2018-06-07 / Columns

Triennial mayoral race heats up in Omena

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KARLA FLORES is the 2018 recipient of Omena Club 21’s Geneva Putnam Smith Scholarship. KARLA FLORES is the 2018 recipient of Omena Club 21’s Geneva Putnam Smith Scholarship. The Omena Historical Society (OHS) is planning another big summer season.

A brand new 2018 OHS exhibit will open this summer at the OHS’s Putnam Cloud Tower House Museum. It will feature historical Omena postcards retrieved from OHS archives and from the cedar chests of Omenians around the country. The large exhibit room will display over a hundred old postcards, enlarged for easier reading, from Omena’s past. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked so hard on this over the winter — Jim Miller, Alice Littlefield, Joey Bensley, Nancy Enyart, Amanda Holmes and Dennis Armbruster. Thanks also to everyone who loaned their postcards to the exhibit.

The OHS season begins with an opening reception on Sunday afternoon June 24. The event is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to come and enjoy the Museum and the new exhibit.

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This summer also brings the action-packed triennial Omena Mayor elections. The event is a fundraiser for the OHS. Omena residents want to love their politicians, so only non-humans are qualified to run. The current mayor is Parker Joyce, a golden retriever, and the Vice Mayor is SweetTart McKee, a Norwegian Forest cat. The Omena Village Council is comprised of both cats and dogs, and previously enjoyed a horse as a member.

So, get your pets ready to run.

Applications will be available soon. The deadline for applications is July 9. Voting will be from July 10 to 19. The inaugural parade and ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 21.


Omena’s Club 21 announced its 2018 Geneva Putnam Smith Scholarship recipient. She is Karla Flores, a Northport Public School 2018 graduate. Karla is admired by her peers, often described as quiet and caring and supportive. She is also very creative and is frequently sought out for her photography skills. She is bilingual and used that skill when creating her senior project. Thanks to Karla’s efforts, Northport Public Schools now has several school documents that they can provide to Spanish speaking parents.

Karla is the first in her family to attend college and will attend Northwestern Michigan College in the fall. In addition to the Geneva Putnam Smith Memorial Scholarship from Club 21, Karla received the NMC Commitment Scholarship and a Northport Promise Scholarship. Karla plans to earn a degree that will allow her to work in the public sector as a translator to help Spanishspeaking citizens and residents understand the world around them.

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Omena’s Saving Birds Through Habitat (SBTH) has a summer of fun and interesting programs ahead. Things kick off this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Habitat Discovery Center.

The speaker will be retired Michigan DNR wildlife biologist, Jerry Weinrich, spent three Antarctic summers studying Adelie Penguins for his Master’s thesis. He will present his popular program about his experiences with these fascinating birds.

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On Saturday, June 16, at 10 a.m. Join Kama Ross, Leelanau Conservation District Forester, for her program, “Eyes On the Forest” at SBTH, and Saturday, June 23 is the third annual Conservation Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Three current Omena residents were among the Class of 1968 at Northport High School – Larry Busby, Greg Dechow, and Ruth Steele Walker. As is tradition at Northport, the class that graduated 50 years ago is recognized at graduation ceremonies of the current class. The Class of 1968 – being of legal age for a long time now – followed the graduation ceremonies with a less formal and much less serious get together at Tucker’s.

Traveling the farthest to the reunion was class exchange student Karin Wolfram Shakra who came from her home in Hamburg, Germany. Here she met up with her daughter Nadia and grandson Leon who live in Pasadena, California and who also joined the reunion festivities.

Karin and her family visited her host sister Martha Hanson Belfour, Martha’s husband Con and mother Pat and Martha and Con’s daughter and son-in-law Kristen and Kevin Kent.

Also flying in for the reunion were Richard and Sherri Charter who came from San Diego, California.

Traveling here from around the state for the weekend of festivities were Cindy Probst Snead of Muskegon and Janet Peterson Schroeder Holmes from Houghton Lake, and Anne Leabo, who now lives near Barryton and came for Friday evening’s event.

Area residents in attendance included (classmate’s name first) John and Deb Nickerson of Honor, Larry Probst of Kingsley, Leo and Linda Stallman of Traverse City, Tom and Ruth Sleder of Lake Leelanau, Martha Hanson Belfour and her husband Con, Brenda Rogers Scott and John Scott and Sharon Budd Livingston and her husband Wayne of Suttons Bay, Brenda Rogers Scott and John Scott, and Hugh and Martha Cook of Northport, and Greg and Beth Dechow, Larry Busby, and Ruth Steele Walker and Scott Walker of Omena.

After Friday’s celebration, the class reconvened at Tucker’s on Saturday night for dinner and both nights closed the place down! Sunday they closed the reunion festivities with a potluck picnic at Belfour’s home in Suttons Bay followed by a visit to Nancy Wick whose late husband Jim was president of the Class of 1968.

Northport’s Class of 1968 had 29 members; five have passed away and eight were unable to attend.

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As an interesting side story, Frieda Putnam was walking into downtown Omena last weekend and gave her usual “Guten Morgen” greeting to two women whom she was passing. Friends and neighbors most often respond in English, but these women quickly began speaking in German. It was former exchange student Karin Wolfram Shakra and her daughter. They were all excited about the chance encounter.

Marcia and Greg McMorrow spent an enjoyable Saturday at the Leelanau Youth Soccer Annual Romp and Stomp at Miles Kimmerly Park. Their eldest grandson, George McMorrow from Leland, played on the undefeated team of players from Leland. Their fine coach, Brad Denoyer, did a terrific job developing the individual players into a team, and they won their age group in the tournament. George made his strongest contribution in the first game of the playoffs with two goals, one of which was a game winner.

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Linda Auer and her daughter Jacquie Bojarski spent ten days in Florida in May visiting her new grandson, Cole Gabriel D’Amato, and his parents, Jessica and Gabe. Cole was born April 3, and this was the first time they had seen him. Linda ws a real trooper, having fractured her left tibia at the kneecap and broken her right wrist shortly before they left. Nevertheless, they enjoyed relaxing in the warm weather and spending time with Cole and the rest of the family.

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Rev. Dr. Peter Moore, pastor of Greenfield Presbyterian Church will be preaching Sunday at the Omena Presbyterian Church. The special music will be provided by Barb Kobberstad, vocalist with guitar. Everyone is welcome for the 10 a.m. service.

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Happy 90th Birthday to Ellie Stephenson!! Happy 70th Birthday to Jacquie Johnson. Happy 60th Birthday to Linda Auer. Happy Birthday also to Cathy Stephenson, Mia Ballard, Kaiden Makowski, Marilyn Singer, and Terry Groesser. Happy Anniversary to Tom and Marsha Buehler.

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