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World-famous muralist and 5 more “can’t miss” highlights at the 2019 Lakeshore Art Festival

In April, muralist Kelsey Montague collaborated with Taylor Swift to launch the pop sensation’s newest single. 

Come July, Montague, who has built an international following with large scale winged mural pieces, will drive excitement around the Lakeshore Art Festival, centered in Downtown Muskegon on July 5-6, by creating a must-see piece for visitors to enjoy. 

Kelsey Montague created a one-of-a-kind mural representing Muskegon County, located on the Frauenthal Center in Downtown Muskegon.
Pose in front of the butterfly, snap a photo and hashtag #ThisIsMuskegon and #WhatLiftsYou!

“We are thrilled and elated that she is going to be here and become a permanent part of our community,” said Carla Flanders, the art festival’s director. “We’ve been so impressed with her work and how intentional and interactive it is. Her pieces are inspirational, inclusive and uplifting. It’s a great message and a great fit for the Lakeshore Art Festival and for Muskegon.”

The colorful mural and its intricate design will dominate the East side of the Frauenthal Center, becoming an attraction that continues Muskegon’s metamorphosis and its thriving downtown, Flanders said.  

Montague’s artwork will join only 77 other works around the world, including one in Ann Arbor and another in Detroit. The pieces appeal to people looking for bright art images and are a favorite of social media users. 

It’s really exciting to have Kelsey be a part of the Lakeshore Art Festival. Her butterfly-wing mural is not only breathtaking, but it is symbolic for the many changes our community has gone through and the beautiful downtown it is today Flanders said. “This new permanent piece, coupled with the hundreds of artists at the Lakeshore Art Festival, sets the stage for another stellar year of artful engagement!” 

The art festival is a summer tradition, drawing artists and visitors from around the country, leading to it earning honors as the best contemporary and classic art show in Michigan and the 11th best in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine. The weekend also serves as an economic engine for the Lakeshore community, with research showing the festival has had a $5.6 million impact since 2013. Annual attendance reaches 60,000 people, Flanders said. 

“People are drawn here by the quality of art and the hospitality of the community,” said Flanders. “It’s an honor when people are excited to come back and spread the word about how incredible this festival is to attend.” 

Here are five more must-see highlights for 2019: 

Shopper’s Paradise 

The festival’s jury committee creates a marketplace for unique fine art and handcrafted goods by jurying more than 450 artists who apply for entry. The team then invites the art entrepreneurs to share their talents and one-of-a-kind wares in Hackley Park and throughout the vibrant downtown surrounding streets.  

“You can find something for everyone here,” said Flanders. “It’s truly an artisan’s market with pieces you won’t find anywhere else. We have a beautiful setting with handcrafted art that is truly remarkable.” 

There are more than 380 booths, with roughly 120 fine art exhibitors creating art with distinctive styles and various mediums including handblown glass, paintings, sculptures, photography, fibers and more. 

Wine and Beer Garden 

If shopping isn’t your top choice among things to do – or you just need to drop off a partner where they’ll be entertained – the festival hosts a wine and beer garden in Hackley Park and it is the perfect place to unwind. Visitors can grab a glass of wine or a craft brew and stroll through the fine art in the park or take a break from patrolling the booths and enjoy the stage entertainment. 

“It was a natural fit and a great way to enhance the festival experience,” Flanders said. “It’s such a beautiful setting that you can sit back, relax and enjoy everything that is going on around you.” 

Children’s Lane 

The Lakeshore Arts Festival opens the door for children to experience beauty through different visions and presents an opportunity to expose them as budding artists through interactive activities.

Kids can watch a stage performance, make personalized paintings and participate in theatrical games, all captivating, enriching and educational by nature. This year’s theme, the butterfly, is right in line with not only the new Kelsey Montague mural, but also the butterfly scavenger hunt, butterfly educational booth and butterfly interactive dance.    

“It’s everything artful and engaging and getting kids to think outside of the box,” Flanders said. “Each area has something new and interesting for children to do.” 

The Food 

Come for the art, and then let your taste buds take over during a culinary timeout from your shopping adventures. The streets are lined with vendors who offer everything from classic fair foods to tasty sandwiches, BBQ, sirloin beef tips, desserts and much more 

“There’s African-style food,  Mediterranean cuisine, and of course festival food favorites like soft pretzels, elephant ears and fresh squeezed lemonade. Really, there is something for every foodie to enjoy,” Flanders said. 

Flanders doesn’t like to play favorites – and suggests that visitors follow their own cravings – but at least once every year she’ll make her way to the Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars truck for a locally-made treat from the Whitehall-based business. 

“They’re heavenly,” she said. 

Authors’ Tent and Interactive Art 

Find Michigan’s next great writer among 20 Mitten-centric authors who will be at the show in the Emerging Author’s tent. The authors are available for one-on-one discussions and to provide signed copies of their books that will likely be next on your summer reading list. 

“This is a great chance for some exposure and to get the word out about their writings,” Flanders said. “We want to support creative expression of all kinds at our show.” 

The festival even gives visitors the chance to participate in creating their own art with Chalk The Walk and the Community Interactive Art ProjectOn July 5 from 4-6pm chalk will be set out for guests to take sidewalk art to the streets of Western Avenue. If chalk isn’t your style, then the Community Interactive Art Project will allow you to create a masterpiece of art with paint on canvas! Each year thousands of people bring new excitement and their own touch of creativity to the event. 

“It’s always really cool to see what people come up with,” Flanders said. “Everyone from kids and their parents, to art students and grandparents, get out there and get creative.” 

Visit the Lakeshore Art Festival’s website to discover more about the exciting weekend in Muskegon. 

 

 

Bringing art to the community: The Lansing River Trail becomes a cultural attraction

ARTpath 2019 is here!

Dark highway underpasses have been transformed with bright murals.

An outdoor basketball court that became an asphalt canvas.

Sculptures placed intermittently along the Lansing River Trail boardwalk.

Those are just three examples of how Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is bringing the 2019 Art Path to the community for the second consecutive year, doubling the size and interactivity of the inaugural event last summer.

Katrina Daniels, the gallery’s exhibitions and sales director, said the 20 pieces will dot a 3.5-mile stretch of the Lansing River Trail, from Old Town to REO Town. Each of the public pieces of art comes from a Michigan resident. The installments started being placed early in June and a formal kickoff was held at the Turner Dodge House on June 7.

“We know that cultural institutions can be intimidating, so we are bringing the art to the people where they are in the community,” Daniels said. “They’ll have an opportunity to interact with the pieces on their terms and at a time of their choosing.

“By using the Lansing River Trail, the Art Path creates awareness, and people have the ability to engage during a walk, a bike ride or kayaking between locations. The trail is one of Lansing’s outstanding recreational opportunities, and now it’s being used as a cultural attraction as well.”

Organizers expect 50,000 visitors will enjoy the public art exhibition this year. Daniels said excitement built during the 2018 phase and drew people from around the state to the trail. She anticipates people will return as word of mouth about the exhibition spreads.

“We’ve been strategic in every setting, making sure to pair the right piece of art in the right place.”

The gallery partnered with the City of Lansing’s Parks and Recreation Department and donors to create Art Path.

“The community and our supporters have really shown love in being a part of this, and we could not be any more appreciative of how everyone has come together for a great event,” Daniels said. “It’s going to be an incredible summer in Lansing.”

Visit Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center’s website to discover more about Art Path.

10 Northern Michigan Adventures for Your Summer Bucket List

You may know Michigan is one of the top wine-producing states. But when you think of wineries, you might not think of the Petoskey Area.

Have you ever tasted a Frontenac blanc? An Itasca? A La Crescent? Cold-resistant grapes in the Petoskey Wine Region produce a crisp, balanced flavor that you just won’t find other places in the state.

After all, winters are just too darn cold up there, right?

Too cold for chardonnay grapes, maybe. But vineyards in the Petoskey Wine Region plant hybrid grapes that can withstand temperatures as cold as 30 or 40 degrees below zero.

“We’re making wines that are very crisp and have higher acidity, which makes them different than grapes grown in other regions,” said Tracie Roush, an owner of Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery.

“The acidity balances the sugar in the fruit so you get a really nice balanced wine, and what we find is that both dry wine drinkers and sweet wine drinkers are enjoying the wine because of the balance.”

Just a few years ago there weren’t many wineries in the Petoskey Area. Now there are 12 and wine tasting has become one of the most popular things to do in the area.

It makes our list of 10 northern Michigan adventures for your summer bucket list:

Launch a squash rocketPond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs makes wine. It also brews craft beer and features a farm market full of fresh produce and unique canned items. Speaking of unique, have you ever fired a squash rocket? There’s tons of family fun at pet-friendly Pond Hill including farm animals and fish that you can feed, hiking trails, a scavenger hunt for gnomes and a giant squash rocket that sends fruits and veggies zinging out into the fields. During weekend afternoons in the summer, you can go on a hayride around the farm.

Lavender Hill FarmImmerse yourself in purple – For a completely different farm experience, visit Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City. One of the largest commercial lavender farms in Michigan offers daily tours and, as you might guess, it looks beautiful. The lavender smells and tastes amazing, too! Lavender Hill also is home to The Series, a schedule of live music concerts on weekend summer nights.

Eat at a Michigan Historic Landmark Dining Destination – Many people drive through the Tunnel of Trees in the fall to envelop themselves in the stunning colors of the season. But the winding route along M-119 from Harbor Springs north to Cross Village also offers breathtaking views in the summer. The peaceful stretch hugs Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan as it passes through small towns with cute little shops and art galleries. At the northern end of the route is Legs Inn, an historic Polish restaurant with distinctive architecture and a beautiful garden overlooking the water.

Little Traverse WheelwayPedal your breath away – No matter how slow you ride, the scenic beauty of the Little Traverse Wheelway is breathtaking. The 26-mile paved trail runs along the waterfront between Harbor Springs and Charlevoix, going from one eye-popping vista to the next as it passes through historic Bay View and elegant Bay Harbor. You can rent a bike or rollerblades or bring your own. Try to keep your eyes on the path!

Play disc golf up a mountain – In the winter, Avalanche Mountain Preserve in Boyne City is “Michigan’s Best Sledding Hill.” In the summer, it’s a great place to go for a hike and get a heavenly perspective on northern Michigan scenery. It’s a 462-step climb to the top of one side of the mountain, where a thrilling view of Lake Charlevoix awaits. On the other side, you can play disc golf along your way up the mountain on one of Michigan’s top courses. There are several other trails, too, both for hiking and mountain biking, with a wide range of difficulty. The 300-plus-acre, city-run preserve also offers an archery range in the summer.

Become one with nature – For more hiking trails, download the LTC Explorer app and set off on a path of discovery in the Little Traverse Conservancy Nature Preserves. There are some 80 preserves, many within the Petoskey Area, where you can enjoy low-impact activities including hiking, birdwatching and, of course, fishing. Michigan is surrounded by the world’s largest system of freshwater lakes, and that affords many opportunities to get out on the water. That’s especially true in the Petoskey Area. Rent a kayak or paddleboard. Go boating. Make a splash and savor the most natural form of refreshment. Hunt for Petoskey stones or build sandcastles on the beach! Summer doesn’t last forever in Michigan, and that makes warm, sunny days that much sweeter.

Play the best and the beautiful – No list of outdoor recreation in northern Michigan is complete without golf. The Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed Heather at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs has been named the 2019 National Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association, and Bay Harbor again has been named by Golf Digest as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. Those are just two of 18 amazing golf courses within about 30 minutes of each other in the Petoskey Area.

Find extraordinary treasures – You can find treasured Petoskey stones on the beach, but there are one-of-a-kind finds all over the Petoskey Area in the region’s charming downtowns. For example, there’s Bay Harbor, the golf course, and then there’s Bay Harbor, the cute village with unique boutique shops to explore. When you’re done shopping in Bay Harbor, you can head over to Boyne City or Harbor Springs or Petoskey. You’ll find more of the same uncongested, easygoing pace, and yet it’s completely different because each downtown has a relaxing character all its own.

See a real gingerbread house – If you’re a lover of arts and culture, check out the new 500-seat Great Lakes Center for the Arts with a wide variety of national acts or the Crooked Tree Arts Center that holds events in a renovated church building that still features stained glass. If you’re an admirer of interesting architecture, tour the Bay View neighborhood with 450 historic buildings including authentic gingerbread houses that make it one of the Prettiest Painted Places in the country.

 

Plan a week of remarkable day trips – Whether you spend an afternoon on Mackinac Island, go for a climb up the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, watch the stars come out at Headlands International Dark Sky Park or go elk viewing in Gaylord – or all of the above! – you can find a home base in the Petoskey Area that’s perfectly suited for your adventures.

“Getting off the beaten path is so easy to do here,” said Diane Dakins, assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.

Be sure to check out lodging specials when you book your place to stay. Want to learn more? Visit www.PetoskeyArea.com or call 800.845.2828.

 

How West Michigan Bank Shows ‘Importance of Being Good Neighbor’

Ada Delgado doesn’t have blond hair. Nor does she wear wooden shoes. Yet, the Holland woman of Puerto Rican descent is serving as vice-chairwoman of the annual Tulip Time Festival.

Ada Delgado

Ada Delgado

Her primary role: Make sure the popular event rooted in the community’s Dutch heritage is “inclusive of what Holland is today” by involving a range of community groups.

“I’m a true testament that you don’t have to be Dutch to be part of Tulip Time,” said Delgado, who works as a retail operations consultant for Holland-based Macatawa Bank.

Striving to ensure the entire community gets to participate in Tulip Time is a fitting task for Delgado, given Macatawa Bank’s emphasis on community service. The bank has been recognized for the past eight consecutive years as one of “West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” due in part to this guiding principle: We believe our responsibility is to support our community with our time, talents and resources.

That principle enables Delgado and hundreds of other Macatawa Bank employees to participate in community events and causes that are important to them. For example, Delgado has been active with Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) as a translator, volunteer coordinator and youth mentor, in addition to her work with Tulip Time.

In both cases, Delgado’s community involvement has been nurtured by Macatawa Bank.

“During my 14 years with Macatawa Bank I have not only had the opportunity to serve, but I have received the encouragement and support to get involved and be a part of what I believe in,” Delgado said. “I feel at home working for an organization that truly believes in giving back to the community and in letting our employees volunteer their time and talents for local organizations that matter to them.”

Macatawa Bank employees are active across West Michigan where the bank has 26 locations in Kent, Ottawa and Allegan counties. The bank also runs community events on its own, such as this spring’s annual Recycle Days.

Cars lined up at the bank’s Riley Street branch in Holland shortly after Tax Day when more than 20 bank employees wearing orange T-shirts helped unload boxes of confidential documents and securely destroy them in a Rapid Shred truck. Several other Macatawa Bank branches also made shredding trucks available to both customers and non-customers in April.

“Our annual Recycle Days event is something everyone looks forward to every year – employees and the community alike,” said Jodi Sevigny, chief marketing officer for Macatawa Bank. “Our employees love the chance to serve their community by taking in sensitive documents and shredding them right on site. Our community is so appreciative that we can help them keep their identity secure, while at the same time helping to care for our environment.

“The local leaders that founded Macatawa Bank had a vision of what a true community bank could be. Today, we still live that vision.”

Macatawa Bank’s foundation of community support translates into daily banking operations, too. A full suite of banking services has been built with the needs of customers at the forefront, and decisions are made right here in West Michigan where the bank’s customers live and work.

In fact, wanting to work for a community-based bank with closer ties to customers was a big reason Andy Schmidt came to Macatawa Bank six years ago after more than two decades working for large regional banks. With a local management team making decisions, Macatawa Bank empowers Schmidt to look beyond the numbers and develop more personal relationships with his customers.

Andrew Schmidt

Andrew Schmidt

As printed on the orange shirts worn by Macatawa Bank’s Recycle Days volunteers, “we’re not revolutionizing banking, we’re humanizing it.”

“When you work with smaller, family-owned businesses, you become a much more valuable resource to them,” said Schmidt, a commercial relationship manager. “You become part of their team that helps plan their business. You get to know their kids, their spouse. They think of you as one of their key advisors.

“It’s a much more fulfilling occupation when you know you’re helping someone achieve their goals.”

That opportunity to come alongside West Michigan businesses only comes along if the community itself is thriving and successful. So, it makes sense that Macatawa Bank goes out of its way to support the community through events such as Recycle Days and so many other ways that employees volunteer their time.

Another of Macatawa Bank’s guiding principles states that we believe West Michigan is the best place to live and work. Schmidt believes that, and he’s doing his part to make sure it rings true for as many people as possible.

“In West Michigan, we understand the importance of being a good neighbor,” said Schmidt, who also serves on the board of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. “We recognize that we’re all connected, and that the health of our businesses, our families and our community all depend on us caring for and helping each other.”

Wine Tasting! 5 Tips to Find Your New Favorite Vino

Traverse City is located right on the water, halfway between the North Pole and the equator, in an ideal region for growing wine grapes. So, it’s no wonder that the area is full of artisan vintners.

As a result, the Traverse Wine Coast attracts seasoned wine drinkers who know all about grape varietals, residual sugars and tannins. In fact, The Travel Channel named Traverse City one of the country’s New Top 10 Cities for Wine Snobs.

But that doesn’t mean novice wine drinkers should feel intimidated when walking into one of the area’s 40 wineries. On the contrary, an upcoming monthlong celebration in Traverse City is the perfect chance to learn about the region’s wine.


The Traverse Wine Coast grows 55 percent of Michigan’s wine grapes and is the fifth-largest wine-producing region in the country.

The Traverse Wine Coast grows 55 percent of Michigan’s wine grapes and is the fifth-largest wine-producing region in the country.

Traverse City Uncorked runs throughout May with social wine tastings, lively winery events and discounted lodging packages. No matter how much or little you know about wine, the variety of events presents ample opportunity to do the most important thing you can do to learn more about wine: Taste it!

“Get to know what you like,” said Coen Saltes, general manager of a tasting room for Brengman Brothers, which has vineyards on the Leelanau Peninsula. “Taste wines you’re not familiar with. Taste wines you know you don’t like.”

Not sure where to start discovering your new favorite wine? Check out all the Traverse City Uncorked events here.

Lodging packages include a $30 winery gift certificate and a “Super Ticket” that you can redeem for one pour each, for two people, at every Traverse Wine Coast winery. While you’re in the area you can also enjoy the springtime majesty of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, the awe-inspiring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the incredible beauty of cherry blossoms as they bloom in May.

5 Tips to Find Your New Favorite Vino

As you prepare to visit, take a look at these wine-tasting tips:

  • Look – Hold up your glass and check out the color and clarity of the wine. The wine’s hue or shade foreshadows its taste. A lighter-colored white wine might be more acidic and taste crisp and refreshing, for example, while a deeper, golden color hints at a richer flavor. (Pro tip: Hold the glass by the stem rather than gripping the bowl. The heat from your hands can alter the temperature and taste of the wine, Saltes said.)
  • Swirl – Shake your glass a bit to move the wine around and expose it to more oxygen. This coats the glass with the wine and releases its aromas, giving the wine stronger aromatics, Saltes said.
  • Smell – Bring the glass up to your nose for a sniff. Then, dip your nose in a little deeper and inhale. The wine’s aroma, or nose, is an integral part of the experience and can clue you in to how it will taste.
  • Drink – Take a sip, rolling the wine around in your mouth to taste the different notes of flavor. Be sure to ask your server questions: “Where is this juice coming from?” Saltes said. “That’s a huge question. Is this grown on-site or is it from outside of Michigan?”
  • Discuss – Whether a wine is good or bad is entirely up to your own opinion. And the people you’re tasting with might have an entirely different opinion! That’s okay. It’s part of the fun. When and where you’re tasting can have an impact, too. You might like a dry, white wine in the middle of a warm afternoon, for example, and prefer a heavy red wine in the evening. “Wine is so situational,” Saltes said. “It depends on occasion. It depends on mood.”

Traverse City Uncorked features a variety of events throughout May including social wine tastings, lively winery events and discounted lodging packages.

The Traverse Wine Coast produces 55 percent of the wine grapes in Michigan and is the fifth-largest wine-producing region in the country.  A big reason for that is the area’s ideal geography: the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas are located at the same latitude as major wine regions in France and Italy. Plus, the presence of Lake Michigan creates the ultimate micro-climate for growing wine grapes.Each winery along the Traverse Wine Coast puts its own touch on the grapes that grow out of the region’s blessed soil. That’s why a chardonnay at one winery tastes different than a chardonnay at the winery down the road, for example. Even a wine of a particular vintage will taste different than one from the same winery that’s made with grapes from a different growing season.

The artisan wine of Traverse City truly gives you a taste of the vine in Michigan.

“You’re tasting authenticity,” Saltes said. “You’re tasting a family’s land. That’s a beautiful thing.”

What Michigan wine will you discover this spring?

 

Dining out experiences: Learn about Lansing restaurateurs’ view on food, life

It won’t take long after meeting Sam Short to realize that his effusive personality makes a stranger feel like a long-time friend in minutes.

And his Potent Potables restaurants – Punk Taco, Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern, The Cosmos and The Creole – were created with the same spirit, providing an engaging look at food, people and the life around them.

Sam, who is one of three partners in the Lansing gathering spots with Aaron Matthews and Alan Hooper, recently sat down with MLive’s John Gonzalez and Amy Sherman to talk about what makes the restaurants hum, how they’ve connected with employees and made a difference in the lives of others.

“There’s a movement toward locally owned restaurants, but that only goes so far if you’re not doing something that sets you apart and makes an impact, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Sam said off-camera.

“If I’m going out and spending my money at a restaurant, I’m going for an experience. It should be a bit nostalgic, fun-filled, a bit geeky. So, our focus is on delivering happiness. We just sell food. The thing that differentiates us is our people. That’s why we focus on them and helping them grow and give the community what it wants.”

The entrepreneurs have created establishments with a neighborhood vibe and a focus on chef-driven, fresh food. The teams at each restaurant curate menus to challenge their skills and extend the palate of guests. The parameters, Sam said, are: “We want (the chefs) to make it interesting.”

Everything at the restaurants is hand-made, Sam said. That includes dressings, cheeses, breads and more.

“We do it because we’re geeked about food,” he said. “To us, it’s important that the food doesn’t come out of a can or a box, that it’s not the same as you get everywhere else. We ask ourselves ‘how can we make this better,’ whether that’s a sausage that goes on a pizza or a tortilla for a taco.”

Sam and his partners want the food to stand-out in the same manner they seek to create a work environment that cultivates and incentivizes employees to be their best. They offer benefits, such as a wellness program, 401k match and flexible spending accounts, not often available in the food industry. There are also opportunities to reward and recognize fellow employees – with financial bonuses – by noting how they’ve pitched in to help their colleagues.

“We try to think as holistically as possible,” Sam said, adding they also have reciprocal discounts at a yoga studio and other local establishments. “We want to motivate and reward people. If you want to learn something and grow as a person, we’ll help you. We have kitchen managers that started as dishwashers, but they wanted to do more than that. That’s exciting, and we encourage that.

“The thing people need is a passion about food. That’s number one. We can teach you other things, but people need to be engaged and interested.”

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

From Hot Sauce to Craft Beer: MSU Agri-Food Leadership Makes Huge Economic Impact

It wasn’t long ago that Scotty and Suzi Owens were typical gardeners who enjoyed sharing some of their harvest with friends. The hot sauce they made with homegrown peppers got rave reviews, and people said they should go into business selling it.

When Scotty got laid off from his work in tool and die during Michigan’s economic downturn, he and his wife did just that.

Fast forward to today and bottles of Scotty O’Hotty hot sauce and salsa are in grocery stores around the country. The couple’s business is operating with seven employees out of a 17,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, and in 2019 they’re on track to go nationwide in Kroger stores and begin exporting their award-winning products to China.

So, how in the world did that happen?

The Michigan State University Product Center recognized Suzi and Scotty Owens as 2018 entrepreneurs of the year.

“We had the dreamiest stars in our eyes, but I was almost at a brick wall at what to do,” Scotty Owens said. “MSU really steered us in the right direction.” The Owens came across the Michigan State University Product Center in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. There they received guidance on the rules and regulations involved in making a food product, took classes on bottling, learned about labeling and in 2012 got licensed to work out of a commercial kitchen.

A year later Scotty O’Hotty was on the shelves in small grocery stores that the Owens connected with through MSU’s Making It In Michigan food show, and the business has been growing ever since. Earlier this year the MSU Product Center named Scotty and Suzi Owens their entrepreneurs of the year.

Scotty O’Hotty is just one of many success stories at the MSU Product Center, which helps start or expand businesses in the agriculture and food sector. Just last year, the Product Center helped launch 87 new Michigan businesses that invested $35 million into the economy and created 350 new jobs.

But the MSU Product Center is just one way that MSU has been helping to grow the state’s food and agriculture system over the past 160 years. As the country’s pioneer land-grant institution, the then-Michigan Agricultural College has been a leader in practical, science-based education from the start, and even though the name has changed agriculture remains an important  area of research, with a big impact on the Michigan economy.

“The idea of us being here to help support and build and grow the agriculture and natural resources industries of the state goes back to the very beginning,” said Douglas Buhler, director of MSU AgBioResearch and assistant vice president of research and graduate studies.

Back in the mid-1800s, MSU was established by federal law as an agricultural school — the first to teach scientific agriculture. It became the prototype for the nation’s land-grant institutions, which were created to promote both the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes. Though MSU now carries out that mission across a wide range of disciplines, the original focus was agriculture.

Before the start of the 20th century, MSU had birthed groundbreaking agricultural advances including the development of hybrid corn to increase yields and the discovery that a swath of Michigan is fertile ground for sugar beets. Pioneering work has continued on everything from the process used in the homogenization of milk to how Michigan farmers can grow hops for the state’s booming craft beer sector.

Nearly 5,000 students are studying in dozens of degree and certificate programs through Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

And today MSU is a global leader in agricultural education, using scientific research to address real-world problems and help agri-food businesses implement solutions.

MSU has played no small role in Michigan’s massive food and agriculture economy, which fuels more than 800,000 jobs and makes an annual impact of more than $100 billion, according to a 2018 study. Here are just a few glimpses of the breadth of MSU’s engagement in the industry:

Preparing tomorrow’s agricultural leaders

Today, MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources includes nearly 5,000 students studying in dozens of degree and certificate programs in forestry, animal science, crop and soil science, horticulture and many others.

“Through our educational programs we train the next generation of agri-food leaders both in the public sector and in the private sector,” said Bill Knudson, a professor in MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. “We have a lot of two-year programs as well, geared primarily toward people who will be working on the farm both in the crop area and the livestock area.

Michigan State University student Loren G. King is studying how technology such as drones and autonomous vehicles can make farm operation more efficient.

“Not only do we train our workers, but we also train our regulators. We’d have a much less safe food supply (without MSU’s leadership).”

Among those thousands of students is Loren G. King, who comes from a family farm in southwest Michigan and is learning about agriculture technology. Looking at global population estimates during his lifetime, the 20-year-old knows that the food and agriculture system will have to produce more and, to remain sustainable, do so while using fewer inputs such as fertilizer.

So, he’s studying how farms could deploy autonomous vehicles and drones to become more efficient. He envisions a completely cloud-based farm where managers can use mobile devices to gauge moisture and nutrient levels to see how crops are doing.

“It’s about expanding the efficiency of the farmer right now,” King said. “You’ve got to feed more people while using less.”

Bringing innovation into everyday life

Embedded in the DNA of a land-grant institution like MSU is the drive to use cutting-edge scientific tools to address problems and forge new opportunities. Because of that, food and agriculture study at MSU is definitely “not a science for science’s sake operation,” Buhler said.

A benefit of MSU’s research is that Michigan has developed the country’s second most-diverse agricultural economy. In addition to staples such as corn, milk and eggs, the state’s agriculture sector is full of smaller, specialty crops from asparagus to wine grapes.

Some of Michigan’s fruit varieties, for example, have been developed by MSU on nearly 20,000 acres that are used for agriculture and natural resources research and education throughout the state.

Michigan State University professor Rufus Isaacs is a leading researcher on the invasive spotted wing drosophila insect.But that diversity also breeds new challenges. Fortunately, MSU also is at the forefront of combating new crop diseases and pests. For example, professor Rufus Isaacs this month made a list of the world’s most Highly Cited Researchers for his work on the spotted wing drosophila, an invasive insect that damages fruit crops. Isaacs is just one of many MSU food and agriculture experts on the list.

“The large companies that are there to support major corn, soybean and dairy are not available for a lot of these smaller, more specialized industries,” Buhler said. “If we’re not there to help them with their latest insect, there aren’t a lot of options. If we weren’t here I don’t know who would fill that gap in all these specialty areas.

“Not many years ago there were almost no hops grown in Michigan. Had MSU not been here to help people learn how to manage hops and control diseases I don’t think it would have happened.”

Aside from immediate threats, MSU also is researching long-term challenges from food waste to world hunger through efforts including the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy. Climate change poses another problem, and MSU’s Plant Resilience Institute is working to improve the ability of crops to handle weather extremes.

“Minor changes in weather could have a real impact on us,” Buhler said.

Helping communities grow

Not only does MSU do research to support Michigan’s food and agriculture system and educate the next generation of industry leaders, the university also takes what it learns and shares it with the broader public. That work takes many forms including the new “Food @ MSU. Our Table” program, which helps people make better-informed choices about food.

In an era where the population is both growing and becoming more urbanized, it’s easy for people to be even more disconnected from the sources of the food they eat. That’s why MSU also is active in urban agriculture around the state, including the new MSU Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation.

Michigan State University’s first urban food research center is being established in northwest Detroit through the new MSU Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation.

MSU is establishing its first urban food research center on a 2.5-acre former school site in a northwest Detroit neighborhood. The findings on everything from soil remediation to fertilizer and pesticide use will inform urban growers around Michigan and beyond.

“When you’re growing food in an urban setting it’s very different than in an open space,” said Dave Ivan, MSU Extension director of community, food and environmental programming. “This new center really will provide an opportunity for us to plant a flag in an area, working with a lot of the existing leaders in the Detroit urban ag movement in terms of how we can help you address the challenges you’re facing.“

We have a lot of credibility in communities, so people trust the information that we provide. They know that we’re scientific in terms of guiding our recommendations or framing an issue.”

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Movie Star’s Michigan Hometown Makes Great Winter Weekend Escape

The Jiffy storage silos tower 135 feet above Chelsea’s Main Street, a symbol of the role that the world’s leading manufacturer of baking mix has in the community. Just seeing the brand’s familiar blue and white boxes evokes feelings of an earlier era, such that Jiffy has been labeled in business circles as “retro hip.”

The grain silos at Chelsea Milling Co. stand over 135 feet tall.

You might say the same about Chelsea itself. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, downtown Chelsea features an eclectic mix of shopping, dining, arts and entertainment — all in a walkable space that feels like you’re strolling through a Norman Rockwell painting.

Chelsea truly is something else, a great place in Michigan to discover something special.

In the midst of the holiday rush, keep in mind that not every gift can be ordered online, packaged in a box and shipped to your door. Nor should it. Sometimes, the most extraordinary gifts are something else — something outside the box.

How about sharing the experience of a small-town getaway this winter? Follow this guide to plan an excursion to Chelsea in a jiffy:

Vibrant arts

As a historic place, downtown Chelsea itself is a gallery of art featuring quaint streets lined with Victorian homes and a business district with beautiful Italianate architecture. It looks like the set of a movie.

Emmy Award-winner Jeff Daniels, a Chelsea native, founded The Purple Rose Theatre in 1991.

Chelsea also is the setting for The Purple Rose Theatre, which brings original works by Michigan artists as well as American classics to the stage. The professional theatre company founded by actor/singer/playwright Jeff Daniels, a Chelsea native, performs in an intimate, 168-seat venue right downtown.

Daniels’ own “Diva Royale” is being performed at The Purple Rose through Dec. 29, with the curtain set to go up Jan. 17-March 16 on the world premiere of “Never Not Once.” The Purple Rose 2018-2019 season also features Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” from April 4 through June 1 and the world premiere of “Welcome to Paradise” from June 20 to Aug. 31. Performances are nightly from Thursday through Saturday, with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Get tickets here.

 

 

 

Whatever your palate and dining style, you can find a restaurant you’ll love in downtown Chelsea. For fine dining, Common Grill is routinely ranked as one of southeast Michigan’s best restaurants. People travel from all over for the upscale bistro’s premier seafood and seasonal menu, and it does not disappoint.

Try local craft beers at the Chelsea Alehouse Brewery or go for craft spirits at Ugly Dog Distillery.

If your mouth waters for an old-fashioned burger or steak, stop by Cleary’s Pub. The classic Irish pub features outstanding food and live music in a space with old brick walls and a turn-of-the-century original tin ceiling.

Smokehouse 52 BBQ this fall was voted one of the 10 best barbecue restaurants in Michigan. The all-American BBQ sports a cow hanging from the sign outside the door.

For local craft beer paired with bites from a deli-style kitchen, check out Chelsea Alehouse Brewery, which hosts live music on Wednesday nights this winter. Across the street you can sip craft spirits at Ugly Dog Distillery.

Valiant Bar & Grill is a new sports bar that opens in December with a perfect mix of food, drink and sports. The diverse menu features everything from All-American burgers to Mediterranean cuisine to Tex-Mex along with a variety of beers, specialty cocktails and wines.

Pizza lovers will enjoy classic hometown pies at Thompson’s Pizzeria. And, in Chelsea, the Michigan chain Jet’s Pizza takes the form of a sports bar with unique craft beers and live music in The Rumpus Room next door.

Live music and open mics also are hosted regularly at Zou Zou’s Café in a French-themed setting where you can pair delicious cinnamon rolls and scones with a beer.

RELATED: This is what happens when Michigan housewives go looking for romance in Big Apple!

Unique shops

Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect Christmas gift or shopping for yourself, there’s something for everyone in downtown Chelsea. If someone on your list is a challenge to buy for, check out Bumble’s Dry Goods. The store offers all kinds of hard-to-find items, unique artwork and homemade furniture.

Speaking of furniture and home décor, Merkel Furniture offers three stories of it in downtown Chelsea and is an inspiring place to wander around and dream. La Maison is a boutique home décor store that features Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan and holds workshops on refinishing furniture.

 Elsewhere downtown you can browse the shelves at Serendipity Books, peruse old-world quality at La Jolla Fine Jewelry, find a one-of-a-kind pieces at Chelsea Antiques or visit the fitting rooms at one of Chelsea’s boutique clothing stores to try out a new style (inspired, perhaps, by the costume design at The Purple Rose!). Then, take a break and unwind at Wines on Main, be pampered at Amber Indigo Facials, grab a snack at Chelsea Bakery or treat yourself at Hair By Trios, a certified organic salon.

Extraordinary activities

On Feb. 8-9, Chelsea will transform into the world headquarters of chocolate and curling. The community will set up four sheets of ice for the Curling Fest that involves competition, lessons, beer, food trucks and fire pits. That same weekend is the Chocolate Extravaganza when stores in Chelsea give out free samples of everything chocolate.

Chelsea Milling Co. has been making Jiffy baking mix for 90 years.

Just outside of town in Michigan’s largest state park in the Lower Peninsula you can find some of the best mountain biking and hiking around. The DTE Energy Foundation Trail inside the Waterloo Recreation Area features more than 20 miles of trails, including one loop that’s been named the best in Michigan. The recreation area also is home to the Eddy Discovery Center, a nature center with hiking loops through Michigan’s great outdoors.

And, of course, the Jiffy Mix plant is open for tours. “It’s actually fascinating to watch them fill thousands of boxes of mix,” said Monica Monsma, executive director of the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really a huge operation. They’re one of our largest employers and it’s what we’re really known for.”

Relaxing places to stay

The Chelsea House Victorian Inn is just a few steps away from The Purple Rose Theatre in downtown Chelsea.

Just a few steps from The Purple Rose and the rest of downtown, Chelsea House Victorian Inn bed-and-breakfast offers period-decorated rooms and an intimate carriage house suite. So much of the home’s interior, from the woodwork to the furniture, is original to the 19th century with details perfectly preserved.

A short drive out of town is the Waterloo Gardens Bed & Breakfast, a country inn in a beautiful setting close to hiking and biking trails and near the Triple Crane Monastery that offers yoga and meditation classes.

If a B&B isn’t your style, check in to the Chelsea Comfort Inn where you can relax in an in-room whirlpool or lounge by the indoor pool.

Start building your small-town Michigan getaway with tickets to a Purple Rose play and go from there!

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Car Enthusiast Bucket List: R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

 

Long before Henry Ford’s assembly line produced the first Model T, and before General Motors was even conceived, Pliny Olds moved his family up from Ohio to Michigan’s capital city and started a small machine shop. It was there in the late 1800s that P.F. Olds & Son built steam engines, and young Ransom Eli Olds tinkered with development of a horseless carriage.

When R.E. Olds built a three-wheeled vehicle with a steam engine in 1887, it worked — just barely. His father quipped that “Ranse thinks he can put an engine in a buggy and make the contraption carry him over the roads.”

Said the elder Olds: “If he doesn’t get killed in his fool undertaking, I’ll be satisfied.”

Good thing R.E. Olds was foolish enough to keep trying. A decade later he had built a four-wheeled carriage with a gasoline engine and, at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, that “contraption” attracted the attention of financiers who helped start the Olds Motor Vehicle Co.

Utilizing a progressive assembly line — a precursor to Ford’s moving assembly line — the inventive Olds was able to build the world’s first mass-produced automobile. Pricing the Curved Dash Oldsmobile at an affordable $650, Olds sold thousands of them before Ford ever built a single Model T. By 1905, Lansing had become the car capital of the world with both Olds Motor Works and the new REO Motor Car Co. making vehicles in the city.

Chosen as the home of state government because of its central location, Lansing was transformed by Olds’ tinkering into the center of an emerging automotive industry that would revolutionize the city and beyond. Automotive production hasn’t stopped since, and to this day Lansing remains a major automotive player by making popular vehicles including the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, the Cadillac CTS and the sporty Camaro.

“If it wasn’t for R.E. Olds, Lansing wouldn’t be Lansing,” said Bill Adcock, director of the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. “He brought industry to this place. It built the middle class.”

The story of R.E. Olds is chronicled at the downtown Lansing museum, where visitors can see his early vehicles like the Curved Dash Oldsmobile and one of the four original gas-powered carriages. More than 60 classic vehicles are on display including the REO Speedwagon, REO Royale and “Baby REO,” the world’s first fully functional miniature car.

Plus, there are exhibits on R.E. Olds’ other exploits like patenting the first power lawn mower, designing yachts and developing Oldsmar, a residential community in Florida. There also are artifacts from the Olds family mansion, which, ironically, was torn down in 1971 to make way for the I-496 Olds Freeway.

Of course, long after R.E. Olds passed away, Lansing continued to make Oldsmobile cars and REO trucks, and many of these models from the last half of the 20th century are on display at the museum, too. Each car has its own story, and a common heritage that goes back to R.E. Olds.

“It’s a wonderful walk down memory lane,” said Lori Lanspeary, museum president.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday throughout the year. An especially good time to visit is during the upcoming Car Capital Auto Show on Saturday, July 28. The free event celebrates Lansing’s automotive heritage by showcasing more than 200 classic cars and collectible vehicles on the streets near the Capitol Building. Proceeds benefit the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum.

Another great opportunity to visit the museum is Wednesday, Aug. 22, when the Old US 27 Motor Tour stops in Lansing. This premier event starts in Coldwater with hundreds of classic cars that make stops in DeWitt, St. John’s, Ithaca, Alma, Clare, Grayling, Gaylord and more on the way to Cheboygan as they travel historic Old U.S. 27 over the course of five days.

Any time of year you visit the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, you can also drive around Lansing to see the city’s historic automotive sites — from the River Street site of the original P.F. Olds & Son machine shop to the GM Grand River Assembly plant where vehicles are still made today. There are signs at seven MotorCities National Heritage sites around the city detailing the development and legacy of the automotive industry.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Why ‘You Can Accelerate Your Career’ in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region

Fireworks blast over the Saginaw River in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, which is a great place to launch your career.

Two years out of college, Cassi Miller is doing work that she loves, helping to re-invent an industrial-era downtown in the heart of one of the 10 most-populous states in the country. She lives minutes from Saginaw Bay where she loves to fish, close enough to Detroit for big-city excitement and a short drive to incredible natural resources all over the Great Lakes State.Plus, she’s already a homeowner.“My boyfriend and I were able to buy a house already when I was 23,” said Miller, an assistant economic developer who manages the city of Saginaw’s Downtown Development Authority. “We got our jobs set and had steady paychecks, and the housing is so affordable.“I have a lot of friends who live other places and they can’t even picture buying a house in the near future.”In addition to affordable housing, extraordinary career opportunities await young professionals like Miller who bring their talents to Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay region — an 8-county destination in the middle of the Lower Peninsula that’s home to state universities, world-class employers and a community-oriented culture where you can play a part and make a difference right away.If you’re looking for a place to start your career, or ready to take your next step, consider the Great Lakes Bay region for these reasons:

  • Strong downtowns — From Midland to Mt. Pleasant and from Bay City to Saginaw, the Great Lakes Bay region is full of bustling downtowns that are the commercial and cultural centers for some 600,000 people. Each city has its own unique character, offering distinct experiences of shopping, nightlife, entertainment and recreation. “There’s always things going on, something to do every weekend,” Miller said.
  • Diverse places to live — Want to live by water? The Great Lakes Bay region has 77 miles of freshwater coastline. Prefer an urban skyline? A tree-lined suburban street? A country farmhouse? The region offers a variety of living opportunities. Miller and her boyfriend bought a foreclosure house, between where she works in Saginaw and where he works as a controls engineer for General Motors in Bay City, and renovated it. After only a year, they’ve already built equity into the house.
  • Outdoor recreation — When Miller first moved to the region, she rented a house right on the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail that she biked all the time. “That was one of the first times that I thought this would be a really cool place to live,” she said. The region’s also full of hiking, snowmobiling and off-road vehicle trails through tens of thousands of acres of st

    The longest canopy walk in the country opens this fall in the Great Lakes Bay Region, taking people 40 feet up in the air through Whiting Forest in Midland.

    ate forests, has over 1,000 miles of rivers perfect for kayaking and canoeing and hundreds of lakes for fishing and boating including Lake Huron, the fourth largest lake on the planet.

  • Large companies — Dow Chemical headquartered in Midland is one of the largest companies in the world, but it’s far from the only major employer in the Great Lakes Bay region. Fortune 500 company Lear Corp. has a presence here, and successful manufacturing and engineering firms such as Hemlock Semiconductor, Hutchinson Aerospace, Magline, Nexteer and Vantage Plastics operate across the region.
  • Business friendly — Communities throughout the Region are prepared to help companies grow and locate new businesses. The Great Lakes Tech Park offers FREE pad-ready land for approved projects, with 148 acres available. It is an AT&T Fiber Ready Site, a designated Energy Ready Site by Consumers Energy and a Michigan Certified Business Park! The Region’s dynamic infrastructure, affordability and skilled workforce are ideal for advanced manufacturing. Interested in engineering, electronics and precision components? Then Tech Park occupants such as Fullerton Tool and Saginaw Control & Engineering may be a great fit for your career.

    The Great Lakes Tech Park outside Saginaw offers free, shovel-ready land to businesses.

  • Affordable place to live and play — With a cost of living below the national average, the Great Lakes Bay region offers affordable housing and commercial properties. For example, the median home value in Carrollton Township where Miller bought a house is just $65,000. Your paycheck goes a lot farther at the microbrewery here than it would many other places. “People are nice, plus it’s in the middle of everything in Michigan,” Miller said. “You can go to Detroit quickly, up to Traverse City, over to Ludington (on Lake Michigan). It’s still a fun place to stay home for the weekend as well.”

RELATED: 5 reasons free land in Michigan is a good site for business expansion
For all the advantages of living and working in the Great Lakes Bay region, there remains a gap between the number of qualified professionals and the number of jobs that are available. That’s why area employers are teaming up to host a “Coming Home” mixer where young professionals can learn about the region and discover all the immediate and long-term opportunities that await them here.
The mixer is 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). It’s free to attend. RSVP here.

  • RELATED: Discover Great Lakes Bay on Instagram
  • It wasn’t until Miller, 24, began dating a student at SVSU that she ever visited the Great Lakes Bay region. A Goshen, Ind. native, Miller studied at Ball State University and earned a degree in urban planning and development.

But rather than start her career in a big city, Miller found exactly what she was after in Saginaw: an urban center small enough for her to make connections with community leaders and start making a difference right away. She landed a job in economic development and got involved with the DDA, which works to make downtown Saginaw a more vibrant place.

The SVRC Marketplace opened in downtown Saginaw in summer 2018.

Momentum already was building in Saginaw before Miller arrived, with renovation of the former Saginaw News building into a new multi-purpose marketplace, construction of a downtown campus for Delta College and more. Her work has complemented that redevelopment, striving to make downtown more walkable with public spaces and plazas where people can gather.

“I really love community development and making places livable and fun to be in, that make you feel like you’re part of a community,” Miller said. “Saginaw, before I came, was already working on a lot of that, but I’m really happy that I’ve been able to be involved as much as I have here.”

Working in a city with a population of about 50,000 has enabled Miller to form relationships and get things done sooner than she’d be able to in a city of 500,000 or 5 million people.

“I think Saginaw’s about the perfect size, especially for what I do,” she said. “A lot of the companies are a lot smaller than you’ll find in large cities. It’s a lot easier to know the people in charge and make the moves you want.”

“You can accelerate your career by choosing to live here, not just in Saginaw but the whole Great Lakes Bay region. We’ve debated leaving to go back home (to Indiana), but if the opportunities keep coming to me the way they are we’ll be staying here.”

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

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