Contributors

Kit Almy
Kit’s background in arts and nature has allowed her to explore a variety of topics for Encore over the years. This month she introduces readers to MRC Artworks, a classroom and gallery in downtown Kalamazoo that helps disabled people gain self-worth by creating art. In addition to freelancing, Kit works for the Kalamazoo Public Library and volunteers at the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s DeLano Homestead, teaching pioneer programs.

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Zinta Aistars
Zinta, the writer who explored secondhand shopping for this issue, is the creative director of Z Word, LLC, a writing and editing service. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online literary magazine The Smoking Poet (www.thesmokingpoet.com) and the author of three published books in Latvian — a poetry collection, a story collection and a children’s book. Zinta lives on a small farm in Hopkins, where she raises chickens and organic vegetables, wanders the woods between writing assignments and clatters away on the keyboard writing a novel.

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Olga Bonfiglio
There was no better writer to take on our story about the economic redevelopment of the Northside than Olga. She has taught urban development at Kalamazoo College for several years and was the host of Public Voice, a Community Access Center show interviewing local urban redevelopment leaders. She has previously written for the Huffington Post, U.S. Catholic, Planning (the trade journal for urban planners) and the Kalamazoo Gazette.

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Tom Chmielewski
Tom is a longtime journalist who has written for newspapers (including the Kalamazoo Gazette, magazines and the Web. As a freelancer, he has written on subjects from the arts to the sciences and pretty much anything else. His science articles have appeared on The Atlantic magazine’s website, and he writes regularly about science and science fiction at martiansands.com. Tom is currently working on his second novel.

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Theresa Coty O'Neil
Theresa, who has a deep and inspired knowledge of the local arts community, writes for Encore when she has a few spare moments between being a full-time English faculty member at an online university, president of the Board of Directors of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Society and a mom with three active and busy kids. A poet and writer herself, Theresa introduces us to new author Tony Gianunzio, who, at 92, has published his first book.

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Jarett Coy
His article, Chasing the Rainbow, is Jarett’s debut as a feature writer for Encore. While chronicling the rise of Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, Jarett found the band’s members to be remarkably humble and continually grateful to those who have supported them along the way. Jarett is an indie music fiend and sports aficionado. An intern with Encore, he previously worked in media relations for the Kalamazoo Growlers. He’ll graduate in May with a B.A. in public relations from Western Michigan University.

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Margaret DeRitter
During her two decades at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Margaret edited the health and science sections and covered the coming of the new WMU medical school. Therefore, she was perfectly poised to explore the impact the school will have on the community for our insightful cover feature. Margaret also works her editorial magic on Encore copy and serves as the publication’s poetry editor. A poet herself, she is working pieces for a local art and poetry exhibit.

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Andrew Domino
Andrew is freelance writer who has written for various publications and as a copy writer. He's covered stories for Encore on everyrhing from arts and business to fun and games. You can see more of his writing at dominowriting.com.

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Ron Dundon
Ron Dundon was Encore Publications office manager and Guy Friday for 14 years. He is a photographer, traveler, music lover and budding theatrical star.

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Tiffany Fitzgerald
As Encore’s staff writer, Tiffany writes — a lot. She is responsible for our Upfront, Savor, Enterprise and Good Works features every month, as well as other stories in the arts. If that wasn’t enough, she is also the editor of FYI, our new family magazine that debuted last month. When we aren’t working her to death, she hangs out with her husband and two sons and dreams of having the time to complete Pinterest-worthy projects.

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