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 · Book round-up
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Book round-up

Robert Downes - November 9th, 2009
Book Round-Up
What’s new from local authors
By Robert Downes 11/9/09

Books about Northern Michigan topped the mailbag at the Express this fall as a number of authors explored fictional territory that is ‘close to home.’ Here’s a round-up of what’s new on bookstore shelves:

Echoes of L’Arbre Croche by Donald A. Johnston is a re-write of a 1917 mystery novel called The Indian Drum.
L’Arbre Croche is French for Cross Village -- once a large town of Ottawa Indians, as well as Pottawatomies and the Chippewa. As the book notes, every time someone dies out on Lake Michigan, an Indian drum sounds in the village to mark their passage.
The book takes place in 1915, some 20 years after the Indian drum sounded for the lost souls of a ship called the Miwaka. As luck would have it, a shipping magnate from Chicago goes missing, embroiling friends and coworkers in the mystery of his disappearance. Then another ship sinks off Beaver Island, uniting the book’s characters in a 20-year mystery.
Author Johnston spent 40 years in the insurance industry in Detroit. He served as a naval officer in World War II and is an ardent sailor of the Great Lakes.
Published by the University of Michigan Press, the book sells for $16.95.

Who We Were, What We Did: Fresh Perspectives on Grand Traverse History by Richard Fidler offers a slice of life from a century ago in 15 chapters that cover life in Traverse City during its emergence from the lumber era.
This is Fidler’s second book, on the heels of Glimpses of Grand Traverse Past. “Like my previous book, it takes on controversial topics: racism, dissent, attitudes towards the poor, and the pillaging of the natural world,” he notes in the introduction.
Here, Fidler describes life among the poor in Grand Traverse County and how they fared as homeless vagrants or as guests of poor houses. Criminal records are probed in a who’s-who of the county jail from 1870-1906. He discusses hospital care at the turn of the century and what a doctor’s visit entailed. We learn of the lives and treatment of mental patients at the Northern Michigan Asylum, along with the views of Dr. James Decker Munson on treating insanity in a humane fashion. There are stories of soldiers returning from the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Readers will also find a wealth of fascinating details on virtually every page. Did you know, for instance, that bears once preyed on the livestock of Old Mission Peninsula?
Illustrated with vintage photos, Fidler’s book breathes life into the dusty past, allowing us to see our distant counterparts through fresh eyes. A ninth-grade biology teacher for 31 years in Traverse City, Fidler does his community a great service, telling us the “stories of the past that need to be told.”

Good Harbor Bay by Barry Marsh is a children’s book about an 11-year-old boy whose mother is killed by a drunk driver. Josh and his dad move from their comfortable home in a Detroit suburb to live with his eccentric Grandpa Oggy in an old rustic cabin on Good Harbor Bay up in Northern Michigan. As his old life of computer games and text messaging fades away, Josh learns how to be a country kid, working with horses, ice fishing, logging, and studying the workings of nature on Lake Michigan’s coast.
Author Marsh is a graduate of Wayne State University who lives in Suttons Bay. His book for kids ages 8-12 is published by Crofton Creek Press and sells for $14.95.

Soul Sounds: Reflections on Life by Rabbi Albert Micah Lewis is a collection of thoughts on the spiritual side of life drawn from more than 300 columns written for The Grand Rapids Press.
Rabbi Lewis blends personal anecdotes with his views on “life, love, loss and the desire of all people to profoundly connect with one another and with God.”
A graduate of Wayne State University with degrees in psychology and creative writing, Rabbi Lewis began writing his column on spirituality in 2001. He frequently writes on issues facing those in middle age and older and has been active in the fields of gerontology and hospice. Published by Commongood Publishing, his paperback book sells for $14.95.

The Hideout by Micheline A. DeCaire is an adventure tale for children set in the author’s native France.
“After the death of his sole relative, his grandfather, a 10-year-old boy must choose quickly between two paths, the orphanage or escape. His choice to run and hide in the deep wilderness of Provence decides his entire future.”
The boy discovers a mysterious cave, filled with secrets, along with a homeless dog that becomes his friend and companion in his adventures.
Author DeCaire is an expert in fashion and skin care who spent four years improving her craft with the Long Ridge Writers Group. Her book is published by Author House and is available as a paperback from their website at $9.30. Look for her book-signing at Pavlova salon in TC on December 10 at 7 p.m.

The Lollipop Murder by Harley Sachs is a comic mystery from the long-time contributor to the Technology column at Northern Express.
A former professor at the Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Sachs divides his time between the U.P. and his winter home in Portland, Oregon. He has written numerous mystery and science fiction novels in addition to thousands of newspaper and magazine articles.
Sachs has a satirical outlook that suffuses his fiction. The Lollipop Murder, for instance, serves as a “warning to wannabe novelists!” The story involves a group of disgruntled novelists who are invited along for a cruise on their miserly publisher’s yacht at the Miami Book Fair, “only to find that they have no hope of ever earning a dime of royalties for their books.” With Hurricane Gerta blowing in, it’s a set-up for murder.
With an interest in technology as well as writing, Sachs was an early convert to e-books and print-on-demand publishing. Check his book out at www.lulu.com, ID: 7498760.

Ghosts and Legends of Michigan’s West Coast by Amberrose Hammond offers just that with 19 stories of haunted houses, doomed ships, monsters and spooks.
The author says she’s been investigating paranormal activities in Michigan since 2000. She formed the Great Lakes Paranormal Research Organization in 2003 and currently offers a website on similar topics at www.michigansotherside.com .
Her book rehashes many well-known local legends, such as the ghost at Bowers Harbor Inn and “The Dog Man” created by DJ Steve Cook, but also breaks new ground on local haunts such as the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Northport, or the old State Hospital, now known as the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. And did you know that the popular “shoe trees” scattered around the U.S. -- including the one on M-131 north of Kalkaska -- have a “sinister origin” linked to the so-called “Walled Lake Child-killer” of the ‘70s?
It’s often spurious stuff, but some chapters include the author’s own journeys to spooky cemeteries and the like. Published by Haunted America, the paperback sells for $19.99.

In Her Prime by Glenn Puitt is the fourth true-crime nonfiction book by the former Las Vegas police reporter who currently resides in Northern Michigan.
The book “chronicles the poisoning murder of Nevada politician Kathy Augustine by her fourth husband, Chaz Higgs. The book is the definitive account of Kathy’s high-profile life and the disturbing criminality that led to her death.”
Augustine’s husband was a critical care nurse. Her murder was caused by an injection of succinlycholine -- “a drug largely considered in the medical profession to be the perfect murder weapon.”
Complicating matters, Augustine’s husband Higgs was also a suspect in the murder of her third husband, Chuck, who died in a Las Vegas hospital while under Higgs’ care.
A writer who investigates environmental issues with the Michigan Land Use Institute, Puitt has written three prior books: Witch, Fire in the Desert and Father of the Year. His new book is published by Berkley; Puitt will be on hand for a book signing at Horizon Books in TC on December 5 from 2-4 p.m.

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