A free, full-color newspaper for Benzie County
The Betsie Current is a community newspaper, celebrating the dynamic and diverse communities in Benzie County. The Current is a free, full-color newspaper that is funded through advertisements. There are 16 issues released in one calendar year: roughly every other week throughout the summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and once per month in the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
Jordan Bates, Co-Owner: Design & Web
For more than three decades, Jordan has lived in Benzie County—hiking its trails, swimming its lakes, exploring its forests, and most recently learning to fish its waters.
Jordan graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Michigan, where he focused on English and religion but also dabbled in whatever tickled his fancy. For the past 19 years, Jordan has built, optimized, and fixed websites; sold eco-building products online; laid a few brick-paver sidewalks; auctioned off the odd antique or two; worked for a news organization covering the global water crisis; and he currently coaches volleyball pretty much year-round. (Well, when there isn’t a global pandemic, that is.)
The Betsie Current was founded by Jordan and his high school pal, Richard Taber, back in 2005. After two great years, structural difficulties made producing a high-quality newspaper unfeasible, and the paper was subsequently put on hiatus until 2014, when Jacob Wheeler (see below), another high school chum, moved back to Northern Michigan and convinced Jordan that it was time to get The Current flowing again.
Aubrey Ann Parker, Co-Owner: Editor, Photographer, & Ad Sales
Born and raised in Northern Michigan, Aubrey has lived in Benzie County since 1994 (except for spending nine months of the year away for college from 2004-2010). She remembers reading The Betsie Current back in 2005 during her hostessing shifts at The Roadhouse in Benzonia and thinking, “Man, how cool would it be to work on a community newspaper?” Well, yes, in this case, dreams really do come true—it just might take 10 years.
Although trained in the “hard” sciences, Aubrey made a sudden switch to journalism at the end of her six-year undergraduate career, and (so far) she isn’t looking back. In 2008, Aubrey completed a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Applied Mathematics from Kalamazoo College and followed it up in 2010 with a BSE in Chemical Engineering and a BS in Spanish from the University of Michigan. Like Jordan, Aubrey also worked for six years at a Traverse City-based news organization covering the global water crisis, and she has had the opportunity to report from Chilean Patagonia, Palestine, India, and the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
Since 2015, however, Aubrey has focused on telling stories closer to home through The Betsie Current and her photography business. She also has been involved with many youth mentor and coaching opportunities. Aubrey manages Facebook/social media campaigns for several local businesses and non-profits, in addition to volunteering on way too many boards. In 2019, Aubrey was named among the region’s 40 most influential regional leaders under age 40, according to the Traverse City Business News.
Other Random People
Jacob Wheeler: That One Guy
Jacob is a Leelanau County native, journalist, and editor/owner of the Glen Arbor Sun newspaper. After studying German and Comparative Literature, Jacob received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 2000, followed by his MA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College of Baltimore, Maryland, in 2006.
Lover of all things baseball and speaker of at least 4.5 languages, Jacob is a freelance journalist who has published the Glen Arbor Sun for more than 20 years, as well as his own book, Between Light and Shadow, A Guatemalan Girl’s Journey through Adoption (2011). His writings have appeared in In These Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicago Sun-Times, among other publications. Jacob is co-producer of a 2013 documentary film called The People and The Olive, which chronicled a five-day ultra-marathon across the West Bank. He has taught English/Journalism at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City since 2014, and he serves as faculty advisor for the White Pine Press, NMC’s student publication.
From 2014-2016, Jacob served as managing editor and sold ads for The Betsie Current. Though he has stepped back from The Current to focus more on the Glen Arbor Sun and an upcoming book, Angel of the Garbage Dump, Jacob’s prose continues to appear quite frequently in The Current, whenever we have too much space to fill. In all seriousness, Jacob continues to serve as a great mentor for Jordan and Aubrey, given that he has been in this business since he was a pimply-faced teenager.
Contact Jacob at email@example.com for more information on that publication.
Joe Cissell: That Other Guy (Formerly Deliveries)
Joe is originally from Ferndale but has been taking his sweet time with renovating his grandmother’s home in Frankfort since 2005. Joe is an artist, but not the starving kind. His most recent work has been featured as: the 2017 official Earthwork Harvest Gathering logo and the 2017 Bayou In The Barn event, put on by Grow Benzie. Joe also received 4th place in the 2010 “Let’s Save Michigan” poster campaign, put on by the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Every other week all summer long and once a month in the fall/winter/spring for several years, Joe hopped in his red Subaru and drove to Greenville (between Grand Rapids and Mt. Pleasant) to pick up freshly printed bundles of our newspaper from Stafford Media. Joe began delivering for The Current about mid-season in 2016; at that time, he was delivering 3,000 to 5,000 copies (depending on peak season) to about 200 businesses in Benzie County. In 2017, Joe expanded his deliveries to encompass an extra 50 or so business in the Lake Ann/Interlochen area, and in 2018, he added Thompsonville. In 2019, we added four issues—from 12 issues per calendar year to 16—but Joe got “a real job” with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, so he had less time to help us with deliveries.
If you want The Betsie Current delivered to your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
Randi Lyn Stoltz-Flynn: Billing
Another Northern Michigan wild child, Randi resides in the beautiful northwoods of Benzie County, tucked between lakes and rivers and nestled near the coast of Lake Michigan. She lives with her husband Paul Flynn, daughter Evelyn Josephine, and their menagerie of pups, cat, chickens, rabbits, and bees. She graduated in 2004 from Benzie Central High School (in the same graduating class as Aubrey), then she ventured south to Miami to receive a degree in Travel and Tourism from Miami Dade College.
Past volunteer/employment includes: AmeriCorps Vista, Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN), Munson, Leelanau Communications/Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association, and On The Ground Global, through which she ran ultra-marathons across Palestine (five marathons in five days) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (seven marathons in seven days), though most recently she can be found at Grow Benzie, St. Andrews Presbyterian, and with The Betsie Current, along with a few other local entities, where she focuses in the accounting field.
Randi is the founder of the Betsie Bay Frozen 5k, a February “fun”-draiser run/walk that has been taking place in Frankfort since 2011. (Though the race is taking a hiatus for 2021 during the global pandemic.) Randi also sits on the board of directors for Musicians to Sustain the Environment (MUSE), founded by her late Uncle Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, which funds the Kid For The Wild Scholarship, as well as the boards of the Isaac Julian Legacy Foundation, the Benzie County Players (a community theater group), and the Benzie Community Water Council.
After spending the last 17 years on-the-go, serving with multiple non-profits, dabbling in occupations, and pursuing as many passions as time allowed, Randi changed her pace and involvements to revolve around motherhood. Fortunately for us, working from home in the form of sending invoices is absolutely A-OK for her schedule. Randi enjoys petoskey-hunting; hiking with her family and pups; digging her hands in the dirt; sunset-chasing; and belly laughs.
Contact Randi at email@example.com with any questions on your advertising invoice.
Frequent and Not-so-frequent Contributors
F. Josephine Arrowood, Nicole L. Bates, Sarah Bearup-Neal, Andy Bolander, Greta Bolger, Kevin Brooks, Nancy Bordine, Steven M. Brown, Elijah Browning, Emily Cook, Elysha (Rom-Povolo) Davila, Julia Davis, Linda Alice Dewey, Brenna Dilts, Jim Dulzo, Ned Edwards, Eliza Forrest, Cyrus Ghaemi, Cheryl Gross, Molly Harrison, Linda Hepler Beaty, Rhiannon Hildenbrandt, Faith Hopp, John Jass, Jed Jaworski, Olivia Jones, Dan Kelly, Emma Kelly, Mackenna Kelly, Mitch Kennis, Susan Koenig, Alana Kuhlen, Chales T. Kraus, Ella Larsen, Melia Lorenz, Sarah Louisignau, John McCormick, Jimmy McLaren, Kirsten Miller, Stephanie Mills, Nancy Morrison, Matt Nahnsen, Carol Navarro, Anne-Marie Oomen, Kelly Ottinger, Stacy Pasche, Pearce Pomerleau, Annis Pratt, Stephanie Purifoy, Ian Richardson, Helene Rimer, Mandy Gray Rineer, Karen Roberts, Jenny Robertson, Beth Roethler, Renee Herman Russell, Jenn Ryan, P.G. Misty Sheehan, Keith Schneider, Monica Schultz, Drew Smith, Noah Sorenson, Christina (Harig) Steele, Pat Stinson, Kathleen Stocking, Randi Lyn Stoltz-Flynn, Lucy Straubel, Beau Vallance, Joe VanderMeulen, Chad Van Tol, Madeline Hill Vedell, Emily Votruba, Norm Wheeler
Occasional Reluctant Copy Editors
Ellie MacDonald and Roger Stow
Future Delivery Boys and Girl
Colton Michael Bates, Beckett Anthony Bates, and Sophia Brook Bates (#nepotism)
Nova Parker-Bates (see photo above)