Parenting panel

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse Area District Library hosts a panel discussion with local experts at 7 p.m. May 13 via the Zoom application. The topic is “Parenting during COVID-19: Family and Self-Care for the Stress and Trauma Affecting Our Everyday Lives.” The program will be recorded and posted for the public later. Registration:

Road work begins May 14

FRANKFORT — The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to resurface M-22 in Benzie County starting May 14. The $446,000 project covers almost 1.2 miles from north of Old M-168 to M-115. Motorists should expect single-lane closures with traffic regulators until May 20.

County meeting rescheduled

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Economic Development Committee rescheduled this month’s meeting. People are invited to join virtually through Google Meet at 8 a.m. May 18. Dial 1-612-470-4530 and enter the pin 998-565-616.

Festival goes virtual

EMPIRE — The Empire Chamber of Commerce moves its annual Asparagus Festival to a virtual format this year. Submit poems for the “Ode to Asparagus” contest by 5 p.m. May 15 at An online reading is scheduled May 16. Cooks may share their recipes to by midnight May 17. People can run or walk the 5K race through May 31 and share photos on social media with #kickyerassparagus5k. Entry is $25 each or $45 per family. More detail:

Can drive

TRAVERSE CITY — Love Thy Neighbor hosts a can drive from 9-11 a.m. May 16 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on Ninth Street. Drop off returnables in a sealed garbage bag. Call 231-941-5683 to arrange a porch or curbside pickup.

Man uses billboards to say ‘let’s work’

AHMEEK — An entrepreneur in the Upper Peninsula is responsible for billboards in Michigan’s urban areas that are encouraging people to reopen businesses on May 21, even if coronavirus restrictions haven’t been lifted.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been slowly giving a green light to parts of the economy, including manufacturing this week. But Erik Kiilunen said it’s time to get everyone working.

He told that the governor doesn’t seem to trust businesses to operate safely.

“The American citizen has no obligation to sit idly by while his savings and his livelihood are bled dry,” Kiilunen said.

Kiilunen is in Keweenaw County, a peninsula in the northwestern Upper Peninsula, where no coronavirus cases have been reported. He’s the co-founder of Neuvokas Corp., which makes fiber-reinforced rebar for new buildings and roads, and has other businesses.

“I’m smart enough to know what risk is. The risk up here is minuscule,” Kiilunen said of the virus.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visited Neuvokas last fall.

The billboards in the Detroit area, Grand Rapids and Lansing say, “All Business Is Essential.” Kiilunen has raised more than $25,000 through a GoFundMe page. He calls May 21 “Michigan Take Yourself to Work Day.”

Whitmer’s office acknowledged sacrifices made by Michigan residents during the coronavirus outbreak but said the virus still is a “very real threat” and certain restrictions are necessary.