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 · Music · Bob Jones... The man behind the...
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Bob Jones... The man behind the music at the Cherry Festival

Mark Waggener - June 29th, 2006
This summer’s favored event in Northern Michigan is about to unfold. The ever-popular National Cherry Festival gets under way July 1-8 at the open space on Grand Traverse Bay. Aside from the daily activities and the tummy-tempting aroma of good food, one of the most celebrated attractions commences every night on The Bayside Entertainment Stage. As a long time fan of music I have often wondered what it takes to deliver eight straight nights of live entertainment. I recently had a chance to sit down with Mike Jones and discuss his 24 years of experience as the “man behind the music” in selecting which acts will perform at the festival.

NE: When and how did you become involved with the National Cherry Festival?
Jones: 1982 was my first year. I joined as an ambassador and worked with Randy Nash from Sound Environments. We were hired to run sound for the shows and Diane Dennis was the director of the entertainment stage at that time. We worked with all locals and didn’t do any national acts for quite a few years. The original budget to hire musicians was $100. Back then, the shows were performed on a stage which consisted of four 8’x 8’ platforms mounted on sawhorses. We had no roof, no lights, and when it got dark, we went home.

NE: What is your current position?
Jones: I am the director of the Bayside Entertainment Stage and have held that title for approximately 15 years as a volunteer. I kind of grew into it helping pick out bands with former director Diane Dennis, who decided to run for president of the National Cherry Festival.
NE: Do you have a musical background?
Jones: Actually I do. I have not played since high school but have always had a musical inclination. I wanted to be involved with music and played trumpet and trombone in a band at the high school level.

NE: What kind of preparation is required for these concerts?
Jones: Beginning in January I collect applications and develop a wish list of what we want to do for the next year. We discuss and review the talent available and begin to establish a budget. We then get it approved by the board. This is a virtually free show and all of our funding is through the sale of sponsorships. Altel, Pepsi, KFC, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and The Blue Care Network of Michigan have been major contributors for many years.
We sell individual shows to other companies, and without their support, we absolutely couldn’t keep this a virtually free show. I work closely with Rick Shimel of Meridian Entertainment Group who books the national acts. The relationship with his crew has worked out very well for us. Randy Nash, Mark Walter and the guys from Sound Environments have also worked out very well. You put a good team together and you stick with it. I couldn’t do it without them.

NE: How many assistants are required during the show?
Jones: Well, on any given night there will be 15 to 20 of us on the production side depending on the show. From runners, to caterers, to stage hands, sound and lighting techs, we all work together.

NE: How many local and regional acts contact you to perform?
Jones: I talk to a lot of people. The phone rings off the hook pretty steady from the middle of March on. I receive at least 100 CDs, DVDs and video tapes each year. We have a lot of applications from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Chicago, Nashville, as well as 15 to 20 from local area musicians. We are pretty well known.

NE: Who has been your favorite act over the years?
Jones: Well, several of them. I guess I am a bit of a country fan which is what I listen to most. Some of the acts like Trick Pony and Blake Shelton have been my favorites. This year we have Keith Anderson coming, a rising Nashville star. We have been very fortunate in that we’ve been able to get stars from the Nashville country western scene on their way up. They have become huge stars after they have been here. Maybe we have something to do with it, who knows. As far as classic rock, Eddie Money was here last year and he put on a great show.

NE: Do you have a family, and if so, are they involved as well?
Jones: Yes, I have a 28-year-old daughter named Megan, my son Adam is 24 and my wife Gail have all participated throughout the years. It’s a lot of fun and has become a family experience for me. My wife and daughter do the backstage catering for all the acts. They provide the deli trays and help meet the contract rider requirements. My son, before he went away to school, ran spot lights for us. So there was the four of us, we were all working it and that is a lot of fun.

NE: Can you explain the contract riders?
Jones: Well, the musicians ask for things that they need to make their performance better. The bigger the artist, the more outlandish the demands are typically. If only red M&Ms will make them happy and they go out and do a good show, then I’ll give them red M&Ms, I don’t care. The bottom line is I want to put on a good show. Some people might think the rider demands are unusual, but if you stop and think about their life living on the road, they need certain things, or want certain things. You and I go home at night and may have M&Ms. When they’re are on the road, they don’t have time to go to the store and get M&Ms, or Gooby Bears, or whatever it may be. They put it in their rider and we get it for them. We are providing a service to keep them happy and they rely on us to do so.

NE: What are the personal rewards for pulling off this musical accomplishment?
Jones: Well, the personal rewards are really when you are standing back stage,
And you’ve got the show up and running, and by the third song everyone is standing on their feet and they are all clapping and swaying to the music. That’s my reward right there. To have the people really get into the show. There are certain shows we do year after year after year, like The 64 Tribute (the Beatles show). That’s just a really cool show because you have everybody from little kids to grandmothers and they’re all on their feet, they all know the words, and they think they are seeing the Beatles. That’s very gratifying for us and makes all the hard work worth while.

NE: What has kept you going throughout the years?
Jones: Its fun and I enjoy the people. I said when it stopped being fun, I’d stop doing it and I’m still here. There are folks from all levels of society that work the Cherry Festival. Nine times out of ten you never know what they do in the real world. They are just Cherry Festival people and they all come together as a family. That’s really cool. You’ll have attorneys and ditch diggers working side by side doing the same job and nobody knows. Everybody is equal. Working with the public is a pleasure and you meet some interesting characters. It’s just really fun to see people enjoying themselves and to think you had something to do with it is rewarding. I guess that’s why I do it year after year.

NE: Are you excited about this year’s lineup?
Jones: Absolutely, I think we have a great lineup this year. Average White Band, 1964 The Tribute is back, Gregg Rolie Band, Otis Day & The Nights, and Grand Funk Railroad, which is one I have wanted to do for a long time. For me that’s going to be a high point.

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