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 strange case of Jacob...
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The strange case of Jacob Cabinaw 3/21/11

Rick Coates - March 21st, 2011
The Strange Case of Jacob Cabinaw: Missing a year, his disappearance remains a mystery
By Rick Coates
People sometimes just disappear; often with adults it is by their own
choosing. But typically that disappearance is attached to some reason:
crimes committed, financial pressures, mental illness or stress. There is
usually some sort of indicator that points to a person choosing to
disappear. But what happens when not one of the indicators exists? That
seems to be the case with Jacob Cabinaw of Traverse City.
March 31, 2011 will mark the one year anniversary of Cabinaw’s
disappearance. Jacob Cabinaw is 32 and is 5’11” and when last seen weighed
approximately 150 pounds and had short black hair (shaved head). He is
Native American and was wearing his work clothes, consisting of a grey
jacket, grey pants and brown work boots. He was driving a 2002 silver
Chevy Malibu that was damaged along the front passenger side.

Here is what is known about Cabinaw’s last day in the region. After
finishing work at Dave’s Garage in Traverse City, Cabinaw joined some
friends at Hickory Hills to play frisbee golf (he was an avid player).
After they finished he was invited by his friend and playing partner Gary
Wittig to go to a party. Cabinaw declined, saying he had homework to
complete. Around 7:30 p.m. he dropped Wittig off at the lighthouse pole
across from the beach volleyball courts in Traverse City.  
After that it is all a mystery. Cabinaw’s bank card was used around 9 p.m.
for a $5 purchase in Buckley. The clerk doesn’t remember him. 
At 2 a.m., Cabinaw is on video at a Kalamazoo gas station using his bank
card but at 1 a.m. he made his monthly call to the military to notify them
that he was still in school. That call pinged off a tower in Oklahoma. 
Cabinaw’s bank card was used next at a gas station in Fort Worth, Texas
the next day for $30. A few hours later, his card was used again for $30
at a gas station in Sweetwater, Texas where the video did not show who
made the purchase. That was the last time his card was used, and after a 1
a.m. phone call his phone was not used again. 

Cabinaw’s family and friends immediately knew something was not right. He
was living with his mother in the Grawn area and when he didn’t return she
became worried. 
“It was not like Jacob to not call,” said Sandra Cranson, one of his nine
brothers and sisters. “This was totally out of character for him, so we
started calling everyone from friends to the police.”
At first the Sheriff’s Department did not investigate since Cabinaw is an
adult and there was no evidence of foul play.
“I am not saying that Jacob Cabinaw left, but people do leave,” said
Captain Dave Meechum of the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Department. “We have
been investigating this case for almost a year now. It is still an open
case even though it has been several months since we have had any leads.
His file is on my desk every day. Solving this is important to our
Gary Wittig, Cabinaw’s friend of the past couple of years, is also baffled
by Cabinaw’s disappearance and said that their conversation at the frisbee
golf course was casual and that his friend gave no indication that he was
under any duress. 
“Jake was in great spirits that day; he didn’t seem upset at all and he
never mentioned that he was having any problems,” said Wittig. “For Jake
to just up and leave is totally not him; for him not to say anything to
anyone just does not make sense. He has two sons that he adores. I just
can’t believe he would leave them behind.”
Sandra Cranson agrees.
“Jacob’s father was in and out of our lives for most of his childhood. He
grew up without his father,” said Cranson. “He was so committed to his
sons and after what he went through growing up he vowed to always be there
for his boys.”

While divorced, Cabinaw was on good terms with his ex-wife; he was not
behind on child support.
“Rachel (Jacob’s ex-wife) has been very helpful through this process. She
had his cell phone in her name so she was able to get all of his bills,”
said Cranson. “We reviewed every call he made in the past year and not one
to Texas.”
Equally baffling to Cranson and Cabinaw’s family and friends is that he
showed no signs of a person whose back was up against the wall.
“On Sunday he was at my house working on a school paper,” said Cranson.
“Why would a person who was planning on leaving work on a paper for
school? There are other things that do not make sense. Like how did he get
to Texas without any money? He didn’t pack a bag or take anything with
him. It just does not
add up.”
Cabinaw’s best friend Ken Barringer agrees.
“I have known Jake for 10 years and this is not the Jake I know. We spoke
almost every day, my family loved him. Jake was always smiling and never
seemed stressed,” said Barringer. “If he had problems he would have told
me. But he was in the National Guard, a great soldier; he was going to
college and he was a hard worker at Dave’s Garage. Plus, he talked about
his sons all the time and was very involved in their lives.”

Barringer is also baffled as to why Cabinaw might have traveled to Texas.
“He never spoke about Texas, and besides his brother being stationed in
Texas in the military for awhile, Jake never mentioned any friends down
there,” said Barringer. “I couldn’t think of any reason why he would make
a spur-of-the-moment decision to go down there.”
There has been much speculation from family and friends in regard to Jacob
Cabinaw’s disappearance but no hard evidence to support any theories. 
One theory is that Cabinaw might have been concerned about being in
trouble with the National Guard for his actions on March 31, 2010. Gary
Wittig admitted to the Sheriff’s Department that he and Cabinaw had smoked
marijuana that day. The speculation is that Cabinaw might
have possibly been concerned that he would be drug tested and kicked out
of the National Guard.
“First all, it is alleged use, but we spoke to Jacob’s commanding officer
last week and were told that Jacob was a model soldier and had never been
in trouble,” said Cranson. “So if Jacob did smoke some pot I doubt that he
would have split town and turned his back on his family, his sons, his
employer, the Guard and school to essentially work for cash somewhere.”

His friends speculate that Cabinaw might have been convinced to help
someone in the spur of the moment that night. Figuring that he would be
back by morning, he wouldn’t need clothes or money and somewhere along the
way something went wrong.
While his cell phone records have given no inclination as to why he has
disappeared, the family and law enforcement have yet to access his e-mail.
They had computer experts examine his hard-drive and nothing turned up.
Two weeks ago a search warrant was issued to Yahoo to access Cabinaw’s
e-mail account but it could be months or years before Yahoo complies with
the warrant.     
“Our family knows that law enforcement believes he left on his own. I am
sure there are others that have speculated this to be the case as well.
But these are people who did not know Jacob. Anyone who knows him would
never believe he could do this,” said Cranson.
“But in reality one year later -- even though our family knows that Jacob
did not disappear by his own choosing -- the reality is we have to hope
the others are right because that is our only hope of seeing him alive

At the time of publication Express Contributing Editor Rick Coates was
exploring additional details about Jacob Cabinaw’s disappearance. Look for
a follow up piece in the near future.

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