Current 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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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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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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Brian Lam
Brian is a Kalamazoo native who enjoys not only writing but improvising and most other things creative. He is a member of the improv-comedy troupe Crawlspace Eviction and owns two small Kalamazoo-based businesses where he is able to put his passions to work. When not working, Brian spends his downtime with his wife and daughter or playing soccer.

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Marie Lee
Marie is the editor of Encore Magazine and vice president of Encore Publications, Inc. She’s been at the helm of Encore since October 2011 and also oversees production of FYI, SW Michigan’s Family Magazine, as well as other publication projects. Marie’s background covers the gamut; she’s a former newspaper reporter and editor, a public relations and marketing communications professional, and book editor and collaborator. As Encore’s editor, she is dedicated to bringing the best things about the greater Kalamazoo community to the magazine’s readers.

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Lisa Mackinder
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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Kara Norman
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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Brian Powers
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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