Control of the 110-seat Michigan State House of Representatives could be up for grabs this election, and the new 103rd District, which includes Leelanau County, might prove pivotal in that race. Facing off are Republican incumbent Jack O’Malley and Democrat Betsy Coffia, who has attacked O’Malley over his record on abortion and his casting doubt on the 2020 election results. According to AdImpact Politics, more money has been spent to win the 103rd than any other State House seat.

The Crystal River near Glen Arbor in Leelanau County is one of the central features in a new documentary film to be screened on WCMU Public Television at Noon on Sunday, Oct. 2. Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems shines a light on Michigan’s first indigenous-led, multi-agency collaborative created to restore and protect the ecology of streams and rivers across the entire region. Led by the Grand Traverse Band (GTB) of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Tribal Stream and Michigan Fruitbelt Collaborative includes more than a dozen nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies working together to remove blockages to the natural flow of water in Michigan’s streams and rivers—often called “the arteries of mother earth.”

Picnickers who chose Good Harbor Beach to eat dinner and watch the sunset on Friday, Sept. 9, were surprised to discover they shared the popular beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with a real estate company, based in Traverse City, which erected a pop-up tent, placed a sign at the parking lot, and flew a drone above the shoreline. “The gathering itself likely does not require a Special Use Permit, but we are concerned with the corporate advertising and drone use in the National Lakeshore by this group,” said Sleeping Bear Dunes superintendent Scott Tucker.

The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s current VESSELS exhibit offers an out-of-the-box look at bowls, baskets, urns, pods, and other objects that store and carry things. This juried exhibition is on display until Oct. 27 and features 28 exhibitors from Michigan, California, Illinois, and Rhode Island. Of particular note, the exhibit includes the Creation of the World 6/9, a needlework tapestry from Judy Chicago’s “Birth Project”—a feminist initiative from the early 1980s, in which Chicago collaborated with more than 150 artists to create dozens of images combining painting and needlework that celebrate various aspects of the birth process; from the painful to the mythical. This series celebrated the birth-giving capacity of women along with their creative spirit. With women’s reproductive rights under siege, and the arts reemerging as a forum of social and political expression, we chatted with the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s gallery manager Sarah Bearup-Neal about VESSELS and the inclusion of a work from “Birth Project.”

Consider Tomas Moreno a matchmaker for Leelanau County’s migrant farmworkers. The soft-spoken, good-natured Texas native and Leland Public School graduate with family roots in Mexico manages 54 vineyard acres north of Lake Leelanau for Bel Lago and French Valley wineries. He interprets for and leads a crew of Hispanic farm workers, indispensable to the harvest, some of whom arrive in northern Michigan on H-2A temporary work visas. Tomas, who turns 41 next month, also recently began making fresh tortillas with his wife Julieta to sell to the local Latino community.

The U.S. Senate has passed its historic climate change legislation, and the House of Representatives is expected to soon follow suit and send to President Biden to sign the bill. The political victory comes not a moment too soon, with a rapidly warming planet striking communities with one climate-related disaster after another. Leelanau County, too, is enjoying the momentum of the clean energy movement. Earlier this summer, Leelanau Energy launched its “Energize Leelanau Challenge” initiative to locate clean energy or energy efficiency projects in the county that are shovel-ready and that benefit communities, and help fund them with seed money totaling between $250 and $15,000 per project.

Chris Otto, a water resources biologist at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is keeping a close eye on North Bar Lake in late July and early August—often the warmest time of the summer—for greenish algal blooms and signs of cynobacteria at the popular swimming destination.

As we approach Independence Day, I wonder at the concepts of “freedom” and “equality.” At the ways our governing bodies have historically made laws that only represent a portion of our population, writes Mae Stier in our Fourth of July weekend edition of the Glen Arbor Sun. From the inception of our country, wealthy white men have been protected by the laws they created for themselves, but people of color, women, children, and impoverished people have not received the same protections. As a woman born in the late 1980s, it feels difficult to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Women now have less autonomy than they did when I was born, and I fear what comes next. I now see abortion access as a necessary step toward equity, especially in a society that does little for parents and their children once they have left the womb.

It has become a global problem—electrical light pollution is sending its ever-brightening rays, hiding the night sky in place after place and there is no end in sight. In today’s world, city and suburban residents have lost sight of much of earth’s spectacular nighttime universe. At night a peachy orange glow is casting an ever-widening ominous circumference in the Grand Traverse region.

Attorney and Solon Township resident Douglas Fierberg is a trim, compact man in his early 60s, with a towering reputation as a relentless advocate for victims of school violence. On a recent day in his Traverse City office, he grabs a list off his desk and begins to read aloud: “Student death. Student shot dead. Student death. Student death. Student death. Student permanent brain injury. Student death. Student death. Dead son. Raped daughter. Student death. Student death.” The obscene, gut-wrenching litany is part of what he and his colleagues at The Fierberg National Law Group must work with every day in their civil litigation practice.