Contributors

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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 karanorman.com.

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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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Katherine Rapin
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Katherine, who brings us this month’s story on the duck eggs produced by Eichorn’s Family Farm, has worked on her own family's small farm in Northern Michigan for the past five summers. A recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, she says the best part of reporting this story was driving out to Eichorn Family Farms at 6 a.m. to participate in the morning duck egg collection.

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Adam Rayes
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Adam, who is working as an intern at Encore Publications, is somewhat new to Kalamazoo, so his story this month on the Kalamazoo State Theatre’s 90th anniversary not only gave him an opportunity to see the interior of the historic theater for the first time, but triggered a desire to learn more about Kalamazoo’s rich culture and history. Adam is a native of Monroe and is majoring in journalism at Western Michigan University.

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christopher shires
Greyson Steele
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Greyson, 20, is a third-year journalism major at WMU and a first-generation college student. Growing up in a digital world, Greyson was eager to learn how the ever-growing digital climate is affecting universities and their students. In his reporting, he found that there is no definitive answer to whether technology is good or bad for the institution. "Like anything else, it seems that there are benefits and costs to the increased implementation of technology,” Greyson says. “It's a series of trade-offs — what you're willing to give up for something you've never had."

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