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 · Getting Organized
. . . .

Getting Organized

Kristi Kates - February 21st, 2011
Getting Organized with Connie Huizenga
By Kristi Kates
“Do you use or need this?”
“What do you use this for?”
“What do you need it for?”
These are just a few of the questions calmly asked by professional
organizer Connie Huizenga, whose business, Details, Et Al, strives to
de-clutter and reorganize people’s homes, and, by intent or merely
association, their lives, too.
A professional organizer now for nearly 20 years, Huizenga’s informal
training was largely accomplished on her own, a process that began when
friends and family called upon her innate skills to help put their homes
or projects in order.
“Whenever my friends had to organize their homes or organize for a party,
they’d call me,” Huizenga explains, “that led to them telling their
friends and relatives about me. Some of those people would hire me to be
on-site to help them pack up an old house, then be on-site at the new
house to put all of the rooms together.”
While to some people, this might sound like the ultimate chore or tedious
exercise, for Huizenga, it brings her a great sense of accomplishment.
“I am absolutely passionate about it,” she says, “there’s a lot I’m not
good at, but organizing for me is a gift. There’s not one piece of it that
I don’t love.”

Huizenga’s job is part tidy, part psychology. It’s a proven fact that
cluttered surroundings can add stress to one’s life, while serene
surroundings - as evidenced by such philosophies as feng shui and the
orderly, clean, meditative design of such places as yoga studios and spas
- assist one in becoming more grounded, calm, and focused. While not all
of today’s homes necessarily prescribe to something as white and spare as
what we just mentioned, there’s still a huge benefit to having your things
organized and your rooms more tranquil in appearance.
“I find the most rewarding and gratifying thing is seeing not only the
change of a room, closet, or garage, but often, without realizing, I’ll
look over and see that the client is breathing deeper,” Huizenga says,
“when a connection to the puzzle of what a psychological issue has
manifested in clutter is realized, it’s very humbling and indescribable.
It means a lot that I was honored with such incredible trust to be part of
that, and that gratification is as transparent as an organized room.”
Huizenga’s business arrives in an interesting fashion. She says that most
clients will meet her or acquire her contact info, and then walk around
with her business card for anywhere from six months to a year before they
actually call. From there, the process is a carefully constructed one that
respects both the person and their home or office.
“I meet with them first for a free estimate,” Huizenga explains, “My
approach is to work alongside them. They’re in charge. I can’t know the
best way to organize their things until I learn more of their taste,
lifestyle, needs, frustrations, and their household or business functions
and needs.”
Most clients know that their clutter is in the way, Huizenga says, but get
overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.
“I see a room or a garage full of stuff floor-to-ceiling, and I just dig
right in,” she says, “asking questions about what they need and why they
need it. So basically, it’s emptying out a ‘closet’ - going through and
deciding what needs to go; what can be utilized or honored in a better
way; or what goes back in. I always encourage there to be what I call
‘breathing room’ within a room, to not let things just get stuffed back

For those naturally-tidy folk reading this article and thinking, “well, I
could do that” - the lessons learned via Huizenga’s services, and
sometimes for Huizenga herself, aren’t necessarily that simple.
“The easiest organizing jobs are the people who are in touch with what
it’s all about and what needs to go,” she explains, “those jobs are quick,
and far less painful.
“Given the fact that I have genuinely loved every organizing job I’ve ever
had, I can’t really pinpoint the ‘worst’ case I’ve worked on. I guess the
ones that I find myself physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of
would qualify as the most challenging,” she continues. “Those often fall
among people who might be in the ‘hoarding’ category, and involve tears,
laughter, anger - the whole gamut. I am very sensitive, and I have a
humble understanding of how vulnerable this process is - clients feel very
exposed, and can suddenly, after several days, remember that I’m really a
stranger that is making them get rid of their stuff.”
Huizenga says that for more sensitive clients, she often takes a pause to
stop and explore what’s going on, to remind the client that they are the
ones in change.
“Often, they’ll come back, wiping tears, saying, ‘oh! I need to go back
and talk with my therapist,’” she explains. “The feedback I’ve gleaned
from psychologists is that my work with some people is like churning up
emotional muck that has been sitting stagnant. What would have taken them
a year to help them heal, the client and I churn up in a few days.”
But even in the least disorganized jobs, whatever the clutter, Huizenga
says, she’s found that every experience has some emotional attachments,
both negative and positive.

A wide range of people can use a service like Huizenga’s, from busy
business people, doctors, nurses, and accountants, to harried parents, new
homeowners, those working on decorating/organizing their first apartment,
or freelancers who work from an office in their own house.
Even Northern Express’ own Peg Muzzall, as accomplished a sales manager as
she is, found Huizenga’s assistance useful when it came to putting a sense
of calm and focus back into her own home office.
“I’d been talking for years about getting my office organized, but it
always seemed like too daunting a task,” Muzzall explains. “I had a friend
who told me about someone who had helped her with some office organizing.
I knew it would be such a positive change in my life to make this a clean
break, so I called Connie.”
Muzzall’s before pictures, while not the worst possible scenario, show a
lot of clutter, an overloaded bookcase, and an overtaxed desk, all
detriments to her busy workdays. Muzzall and Huizenga met on a Monday, and
three days later Huizenga arrived with banana boxes to sort things into;
they spent an 11-hour day getting the project well underway.
“The best thing about the whole process was completely clearing the space,
and immediately dealing with the stuff at hand,” Muzzall says. “One box
for donation, one for resale shop, one room for things to keep, and many
large trash bags. When you’re working side-by-side with someone like that,
the albatross that has hung over your head for years melts away.”
In Muzzall’s case, the only things put back into her office were the
things she’d actually be using.
“Nothing else makes its way back into the room,” she confirms, “Connie
does her job incredibly well, and she’ll tell you right up front that
she’ll be tough on you, but also sensitive to your feelings. Now I can
breathe in the much larger space I’m in, and I love my new office - I know
exactly what I have in there, and everything has a specific place. It
feels wonderful.”
For Huizenga, it’s this kind of feedback that both keeps her going, and
helps her keep in mind the many rewards that she gets from helping people
restore order. So far, it’s mostly been referrals that have kept her busy,
but she has plans for 2011 that will expand her business, and pay back her
community, too.
“I have always maintained a successful business by word of mouth,” she
says, “but I am also working on a website, and plan to be involved with
some charities this year. The best offer is a 25-hour package deal that
will save the client $120-200. I also offer certain trades, and I plan to
offer a free day of organizing to charities I support.”

Connie Huizenga’s Details, Et Al may be contacted at 231-330-1777, or via
Huizenga’s email, ppliris63@charter.net. Charges vary based on each
individual project.

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