News doesn’t happen only once a week, and neither does Lowell’s First Look.

As the community’s online news source, Lowell’s First Look was founded in 2016 by Tina Dickerman, Maryalene LaPonsie and Amanda Schruauben to provide an alternate to the traditional way of reporting and delivering the news. Each month, it attracts thousands of readers who are looking for accurate and comprehensive coverage of all things Lowell.


Maryalene LaPonsie

One of the three original founders of Lowell’s First Look, Maryalene is focused on maintaining the site’s reputation for excellent and accurate news coverage.

In addition to running Lowell’s First Look, Maryalene is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in personal finance topics. Her work has been featured on Forbes Advisor, U.S. News & World Report, Money Talks News, MSN and elsewhere on the web. She previously served as a member of Lowell City Council, chair of the Lowell Planning Commission, member of the Lowell Light & Power Board, member of the Arbor Board and member of the Lowell Area Fire and Emergency Services Authority Board. She is a current member of the Schneider Manor Board of Directors.

A resident of Lowell since 1998, Maryalene and her late husband have five children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and exploring area parks and trails.


Contributing Writers

Erin Foltz

Beat: LAS Board of Education Meetings

Erin Foltz is a Naturalist at the Wittenbach Wege Center and enjoys teaching area children about science and nature. She has proudly served as the Volunteer Coordinator on the board for Lowell Pride since 2021 and helps to oversee Support LAS, a group that formed in 2021 to support and highlight the immense good in our school district.

Erin and her husband live in Lowell and have two children who currently attend Lowell Area Schools.



Gerald Browning

Beat: Township Board Meetings





Michelle Smith

Beat: Community and school activities

Michelle and her husband live in Lowell where they have been homeschooling for many years. They are currently educating two sons with four graduate daughters. When not freelance writing and editing, Michelle enjoys live theater both being in the audience and working backstage.



Ginny Velting

Beat: Arts and community events

A native of Lowell, Ginny embraces her role as the second oldest among five siblings. Though as a twin, she falls second by a mere 4 minutes.

Her passion for English and writing ignited during her time at Lowell High School, where she initially aimed for a journalism degree. However, fate intervened when she encountered a Nikon camera and an inspiring professor with connections to the legendary Ansel Adams. This encounter shifted her focus toward the world of photography, where she found a new avenue for storytelling.

After earning her associate’s degree from GRCC, Ginny delved into the realm of graphic design at Kendall College of Art & Design. There, she skillfully merged her creativity with her love for writing, weaving compelling visual narratives.

Deeply rooted in the Lowell community, Ginny values the connections she’s formed over the years. Growing up alongside its residents, she treasures the memories and experiences shared, and eagerly extends warmth and hospitality to newcomers.

In her beloved hometown of Lowell, you’ll often find Ginny with a camera in hand, capturing the essence of the community and spreading smiles wherever she goes.

Guest Columnists

Chuck and Martha Hayden
The Restless Viking


Chuck and Martha Hayden — otherwise known as “Da Viking” and “Poppins” — take a peek behind the curtain of life on their adventures.
They highlight history and cultures as they meet locals from the areas they explore. You can follow along on their journeys by following their blog and YouTube channel.



Rick Seese
Real Estate Corner with Rick Seese


Rick Seese works with buyers and sellers of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate. He is an Associate Broker with Greenridge Realty, Inc. and has been licensed full-time for over 40 years. If you’re interested in reaching out to Rick for more information, or have a question for the monthly article, you can contact him via email ([email protected]), visit his website at www.rickseese.com or Facebook page, or call/text him at 616-437-2576.




Emmanuel Hospice
More About Living


Emmanuel Hospice is an interfaith provider of compassionate, person-centered hospice care to patients and their loved ones in West Michigan. Serving the community since 2013, the nonprofit draws on a team approach that focuses holistically on mind, body and spirit, working to enhance each patient’s life with a combination of expert medical care, spiritual counseling and complementary therapies – because hospice is more about living than dying. Emmanuel Hospice has expanded to serve all of Kent and Ottawa counties and portions of Allegan, Barry, Newaygo, Ionia, Montcalm and Muskegon counties.

For more information, visit EmmanuelHospice.org. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Nicole Crocker
In the Garden with Nicole


Nicole Crocker is a specialty cut flower farmer and owner of Buddy and Bean Flower Farm in Lowell. You can find her flower arrangements on her roadside stand when they’re in season. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram, or at www.buddyandbeanflowers.com.





Rogers Neighborhood Realty
Home Tips and Tricks


Amanda Rogers is the Broker/Owner of Rogers Neighborhood Realty. Amanda and the rest of the agents in the office are professional, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about buying and selling houses and property in the Lowell community. For more information, visit their website, Facebook page, or Instagram page.



Care Resources
Healthy Living for Older Adults

Care Resources is a community-based program for people 55 years or older that promotes healthy, independent living and helps prevent nursing home placement. The Care Resources team of healthcare professionals works with older adults and their families to develop a comprehensive care plan — helping participants to make medical decisions every step of the way. For more information, visit CareResources.org. Care Resources can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.