The following op-eds by Bob Sutherland and Julie Zapoli—both Little Traverse Lake residents and Glen Arbor business owners—were written in response to the Sun’s coverage of Little Traverse Lake Association opposition to an expansion of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a portion of which would run near the north shore of the lake. Sutherland writes, “It is unfortunate that we are going to lose more trees in the development of this trail, but in the big picture, this four-mile extension completes an infinitely positive recreational trail and a key transportation alternative for residents and vacationers in Leelanau County. The recent study that opposition used to stir up doubt in this final section should not take away from the decade of environmentally sensitive planning the National Park Service, Michigan Department of Transportation, Leelanau County Road Commission, and Army Corp of Engineers executed to meet all the federal wetlands, dune and endangered species regulations.”

In a significant move to bolster the agricultural community, Cherry Republic announced that during National Cherry Month in February, 2 percent of all sales from its six stores and online will be donated to the Farm Stress Program, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Michigan farmers. “This February, every purchase at Cherry Republic is not just a tribute to the iconic Michigan cherry, but also a direct support to the heart and soul of our agricultural community — our farmers,” said Sara Harding, vice president of Marketing and Impact at Cherry Republic. The donation to the Farm Stress Program is a cornerstone of Cherry Republic’s campaign to spotlight the importance of mental health among farmers. The program, with MSU Extension, provides free resources including teletherapy, educational presentations, farm financial analysis, and business management strategies, among others.

Luke Woltanski kicks off Live Music Fridays this month at Cherry Public House with a performance tonight from 5-8 pm. The Glen Arbor Sun featured Woltanski in an August 2016 story, which you can read here. Subsequent performances include Woltanski and John Piatek on Feb. 9, Patrick Niemisto and Chris Skellenger on Feb 16, and Skellenger and Paul Koss on Feb  23. Cherry Public House also hosts a trivia night on Sunday evenings from 5-7 pm.

Last week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the winner of the 2024 State of the State art contest as Vivian Kern of Bay City Central High School. Kern’s artwork will be displayed in the 2024 State of the State program, which the governor will deliver on Wednesday night, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. Kern will receive a gift box from Cherry Republic. 

Cherry Republic will host a Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 10, from 1-4 pm at the Cherry Public House in Glen Arbor. The Beach Bards will entertain with a fun afternoon of original (or new takes) on old songs, stories, and poems highlighting the history of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area.

Glen Arbor’s annual Running Bear Run, a popular late July family dash which the Glen Arbor Women’s Club will hold for the 16th year on July 25, is now a chip-timed race. The Running Bear 5K Run/Walk & ½ Mile Kids’ Run features 16 age categories for males and females from ages 10 and under to 80 and older. Winners will receive medals and prizes from Cherry Republic and Crystal River Outfitters and The Cyclery. Youngsters running the ½ Mile Kids’ Run get to run with the Bear and take home a ribbon and a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Cherry Republic.

Capture your postcard perfect photos of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and collect a prize at the photo celebration from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Families, friends, and kids can participate in the Instagram photo adventure celebrating the natural beauty of the park and the fun of discovery it inspires. Sponsored by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the photo special event is intended to lead you to explore new places and share your favorite moments on Instagram. Upload your snapshots from the park, #sleepingbearfriends by July 8, then, join at the Cherry Republic Glen Arbor Flagship store from 1-3 pm on July 9 to collect your prize.

Bestselling author Wade Rouse, who writes under the pen name “Viola Shipman,” beat Cherry Republic owner Bob Sutherland in a pit-spitting competition at the Cherry Public House beer garden on June 23, following their conversation about Shipman’s newest novel “Famous in a Small Town,” which was inspired by Cherry Republic and Bob’s late mother, Mary Sutherland.

Mary Sutherland, the matriarch of a well-know Glen Arbor family who passed away in January at age 92—and who allegedly holds the record for pit spitting at Cherry Republic—inspired Viola Shipman’s latest book “Famous in a Small Town,” which has received accolades as one of the Best Summer Books of 2023 by the Good Morning America TV show, and Reader’s Digest. Wade Rouse, who uses the “Viola Shipman” pen name, will appear at Cherry Republic on June 23, from 4-5 pm in the Cherry Public House Beer Garden for a book signing and conversation with Bob Sutherland. “When I began writing fiction, I didn’t see many characters like my grandmother or my mom, or Mary Sutherland,” said Rouse.

RIP, Mary Sutherland, a longtime Glen Arbor resident, teacher, feminist and champion for gender equality, who was perhaps best known as the matriarch of a large entrepreneurial, athletic, and public-spirited clan that has had an outsized impact on Leelanau County and the Grand Traverse region. Here is F Josephine Arrowood’s story we published just over a decade ago on the occasion of Mary reissuing her self-help book “Claim Your Self,” which was originally published in 1983. Mary passed away on Saturday, Jan. 28, at age 92, her son Bob, president of Cherry Republic, confirmed.