A special local holiday tradition continues as the Glen Lake Community Library kicks off its 12th annual call for children’s books. The Friends of the Library, in cooperation with Glen Lake School’s “Parenting Communities” program, are once again collecting donations of new children’s books for children whose families are in need of assistance this holiday season.

In January, a contingent of northern Michiganders will run 250 miles across Ethiopia, from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the Yirgachefe coffee growing region in the southern part of the ancient East African nation, as part of a campaign to generate awareness and raise $100,000 for local education projects, including the construction of much-needed schools in coffee-harvesting communities.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which celebrated its 40th birthday in late October, can almost count the days until work will begin on one of the Park’s biggest achievements — the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. The project is a 27-mile, multi-use trail that promotes access and safety for bikers, hikers, rollerbladers and wheelchairs

In reality, there are three parties actively running in these midterm elections: Democratic incumbents, Republican moderates and Republican Tea Party extremists who would have us storm the kitchen, fire the chefs, dump out the giant vat of slow-cooking soup, and start all over again. Michigan largely appears to have bucked the trend of Tea Party-rage this election season.

The windstorm that hit Leelanau County this week was the strongest storm ever to hit the continental United States, rivaling the pressure of tropical storms and surpassing the winds that doomed the famed Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975 in Lake Superior.

It’s 8:30 on a Saturday morning in May. Doctor Matthew A. Houghton, Jr., sits in his office at Glen Arbor Medical Arts, once the Glen Arbor Beauty Salon, with a few quiet moments to himself before the first patients arrive. He smokes a cigarette — “My last bad habit,” he says — and mumbles something about needing to smoke when you habitually jump out of helicopters.