The rest of the story...
The September 28, 2009 edition of the Northern Express contained a story about my overdraft nightmare (about a three-cent overdraft that resulted in hundreds of dollars in late fees from Chase bank).
My nightmare was a story about manipulation. Chase was using the classic carrots and stick form of manipulation to separate me from my money. The published story ended with Chase threatening to add still more fees to my account before closing it and permanently wrecking my credit record. Those threats were the sticks. The carrots came when they called to say that, if I paid just a little more money in the form of a greatly reduced fee, the whole matter would just go away. Instead, I emailed my Nightmare story to Senators Stabenow, Levin and Dodd (Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee).
Levins office was the only senator to reply. One of his aides called to suggest that I lodge a complaint with the Comptroller of the Currency. The website is: www.helpwithmybank.gov. I pasted my story onto that sites complaint form. They emailed me a recognition number and said that I would hear from them within 30 days.
Subsequently, I received a short letter from Chase. It stated that my account had been credited for the most recent series of fees, relating to the three-cent overdraft, and had been closed with a zero balance! I immediately went on-line and verified. My checking account had disappeared. It was like it never existed. That was the good news. The bad news: Chase kept the $350 they took in the first two rounds of my overdraft nightmare. At this point, It appears that $350 was my parting gift to JP Morgan Chase; the not-so-small price I was forced to pay for my “Nightmare“ end.
I would like to thank the Northern Express for publishing my overdraft nightmare. The support from Northern Express readers was really appreciated. I was surprised at the number of people who have contacted me with similar banking problems.
Dominic R. Sondy TC
I am writing to comment on Letters 10/5 A Lack of Respect and Norm Jones‘ “Un Cool Insults“ on 10/19.
I am a relatively new convert to Islam who has lived in the TC area for over 30 years. As a Muslim woman, wearing a hijab (head scarf) and modest, flowy clothing in and around our area, I have found 99 percent of the people here to be tolerant and very respectful. But, as some other minorities can concur, its the one percent that make it difficult at times when you are just trying to mind your own business and go about living your life.
I work in a professional capacity and believe that I contribute in a positive way to my clients and the community and receive respect and support from co-workers in the workplace.
However, there have been incidents here in our lovely area that have caused me concern and disbelief -- having some “what has just happened here“ moments. Other incidents have caused me to feel downright fearful when I was threatened and physically assaulted due to my attire--and erroneous assumptions by my assailant.
Since becoming Muslim, I have had the following experiences: teen boys yelling slurs out of their car window in the parking lot at Tom‘s, a Christian woman (she was wearing a cross, so I assume she was a Christian) approached me in a local TC store -- demanding that I tell her where Im REALLY from originally. She didn‘t take my word for it that Im a 30-plus year resident. After repeatedly telling her that I am from TC she adamantly refused to believe me. She then grabbed me by the arm and shook me, saying, You better watch out and not become one of those terrorists!
On another occasion I was told that maybe I should move to Dearborn -- perhaps a joke maybe? But hey, by now, Im beginning to wonder.
The lastest, since it was a housing discrimination incident, was the most disturbing. Recently during my search for an apartment in the area, I was told by a real estate agent who was renting an apartment for an out-of-state homeowner, that the rent now suddenly increased after he took one look at me when we met to see/show the apartment -- far different than the amount, which was $150 less, quoted over the phone. His cool and standoffish behaviour -- much different than his friendly tone on the phone, coupled with his discouraging remarks about the “flaws and drawbacks“ of the apartment let me know that I was not welcome there.
Maryam Hajar TC
Ive just finished reading Christopher Carlsons October 19 letter, which you entitled Doesnt Like Column. While I agree with Christopher that the Express Modern Rock can seem a little uninspired, and occasionally contains inaccurate information and dated reviews, I can see why your response was a little snarky... Tit for tat, as they say.
I laud the Northern Express Weekly for its coverage of local artists and those independant musicians who visit our area. Its clear that you are truly dedicated to promoting the local art and music scene. However, while I mean no disrespect to Kristi Kates and her efforts, I have found Modern Rock disappointing of late. I agree with Christopher Carlson that you have an opportunity, yet often fail to introduce your readers to some of the amazing, innovative (and really catchy!) music produced by the scores of independant labels today: labels such as Secretly Canadian, Arts and Crafts, Thrill Jockey, Young Gods, XL Records, and Jagjaguwar... While I enjoy many of the groups Ms. Kates covers, I want to know what the young people like! Teens and 20somethings, after all, were the driving force that brought us swing, jazz, and rock & roll.
A consultation with the knowledgeable, music-loving owners of Sound It Out Records of downtown Traverse City might be a great place for a new music field trip. A little inspiration from others is always helpful in the creative process.
Mary Bowden via email
Express Team Honored
The editorial, design and advertising team at Northern Express Weekly earned a number of awards in the 2009 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Michigan Press Association.
Anne Stanton took second place for “Unholy Childhood,“ her series on abuse in Harbor Springs; and also a second place for her Computer Cop series.
Peg Muzzall took second place for her “Snowboard Girl“ cover photo.
Robert Downes had an honorable mention for Random Thoughts.
Colleen Zanotti, art director won first place for Best Color Ad (Bearcub Outfitters) and Best Promo Ad (Stimulus Package).
Kyra Cross, graphic designer won second place for Best Color Ad (Hibbard‘s)
The designers also won second place for Best Special Section.