Here's our weekly salute to the people and places making this area a wonderful place to live.
A handful of Little Free Libraries have appeared around Northwest Michigan in recent years. Usually found outside the homes of their installers, these book containers -- similar in size to a large mailbox or doll house -- usually are big enough to hold a couple dozen books. There's currently an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 of these little libraries, which the non-profit Little Free Library organization estimated to be in place internationally as of early this year.
Miniature libraries are offered for purchase in a variety of styles through the Little Free Library organization, which also provides plans and tips on its website for "stewards" who wish to build their own.
The general concept: Take one, leave one.
Area residents who have these little libraries report they've been successful and they see the libraries as an opportunity to reach out to people who normally don't read.
We see these little libraries as something that could make a big difference.
To learn more about the Little Free Library organization and movement, see www.littlefreelibrary.org.
Another successful Festival on the Bay
It's a weekend celebration with a million dollar sunset.
Petoskey's Festival on the Bay celebrated Petoskey's vibrant community spirit this past weekend with music, family events, competitions and sunsets over the bay.
The festival, now in its 11th year, has something for all ages. Organizers say this year was the biggest and best the community has seen.
"Festival on the Bay has a great team of people behind it that makes it bigger and better every year. In addition to the committee members who work all year planning the event -- there are hundreds of volunteers helping during the weekend. The festival could not exist without these wonderful people," said Lisa Hoyt, one of the festival organizers.
There's no denying that Petoskey has a strong sense of community, and we salute all the festival organizers and vendors for making Festival on the Bay a great showcase of that strength.
Stuff the bus
Any parent knows the costs of getting a child ready for back-to-school can be costly. But the Char-Em United Way has found a way to help area families who need a little extra help.
Over the weekend, the organization hosted its Stuff the Bus event, now in its sixth year. The event makes it easy for people to give, as shoppers can get a list of suggested school supplies and then they can drop it off to stuff a school bus in Charlevoix or Petoskey.
The United Way is also accepting monetary donations to purchase school supplies for students in need. Donations should be mailed to Char-Em United Way, P.O. Box 1701, Petoskey, MI 49770.