Board of Directors2018-11-07T15:30:29+00:00

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. Frank Alfieri, III

“Our tri-community master plan is an important document.  Developed by our collective Neighbors, it is a blueprint for the healthy preservation of our area and values, past, present, and future.”

Dr. Frank views the NorthShore Marina project as a “floating truck stop”.  Since he actively fought to stop two truck stops and a Turkey Factory Farm in Saugatuck Township, he has basis for this opinion.  As it happened, they took the Saugatuck truck stop all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

He has spent his life honoring and enhancing the natural environment through his support of local organizations.  He was a founding member of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance.

Frank is a past board member of the Outdoor Discovery Center.  He is past president and current board member of the Lake Michigan Shore Association.  He is also a member of the Great Lakes Coalition.

He has a thriving Saugatuck Township chiropractic practice and has served as team chiropractor for Saugatuck and Fennville high schools.

He was team chiropractor for the 1988 South Korean Military Olympic Team in Seoul, Korea as well as the 1986 Asian Games, also in Seoul.

Frank earned

BS degree from Western Michigan University

Doctor of Chiropractic Palmer University

Extended faculty Palmer University

Why Frank cares:

“I am a lifelong resident of Allegan County, raised on a blueberry farm. Saugatuck was always a destination from childhood on. My parents were married here as were numerous aunts and uncles.  So it was a no-brainer to open my practice here in Saugatuck Township.”

Becky Bruns

“It would be a horrendous loss to our area and my life in particular, if this parcel, which has long been envisioned as part of the natural area, were to become home to an ugly trench in order to dock huge (up to 120’) boats and not available to the public.  We should not let this happen to our historic river mouth.”

Becky became a Saugatuck Township resident 13 years ago.  Soon she heard about the proposed truck stop at exit 41.  Concerned that it would ruin the rural nature of the surrounding area, she immediately joined the successful fight to prevent the approval of the truck stop.  There she met David Swan and followed with interest the fight against McClendon and his completely inappropriate development ideas, cheering when that project lapsed.  

Becky is the newest member of the board of directors and highly valued for skills she brings to the Alliance.

Her career focus has been on strategy, teams, and leadership for organizations of all types and sizes including facilitating boards in their deliberations.  By attending to good meeting process and transparent communication, she is already contributing significantly to the board.

Becky earned

BA from Middlebury

MBA from Simmons Graduate School

Why Becky cares:

“We live at the NE corner of Saugatuck State Park and I spend hours and hours each week in the park enjoying the dunes, the beaches, the quiet, and nature.  Some call it “forest bathing”.  To get me riled up again, I only need to think of how one family has essentially made Holland’s beloved Big Red operationally a private asset for their own enjoyment with highly restricted public access.”

Laurie Goshorn

“The property at the mouth of the harbor is surrounded on both sides with parkland and natural spaces.   Unique and marvelous to look at, this is the last un-developed river mouth on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.  What a sadness it would be to lose this beautiful, vibrant waterway, and its accompanying silent night sky.  What a tragedy it would be to replace this beatitude with a whole new level of intrusive light, noise, structures, pollution, and congestion.”

Even though Laurie has only been resident of Saugatuck Township since 2012, she has been enthralled with the unique beauty and majesty of the Saugatuck dunes since the early 1970’s.

Laurie‘s lifetime of caring for the environment makes her an ideal candidate for a position on the Alliance Board of Directors.   

She consistently strives to live sustainably, with low impact and good stewardship of the planet.

When the opportunity to join the board came along, she decided to become a voice for the unique flora and fauna that call this section of land home.  She champions the Tri-community Master Plan and holds true to its design for development that works in size, scale, and context with the rest of the community.

She stands with the current zoning rules that were created to guide community decisions.

Laurie earned

BA degree from University of Wisconsin

She won the Photographic Society of America Grand prize for her submission.

How Laurie cares:

“ I spend many hours wandering the beach, where possible, with limited access, and rising water levels.  I also spend many hours in the Dunes State Park marveling at the untouched beauty, and the peaceful transitions from hardwoods to pines, and tree covered dunes to water’s edge.  I am heartsick at the intrusion of hard lined, uninspired architecture that is now arrogantly forcing itself on our vistas, but worse will be the damage to the dunes, the wetlands, the river, the plants and animals, and the vistas if the proposed trench is ripped out at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.”

Cynthia McKean

Biologists want to save everything that relates to the natural environment.  Architects and developers build monuments to themselves.  I started as a biologist.  After several years in the field, I got up one day and said to myself,  ‘Ah, but this is not the full story.  There are literally billions of people on the earth.  Everybody needs a place to eat and sleep. ‘   So I went back to school and studied architecture.  Since then I have spent my life working to build respect, consensus, and hopefully partnerships between these often conflicting entities.

Cynthia has lived in Saugatuck for 35 years.  New in town, she joined the Saugatuck Planning Commission and several months later was elected chair.  After 16 years as chairman of the Planning Commission, she ran for City Council and served on council for 6 years.   She remains active in the community and officially joined the Alliance Board of Directors in the fall of 2017. 

Cynthia’s unique background with a combination of biology, art, and architecture complements the qualifications of the other board members. 

 She was part of the committee that created the original Tri-community Plan.  

She encouraged the Twisting Works, which was located downtown where Ida Red’s is today to move to South Haven when it expanded, and was instrumental in keeping MacDonald’s from building next door to what is Uncommon Grounds today.

She can read blueprints, understand development proposals, and visualize the pros and cons of what is presented. 

Cynthia earned

BA degree from Whitman College

BA degree from University of Idaho 

Why Cynthia cares:

“Our planet is in environmental crisis.  Our culture is controlled by greed, greed that disrespects the planet upon which we live, greed that is insensitive to the fact that without the support of the planet we are destined to decline.

“I want my grand children to listen to the cat bird singing in the tree outside my window now, to travel freely up and down the Kalamazoo River and other waterways, walk beaches, enjoy wildlife, experience night skies, and feel the wind in their faces.

“I want them to have healthy food to eat, clean air to breath, fresh water to drink.“I want them to live.”

Dawn F. Schumann

“Four generations of my family have sought the serenity of this forested dune land.  To preserve the last remaining harbor entrance, which so defines our community, I have spent the better part of half a century fighting to keep it pristine.”

Dawn has been tirelessly working to protect the shores of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan since before anybody even thought about creating a formal organization such as the Coastal Alliance.  As a member of the Douglas Planning Commission, she was a member of the Tri-community Planning group.  

She was part of “Save our Shoreline” which was successful in preserving acres of the South Dennison property, now known as The Patty Birkholz Natural Area.  She was a major financial contributor to the South Dennison property.  

She actively supported the Patty Birkholz community drive to create the State Park and is one of the original members of The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. 

Dawn’s long term involvement and association with development along the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan Coastline makes her presence on the Board of Directors invaluable.

Honored in 2015 for 50 years of service in the Saugatuck Douglas area, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

She served on the Board of Directors of the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society for 12 years.

In Oak Park, Illinois, she was the founding president and first executive director of Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.  This began an entire new industry for Oak Park.

Dawn earned

BA degree from DePauw University.

Why Dawn cares:

“Over the years, tens of millions of dollars and countless hours of service have been donated to the community to protect the mouth of the Kalamazoo River and adjacent beach property.  What a travesty it would be if this enormous investment is disregarded and the proposed illegal marina is approved. “

David Swan

 “The proposed Padnos Marina would degrade our community investments in our natural resources and historic sites. I am determined not to let it happen.”

David Swan is president of the Coastal Alliance Board of Directors.

In 2007 David created an alliance of civic organizations focused on wise land use and proactively enforcing the mission and goals of the community Master Plan. Participants included:  The Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society, home owner’s organizations, neighborhood groups, The League of Women Voters, and several environmental organizations.

In 2011, the Saugatuck Dunes were recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as One of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places.

The Coastal Alliance has been recognized for the following Leadership Awards: in 2014, Michigan Historic Preservation Network Leadership Award; in 2012, West Michigan Environmental Action Council Leadership Award; in 2010, Fresh Water Futures Leadership Award; in 2009, the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Leadership Award. 

In 2017, The West Michigan Environmental Action Council awarded its most prestigious award, the CR Everson Award to David, recognizing his long term dedication to the protection of West Michigan’s natural resources.

In 2011, he was the recipient of the most distinguished Landslide Award from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, for work to protect the Saugatuck Dunes Cultural Landscape.

In 2001, David and Alison Swan founded Concerned Citizens for Saugatuck State Park, to protect the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This led to rejection of the proposal to build a municipal water treatment in the heart of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  They won the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for Grassroots Environmental Leadership.

David earned

BA degree from Michigan State University

Why David cares:

“Alison and I moved to Saugatuck so that we could hike the Saugatuck Dunes everyday. We learned quickly that the Saugatuck Dunes are to Grand Rapids, as the Marin Headlands are to San Francisco, the Cape is to Boston, the Olympic Mountains are to Seattle.  All are nearby wildness areas to vibrant, commercial centers. It is vital to our regional economy that the Saugatuck Dunes remain an intact, healthy eco-system.” 

F. Sheldon Wettack

“While I understand that any owner of the former Denison property has the right to develop it, it must be legal and consistent with the long established nature of those dunes as they are special attractors that form the basis of the tourist economy of this unusual portion of West Michigan.”

Sheldon joined the Coastal Alliance board in 2008 when he was elected president of the Douglas Lakeshore Association Board of Trustees.  He is still active on both boards.  It took years of spending much of the year in Arizona to remind him of and sensitize him to the special character of the water in Michigan.  It is truly a “wonder” for those of us fortunate enough to reside in the Saugatuck/Douglas area.

Sheldon has had multiple experiences examining educational programs and making recommendations about how these programs can be improved.   This skill set is paramount as the Alliance pushes forward into the future.

His professional career was spent in education, initially as a science teacher in California.  His path took him to 4 colleges as both a faculty member and administrator.  He served in several academic administrative roles at all 4 colleges, including the presidency of one. Over the years he has been a member of several science oriented boards and professional organizations, and has served as a consultant and outside reviewer for numerous colleges in the U.S.

Sheldon earned

BA degree from San Jose State University

MA degree from San Jose State University

PhD degree from University of Texas – Austin

Why Sheldon cares:

“During our initial years in Holland, we spent many hours at Holland State Park, walking the beach and sensing the beauty of sand sculpted into dunes.  When we moved to other parts of the country, the thing we missed the most was the lake and its shoreline.  We came back to the Saugatuck/Douglas area when I retired and have continually marveled at the historic mouth of the Kalamazoo River.  We have actively supported the efforts to keep that special coastal environment available to all who think of Saugatuck/Douglas as their home or their home away from home.”