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 · Revisiting the Good Hart murders
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Revisiting the Good Hart murders

Glen Young - July 7th, 2008
Much of what happened that summer day in 1968 is known. Six members of a prominent Detroit area family were gunned down in their summer cottage near Good Hart, north of Harbor Springs. No credible witnesses came forward to aid police. The community and the nation were stunned. These facts and a few others are prolifically documented.
What is not known is who committed the murders, or why. The uncertainty has haunted family members, vexed law enforcement, and intrigued the curious for 40 years.
Several authors are among those transfixed by the unsolved murders of the Richard Robison family at their Summerset cottage in the rustic Blisswood resort community. Traverse City area author Mardi Link has waded through what is known, what is suspected, and what is still a mystery for her new book “When Evil Came to Good Hart.”
Published by the University of Michigan Press, Link’s book is the first non-fiction examination of the family, the crime, and the suspects who were investigated by police both in the aftermath of the murders, and for years afterwards.

What is established is that Richard Robison, his wife Shirley, their sons Ritchie, Gary, and Randy, and their daughter Susan were all murdered, most likely on the afternoon of June 25, 1968. The last person to see any of the Robisons alive was a local tree trimmer.
Link begins with the crime; the discovery of the bodies after the Robisons neighbors complained to the cottage association’s caretaker about the foul odor leaching from the cottage; how the caretaker and his helper first opened the cottage door to a wave of flies and the stench of death; how police arrived to process the scene, and ultimately how law enforcement was unable to indict their chief suspect.
From here she ranges as far and wide as the case has taken investigators, begun in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome discovery, and continuing -- in fits and starts -- up to the present. State police and local sheriff’s deputies have screened myriad leads from Michigan, as well as Ohio, Florida, Kansas, and elsewhere. The only theme linking the leads is that none has led to an arrest or a conviction.
Link paints Good Hart, then and now, as a land of fairy tales: “dark woods, warm cabins with smoke curling from their chimneys, worn footpaths down ancient routes, watery blue-grey horizons, a church, a graveyard, and a little store.” Robison, and his associates, however, were not fairy tale fodder.
Hidden among the fairy tale outline, Link details a suspicious cast of characters, from caretaker Monnie Bliss, to Robison associate Joe Scolaro, and others. The list of tips and suspects detectives followed included everything from, “Medicine doctors, strange Greek god-sounding names, a queen, and a pool-shooting bomb maker.”

What investigators uncovered was that Richard Robison might have been a “Jekyll and Hyde type” of man. He founded advertising firm, R.C. Robison and Associates, and published “Impresario” magazine, an arts and culture publication covering the metro area. And while Robison looked clean on the surface, detectives found “a man who inspired corruption and loyalty in almost equal measure.” Robison also had a penchant for pretty secretaries and awkward sexual peccadilloes.
State police investigators Lloyd Stearns and John Fils were assigned to the case. Early on the two decided “the murders were either a meaningless rampage by a crazed killer or that the initial target of the murderer was Dick Robison, with the others tragic collateral damage.”
This is not the first time the Robison case has engaged the imagination of writers. In 2004 Judith Guest, most widely known for “Ordinary People,” used the case to frame her novel “The Tarnished Eye.” In her version, Guest plays up the link between the Robisons and convicted co-ed murderer John Norman Collins, who terrorized the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area in the period preceding the Robison murders. Collins and Ritchie Robison were possible acquaintances at Eastern Michigan University.
More recently, Lansing area author James Pecora has fictionalized the tale in his novel “DEADEND.” Pecora’s version casts guilt squarely on the shoulders of the resort’s caretaker, a character who suggests Chauncey A. “Monnie” Bliss, whose own son, coincidentally or purposely, had been killed on June 24, 1968 in a motorcycle accident not far from Blisswood.
Link, who has contracted with U-M Press for a second true crime book (and has also written for Northern Express), believes State Police detective Lloyd Stearns is the “true hero” of the story, because of his determination to solve the case. And while an indictment and a conviction were never achieved, Link does believe Stearns and his partner put together a credible explanation for who targeted Robison and why.

Mardi Link will speak about “When Evil Came to Good Hart” on July 24 at Horizon Books in Traverse City, and on September 24 at the Traverse Area District Library.
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11.19.2012 at 10:42 Reply

If you have information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the

Robison Family Homicides please contact the Emmet County Sheriff's office or go to

www.unsolvedhomicide.com for info on how to report anonymously. peace