• To Abe Ferris, of Acme, who is embarking on his new business selling painted ceramics. Ferris is 43, has cerebral palsy and requires a caregiver 24/7. But he has sought independence since his early 20s, he said.

His endgame is to make money through entrepreneurship. He was already doing art as a way to work through his PTSD. His hands stop quaking when he paints, he said.

“He was talking about it, and then he had this church show and his dad made him business cards, and I think that’s great,” said Julie O’Hearn Cox, the owner of Handz On Art — where Ferris frequents — and a former nurse who has donated several pieces to Ferris’ business.

“Some people just talk. Abe’s got that energy and that go-get-em spirit.”

  • To Suttons Bay’s Janet Ward and Pat Kernaghan, who in August completed America’s Great Loop. Their Great Loop journey started in Suttons Bay in August 2018 and took them south through Lake Michigan and a system of rivers, starting with the Illinois River and ending with the Black Warrior River and spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.

After traversing 180 miles of Gulf waters, they cut through Florida to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, heading up the Eastern Seaboard to the Hudson River and the Erie Canal. From there they crossed Lake Ontario, navigated the Trent-Severn Waterway to the Georgian Bay and the Straits of Mackinac, finally bearing for home.

“It was fascinating that you could circumnavigate the entire eastern portion of the United States all by water,” Ward said.

  • To Kelsey Swanson. The Traverse City Central High School senior inked her national letter of intent with Long Island University to become the first Traverse City female hockey player to sign a Division 1 scholarship.

The area boasts several other Division 1 players like Leland’s Delaney Drake (University of Wisconsin) and Mancelona’s Dakota Derrer (Syracuse University), but none actually from Traverse City. Until now.

“I came across Long Island,” Swanson said. “They’re new this year, so last year they’re just starting their social media. I just came across it and I reached out and (coach Robert Morgan) saw me play a few games and he was interested.”

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