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 · National Writers Series 2011
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National Writers Series 2011

Erin Cowell - January 17th, 2011
The return of the National Writers Series 1/17/11
By Erin Crowell
If you thought the National Writers Series (NWS) was just another
festival to draw tourists to Northern Michigan, founder Doug Stanton
would tell you you’re wrong.
“We spread the series throughout the year, with two to three events
per month,” said the New York Times bestselling author of “Horse
Soldiers” and “In Harm’s Way.” “(Like other festivals), you could run
a marathon just once in a year; or you could run six miles everyday,
which does a lot more for you.”
Stanton is referring to the series that brings bestselling writers
from around the country right into Traverse City and the intimate
setting of the City Opera House – an event geared to promoting a
year-round discussion of literature and ideas.
Last year’s inaugural event allowed audiences to participate in a
“dinner table-like” discussion with writers such as Mary Karr, author
of “The Liar’s Club”; Advice Goddess columnist Amy Alkon; National
Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen; and news anchor/journalist Tom
While last year compiled a roster of serious wordsmiths, the 2011
series looks to be just as impacting; 15 made the trip last year,
while the event plans on hosting 20 writers in ’11.

Each author will be on stage either with Stanton or as a guest host to
discuss anything from the development as an author or for a particular
book to influences in the book industry, itself. Each session is
followed by an hour-long Q&A with the audience.
First on the City Opera House stage will be AMC television’s “Mad Men”
writer-producers Janet Leahy and Lisa Albert, scheduled for Thursday,
Feb. 3.
Leahy and Albert will provide examples of scripts written for the
award-winning drama and show its process from the page to the screen,
concluding with the actual clip containing the written scene,
according to Stanton.
Other guests include Sarah Brokaw, daughter of Tom Brokaw and author
of “Fortytude, Making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life –
through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond,” appearing March 3; Roy Bount Jr.,
humorist and contributor to The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Rolling
Stone, on May 12; and National Public Radio commentator David Sedaris
on Oct. 24, among many others.
“Richard Ford is one of the best writers in the country,” said Stanton
about the NWS June 2 guest.
Ford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, earned his book “The
Sportswriter” as one of Time Magazine’s five best books of 1986.

You may be asking yourself, How does Traverse City find itself on the
radar of national bestselling authors?
“I called ’em,” Stanton said matter-of-factly.
With 20 years of experience writing for national publications and
best-selling non-fiction, the Traverse City native has developed a
solid web of literary relationships.
“The thing is, these authors want to be here,” Stanton added. “They’re
saying this is one of the best book tour events on their schedule.”
Stanton points to the dwindling advertising funds of literary agencies
and the lack of promotion when it comes to a book tour – a main
component in driving book sales (and recognition on the best sellers
Stanton had just come off a 50-city book tour, himself, when the NWS
was just starting to take off.
“As an author, I know what I want in a book tour event,” he said. “We
provide (the visiting authors) with an audience and venue to sell
their books, a list of media in promotion.” These include audio/visual
broadcasting and re-distribution by IPR and Up North Media, along with
several radio, print and TV spots.
The event also serves as a function for attendees.
“It prompts the audience to learn more about the author,” explained
Stanton. “It’s a creative and transformative experience for other

It’s an intimate setting that brings the possibilities of the writing
world into something more substantial, particularly for young writers.
“When you’re there 10 feet away from that author, it makes (the
publishing) world seem more real,” Stanton said.
A driving force of the NWS is its attention to the young writing
community, particularly by providing scholarships to high school-age
children seeking a writing career.
$1,500 will be awarded to a student in the categories of poetry,
fiction and non-fiction. Students must be residents of Antrim, Grand
Traverse, Benzie, Kalkaska or Leelanau counties and attend a public,
private or home school at the 11th or 12th grade level.
Beyond the scholarship, new this year is the NWS working with Traverse
City Area Public Schools to host a creative writer in residence.
A writer will live downtown for a certain period of time and provide
tutoring and readings for area students, said Stanton.
Another new addition this year includes collaboration with the
National Cherry Festival to host an On-the-Beach author event on July
2. Details will be announced later.
While festivals continue to pop up throughout the region, the National
Writers Series has proven it can hold its own as a wide-serving,
creative arts event that goes beyond the three-day hoopla.
“We’re very excited for this year and are already booking for 2012,”
said Stanton.
Who knows? Maybe an NWS scholarship winner will be on that City Opera
House stage one day.

The National Writers Series begins with “An Evening with the Writers
of ‘Mad Men,’ Featuring Janet Leahy and Lisa Albert on Thursday, Feb.
3, at the City Opera House, 7 p.m. For more information on future
author events, how to apply for a scholarship and other information,
check out www.nationalwritersseries.org.

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