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 · Christmas Schooner Sails Again
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Christmas Schooner Sails Again

Carina Hume - November 29th, 2007
In 2004, Petoskey’s Little Traverse Civic Theatre (LTCT) first presented The Christmas Schooner, a turn–of–the–century story of the Stossels, who sailed Lake Michigan in November to bring Christmas trees to families in fire–ravaged Chicago. The musical is based on a book by John Reeger, with music and lyrics by Julie Shannon.
Gary Albert had firsthand experience playing Oskar, a German immigrant ship hand, and also served as assistant director in a Chicago version of the musical. So he was a natural choice to direct with LTCT in 2004. As The Christmas Schooner sails in Northern Michigan for the third time this December, he’s thrilled to be reprising his role once again.

“In 1995 I was cast in a show called The Christmas Schooner at Bailiwick Repertory in Chicago,” says Albert. “After we read the play, I kept thinking, ‘this happened in Michigan?’ I didn’t know anything about it.”
Real–life brothers Herman and August Schuenemann – the historic basis for the story – sailed Lake Michigan each November, risking everything to deliver their Christmas trees, a tradition still continued today by the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw.
“The story is a fictionalization of actual events,” explains Albert, “and I thought wow, we’re going to have to treat this really special, because it can come off too sweet or too sentimental and it just needed to be told in a simple, honest fashion.”
The musical’s German immigrant family learns how to adapt old country ways to their new American lives, as well as lessons on compassion, tragedy and love; storylines that should resonate with all of us.
“Everyone copes with some degree of tragedy in their life, and the show is kind of about how they cope with that, and how they rise above it and move on,” explains Albert. “The message of the show is that our blessings aren’t ours to keep, they’re meant to be passed along – which means not only things, but our relationships with people and our achievements in life. It’s a wonderful story to be told at Christmas–time.”

As director again for the 2007 production, Albert guarantees changes to the set, as well as new faces on stage. A hands–on director, he’s assuming responsibility for more than just the actors; he takes responsibility for the overall presentation.
“I like to design the sets that I direct on,” says Albert. “As director, you kind of have a vision of what the entire show ought to look like or what you have in your mind. I love the design aspect of the stage and I’ve been dabbling in it since college.”
In theater, Albert says trust is one of the most important aspects, but so is having fun.
“Acting comes from a point of truth and honesty, and that’s really, really difficult for just everyday people to do. For someone to get up on stage and show that part of them is really a daredevil act,” says Albert.
“If you don’t trust your director to guide you through that process, it can be a disaster for that show,” he continues. “it can also be a disaster for that actor who might never want to do it again. I think part of what helps instill their trust in me is the fact that they don’t have anything to fear when they’re working with me, and they know that they’re going to have a good time because I’m having a great time.”

Before graduating from Harbor Springs High School in 1981, Albert worked on many theater performances with LTCT. After four years at Michigan State University and 18 years in Chicago theater, Albert returned to Northern Michigan, reconnected with LTCT, and has found local theater just as fulfilling.
“Living in Chicago, there’s really a fast pace to life, and I saw it grow from a major city to a major world–class city in the time that I was there. That was really exciting, and I miss it, but I needed to be in a place where I could focus more,” explains Albert.
“I’ve done some of my best acting work – behind–the–scenes – that nobody gets to see here in Northern Michigan because I was able to have so much creative control over my projects. The other best part is working with so many talented people and watching them grow.”
LTCT welcomes anyone with a desire to be involved in theater – either backstage or onstage – to get involved. Whether selling ads, tickets, painting sets or applying makeup, no experience is necessary – just a willingness to learn and have fun.
“The nice thing about working with LTCT is I have a budget, and they’ve been putting on such good shows over the past 60 years, they understand that need for an all–around look for the show.”

Putting together a musical production like The Christmas Schooner requires the cooperation and dedication of many volunteers. In sharing their time and talents to present this show, which is quickly becoming a Northern Michigan tradition, the volunteers seemingly have already taken to heart the show’s message.
“When you get the message of The Christmas Schooner – that our blessings aren’t ours to keep – if you think about what a short time we’re here on this planet, it’s a very short time to make an impact,” says Albert. “So I think it’s really important to pass along that wisdom, that knowledge, that tradition, that love, that experience to whomever you can.”

The Christmas Schooner will be presented by the Little Traverse Civic Theatre in the Ross Stoakes Theater located in the Crooked Tree Arts Center in downtown Petoskey. Shows are December 6–9 and 13–16 with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees beginning at 2 p.m. To reserve tickets call 231–348–1850, order online at www.ltct.org, or stop in the box office located in the Crooked Tree Arts Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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