Scott Bouma, a resident of Cedar, is the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s (GAAC) new executive director, as announced last week in a media release. Bouma joined the GAAC staff in 2013 as an office manager and rose to the position of operations manager. He replaces Sarah Kime, who served as GAAC’s executive director from 2019 until this month. Kime leaves the GAAC to join the staff of North Carolina Outward Bound School as director of advancement.

Local troubadour and gardener Chris Skellenger and former Buckets of Rain treasurer Mike Binsfeld have created a new nonprofit called Row by Row, which helps economically challenged Guatemala women establish community gardens on vacant public land. Buckets of Rain previously taught bucket drip irrigation to communities in Lesotho and Detroit. Skellenger also plays guitar and sings at Boonedocks, Little Traverse Inn, French Valley Vineyard, Cherry Republic, and Lake Ann Brewery with an assortment of his musical friends. And Skellenger is the new nursery manager at the expanded Northwood’s Hardware & Garden Center in Glen Arbor. “We are so happy to have Chris Skellenger to help us get this going,” said co-owner Jeff Gietzen. “He is a skilled, legitimate nursery person.”

Northwoods Hardware owners Jeff and Georgia Gietzen have announced the purchase of property directly adjacent to their current business (where Wildflowers was located until last summer). The Gietzens anticipate the purchase of 50 percent of the remaining south lot by mid-July. The Wildflowers property had previously been purchased by a developer with plans to build condos, but is no longer moving forward with the development.

What’s new in town in 2016 — particularly if you haven’t visited Glen Arbor since last July — are the forests around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They are completely different. That’s because of the Aug. 2, 2015, megastorm, which packed “straight line” winds of 100 miles per hour, leveled thousands of hardwood trees across Alligator Hill, along the east side of Big Glen Lake, across Leelanau County and on Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City. The storm was the most dramatic thing to hit Glen Arbor in modern times, and it changed the experience of visiting our beloved National Lakeshore for generations to come.

What services are imperative for a small town like Glen Arbor? How about a grocery store, a hardware store, a gas station and an active Chamber of Commerce. Check three of four for Jeff and Georgia Gietzen, the Grand Rapids transplants who acquired Northwoods Hardware three years ago (and became sole owners in 2011), who have also become Chamber leaders, and this spring bought the gas station just north of town. Northwoods Filling Station now boasts vintage 1950s signage, sells gasoline and quick bites, and most importantly stays open 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. That’s a big improvement over having to drive to Empire or Maple City for petrol.