Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Region Watch · The vice tightens
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The vice tightens

Anne Stanton - September 21st, 2006
Record-Eagle detractor Ross Childs has succeeded in putting pressure on Record-Eagle editor Bill Thomas—but Thomas said his staff hasn’t backed off a whit from doing its job and he’s not intimidated.
And thanks to a counter–effort to applaud the Record-Eagle’s investigative journalism, the newspaper’s corporate office “has just been flooded with letters of support,” said Publisher Ann Reed. “I want to thank people for caring about our newspaper.”
In late August, the newspaper’s parent company announced that it was putting the Record-Eagle up for sale, along with five other papers. Dow Jones & Co. owns Ottaway newspapers, which owns the Record-Eagle along with 51 other newspapers and publications.
All involved say the sale of the profitable paper—for years, nicknamed the chain’s “cash cow”—has nothing to do with the recent controversy. Whatever the reason, new ownership sometimes means a bunch of people get fired.
Even beyond the prospect of a new owner, the heat is definitely on. The top brass at Ottaway asked Thomas and news editor Mike Tyree to submit a response to Childs’ critique. Childs submitted a package in early July to the Dow board chairman that included petitions with 875 signatures, 30 letters, and an analysis of eight articles, which he said proves his charge of mean-spiritedness and bias.
“Ross did send the information to corporate, and some of the letters were fairly accusatory,” said publisher Ann Reed. “Corporate wanted a better understanding of why we made the decisions we did, and why we covered what we did. They want to take an objective look of what action, if any, needs to be taken next. I really don’t know what that might be at this point.”
Reed said it took two or three weeks for Tyree and Thomas to compile the response, which was turned in last week.
Thomas said the staff is aware of the paper’s uncertain future, but has not changed its approach. Just last week, for example, the Record-Eagle ran a hard-hitting editorial about an incestuous consultant hire at Northwestern Michigan College.
“We’re still covering our stories, it’s still the same newspaper. As for the petition drive, we are not intimidated by any of it. That’s just nonsense,” Thomas said.
Reed said the sale has more to do with a pending $155 million tax credit than the controversy ignited by Ross Childs, an NMC board trustee and former Grand Traverse County administrator.
The announcement of the sale came in the midst of a petition drive supporting the award-winning newspaper. It was spearheaded by the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, grateful for the paper’s revelatory stories of politics trumping the environment. Ken Smith, president of NMEAC, said it’s more than that –the paper has sparked a healthy debate in the town and has held public officials accountable for their actions and words.
On September 5, NMEAC submitted 1,320 signatures and 50 letters of support (including 18 written to the R-E and Northern Express) to the newspaper’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co.
Supporters said Childs’ tactic of going to the top amounted to trying to bully the paper into submission—a not-so-subtle form of censorship. Childs said he did so because he felt frustrated with the paper’s lack of response to his and others’ complaints.
Childs said it was not his intention to get anyone fired. “You have to read the original letter and the original language. Nowhere in that document was there any reference to (editor) Bill Thomas. The language was very, very carefully drawn. We wanted to bring the paper back to respectability and that’s where we’ve always been.”
Childs said he was surprised when the Record-Eagle went up for sale, although he and others have explored options to offer an alternative local news source. But he said that Dow’s timeline of 15 days to submit complex bid requirements for purchase was too tight for himself and interested investors to put together.

LANDMARK SOLD
A new restaurant along with residential and office condos are in store for a landmark building in downtown Traverse City.
Dan Marsh has purchased the former Smith/Kurtz Music store next to the State Theatre on Front Street from Rotary Charities with plans to renovate the over 100-year-old three-story building.
Marsh brings top credentials as a restaurateur. he gained his first restaurant experience working at Bowers Harbor Inn as a teenager and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America with high honors in 1995. He has worked at the famed Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York as well as Manhattan‘s Union Square Cafe and the Soho restaurant Zoe. He also cheffed at Hawthorne Lane in San Francisco‘s South of Market District.
Marsh plans to retain the building‘s historical charm, ceiling designs and brick walls, noting that there are great views of the bay from all three floors.

CONVICTS MAY GET PINK SLIPPED
Convicts laboring in federal prisons will have to compete with the private sector for government contracts under legislation passed by the U.S. House. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), eliminates a Depression-era initiative that gave the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) exclusive access to some federal jobs.
Under current law, all federal agencies must purchase products offered by the FPI, which has 106 factories representing seven industries such as clothing, elctrionics, office furniture and services such as data entry. In 2005, federal prison workers generated $765 million in sales.
 
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