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 · Books · Getting to know da U.P.
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Getting to know da U.P.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - March 8th, 2010
Getting to Know Da U.P. :Odd facts abound in new Almanac
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac
By Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak
University of Michigan Press.
600 pages - $27.95
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of those empty places you go because you want to be alone. Or you want to hunt. Maybe you want to cross-country ski. There are lots of reasons to visit. For me it is waterfalls—making a list then finding every one of them. And it’s small lakes so blue-green and clear you think the lake must be shallow, but it isn’t. And it’s miles of Lake Superior shoreline, driving along and wondering about the gales of November and the men out on the freighters and if they are always watching the sky for storms. So many miles of forest and swamp with tiny villages and small towns, all far apart.
Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak have just come out with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac (University of Michigan Press) which answers any questions I’ve ever had about the U.P. and brings up others I didn’t think to ask. Things like: How big is that huge Santa in Christmas? Or what about that 35-foot black-powder muzzleloader in Ishpeming—what’s that about?
I can’t begin to mention all the topics covered. From landmarks to U.P. superlatives—this is a true: Did You Know? book.
For instance: did you know that Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world at 31,700 square miles? Or how about: did you know that there was a Unicorn Questing Season, complete with licenses, at Lake Superior State College until 1987? Also, from LSSU, comes the List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness still published every New Year’s Day.

Here we go: There are almost 35,000 acres of virgin Northern hardwoods in Wilderness State Park. 75% of iron ore moved on the Great Lakes is shipped from Lake Superior and 50% of the coal. The long-time editor of Marquette’s Mining Journal was a man “whose joy it was to gird up his loins, seize a club and wade in, laying on right and left” according to an orator at his funeral in 1909.
And did you know the lowest official reading in Upper Michigan was 48 degrees below zero in Ontonagon County in January 1912? Or that the mystery writer, Charlotte Armstrong, lived up there? Or that the Rolling Stones came to play one song in Marquette in 2002?
Let’s talk about the cougar or what we, in the Lower Peninsula, have known (until recently) only as our mythical beast. The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and Central Michigan University now admits-–through DNA evidence—there are cougars in Delta, Dickinson, Houghton and Menominee Counties in the U.P. The cougars live among moose, wolves, black beer and all the other usual wildlife, making the U.P. a kind of last frontier for a stern race of people who still value their independence and individuality.
It was these Yoopers who formed the first professional hockey league in 1904, paying the players for their talents until 1907 when the Canadian professional league was established. Yoopers not only gave us the pasty, but cudighi, and TrenaryToast. Their per capita income runs from under $20,000 to $29,000, and unemployment runs high in all the counties.

From wealth to waterfalls, if you’ve got a question about the U.P. the answer is probably here. There are sections on education, the economy, mining, shipwrecks, culture, government, architecture, wildlife, and so much more. You want to know the name of every lake and waterfall in every county? It’s here. You want to know history and population distributions, or about the prisons and prison camps? It is all here. You will even find the number of slot machines each tribe owns.
The collaboration between Ron Jolly, broadcaster on WCTM in Traverse City, and Karl Bohnak, a meteorologist at WLUC, TV 6, in Marquette, came about because both had done previous books on Michigan. Jolly’s was the Northern Michigan Almanac (2005), and Bohnak’s, So Cold the Sky (2006), about U.P. history from a weatherman’s perspective. Editors at the University of Michigan Press brought the two men together to write an almanac of the Upper Peninsula.
The writing process began with a meeting between Jolly and Bohnak in St. Ignace. After that initial meeting the two met only once more, when Bohnak came to the Lower Peninsula on a book tour. Jolly said the almanac was put together by emails after that. “I’ve got a huge file of the email between us,” Jolly laughed. “I’m the geeky one who loves statistics and wrote about the authors. Karl’s the history buff and the weather guy.”
The book was supposed to run to 200 pages and be finished in 2005. Instead, Bohnak said, it came in at 600 pages and wasn’t finished until the spring of 2009.
The reasons the book took so long to complete, according to Jolly, was due to personnel changes at the press and Internet difficulties. Often his emails to Karl would go to spam and languish there until found, months later.
“As ’06, ’07, and ’08 passed,” Jolly said, “The information had to be updated. The process was laborious, but not that difficult.”
The biggest problem for the men, according to Bohnak, wasn’t what to put in but what to leave out.
The result is a huge, comprehensive almanac now in local bookstores. I can’t imagine heading to the U.P. again without it.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a novel writer whose third book in the Emily Kincaid series will be out in May of 2010.

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