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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Live from Africa?Photographer captures life in the Holler

- June 22nd, 2009
Live from Africa
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars 6/22/09
Scarred by the wounds of war, but not broken, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are on a triumphant tour of America in support of a documentary film on the band, whose roots are set in the civil war of the west African country.
The film, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars will have a free showing at the State Theatre in Traverse City on Monday, June 22 at 10 a.m., with the band performing at the City Opera House on Wednesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. (Tickets $22 advance, $25 door.)
The band came together while fleeing one of Africa’s most horrifying conflicts, in which victims routinely had limbs amputated or were subject to gang rape, torture, or the massacre of entire villages.
Near the turn of the 21st century, rebel forces attacked Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, forcing a panicked mass exodus to neighboring countries. Among the thousands who fled were musicians Reuben Koroma and Francis Lamgba (Franco) who connected in a refugee camp in Guinea, West Africa. Along with Reuben’s wife Grace, they began making music for their fellow refugees, providing a welcome distraction to life in the camps.
Safety in the Kalia camp quickly disintegrated, however, when it came under attack from the Guinean army and citizenry. The refugees in this camp were evacuated and relocated to a camp set deep in the Guinean countryside. It was here that, thanks to a Canadian refugee aid organization, the developing band was able to acquire the rusted-out sound system and beat-up electric guitars that helped launch the group.
It was also in this camp that American documentary filmmakers Banker White and Zach Niles, along with Canadian singer-songwriter Chris Velan, encountered the group, which by that point also included Black Nature, a teenaged orphan with a gift for rap, as well as Abdulrahim Kamara (Arahim) and Mohamed Bangura (Medo), both of whom had had limbs amputated by the rebels.
The first-time filmmakers followed the band for three years as they moved from camp to camp. While filming, the United Nations sponsored a trip for the group to return to Freetown so they could see for themselves that the war was indeed over and safe for thousands of refugees to return home.
Ultimately, a recording emerged along with international acclaim, the documentary and a world tour.

Photographer Captures Life in the Holler
Shelby Lee Adams wasn’t always proud of the fact he was born in Hazard, Kentucky, where the Appalachian Mountains isolated the community, or that he spent his teen years in Hot Spot, which was named after a coal company.
He felt trapped there as a child and immersed himself in reading, especially photography and art books.
As he evolved as an artist, Adams devoted his work to telling the story of the mountain folk. Now a world famous photographer, he will talk about his experiences and share his images during a presentation and slide show June 27 at Crooked Tree Arts Center. His appearance culminates Photostock 2009, the fourth-annual gathering of photographers from around the world.
Photostock organizer Bill Schwab said Adams’ intimate portraits of mountain backwoods people resonate everywhere in these tough economic times.
“He shows us generations of families facing a challenging existence with dignity,” Schwab said. “We can all use a few lessons about the merits of being less materialistic.”
As a photographer, Adams began searching for a deeper understanding of his heritage. He ended up documenting the lives of friends from the hollers. They stand on rickety porches held up by cinder blocks, in front of satellite dishes with chickens afoot, and sit at a table in a room with newspaper-covered walls. Sensitive to respecting cultural and humanistic diversity, Adams also captures their strong wills, creativity and motivation.
Tickets are $20 Doors open at 6 p.m. Folk singer Dave Boutette will perform before Adams’ presentation at 7 p.m.
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