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..

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Something‘s brewing: Scott Graham

Rick Coates - March 14th, 2011
Something’s Brewing: Scott Graham heads-up Michigan’s craft brew industry
By Rick Coates 
Currently, Michigan ranks fifth in the United States for the number of
craft breweries, and when the new totals come out next month it is
expected to be fourth in the country. 
Driving that figurative beer truck with a full load in fifth gear and with
the pedal to the metal is Scott Graham, who was named the first executive
director of the Michigan Brewers Guild in 2007. 
The Guild was formed in 1998 as a non-profit organization with goals to
increase the sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing,
public awareness and consumer education. Thirteen years later it looks
like they have accomplished the goals they set out; today there are new
goals on the horizon.
Graham, who resides in Gaylord, grew up in Harbor Springs (fourth
generation). After graduating from Harbor Springs High School in 1984, he
headed off to college. Four years later, he attended the U.S. Brewers
Academy and went to work at the Frankenmuth Brewery in 1989 under the
direction of German Master Brewer, Fred Scheer where he worked in all
areas of production as well as in the lab.
After leaving the Frankenmuth Brewery he worked in Petoskey as a beer and
wine wholesaler at Bayside Beverage from 1990 to 1995, where his duties
included route sales, sales supervision, brand and inventory management.
In 1995 Graham joined the Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord as a founding
manager where he headed brewing operations as Brewmaster. From 1995 to
2001 he managed beer production for four locations in Michigan and Texas. 
In  2001 he was offered the sales manager position for Miller Brewing Co.
in the outstate Michigan market.
He took time out following the Michigan Winter Beer Festival in Grand
Rapids to answer a few questions about the state of the Michigan craftbrew

Northern Express: What is your gut telling you about the state of the
Michigan craftbeer industry?
Graham: All indications point that our industry is going to continue to
grow for years to come. What I have noticed in the past couple of years is
the interest in Michigan craft beers is expanding and what businesses are
finding -- both retailers and restaurants -- is that having a strong
line-up of Michigan beers is good for business.
They are finding that Michigan beers attract a good, affluent clientele
who have an appreciation for quality food as well. In 2009 Michigan beers
had two percent of the beer market in the state. When I look at the
craftbrew culture we have in Michigan, the number of breweries we now
have, somewhere over 90 and 82 of them are members of the Brewers Guild… I
see Michigan positioned to enjoy growth in this industry like Oregon,
Washington, California and Colorado. In Oregon, 30 percent of the beer
consumed there is now craftbrewed. 

NE: Recently, Booth Newspapers did an in-depth report on the Michigan
craftbrew industry and the amount of money being invested is unbelievable.
For example, Bell’s Brewery plans to invest $50 million into their
operation over the next five years. That speaks volumes to the health of
this industry.
Graham: Our industry is thriving in an otherwise miserable economic
environment in Michigan. Just about every brewery is either currently
expanding operations or getting ready to in the near future. I’ve heard of
over $100 million being invested in various brewery expansion projects
over the next few years. Here in Northern Michigan, the Cheboygan Brewing
Company  and the Soo Brewing Company are are both close to opening. 

NE: With over 90 breweries, have we reached a saturation point here in
Graham: Far from it from my perspective. Look, (craftbeers) are only at
two percent of the beer sales market here in Michigan and that number is
sure to jump when last year’s numbers are revealed.
I believe we have room for more breweries, especially here in Northern
Michigan. I see the opportunity for more pub breweries with restaurants as
well as more microbrews. Especially when you consider that the craftbrew
industry is 180 degrees different from the model of brand loyalty the big
boys use.
Craftbrew drinkers have their favorites, but they want to try new things
from various breweries and they expect their favorite breweries to make
new beers for them to try.  So having more breweries helps to create more
interest as long as everyone is producing quality and creates a positive
experience. It is the ‘rising tide lifts all ships’ theory.”

NE: What do you see as being new or big in your industry in the next year
or two?
Graham: There are several but there has been a lot of talk about cans in
our industry. Keweenaw Brewing in the U.P. was the first in Michigan to go
with the can package and now a lot of others are looking into it.
I am in favor of it. I personally like the can package because of its
portability; it is lightweight; it has a 100% barrier to light (which can
affect beer).
Another area that I see that will change our industry is Michigan-grown
hops. We are starting to see more acreage committed to hops being grown
here in Michigan. The challenge is will it be cost-effective and also
getting brewer acceptance. Brewers are loyal to their hops and it can be
hard to make that change. Certainly a Cascade Hop grown on the Leelanau
Peninsula is not going to be the same as the one in Yakima Valley.

NE: Do you miss being a full time brewer?
Graham: I miss brewing, I still fancy myself as a brewer even though I am
really not. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I am doing… I am excited to be
a part of this business and in my small way to help it grow in Michigan.

For info on the Michigan craftbrew industry check out the Michigan Brewers
Guild website www.michiganbrewersguild.org 

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