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 · Features · The Petoskey Lighthouse
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The Petoskey Lighthouse

Noah Fowle - April 26th, 2010
Resurrecting the Petoskey Lighthouse
By Noah Fowle
Blown away by a storm in 1924, Petoskey’s last lighthouse was later
replaced with a more utilitarian designed directional light. Yet a local
effort is growing to find a place for a replica structure somewhere along
the city’s Little Traverse Bay coastline.  
Last summer, the long-awaited repairs to Petoskey’s breakwater were
finally fin-ished when the Army Corps of Engineers received additional
funding from the federal government as part of the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. In order to complete the work, the Petoskey Pier Light
was removed from its station at the end of the break-wall. Seeing the
blank pier inspired a pair of local lighthouse enthusiasts,
Gordon Bourland along with his wife, Carolyn, to begin floating the idea
of bringing back a version of the 40-foot lighthouse to the breakwater
that was first erected there in 1912.
“We are lighthouse fanatics,” Bourland explained. “We’ve traveled all over
Michigan and the United States to
visit lighthouses. There seems to be something that draws people to them.”
Following the successful collaboration between Emmet County and the Great
Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association to restore McGulpin Point Lighthouse
along the Straits of Mackinac last year, the Bourlands contacted
Dick Moehl, the president of the Mackinaw City based association, to see
if a similar effort could be undertaken in Petoskey. 
Although Petoskey’s pagoda-style light-house was relatively
short-lived, Moehl said the hexagonal structure was a popular one around
Lake Michigan, with four others built along the Wisconsin coast. However,
none of them remain today.  
Terry Pepper, the executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers
Association, said the unusual design of the lighthouse, along with the
lighthouse community’s enduring affection for the structures would be more
than enough to draw people to the area.
“There are untold thousands of people who have an affinity for lighthouses
of all types,” he said. “They go around the country photographing any
lighthouse they can find, even faux lighthouses, or replicas. I believe
people will come to Petoskey to photograph such a unique design, it’s
intrinsically enjoyable.”

Before the Moehl and the rest of his staff took complete control of the
project, the Bourlands presented the idea to the Little Traverse
Historical Society and the Emmet County Historical Society. Both groups
may not have been able to pledge any financial support, but they did
approve of the ultimate goal. Today, there is a general agreement
throughout Petoskey that a replica structure would be a positive addition
to the area.
Allen Hansen, Petoskey’s director of parks and recreation, met
with Moehl and Pepper earlier this month and scheduled a public discussion
on the issue during the parks and recreation regularly scheduled monthly
meeting on Monday, May 10. Despite the city’s inability to afford paying
for the project, Hansen said his department could handle the
responsibility of maintaining the structure if it is placed in one of the
city’s parks. He added that his department is enthusiastic about the
project and that the lighthouse was mentioned in the department’s most
recent master plan, completed in 2008.
“We want to see how the community feels about this,” he said. “This is
something out of our past and it would help people understand our maritime
Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce President Carlin Smith was also at
the preliminary meeting and said he thought the project would be a victory
for residents, tourists and businesses alike. 
“One thing a community needs is focal points, things that are great
symbols of the town,” Smith said. “The clock tower is a nice one, and a
lighthouse replica would be another.”
Moehl said he understands the city’s position and hopes to find a suitable
location for the structure.
“We’re looking for approval and support,” he said.  “We’re not looking for
any funding, but we’ll take any we can get.”

Supporters of the project were dismayed to learn in December that the
United States Coast Guard would not consent to placing any sort of replica
over the existing pier light, which functions as an official aid to
navigation. The original intent may have been to see a lighthouse replica
installed in the same place as the original, but the
Coast Guard’s decision carried at least one silver lining - the estimated
cost of the project dropped significantly once the need to fasten it to
the breakwater was eliminated. 
Pepper said the latest figure supplied by Moran Iron Works, which
completed significant restoration work on the McGulpin Point Lighthouse,
hovered around $200,000. Still, Pepper said that figure could not be
considered exact because it is based on the current price of steel and
pointed out it would be responsible to raise as much as $300,000 to ensure
the project is completed.
“If the city will agree to this and select a location, perhaps all they
would need to do is create a base and install electricity to put some sort
of light there,” he said. “We would raise funds to purchase materials and
have it brought to Petoskey. The only question is how much responsibility
down the road the city would want to take on upkeep. Our goal is to set up
an account that the cost of maintenance could be withdrawn from. It would
be a win-win, the city gets something and lighthouse lovers get
Although the economic climate may not be the brightest for an undertaking
of this kind, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association has a track
record of success with similar projects including work at
the McGulpin Point Lighthouse, the St. Helena Island Lighthouse and
the Cheboygan River Front Range Light. 
“Given the current state of things, I would have said this would be pretty
tough,” Smith said. “But I looked into the eyes of Dick Moehl and he seems
to have the wherewithal and the motivation to do it. Plus, the people that
really value the history of the area will get behind this. It’s worth

While the McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which sits on a tract of land that is
the oldest deeded piece of property in Emmet County, has a more storied
history than its Petoskey counterpart, Jim Tamlyn, chairman of the Emmet
County Board of Commissioners, agreed the replica effort is a worthy one.
“It would be a wonderful addition to bring that era back,” he said.
Tamlyn said attention swelled with the McGulpin Point Lighthouse and the
restoration project still garners donations of 1890s style furniture to
help outfit the lighthouse as historically accurate as possible. Although
Emmet County pays for the maintenance of the McGulpin Point Lighthouse and
it is staffed by paid guides, Tamlyn pointed out that in its first summer
the landmark was already drawing people to the area, who donated about
$9,000 to help with its upkeep.
“By the fall we were getting people who were coming to the lighthouse as a
destination from other states,”  he said. “That is economically
significant when they start spending a day or two in the area. Adding a
lighthouse in Petoskey would be just one more reason to visit the area.”
Bourland added that in order to make the effort a complete success, an
educational component must accompany any structural replica.
“It would need a plaque explaining it and literature that says this was
something that was there and tells the whole story,” he said. “If you have
a replica and it’s in place where you can see the existing light and the
bay, it would make a great tourist destination. There would be people who
make a little bypass in their travels just to see it.”

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