2016-12-08 / Columns

Man with Omena ties writes about gay rights struggle, speaks on NPR

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Omena has another author to claim. Cleve Jones has recently written a memoir, “When We Rise.” His parents, Austin and Marion Jones, were summer residents in Omena, and his aunt, Suzie Mulligan, lives here. He was interviewed this past week by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. Cleve is a long time leader in the LBGTQ movement.

Jones moved to San Francisco when he was in his early 20s. There, he found a mentor in Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials. He marched alongside Milk for gay rights. When Milk was assassinated in 1978, Jones decided to dedicate his life to the cause. After the AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Cleve describes his life and his involvement in the gay rights movement in his new memoir. In the interview, he said it’s a story of hardship, but also one of triumph. “I have these memories of great struggle and great pain and great loss, but I also in my lifetime have seen extraordinary progress and amazing change.”

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John and Ann Marie Mitchell recently returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday trip, on which they followed their two sons south. Their first stop was Chicago, where they shared holiday dinner with their oldest son Matt, his wife Candice, and their dog Arlo, at their beautifully remodeled home near Logan Square. John’s sister and her family joined in the festivities.

After watching a heart-wrenching University of Michigan game on Saturday (there are four U of M degrees in the family), John and Ann Marie flew to New Orleans. Here, their son Drew is working in a popular new restaurant that he helped open with his good friend, Leelanau summer resident, and rising chef Leo Sloan. Their venue is a graceful 1875 fish market at the base of the French Quarter that was gutted by Hurricane Katrina and recently restored as the St. Roch Market, which features a variety of upscale food stalls. Their venture, called Good Bird, specializes in chicken dishes and is becoming a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

John and Ann Marie punctuated their visit to the Crescent City with a two day side trip to Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., where they toured Civil War sites and ante-bellum mansions. John, who is another of our Omena authors and has written about the Civil War, noted that the conflict is still being fought in some quarters of these sleepy Southern river towns.

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Tomorrow from 10 – 11 a.m., there will be a very special Northport Public School (NPS) student art show in the NPS lobby. The show provides a chance for community members to meet and talk to students about their art work. The theme of the show is Paradox. Art teacher Jenny Evans said it features exploratory art with non-traditional media. Community members are encouraged to ask the students questions such as why they chose the paradox that they did, how they have grown as an artist through this project, and other questions that the show prompts.

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The NCAC’s Christmas Concert is Sunday at 3 p.m. in the NCAC auditorium. It always provides a wonderful way to ring in the holiday season.

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Happy Birthday to Alice Littlefield, Tess Edgley, Denise Sica, Nancy Kalchik, Jeff Singer, and Sunny Colling. Happy Anniversary to Benjamin and Suzanne Woessner Cherry.

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Editor’s note: Rick and Sarah Straus are inviting community members to join in their birthday party today, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. at Northport Highlands. And speaking of birthdays, hard to believe Captain Jack Duffy has hit an important mark. Their announcements also appear on this page.

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