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 · Sean Ryan
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Sean Ryan

Kristi Kates - March 7th, 2011
Petoskey’s Own Irish Troubadour Sean Ryan
By Kristi Kates
Anyone who has spent any time at all vacationing Up North has likely at least heard of local performer Sean Ryan.
Ryan, who has spent the better part of the last two decades as a regular at Petoskey’s Noggin Room in the Perry Hotel, is a big part of many folks’ summer memories - carefully walking down the stone steps to the subterranean Noggin Room; settling in at dark wood tables set with icy drinks and baskets of popcorn; laughter and singalongs floating through the air to compliment Ryan’s own Irish-inflected folk singing; good-natured banter and deft guitar work.
It’s a story that started in Ireland, and ends - happily, thank you - in Petoskey.

Ryan’s family emigrated to the U.S. from County Cork, Ireland, when he was just 13 years old.
“We lived in San Francisco at first,” Ryan explains, “we stayed there for two years, and then moved to Chicago.”
Ryan attended high school in the Chicago suburbs, went on to attend Illinois State University, and after college, taught English in the Chicago area for a while.
Soon, though, arrived an opportunity to promote his music up in Michigan. Ryan moved North, began playing at Duffy’s (now Teddy Griffin’s Roadhouse) in Harbor Springs, and quickly became a popular draw. But the real turning point in his Northern Michigan career would be when he began playing at the Noggin Room in the early ‘90s.
“I remember at the very beginning, when I first joined Stafford’s, walking in and seeing this little tiny room that seated maybe 50 people,” Ryan remembers, “I met with Dudley Marvin and Shawn Gray, and we came up with the idea of creating this wonderful, pub-like atmosphere. It took some work, and it took a while to catch on, but it turned out great.”

‘Catching on’ is an understatement when talking about Ryan’s Noggin Room performances. He became a must-see, something of a local legend, and even drew other well-accomplished musicians to watch him play.
“One evening, Jonathan Edwards (Minnesota folk singer famed for singles Sunshine and Shanty) walked into the Noggin Room and sat at the back,” Ryan recollects, “I decided to do a favorite song, The Last Thing on My Mind. Jonathan got up, walked over to the stage, and gave me the look - you know, that look that asks, ‘is it okay if I sit in?’ And I looked back saying it was fine to approach. My son, Patrick, was performing with me that night, and Patrick looked over at him like, ‘hey, who’s this guy on my microphone?’”
“Then, Jonathan chimed in with Patrick on a harmony, and Patrick about fell off of his stool. Patrick’s been listening to that kind of folk music all his life, so when he heard Jonathan sing, he immediately recognized his voice. That was a treat,” Ryan laughs.

A talented performer in his own right, Patrick Ryan, who Ryan explains is band director at Petoskey High School, works with the Steel Drum Band, and also started a jazz pep band at the school, has been singing and playing guitar for years, joining his father for live shows as frequently as his schedule will allow.
“Patrick is very well founded in the older music, as well as his own picks, the Dave Matthews-John Mayer-type stuff,” Ryan explains. “He sings the newer songs, and I sing harmony for him, and he chimes in harmonies on the songs I sing. He likes performing the new songs with me because I add 12-string to his 6-string, and it adds so much to these newer songs and makes them our own.”
Ryan says that he occasionally gets a bemused eye-roll or two from his son whenever the elder Ryan pulls out a particularly vintage - aka “corny” - folk song, but for the most part, the two performers get along very well, both as musicians and as father and son.
“It’s such a treat to actually be doing what I love, and sharing it with Patrick,” Ryan says, “he’s not just my son, but also a great guy, a great teacher, and a great musician.”

Speaking of teaching, patrons of the Noggin Room might have noticed Ryan’s absence lately. There are a couple of reasons for that. While the younger Ryan is teaching music, the elder Ryan is currently teaching language arts and history as a teaching assistant at the Orion School in Boyne Falls. And he’s taken a break from the Noggin Room to pursue another new musical venture.
So where is Sean Ryan now?
At the new Café Sante in Boyne City.
“Well, I’ve been 20 years at the Noggin Room, and we both thought it was time to freshen things up a little,” he explains, “I’ve known the guys at Magnum Hospitality (owners of Café Sante as well as the Red Mesa Grill) since 1974 or so - we all talked about the brand new venture they’d be opening in Boyne City, and we thought the music would be a great addition.”
While his regular gig may have moved a couple of towns over - he’ll be playing Thursdays and Fridays at Café Sante - Ryan explains that he didn’t cut ties with the Noggin Room entirely.
“I’ll be returning in the summer, after Memorial Day,” he says, “playing Wednesdays at the Noggin Room.”

But while he’ll always have fond memories of his times at Stafford’s and all the folks he’s met there, he’s equally enthused about the possibilities that his new Café Sante gig will bring.
“I love that it’s fresh,” he says, “the management, the staff, the menu at Cafe Sante are all just unbelievable. It’s a brand new atmosphere with a brand new sound system - it’s nice to go in there and hear other people performing, too. It’s wired so well, there are no dead spots inside or outside, so it’s easy to play and chat with people during our shows.”
And there should be plenty of those folks to chat with. Ryan is now performing to a remarkable range of people, some of whom first saw him perform when they were still in grade school.
“We’re in the third generation of people coming to see us now,” he says, “people are bringing in their grandchildren, remembering when they used to watch me sing in the summers years ago.”
So just how many more summers does Ryan think he’ll be performing on the Northern Michigan circuit?
“Well, this is home,” he smiles, “and I’ve always said I’ll keep playing until they pry that guitar out of my hands. There’s always music to be made.”

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