A young movement is taking place in Mason County

March 21, 2013

Our View.

Megan Payment says she won’t run for Ludington mayor this year (see related stories). But, the effort, led mostly by “younger” area residents was encouraging. There seems to be a movement in the area of these younger business owners and community activists. For many years this area has been known as a place where people come to retire. While retirees are certainly welcome and respected, the key to progress and growth in this area relies on younger adults who will raise families here and become part of the business and political structure of the community.

Over the past few years it seems there are more and more younger adults becoming involved in the local business community. These people are investing and believing in the future of Mason County. Let’s take a look at just a few of those people who are making a difference (we know there are many many more people than just those listed below and we are happy to feature more through your positive comments):

Andy and Michelle Thomas. The Thomas’ own AM Galleries in downtown Ludington. This gallery provides an amazing exploration of art and culture that this area has rarely seen before. In addition, the facility also serves as a high class reception facility. Since opening last year the gallery has already introduced a variety of high quality exhibits. Andy is also the editor of The Wave, a new alternative entertainment publication. He himself is a top-notch performer and is passionate about providing channels to encourage the growth of live entertainment in this area.

Ryan and Erica (Karmeisool) Reed. Ryan is an accomplished photojournalist. Erica is executive director of the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. Each are accomplished in their own fields and have enhanced art in their own right. Together, they saw a vision in an old building in downtown Ludington. Over the past few years they have tirelessly been renovating 115 W. Ludington Avenue. Originally built as a movie theater, most of us knew it as Dean’s Five-and-Dime. The main floor is home to AM Galleries (mentioned above). The second floor is the Reeds’ home and will also become space for an artist-in-residence. Their dream is progressive for our area and certainly a welcome site for art enthusiasts and historical preservationists.

Lars Kvalvaag. Lars owns Ludington’s living room, Redolencia Coffee Shop. In a few short years he has turned hanging out in downtown Ludington into a cool thing to do. Plus, he and his staff make one heck of a great cup of coffee. This space has literally inspired movies and books to be written. Lars is never one to be afraid to try new things also. He provides outdoor entertainment and dining during the summer, again encouraging people to be downtown.

Heather Landis. Heather is the Scottville Main Street manager. She is the face of Scottville’s downtown revitalization program and she carries a heavy burden. This once vibrant downtown has been facing an uphill battle for the past 20 years. But, through the vision of business people and Scottville area residents, major improvements have been underway. Though Heather did not start the program (she is the third Main Street manager in five years), she possesses many qualities the town needs. She grew up in nearby Whitehall and spent much of her time at her father’s house in Manistee. Between those two towns? Scottville. She is committed to helping Scottville find a new place of greatness.

Nick and Heather Tykoski. Before the age of 30 Nick had already ran for county commission. The Scottville native, turned Ludington resident, now serves as the youngest member of the Ludington city council. He is also a member Ludington Fire Department and owns Tye’s Incorporated. As the third generation of the Tye’s Signs business, he helped evolve the business to a whole new level and vision. He has also donated much of his time to help the city improve and grow. Heather works as Ludington’s downtown development director, a role similar to the Main Street manager position in Scottville. She oversees much of the activities that are helping downtown Ludington become a place where people want to be.

Jamie Healy. Jamie Healy began her life in public service working as the recreation director for the city of Scottville. From there she moved into other roles in economic development for the entire county and now is the marketing and event assistant for the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Ludington. Jamie has a passion for both Scottville and Ludington, a quality that is needed in order for this area to be a success. She is a volunteer on several committees including Scottville Main Street, Scottville Harvest Festival and the Scottville Clown Band Shell committee. Expect even greater things from this community leader.

Again, we know this is just a short list and there are many more people who help make this a great place to live. We hope to start featuring more stories about those who making a positive difference for our community.




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