March is maple sap month. Britton Wheeler, a 15-year-old ninth grader at Glen Lake School, makes and sells maple-coated cashews under his brand Northway Maple Company from syrup he harvests and boils on his parents’ property near Cedar. This is Britton’s third year making maple syrup and coating cashews he buys wholesale. The name for his project was partly inspired by his great grandfather’s soda shop, Northway Bottling Co. Britton, who can sell at local farmers’ markets, hopes in the future to use a commercial kitchen and sell his maple-coated cashews at local stores.

Glen Lake Community Schools will host the first of two scheduled “listening sessions” on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 6 pm related to a loss in this past November’s bond election. This session will be held in the secondary media center. According to a letter from superintendent Jason Misner, the public is invited to attend and participate in this forum and share opinions and feedback on the recent bond vote and what Glen Lake can do to meet the needs of area students and the community.

A fundraising event is planned for long-time local non-profit Row-by-Row (formerly Buckets of Rain) at Broomstack Kitchen & Taphouse in Maple City on Sunday, Sept. 24. Festivities run from 3 to 6 pm and include food, a silent auction, live music by the Dune Brothers and a tribute to the music of Gordon Lightfoot by Paul Koss, Patrick Niemisto and Chris Skellenger. Row-by-Row has been involved in food security in northern Michigan, Detroit, Guatemala, and several parts of Africa since 2007. The majority of their efforts in recent years focus on providing fresh, locally grown vegetables to area pantries and shelters via Northern Michigan Food Rescue.

Lizzie Brown, a 2021 Glen Lake School graduate and 2023 Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) graduate who is currently enrolled at University of Michigan-Flint, reflects on her recent trip to Guatemala, and what she learned at a model preschool run by Planting Seeds International, a nonprofit with northern Michigan support.

The fourth annual Glen Arbor Cemetery Memorial Ceremony, commemorating the nearly lost site, will be held at 10 am on Friday, May 26. John Sawyer of Traverse City will deliver a eulogy detailing the life of one of the four Civil War veterans buried at the cemetery, James Lawrence Green. And on Wednesday, May 24, the Glen Lake Community Library in Empire will host a presentation about the history of the Glen Arbor Township Cemetery, which served the Glen Lake area from 1880-1927, and the renewed effort to reclaim this long-neglected resting place. Last week, ground penetrating radar revealed an additional mass grave of more than 50 bodies buried at the cemetery sometime between the late 1800s and early 1900s. This cemetery in the woods off Forest Haven Road, west of downtown Glen Arbor, was nearly lost to history before Glen Arbor Township regained control over it from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after the big storm of August 2015. Click on the story to watch a narrated video tour of the cemetery.

“Depending on how you look at things, it was either pure chance or divine intervention,” Chet Janik laughed as he described how he was able to leave Communist Poland as a young boy and immigrate to Cedar, Michigan. “Without the town supporting my great uncle, and without the kindness of the consular official, I never would have grown up here.” Reflecting on his life in the United States and his career as he winds down his time as Leelanau County’s longest serving administrator, Chet narrates the journey with vivid details.

It’s a well-known story. Finding an affordably-priced home in Leelanau County is difficult. For Glen Lake School, finding the right superintendent has also been a challenge. Jason Misner started on the job in August. The local community wanted to make sure the Misner family stayed. That meant finding them a home. Up stepped local realtors, who gave them a head start and opportunity to make an offer before a potential bidding war began on the house previously owned by the late John Peppler.

A special holiday tradition continues on Nov. 19 with an annual call for children’s books. The Friends of the Glen Lake Library are once again collecting donations of new children’s books for children whose families are in need of assistance this holiday season. Any family can find themselves in hard times and the goal is to make sure the children still have some holiday joy in the form of a special book. 

Last year, following the death of 17-year-old Tommy Reay, his friends at Glen Lake School formed a peer support group called Tommy’s First Mates, which raised $40,000 to train school staff and local teens—with the help of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), a national organization that raises funding for programming, training, research and governmental advocacy. Throughout the United States, the Walk Out of Darkness offers an opportunity for people affected by suicide and mental illness to gather, remember, share and also raise funds. The Traverse City walk features teams from all over Northern Michigan that will meet at the TC Open Space on Saturday, Sept. 17, beginning at 9 a.m.

By Zinnia Dungjen Sun contributor Young leaders are more important now than ever before—in schools, in extracurricular groups, in sports, and in community service—as a changing climate, a global pandemic, and societal rifts pose ever more challenges for teenagers and young adults. We profiled five students at Glen Lake School who are rising to the […]