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 · Music · Blue Stone Project
. . . .

Blue Stone Project

Kristi Kates - June 21st, 2010
Blue Stone Project brings Native American music to Petoskey
By Kristi Kates
He’s been nominated for a Grammy Award (2003, Best Native American
Recording) and has won a Native American Music Award for Group of the
Year (2004.) He’s half Navajo and half Northern Ute. He has
collaborated musically with John Densmore of The Doors as well as with
a plethora of other musicians on his own projects. The flutes that he
makes by hand are known world-wide.
And this is only scratching the surface of Native American musician
Aaron White’s story.

White, whose Blue Stone Project will be performing live in Petoskey at
the Odawa Casino Resort on Tuesday, June 22, says he’s been involved
with music his whole life in one form or another; Blue Stone is only
the latest of his musical endeavors.
“I started playing Native American music in 1993,” White explains, “I
started a group called Burning Sky with two other people. We were
pioneers of a new sound - mixing acoustic guitar with Native American
flute and percussion. I played guitar and also some flute in the band;
with the Blue Stone Project, I do the same, but not at the same time.”
After White’s first band dissolved in 2004, he became a solo artist,
performing all over the country, everywhere from Denver, Colorado to
New York City.
“Anywhere I could gig,” White says.
 As for working with Densmore, White met The Doors’ legendary drummer
at an awards show, and their connection continues to this day.
“At the show, we talked and ended up exchanging numbers,” White
remembers, “I was working on a project, so I called him and asked if
he would be interested in working with me. He said ‘yes,’ and we ended
up doing a workshop and a benefit concert. We have done various
benefits for cultural and environmental awareness, and we are still
collaborating on projects.”

Meanwhile, yet another of White’s talents was taking form, one that
would both further express his love of music, and also delve more into
his Native American heritage.
“I come from two different tribes,” White explains, “the Utes are from
the northeastern part of Utah, and the Navajos are from the Four
Corners region of northern Arizona.” (This is the only place in the
U.S. where the corners of four states - Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and
Colorado - meet precisely together at one spot.) “I started making
Native American flutes 14 years ago,” he continues, “I wanted to make
my own instruments, and was curious how they worked.”
White says that the process of making flutes, while rewarding, is
“sometimes tedious.”
“The old way was to find a good branch, split it in half, hollow the
inside out and make your holes, and put it back together using tree
sap or pine pitch,” he explains, “now we have modern tools, so we use
good old wood glue.”
White’s handcrafted flutes are now purchased by a wide variety of
people around the globe, and have become a favorite collector’s item.
White also takes everything that he’s learned about the instruments
and shares that information with others.
“I give flute lectures at the Enchantment Resort in Arizona,” he says,
“I talk about the history of the flute and how the instrument has
evolved from the traditional to the contemporary music we hear today.”

Today, White’s music has taken the shape of the aforementioned Blue
Stone Project, which White began at the end of 2006.  Described as “a
rock oriented sound flavored by contemporary Native American life in
America,” the band’s first eponymous CD was recorded in 2007, and the
trio of experienced musicians has progressed steadily since then.
“I met Gary Rasmussen (bass/vocals) and Ed Michaels (drums/hand
percussions/vocals) at a festival in Silverton, Colorado,” White
explains, “I was on the bill, and they were on a tour with Alvin
Youngblood Hart. They are both very accomplished musicians and have
played with many performers - Gary with Iggy Pop, Fred “Sonic” Smith’s
Sonic Rendezvous Band, Patti Smith’s Band, and more; he is a Detroit
homeboy. Ed hails from Minnesota, and he has also been in good
company, working with Roy Rogers’ Blues Band, Buddy Miles, Marty Balin
(Jefferson Airplane), Derek Trucks - the list goes on and on.”
The Blue Stone Project performs mostly originals in their concerts,
plus a few surprises.
“We may also play a few songs people may recognize - with a touch of
Blue Stone flavor to them,” White says.
Native American culture will be additionally showcased through some of
the concert’s other special features.
“Our mix of music has a real down-to-earth feel to it,” White
continues, “and you can expect to be enlightened with stories and
culture as well. I always look forward to playing in Michigan every
year. It’s such a beautiful place - especially Up North in Petoskey.
We plan on having a good time.”

Aaron White/Blue Stone Project will be performing at the Odawa Casino
on June 22 at 7 p.m. For additional info, visit www.odawacasino.com or
877-442-6464 (toll free) or locally at 231-439-6100.  For more info on
Aaron White, visit www.whistlingwind.com; for more info on The Blue
Stone Project, visit

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