Lisa Mackinder
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Lisa’s work has previously appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Animal Wellness, Dog World, Michigan Meetings and Events Magazine, MiBiz, and other publications. Though having covered a wide-range of topics, Lisa most enjoys composing people-centric pieces, as well as those featuring nature and animals. She lives in Portage with her husband, and when not at her Mac, participates in outdoor activities, including fly fishing, gardening and hiking.

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Jeremy Martin
Samantha Marzke
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Samantha grew up in St. Joseph, pas-sionate about sports and following current trends. She covered the waterfront for <em>Encore</em> in the May 2017 issue, writing about a gifted cellist, a WMU staffer who works to make students’ first year successful and dorm room decor. Samantha graduated in April from WMU with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is an aspiring freelance writer who plans to move to West Palm Beach, Florida, in the fall.

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Larry Massie
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Larry B. Massie, who has written more than 100 articles for Encore under three editorial regimes, contributed this month’s article “The Birth of Borgess,” based, in part, on his 22nd Michigan history book, Health Care Anew: The First 125 years of Borgess Health, to be published soon. He and his partner, culinary historian Priscilla Massie (pictured with him), reside in the Allegan Forest amidst their private library of 45,000 volumes. In 2011 the Historical Society of Michigan awarded Larry Massie its first Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Samantha May
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Samantha graduated from WMU in April with a bachelor’s degree in film, video, and media studies. She enjoys being creative every second she can, whether that be with writing, photography or video recording. She found ideas for her stories through her use of social media and interactions with her classmates. She says she hopes her stories paint pictures that help readers experience the yoga room at Milwood Elementary and the creative, colorful workshop of Bambüz’s Prashant Dault.

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Bill McElhone
Kara Norman
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Kara grew up on the East Coast and moved to Kalamazoo from Colorado two years ago. Describing herself as "writer, artist, wilderness fiend, now mama and (therefore) half-sane person," Kara provides some of Encore's freshest stories on artists, food and more. You can read more of Kara’s work at

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Jef Otte
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Jef is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Copper Nickel, SPIN Magazine, Village Voice and other news outlets, and we are happy to add him as an Encore contributor. He specializes in features on music; this month he gives us a glimpse of Greensky Bluegrass, the roots- bluegrass band that is making waves beyond West Michigan. He’s currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Western Michigan University and lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and two sons.

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Jay Penny
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Pay attention to the world around you — that’s Jay’s mantra. Always curious about people, places and ideas, he continually likes to try new things and meet new people. Before becoming a nontraditional student at WMU, Jay spent several years working as a musician, which allowed him to see many parts of the U.S. and the world. Jay graduated from WMU in April and will begin working on a graduate degree in communication at WMU this fall.

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Brian Powers
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When offered the chance to take photos of dusty and forgotten buildings for our Hidden Kalamazoo feature, Brian Powers was all over it. “Abandoned spaces have always captured my imagination and driven me to try to capture the feel of a room or building through the lens of my camera,” says Brian. “I feel an incredible sense of soul and presence when I am in an interesting old space, particularly when it has not been renovated or if it has been restored to its original glory.” In addition to the photo feature on Hidden Kalamazoo, you will find examples of Brian’s beautiful photography throughout Encore.

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