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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Carolyn Diana
Carolyn graduated in April from Western Michigan University with degrees in journal-ism and Spanish. She wrote for the Western Herald and is currently a newsroom intern at WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids. Carolyn found that her love for talking to people and storytelling and her natural curiosity were a perfect fit for writing about the Invisible Need Project at WMU. She also contributed to the package of stories on dorm decor in this issue and on how technology has changed college life.

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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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Samantha Marzke
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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