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 · Masters of Glass
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Masters of Glass

Kristi Kates - August 31st, 2006
From, as owner/artist Penny Kristo puts it, “one table, a little glass, and a lot of optimism,” Shadetree Studios in Petoskey has carved out a well-respected niche in the stained-glass industry that is still going strong 31 years into the business.
Shadetree’s work is stunning - a quick browse through the gallery on their website turns into a 20-minute visit as you marvel at the detail that Kristo and crew put into their work. Lifesized trees and flowers, animals, motifs that echo architectural details, symmetrical designs, abstract shapes, and influences spanning everything from the Great Northwoods to the Great American Southwest - are all rendered with plenty of care and talent in colored glass, lead, and other unusual materials. Kristo has an artistic eye, for sure, and applies those design sensibilities to her glasswork.
Back in the ‘70s, Kristo was taking art classes at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey and ran into Frank James, who, at that time, owned the original Shadetree Studios, which was located in the back of his aunt’s antique store on Lake Street. James was looking for someone to help him in glass design, and he also taught classes; Kristo quickly signed up for her first class, in which she made a leaded stained glass window, and she paid for the class in trade, by working at James’ studio.
“I started getting more and more into the design work as time went on,” Kristo reminisces, “and as the glass studio itself grew, it began to take over the whole antique store. We started moving the studio to bigger and bigger locations - the current location is actually our fourth, and we’ve been here for 20 years.”
When James decided to move back to Florida in the early ‘80s, Kristo decided to take over the studio, and she’s owned it ever since.

Shadetree is both a working studio and a gallery, complete with Kristo’s friendly mascot, her black lab Gladys, who is often in residence. With other employees, all of them having started as “apprentices,” Kristo has a full complement of help, one of whom is her son, Jeremy Rakoniewski.
“Jeremy grew up in the business, so he knows what’s going on,” Kristo says proudly. “He’s actually the head of our restoration department now, and his wife, Robyn, is our office person.”
As Shadetree’s staff has been widely praised for both their artistic ability and their solid construction, they’re a great place to go for glasswork that needs restoring - they have many colorful ways to breathe new life into old windows or other glassed-in areas, just as much as they’re the premier place to go for custom stained glass work.
The business has even restored works from such renowned stained glass masters as Connick, Mayer of Munich, Heaton-Butler-Bayne, and the well-known Tiffany. The majority of their work in Northern Michigan is custom work and churches, but they’ll also travel for a good project, and they’ve gone both up into the U.P. and all the way downstate for various jobs.
You’ve probably seen plenty of Shadetree Studios’ work without even realizing it. They’ve done windows for several churches in Petoskey, including the First Presbyterian Church and the Christian Science Center, and they restored all of the striking windows in the Crooked Tree Arts Center. Some of their other notable work has included the new Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs, the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Cross Village, and all of the windows in the chapel in Bay View. And, of course, there’s plenty of private work. “We do lots and lots of private homes,” Kristo confirms, “especially in Bay Harbor, and all around the Northern Michigan region.”

Stopping in to the studio will give you even more of an insight to what Kristo and her crew do. “It’s an open studio,” Kristo explains. “We’ve always been open to the public, and we also still teach classes and sell supplies here. People coming in will get to see all of the glass that we have on hand, and will likely also see people cutting glass, leading, foiling, soldering; it’s kind of like a mini impromptu lesson, as there’s always someone doing something.”
There’s a large display area with finished works, as well; visitors will be especially impressed by the stained glass windows, the hanging stained glass lamps, and the fused glass jewelry. “There’s a lot to look at,” Kristo says. And there’s definitely a lot that you’ll be able to visualize in your own house once you see what amazing things Penny Kristo and Shadetree Studios can do for your windows.

Shadetree Studios are located at
417 Howard Street in downtown Petoskey, telephone 231-347-1001. Their beautiful work can also be viewed online at
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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