Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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.

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 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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