Transom stories

Aaron Selbig

Colin Shea

Saturdays are for selling fish. On this Saturday, Ed and Cindi John aim to earn a week's income in only five hours.

Cindi unfolds the tables while Ed drags big, blue coolers off their truck bed. They’re filled to the brim with fish – cisco, lake trout and lake trout patties.

“We come out rain or shine,” says Cindi. “If it’s pouring rain, we’ll be here.”

 

Tad Davis

On a sunny summer morning, Jim Munoz is on his charter boat, the Carol Dee. It's a 31-foot Tiara that Jim calls "the pride of the Great Lakes." Jim is wearing a fishing hat – one of those bucket hats that he’s got clipped up on each side. 

He's in his late 70s and has been fishing lake trout and salmon out of Leland for over 40 years. In the summer, he fishes every single day.

“I can’t view this as work,” Jim says. “It is hard physically because of the pace that we keep through the summer.

Traverse City musician Jonathan Timm moved back to the area from Nashville recently. The 34-year-old northern Michigan native says he was missing out on too much at home. 

Andy Berthiaume

On any given day, Gregg Schumaker deals with the following: beavers, badgers, rats, mice, raccoons and skunks. He runs a company called Wildlife Management and Nuisance Removal, based in Emmet County. 

 


Growing Saskatoon berries in northern Michigan is becoming more challenging thanks to an invasive species called spotted wing drosophila.
Rick Cross

Berry harvest is underway in northern Michigan, and this season’s crop forecasts are rosy. But getting those crops harvested is requiring heavier use of insecticides because of an invasive pest that’s on the rise. The situation is taking a toll on the region’s farms and orchards.


Brad Aspey

When Dan Nickels makes a mistake, he doesn’t throw it away. He keeps it. In fact, Dan puts his mistakes on display .


Jandy Sprouse tends to one of the Tibetan yaks that she raises at her ranch in Maple City. Jandy and her husband Brad are part of a growing local fiber movement, where customers are looking for locally made textiles for their clothing.
Matt Mikus

Jandy and Brad Spouse raise yaks on their ranch in Maple City. The yaks are a little smaller than a dairy cow, but they don’t look like one.

"They have a long fiber that comes down, and it looks like a skirt,” explains Brad. “They have a very long tail that’s similar to a horse." 

 


Michael Coonrod has been teaching piano at Interlochen Center for the Arts for over 40 years.

But after a horrible camping accident, his career was put in jeopardy.


Megan Nadolski

Monday afternoon people can step outside and watch the solar eclipse. From our view here in northern Michigan, only part of the sun will be blocked by the moon – 75 percent. Peak coverage happens at 2:20 p.m.

Transom stories: Line dancing 'just lifts you up'

Aug 3, 2017
Jacquie Gwyn practices new choreography before she teaches her line dancing class in Interlochen.
Maddy Russell-Shapiro

Jacquie Gwyn is 73 years old, and she teaches line dancing in Interlochen. 

“It just lifts you up; that’s the best way to put it,” says Jacquie.


Jack Alexander delivers a meal to Beverly Stevens at her home in Traverse City. Jack has been volunteering for Meals on Wheels for two years.
Janine Weisman

It can be tough for homebound seniors to get nutritious meals. Meals on Wheels of Northwest Michigan distributes meals in the region to help those seniors remain in their homes. The service is operated by Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency.

Nora Boydell

People who want backyard chickens in Michigan have the option to do it part-time through a business called Rent-A-Chicken. Leslie Suitor and her husband operate the business in Traverse City.

"I love telling kids that chickens are the closest living relative to the T-Rex," Suitor says, "and you can see the gears start turning and the kids [say], 'Well, oh my gosh, I’ve got a dinosaur in the backyard. This might be really cool after all.'"

Al Anderson shows off one of his Betsie Bay Kayaks. Al has been building the boats for over 30 years.
Andrew Bauld

Al Anderson owns Betsie Bay Kayak. Since 1984, he’s been crafting boats made from wood and fiberglass.

“There’s just something about a kayak,” Al says. “It’s like a magic carpet in a way.”


Michael Poehlman

 

Jenn Cameron co-founded UpNorth Pride in 2014. That year, Jenn says, 300 people came out for the parade. The next year, 1,200. Last year, Jenn says there were 3,000 people there.

Rare Bird Brewpub co-owners Nate Crane and Tina Schuett. Tina says when they were planning the brewpub, there were only about five other breweries in the Traverse City area. Now, there are more than 10.
Rudy Malmquist

It’s 6:30pm on a Wednesday evening at Rare Bird Brewpub. There are about 80 people inside drinking beer and eating dinner, and only one open table left.
 

"Everybody might think like, 'Oh you’re busy, you have a successful business, that means you’re rich,'” says restaurant co-owner Tina Schuett. "No. It means I’m several hundred thousands of dollars in debt for a long time out."
 

Tina Schuett and Nate Crane opened Rare Bird Brewpub two years ago in downtown Traverse City.


Jake Robinson makes handmade guitars at his studio in Wellston.
Joyce Randall Senechal

Jake Robinson started playing guitar when he was about 11 years old. He thought he knew everything about guitars. But when he started building them, he realized how little he knew. Now, he’s a professional luthier – or guitar-maker. 

His workshop is in rural northwestern Michigan, and is surrounded by acres of tall pine trees.  

“I specifically focus on flat top acoustic guitars with steel strings,” says Jake. “I also do a fair amount of repair of all sorts of string instruments, from mandolins all the way up to guitars and banjos and electric guitars and things of that nature.” 


Ruth Wolfgram is a psychic medium from Interlochen.
Ruth Wolfgram

 

Ruth Wolfgram is 62 years old, has five grandchildren, loves gardening - and talks to dead people. 

She been a psychic medium since she was a child.

Ruth lives on her farm in Interlochen. It’s where she runs her small business, Celestial Blessings. She helps people make sense of death and suffering.

“People want hope,” says Ruth. “They want to know their loved ones and friends are all right especially if it was a tragic death.” 

She’s helped reconnect countless parents with their children, lovers with their partners and even pets with their owners.  

 


Jennifer Blakeslee and Eric Patterson are sharing their knowledge with younger chefs in Traverse City.
Tracy Grant (KarunaPhoto)

Eric Patterson wakes up around 7 a.m. He pulls his hair back into a bun, puts on a beige suit and heads out the door. He is the owner of Cooks’ House in Traverse City, a well-known farm-to-table restaurant. 

Previously, he worked as a chef at three Michelin-starred restaurants. He was head chef at Andre’s, a famous restaurant in Las Vegas, where he relished the thrill of finding the ingredients, preparing dishes and working for hours behind the stove. The stress of the job kept him going for years.  


A view of Fishtown
Amanda Holmes

When most people walk through Fishtown in Leland, Michigan, they see bustling shops selling fish, sandwiches, jewelry and tee shirts within the cluster of fish shanties along the Leland River. But Amanda Holmes sees the history behind the place that isn’t visible to the average tourist. 

 


Eleanor Bennett

Mara Fae Penfil is fascinated with fungi. Last month, she quit her job in Traverse City and is traveling the country teaching people about mushrooms—but not just any mushrooms. Penfil is intrigued by the obscure, medicinal varieties. She’s been selling medicinal mushrooms through her website, Female and Fungi. She says many people pass them off as bark or dirt, but they're everywhere—and not by accident.