ever. Together we can continue this transformative work.

Thank you to everyone who helped make our beautiful new facility a reality! To learn more about our important work, visit ministrywithcommunity.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ministry with Community | 500 N. Edwards St. | Kalamazoo, MI 49007 | ministrywithcommunity.org w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 47

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