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 · Creative women in business
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Creative women in business

Kristy Kurjan - November 1st, 2010
Creative Women in Business
By: Kristy Kurjan
Crisp fall air kisses rainbow leaves and a bald eagle soars overhead
to welcome the coming day. It’s no wonder Northern Michigan has a
reputation for beauty and inspiration -- and these are among the
reasons why creative minds flock to the area. The gorgeous landscape,
friendly people, and laid-back life style provide a dream environment
that fosters innovation.
Here are just a few of the many women entrepreneurs who are succeeding
in turning their artistic talents into thriving enterprises in the
region. Take a look at what they are doing, why they are doing it, and
how they got there. Without a doubt these women have faced challenges;
but for them, it is well worth the reward of living and working in
Northern Michigan.

Michelle Pollock: Shoe Designer
Art for the Sole • Traverse City

Michelle Pollock’s shoe design company, Art for the Sole Shoes,
features shoes that are more than just fashion; they are pieces of
art. Her clients purchase them for special occasions, weddings or
simply to bring a smile to their faces. She is starting to gain
national recognition and has created shoes for Miss USA Rima Fakih and
actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.
The designer spent generous amounts of time watching the glamorous
Hollywood women of the 1920s -1950s throughout her childhood years.
“The romantic aspects of these films was not the only reason for
watching them, but the journey into a enchanting world of fashion and
feminine allure were my inspiration for my creativity,” says Pollock.
Actresses such as Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn, and
Grace Kelly were some of her initial muses. Their dresses were always
extremely glamorous and the shoes would take second fiddle. This lead
Pollock to ask the question; “Why should the dress get all the
attention?!” At the age of 14 she started creating shoes that took
center stage.
Since then, Pollock has combined her passions for art, cars, fashion,
and shoes into her dream job as a shoe designer. She started Art for
the Sole Shoes two years ago and has slowly expanded and developed her
brand image. Each year she creates two collections: spring/summer and
fall/winter. The lines consist of 20-35 limited edition shoes priced
at $200 and up. She also creates one-of-a-kind exclusives for her
clients which start at a higher price tag, around $500.
Designing has not always been her career.  She entered the United
States Marine Corps directly out of high school. After the Marines,
she worked her way up the corporate ladder at Sam’s Club to become a
buyer. There, she obtained many of the business skills she now
utilizes as an entrepreneur, like business discipline and having an
eye for what the consumer wants.
Art for the Sole’s fall 2010 shoe line debuted at the Grand Traverse
Resort’s Fashion Bash in October and was featured at Swing Shift and
the Stars. To check out the line in person, it will be featured at the
Festival of Trees at the Hagerty Center on November 18-21.

Becky Thatcher: Jewelry Designer
Becky Thatcher Designs • Glen Arbor

Becky Thatcher is a jewelry designer and owner of Becky Thatcher
Designs based out of Glen Arbor. “When I came to Glen Arbor 28 years
ago, I was the first new business to open in 20 years. Everyone
thought I was crazy,” says Thatcher. Since starting her business she
has watched as the area has grown and morphed into a supportive artist
community. She now has stores in Glen Arbor, Leland, Harbor Springs,
Traverse City, as well as an online store front. While most of her
clients are visitors to the area, she also has a strong local
The jewelry designer’s typical morning starts off with a 2.8 mile hike
up Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. In the early fall hours she can be found
on the dune top watching the sunrise. She takes note of its changing
seasons by reflecting on the brightest yellow leaf falling from a tree
or the way the sun’s rays light up a red freighter passing by. These
observations then influence the rest of her day, especially within her
designs. “It is great to be able to live, breath, and tie your
surroundings into your life. I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Her designs are based around the inherent beauty of natural elements
which can be seen both in her designs and her business mindset. “It is
a good challenge to see how to be creative beyond the objects we make,
to share the stories and inspiration behind the process, in how we
choose to market, display, and package.” Thatcher explains that
artists can use their creativity not just to make a product but to
overcome business hurdles in innovative ways. “I think we can use the
excuse of being an artist as a quick explanation as to why we are not
taking a textbook approach to solutions in business.”

Megan Gilger: Graphic Designer
Hitch Design • Traverse City

What type of person opens a package of M&Ms only to organize them by
corresponding hue? Someone who is obsessed with color. Meet graphic
designer Megan Gilger. She is the owner and creative director of Hitch
Design Studios based out of Traverse City.
Gilger moved from Lexington, Kentucky in the summer of 2009 with a
degree in media communications from Asbury University specializing in
Multimedia Design and Project Management.  Since starting Hitch Design
she has produced products for clients ranging from stylish brides
looking for fresh designs to corporations asking for eye-catching
logos. At Hitch Design Studio, every day is different: blogging,
editing, client meetings, communicating with vendors, and of course,
graphic designing.
“My husband gives me a hard time because I constantly take photos of
things, exclaiming, look at this palette or that sunset will be great
for this project,” says Gilger. “I am so inspired here by nature, the
people, the food, and everything that is Northern Michigan. But that
water, that water just fills my soul in a way nothing else can.”
Gilger feels extremely lucky to be able to follow her passion and
succeed in the business aspect of owning a company. In addition to
using her creative gifts as an entrepreneur, she has learned to
utilize mainstream business skills in her day-to-day interactions. Her
client relations, financial, and time management abilities are now
stronger than ever. “It has meant a lot of learning and a lot of
moments of humility but every time one of those moments happens, it
shows me new strengths and areas where I should improve,” she
explains. “I work every day off lists, so if I don’t have a list there
is no way I would accomplish anything; it keeps me sane.”

Lindy Bishop: Oil Painter &
Gallery Owner
Seed Studio/Gallery • Elk Rapids

Lindy Bishop moved back to her hometown of Elk Rapids after living in
Chicago for 26 years in the advertising world. As a single mother of
three, she wanted to provide her family the same joys she had of
growing up in Northern Michigan. The only missing piece of the puzzle
was the career path to make it possible.
In May of 2009, Bishop opened Seed Studio Gallery in Elk Rapids which
showcases her own paintings as well as those of other artists. Since
opening its doors the studio has also become a concert space for local
performers and a place where the creative community gathers. The
gallery provides Bishop the time and opportunity to talk about ideas,
writing, and music with other people in the area. “The area is full of
artists,” she says. “It calls artists to the area.”
One of her biggest challenges is trying to match all of the great
works of art with markets. Thus, she has been working on marketing her
artists through her website as well as Facebook and Twitter. Her
clients are mainly out-of-town visitors, often from urban areas such
as New York, L.A., or Chicago. “There are some very good collectors in
the area, but it is a matter of population -- trying to match the
artists to the buyers.”
Seed Gallery’s newest exhibit called “Vintages Then and Now,”
showcases Midwest artists’ work inspired by the word ‘vintage.’ The
first is of the wine industry, including interpretations of wine and
vineyards. The other meaning is a local historical perspective. Seed
gallery paired with the Elk Rapids historical society using old
photographs that artists then recreated with their own vision.

Sue Burns: Accessory Designer
Baa Baa Zuzu • Lake Leelanau

Northern Michigan is known for its cold winters, which is one of the
reasons Sue Burn’s line Baa Baa Zuzu has been so successful. Sue
recycles shrunken wool sweaters to produce woolen garments that are
sold in over 1,000 stores across the Unites States and Canada. This
fall season they added Japan to that list. Her line of woolen items
includes fingerless gloves, ski caps, jackets and even boot liners.
“A happy accident” is how Burns refers to the beginning stages of Baa
Baa Zuzu. One day, her husband shrunk a batch of wool sweaters in the
laundry leading to a children’s wear line made out of recycled
materials. Adults started pleading for their own products so Burns
quickly followed the market demand, abandoning the children’s clothing
to focus entirely on a women’s line. After 17 years in business, the
company has grown from a basement shop in Lake Leelanau to a thriving
business with 20 employees.
The good news is the company continues to grow at a rate of 30-40% per
year, even in these tough economical times, says Burns. Last year her
company produced over 12,000 pairs of mittens.  This year they hope to
make even more.  Baa Baa Zuzu is a seasonal line; however, the company
is in production year-round to make enough goods to fill orders come
fall and winter. Burns says she likes to use current trends as her
inspiration for new product, noting what people are asking for, and
then implementing the Baa Baa Zuzu look and feel. “Our pieces are
pieced together, but not patchwork” she says.
Initially, one of her biggest challenges was marketing the company’s
product as “recycled goods.” Thanks to a large recycling movement, the
mindset has progressively changed over the years to a point where
customers are seeking out earth-friendly goods. And, it doesn’t hurt
that the products are handmade in Michigan.
What does the future look like for Baa Baa Zuzu’s Sue Burns? Nothing
but up! “Everyday is a new day because every article we make is
different... We never know what will come in our next piece of wool.”

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