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..

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Erin Crowell - May 24th, 2010
ConTEXTure: Dennos offers a marriage of poetry & sculpture
By Erin Crowell
At first glance, the ConTEXTure sculptures currently on display at the Dennos Museum Center look like a mess, thrown together by a five-year-old with way too much glue and freedom. They are convoluted works of art, colorful pieces held together by strands of wire, paint and other (sometimes unidentifiable) household objects.
Chaos, you could say.
But look closer and you will understand the amount of thought and work that went into each piece; how the web of strands seem to suspend, hold and balance each work. Every sculpture is accompanied by a poem, words that hold that same intricacy and consideration.
Sculptor Bill Allen and poet Fleda Brown combined their arts to create ConTEXTure: A Conversation Between Artists in Two Forms. Now on display through June 13 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, the exhibit is a marriage – one medium giving voice to the other.

So which is created first, the sculpture or the poem? Well, to ask that question is like asking, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Does it really matter?
“Brown writes, not to explain the sculpture but to add the voice of the poet to its implications. Allen responds to a poem, envisioning what it says to him outside of language,” as explained by the exhibit description.
So although each medium is a response to the other, we never really know which medium came first – which serves as another way of provoking our thoughts.
It’s also difficult to pinpoint where exactly Allen started on each sculpture. Unlike the seams of clothing, there is no way to identify a section. There is only a chaotic four-dimensional web, with lines going up, down, through and across. How he managed to maintain a four-dimensional shape during the construction is mind-boggling.

These strands that act as the skeleton of Allen’s sculptures isn’t anything new.
“If you’re familiar with his early work, Bill Allen does life-like animal sculptures using the same strand technique,” says Gene Jenneman, executive director of the museum. “It’s interesting to see the evolution of his work, moving into the abstract.”
Jenneman visited Allen’s studio after several people approached him, encouraging him to see the collaboration between the two artists.
“The museum has several pieces by Bill Allen in our collection,” says curator Diana Bolander. “We also did a solo exhibition of Bill Allen’s work in 1992. It was a pleasure to work with him again and to meet Fleda Brown and work with her.”
Brown has also seen her art evolve, which is epitomized by the ConTEXTure exhibit.
“I used to feel much more sense of where I was going with my poetry, which I don’t do anymore,” Brown states in a short 20-minute film that plays on-loop during museum hours.
The film is a conversation between Allen and Brown, explaining the process of creating the exhibit, which includes one-on-one interviews, readings by Brown and images of Allen working on some of his sculptures.
“At first it was difficult,” Allen says about his sculptures. “I was trying to be descriptive, which I found out just wasn’t going to work, so I talked to Fleda more. She told me, ‘Think of the poem as a spark.’”

ConTEXTure is the first exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center which combines both visual art and written word.
“I would say that visitors can expect to be surprised and engaged by the connections that they (as viewers) will draw between the sculpture and poems,” says Bolander. “The average time a museum visitor spends looking at a work of art is 30 seconds. For this show, more than 30 seconds is required to look at the work, read the poem and consider the poem and sculptures together.”
The addition of poetry to sculpture makes for a whole different experience, adds Jenneman.

ConTEXTure: A Conversation Between Artists in Two Forms is open now through June 13 at the Dennos Museum Center, located on the main campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Visit them online at dennosmuseum.org.

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