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 · A mission for Bliss
. . . .

A mission for Bliss

Kristi Kates - April 25th, 2011
A Mission for Bliss: New recreation center will energize Blissfest farm
By Kristi Kates
The Mission: To build and launch the Blissfest Arts Recreation Center, a
facility for cultural, recreational, and sustainable living experiences,
to be enjoyed in a quiet natural setting.
The Man: Jim Gillespie, Blissfest’s founder and executive director, and a
well-known character to anyone familiar with the Blissfest scene.
Gillespie is leading the charge to make the Blissfest Arts Recreation
Center a reality, with Emmet County granting Blissfest a Special Use
Permit, and the Blissfest Music Organization embarking on a major capital
campaign. The process is just getting underway on this ambitious building
project that is taking place on Blissfest’s 120-acre property just east of
Cross Village.
Included in the project will be a 7,200 square foot multi-use, year-round
assembly building; a multi-use administration and greenhouse facility; 10
resort cabins and 35 permanent campsites.
Gillespie explains that the main focuses of the center will be a trifecta
of complementary ideals.
“Our vision is to combine cultural, agricultural, and ecological
experiences at the new recreation center,” Gillespie says, “’Sustainable
Tourism’ is the buzzword that incorporates this concept. From the
beginning, the Blissfest organization’s values have included not only
preserving and promoting music and dance, but also being good stewards of
the land we are entrusted with, and preserving a sense of community.”

Part of that stewardship means that Blissfest will be utilizing nature to
help power much of the center naturally, aiming at covering 40% of the new
complex’s energy needs with a residential wind turbine and solar panels.
“We are committed to low-impact, sustainable practices in the construction
and operation of the new facility,” Gillespie confirms.
He further explains that construction materials will be sourced locally,
and that the designs for the center itself will include traditional and
innovative sustainable concepts.
“We will use wind and solar energy to provide power to the new
facilities,” he says, “for example, folks will be able to experience
off-the-grid living when they stay in the new cabins.”
Gardens and orchards, a gate house, and a camp store are also part of the
bigger picture, but will arrive a bit later in the schedule; for starters,
Gillespie says, they’re finishing up an earlier remodel.
“We’re progressing into phase one of construction which will include
completion of our farmhouse remodel project, construction of the permanent
rustic campground, and construction of two cabins and a gazebo in 2011,”
he confirms.

So other than the buildings and facilities themselves, just what will be
happening at the Bliss Recreation Center? Plenty, according to Gillespie.
The center will be placing “special emphasis” on cultural heritage, with
performances, dances, and arts and crafts workshops, plus general
recreational activities like hiking, camping, and gardening, with everyone
encouraged to pitch in to maintain the whole works.
Educational programs and workshops in building, renewable energy, and
sustainable farming will also be made available as time goes on.
Gillespie, as would be expected given his other role as overseer of the
yearly Blissfest music event, is perhaps most looking forward, he says, to
the music-themed activities.
“I look forward to artists recording new songs in our solar-powered cabins
with a built-in recording studio,” he begins, “having regular community
concerts and dances during the summer in our new solar pavilion; hanging
out and jamming with friends in the campground. I also look forward to the
expanded use of the festival farm, with small groups able to enjoy
hands-on, cross-generational activities that provide a holistic
experience; working in the gardens and orchards for a weekend, harvesting
agricultural products with our ‘BlissFeast’ label - there are so many
possibilities it is hard to list them all.”

With the Center in such early stages, Gillespie explains that celebratory
and opening festivities will arrive in phases.
“We’ll start doing some activities in 2011,” he says, “for example, we are
planning an Earth Day/Arbor Day Planting Weekend on April 29-30, where we
will plant 50 fruit trees and 50 blueberries and have a workshop on how to
grow mushrooms. But I have not even thought of a grand opening - I think
that is in the future when we have more infrastructure built, like the
Solar Pavilion and the greenhouse/crafts building.”
The project is still seeking donations and funding for the larger goals,
“but the current economic climate seems to have had an impact,” Gillespie
says, and donations have been slow to arrive.
“So we will build as we have the support and come up with the resources. I
see the project in phases evolving over the next five years, so we may
have multiple ‘grand openings,’” he smiles.
Most importantly, Gillespie says, is to develop the center as a resource
for people to experience music, community, and learning at a beautiful
outdoor locale.
“We want to grow local food crops and bring them to the local market,” he
enthuses, “we want to spin the electric meter backwards into the future.
We want people to create culture and sustain community. Life is Bliss,
life is art.”

More info on Blissfest and on the new Bliss Recreation Center, as well as
ways to help the cause, may be found online at
www.blissfest.org/retreat-center.html. Blissfest may also be reached via
Blissfest Music Organization, 2000 M-119, Petoskey, MI 49770, telephone

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