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 · Art · A World of W.A.R.D.
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A World of W.A.R.D.

Kristi Kates - July 6th, 2006
If you’ve ever been in downtown Harbor Springs, you’ve probably seen the old train depot located on Bay Street, and you may have wondered about this interesting historical building.  Well, your interest is about to double, because, in addition to being on the National Register of Historic Places (with a plaque to that effect set to be installed this summer), the building also houses the impressive W.A.R.D. Art Gallery, as owned by Diane and Craig Bell.
The gallery is both named after their youngest son, Ward, and is also an acronym for “Worldwide Art Resources and Design.”  The Bells’ other two businesses, the C.R.A.I.G. Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan, and their new Ciao Bella! Garden and Home Shop in Petoskey, are named after their other son and their daughter.
The current location of the W.A.R.D. Gallery was built in 1875 by Sidney J. Osgood, and the building that houses the gallery used to be a working depot, namely the Grand Rapids and Indiana Trunk Railroad Harbor Springs Depot. 

The railroad served the resort communities of Little Traverse Bay, especially Harbor Springs, which hosts one of the deepest harbors in the Great Lakes.  In the good old days, lake steamers would ply the waters up and down the lakeshore: Harbor Springs, Wequetonsing, Harbor Point, Roaring Brook, Bay View and Petoskey, and the train would bring people Up North to the area for the summer season.  In its peak season back in the 1920s, the railroad averaged 500,000 tickets a summer - so, of course, a top-notch depot was needed to service all of this traffic.
After its use as a train depot was over, the building was utilized in various ways, including a women’s dress shop, an ice cream store and other seasonal uses. 
A quick look around at the interesting stick architecture showcases this authentic structure, which was kept mostly intact due to its historical significance to the Little Traverse Community.  
So when Diane and Craig Bell were ready to move their art gallery from its Harbor Springs Main Street location, next to American Spoon Foods, they thought the old train station would make a great, unique location for their business. They purchased the building in late 1999, restored it in 2000 with the help of Carmen Ludy, and transformed it into the art gallery it is today. 
“Diane and Carmen have a common interest in restoring old buildings,” Craig Bell explains, “so the Depot was ideal.”

But for year-round use, there was a lot of work that needed to be done, starting with the heat - the only heat for the uninsulated building was a pot belly stove, so insulation was obviously the first priority.  This was no easy feat if the building was to be kept at historical status - each individual piece of bead board had to be removed, numbered and lettered (so as to be returned to its exact correct spot later) and cleaned of grimy pot belly stove smoke residue. 
The building also kept its original glass windows and cargo doors, and the paint colors were done to match what was found in historical records.  The Bells and Ludy kept the ticket and telegraph room intact, restored all of the floors in the lower rooms to their natural Butternut color, restored the baggage room floor to its original railroad red shade, and converted the baggage room itself to a third gallery with plain walls for displaying paintings, which could include some of Bell’s own works.

Diane Bell, a painter, majored in studio painting and interior design at Hillsdale College, and has taught painting to both college students and to disadvantaged youth.  An accomplished interior designer, she’s included original art in each of her major projects in the Little Traverse Bay area.
Both Diane and her husband Craig have always, as they put it, “had a passion for discovering good art.” Their first gallery was established 20 years ago, initially concentrating on Native American and Inuit antiquities, folk art, and museum-quality crafts. 
“Our passion has grown over the years,” Craig Bell says, “and, as the art market is historically cyclical, this commitment has allowed us to weather its volatile cycles.” 
Each season, the Bells bring new art to Harbor Springs, both from established and emerging artists. They are currently showcasing works of art from Chicago, Boston, New Mexico, and France as well as Michigan. The duo discover new artists by word of mouth, by inquiries through their website, or in their travels, where they always make a point to visit the local galleries. 

New for 2006, they will be featuring a young still life painter from Tulsa, Oklahoma;  a figurative painter from New Zealand; a geometric abstract painter from New York; and a pen and ink artist from Williamston, Michigan, among others. 
While the artworks may be commer-cially appealing, the Bells characterize their choices of art and artists as being in more “serious” styles, ranging from abstract, expressionism and contemporary realism works to photography and sculpture.  It’s a diverse collection that the Bells deliberately try to keep at a reasonable price range, so that pieces can be acquired by even the most beginning art collectors.  There are also Giclees (high quality digital print reproductions, produced one at a time, vs. long-run lithographs) available for some of the artists, which are an even more approachable way to purchase art.
The Bells and the W.A.R.D. Gallery will also be showcasing several of their artists this summer through a half-dozen or so two-person art shows, several of which will include the artist present and which may also include live music - visitors will see that the train depot and its attractive lawn space are perfect for these events, which should prove to be crowd-pleasers this summer.

W.A.R.D. Gallery is located at 111 West Bay Street in downtown Harbor Springs, telephone 231-526-4366.  Their hours are Mon.-Sat. 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays 11 am to 4 pm.  Visit them online at
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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