Friday, May 29, 2015

Boyne City downtown historical walking tour kicks off June 12

Boyne City is kicking off a new downtown historical walking tour in tandem with the first night of Stroll The Streets from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 12. The Stroll Through History self-guided walking tour will include over 50 stops featuring the rich history of Boyne City’s downtown.  A printed brochure will be available as well as online content with additional photos, narrative and audio options.  Those wishing to take the tour will be able to download an app on their smartphones or tablets to see each featured building and access the information.  In addition to the self-guided tour, everyone is invited to visit the historic Wolverine-Dilworth Hotel at 7 p.m. Friday, June 12, for guided tours (in conjunction with and special thanks to the Charlevoix County History Preservation Society and Patrick McCleary), following a re-enactment of one of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speeches.
Additional highlights will include a wide variety of music around town for Stroll the Streets, people dressed in period clothing, vintage cars and tractors, horse and wagon tours and other highlights from the past.
  On Saturday, June 13, a vintage base ball game between the Petoskey Mossbacks and the Ludington Mariners will take place at Rotary Park at 1:30 p.m., complete with period uniforms.  Fans can watch the game “as it was meant to be played.”  To round out the Stroll Through History weekend, an ice cream social will take place on the veranda of the Dilworth Hotel at 3:30 p.m.
  City Manager Michael Cain said, “We are pleased that the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network chose to partner with us on this worthwhile project, and we are excited to showcase our historic past with others.”
  The Dilworth is slated for a full restoration that will begin this summer.  “This will be a great opportunity for everyone to see the ‘before look’ and watch as it is transformed back to its original glory,” said Lori Meeder, Main Street Director.   “We are so fortunate to have a community advocate like Dilworth owner Bob Grove who sees the importance of the history and has the commitment to bring this historic landmark back to its full potential.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New community-based food pantry in Boyne City discussed

Concern over food insecurity in the Boyne City area has led local food pantries and The Manna Food Project to explore ways to improve access to food for families in need.

The Boyne area has three pantries serving families in need of food assistance: The Seventh Day Adventist Food Pantry and the Boyne City Community Pantry at Trinity Fellowship, both in Boyne City; and the Boyne Valley Pantry in Boyne Falls. 

Until recently, there was also a pantry at the Walloon Lake Community Church. Ninety Boyne City families were visiting the church's food pantry on a regular basis. When the pantry closed in January, it created a gap in services for many area families.

The Boyne City pantries are run by small churches who fear there is now more need than they can accommodate. Although they receive support from the community at large, it is a burden for a small congregation, both financially and in terms of volunteers. They also have concerns about the sustainability of their programs, since each pantry relies heavily on one person to manage all aspects of pantry operations.

“If I were to retire and take a step back from the pantry, I’m not sure if there would be someone to take over,” said Jack Dunlop, director of the Seventh Day Adventist pantry. “It’s a big job for a small church.” 

Deb Noblett, executive director of The Manna Food Project, and Boyne City resident,
has been discussing these issues with the three pantries and is looking for ways to help them meet the need. Manna works with all of the pantries in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties, and notes that Boyne area families are traveling as far as Ellsworth and Harbor Springs for help.

"Manna’s mission is to feed the hungry in northern Michigan," Noblett said. "We want to support the Boyne Community in any way we can to be sure those in need have enough to eat without traveling long distances to receive that support." 

The Manna Food Project is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to help feed the hungry in northern Michigan. Manna operates a food bank, a food rescue program, a “Food 4 Kids” Backpack program, and a food pantry. The food bank and food rescue program serve 34 partner agencies (food pantries and soup kitchens) in Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties. For more information about Manna’s programs, see

One question Noblett says Manna gets asked is how to determine need in a community. The United Way recently released the ALICE report for Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties that sheds light on this question. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are households that earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Combining the poverty and ALICE numbers shows how many households are struggling to meet basic needs.

In Charlevoix County, 13 percent of households are below the poverty level and 25 percent of households are at or below the ALICE level, for a total of 38 percent, or 3,855 households struggling to afford basic needs such as food. For more information on the ALICE report, see

Feeding America reports food insecurity rates on their website (, including data for the local area. Food insecurity is the most broadly-used measure of food deprivation in the United States. The USDA defines food insecurity as “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” According to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap study, the food insecurity rate in Charlevoix County is 21 percent for children and 13 percent for adults. 

"Our pantry works hard and helps feed a lot of people, but I think there is more need than what we can supply,” said Lei (Kipapa) Nahinu of the Boyne Community Pantry.  “I see so many families going through difficult times."

"I think our situation in Boyne City could be helped by spreading the burden more broadly and involving more people and organizations in the community," said Dunlop. "Another pantry could help increase access to food assistance in Boyne City. I appreciate Manna's assistance in starting a dialogue toward that end."

"Boyne City is a wonderful, supportive community," Noblett said. "Community members pull together to support those in need, and there is definitely need."

> IF YOU'D LIKE TO HELP - A committee is being formed to explore creating an additional food pantry in Boyne City, with involvement of community members, Manna, and the three existing area pantries. Issues to explore include finding a location for the pantry, as well as volunteers and additional funding. Those interested in joining the exploratory committee or assisting in other ways should call Manna at 231-347-8852. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

10 new businesses opening for summer in Boyne and Walloon Lake

Northern Table staff at Business Expo/Taste of Boyne
As often happens at this time of year, there is a flurry of new business activity in and around Boyne City. Here are some of the highlights:
Northern Table restaurant will be opening soon in the former Thirsty Goat location at 220 S. Lake St. Owner Mark Warner and chef Meghan Wruk are heading up the crew that is bringing the restaurant back to life after the facility was vacant for more than a year. They gave us a sneak preview of their menu that emphasizes locally sourced foods during the Business Expo Taste of Boyne and Farm To Frame Stroll last week. Northern Table's upstairs area will be known as Boyne Pub, featuring wood-fired pizzas, craft beer, cocktails and entertainment in a fun atmosphere. They hope to open in time for the Mushroom Festival in mid-May. Info: 231-459-4487,
BC Pizza will open a second Boyne City location in the former Spicy Bob's building at 427 N. Lake St. Officials say the new location will open "before the summer rush." Info: (231) 582-2288,
Friggy's SOBO Pub plans to open in June in the former Sunset Grill location at 5 West Main Street.
Smitten Designs Studio has just opened at 120 Water St. in the store previously occupied by Boyne's Beyond Borders. Owner Ivette Dixon previously rented a smaller space in that building, which is now occupied by On Water Art & Design, a gallery featuring the work of local artist Shannon Pearce. Both businesses are hosting a grand opening ribbon cutting and open house at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 8. Info: 231-459-6808,
I Love Boyne City, a beach-themed clothing and gift shop, will be taking over a portion of the former Sunburst Marine store at 101 Water St. The owners are currently remodeling the inside of the store, and they hope to open by mid-May. They currently have a similar shop called I Love St. Joe in St. Joseph, MI.
52 Weekends is also taking over a portion of the former Sunburst building with their third location in addition to stores in Petoskey and at Boyne Mountain. The store sells women's clothing, accessories and gifts. Info: (231) 347-5250,
Boyne Country Propane has opened in a new building at 1701 M-75 South, between Boyne City and Boyne Falls. Alan Wells is the managing partner and owner; he can be reached at 231-582-2700. They offer retail propane sales and service. Info: 231-582-2700,
CapTrust Financial Advisors has opened an office in Suite 1B at 109 Water St., Boyne City. The managing director is Paul R. Moody. Info: 231-459-4461, Website.
Hotel Walloon will open May 18 in Walloon Lake Village. Owner Matt Borisch describes the 32-room hotel as a place "where guests can enjoy the charm and hospitality of the early 19th Century along with the comforts of every modern amenity." Info: (231) 535-5000.
Boyne Area Medical Center is not a new business, but their staff will be celebrating the completion of their recent expansion from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, at 223 N. Park St., Boyne City.