A double agent who worked for the Allies during World War II under the codename “Treasure” and played a significant role in deceiving the Germans about the location of the D-Day invasion rests in Solon Cemetery, near Cedar in Leelanau County. The D-Day landings in Normandy, France, 80 years ago today played a pivotal role in the war and the liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany. The spy was Russian-born Nathalie “Lily” Sergueiew, who was born in 1912 in St. Petersburg and fled with her family to France following the Russian Revolution of 1917. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Glen Arbor Sun interviewed British writer Peter Winnington, author of the new book “Codename TREASURE,” which chronicles Sergueiew’s heroics.

For many people visiting and moving here, it’s all about the water. Unfortunately, the same is true for other, less-welcome entities: Eurasian watermilfoil, Quagga mussels, purple loosestrife and other invasive species. Combating these and other unwelcome plants and animals is an ongoing challenge. For example, Lake Leelanau has been in the news for its battle against Eurasian watermilfoil, a plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Now Glen Lake has discovered signs of the plant. If unchecked, it spreads quickly and forms thick mats in shallow areas. It blocks sunlight and kills native aquatic plants that fish and other underwater species rely on for food and shelter. Glen Lake Association watershed biologist Rob Karner says treating invasives follows a simple formula: find it, deal with it, and repeat until it’s gone. But while the formula may be simple, it’s far from easy.

They may be beautiful. They may look nice as lawn ornamentation. They may even be as familiar as the bouquet from the florist. But make no mistake: non-native plants and animals threaten native flora and fauna as well as the enjoyment residents and visitors derive from the area. Knotweed, barberry, baby’s breath and Eurasian milfoil are just a few of the invasive species found in our fields and forests, lakes and waterways. Some target specific hosts, such as hemlock wooly adelgid, and before that, the emerald ash borer. Others simply crowd out native plants, such as garlic mustard or autumn olive. The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network works with a number of partners, including the Leelanau Conservancy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Leelanau Conservation District, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and numerous private landowners to combat these and other invasives.

Sleeping Bear. It’s our home, the namesake of our national park. We delight in living here, on the edge of the wild. But when a black bear emerges from hibernation and crosses our privacy thresholds, breaks into our shops, drags our dumpster trash through the village, eats our chickens, and leaves paw prints on our windows, do we suddenly fear it? Do we condemn its right to live amongst us? Do we breathe a collective sigh of relief when the authorities set traps and take the bear away? This may be the land of the sleeping bear, but only so long as it sleeps, we tell ourselves. When it wakes, we must remind the bear that this is our land now. Sun editor Jacob Wheeler asks whether we can coexist with bears in the cover story for our May 16 edition—several weeks after a 450-500-pound bear broke into the local chocolate shop, devoured a 50-pound bag of sugar and was later trapped and relocated by the DNR.

Riverside Canoes will not need a commercial use authorization from the National Park Service to continue renting canoes, kayaks and tubes on the Platte River at the southern end of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Nor will the business have to share five percent of its gross sales with the Park. On March 1, federal judge Paul Maloney with the Western District of Michigan ruled in favor of Riverside, which will celebrate 60 years of operating on the Platte when it opens on May 1. The National Park Service has until the end of April to appeal. Riverside previous owners fought a long legal battle with the Park after Sleeping Bear Dunes was created in 1970. In 1992 they signed an agreement that allowed the business to continue operating within the National Lakeshore. It’s unclear why the Park sought to revisit the matter in 2022. Officials with the National Lakeshore declined to comment, citing active litigation. “Riverside is an anomaly. The business existed before the Park was there,” said Riverside co-owner Kyle Orr. “We try to provide family fun for generations. But we also recognize that we are stewards of the river. We are not anti-park. At end of day, I just want to coexist.”

Leelanau County sheriff Mike Borkovich flanked Donald Trump at a campaign appearance in Grand Rapids on April 2, where Trump used bombastic, anti-immigrant rhetoric following the murder of Ruby Garcia by an undocumented immigrant in late March. The victim’s family accused Trump of politicizing their pain. He said that he had spoken with the Garcia family, which he did not. At the Leelanau Board of Commissioners meeting on April 9, some constituents are expected to voice their displeasure with Borkovich traveling, in uniform, to stand with Trump.

Leelanau County businesses have found an innovative solution to the region’s vexing affordable housing and workforce recruitment crisis. County government, chambers of commerce, and local businesses will team up to build a vast tent encampment at the vacant and abandoned Sugar Loaf property, which was once a cherished ski resort and Leelanau’s biggest year-round employer before gangsters, con-men and real estate tycoons closed it for good nearly 25 years ago. “We had the same housing and workforce crisis in the metropolis of Traverse City,” said Rikardo Liko, former Traverse City chancellor and Leelanau’s current interim county administrator. “But the tent encampment in the pines in the Grand Traverse Commons solved all that. We found that hardworking people who can’t afford to pay $3,000 per month for rent in northern Michigan, and can’t afford a $1 million home on the water, could instead live in tents in the woods and keep our tourism and service economics afloat.”

A simmering feud between Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and TART Trails, and residents of Little Traverse Lake who oppose the northeast expansion of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is once again heating up. The popular, multi-use bicycle trail, which stretches 22 miles from Empire through the National Lakeshore to Bohemian Road, is set to expand by 4.25 miles northeast to Good Harbor Trail. Tree clearing and construction are slated to begin this fall, and the extension will open in late 2025 or 2026. But early this month the Little Traverse Lake Association released an environmental impact study the group had commissioned from Borealis Consulting, which found that Segment 9 of the Heritage Trail would require the removal of nearly 7,300 trees and trespass through sensitive wilderness, wetlands and dunes. Of the nearly 7,300 trees identified in the Borealis study, 82% are saplings or small trees with diameters of 10 inches or less. The Park has directed trail designers with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to “meander around the largest trees.” The Lake Association unsuccessfully sued the federal government in 2015 over the adequacy of the National Park’s 2009 environmental assessment.

Perhaps no Spring 2020 COVID-19 transplants to Leelanau County were as mysterious, and now as controversial, as Jeff and Shaleia Ayan, the Suttons Bay residents and relationship coach gurus behind Twin Flames Universe, which a December 2020 Vanity Fair article called “a sort of therapeutic-spiritual reality show.” Last week the streaming service Netflix launched a scathing, three-part documentary series titled “Escaping Twin Flames,” which casts the Ayans’ online community as a cult whose leaders prey upon members and charge them thousands of dollars while pressing them into toxic relationships and manipulating their emotional and mental health struggles. Twin Flames has also attracted negative national press from Vice and Time magazine.

Priest José Luis Díaz Cruz and Sergio Jose Cárdenas Flores, political asylees from Nicaragua, have been living in the rectory at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Empire since March after they escaped the autocratic Ortega regime, which has cracked down on dissent and persecuted the Roman Catholic Church. Originally from the city of Matagalpa, Díaz and Cárdenas were among dozens imprisoned for six months in the capital of Managua after living under house arrest in their church last August. In February, they were among 222 political prisoners flown to the United States after being forced to relinquish their Nicaraguan citizenship. “We’re offering them a safe place to be,” said Rev. Ken Stachnik at St. Philip Neri. “This is important because it’s in the gospel. We are watching out for those who are lost and have no place to go.” The push to bring the Nicaraguans to northern Michigan came from Reverend Wayne Dziekan with the Diocese of Gaylord and who co-directs the Justice and Peace Advocacy Center, an organization which helps asylees and migrant workers in northern Michigan. Matagalpa and Gaylord are sister diocese.