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...

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Are we missing the boat on festivals?

Robert Downes - July 14th, 2008
Are we missing the boat on festivals?
The National Cherry Festival has come and gone here in Traverse City, blessed this year with great weather and good attendance. The music was good, the jumping dogs were cool and a lot of tourists came to town despite gloomy predictions and high gas prices.
What’s not to like?
It made this long-time festival-goer wonder why Traverse City doesn’t have more bayside festivals during the summer? After all, many waterfront cities, such as Milwaukee and Detroit, have festivals every single week.
Obviously, that wouldn‘t be a good idea for a residential community, but how much is too much?
In March, the Traverse City Commission unanimously approved a new policy to limit festivals in the city’s parks. In particular, at the Open Space, which is home to the Cherry Festival and TC Film Festival.
The new Park and Public Land Use Policy states that TC’s Open Space “shall have not more than two major events (during the summer) in addition to the National Cherry Festival and shall not have more than one major event during the rest of the year.”
Hmm... that means that if the Film Fest is one of the major events, then we have the possibility of having just one more during the summer at the Open Space.
That’s not very forward-thinking. It’s sort of like tying your hands on the off-chance that you might hit yourself on the head with a hammer.
Imagine if prior to the arrival of the Film Festival three years ago, the city commission had approved an even stricter policy to head off the objections of conservatives who didn’t like Michael Moore. Without the use of the Open Space for free films, the Film Festival might be just a footnote by now, instead of a spectacular success.
So why slam the door on future events which could prove to be just as valuable in their own way? Some ideas:
• The Open Space practically cries out for a jazz festival. What a perfect setting, and it would draw a crowd similar to that of the Film Fest.
• Then too, the first people who lived on these shores were the Ottawa and Chippewa. Why not a bayside pow-wow with a recreated Native American village to celebrate their heritage?
• Why not a classical music festival? The TSO concerts by the bay used to be a big hit during the Cherry Festival. A two-day festival of classical/pops music would give the symphony a boost.
• A wine and food festival at the Open Space could be a huge hit, considering the overflow crowds that bookend the summer at winefests in Leland and Northport.
• Why not a Green Festival to celebrate our environment at Earth Day?
These are all benign event ideas, unlikely to attract the kind of yahoos that turn some people off at the Cherry Festival.
Fortunately, there appears to be plenty of waffle room in the new policy in terms of considering what would be a “major event.“ But who decides?
Obviously, there are some bad ideas for festivals. Many residents scratched their heads over the idea of a jetski festival a couple of years ago, and few supported the Christian electronic music festival.
But was that a good reason to throw the baby out with the bath water on this issue? TC may be passing up millions in tourist revenues that could be generated by a few choice events. Perhaps someday, we’ll reconsider what we’ve lost.

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