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 · Robin Lee Berry
. . . .

Robin Lee Berry

Kristi Kates - November 1st, 2010
The Ubiquitous Robin Lee Berry
Berry got her start in the music industry singing in clubs in East
Lansing in the late 1970s; she also worked at the Lansing Sound
Recording Studio, doing vocal work and voiceovers for advertisements.
One year, she was offered a New Year’s Eve gig in Charlevoix, and, as
she puts it, “fell in love with the area.”
“In 1981, I decided to return Up North to play a summer gig at the
same restaurant,” she explains. “When summer ended, I realized quickly
that I lived in a resort town, and right off the bat the bottom
dropped out.”
“I’d heard there were some very talented players in Traverse City,”
she continues, “so I visited Union Street Station and heard Equinox, a
jazz quartet that was lead by Chris Bickley who had some real heavies
sitting in - John Lindeneau, Steve Christenson, Steve Stargardt and
Bruce Dunlop. I am not sure just how I approached them, but I had had
some experience in Lansing working with a jazz duo, and offered myself
as a singer for their band. That was an exciting band to work with and
a great experience. It really made me reach and do my homework playing
very challenging charts, but whew, what a kick.”
As time went on, Bickley lined up Berry to be the vocalist in his 45th
Parallel Big Band; she would work with them for three years.
“Those were some fun gigs,” she recollects. “I was asked to be a chart
copier - hand-writing out all the parts for 17 pieces and transposing
their parts into their specific keys - and I learned a lot. Now,
Chris’ band is called Bay Area Big Band, and it’s hotter than a
pistol. I get to perform with them this New Year’s Eve.”

Berry has actually performed at most of the restaurants and resorts in
Northern Michigan, as well as many of the festivals, both big and
small. But closest to her heart at the moment are her efforts
promoting Boyne City’s Sobo Arts District, and her work with perhaps
the most legendary Up North festival, Blissfest.
“My husband and I, along with Glen and Cindy McCune, opened Freshwater
Studio in Boyne City,” Berry says. “The best part for us is that it
doubles as a venue for concerts in the fall and winter. Our first show
was Thornetta Davis, and was a sellout - we have more shows this
winter including Dave Boutette, Stephen Fearing, Brian Vander Ark (The
Verve Pipe), and a Valentine’s show that will feature Rachael Davis,
Cathy Larou, and myself singing in the round.”
Freshwater Studio obviously spells fun for Berry - and Blissfest is
yet another story.
“Becoming a board member for the Blissfest was also life changing,”
she explains, “and brought me some strong friendships and a great
appreciation for the wisdom behind building a great festival and all
the great other events that Blissfest sponsors.”
Just as much a fan of local music as she is a part of the scene, Berry
cites the aforementioned Rachael Davis, Breathe Owl Breathe, Seth and
May (“Earthwork Music has a wonderful collection of great musicians,”
Berry enthuses), The Younce Duo, Petoskey band Orange Magic, Ruby
Williams, and Dave Runyan as several of the local talents that in turn
inspire her work.
Berry herself is currently performing at Phil’s on Front in Traverse
City, and at the new Cafe Sante in Boyne City, with more gigs on the
“I do hope to be stretching out in the performance realm,” she says,
“it feels like the time is right for me to climb in the car and do
some road time, which is always rewarding.”

And for those fortunate enough to catch one of those shows, you might
be treated to some new original Robin Lee Berry songs. Berry, who has
already released four albums, is currently working on another
recording with Patrick Niemesto and Joddy Croswhite.
“Joddy is an extraordinary lap steel player and has great ears, an
incredible depth of ideas and resources, and is an enjoyable person to
work with,” she says. “The tunes are coming together fast for this
next recording - hopes are that it will be completed this winter.
“There will be at least one selection featuring Seth Bernard, and
Peter Madcat Ruth, a nationally-treasured harmonica player.”
Berry considers herself fortunate to have found and worked with the
Northern Michigan musicians that she has, and finds that, in spite of
what can sometimes be considered a remote locale, it’s her own self
that limits her more than the surrounding elements.
“I find fear, lack of understanding, and laziness limiting.” she
explains, “If I had anything to do again, I would encourage myself to
have more courage and confidence, and not be so shy - to reach out
more for help when things get tough. I tended to isolate, but that can
happen anywhere.”
Berry’s move from Lansing may have begun as an unexpectedly major
challenge, but Berry has transcended the difficulties and has
solidified her unique place in Northern Michigan’s music scene. With
fans looking forward to a new CD, a husband and family to ground her,
and the respect of her musician peers, that move has proved to be the
right choice, and her many friends in her Boyne City community would
likely agree.
“Originally the move North, though a bit naive, was driven by beauty,
the water, the hills and woods as well as the kind people I found
here,” Berry says. “But then it hit me that the area was truly
seasonal resort territory, and that I would need to be extremely
“Like any challenge as I look back, I am amazed that we more than
survived, and that I was able to accomplish so much - to buy a house,
create CDs, and have two healthy children. It had its bumps -
sometimes earthshaking ones - but I guess it is a case of doing what
you can from where you are with what you have, and that can be true
anywhere you go. Life happens. It really is how you respond that
matters, and getting up after being knocked down speaks heavily about
what kind of character we are.”

For more information on Robin Lee Berry and her music, visit
www.robinleeberry.com; information on the Freshwater Studio events may
be found at www.freshwaterstudio.org.

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