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..

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Robert Downes - November 3rd, 2005
Author of Aaron’s Crossing looks to broader horizon
It’s been a thrilling year for author Linda Alice Dewey, whose first book, “Aaron’s Crossing,” has received a blizzard of publicity from Michigan’s press since she penned the 232-page manuscript a year ago about her encounter with a ghost in an old cemetary near Glen Arbor.
Much of that is due to Dewey’s considerable hustle: sending out waves of press kits and review copies, establishing a an elaborate website, and generating stories and reviews in more than a dozen newspapers and magazines, including the Detroit Free Press.
But a savvy P.R. campaign alone doesn’t move books, and it’s obvious from the ascendency of “Aaron’s Crossing” as a regional bestseller that Dewey has struck a nerve with local readers.  She’s sold out her first run of 3,000 books, primarily through test marketing the novel/memoir in northwestern lower Michigan, and now she’s heading for broader horizons.   Currently, she’s preparing for a downstate tour of Ann Arbor, Gross Pointe and Kalamazoo, followed by a national push this January through California, Arizona and onward.
Somewhere down the road, she hopes for an international bestseller, possibly a musical and a film, and definitely a follow-up book.  

In the meantime, the challenge for Dewey is growing acceptance of “Aaron’s Crossing” nationwide.  “The problem when you’re working with a small publishing company is that if you get on ‘Oprah,’ you’d better have the stock out there for the readers,” she notes.
But having the sizzle provides half the recipe of success, and at that end of the kitchen, Dewey has managed to tantalize readers.  “’Ghost Whisperer’ is one of the hottest shows on TV right now, and that’s just what I did,” she says with a laugh.
That brings us to the plot of “Aaron’s Crossing” and how Dewey got involved.  Born in Detroit and raised in a metaphysically-oriented family, Dewey practices a technique called “spiritual listening.”
Basically, that means tuning in to the voices of folks who are trapped in the afterlife in the form of ghosts.
“I grew up with a fascination for it,” she says of her spiritual sensitivity.  “And I think a lot of people have have a fascination possibly have a gift for it as well, like those people who have a deep fascination for music.  It wasn’t until I really started investigating deeper that I developed some skills.”
That was in 1987 before she began co-facilitating a spiritual listening group in Glen Arbor.  It was in 1991 that Dewey came across a 100-year-old cemetary where she began sensing the presence of Aaron Burke, a long-dead Irish farm worker.  Aaron’s story gradually unfolded in Dewey’s thoughts: he claimed to have been kidnapped at the age of four by his father and brought to America.  Years later, he abandoned his own children after the death of his wife to live a fairly miserable, solitary experience as a farm laborer. Killed in an accident, Aaron lingered on in
ghostville until Dewey established contact with him
and set him free of his guilty, grief-stricken burden.

“Aaron’s Crossing” is meant to be a heart-warming, uplifting tale of redemption, rather than a bloodcurdling ghost story.  Needless to say, this is also a tale for true believers willing to be seduced by Aaron’s credibility.
All of which leads to the question of how spiritual listening is done:
“What I learned to do -- and I have to say a word of caution because there’s all kinds of stuff out there -- but what I do is clear a place in my mind for it and ask for divine protection or say a prayer,” Dewey recounts.  “And I clear my thoughts and the words will come in.  You can think you’re imagining things, but the way you can tell you’re not is that you’ll receive words and concepts that are not your own.  It’s what we call the Work with a capital W -- spiritual Work.”
Working with ghosts requires keeping a lid on things.
“You really have to put boundaries on contact with ghosts because they don’t have boundaries and limits themselves and they’re desperate,” she notes.
Dewey has had other encounters with ghosts since receiving Aaron’s tale and has indeed had to impose limits on the process if only because of the busy task of marketing her book.
Speaking of which, one of the pleasant side effects of her booksignings is that she has received dozens of stories from fans of their own encounters with the Other Side.  Such as that of a woman who lives on Torch Lake near the purported site of an Indian uprising years ago, who gathers spectacular pictures of spooky visions at night.
Does she plan to have a follow-up book to “Aaron’s Crossing,” based on the many anecdotes she’s gathered?
“Definitely,” she says.  “Whenever I go to a signing I have a file folder of releases and a tape recorder and I try to follow up on the phone.  That’s what Dr. Raymond Moody did in the ‘70s, gathering life-after-life experiences.  People  usually don’t want to talk about these things because our culture is very closed to spiritual matters.  The rise of science in the 1900s made us throw away the knowing of such things, but that was like tossing the baby out with the bathwater.”
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, much less being able to communicate with them telepathically, there’s no denying that Linda Alice Dewey spins a good yarn and is an engaging live wire.  And it’s nice to know that somewhere, poor Aaron is smiling as news of his redemption climbs up the bestseller charts.

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