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 · Northern gifts
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Northern gifts

Rick Coates - November 22nd, 2010
Northern Gifts: Great ideas from local merchants
By Rick Coates
Each holiday season we’re all faced with the same dilemma: what to get
the person who seems to have everything or is just plain impossible to
buy for.
Of course some of us are also looking for that “wow’ factor; a
truly unique gift that is memorable, especially for those office
Christmas gift exchange parties.
Sure, some of you are looking for that perfect brown-nosing gift to
give this season. While others are looking to show their love to
someone special and no ordinary gift will do. Regardless of what you
are trying to accomplish this year, start first by looking around
Northern Michigan. The region is full of shops and local artisans
producing one of a kind items. Here are a few suggestions:

Northern Michigan Jigsaw Puzzles:
Ever wonder what to get that person who visits you every summer, or
the person who has a cottage up north? Why not one of the new jigsaw
puzzles from Lake Coast Living? This line of puzzles features the
photography of John L. Russell and the first in the series is a
513-piece Traverse City Summer Collage with the Blue Angels over West
Bay, an aerial shot of the TC harbor, cherries, a beach shot and a
vineyard picture.
Additional puzzles in the series include Fishtown, Old Mission
Peninsula, Mackinaw Summer Collage, Mackinac Bridge Collage and a
Mackinac Island Collage.
Lake Coast Living also offers puzzle mats in assorted colors. The mats
allow you to roll up either the puzzle or its incomplete version to
store for another day.
The puzzles are available via several retailers in the region. Check out
www.lakecoastliving.com or call them 231-633-8384 for more information.

Blend Your Own Whiskey
(Bourbon or Scotch)
Grand Traverse Distillery has been making award-winning vodka for the
past five years in Traverse City. Just recently their True North Vodka
was selected by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of the Top Six Vodkas
in the world. Earlier this year they released their new American
Whiskey Ole George.
Now, the Grand Traverse Distillery has introduced something new for
the whiskey, bourbon and scotch enthusiast. They are offering the
opportunity to “blend” your own whiskey, scotch or bourbon by
purchasing a barrel in one of  four sizes: 2, 3, 5  or 10 liters.
These small custom whiskey barrels are hand-crafted from American
white oak and charred on the inside, just like the 53 gallon barrels
used by Grand Traverse Distillery for their new 100% rye whiskey.
Here is how the program works, simply choose a barrel size that will
work best for you or the person you are giving this as a gift to, for
example the 5-litre barrel will yield just over nine bottles (fifths)
of whiskey, depending on what proof you want the whiskey to be once it
is bottled.
Grand Traverse Distillery offers five different un-aged whiskey
distillations in terms of grains: corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, and
a peated malted barley. The distillery will help novices create their
recipe, so if you have a favorite brand -- such as Makers Mark bourbon
-- they will give you a recipe that is similar, along with
The blending process in distilled spirits is an art form. It takes
four to six months in the barrel (depending on barrel size) to have a
finished product. As is the case with a master distiller, you will
take samples to determine if the whiskey is ready to bottle or if it
needs more time in the barrel.
These barrels are conversation pieces as well. Remember, however,
that the whiskey is 125 proof while aging; so be sure to cut with
water or ice for a barrel sampling party.
This is a great gift for the spirits lover and is likely to be a gift
that will give back as the recipient will certainly give you a bottle
of the finished product. For details go to
www.grandtraversedistillery.com or call 231-947-8635. The distillery
is open Thursday through Saturday at 781 Industrial Circle, Suite 5 in
Traverse City off of Three Mile Road.

Celtic Shuttle & Tours
There are so many great places to visit around Northern Michigan, so
why not give a themed tour as a gift? For example, a Leelanau
Peninsula tour might include wineries, art galleries, restaurants and
the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
There are plenty of opportunities for themed tours in the region,
ranging from art galleries and antique stores to farm markets and
pubs. A great place to start is with Celtic John O’Brien and his team
at Celtic Logistics Transport. They have organized several tours and
know the do’s and dont’s.
This is a great gift for small businesses looking to do something
really different for their staffs. Instead of the traditional office
party or dinner why not organize a day trip together? For details:
celticshuttles.com or call them at 231-313-1760.

The Gift Of Local Art
This is one of the best-kept art scenes in the country. New York,
Chicago, San Francisco are the noted art communities in America, but
Northern Michigan is starting to gain some notoriety.
A couple of years ago, USA Today ranked the “Top 10 Great Places For
Big City Art - Small Town Feel” and Traverse City made the list. Art
critic and author John Villani wrote: “Artists are leaving urban
centers and revitalizing small towns, like Traverse City, Michigan.
This waterfront community on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay boasts a
wonderful, high quality of life, anything there is possible as long as
it’s creative.”
Several artists who’ve made names for themselves in major gallery
districts around the country reside in Northern Michigan. Whether you
are looking for an original painting, metalwork, glass, or even
furniture, the region has an abundance of great artists whose work is
often available at a fraction of what you’d pay in New York, Chicago
or L.A.
Just about every community in the North has an art district, colony,
or association; start your search there or just head to a downtown and
seek out a local gallery.

Consider a “Charity” Gift
At the end of the day most of us have more then we really need.
Consider limiting your gift exchanging with family, friends and
co-workers and agree to give to a charity instead.
Some companies (including Northern Express) have given up the
traditional office gift exchange in favor of taking on a charity or
family and helping them out this holiday season.
Another great idea for families is to have each member give up a gift
and use that money to buy gifts for another family in need.
Many agencies need help during this time of year, including those such
as the Father Fred Foundation, which helps out families in a variety
of ways especially with heating bills. There’s also the Goodwill Inn
and church groups which operate food pantries during an especially
taxing time.
Contact the Salvation Army and the Women’s Resource Centers to find
out how to adopt a family. After all, doesn’t it feel better to give
than to receive?

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