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 · Books · Gruesome Mio murders
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Gruesome Mio murders

Rick Coates - February 1st, 2007
In 1985 when two buddies from the Detroit suburbs ventured north to go deer hunting, their expectations were like many who come to Northern Michigan for a weekend getaway. A chance to enjoy the solitude the area offers and an opportunity to escape the “big city.” When Brian Ognjan and David Tyll didn’t return from their weekend excursion, their family and friends expected foul play.
They were correct, but it would take investigators nearly 18 years to solve this gruesome crime. Writer Tom Henderson – who splits his time between a one-room schoolhouse home east of Traverse City and in the Detroit suburb of St. Clair Shores – captured this spellbinding tale of two senseless and grisly murders near the small Ausable River community of Mio, in his book “Darker Than Night”.
Henderson’s book is part of the popular St. Martin’s True Crime Library Series and was published in the fall
of 2006.
Tom Henderson’s name might be better recognized for his coverage of the state’s running scene for “Michigan Runner” or avid readers of the “Detroit Free Press” sports section in the 1970’s remember Henderson’s columns and coverage of the Red Wings and Michigan Football.
Recently Henderson has been on the banking beat for “Crain’s Detroit Business,” covering the financial and technology scene.
So “True Crime” writing doesn’t seem to fit the Henderson “MO,” but then again Henderson never set out to be a writer. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1970 with a political science degree and returned home to his native Detroit in search of work.
“There just were not a lot of jobs out there for political science majors unless you had a Masters or Ph.D,” said Henderson. “So I landed a job at the “Detroit Free Press” for 80 bucks a week, delivering pencils and making copies. Eventually I worked my way up and became a sports writer.”
Just as he fell into a career as a sports writer, the same can be said for his work as an author for one of the top publishing houses in the world.
“A writer that I worked with several years ago was contacted by a New York literary agent and referred the agent on to me,” said Henderson. “I hadn’t even spoke to this writer in 15 years but saw a piece by her and sent her an e-mail to say hello, and the next thing this agent is calling me.”
That was seven years ago and Henderson signed on and wrote his first book for St. Martin: “A Deadly Affair.” The book sold well and Henderson was signed on for another book: “Blood Justice.” The two books collectively have sold more than 170,000 copies. Based on his previous success, St. Martin released 70,000 copies of “Darker Than Night” for the book’s initial run.
“These True Crime books do very well for them. They are very profitable as these books have a huge following,” said Henderson. “They’re easy reads, beach books or good for long flights. Page turners and nothing real heavy, but people find them intriguing.”
Americans are intrigued by crime. It is often the lead stories in newspapers and the local television news covers even basic break-ins. “Court TV” remains popular and crime shows like “CSI” have strong ratings.
So with the success of his first three books St. Martin has signed him to a contract for three more. His next book will have a Northern Michigan setting to it.
“I have started work on the Florence Unger murder that happened in Benzie,” said Henderson. “I submitted the idea to the publisher during the trial, and of course the book isn’t going to happen unless a guilty verdict is turned in.”
As for the toughest part of writing these books, for Henderson it is that feeling he gets in his stomach when he starts the interview process.
“It is hard to make that initial call to someone who has lost a loved one to a murder, and in the case of my previous books, some pretty gruesome murders, and ask them to talk to you about it when you are going to profit from it,” said Henderson. “What I have found, though, has been a general outpouring of support by the loved ones. They want the stories of the victims told. It is gut wrenching and a lot of tears are shed.”
Henderson, who spends a lot of time at the old one room schoolhouse (between Traverse City and Kalkaska) he bought after he graduated from college, comes north, like many, to escape these sorts of things. He said it is shocking anytime a murder happens, but more so up north, than in Detroit..
“Every so often, in my neighborhood, you hear gunshots and you expect that in Detroit,” said Henderson. “When those of us down here think about Northern Michigan, we just don’t expect things like murder to happen.”
Henderson said that the Mio case “was big news downstate,” and the gruesome details give even the most rugged hunter the chills and a constant look over the shoulder.
“I took an interest in the story right when it happened,” said Henderson.
“There was a lot of speculation, ranging from murder, to these guys splitting to Hawaii. and every so often tidbits would reappear in the paper until the case was finally broken wide open by State Police investigator Bronco Lesneski.”
In the book. Henderson takes readers on a spellbinding trip to what at first seemed to be a case of two guys who vanished, maybe at their own doing, to a tale of wrong turns, too much booze, axes, a wood chipper and pig feed.
So does Henderson think the two Duvall brothers, convicted of the murders in 2003, might have committed other murders in Northern Michigan?
“Probably not. I am not sure they ever set out to commit these,” said Henderson. “I think they just planned to beat the shit out of these two hunters, and when they split the head open of the one and realized that they had killed him, they knew they had to kill the other one to keep it a secret.”
How was their secret revealed, especially since the bodies were never found? The answer is in the book.
When he is not writing about the financial or technology happenings in Detroit or researching his next True Crime book, Henderson spends his time enjoying the Northern Michigan outdoors. He is an avid runner who participates in and writes about several road and trail runs in Northern Michigan. Henderson also kayaks, and in the winter is an avid snowshoer. He and his wife have an antiques and collectibles business, and the two are regulars at the Elk Rapids Antiques Warehouse.

Catch Tom Henderson this Saturday February 3 from 1 to 3 pm at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City. He will be signing copies of his current book “Darker Than Night,” a must read for crime buffs and anyone who hunts in Northern Michigan.
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