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Local man in the running for “DIY Hero”

ALPENA, Mich. — One local hobbyist is in the running for a national competition.

Scott Stepanski’s leather bags normally net him a small income on the side. But if online voters like his work, those bags could make him $25,000.

Stepanski is one of 15 crafters who made it to the final rounds of the “DIY hero” contest, which highlights up–cycling and re–purposing old materials. Stepanski said that leatherwork helps him relax.

“I need that creative outlet. It’s a way for me to turn everything else off. Especially when I do all the hand–stitching. That’s all you think about when working on things like that. So, really, it’s therapy.”

Stepanski said he added bags to his selection of crafts almost three years ago because he wanted to try something new. He incorporates discarded jewelry fragments into his bags and works in a variety of styles.

Stepanski said he hopes he can count on community support when voting begins on March 8.