2018-01-18 / Columns

Lively Leelanau calendar for ‘dead’ time

By LESLIE DISCH
Phone/fax 386-5686

Omena snowbirds are hearty folks, and quite a few have come back to enjoy our winter wonderland. Speaking of that, do you remember when Leelanau County license plates all began with “WW”, and we called ourselves the “Water, Winter Wonderland”? Actually, that saying was on all Michigan license plates, as it is one of Michigan’s nicknames, referencing the water resources of the state of Michigan.

“Water Wonderland” appeared on Michigan license plates beginning in 1954. It was modified to “Water-Winter Wonderland” in 1965. The modified legend appeared on Michigan license plates from 1965 through 1967. We always thought that it must especially apply to Leelanau County, since we had the WW plates.

It is often thought that Michigan was nicknamed “The Wolverine State” for the abundance of wolverines that once roamed the peninsula. However, according to the Michigan Historical Center, wolverines were very rare in Michigan if they were present at all. It’s not clear how this nickname originated, but there are two theories.

Some think the nickname was originated by Ohioans in 1835 during a dispute over an Ohio/Michigan boundary called the “Toledo Strip.” The dispute became known as the Toledo War. Though Michigan and Ohio both sent troops to the area, no shots were fired. It’s said that Ohioans, at that time, referred to Michiganians as “...as vicious and bloodthirsty as wolverines.”

Another theory is proposed that Native Americans compared the way that settlers were taking land in the 1830s to the way the excessively greedy wolverine went after its food.

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People who have come Up North for a winter vacation include Harold and Kanda McKee from Fort Wright, Ky.; Don and Doni Lystra from Ann Arbor; and Kim and Linda Kemper from Barrington, Ill.

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Ron and Mary Tonneberger have returned from a very lovely and warm vacation. They started out in Kenwood, Calif., in Sonoma County with the Edgleys and their close friend Williams Molina. They toured the area, saw the results of the wildfires (fortunately a very sporadic scene of devastation), sampled some of the local wines and enjoyed Christmas together. After leaving at the end of the week, three of them took a tourist’s view of San Francisco by taking Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown. Traffic was incredible to contend with, but the food was great and well worth the effort.

In their second week, Ron and Mary traveled to their favorite resort, Casa Velas in Marina Vallarta, Mexico. A week of relaxation by the pool, catching up on book club selections (Kindles are wonderful for travel), and golf ushered in 2018. They had an interesting dinner conversation about international politics with three Canadian couples. Mary reports that, while they were grateful to bypass the storms here, Omena looked beautiful as always on their arrival home.

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It may be the dead of winter but there’s nothing dead about activities in and around Omena. There’s lots to do, both inside and outside.

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The Leelanau State Park is always a great place to visit any time of year. A group of volunteers have been busy creating a new Snow Sports Trail at the park. There will be an Open House on Feb. 3 to celebrate the 7-mile multi-use winter trail system for fat bikes, skis, and snowshoes.

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For indoor things to do, the Dennos Museum at Northwestern Michigan College has two wonderful opportunities. Tutankhamun: “Wonderful Things” from the Pharaoh’s Tomb opens Sunday. The exhibition vividly brings to life the enigmatic, opulent age of 18th Dynasty Egypt. Ten years in the making, from the artisans of the Pharaonic Village in Egypt and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the dazzling collection of reproductions recreates the richest archaeological finds of all time. The opening provides a free community day with docents on hand to answer questions.

On exhibit now through March 8 is “Visitors to the Sea: Masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Art” featuring two masterpieces from the DIA. They are Sisters on the Shore by William Adolphe Bouguereau and On the Beach by Edouard Manet.

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On Friday at 7:30 p.m., the Leelanau Community Cultural Center will host the screening of Starbright Media’s new feature-length documentary entitled “Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden” at the Old Art Building in Leland. The documentary was recently completed to coincide with the installation and dedication of the young Hemingway statue in Petoskey’s Pennsylvania Park on July 21, Hemingway’s birthday. It features the commentary of some of the country’s top Hemingway scholars and writers, many of whom were interviewed for the documentary in Petoskey, Bay View, Horton Bay, and at Windemere, the Hemingway family cottage on Walloon Lake.

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Check out the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail website at lpwines.com for information about Saturday’s Sips & Soups event. It gives you an entire afternoon to visit up to 20 wineries and enjoy hearty soup and wine pairings like artichoke and asiago bisque with a dry Riesling or morel mushroom bisque with pinot gris. Plus, $5 from every ticket sold is given to local food banks, coordinated by Leelanau Christian Neighbors.

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Be sure to get your tickets for the Northport Community Arts Center’s upcoming dinner theater at Tucker’s in Northport, “Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell,” which is described as a “tearfully funny comedy.” There will be six performances from Feb. 9-18. Call the NCAC at 386-5001 for information and tickets.

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The Leelanau Township Community Foundation (LTCF) will host a seminar called “Nonprofit Board Governance: The Basics a Board Needs to Be Effective” next Wednesday, Jan. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon. The seminar is for board members at area non-profits. Contact the LTCF, 386-9000, for information or to register. The cost is $15 and includes lunch.

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Happy Birthday to Barb Harris, Marcia McMorrow, and Tiffany Singer. Happy Anniversary to Jim and Kathy Miller.

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