On June 7, actor Ramón Rodríguez was Leelanau School’s youngest ever commencement speaker—by far—and perhaps the one most likely to connect with the senior class, many of whom already knew him on television and on social media. In May, the New York Times wrote of Rodríguez’s “rakish good looks”; a couple days before returning to Glen Arbor he appeared on Conan, and agreed to send more ladies Conan’s way if the late-night talk show host would help the actor get more followers on Twitter.

Concerned area fathers are being asked to meet at the Traverse City Open Space on Thursday evening, May 15 at 6 p.m., to demonstrate a showing of DADS who care greatly about the plight of those fathers and their families who have faced the tragedy of losing their daughters in Nigeria’s horrific kidnapping. The group “Stand with Nigeria’s Dads” hopes to gather 276 Dads — the same number as the girls abducted by Boko Haram — to show their support in a group photo.

By Kathleen Stocking Sun contributor Dear Leelanau, The mournful roosters of Guatemala call out over the waters of Lake Atitlan, “Oh, lost, where are you,” the sound lingering in the foggy dawn. My neighbor’s roosters in Lake Leelanau say, “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” like the roosters in Mother Goose, and the roosters of Thailand scream, “Now, you’ll die, […]

The League of Women Voters Leelanau County (LWVLC) will host the six Leelanau County high school students who participated this summer in the “2013 Freedom Tour” on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Leelanau Government Center. The students will be there at 6:30 to meet the audience. Refreshments will be provided.

The Great Lakes Friends (GLF) of Safe Passage will hold its eighth annual fiesta on Saturday, Oct. 19, to help the children and families living and working in the area adjacent to the Guatemala City garbage dump. The fiesta celebrates the commitment of the Great Lakes community to Safe Passage’s educational and nurturing programs, which are helping Guatemalan children find a pathway out of generational cycles of extreme poverty.

On the first leg of his ToTheRockTour across the Upper Midwest and through two Canadian provinces, adventure cyclist Brian Perich arrived in northern Michigan to find the community mourning the death of a local cyclist whose life was taken in a horrific hit-and-run collision in the wee hours of July 5 in Traverse City.

Empire’s Asparagus Festival this year drew the attention of Japanese food importer Tsukasa Miyakawa (pictured here with Miser’s Hoard owner Paul Skinner), who intends to purchase locally-grown asparagus and import it to Japan. Miyakawa visited Skinner in Empire on June 3. His company imports approximately 800 tons of frozen asparagus each year, and looks to grow that market by 250 tons over the next five years, according to Skinner. Northern Michigan may become their new supply source.

The People and the Olive, a feature-length documentary about the daily joys and struggles of Palestinian olive farmers living under the occupation, and last year’s Run Across Palestine (an initiative of the Traverse City-based nonprofit On the Ground, which supports fair-trade farmers around the world), will show at The Leelanau School north of Glen Arbor on Tuesday, May 7, from 2-4 p.m. The event is free, and the public are invited to attend. The film was created by Traverse City filmmaker Aaron Dennis and journalist Jacob Wheeler (founding editor of the Glen Arbor Sun). Wheeler will attend and take part in a question-and-answer session following the screening.

When you read about El Salvador being one of the top places on the State Department’s list of places not to visit, you need to buy a pack of cigarettes in Miami just before you get on the plane, even if you don’t smoke. That was my thinking, anyway. Going through Customs in El Salvador was a breeze. The school had sent a former army guy to usher us through and then into a black van which sped through the midnight streets to our school’s housing compound.

The first time I visited the California coast was in 1920. I know, you’re thinking, Wow, I never knew Kathleen was that old. So, let me explain. My father gave me a book for my 10th birthday called, Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton-Porter. The story is set on the California coast of the 1920s where a First World War soldier is in a veterans’ hospital. Told he’s going to be moved to a rehabilitation center, one rumored to be infested with tuberculosis, he leaves the hospital, thinking that if he’s going to die he wants to be surrounded by flowers and the sound of the ocean.