2018-04-12 / Columns

Omena community will miss Pat, Jim and Charlie

By LESLIE DISCH
Phone/fax 386-5686


CAPTURING THE LIGHT. Northport student Hayden Gregg is pleased with his final product. Gregg’s stained glass piece was on display at Saturday’s “A Gift of Light and Color.” All participants were trained by artist Tom Woodruff and final pieces were given to “someone special” to the student. Photo by Jenny Evans CAPTURING THE LIGHT. Northport student Hayden Gregg is pleased with his final product. Gregg’s stained glass piece was on display at Saturday’s “A Gift of Light and Color.” All participants were trained by artist Tom Woodruff and final pieces were given to “someone special” to the student. Photo by Jenny Evans Three people with deep ties to the Omena area died the week before last: Pat Bussey, Jim Charter, and Charlie Lawson. All three obituaries were in last week’s Enterprise.

Pat was born in Omena, a third generation Kalchik in Leelanau County. Her father, Frank, among many other endeavors, started the business that became KAL Excavating after her three brothers took over the business. Pat and her husband Marlin lived in Midland and Ohio, but returned to the place that they loved in 1987 when he retired. She loved being surrounded by nature, especially her gardens and bird watching. Her family and friends and church were important to her. She will be missed by many. Her memorial service is this coming Monday.

Charlie Lawson was also born in Omena on Omena Heights. His grandfather, Charlie, and his father, Troy, worked for Thomas S. Smith and Sons Orchards, and the family lived in a house on the property, now the home of Matt and Kelli Fitzgerald and their family. He has lived in Traverse City since his discharge from the U.S. Navy.

Jim Charter was born in Northport and grew up here. He also lived in Midland for a number of years before moving to San Diego. In 1979, he married Kay Charter and they eventually settled back in his home territory, purchasing the land that eventually became Charter Sanctuary. Jim and Kay were the co-founders of Saving Birds Thru Habitat (SBTH). Jim loved working the land and creating an environment that benefitted the birds and butterflies. Visitors to Charter Sanctuary and SBTH would see him hard at work. His legacy is an important one for the region.

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In fact, Jim would be proud of next Wednesday’s event, the launch of the Leelanau Native Plants Initiative. Some Leelanau County high school students have spent the winter learning about losses in our avian and pollinator populations and have come up with suggestions on how we can all become involved in solutions. Kay Charter, Executive Director SBTH, and Katie Grzesiak, Invasive Species Coordinator, will also be speaking. The event is at noon at the Government Center on M-204.

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Lots of Omena residents are starting to return from spring break and longer winter trips.

Marcia and Greg McMorrow enjoyed a week in Big Sky Montana with their son Ryan and his wife Anne from Leland and their two sons, George and Gavin. We hear that George has become quite an accomplished eight year-old-skier, having taken lessons for two successive years, and easily maneuvers the two to three mile downhill slopes. Gramma Marcia watched two-year-old Gavin from the comfort of a slope-side Condo. Everyone enjoyed the amenities of beautiful Moonlight Basin.

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On a recent visit to the Central Coast of Calif., Judy and Bruce Balas visited the area of the “Thomas Fire.” Their friends, who live in Ojai, took them on a driving tour of the miles and miles of charred hillsides including Santa Paula where the fires started. The name of the fire is taken from the Thomas Aquinas College where it is believed a transformer was downed from extremely high winds and sparked into the very, very dry grasses and foliage, igniting the fires. Ojai was surrounded by fires on three sides with only one road leading out when the town was evacuated. Luckily none of the homes in the village were burned because the winds changed direction. Even after the fires were extinguished, evacuees could not return for a week due to poor air quality. One of the more fascinating results of the fires is that among the blackened hillsides, bright green orchards survived due to the irrigation systems. It will be years before there is a full recovery of the landscape.

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Mike and Laurie Adelson headed south for the week following Easter. They had never been to Knoxville, so they spent one day there and then drove to one of their favorite destinations — Kiawah Island, S.C. They enjoyed the warm weather, biking and walking on the island and visiting Charleston for a day.

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When you think about April Showers, it’s not supposed to be snow, is it? Average temperatures in Michigan for the first week of April were 14 degrees below normal. Brian and Sally Shapiro braved the snowy weather to head to Omena last week. While here, they attended NMC’s Culinary Institute found raiser, Taste of Success, along with Dennis and Kim Armbruster, Bruce and Judy Balas, Les and Debby Disch, Sue Tock and Jim Morrison, and Bill and Pat Rottman. As always, it was a wonderful event.

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Congratulations to Linda Auer on the birth of her first grandchild, a boy, Cole Gabriel. The parents are Jessica and Gabe D’Amato, and they live in North Lauderdale, Florida. Congratulations also to Cole’s aunt Jackie Bojarski.

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Congratulations also to Bill Sulau and Kay Nolen on the birth of their twin grandchildren. John Sulau and his wife Natalie had twin girls on Valentine’s Day. Lucy Kate and Charley June are now at their home in Greenville, S.C. with their 3-year-old sister, Evie.

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April is a very literary month. It is National Poetry Month, National Writers Month, and National Library Week. The next two Wednesdays, the Leelanau Township Public Library will hold Poetry events. Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. is an Open Mic night for Poetry, and April 25, also at 7 p.m., is Terry Black Hawk poetry reading.

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Earlier in the day on April 25, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., a Book Discussion Group will talk about “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance, also at the Library. Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m., the Library is hosting a presentation of “The Lake Michigan Mermaid” with Anne-Marie Oomen and Linda Nemec Foster.

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The National Writers Series, in partnership with NMC’s College for Kids, is offering some great opportunities for children to learn writing skills this summer. Six different courses, targeted at different age groups, are available for registration now. Go to nmc.edu/ kids to learn more or register.

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Happy Birthday to Heather Maier, Becky Warner, Cheryl Huffman, Jim Miller, and Elena Sica Mosher.

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