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 · Festival of Races
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Festival of Races

Erin Cowell - July 5th, 2010
Runaway Success: Festival of Races to welcome more than 3,000 runners
By Erin Crowell
This year, the National Cherry Festival turns 84, making one of its
events, the Meijer Festival of Races, look young at a spry
38-years-old. However, the races have been around long enough to
inspire family traditions and bring thousands together, both
participants and spectators, for one last Cherry Festival hoorah.
Even more new to the scene is Lisa Taylor – race director for the
event. This will only be Taylor’s second year taking the helm; but
with over 30 years of experience running in the festival race, Taylor
is well versed in all that is cherry.
The Express recently chatted with Taylor over the phone about the
upcoming 5k and 15k Meijer Festival of Races, happening July 10, in
downtown Traverse City. Fittingly, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels were
just coming into town at the time, ripping apart the skies with their
first-round of aerial practices for the week.

NE: So, I hope you can hear me over the jet engines.
Taylor: Yes, Wow! It looks like Cherry Festival is really here…

NE: So, could you tell me a little about your new role as race director?
Taylor: Last year was my first year and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just
going to see how all of this works and see what kind of reception I
get.’ It went really well. So that got me fired up to do it again and
make it really great.

NE: How did you fall into the role?
Taylor: There’s certainly no college degree in race directing. It was
really because I have a great love in participating in the event. I’ve
spent years being a participant and observing races all over the
country. I qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon. I’ve always
watched with the eye of, ‘If I did this, I would do it like that.’
I’ve picked pieces and observed as a way to kind of prepare.

NE: What kind of numbers are you expecting at this year’s race?
Taylor: It’s really exciting to see what’s happening with running
events across the country. The last year or two there’s been like a
second boom of running. We’re anticipating a 25 to 30 percent increase
over last year, so well over 3,000 people.

NE: Wow.
Taylor: Yeah, it’s big. I’ve tried to add some elements that would
make it more of a social type of activity, because that’s what this
race has become for a lot of people. We’re going to have—for the
second year—the new finish at the intersection of Front and Union
streets. It was initially off a road where not as many parade goers
could see it. The runners finish on the parade route, literally. It
really is a fun experience.
The other new thing is a beer tent awards finish. Get a little cold
one to cool off, whether it’s cherry soda or beer. We plan on seeing
how that goes and see if we can’t turn that into a type of pseudo
Another change is the Golden Mile. It’s back to its original home.
Since 1983, the Festival of Races has had this elite mile which
invites elite men and women from all over. The men have to qualify at
a 4:10 mile pace, with women at a 4:50 pace. So, some of the best
runners come to duke it out. There’s also prize money for the man who
finishes under four minutes; and the woman who finishes under 4:30.
There will be about a dozen in each race.

NE: I thought the Golden Mile had found a new home at the Traverse
City Film Festival?
Taylor: Yes, and the guys behind the race—Bryan Burns and Eric
Houghton—reintroduced the concept. The film festival was a great
venue; but they asked, ‘Can we do it again like we did back in ’83?’
The last time the Cherry Festival hosted the Golden Mile was back in
2002; and now it’s back. We’re really excited—wait, hold on… (She
pauses as the sound of a jet engine roars in the background).
Okay (laughing).

NE: In your opinion, what makes a great race?
Taylor: Accurate timing, an organized registration system and the
venue and race course itself. Ours is just fantastic. Running along
the east shores of East Bay, going over the peninsula and McKinley
Hill…once you get back down the hill you follow down West Bay and it’s
just a beautiful venue for running. That is, of course, the 15k.
The 5k has a run through some of the classic neighborhoods, like
Washington Street onto Front.
The other element is to have fun activities that are associated with
the finish area, like good finish food.

NE: What food is on the “menu” for this year?
Taylor: Yogurt, cookies, bagels, bananas… We’re going to hand the
racers a cup of sweet cherries from Cherry Bay Orchards. I don’t know
of any other race that can give fresh sweet cherries, grown locally.

NE: I’ve always been curious about this: how do you measure a race
course? I picture a bunch of people piled into a car hitting the
Taylor: (Laughs) That is an excellent question! Not many people ask
that. I have a certified course measurer with U.S. Amateur Track and
Field; and they have this very elaborate requirement for how a course
is to be measured. It involves special equipment that you mount to
your bike. You have to calibrate your bike to a pre-measured distance,
then it involves spring scales, steel tape, tire pressure. Oh, and
tangent running.

NE: What makes these races so special?
Taylor: As a director, seeing everyone having so much fun, doing a
really healthy physical activity together. As a participant, part of
what I like about races like the Cherry Festival—which has been going
on for 38 years—is the traditions that people have established around
the event. I know in our family, it’s run the race, talk with friends,
watch others finish, eat a bratwurst, sit and watch the parade, then
go home, take a nap and then return into town for the fireworks.

NE: Sounds like a good day. What advice would you give to first-time
runners of this race?
Taylor: My advice would be start slowly and start according to your
ability. We have pace corrals that will help people pace themselves.
For example, if I started running 12-minute miles, I shouldn’t be
lined up with guys running 5-minute miles. Someone will get hurt.
Notice everything around you, the people that are at your same pace
and enjoy being together. The second thing would be, get registered
early (laughs) so you can think through the timeline of your morning
and really maximizing your day with a fun event, like a 5k or 15k run.

Registration for the Meijer Festival of Races, happening July 10, is
available online through July 8 at visit.cherryfestival.org/race-info.
There you will find complete information on the course, as well as
packet-pickup location and times.

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