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 · The hard stuff: Anne Stanton
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The hard stuff: Anne Stanton

Anne Stanton - May 31st, 2011
The Hard Stuff: Anne Stanton’s ‘greatest hits’
By Anne Stanton
 My interview for my Northern Express job unexpectedly took place at a
Christmas party in 2003. I was about six months pregnant and nearly
suffocating from the warmth of bodies, packed like sardines in the tidy
Traverse City home of Jeannette and Bob Downes.
As I was trying to wriggle out of the crowd to the front door, I bumped
(literally) into Downes, who mentioned that he was looking for a crime
reporter for Northern Express. He wanted to “edge up” the paper, give it
more heft. Did I know of anyone?
“Yes, me,” I told him. “I could do that.” I had worked for five years at
the Traverse City Record-Eagle in the 1990s and had done some court and
police reporting. I figured that I could learn what I didn’t know, and I
liked the idea of having a week to dig into a story.
Ironically, I’ve never liked crime books or movies and, quite truthfully,
didn’t know if I’d like reporting on the dark side. But I was willing to
give it a chance, since our family could really use the health benefits
(the expense of which constitutes white collar crime).
I began freelancing after my son, Will, was born, but didn’t formally join
the staff until 2005, when the Express moved into its new offices in
Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons.
My crime beat, over the years, expanded to the environment and other
hard-edged news, but I always tried to keep an eye on the lawbreakers.
Sometimes it was hard to shake some of the more disturbing stories. As
journalist Sebastian Junger said in his speech in TC recently, a part of
your soul opens to the pain and terror as you do these kind of your
stories. I’d take a week off or do a feel-good story to recover. Another
hard part of the job was to say no to the many story ideas people gave me,
simply because there wasn’t enough time or space. Or the subject matter
was just too “nice.”
After six years, I felt it was time for a new challenge. A couple of the
stories over the years had given me some great ideas for a book, and I
also wanted to give a research hand to Doug, my author husband, on several
projects. So it was, with an ambivalent heart, that I resigned in March.
For this anniversary edition, Bob asked me to share some of my favorite
stories. Here they are.
The Dream … and the Nightmare: This story reported on a mom’s quest to
save her young daughter, Jessica, whom she discovered had hit double
jeopardy with a drug dealer boyfriend and a crack cocaine addiction (not
uncommon). Despite her mom’s pleadings, Jessica went straight only after
her boyfriend refused to accept their newborn daughter. (July 2006)
Jailhouse Medicine: No one can say for sure whether a cocktail of
anti-psychotic drugs killed Chris Morden during his short stay at the
Grand Traverse County Jail in 2001, but there’s no question the young man
suffered serious side effects. This story reported on a lawsuit filed by
his family. (June 2007)
Computer Cop: This story celebrates the skill of computer analyst Grand
Traverse County Deputy Todd Heller, who hunts down child pornographers.
But the article also lamented state laws that, in some cases, carry
harsher penalties for possessing pornographic photos than actual, hands-on
sexual abuse. (February 2009)
What Every School Should Know: How is it that a man, repeatedly arrested
for molesting teen boys (but never convicted) is allowed to closely work
with teens and even in a school? After discovering their son was
repeatedly raped, the Garcia family of Traverse City urged schools and
nonprofits to go beyond the typical background search and ask for arrest
records from the local sheriff’s and police departments. (March 2009)
An Unholy Childhood: This four-part series reported on the alleged sexual
molestation of nine Indian altar boys boarding at the Holy Childhood
School of Jesus in Harbor Springs in the 1960s and 1970s. The alleged
perpetrators? Two Catholic nuns. The series also examined the physical and
emotional abuse of Indian students. The boarding school is no longer open.
(Summer of 2008)
Extreme Court: This series detailed how the state Supreme Court closed the
door of justice to thousands of ordinary people who, despite grave
injuries, weren’t given the chance to see the light of a courtroom …
thanks to a political agenda that categorically denounced lawsuits.
(January 2007)
Battle over Biomass: In our Northern Michigan paradise, the idea of
burning trees for energy did not get a warm reception. (Spring of 2010)
Evicted at Christmas: An Elk Rapids woman learned she’d lose her apartment
because she used medical marijuana to relieve the pain of incurable brain
cancer. After the article ran, she was allowed to stay. (December 2009).
The Beauty and the Beast: The gorgeous Bay Harbor Resort is dealing with
an underground toxic legacy of a cement plant, costing millions to
contain. This article examined how it ever came to this. (September 2008)
Medical Marijuana: Archie Kiel and 3,000 others patients like their
medical marijuana... but the court system doesn’t like the confusing
medical marijuana law, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. Kiel,
a long-time grower and patient, was
arrested and served several weeks in jail for growing too many plants. The
courts are still figuring out the law. (August of 2009 and on. And on.)
From One Prison to Another: After years of perverse sexual and emotional
torment with no perceived way out, a quiet, middle aged woman repeatedly
shot her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, as he lie
sleeping in the early morning hours. Holbrook has since written to me,
through her lawyer, that she is much happier in prison and is committed to
help similarly tormented women. (August of 2010)
Journalists Under Fire: TC’s network of “good old boys” declared open
season on the Traverse City Record-Eagle, which sparked a counter-petition
drive that fully supported the paper’s aggressive approach to political
stories. After the dust cleared, Editor Bill Thomas remained at the
paper’s helm, but a new “feel good” paper sprang up, thanks to the efforts
of the paper’s opponents. (June 2006)
Watch Me!: A cry for help from a kleptomaniac. This story came from a trip
to a courthouse where I found a woman with big block letters on her
forehead that said, “Watch me.” It was her unique way of letting retailers
know she might steal from them. (June 2009)
Why the Dam Hurry?: The Traverse City dams can only make a small amount of
energy, yet some citizens think, why not? The source is completely
renewable. But other environmentalists believe nature is better served by
letting the river flow free again. Those arguments aside, this article
revealed that the financial analysis needed a re-do with the higher
electrical rate that renewable rates can now command, along with the 30%
federal subsidy. (June 2010)
The Good Fight: One needs a break from crime, and Express readers loved
the story of how Katherine Roth, a Traverse City doctor, helped husband
Greg Holmes survive sino-nasal cancer, one of the rarest and most
incurable of cancers. To protect him from the destructive side effects of
chemotherapy, she created a regimen of nutritional shakes and probiotics.
She also used acupuncture and low-level laser therapy to keep up his
energy flow. Holmes is cancer free after seven years. (March 2010)
Oh, the Things Those Men Do… Chris Morey free dives all year, sinking for
several minutes at a time into West Grand Traverse Bay in spring, summer,
fall and the sub-zero temperatures of winter. But why? Morey said he loves
the relaxation and focus it requires--a daily meditation from the stress
of raising an autistic son.  (September 2007)
The Wolf Man of Brethern: John Patrick Sullivan died after refusing to
allow an animal control officer on his property to micro-chip his 14 wolf
dogs in September of 2005 as required by law. A SWAT team arrived, and
hours later, Sullivan was shot by officers who believed he had shot a
deputy. After reading a brief report in the local paper about the shooting
, I drove down to the tiny town of Brethern and found Sullivan’s cluttered
encampment with the wolf dogs in large pens, along with friends who were
stunned by the shooting. The wolf dogs were eventually taken to a 34-acre
sanctuary in Muskegon. (October 2005)
Lyme Disease in Michigan: Never realizing that a disease could inspire
intense controversy and conspiracy theories, I dove headlong into this
issue after my friend, Lori Hall, told me she had been diagnosed. Although
infectious disease specialists in Northern Michigan still don’t believe
lyme-infested ticks exist here, I found the case of Donaldine “Dee”
Bourbeau of Grawn and Traverse City, who was diagnosed in 2008 with a
medically accepted blood test administered by a local family physician. An
avid hiker, she must have acquired it here because she has never left the
area. My friend later died, and her brother made a provocactive
documentary, Under the Eight Ball, in her honor. (June 2010)
To Be ... or Not to Be: Will Petoskey dig out of its hole? Apparently not.
(September 2007)
Anne Avery-Miller: Quite truthfully, I didn’t recognize Anne’s name when
she called me in the spring of 2009, asking me if I’d be willing to do a
story about her. She was going by a fake name and had moved to Traverse
City because life had become too difficult in Elk Rapids, after being
accused (but not charged) of killing her emotionally troubled 16-year-old
son in November of 2007. So began my research with a myriad of interviews
and hundreds of pages of court, police, and divorce court records. I wrote
the story, “Doubt” laying out the facts, letting the readers draw their
own conclusions.
A day after publication in November of 2010, Avery-Miller was charged with
murder and jailed. She committed suicide six months later—one day before a
court hearing to terminate her parental rights of her beloved 8-year-old
daughter. She hanged herself in an Antrim County jail cell. This, of all
the stories, was the most tragic. (November 2009 and May 2010) 
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