Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Partners in the arts; Julie...
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Partners in the arts; Julie Kradel & Steve Kostyshyn

Rick Coates - July 11th, 2011
Partners in the Arts: Creative Julie Kradel and Steve Kostyshyn of Blue Crow Farm
By Al Parker
Combine two different artists with two distinctive styles and the result
is one dynamic farm-based studio that’s producing eye-grabbing artwork in
Leelanau County.
Julie Kradel and Steve Kostyshyn share the airy, well-lit studio at Blue
Crow Farm, their 20-acre home on a quiet road near Cedar. While they each
have their own individual methods and techniques, the result is artworks
that are gaining a legion of collectors.
“For over two decades, my work has been exploring the relationships
between animals, their human admirers and each other,” says Kradel, whose
works are generally sculptures and tiles featuring horses, turtles, foxes,
rabbits and other animals. “The clay, being a very natural and Earth-based
medium, has allowed me a framework in which to capture these unique
Observing the creatures that inhabit Blue Crow Farm allow Kradel to
breathe realism and life into her work. They’re a constant inspiration and
reminder “to keep her work true.”
“The creative process in which my clay art is produced, in concert with an
adherence to correct bone, musculature and form, allows me to express the
joy and beauty nature’s beasts possess using a unique blend of whimsy and
precise structure,” says the native upstate New Yorker who lived in
Davisburg, south of Flint, before moving north in 2007.

Many of Kradel’s works focus on horses and their relationship with other
animals. She’s a longtime horse owner and draws inspiration from her
steed, John Henry. Her pieces are captivating, yet clever in their
simplicity and emotion. “All my life I’ve done artwork,” she says. “And
I’ve always loved horses.”
Kostyshyn has been making award-winning pottery, in one form or another,
for more than 30 years. He’s been featured in exhibitions in
Massachusetts, California, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The New Jersey native graduated from Adrian College in 1976 and worked as
a studio potter for 15 years. He apprenticed with Brumm’s Studios and Todd
Warner Studios in Charlevoix. “Todd really showed me the ropes of the art
business,” says Kostyshyn. “I learned a lot from him.”
From 1981 to 1993 Kostyshyn worked in porcelain, then crafted stoneware
with a Majolica influence from 1993 to 1997.
His focus then shifted to create mixed media baskets and vessels that
combine clay, fiber and wood. His popular, collectible works explore
texture, color, form and size that is impossible with pieces created only
of clay.
“My baskets are made with a combination of three materials – clay, reed
and wood,” he explains. “The clay is a high-fired stoneware with dipped,
brushed and poured glazes. The challenge here is to have a clear vision of
the completed basket before starting the piece.”
Using traditional wheel-throwing and hand-building techniques, Kostyshyn
finishes the clay parts first. Once he’s completed them, he’ll shape and
bend the green oak ribs for a larger basket. On other pieces, he positions
and glues reed or dowel spokes in place. This stabilizes the form for the
The final process is the weaving of the entire spoked area. He uses
natural and dyed reeds and weaves plaited and twilled patterns. He often
chooses palm, vine rattan, red osler, willow or birch bark as accents.
They lend a natural feel and texture to his works.
“I have been continually inspired to work with the vessel as form,” says
the outgoing Kostyshyn. “Breaking from the ‘clay-only’ vessel and
exploring possibilities afforded by basketry as an aft form, has allowed
me to explore shapes and textures that were unattainable to me in the

Not only do Kostyshyn and Kradel differ in their artistic styles, they
also have divergent ideas about marketing their works. Kostyshyn’s been
doing art shows for three decades and prefers the hustle and bustle of the
show circuit.
In a typical year, he sets up at 11 different shows, from Northern
Michigan to Florida. In coming weeks he’ll be at shows in Glen Arbor on
July 20, Suttons Bay on Aug. 6-7 and Charlevoix on Aug. 13. His works are
also at the Bier Art Gallery in Charlevoix and the Michigan Artists
Gallery in Suttons Bay.
“I love the travel and meeting people from all walks of life,” he says.
“One nice thing about shows is you get direct, immediate feedback (about
your work). Sometimes you get ideas from people. But I miss my farm and
it’s always good to get back.”
At one recent show, the affable Kostyshyn sold one of his works to a
couple who had a unique way to pay for his pottery.
“They had been to the same show a year earlier and decided to save their
pocket change for an entire year and buy something at this year’s show,”
he recalls. “So they put away their dimes and quarters for a year and
walked all through the show to pick something they really liked to spend
their savings on. I was honored when they picked my basket for their
special purchase.”
Kradel prefers displaying her items in galleries, including Viola’s
Gallery in Elk Rapids, Bier Art Gallery in Charlevoix and Cog’s Creek
Gallery in Traverse City. But she’s not averse to doing an occasional art
show and will be setting up in Glen Arbor on July 20.
“My life is so great,” she says with a smile. “I’m doing the thing I
always wanted to do in my life with a man I enjoy being with so much.”
Blue Crow Farm is also the home of horses Abe and John Henry, a few dogs
and recently, several Katahdin sheep. Katahdin are hardy, adaptable, low
maintenance sheep that produce superior lamb crops and lean, meaty
carcasses.  They do not produce a fleece and therefore do not require
“We have an open studio,” says Kradel. “And people are always welcome to
come out.”

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