Author | Speaker | Teacher


Susan Lackey comes home to Chelsea.

Susan LackeyOne December day when Susan Lackey was about ten, she took a ride with her father, a farmer in western Michigan. As they passed a sign that read “Under it all is the land,” her father turned to her and said, “Don’t ever forget that. Life is all about the land.”

And she never has. “My career has been devoted to helping communities be the kind of places where people want to live, work, and play,” she says. That career ends June 30, and already a new chapter of her life is beginning to unfold.
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How a Chelsea Church Became a Buddhist Monastery

Three Cranes Find a HomeThree sandhill cranes make their home on ten acres of rolling land bordering Werkner Rd. Once the site of the Chelsea Free Methodist Church, today the property belongs to a Buddhist monastery. The birds inspired its name: Triple Crane Monastery.

In Asian cultures, cranes are often considered an auspicious sign, messengers of good tidings, explains Lei Jiang, a member of the monastery’s governing board. “Here on this property, the number of sandhill cranes has remained constant–three. Their presence convinced our founders that they had found the right location to establish a monastery.” On a cold, snowless winter day in late January, Jiang, K.T. Gan, and Steve Daut offer a tour of the church-turned-monastery.

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Jeff Daniels reflects on his theater’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

Jeff Daniels“This place was born the day twenty-two-year-old Jeff Daniels started his apprenticeship at the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York,” Guy Sanville says, sweeping his arm around the Purple Rose Theatre during a Casting Session rehearsal break. The artistic director removes his baseball hat and collapses onto a front-row seat. “Every time I sit in this theater, I think, ‘Look at what he’s done. Look at what we’ve made. All of us, working together.'”

This year, the Purple Rose Theatre Company started celebrating its twenty-fifth season as its founder, Chelsea native Jeff Daniels, turned sixty. In the past quarter-century, the theater has grown from an actor’s dream to a cultural landmark whose list of awards and honors runs to eight pages, single-spaced. The theater also accounts for an estimated $3.6 million annual economic impact on Washtenaw County.

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