Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Sportswriter Nick Edson‘s Back Pages: Beyond the Games Offers 30 Years of Local Writer‘s Best

Ross Boissoneau - March 3rd, 2005
Everyone knows a good storyteller, someone who has the ability to turn his or her experiences and those of others into insights, anecdotes or stories that make you tear up or laug loud.
Nick Edson is one of the best. He has both a reporter’s eye and an infectious zest for life, traits which he’s shared for nearly 30 years in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Leelanau Enterprise, and County Lines, the in-house publication of Cherryland Electric Cooperative.
Nick has written for publications since the fifth grade, when he began writing weekly football and basketball roundups on Mancelona High for the Antrim County News. He won 11 varsity letters in high school, was president of the student council and editor of the high school paper.
Upon graduation from Mancelona, he attended Central Michigan, where he majored in education and journalism. He became sports editor of CM Life, the campus newspaper. Upon graduation he decided to eschew teaching for journalism, starting his professional career at Silbar Publications in Flint. Just three months later, in September 1976, he was hired by the Record-Eagle, where he worked until April 2000, including 18 years as sports editor.

Now he’s collected some of the best of his columns from those publications in his first book, “Beyond The Games.”
“A lot of my friends and family had been after me to write one, and last year I made it (writing a book) one of my goals for the year,” said Edson from his office at Cherryland, where he’s key accounts and communications coordinator.
So Edson went back to the clippings his wife and his mom had saved over the years, and started going through them.
“The toughest part was deciding which ones to include and which ones not to,” he said. “I’d written around 2,200 over the years, and put 50 in the book.”
So are these the 50 best columns he ever wrote?
“Yeah, I hope so,” Edson said with a laugh.
“Beyond The Games” includes pieces as old as 1978 (“The Monster Falls”) and as recent as this past year (“Father of the Bride”). There and everywhere in between, Edson brings to life sports as a microcosm of life, from his upbringing in Mancelona, the jock son of a coach, to his role as observer of local and national sports, and especially as a family man, celebrating his role as son, husband, and father to his three children.
Despite the numerous famous athletes he’s interviewed over the years, there’s just a smattering of celebrityhood in the book. For the most part Edson focuses on local athletes and their dreams, wishes, beginnings and endings.

The book starts off soberly, with a column from 1992 on the death of a young woman from Bellaire, Heidi Steiner.
“Death is a part of life,” Edson said earnestly. “That’s the hardest column I ever had to write. I cried when I wrote it, and then again when I read it. It took me five years to not cry. The death of a young person is always the most tragic.”
That Edson was able to capture the sorrow of the young woman’s family and friends without being maudlin is indicative of his skill as a writer. That he was able to still celebrate her life is indicative of his spirit.
That’s really the key to the book, the celebrations of life, whether it’s a well-used piece of athletic equipment (“The Glove Will Always be with Me”) or his parents selling the home he grew up in (“Goodbye to a Great Stadium”). Whatever the topic of the column, the real point of it is that life is to be celebrated, whether it’s the milestones of a child’s life or the ways in which sports influence us all.
In keeping with that spirit, Edson says the best part of the entire process has been when he gets to dedicate the book to someone he knows.
“The biggest kick is doing the dedications,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to put stuff there that I wouldn’t be able to say to people face-to-face.”
That was especially the case at a book-signing he did in his hometown of Mancelona. “When the doors opened people poured in. I never heard ‘Nicky’ so much in my life,” he said with a laugh.
With 2,150 columns left to choose from, might he do a second volume?
“Well, I’ve thought about it,” he admitted. “When I got done, I thought, ‘Geez, that wasn’t so bad.’”
Wasn’t so bad? That’s hardly the way to describe a book that vividly illustrates universal truths and brings to life both days gone by and days yet to come. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Edson’s writing or not a sports buff at all, “Beyond The Games” offers cheer, insight, longing and tributes to people and places that touch us all.
“Beyond The Games” is available at Cherryland Electric, the Leelanau Enterprise, the Cottage Bookstore in Glen Arbor, Horizon Books and Borders Books and Music in Traverse City.

Ross Boissoneau is a regular contributor to the Express who had the good fortune to work with Nick Edson for five years at the Record-Eagle.

Side Bar

The mysterious Harley Sachs writes again

Harley Sachs, a frequent contribu-tor to the Northern Express on sub-jects including technology, hu-mor, ethics and life in the Upper Peninsula, has published a new book.
“My third Rose Plaza cozy mystery, ‘The Mystery Club and the Hidden Witness’ is now out and available,” Sachs writes from his winter home in Portland, Oregon. “Drawing on my own experience as manager of the employee gift fund, this mystery revolves around the crooked gift fund manager who happens to be in the federal Witness Protection program. The mystery club members don’t know he’s a crook and the mob wants him dead.”
Through the years, Sachs has published a number of mysteries and science fiction novels, including “Ben Zakkai’s Coffin” and “A Troll for Christmas” at Zumaya Publications, a Mystery Club series at Wings ePress, and “Scratch--out!” from Fire Mountain Press.
His latest mystery/suspense novel is available for $11
from the publisher’s web site at

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