Thursday, December 8, 2016


Well it is the time of year for cold, snow, holidays, end of year reports, presents, travel, family, a ton of eating, and of course the December Blog.  It has been a couple crazy weeks, which is the reason there has not been a blog in a while.  Let's just say, my chickens are the warmest in the north and my side porch is now an enclosed, insulated, finished mud room......well almost.  With all of that said, it has been a great year writing these few blogs.  It is very rewarding to see how many of you fine Young Professionals and other professionals read these words of wisdom.  When I volunteered to take over after Mo left, I had no idea what I was going to write or even if I would be good at writing blogs.  Either way, it has had a little success, and I hope to write more in the future. 

This time of year brings a ton of smiles, laughter, joy, hugs, and traditions.  I love holiday traditions and always look forward to them the day before Thanksgiving.  We all have traditions and most of us have had those traditions change especially when you get married and the "in-laws" get involved, which is a good thing most of the time.  For me, my Christmas Festivities have tripled since being married.  However, the traditions are still alive and well with my side of the family as well as my wife's.  For this blog, I had the desire to talk about my favorite traditions as well as stories from a few other YPs. 

The first thing that would kick off the Christmas season, would be heading to Grandma's house to bake cookies.  The recipes to these cookies have been passed down from generation to generation so you know they are the real deal.  The types of cookies included monster cookies, which yields 16 dozen, a ton of sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, springerles, peanut butter blossoms, and peanut butter cookie cups.  Each type of cookie has its own specific need whether it needed to be cooled before baking to adding boiling water with baking soda.  It was absolutely priceless especially this year to bake with my incredible Grandma, my wife, brother, sister-in-law, dad, and aunt.  It was a great time for sure.

I also grew up in a big Catholic Italian family setting on my mom's side where Christmas time was always a great celebration.  Christmas Eve is the best day of the year where my whole family consisting of up to 50 people (that is a lot of Italians) would have a huge pasta party in the basement of a church in Toledo, Ohio.  This tradition is priceless because it consists of being with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends, other random Italians, and of course eating some of the best Italian food around.  We always played a white elephant gift exchange, but the kicker was if you were the last person to pick a present, you could steal anyone's gift, which was awesome.  Christmas day included a great feast on my dad's side of the family then for dinner we went back to the Italian side of the family for homemade pizza and desserts.  Needless to say, the holidays were filled with a ton of joy, travel, and some of the best food of the year. 

My family isn't the only family that has a cookie tradition.  Dan Baker, the boss man of the marketing committee, has fond memories of baking his Grandma Baker's mincemeat cookies.  He also loves the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree while singing and listening to Christmas tunes all while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate.  All of that sounds absolutely amazing to me. 

Stephanie Mathewson, our Facebook guru, has a wonderful Danish tradition.  Here is her wonderful Christmas tradition and a great picture.  "My Grandfather is of Danish descent and I always remembered him making traditional Danish Pancake Balls (Abelskievers) for special occasions. He passed this tradition (along with the special cast iron pan needed to make them) down to my mother and now the tradition resides with me. With everyone home, I now need to make a double batch each year! And this year, I was teaching my youngest niece Agnes the tricks of the trade as well (pictured) so that we'll be ready for the next generation. For me, food is one of the best ways to celebrate and share."   A Danish Pancake sounds wonderful any day of the week!!

I have a small challenge for everyone this holiday season.  This challenge is very simple and can be done by everyone.   I challenge you to remember your traditions this holiday season and to hold them close to your heart.  I love being around family and friends and sharing this joyous time of the year.  Family is extremely important, so savor every moment  you have because we truly do not know how much time we all have left together.  So if you do not have a tradition or even if you do, start a new one that can be passed on for generations.  I will always remember being a kid and the amazing times at Christmas.  If you used to have a tradition that was halted for some reason, start it up again and add some elements of fun, love, and joy.  I wish everyone a safe, amazing, loving, and fun Holiday Season. 

**Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the YP Blog and the Marketing Committee**


Our friends at have a slew of great stories and holiday publications.  Check out this story on what to do in Traverse City over the holidays.  You never know, one of these could become your new tradition.  10 Things to do in TC During the Holidays

!!!December Updates!!!
City of Traverse City
Stormwater Management & Water Quality Stakeholders Open House – Dec. 13, 2016 4:00-6:30 pm – Local stakeholders are invited to the first in a series of three public meeting to provide input to help shape the future of stormwater management and water quality protection in the City of Traverse City. There will be stations where attendees can learn about the impacts of stormwater, identify problem areas, and express their personal vision for water quality protection in the City. This meeting will be held at the Governmental Center – 2nd Floor Training Room, 400 Boardman Ave., Traverse City. For more information:
Traverse City Fire Department Toy Drive - The Traverse City Fire Department is accepting donations of unused or unopened toys for children up to 12 years old. Donations can be dropped off to Fire Station 1, at 510 W. Front St., or to the Governmental Center Lobby, at 400 Boardman Ave. through December 15th. For more information, or to request toys for your family, visit our website at:
Traverse City Community Giving Catalog – For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or maybe donate a gift in someone’s name in time for Christmas, check out the City’s giving catalog!
State Superintendent Whiston Visits Traverse City Area Public Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools will host State Superintendent, Brian Whiston on Thursday, December 8, 2016. During his visit, Superintendent Whiston will tour Central Grade School to see the school’s successful Physical Education/Reading Program for Kindergarteners. He will also visit Traverse City West Senior High School to hear a choral performance and learn more about the school’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Mentoring program and award-winning Model UN program.

Local School Districts Launch Traverse Bay Area Homeschool Partnership
TCAPS and Suttons Bay Public Schools launched a new program called the Traverse Bay Area Homeschool Partnership. The effort is a pilot program developed in collaboration with area homeschool families to provide access to elective, non-core courses. The partnership will offer elective, non-core classes to students in grades K-12. Courses are expected to include art, music, physical education, Spanish, life skills, and more. The partnership is available to all homeschool students residing within the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District service area. Classes are scheduled to begin on February 1, 2017.
Central High School Holds “Can the Principal” Food Drive
The Traverse City Central High School Student Senate is holding its annual "Can the Principal" food drive. Food and toiletry items donated during the drive will be used to stock the pantry at Traverse City High School and to support the Students in Transition Empowerment Program, or STEP. Any extra items will be donated to the Father Fred Foundation. Along with the goal of filling the principal’s office with donations this holiday season, students will be competing to see which grade level can bring in the largest amount of donations. Last year, the effort collected 7,149 items to support students and families in need. The goal for this year’s drive is 8,000 items. The drive will run from December 5, 2016, to December 15, 2016. Donations are being accepted at the Central High School main office (1150 Milliken Dr.).              
Traverse City West Senior High School Hosts “Band Together” Food Drive
Traverse City West Senior High School is holding drive called “Band Together” to benefit the food pantries at Traverse City West Senior High School and Traverse City High School. The TC West Band and Senior Council are leading the community service project with a goal of filling the band trailer with non-perishable food and personal care items. Donations will be accepted from Tuesday, December 13, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday, December 14, 2016, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. outside of the school’s main entrance.
You’re Invited to Spend the Holiday Season With Us!
December is a magical time of year, particularly in northern Michigan. As we move into the holiday season, you are invited to get into the holiday spirit with events and activities featuring the talented students of Traverse City Area Public Schools. Upcoming events include:
WSH Choir Mix and Mingle
Dec. 10, 6 PM / Kirkbride Hall (700 Cottageview Dr #200)
EMS/CHS Winter Orchestra Concert
Dec. 15, 7 PM / Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.)
WMS/WSH Holiday Concert
Dec. 13, 7 PM / Lars Hockstad Auditorium (301 West Seventh St.)
TC West vs. TC Central Hockey
Dec. 15, 7 PM / Howe Arena (1125 W Civic Center Dr.)
WSH Vocal Holiday Concert
Dec. 15, 8 PM / West Senior High School (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.)
CHS Vocal Holiday Concert
Dec. 20, 7 PM / Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.)
For more information about upcoming events, visit: or
Grand Traverse County


Winter Parking Reminder Even though it may not look like winter, the Winter Parking Ordinance is in effect.  From December 1 to March 31 between midnight and 8:00 a.m. (and during snow emergencies), parking vehicles on public roads and shoulders is prohibited.

Give the Gift of Warmth  Cold weather accessories – new mittens, hats, and scarves – are being accepted at the Senior Center, located at 801 East Front Street, for the Mitten Tree between now and December 29.  Donations will be provided to those in need in the area.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Not So Many People In Traverse City........I Think

Well after a very busy, warm, crazy, hectic summer, all of us locals can finally relax and have our cities, counties, and roads back.  It is nice to have the summer fudgy business, but it also the best time of year when they depart, and we can all go out and play.  Happy Fall everyone and happy not so many people in Traverse City!!  So far, the month of September, and the first week and a half of October have been wonderful with nice fall weather and a few showers, which is always okay.  The apples are tasting better than ever and there is always a sea of orange up and down Old Mission Peninsula with Pumpkins for sale.  Who does not love Pumpkin Season?  Even as kids, we loved everything about pumpkins, from carving, to roasting the seeds, to pies, soups and everything in between.  It meant that Halloween is coming as well as the annual feast at Thanksgiving.  Even though the weather is getting colder, you have to admit, from the 1st day of fall until New Year’ Day, it is one of the best times of the year. 

I had a little help from Hattie who is a Marketing Committee member for the YP’s tell us what one of her favorite things to do in the fall. 

Sunday Funday – The weather may be changing but outdoor activities are endless! One of my personal fall favorites is the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail in Empire. Just a mere 25 minutes out of busy Traverse City, the Sleeping Bear Heritage trail allows you to bike through some of the most beautiful natural areas this state has to offer. The trail takes you from the quaint town of Empire, over rolling hills, through covered forests, around large dunes, as well as showing off some of the most beautiful coastal beaches on Lake Michigan’s shoreline all before coming to an end just north of Point Oneida. The Heritage trail also provides you the opportunity to step back in time by going through all of the different historical sites that Glen Haven has to offer. The trail in total is 13 miles long, but there are ample opportunities to stop and rest along the way. This trail will only get prettier as the colors start to change, so I highly suggest putting it on your fall bucket list! More info and a trail map can be found at

Well there you have it, a great Fall Activity that everyone should definitely go take advantage of to enjoy the wonderful color change that will be happening in the rest of October. 

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to pick and eat apples.  In my opinion, nothing beats the taste and the sound of biting into a Michigan apple.  I am lucky enough to be married to my wife who has family farms in Northport that boast some of the greatest apples.  I also have a great friend by the name of Charlie Hathaway, who grows some mighty fine SweeTango apples as well.  Charlie and his wife Kelsey take their crunchy apples to the Sarah Hardy Farmer’s Market so be sure to visit their stand.  They are for sure Young Farming Professionals.  What a great way to help out other young professionals than by supporting the Hathaway Family.

Another great adventure that is a must do on everyone’s list is head to Gallagher’s Farm Market on M-72 for their fresh Pumpkin Donuts.  I know there are several places to get a Pumpkin donuts, and they are good, but they really do not compare to the ones they create every morning in the fall.  And while you are there, you can pick up apples, pick apples, pumpkins, squash or whatever else catches your eye.  What a great way to spend a Saturday morning on your way out to Heritage Trail or even Sleeping Bear Dunes or if you are crazy like my wife and I, donuts for the people that help renovate your porch.  If you have been to Gallagher’s in the past, then you know what is directly across the street; Jacob’s Corn Maze.  The Corn Maze is a fall tradition for several locals, so if you have not taken part in the great adventure, you should put that on your to do list this fall. 

There are so many fun adventures available to all of us this time of year that we should all get outside with friends, family, or fellow YP’s and take advantage of.  We live in one of the best places on Earth, and we should enjoy every bit of it.  I have not had anyone respond to any blog that I have published yet, but I challenge you all to do something “cool” this fall, take pictures, and email me ( and tell your fellow YP’s what you did so we can make sure we do it this year as well or next. 

As always, my people at have some great Fall articles that relate with several topics in this month’s blog.  This article includes several pumpkin patches that are a must visit.  Take the kids, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, parents, fellow YP’s and whomever else you please to one or all of these great pumpkin patches.

October Updates

TCAPS Update 

Teams Compete in VEX Robotics Competition

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, Traverse City West Senior High School’s Titan Robotics program hosted an early season VEX robotics competition at Aero Park Labs in Traverse City. Thirty-seven teams traveling from as far away as Illinois, Grand Rapids and Alpena, came to compete for one of four state qualifying championship spots. The Titan Robotics Design Group 3767X won the tournament with alliance partners from Petoskey and Grandville. Additionally, Team 3767X won the Design Award and was ranked first in the Robot Skills Challenge. With the tournament win, Titan Robotics Team 3767X secured their spot at the February 2017 VEX State Championship. The Traverse City Central High School VEX program is new this year. TC Central and TC West each had three teams participating in the competition over the weekend and will continue competing in tournaments across the state throughout the fall and winter.  

 TC Central High School Presents Beauty and the Beast

Beginning on November 11, 2016, and running through November 20, 2016, Traverse City Central High School presents Beauty and the Beast. Based on the Academy-Award winning animated Disney feature, the stage version includes all of the memorable songs from the animated film plus a few new songs written especially for the Broadway musical. You are invited to “Be Our Guest” at the Central High School auditorium as this classic French fairy tale is brought to life. To purchase tickets, visit:

TCAPS Teaching Assistant’s Artwork on Display at ArtPrize

Janelle Dahlberg, an artist and an employee at TCAPS’ Old Mission Peninsula School, is participating in her 6th year at ArtPrize. Her work is currently on display in the Gerald Ford Museum and is a recycled painting titled, Water Phenomena. Everything in the piece is recycled, even incorporating discarded laminate strips from years of cutting out art projects for students. Dahlberg’s piece is #63134.

TCAPS Music Teacher Shares Teaching Strategies with University Students

Emerick Dee, a music teacher at TCAPS, was invited to visit Texas State University as a guest of Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer who is Professor of Music, Associate Director for the School of Music and Director of Choral Music Education. Dee’s work in the middle school choral classroom is included in the research work Dr. Brinckmeyer is doing about effective teaching strategies. Dee talked with the university’s music education classes and shared what he does in his choral classroom to help these future music teachers grow their instructional practice.

Traverse City Area Public Schools and the Traverse City Education Association Ratify Three Year Contract Agreement

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) and the Traverse City Education Association (TCEA), which represents the district’s approximately 540 professional teaching staff, have ratified a three year contract agreement that will begin September 1, 2017, and run through August 31, 2020. A contract extension for the 2016-17 school year was previously agreed to last December. The agreement includes a 1.5 percent increase in pay each year, as well as step increases. It also includes moving to new insurance plans that are expected to create a cost savings for the employee and cost containment for the district. TCEA membership ratified the agreement on Monday, October 3, 2016. The TCAPS Board of Education ratified the contract agreement at a special meeting held at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5, 2016


City of Traverse City Update


November, 8, 2016 General Election – the close of registration for the November 8th election is October 11th; contact your local clerk for details. To view your ballot or to check your registration status, visit For an information video regarding the voting process, visit


Fall Leaf Collection - The City of Traverse City will begin picking up leaves on Monday, October 24th on the west side of town, moving east. Please take note that this free service is offered by the City to City residents and includes leaves only. For details, visit our website at


Seeking Volunteers! The City is currently looking for volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. If you are interested in becoming involved with your local government, visit


Traverse City Community Giving Catalog – For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or even a biker rack, check out the City’s giving catalog!


Grand Traverse County


Deer Bow Hunting Permitted on Power Island  Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation has opened Power Island for bow hunting this fall.  Details on hunting regulations and obtaining a permit are available online at or by calling 231-922-4818.

Civic Center Playground Named  The new playground at the Civic Center will be called the Campbell Community Playground in memory of Bruce Campbell Falconer, a Traverse City community leader who passed away in 2015.

Clean Up Green Up, a free community-wide recycle, re-purpose and reuse event put on by Michigan Green Consortium in Traverse City will be Sunday, November 6 from 9:00 until 3:00 at American Waste, 280 Hughes Drive, Traverse City.  Details

Friday, September 9, 2016

Go Volunteer!!!!

With the winding down of summer and the beginning of another school year, I bring to all the YP’s, blog readers, and every other cool person that reads this blog, a September Blog full of updates, info, stories, and did someone say, “Volunteering?”  I have to give a shout out to Courtney over at MyNorth for the idea of writing this month’s blog about all of the fun ways to volunteer in our community.  There are several opportunities to volunteer littered all over this blog, so be sure to read through all of the updates. 
I want to first share an experience I had on the morning of Thursday, September 8th.  I decided to volunteer for the Day of Caring that is put on by the United Way of Northern Michigan, which by the way, this was year 21 of this event.  So I walk into the Dome at the Park Place Hotel to register and the TC West High School Marching Band is just jamming away with their drum line and then joined by the rest of the band.  Then the Coast Guard walked up the center aisle with the American Flag and the Coast Guard Flag.  The band of course played our national anthem, but the feeling I was overcame with was priceless.  To see the 4 Coast Guard Officials and hearing the band play an incredible National Anthem was absolutely breathtaking.  I had no idea what was going to happen this morning and to be greeted by all of that followed by a great breakfast was amazing.  Every person in the Dome was apart of a team.  We all broke after breakfast and headed out to our destination to volunteer for 3 or 4 hours.  My team from Traverse City State Bank went out to Acme to the TART Trail Trailhead where we met staff from Grand Traverse County and cleared away over grown trees, brush, and dead limbs making the trail extremely friendly to bikers even if they are 7 feet tall.  For me personally, it was one of the best mornings of the summer. 

As most of us know, the Young Professionals of the Chamber volunteer a good amount each month whether at the State Theatre, Business After Hours, or other events that call on us for assistance.  Volunteering is such a great way to meet new people or hang out with people you already know while helping out a great cause.  We have so many nonprofit organizations in Grand Traverse County that need volunteers all of the time, and especially with fall coming and schools back in session, volunteering opportunities will be available for sure. 
So you are not left in the dark wondering how is volunteering fun, let me tell you about a few events that require fun volunteers. 
1.      A great volunteering opportunity is at the State Theatre/Bijou by the Bay that is coordinated by the YP Volunteer Committee.  You do not only get to volunteer, but you get free movie passes and free popcorn, which for me is a win-win situation.  You even get lucky and stay and watch the movie playing.
2.      The YP’s participated in the Beer tent for the Cherry Festival, which I am sure you know consists of a free beer or 2 for sure.  Volunteering and receiving free beer is almost as good as a piece of freshly baked cheesecake from my kitchen, (yes I make incredible cheesecakes!) 
3.      Looking into the future, it is always a great time had by all volunteering for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  Yes it may be a little on the cooler side with that white stuff falling all around you, but you get a free long sleeve shirt, and you get to see everyone’s smiling faces and different costumes and hats worn on a day we give Thanks.
4.      How do you feel about the Zombie Run at Right Brain Brewery?  A great Halloween tradition might I add takes place this year on October 29th.  You of course get a free shirt, plus great laughs at all of the dead zombies around you, plus my favorite, beer from the guys and gals at Right Brain Brewery. 
Those are just a few events that will be taking place in Traverse City.  There are so many more, and you do not have to look far to become more involved in the community.  Freedom Builders, Michael’s Place, TCAPS, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Women’s Resource Center, Traverse City Junior Golf Association, Reining Liberty Ranch, TART Trails, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, and so so so many more. 
The YP’s are partnering with the Northwest Michigan Chapter of Junior Achievement USA to bring a professional mentoring program to Traverse City this fall that will help develop professional skills of high school students in the area.  What a phenomenal way to use your extra time by assisting the next generation develop skills that you wish you would have had when going off to college or starting your career.  This is an incredible way to give back to a community that has the potential to be the best in the state.  I highly recommend everyone to get involved in this program if you have the opportunity.  Please contact Erika Wiltse at to volunteer your talents and time. 
The Volunteer committee will be meeting at the Workshop Brewing Company at 5:30pm on Tuesday, September 13th to discuss upcoming group volunteering opportunities. If you have any ideas for the YP’s to volunteer at any upcoming events, please bring them or just come to socialize and have a happy hour drink with friends!

Well my blog readers and YP’s, I challenge you to get more involved in our community, meet people, and change lives.  We are only on this place we call Earth for a short time.  Volunteering, and bringing joy to others is refreshing, rewarding, and heartwarming knowing you gave something that is very important to everyone: TIME.  If you know of any volunteering events, please reply to this post and list them.  I would love to help get the word out to make sure our area is NEVER short of volunteers. 

SEPTEMBER MYNORTH.COM FEATURE:   Our Friends at have out done themselves again with an incredible piece for the month of September.  This article includes great ideas for wine tasting, fishing, harvest stompede, farm stands, and so much more.  I have to say this article is a "must read" for the month of September.  7 Things To Do On A September Northern Michigan Vacation 
September Updates
City of Traverse City Update

Seeking Volunteers! The City is currently looking for volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. If you are interested in becoming involved with your local government, visit

Traverse City Community Giving Catalog – For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or even a biker rack, check out the City’s giving catalog!
Elections Inspectors Needed! If you are interested in being a part of the Election process and working in a precinct on Election Day, please complete an application and the City Clerk’s Office will be in contact with you - Election Inspectors typically work from 5:45 a.m. until roughly 10:00 p.m. on Election Day and are paid for their time.

Grand Traverse County Update

Have hazardous waste or pesticides? The last household hazardous waste and pesticide collection of the season will be Saturday, October 1 in Kingsley. Many common products used in and around the home contain ingredients that, when handled and disposed improperly, can cause harm to humans and the environment. These items, called household hazardous waste (HHW), will be accepted for safe disposal through the Grand Traverse County RecycleSmart program. Examples of hazardous waste include paint, cleaners, automotive products, pesticides, fertilizers, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, nail polish and remover, and pool chemicals. To make an appointment or get additional information, visit or call the RecycleSmart hotline at (231) 941-5555. Appointments are required for the event.

Grand Traverse County Volunteer Opportunities: Grand Traverse County has numerous volunteer opportunities - whether serving on a committee, assisting a department on a regular basis, or volunteering for a particular project or event.  Examples include:
Boards and Committees – serve on a board or committee – current vacancies include Building Authority and Economic Development Corporation with many other appointments ending at the end of 2016
Commission on Aging – serve Senior citizens – Baskets of Bounty, NMC BBQ, office, reception work, mailings
Emergency Volunteer – assist in the event of a public health emergency
Information Desk – answer phones and provide directions to those seeking City and County government information – call 231-922-4797 for more information
Learning Partners – mentor/tutor students with school work and social skills
Senior Center – serve Senior citizens – decorating, fundraising, gardening, party planning, programming, public relations, nutrition, office, travel
Volunteer Services – assist Probate and Family Courts
TCAPS Update
TCAPS Receives 11 Boxes of School Supplies from Traverse City State Bank
Traverse City State Bank recently delivered a generous gift of school supplies to TCAPS to help students and classrooms start the year off right. The donations were collected as part of a bank program where in exchange for a dress down day on Friday, employees have the option to donate cash or materials at any of their five locations. For the month of August, TCSB employees were collecting school supply donations. As part of a partnership with TV 7&4, the opportunity to donate was extended to the community as bank customers and anyone interested in donating were encouraged to drop items off on the last day of the drive. In total, 11 boxes of supplies, from notebooks to backpacks, to cleaning supplies were donated to benefit local schools.

Make a Difference in the Life of a Child: Become A TCAPS Volunteer

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) offers opportunities for community members to share their time and talents with local students and schools by becoming a volunteer. From serving as youth athletic coaches to being a young learner’s reading buddy to helping mentor high school students developing their first resume, there are a number of ways to get involved. Adult volunteers are background checked and placed in a school site that is convenient for the volunteer. Volunteers may choose the day, time, and activity that most suits their interest and ability. One hour, once per week during the school day is desirable and makes a significant impact. Learn more:
TCAPS Spanish Students Give Back Over the Summer
TCAPS Spanish students visited Mexico over the summer and spent time volunteering at an orphanage. They also donated bikes, sports supplies, craft supplies, and more to help the children who live there. Students also learned about the local migrant population that supports the area’s agricultural community, and wanted to give back by hosting a district-wide school supply collection. So many school supplies were donated that students decided to give the donations to the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD), where they could be distributed to support migrant student programs throughout the region.
Calendar Reminders
Student Count Day                                October 5th
TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—September 22nd
The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
TC Patriot Game—September 9th
The 5th annual Traverse City Patriot Game, the annual crosstown football game between Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School will take place on September 9, 2016, at Thirlby Field. Student Senate leaders from TC Central and TC West chose Veteran to Veteran as the recipient of the proceeds raised through the sale of commemorative game day t-shirts. T-shirts are available for purchase at participating car dealerships and at each school. T-shirts cost $10 for adults, $5 for students – except for XXL and XXXL sizes, which are $7 each. This year fans of TC West will wear blue and TC Central will wear red. The Veteran to Veteran program is part of The Little Collaborative and helps Veterans work their way through the difficulty of leaving active duty and returning to civilian life through the mentorship of other Veterans. More information about the event is available at:

Used Instrument Sale—September 10th
Do you have an instrument to buy or sell? On Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Traverse City Music Boosters will host the annual “Used Instrument Sale” at Traverse City West Middle School (3950 Silver Lake Rd.) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Little Theater. Cash or check only. 15% of each sale will be used to support the TC Music Boosters’ scholarship program and classroom mini grants. Instruments for sale may be dropped off between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (appraisers will be available). Unsold instruments can be picked up between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. For additional information, call the TCAPS District Music Office at 933-7570.

Traverse City Area Public Schools Launches New Early Childhood Programs

Friends First and Preschool Preview are two new TCAPS programs designed to help young learners grow. Socialization at an early age is an important developmental tool for children as they start to build their sense of self. As children begin to interact with others, they learn about sharing, setting boundaries, problem-solving, and caring for others.
Friends First is a new program for children ages 18 months to 2 ½ years old and their parent or caregiver. The Friends First program will offer participants a setting to interact with other children and families under the direction of a certified teacher. Participants will have the opportunity to play with toys, read stories, and make new friends. The program will be offered on the third Friday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cherry Knoll Elementary School (1800 Three Mile Road N.) and Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Road). The cost of the program is $100 and it will run through May 19th.
Preschool Preview is a new program for children ages 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old and their parent or caregiver. Children will be encouraged to paint, use blocks, participate in circle time, use sensory tables, and use their creative ideas in the dramatic play area. Activities are led by a certified teacher. The monthly Friday playgroups will begin October 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cherry Knoll Elementary School (1800 Three Mile Road N.) and Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Road). The cost is $125 and the program will be held the third Friday of each month through May 19th.
To register, contact 231-933-1792 or email Space is limited, so register today.

TCAPS and Munson Healthcare Launch ImPACT Concussion Screening and Management Program

TCAPS, in partnership with Munson Healthcare, has launched the use of the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) concussion screening and management program. ImPACT is a scientifically validated, computerized concussion management tool that is used by thousands of high schools, colleges, universities, and professional teams, to help qualified healthcare providers better manage the injury. Implementation of ImPACT at TCAPS will begin as a pilot program during the 2016-17 fall sports season, with a focus on those sports with the highest risk of injury due to concussions, including 7th - 12th grade football, and 9th - 12th grade soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, hockey, skiing, and cheerleading. Funding for the program is provided by Munson Healthcare Foundations. The program is part of an ongoing partnership between TCAPS and Munson Healthcare, which provides experienced athletic trainers to TCAPS sports programs. More information:

Updated District and School Websites—Coming Soon 
TCAPS is preparing to launch updated district and school websites in early September. The updated sites will include standard menu bars at the top of each page, making navigating each school site more consistent. They will also offer features intended to better serve our families and staff including an alert system that will pop up on all website pages with important information, like school closures due to inclement weather. The alert system is RSS enabled, so parents and staff will be able to subscribe to the feed to receive direct alerts.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Get Outside!!!!

Hello to my blog readers.  I want to apologize for not having a blog out for July, but hey it is summer and a crazy busy time.  So my people, this will be a short blog with updates and challenges to get you out and about playing fudgie or getting in the water or camping or hiking or whatever floats your boat. 

As you all know, we have a few weeks of summer left before the leaves change, and the grapes get harvested to make the great up north wine we are lucky enough to drink. 

With that said, I challenge everyone to put the phones down, call a sitter, and go enjoy the rest of August doing a ton of fun things.  Between the YPs and (below), you will have the hook-up on all fun activities, adventures, and ideas.

1)  Hike the Treat Farm Trail in Empire.  It may seem like a long drive, but I promise you once you get there and walk through the woods, there is a great opening where the old Treat Farm sits and past the farm you can hike all over the place.  There are trails everywhere.  It brings you to a bluff right above Lake Michigan and if you are daring enough you can slowly scale down the bluff and relax on the rocky beach where you will not see a soul.

2)  Drive to Northport in the morning if possible on Friday; grab a cinnamon twist from Barb's Bakery and head down to the marina for the Farmer's Market where the fresh produce and goodies are incredible.  Then take a short drive to Peterson Park and walk down the 115 steps to Lake Michigan and hunt for rocks or Petoskey Stones.

3)  Rent a kayak, canoe or take your own and go down the Crystal River in Glen Arbor.  It is absolutely beautiful and calming down the river.  Once completed, head into downtown Glen Arbor, grab a burger at Boone Docks or Art's Tavern. 

4)  Head to Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse and hike around all the trails that surround it.  You may run into a few out of towners, but to be out there is awesome.  You will for sure work up at appetite for some great food and of course wine, so head to Jolly Pumpkin for some great food and hit a few wineries on the way home. 

I challenge everyone that reads this blog to do at least 1 of the actives above if not all of them.  If you are a master and do all of them and need more, don't you worry.  Craving more ideas...? Check out our new blog partner, MyNorth, for more ideas on how to enhance your Northern Michigan experience!

AUGUST MYNORTH.COM FEATURE: Our Friends at, an awesome resource for local events, concerts, events and food, wrote an incredible story on what to do in Northern Michigan to savor the last bit of summer in August.  You should check it out as well as their website, which has a slew of other information.     10 Things to Do in Northern Michigan in August

August Updates
Grand Traverse County

"Get Out and Play" Crowdfunding Campaign Limited time remains in the on-line crowdfunding campaign for a new playground – the Get Out and Play Project – at Grand Traverse County’s Civic Center Park. If, by August 31, the community has pledged $50,000 total toward the "Get Out and Play" project, then the MEDC and MSHDA will match that amount with a $50,000 grant.

For more information about the Get Out and Play Civic Center playground project, to view the design, and to donate, visit:

Traverse Heights Elementary School Receives School Supply Donations from Newlyweds

 Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Traverse Heights Elementary School received a gift of school supplies from a unique donor, newlyweds. Kristy (VerSnyder) Tomczak and Vince Tomczak requested that guests at their July 2, 2016, wedding bring school supplies in lieu of traditional gifts. The Tomczaks provided attendees with a wish list created by staff at Traverse Heights Elementary School and their guests, in turn, donated an overwhelming amount of school supplies. Donations included backpacks, notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons, rulers, scissors, books, clothes, shoes, and $600 in gift cards. “Vince and I decided that we wanted to put the good will of those who wished to help us celebrate our wedding day with presents to the best use possible,” said Kristy Tomczak. “We felt that the students at Traverse Heights Elementary would be a wonderful benefactor of our guest’s generosity, and our friends and family agreed. We received many comments that this was the most meaningful wedding gift they ever bought.

 TCAPS’ NWEA Scores Show High Student Proficiency and Strong Growth
Traverse City Area Public Schools’ scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) assessment during the 2015-16 school indicate that TCAPS students are performing well above the national norm, scoring between the 60th and 90th percentile in reading and math across all grade levels assessed, kindergarten through 9th grade. In addition, students demonstrated growth well above the 50th percentile mark in kindergarten through 8th grade, outpacing the growth norms in the country. NWEA is a valuable tool that provides teachers with detailed and immediate information regarding student progress and understanding of content. The assessment adjusts to each student’s ability level and provides a growth target based on the individual student. The data allows teachers, students, and parents to monitor growth, deliver appropriate and targeted instruction, and celebrate academic successes.

TCAPS’ Music Program to Perform at Premier State Music Event
The TCAPS K-12 Music Department has been selected to present the opening night concert at the 2017 Michigan Music Conference on Thursday, January 19, 2017, at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids. More than 500 5th through 12th graders are expected to perform at the event. TCAPS completed an extensive application process that included providing written documentation describing the district’s music curriculum and audio recordings of each of the secondary ensembles from the 2015-16 school year and two previous school years. The selection process stipulated the selected school district present elementary through high school musical performances that would showcase the entire music curriculum. TCAPS was last featured in 2005 at the 60th Annual Midwestern Music Conference performed at the Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. More information about the Michigan Music Conference:

Free TCAPS Preschool Option Available Through Great Start Readiness Program
Qualifying families can participate in a free, full-day preschool program through the Great Start Readiness Program. The program is offered Monday through Thursday (no classes on Friday) at Blair Elementary School, Central Grade School, Cherry Knoll Elementary School, Courtade Elementary School, Long Lake Elementary School and Traverse Heights Elementary School.  If interested, please contact the Northwest Community Action Agency at 231-346-2116 to apply (eligibility determined at time of application).

 TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—August 25th
The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, August 25th, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Attendees have the opportunity to discuss any topic of interest with a TCAPS board member at the meeting.

TCAPS Fall High School Sports Tryouts and Practice Begin in August  
Fall high school sports at Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School begin conducting tryouts and practicing the week of August 8th. Fall sports include: cheer/dance, boys' and girls' cross-country, equestrian, football, girls' golf, boys' soccer, girls' swimming, boys' tennis and volleyball. All athletes must have a sports physical dated on or after April 15, 2016, on file with the athletic office prior to trying out for any high school sports. More information:
City of Traverse City Update

New Resident Guide to City Services – The City has recently published a guide for various city services. This guide is not only helpful for all newcomers, but to longtime residents as well. Hard copies of this guide can be picked up at the Governmental Center or a digital version can be viewed at

 Elections Inspectors Needed! If you are interested in being a part of the Election process and working in a precinct on Election Day, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 231-922-4480. Election Inspectors typically work from 5:45 a.m. until roughly 10:00 p.m. on Election Day and are paid for their time.

 Seeking Volunteers! The City is currently looking for volunteers to serve on various boards and committees. If you are interested in becoming involved with your local government, visit

 Construction Season – keep a look out! The City has various construction projects taking place; please use caution when driving through these areas. For up to date information on construction projects and road project, visit our website at and check the City News & Highlights section.