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 · Snow Moon Ranch
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Snow Moon Ranch

Pat Stinson - February 7th, 2011
Love among the llamas at Snow Moon Ranch
By Pat Stinson
Comfortable and fun. Ryan Hampton wanted both as he and his
bride-to-be, Laura Powers, combed the west side of the state in search
of the perfect wedding site.
At the top of her list? Comfortable and beautiful.
According to Powers, the southeastern Michigan couple “easily” visited
20 locations. It helped that they knew the area. His parents have a
cabin near Manistee and have worked in Traverse City; she spent summer
vacations tent camping with her parents at campgrounds in Leelanau
One rainy, gray summer day the couple took a winding road near
Burdickville and turned onto a country lane that climbed through the
woods. They reached a plateau of pastures ringed by wooden fences and
distant hardwoods. On the edge of a ridge were charming barns, pockets
of giant spruce and an attractive, wooded-sided home. Brown, white,
buff and caramel-colored llamas and alpacas dotted the landscape.
Owner-caretaker Juliet Berkshire Sprouse greeted the couple and showed
them her 100-acre oasis, called Snow Moon Ranch. They met alpacas,
toured the multi-purpose barn and discovered a wide, green lawn
leading to views of Glen Lake, Alligator Hill and the distant Dune
Climb. They knew immediately that this was the place. Recalling the
dreary day of their visit, Powers noted: “It was still beautiful. We
were thinking, ‘If it looks this good now, we won’t care if it

Simple elegance
The wedding day was “gorgeous and sunny, an absolute perfect day,”
Powell said.  Shuttles brought guests from their hotels to the site,
in time for lawn games of crochet, Bocce and badminton, plus kids’
games, followed by cold drinks and appetizers.  The early evening
ceremony was held in front of a wooden arbor on the lawn, at the Glen
Lake overlook.
“The décor was simple,” Powers said, describing her birch-bark theme.
“My sister called it ‘rustic elegance.’  We didn’t need much, the
landscape was so beautiful.”
They liked walking from the ceremony site to the barn and adjacent
pasture, where a rented tent shaded guests as they helped themselves
to the buffet.  Their caterer, Sodexo, of Northwestern Michigan
College, identified dishes that would “keep well” and “withhold well”
at the site.
The couple’s one concern was for guests needing transportation between
the ceremony and reception sites. Berkshire Sprouse attempted to find
a used golf cart and finally purchased a new cart on the morning of
the event.
“It was just amazing,” Powers said. “She’s so sweet and kind-hearted.
That was her whole demeanor.  She was the one that carried the train
of my dress.  I was also thankful that she told our photographer to
take a break and eat some dinner.”
The feedback from guests was also complimentary.
“Everyone we talked to loved it and thanked us for having such a fun
wedding,” she said.

Hometown celebrations
Sarah (Wigton) Dominguez of Ann Arbor, a 2002 Glen Lake School
graduate, grew up next door to Snow Moon Ranch and decided to hold her
wedding there, even before she had chosen a date. Her then-fiancé
Marxengels had worked briefly on the farm, so he had a connection, and
she fell in love with the water view.
Like Powers, she was excited to have her ceremony and reception in one
place. Another appealing feature was the many play areas for kids,
which helped them feel like part of the celebration.
“My second cousin was rolling and rolling and rolling in the grass,”
she said, laughing at her memory of the six-year-old. “He was having
so much fun.”
Dominguez spent two or three hours at Berkshire Sprouse’s dining room
table, as the two discussed “every important detail.”  The wedding was
kept “natural and simple.” Local people provided flowers, food and
“Juliet is great to work with and a really good communicator,”
Dominguez explained. “She wants to make sure everyone has the best
possible experience and makes herself available. People said it was
the nicest wedding they had ever been to.”
For Erin (Easter) Crowther, whose wedding had a modern but country
theme, the rustic setting of Snow Moon Ranch was ideal.  No stranger
to farm life or alpacas, (her parents own Northern Dreams Alpaca Farm
of Empire), Crowther felt comfortable around the “cool” fences, trucks
and animals, which made great backdrops for photographs. She and her
(then) fiancé, Josh, planned a mid-afternoon wedding to take advantage
of sunlight on the water and to accommodate the needs of older guests.
They liked the seclusion and “roominess” the acreage provided, and the
proximity to area lodging for their out-of-town guests.         “There was
so much room that everything flowed quite nicely,” she said of the
barn,  tents and bar.
She also was impressed with Berkshire Sprouse’s extensive list of
vendors and back-up ideas.
“Almost anyone can have their needs met,” she said, sharing that “a
ton” of people complimented them, saying that it was the best wedding
they had ever attended.

Weddings at Snow Moon Ranch

Juliet Berkshire Sprouse remembers the first wedding she hosted at her
Burdickville ranch.
“When I decided to do this as a gift for my goddaughter, I thought,
‘Oh, my gosh, what did I get into?’”
The llama and alpaca rancher said she was wondering where to start, to
bring her 30-year-old property back to “show quality,” but things have
gradually fallen into place, with new roofs, barn doors, irrigation,
landscaping and lighting.  Berkshire Sprouse’s background in fine arts
also gives her an eye for subtle design details.
She said most people who tour the grounds are impressed with the view,
and the fact that Snow Moon is a working farm. There’s also plenty of
space for activities and privacy.  Clients can use the property for
two or three days without worrying about bumping into another event.
Her typical wedding size is 200 people, although she has hosted 35 to
350.  She said she’s constantly moving during a wedding – she’s wants
it to be perfect for them, and they want it to be perfect too.
“We’ve never had to do a ceremony inside,” she said, but the thought
of a storm brings sleepless nights.  “All summer long I wake up and
look outside. Is it raining? Oh, it’s not Saturday!”

For more about Snow Moon Ranch, visit www.snowmoonweddings.com

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