Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Leadership Charlevoix County Obtains 501c3 Non-Profit Status

Individuals looking to donate toward a non-profit organization enhancing leadership opportunities in Charlevoix County now have a new opportunity – Leadership Charlevoix County.

The Board of Directors of the Leadership Charlevoix County (LCC) program is excited to announce the organization has received its 501c3 non-profit status, allowing the organization to now accept financial gifts.

A special LCC committee led by board member Lori Meeder worked diligently with the CPA firm of Mason, Kammermann & Rohrback to prepare the required documentation and file the application for non-profit status.

LCC Board Chair Dianne Litzenburger is excited about this accomplishment. “Obtaining 501c3 non-profit status not only elevates the credibility of the program, but allows businesses and individuals to support leadership throughout Charlevoix County through financial donations and they will receive tax benefits for doing so,” she said.

Leadership Charlevoix County began in 2011 as a joint effort of the Charlevoix, Boyne City, East Jordan and Beaver Island Chambers of Commerce. The program features nine monthly day-long sessions and has served a total of 55 participants – including this year’s class of 16 individuals. With leadership enhancement as part of its strategic plan, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation was also instrumental in providing grant money to help the program get off the ground.

As a result of the new non-profit status, Leadership Charlevoix County is continuing its relationship with the Charlevoix County Community Foundation to develop the “Leadership Charlevoix County Fund” through which donations will be used to sustain the program, enhance offerings, and provide scholarships for future participants.

LCC Program Coordinator Scott Gillespie sees a bright future for the program. “This new opportunity for businesses and individuals to financially support the program will allow us to elevate our offerings to the community. Our next step is to identify areas where LCC can further enhance leadership by considering programs for LCC alumni, as well as services provided directly to businesses and organizations.”

If you are interested in donating to the Leadership Charlevoix County Fund, you can mail your tax-deductible check made payable to: Leadership Charlevoix County, PO Box 273, East Jordan MI 49727. If you have any questions or would like to be a program sponsor, contact Gillespie via e-mail at or call him any time at 989-444-1695. For more information about the program, visit

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chris Christensen named a Michigan Broadband Hero

Boyne City resident and county commissioner Chris Christensen has been named a Michigan Broadband Hero. The award was presented by Connect Michigan as more than 400 people attended the second annual Michigan Broadband Conference in Lansing. The award recognizes outstanding contributions individuals and organizations have made towards increasing broadband service in the state. In his capacity as a County Commissioner, Christensen was able to use his foresight, knowledge of current and future infrastructure and resources, and connections to put Charlevoix County in a strategic position for broadband expansion. Working with county departments including GIS specialists, he facilitated the mapping of primary routes that would serve all the critical entities in the county. When Merit Network announced they were to receive funding through the American Recovery Act Reach Program, Christensen approached them with the completed maps. Having this groundwork in place expedited and accelerated the expansion of broadband fiber throughout Charlevoix County.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Boyne City Main Street achieves national accreditation

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has announced that Boyne City Main Street has been recognized as a Nationally Accredited Main Street community by the National Trust Main Street Center and the Michigan Main Street Center at MSHDA. Boyne City Main Street is one of four Michigan Main Street communities receiving national recognition this year. 

The Michigan Main Street Select and Master Level communities are evaluated annually based on 10 performance standards prescribed by the National Trust Main Street Center, and eligible communities are submitted to the national level for final review. “Boyne City Main Street has made many efforts toward their revitalization goals using the Main Street Approach,” said Laura Krizov, manager of the Michigan Main Street Center at MSHDA. “We are happy to recognize their program as nationally accredited this year.”

City Manager and Main Street Board Member Michael Cain stated “Boyne City’s Main Street Program is as strong as ever; strategically placing Boyne City in line for many more good things to come. Being recognized by the state at the Master Level and one of only four Michigan communities accredited at the national level does not come easy; however, it reinforces that we are doing things right and heading in the right direction. “

Local Main Street programs are encouraged to embrace community revitalization and economic development through organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring. Recent studies show that supporting downtowns creates vibrant centers where people want to live, work and invest. The Michigan Main Street Center is part of MSHDA’s effort to create vibrant communities across the state.

“The Michigan Main Street Program provides communities with the tools needed to develop into thriving districts,” said Krizov. “These tools can be used to create jobs, attract and retain residents and investment while building a sense of place in Michigan communities.”

Pictured are Emily Pantera and Deborah Johnson from the Michigan Main Street Center and City Manager and Main Street Board Member Michael Cain.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Boyne Mountain announces plans to build sports complex

Boyne Mountain Resort has announced plans for a new sports complex, which will be located on land across from the resort’s M-75 entrance. The property, nearly 200 acres, was acquired in 2012. The complex is expected to offer six grass fields for sporting events and open in summer 2016. Earlier this summer, Boyne Mountain built a single field on resort property serving as the home turf for Petoskey Lacrosse. The resort plans to add two additional fields as early as spring 2015 to cater to events and tournaments while the sports complex is being constructed. The two phases of development will create up to nine individual fields. The innovative move of combining quality fields with luxury lodging and resort amenities will make athletic events at Boyne Mountain unique from any other sports complex in the Midwest.  Details.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kim Altobello named associate director of Boyne Area Chamber

Boyne City native Kim Altobello has been named the new associate director of the Boyne Area Chamber. She replaces Deb Jason, who accepted a position with Northern Michigan Escapes, a new vacation property management company. Kim graduated from Boyne City High School and Patricia Stevens Career College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before moving to Southern California where she worked in the banking industry. She served most recently as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for a community bank in Santa Clarita CA. In 2012, Kim moved back to Boyne City, where she worked as a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Schmidt in Boyne City and as a sales associate at Chico's women's clothing store in Petoskey. She also assists her fiance Shawn MacNaughton with his business, MacNaughton's Pest Control. Her family has long been active in the local business community, as her late father Bob Herrmann owned a tire business and REH Acres, a wood stove business. Her mother Roseann Herrmann formerly owned a gift store call The Warm Spot  on Water Street. Kim is active in several local organizations including Eta Nu Women's Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Boyne City Eagles, and she is on the board of the Charlevoix Area Humane Society. Her adult children Christopher and Jonathan live in Southern California.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Van Dam Custom Boats cast in national retailer’s television commercial

Ben Van Dam and Jess Brown
The facilities and employees of Van Dam Custom Boats were recently cast to appear in a national television and web-based series of commercials for Sears, representing their Craftsman line of tools. The commercial production took place the week of Oct. 13 at the Van Dam facilities in Boyne City. In total, 35 individuals representing the production company, casting company, advertising agency and Sears came to Van Dam for a 12-hour one-day production shoot. The director for this commercial was flown in from Paris, France, while others came from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Detroit.
Van Dam Custom Boats was chosen to be cast in this commercial from a field of 80 companies nationwide, and was chosen for their reputation in the field of custom wooden boat building, attention to hand craftsmanship, artistry and employee presence. Ben Van Dam and Jess Brown (pictured above) were cast as principals in the commercial. The advertising that will be developed from the day’s filming will consist of 15-second, 30-second and 90-second commercials. The commercials will air on television and on Sears’ website before year-end.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Leslie Neilson: "Boyne City is truly a great place to do business"

The Northern Express profiled Leslie Neilson, owner of the Inspired Living shop in Boyne City, as part of their special issue on the Little Traverse Bay area. Here is the interview with Kristi Kates: 

I’ve been doing this since: “We opened in July of 2000 as Bali and Beyond—importing gifts and goods from Bali—and we changed our name to Inspired Living in 2008.”

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: “Boyne City! When I started 14 years ago, Boyne City wasn’t much to write home about, but I could at least afford to have a store here. Now, with all of the wonderful improvements and developments, Boyne City is truly a great place to do business.”

I still love: “That our store has such a good energy. It truly inspires me and it makes me feel better just to be in the store. I love our customers and I love coming to work every day.”

Our business’ reputation is built on: “Providing a positive and inspiring experience through sights and music and aromas and energy. We offer a calm environment that allows you to just take a break.”

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: “When we first opened, our best-sellers were definitely the Balinese kites.”

Today, our most popular offerings are: “This will sound crazy—especially since people don’t write as much anymore—but greeting cards! We have three different lines of cards now and one of our most popular are the Positively Green cards by Compendium. We sell a ton of them. I’ve had people buy 30, 40 at a time.”

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: “I love the fact that we get a little break after summer and I love the change of seasons here. The different seasons bring in new customers who are looking for different things and that helps keep us on our toes and keep things fresh in the store.”

Full story with other profiles.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Efforts to attract cyclists shift into high gear in Boyne City

With one non-motorized trail in place along U.S. 31 and another ready to be built over the course of the next several years, there’s little doubt that Charlevoix County is set to cement itself a major cycling mecca. However with several recent steps the city commission and others have made recently, Boyne City is poised to be right at the center of it.... The basic Trail Town concept is simple: ensure that communities near a trail are better able to maximize the economic potential of trail-based tourism. Communities participate in a planning process to find ways they can improve their offerings for trail users ― anything from adding access to drinking water or restrooms to recruiting new businesses that cater to the recreational public. Full story from Petoskey News-Review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Glen Catt mulling another major downtown Boyne City development

If all the pieces fall into place, next year Boyne City residents could see construction beginning on another multi-million dollar redevelopment project in their downtown. Last week, Glen Catt of Gaylord-based Catt Development unveiled his company's proposal to construct an estimated $7.5 million to $8.5 million project on the west side of the 200 block of South Lake Street. Catt said the properties currently are home to the Boyne Arts Collective and the vacant Lakefront Mall building and accompanying parking lot. He said the tentative plan calls for the existing structures to be torn down and a new three-story structure to be built in its place. Catt said the plan calls for the first floor of the project to be anchored by two businesses, a bank on one side and a 7 Monks Taproom location. He said the second floor of the building would include "affordable" or "worker" housing and right now plans for the third floor are still up in the air.  Full story from Petoskey News-Review.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Real estate office makes short move, big updates

Ribbon-cutting at Re/Max Resort Properties.
Boyne City locals and frequent tourists alike may find themselves asking, “Why did the RE/MAX cross the road?” After 22 years in business, RE/MAX Resort Properties, the Boyne City affiliate of real estate giant RE/MAX, has moved to 104 S. Lake St., opposite its original site. The migration was short, but big changes are afoot. “We have changed the concept here in the office,” says Gary Deters, one of the owners of RE/MAX Resort Properties. Deters and fellow owner Jeff Wellman aim to bring new innovations to buying real estate and, in turn, streamline the process for individuals seeking to purchase property in the region. Having been encumbered by small offices spaces in their original location, Wellman and Deters wanted to create a more comfortable environment for prospective buyers. In the process of moving, they have consolidated the offices of their staff and created three large conference rooms for the purpose of showcasing property listings. “Every conference room has a big-screen TV and an iPad,” Wellman said, “so the agents can leave their office when clients walk in the door and take them to a conference room.” When agents use an iPad to work on a contract or view properties with a client, the visuals can be transmitted to the television so that anyone in the room can view them. The new atmosphere that Wellman and Deters are trying to create in the office complements these features. They describe the approach as emulating a coffee bar, importing the idea from a RE/MAX location in Boston that has had success in its implementation. Full story from Petoskey News-Review.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New hotel planned for Walloon Lake waterfront

Aiming to continue with efforts to revitalize Walloon Lake village's business district, members of the Borisch family broke ground Wednesday for a new 32-room waterfront hotel. "The hotel, which we have tentatively named Hotel Walloon, is expected to be a high-service, top-of-the-line hotel, where our guests will start the relaxation process from the time they walk through the door, and that will continue as long as our staff can make it continue," said Matt Borisch, the hotel's operator-to-be and son of primary project investor Jon Borisch. Plans call for the hotel to open this winter along M-75. "One of the more exciting parts of this for my dad and me is to see the economy, that has started to grow in the village, continue to grow," Matt said. The Borisch-owned Walloon Village Marina and Barrel Back restaurant are located just south of the hotel site, where a small condominium building recently was demolished to make way for the new construction. Full story from Petoskey News-Review.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boyne City students produce video promoting careers in manufacturing

The Boyne City/Char-Em ISD team from Boyne City High School produced the video "Northern Michigan Manufacturing" for the Northwest Michigan Education Advisory Group's Student Video Challenge. The teams in the competition were asked to create videos to educate fellow students about careers in manufacturing and show what it's really like to work in manufacturing. Boyne City students produced this video on careers in Northern Michigan Manufacturing.
Click here to see the video, and click "Like" to help promote it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Boyne City Main Street offers local facade grant program

The Boyne City Main Street Program is accepting applications from property owners for its newly established Façade Improvement Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage private investment through the rehabilitation and improvement of facades within the Boyne City Main Street District, to encourage good design and to preserve the architectural character that is distinctive to Boyne City, said Main Street board chair Rob Swartz. By improving the appearance of building facades, the program hopes to boost the economic vitality of the Main Street district, which includes all of downtown Boyne City and the properties on North Lake Street from Water Street just past the Glen's shopping plaza, Swartz said. "We have been very fortunate in recent years, receiving façade grants through the State of Michigan, which have had an enormously positive impact on our community," said Main Street program manager Hugh Conklin. "We will continue to work with property owners to secure these grants but our goal through this local program is to provide assistance for many important projects that may not qualify for state incentives. 
HOW IT WORKS - The façade improvement program provides a matching grant for façade improvements within the Main Street District. For every dollar awarded, the applicant must spend an equal amount. Individual grant amounts will be up to 50 percent of project cost. Recommendations for funding grant applications will be made by the Main Street Design Committee to the Main Street Board, which will make all final grant-funding decisions. There is no set minimum or maximum number of projects per year. Funding for the façade grant program comes from money raised through Main Street's involvement in Boyne Thunder. For the current budget year, $10,000 has been allocated for the program. The application deadline for this round of funding is April 30.
> Information and applications for the Façade Improvement Grant Program. Questions? Contact the Main Street Office, 231-582-9009,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The "secret sauce" that makes Boyne City special

Randy Flinn
The following are remarks made by Randy Flinn, the owner of KorthaseFlinn Insurance and Financial Services, to a crowd of nearly 300 people at the Boyne Chamber Annual Meeting on Jan. 16, 2014:
It is an honor to stand before you and welcome you to the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Tonight represents the 11th year in which I have had the privilege to act as the lead sponsor of what is truly my favorite event of this kind each year.
As the evening unfolds we will recognize countless examples of individuals and organizations that are making a positive difference in Boyne City. We will hear about entrepreneurs, volunteers, businesses, visionaries, non-profits, investors, worker bees, and others. There will be much to applaud and much for which to give thanks. We will all feel good tonight, there is no doubt.
However, as we listen to these stories, I would submit that the acts of individuals and businesses are but one ingredient of the recipe that makes Boyne City what it is. There are great businesses in every city. There are volunteers and entrepreneurs hard at work in every city. There are investors, non-profits, and worker bees in every city.
I believe that the primary ingredient to the “secret sauce” that makes Boyne City special is the shared mission and commitment of our stakeholders, including local governments, schools, businesses, non-profits, and individuals. The City of Boyne City Mission Statement reads as follows: “The people of Boyne City are the reason we are here. We are therefore committed to working with the community so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of living and working in Boyne City.”
While this is the stated mission of our City Government, it is clearly the underlying philosophy of all those in this room and many others in our community. And through this belief in a greater purpose than simply our own self-interests, we all benefit and our community thrives.
In a way, we are all bit players in a community that includes thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations. Some of our roles may be larger than others, but we are all bit players. But as bit players sharing an underlying philosophy and commitment, we become a TEAM. We become a group of people:
  1. Operating with a high degree of interdependence.
  2. Sharing authority and responsibility.
  3. Feeling accountable for the collective performance, and
  4. Working toward a common goal and shared rewards.
“A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performances of its individual members.” The stakeholders of Boyne City are truly a team…
So as we appreciate and applaud the success stories that will be told tonight, we should all remember that isolated stories like these happen everywhere. It is our shared mission and commitment to our community that makes Boyne City special, and makes the kinds of successes that we recognize tonight not just possible, but truly commonplace.
Thank you for coming tonight and for your commitment to Boyne City. Have fun and be safe!