Thursday, June 9, 2016

Art & Theater Workshops at Ramsdell to Start June 20

The Ramsdell has announced two youth workshops.  Each workshop runs for the week of June 20-24.  Please see below for details.  -Eds.

Manistee, MI, June 8, 2016 – The newly formed Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts is excited to announce two new workshops for children and young adults this June 20 thru 24 at the Ramsdell. Art Around the World with Mrs. Wahr and Theatre Survival Skills! are week long activities designed to enrich participants in the visual and performing arts through skill and confidence building.

Art Around the World with Mrs. Wahr is designed for 10 to 12 years old and will explore art from China, Mexico and Australia. Having lived and traveled these worlds, Mrs. Wahr will share with students what’s unique about each of the cultures and their art. Students will then have the opportunity to create their own versions of art from these cultures. All materials are included in the workshop fee of $30. The workshop is scheduled for Monday thru Friday, June 20 – 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Ramsdell.

Mrs. Wahr was awarded her Masters of Art Education from Kendall College in Grand Rapids, the thrust of her studies was to become an artist who could teach. This was life changing for Wahr and has resulted in a unique art style that has been shown throughout the United States. Mrs. Wahr is passionate about art and sharing with others through both her work and teaching.

Many would love to flex their dramatic muscles and join in a theatrical production, but lack the confidence or polish to give it a shot. Anesa Beilfuss’ workshop, Theatre Survival Skills!, would be the perfect antidote. Designed for students, ages 11 through 18, Beilfuss combines the instruction of playwriting, monologue performance, improvisation, vocal skills, and much more in an intensive fun-packed week. This workshop is perfect for those who wish to build their confidence or to simply improve their skills. Theatre Survival Skills! is scheduled Monday through Friday, June 20 to 24 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Ramsdell. The cost is $65.00 per person.

Anesa Beilfuss, owner and artistic director of the Improvika Acting Company, is a skilled and passionate actress, director, musician, writer, and visual artist. She trained in visual art and musical theatre at Western Michigan University and Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. After moving back to Ludington in 2011, she founded the Improvika Acting Company and began teaching students. Today, her company has grown and she has now taught theatre and music to hundreds of students in Ludington, Scottville, Custer, Pentwater, Hart, Whitehall and Manistee.

More information and reservations for these workshops are available by contacting Michael Terry at (231) 398-9770 and by email at Payment for workshops will be due first day of class.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Audio Companion - Sparkle in the Park 2015

With a mobile phone or tablet, you can hear a companion audio presentation while viewing Sparkle in the Park.  

The audio presentation is hosted by, which presents soundscapes from around the world.  

This miniature soundscape, created by the Three Pines Gander especially for Sparkle in the Park, is available for free through the "Miniatures for Mobiles" (MFM) app.  

For best, results, set up the app before you arrive at Sparkle in the Park.  Or pull into a parking lot and do it safely from there.  Make sure you're connected to the internet via WiFi or data connection. The complete process takes about 5 minutes.  

1. Download the free Miniatures for Mobiles app. 

Download from this page, or search for "aporee miniatures" from your device's app store.

Three versions to choose from:

Current Android version (for v. 4.0 and higher)

or directly from the web:

Basic Android version (for v. lower than 4.0)

Basic iOs (iPhone) version

2.  Open the MFM app on your device, by clicking the icon.

3.  Find "Sparkle in the Park" in the list, and click on it.

4.  Click on the main Synch button (to set it up, before you click Play).
This will allow you to synchronize the set of sound and map files to your device.  (Afterwards, you can leave your WiFi connection and turn off your Data, and it will still work!)

5.  First, download the sound files.  From the main Synchronize menu, click Sync Files.  You'll see a list of files in red.  Click Sync - when it's done, the file names will turn green!  When done, click on the Back button (this will take you back to the main Synchronize menu).

6.  Next, download the map.  From the main Synchronize menu, click Synch Map.  

This will let you watch your progress as you move through Sparkle in the Park.

You'll see a street map - click Sync.  When done, click on the Back button (to go back to main Synchronize page).  Click Back once more (to go back to the main Sparkle in the Park page).

7.  Click Play!  

Travel through Sparkle in the Park and listen (make sure the volume is up).  Enjoy!

Note:  Make sure the red crosshairs symbol shows, after you click Play.  If not, make sure your device's "Location" setting is on. If the crosshairs don't appear, restart the app (don't worry, you won't have to Synch the files again).

As you move through Sparkle in the Park, different people from Bear Lake and Manistee County will tell stories.  The red dots on the map show you where the stories are located. 

If you move too fast, one speaker might interrupt another speaker.  That's okay.  Just slow down or stop (traffic permitting) or walk through on foot.  Stop in order to hear the whole story.  Or continue on to hear the next one.  If you return to an unfinished story, it will continue where it left off.  Go through again to repeat the stories.   

Those without mobile devices can also enjoy the Christmas stories.

From a laptop or desktop computer, visit the following website:

Find "Sparkle in the Park," click on it, and then click "Play."  Click on each red dot to hear a story! 

Sparkle in the Park opens Sat., Nov. 28 at 5pm with warm food and beverages, and a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Claus from 6:30-8pm. Sparkle in the Park continues through Dec. 31 from 5-10pm. 
Event flyer is here:  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mice, Men, Magic & Metallurgy

It was supposed to be a day of unveiling.  After almost a year of design work and fabrication, Robert Ramirez planned to debut his metal sculpture at tonight's Celebrate Kaleva festivities (6pm, at the Sculpture Walkway, on Walta St. across from the Kaleva Tavern; in case of rain, visit the Kaleva Roadside Village Park, on 9 Mile Rd., near Puisto St.).

The evening program will go on - it includes music, a ceremony recognizing two prominent citizens, readings from the Kalevala (Kaleva's namesake epic poem) and a 75-year re-dedication of the 1940s' murals.

But the sculpture has been delayed at the shipyard, so to speak, intentionally held back because of unexpected challenges facing Ramirez.  He was commissioned last fall to replicate the ship of Väinämöinen, the Kalevala's ancient shaman-bard.  The ship is the scene of a battle between rival forces over possession of the Sampo, a mysterious, mechanical cornucopia that churns out whatever its holder desires.

Unfortunately, Ramirez doesn't have the benefit of his own Sampo.  His medium - recycled coat hangers - involves the laborious preparation and assembly of materials using no tools but a pair of wire cutters. When finished, his ship sculpture will span about 9 feet in length, each wire hanger straightened by hand before any other work takes place.  

Ramirez has been building similar structures for 25 years, largely within the time allowed by his work in the landscape and irrigation business.  He noticed the popularity of grapevine wreaths while working in Traverse City and decided to try his hand at it.  For the sake of durability, he used the 16-gauge steel wire typically used in coat hangers as an internal frame.  Eventually, admirers of his work signaled their interest in seeing what he could do with the metal alone.

Years later, with his work on display in 30 states and several countries, Ramirez has tackled almost every form imaginable:  firefighter helmets, helicopters and cartoon characters.  "Some of them are small enough that you can carry them around in your hand," he says.  He works at the other end of the spectrum, too.  One of his largest pieces was for the Traverse City Cherry Festival, which wanted a basket for its Cherry Queen festivities.  "It was 7 feet tall and took 8 men to lift it," says Ramirez.

This year, as he moved from the design phase to construction phase, he encountered a sea change in raw material availability.  Suddenly his free wire hangers were hard to come by.  "When I first started, uniform companies would reuse them a few times, then they let me have them," says Ramirez.  "I used to go to dry cleaners', too, but now they all recycle them, rather than give them away.  I went from paying nothing for them to paying 28 cents per hanger."

This enormous cost increase has greatly delayed his work. The hangers from which Ramirez is constructing his 9-foot ship now must be ordered by 500-lot cases, and he expects the final product to contain about 3,000 of them.  To make matters worse, this sudden addition to his materials budget came just as Ramirez and his wife were trying to cope with recent job losses and foreclosure proceedings.

The project itself has posed its own novel challenges.  Ramirez's traditional strategy uses an interior frame hidden by the external sculpture.  For the first time, this project has included a level of authenticity that allows the viewer to peer through the war ship without seeing an obvious support structure.  "It has a deck on top with a hull, but to stay realistic with this one, I had to make sure there was nothing in the middle," says Ramirez.  "It's so different than anything I've ever made."  After two prototypes twisted into figure-eights under their own weight, Ramirez finally solved the problem, but these design concerns - not to mention the re-bending of a lot of coat hangers - have taken more time than expected.

The mythical Sampo in the Kalevala story is an object of value because of its magic manufacturing ability.  Grain, salt and gold pour out of it without a drop of sweat expended by its holder.  Much of the Kalevala's story revolves around the jealousy triggered by this wonder, as well as the blacksmith Ilmarinen, who built the magical item.  His first efforts produced only tchotchkes, but the Four Winds helped him stoke his furnace to the higher temperatures needed to produce the Sampo.  Ramirez, however, will have to carry on without any mystical forces beyond the gift that creates his work, and his last box of hangers.  As the normal September winds pick up in strength, he plans to complete the sculpture. A new date for a dedication ceremony will be established soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Physician Ellen Herring Retires

(Image:  Crystal Lake Health Center)
One of Bear Lake's familiar faces won't be seen in the exam room any longer.  Ellen Herring, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) has just retired.  Yesterday was her last day.  Herring worked for Crystal Lake Clinic for 20 years, with the last decade spent full-time at the Bear Lake location.

Herring and her husband plan to visit family members throughout Michigan in the coming months.  Afterwards, they expect to travel to other states and winter at Merritt Island, Florida.  They will continue to maintain a home in Honor, near Rush Lake.

"I have been very happy taking care of all the wonderful patients in Bear Lake and the surrounding area," said Herring.  "We love Benzie and Manistee counties and will be out and about doing touristy things, such as art fairs, community plays, music in the parks, farm markets and everything else we can attend in the area."

Some patients were surprised to learn of the news.  Crystal Lake Clinic administration did not send out letters to her patients before her retirement.  A call to the main office in Benzonia was answered today by an unidentified receptionist.  It was not immediately clear how or when patients would be reassigned to another doctor, or how prescriptions would be issued in the meantime.  Questions on these topics were referred to office staff, away for the Memorial Day holiday but expected to return on Tuesday.    

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Plan B submitted (Proposal 1)

We received this correspondence and offer it here, in its entirety.

Our previous coverage and list of resources, regarding Proposal 1 of 2015, can be found here.  -Eds.

Alternative to Proposition 1
Our Michigan legislators were elected to try to solve the State’s infrastructure and operational problems.  Instead, with Proposition 1, they have insidiously passed this duty onto the Michigan citizens.  By doing it this way, they have taken no responsibility for the outcome.  The word, to describe this type of action and failure to do what they were elected for, is cowardice.
We have been told that, if Proposition 1 fails to pass, there is no Plan B!  However, I have such a plan and I hope that serious consideration would be given to it by the citizens and the legislature.
Landfill Surcharge
I propose that a surcharge be added to every cubic yard of waste that is put into Michigan landfills.  According to the Michigan DEQ website, 2014 Landfill Report 47,043,458 cubic yards of waste were put into our landfills.  Of that amount 7,677,835 came from Canada and 2,971,300 from other States.  If, for example, a $1 surcharge were assessed to every cubic yard of waste, then over $47 million per year would be obtained for fixing our roads, public education system, etc.  Over 10 years this amounts to 47 billion dollars.  I strongly believe that this amount would be more than enough to solve all these problems without having to increase the Sales Tax or for that matter any other tax.
There are additional benefits to this land fill surcharge; (1) the incentive for Canada and other States to bring their trash to Michigan would be greatly reduced, if not eliminated (also heavy truck traffic on our roads would be reduced), (2)  there will be enough  money generated for the creation of a much-needed, state-wide, recycling program.

Glenn T. Lottie

Manistee County

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Maple Fest at Marilla Museum & Pioneer Place

This is the sort of place that oozes history like sugar sap.  You truly have to go there and explore the dense museum in the basement of the community center, and to wander through the barns and houses.  We invite you to do so.

The Marilla Museum & Pioneer Place is at 9991 Marilla Rd., within Manistee County.

Google map here:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Proposal 1 presentation (League of Women Voters, Kathy Ling)

Updated 4/19/15

This online presentation was produced in association with the League of Women Voters--Manistee County.  Special thanks to Nancy Behring.

One-page primer (mentioned in presentation):

Specific links regarding Proposal 1 of 2015 (mentioned in presentation):

Estimate of funding for local road commissions (MI Dept. of Transportation)

Detroit Free Press article (Paul Egan, March 2, 2015)

Other specifc links:'s analysis of Prop. 1, including links to legislative text (i.e. the 10 bills that would go into effect, if passed),_Proposal_1_%28May_2015%29

General links (mentioned in presentation):

Voter registration -

Voting location -



MI House Fiscal Agency -

MI Senate Fiscal Agency -

Citizens Research Council -

Originally published 4/16/15

Our live broadcast from Manistee High School went fairly well.  It was our first attempt from a remote location. 

A partial recording of the broadcast, as heard online, can be heard right away, here:

A complete recording, along with the LWV's explanatory graphics, will be available on this website by this weekend.