Current Contributors

Ren Briggs
Ren started working in a camp kitchen at the age of 11 scrubbing pots and then moved up to cooking. She graduated from Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia School of Culinary Arts and worked at Alpen Rose, Via Maria, deBoer Bakery in Holland and co-opened Second Floor Bakery making upscale pastries, desserts and cakes. Ren admits she likes “to tweak recipes.“ “I like to make recipes that taste awesome. I want my family to be wowed! Why eat mediocre food?”

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Tiffany Fitzgerald
Our illustrious editor and much of the brains behind the content of FYI, Tiffany is a recent transplant to Kalamazoo, moving here from Denver two years ago with her husband and two sons, ages 2 and 11, so her husband could attend WMU and one day become a big-shot writer. In the meantime, she’s a big-shot writer. So there, formal education.

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Melissa Lam
We’re excited to welcome Melissa Lam to FYI as our new Creation Station writer. Melissa loves working on arts and crafts with children. She was a Montessori teacher in Colorado and Kalamazoo for several years before starting her own day care, where designing fun and creative projects with household objects went from a hobby to a necessity. Currently, she enjoys refurbishing furniture and sharing her love of art with her 5-year-old daughter, Sienna.

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Brian Lam
Our Last Laugh columnist not only admits he once ruined Christmas (see page 30), but has an additional happy holiday memory to share: “I got a keyboard one year after learning a song on our piano. My brother tried to play with it right away and broke something. I think I cried, or he cried. I can’t remember, but I remember I was really excited about that keyboard. I can still play ‘Chopsticks.’” When not dredging up holiday trauma for others’ amusement, Brian is coaching improvisation and spending time with his wife and daughter.

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Anne Lape
Our Everday Hacks writer Anne is the daughter of a teacher and a school administrator and grew up in Cadillac, where she lived in a 100-year-old school house. When she moved to Kalamazoo 24 years ago, she became a teacher. She now divides her time between teaching, writing and reading about teaching and writing.

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Marie Lee
As editor of FYI Family Magazine, Marie finds the greater Kalamazoo area to be a wonderful place for families. As the mother of a teenage son, she enjoys bringing readers great information on local family-friendly events and activities.

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Kara Norman
Kara is new to Kalamazoo but had no trouble finding other women to share their stories for her feature this month on mommy shaming. She has degrees in English and creative writing, which she says is just a convoluted way of saying she’s a nerd. Kara moved from Colorado with her husband and young daughter last summer and is fighting an addiction to Lake Michigan.

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Jef Otte
Our Family Man columnist, Jef is a writer and journalist whose work has previously appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Copper Nickel, SPIN Magazine, Village Voice and other news outlets. He also can juggle, but not well. He’s currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Western Michigan University and lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and two sons.

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