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 · Carving Out A Place In Time
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Carving Out A Place In Time

Kip Knight - October 27th, 2005
After breakfast and a few morning chores, Dick Lamphier finds the truck keys and points his silver Ford pickup in the direction of his woodworking studio a few blocks away in Elk Rapids. Upon entering, you see just how busy he is. Lathes, vices, clamps, saws, a drill press, mallets and custom crafted wooden boxes filled with delicate hand tools along with wood in all shapes and sizes, unintentionally decorate the interior of this cedar shake cottage-like garage. On his wall, measuring six feet tall and five feet wide and about six to eight inches thick is his current artistic pursuit. As you study the detail, it seems even bigger.
In the late winter of 2004, Lamphier accepted an offer from Harbor Beach, Michigan to design and carve a large wooden panel of the town’s lighthouse and its adjacent pier and shoreline. When completed, the approximately 250-pound rendition will be displayed in Harbor Beach Community Hospital. It will include the names of donors to the medical communities, the many programs and the hospital itself.
“It all began with a web posting on Michigan Wood Carvers Association in January 2004. I hesitated and didn’t reply right away.” Lamphier admits. “Then, a few weeks past and I sent them my portfolio. In the end, I was selected out of about four other interested carvers.”

Most carvers do so for the artistic release. “Working with wood rests the mind.” Lamphier states with an almost musical tone. In addition to the therapy that holding a mallet and chisel and watching the wood transform provides, this time he will get paid a modest stipend.
Lamphier’s works are incredible. Tables and caricature carvings with detailed hair carved from a single piece of wood seem almost magical. The lighthouse panel’s edges have been delicately trimmed resembling a curled swatch of parchment that has aged well with time. You have to look twice to convince yourself that this is indeed a solid piece of wood. It would seem that to achieve this level of competence, one would need to have dedicated a career around such demands. Not so for Lamphier. For nearly 30 years, Lamphier proudly accepted the duties that come with wearing a badge. His musings provoke anything but restful thoughts.

On a warm summer morning in the late 1970s, Lamphier and one of his law enforcement colleagues, a local DNR officer, were in hot pursuit of a suspected poacher.
“He (the DNR officer) ended up in a high speed chase that took him down a labyrinth of two tracks. Some of the roads were barely wide enough for a truck to fit through.” Lamphier explains. “And at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, it was a real white knuckle drive.”
After being blinded by the culprit’s spotlight, his partner’s vehicle became snagged in the sand and stump-laden shoulder of the national forest’s maze. Lamphier was left with the task at the other end of nabbing the suspected rustler as he emerged.
“I waited in the dark and when he went by, I pulled across the highway and used a cut-off and block maneuver. It took him completely by surprise.” Lamphier exclaims. This case and several others like it were more the rule than the exception.
Even though his predicament had the volatility of a garage sale bargain pressure cooker, Lamphier took pride in remaining in control of the situation, with his hat sitting perfectly atop his head and his uniform crisp and clean. “It was important for me to demonstrate professionalism and poise despite the fact that it was not always mutually given in return.”

It is this discipline to the details that continues to make Lamphier successful as a carver. He retired from law enforcement in 1979 and made his way to Elk Rapids where he and his wife opened up a real estate business.
“We did this for about 18 years and had notable success” Lamphier remembers. “Then, in 1991, we purchased a large Victorian home and opened up the Lamplight Inn, a bed and breakfast.” And all along, his interest in wood, woodworking and carving grew steadily. Today, instead of a standard issue police revolver, the mic of a radio or the steering wheel of a Ford Crown Victoria, Lamphier prefers to grasp a wooden mallet and a chisel.
One of nine children, Lamphier purchased his first set of carving tools at the age of 13. His interest and desire in working with wood seems as instinctive as his nose for solving the “who-done-its” of the past. By the age of 17, he found himself remodeling the kitchen of his grandmother’s home.
“My approach to that project was purely guided by instinct and feel,” Lamphier remembers. “I had no real formal training but I think I did a real nice job. I really liked how it felt when I finished.”
His love for carving wood came from that first farmhouse project and the trim work that moves a project from completed to breathtaking. Since his move to Elk Rapids, Lamphier has joined a group called the Chain of Lakes Wood Carvers. The wood now being carved for Lamphier’s lighthouse project originated from a fallen basswood tree on the southwest shore of Elk Lake. Lamphier estimated the tree’s age exceding 100 years.

Basswood is by nature a wood carver’s friend. The grain of wood-oak, maple, cherry and the like of which many wood-workers adorn and relish, can pose a constant challenge to the edge of a chisel -- even one that is honed razor sharp -- and to the wooden mallet that converts energy into art. Basswood, one of the softest of all hardwoods, makes for a smooth flow of thought, design and effort. This is due by and large to its nearly indistinguishable grain. This allows for significant detail to be created and easily seen by the viewer.
When Lamphier decides to bring this section of wood back to life, he places the chisel on its mark and selects an angle. Then, the round wooden mallet wrapped in a thin sleeve of rubber is lifted from its place within a rack and gently strikes the chisel’s handle. The wood chips curl and roll into a small circle as it retreats from its life-long hold on the tree. They fall to the floor and join the ranks of hundreds of others of varying shapes, sizes and thickness. The fragrance is aromatic. Something along the lines of a fresh pot of java brewed at 6:00 in the morning on a cold November day. Coffee drinker or not, the sight, sound and smell of an experienced wood worker in action piques the senses and is downright inviting.
In addition to this project, Lamphier opens his workshop doors to teach fellow carvers, novice or experienced, the finer points of the craft. This passion and generosity pretty much keeps his hands working at a steady pace.
Lamphier has a goal of completing his lighthouse carving for Harbor Beach by the end of November. It is comforting to think that a tree that was a mere seedling at the turn of the last century will once again find itself near the shores of open water as the outcome of Lamphier’s carving. And with a bit of luck, perhaps this tree will continue to provide the solace, comfort and pleasure for another generation and another 100 years to all that view her in her new home.

For further information regarding carving workshops, Dick Lamphier can be contacted at 231-264-5630.

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