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 · Creative Roundup
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Creative Roundup

Robert Downes - December 13th, 2010
Creative Roundup: What’s new from local authors & musicians
By Robert Downes
If you’re taking the ‘buy local’ movement to heart, consider
supporting local artists, authors and musicians this holiday season.
Often, their work is a labor of love that pays more in terms of
personal satisfaction than in dollars. Here’s a brief look at who’s
doing what:

The Gift of Christmas by Barbara Faith Jordan

Singer-songwriter Barbara Faith Jordan is well known on the local
acoustic music scene as a member of the Northern Michigan Songwriters
in the Round. She writes socially-conscious songs and also has a
background in pop music from her years of performing downstate.
As her name implies, Jordan’s music also has a faith component, and
that shines through on The Gift of Christmas, which is a selection of
classic carols and hymns, including “The Holly and the Ivy,” “What
Child is This,” “Silent Night” and other favorites.
“Last year we put together a simple piano-vocal CD of soothing
Christmas songs to remind us of who and what we are celebrating this
season,” she says of her project. “We made the album available to some
friends and family and a few folks who came to some music performances
last year. This fall we have revisited this album and added some more
instrumentation (strings, cello, bells, etc), and now are officially
releasing it this Christmas season.  We wanted to keep the
arrangements simple so the messages in the songs wouldn’t get lost.”
Jordan’s fans will find that she outdoes herself on this disc, with
the beautiful bell tones of her vocals complemented by the Windham
Hill-style piano work of Dave Proulx. The CD was produced by Andy
Mitchell of Audio Bay studios and is available via
http://barbarafaithjordan.com and at Horizon Books.

Web of Greed by Buzz Harcus

Mancelona author Leslie F. “Buzz” Harcus unleashes hell in a mystery
involving multiple murders in his third novel from Sandhill
“The novel follows Detective Sam August as he delves into a
complicated web of double-dealing, sex, computer chips and murder,”
Harcus writes. “Suspects include a wealthy millionaire industrialist,
his young wife, her lover, a substitute wife, a wheeler-dealer sailor
with no visible means of income, an Asian crime gang, a hot-shot FBI
agent, a crooked lawyer, and helping Sam is his retired partner. Bill
A veteran of the Marine Corp, Harcus has written two prior novels:
“China Marine: Tsingtao Treasure,” and “Tainted Treasure,” which deal
with the adventures of a Marine corporal from Saginaw who is drawn
into intrigues in mainland China.
Harcus will be signing copies of his books at the TC Horizon Books on
Friday, December 17 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Come Dance and Sing • Mulligan Stew

A seven-member Celtic band, Mulligan Stew has been performing in the
Cadillac area for the past 20 years, and has finally released their
first CD.
Steve Loring, who performs on mandolin, banjo and violin, says the
band plays the usual Irish jigs and reels, but also likes to delve
deeper into the genre:
“We have grown quite fond of the music of renowned 17th-century Irish
composer Turfoch O’Carolyn and have added many of his tunes to our
repertoire,” Loring says. “O’Carolyn is seen as the patriarch of Irish
music and composed set pieces - beautiful melodies, often for
individual sponsors -- and can best be described as ‘listening music’
as opposed to dance music.”
Several members of Mulligan Stew also perform with the Cadillac
Symphony Orchestra. In addition to Steve Loring, the band includes
Jane Sawin on violin, Paul Sawin on cello, Kama Ross on flute and
pennywhistle, Tom Schwarz on guitar and vocals, Barry Lempe on guitar,
vocals and bodhran, and Jack Boyd on upright bass and vocals.
The result is a toe-tappin’ taste of the old country with enough
instruments in the mix to qualify as a Celtic orchestra. The band
performs regularly at Shay Station coffeehouse in Cadillac in addition
to local festivals. Check out www.mulliganstewband.com for more on
the band and their CD.

Ladies of the Light: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service
by Patricia Majher

Did you know that more than 50 women served as lighthouse keepers or
assistants on the Great Lakes between 1849 and 1954? Patricia Majher,
editor of Michigan Historymagazine tells their story in this 120-page
book from the University of Michigan Press.
Here you’ll return to the days when Michigan led the country in the
number of lighthouses, the lonely environs of which were staffed with
heroes and heroines who often risked their lives (and died) trying to
save wayfarers shipwrecked on the lakes.
For instance, the story of Elizabeth Van Riper Williams, the “grande
dame” of lighthouse keepers, born on Mackinac Island in 1842.
Elizabeth’s adventures included living on St. Helena Island and Beaver
Island, during the frontier days, where she met the Morman “King”
James Jesse Strang. Driven from Strang’s religious kingdom as
unbelievers, she and her husband lived in Charlevoix and Traverse City
at a time when the towns were remote fishing and lumber outposts.
Eventually, she became a school teacher to the Indians and settled
back on Beaver Island after Strang was assassinated. One terrible
evening in 1872, her husband set out to rescue a sinking ship in the
harbor and drowned in the attempt, yet Elizabeth lived on to the age
of 96, wrapping up the era of lighthouse tenders on the Great Lakes.
It’s rousing stuff, with many other tales of plucky women.
Illustrated with photos from the period, Ladies of the Light is
available at www.press.umich.edu.

The Interlochen Concert • Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua & Darek Oles

Imagine attending Interlochen Arts Academy decades ago and then
returning more than 37 years later to perform at Corson Auditorium
with your old high school chums. That’s just what Peter Erskine
(drums), Alan Pasqua (piano) and Darek Oles (bass) did on April 8,
2009, creating this live jazz album that includes nine instrumental
tunes. Songs range from those written by the players (“Barcelona,”
“Autumn Rose”) to “Wichita Lineman” by Jimmy Webb.
“A lot of friends were at this reunion concert, and their presence
inspired what I feel is one of our best performances ever,” says Peter
Erskine, class of ’71. The album has been nominated for a Grammy for
Best Engineered Album, Non Classical for sound engineer Jack Conners.
It was produced at Perfect World Studios in TC, available from
fuzzymusic.com or via iTunes.

Betrayal • by Harley Sachs

Harley Sachs has been a contributor to the “Technology” column in
Northern Express for more than a decade, writing with a wry sense of
humor and insight into technological advances that are still a bit
around the bend. But his writings go far beyond his newspaper work:
he has written more than a dozen mysteries, thrillers and guides, with
subjects ranging from Judaica and boating to speculative fiction and
life in Scandinavia. He’s even dabbled in creating a board game
called “Police State.”
A retired instructor and Professor Emeritus from Michigan
Technological University in Houghton, Sachs divides his time between
his U.P. summer home and his winter digs in Portland, Oregon. He notes
that his latest novel, Betrayal, parallels his own Cold War career as
a spy for the United States, during which he “served under cover in
The book details the exploits of a young diplomat, Irwin Glass, who
is posted to Moscow during the Cold War, hoping to establish a career
with the U.S. Foreign Service. Unfortunately, Glass is snared in a
“honey pot” seduction by a Russian femme fatale and returns to the
U.S. with his career in tatters, accused of being a double agent.
Irwin lands a college teaching gig in the U.P., only to be haunted by
the KGB and his past 20 years later.
Sachs does a lively job of capturing the mood of both Moscow and the
Upper Peninsula, offering vivid characters and a suspenseful pace.
Readers will have fun wondering where Glass’s fictional story leaves
off and the author’s begins. An early advocate of both
print-on-demand books and ebooks, Sachs’ novels can be found at

The Thorn Amidst the Rose • Paul Tegel & The Gardeners

Elk Rapids singer-songwriter Paul Tegel offers his third CD, backed by
“The Gardeners,” including top local players Mike Marois on guitar,
Roger Tarczon on percussion, Jack Conners on bass, Scott Zylstra on
pedal steel guitar and Al Jankowski on keyboards.
The mood is light, with chiming, reverb-drenched guitars on dreamy
songs. The overall sound of the CD is crisply beautiful, although the
guitar effects and digital delay tend to seem rather overdone by cut
number 12. Tegel’s atmospheric vocals have enough of a ‘haunted’ sense
to render a feeling of Michael Franks-meets-David Gilmour, and that’s
a good thing.
It would be interesting to see what Tegel could pull off in a live
performance, if he ever chooses to debut his work to an audience.
Recorded at Frontier Studios in Copemish and produced by Scott
Zylstra, the CD is available at Horizon Books in TC.

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