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 · Taylor Hicks
. . . .

Taylor Hicks

Rick Coates - May 23rd, 2011
America continues its fascination with American Idol as it continues week
in and week out to be the number one watched show on television. This
season’s finale will take place Wednesday, May 25 with the 10th winner
being selected. Past finale shows have brought back previous winners, but
producers are remaining silent as to who might be coming back this year. 
There is no secret, however, that season five winner (2006) Taylor Hicks
will be coming to Northern Michigan this weekend to perform at the Little
River Casino in Manistee on Sunday night. With a clear schedule for
Wednesday night and a tour that currently has him on the West Coast, the
speculation is that Hicks will make an Idol appearance Wednesday night.
“I will keep that a surprise for now; the show producers like to keep
things a secret so I guess people will just have to tune in and watch,”
said Hicks. “I will give you this bit of information: I am coming to
Northern Michigan and looking forward to that.”
For the past two years Hicks has been getting an earful about Northern
Michigan from Dominic Fortuna (Williamsburg Dinner Theater). The two
co-starred on the Grease tour together. 
“I have heard so much about how great Northern Michigan and the Traverse
City area is from Dominic,” said Hicks. “Plus, Dominic knew that I needed
some musicians for that show and he lined me up with a couple of great
guys that I know are well known up there. I will have Roger Tarczon on
drums and Ivan Greilick on guitar.”
Hicks was quick to point out his trust in Fortuna.
“I know how talented Dominic is so when he makes a recommendation I can
take it to the bank,” said Hicks. “I gravitate towards people who are
talented and Dominic Fortuna is one of those people. He is a natural
singer and entertainer and I was fortunate to work with him.”

Hicks was in his late 20s when he auditioned for Idol on a whim.
“Hurricane Katrina had just hit the area and I was looking to try and get
some gigs in Vegas. I was barely off the airplane and my brother called
and told me I should go and audition for Idol since it was in Vegas that
day. So I did and ended up making it through. I felt I had a leg up
because I had been playing the roadhouses of the south for about 10
While judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul gave the thumbs up, Simon was
not convinced.
“He didn’t think I would make it past the next round let alone the final
round and I guess I got the the last laugh,” said Hicks. “At last year’s
finale, I sat down with Simon and he is a great guy and really knows this
entertainment business inside and out. Simon has encouraged me to take a
look at acting in movies and television, he believes that I am a natural
for that.”
Hicks is currently looking at some television and film offers and is
working with an acting coach. In the meantime he continues to focus on his
music career.  
“I am winding down my tour at the Manistee show and it will be one of my
last for the summer as I am focusing on writing new music and recording my
new CD that will be out later this year or early next year.”
Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Hicks was a star athlete playing,
soccer, basketball and baseball in high school. But he knew performing was
going to be his thing at an early age.
“I definitely realized after watching enough NBA games that I was way too
short to pursue a professional basketball career and I felt harmonica was
the best bet for me,” said Hicks. “I left home when I was 17 to start
performing, I have always felt performing was my calling. I had a vision
early on as a kid to entertain people. It was real easy for me to learn
instruments and play them.”
Besides winning $1 million and a major recording contract, Hicks is
grateful for what American Idol has done for him.
“It obviously changed my life. I feel very blessed to be able to tour as
much as I do nationally and internationally,” said Hicks. “I have found
touring the country to be very enriching and it has helped the writing
Hicks is diversifying himself; he recently opened a restaurant in his
“I have played in enough restaurants over the years to get the
restauranteur bug so to speak. Writing a menu and the creative aspect of
owning a restaurant is very similar to writing a record. The culinary arts
and recording arts are very similar,” said Hicks.  “We named the place
Ore, short for Iron Ore in which the city of Birmingham was founded on.
Our menu focuses on traditional southern cuisine.”
When asked if he thinks American Idol has run its course, Hicks chuckles.
“In my opinion if it had run its course it wouldn’t be on television. It
is interesting because the show has been on for 10 years and if you cut
the show’s viewership in half it would be in second place in the ratings,”
said Hicks. “So I don’t get why these critics think the show has run its
course. I don’t believe that it is going anywhere for a long time.”

Taylor Hicks will perform Sunday, May 29 at the Little River Casino in
Manistee. Tickets are available at www.starticketsplus.com or by calling
the Little River Casino box office at 888-568-2244.
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