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 · Murder of compassion: Sandra...
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Murder of compassion: Sandra Gregory

Patrick Sullivan - July 4th, 2011
‘Murder of Compassion’? Charlevoix woman accused of killing her mother has lots of silent support
By Patrick Sullivan
The day Sandra Gregory killed her mother, the two women had just received some bad news.
Amelia “Meadie” Gregory was having trouble seeing.
A doctor thought the vision problem was neurological, which probably meant the 94-year-old would need to move from the home she shared with her daughter on US 31 just south of Charlevoix into an assisted living facility.
Amelia Gregory told her daughter she didn’t want to go into a nursing home; she wanted to be with her husband, who is deceased.
Sandra Gregory told police she granted her mother’s last wish on March 27. Now Sandra Gregory, 73, is in jail awaiting trial on a charge of open murder.
She used a walker to reach the podium at a recent court hearing where, through her attorney, Kraag Lieberman, she waived a preliminary hearing on the charges.
District Court Judge Richard May denied a request that Gregory be released on bail.

All over Charlevoix you can find people who love and support Sandra Gregory but who don’t want to talk about her case publicly.
A neighbor, who didn’t want to be interviewed, merely said Sandra Gregory was a loving daughter who devoted her life to taking care of her parents.
At the courthouse, which filled with gray hair Tuesday afternoon for the hearing in Gregory’s case, friends and family showed up to show their support for Gregory, but none of them wanted to speak with reporters.
At the Charlevoix Senior Center, Sandra Gregory was well known and beloved, one woman said. But this woman also said she didn’t want to be interviewed about the case.
When asked why she thought nobody wanted to talk about what happened, even though Sandra Gregory has so many supporters in the community, the woman chalked it up to disbelief.
She said people thought what happened was so awful that no one wants to even acknowledge it even occurred.

Perhaps the sentiment of Gregory’s supporters are best summed up by Janet McKay, a friend who wrote a letter to the court in support of the defendant.
“Ms. Gregory seems to have committed a crime of the heart,” McKay wrote. “She loved her mother dearly and felt that she was doing what was best for her mother. If I had felt this was a matter of malice I would not have written this letter.”
McKay wrote that in the 30 years she’s known Sandra Gregory, she knew her as a church-goer who also liked to bike and swim.
“She was with her mother or by herself and always smiling with a happy hello,” McKay wrote.
McKay asked for leniency.
“It was the will of her mother and a murder of compassion so it is my hope that the court will give Sandra minimal sentencing,” she wrote.

Sandra Gregory’s case almost took a bright turn this week when a request that she be released on bail was supported by Charlevoix County Prosecutor John Jarema.
Initially Gregory was held without bond primarily out of concern for her own safety -- she attempted suicide on the day she killed her mother and at first she did not do well in jail.
“Defendant has exhibited periods of incoherency, wide mood swings, made innappropriate comments at innappropriate times, expressed suicidal desires and has made spontaneous remarks about her involvement in the charged offense that are against her penal interests,” Lieberman wrote in a motion to evaluate her competency to stand trial.
But Gregory has since received extensive treatment and her condition has improved.
Since she returned from War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie on May 13, her health and mental condition are good enough that she no longer represents a threat to herself or others, Lieberman wrote in a motion for bond.
At the hearing this week, Jarema said he would not object to her release as long as it was supervised by mental health professionals.
However, May denied the motion because Community Mental Health had not yet agreed to become involved in the case and because the circuit court will now take over jurisdiction of the case. Gregory will have a chance to be released again in July when she appears before Circuit Court Judge Richard Pajtas.

There’s no question Amelia Gregory lived a long and rich life.
She was born in Norwood Township and she graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1934. She attended college in Bay City, according to her obituary.
She and her husband settled in Charlevoix and she worked at Joe William’s Cigar Store and Newsstand for several year. Her husband died in 1996.
She loved to garden. She loved cross word puzzles. And she loved books, so much that she asked that memorial contributions in her name be made to the Charlevoix Public Library.
She had two daughters. Sandra Gregory, if she is released on bail, will go live with her sister and her sister’s husband in Greenville, according to her lawyer.

Perhaps among the facts of the Gregory case -- the ones nobody in Charlevoix wants to acknowledge -- are the brutal details of the homicide itself.
Sandra Gregory described what happened to police, details which are summarized in court records. What was conveyed was an act that was bloody, violent and sudden.
Police arrived to find Amelia Gregory’s bedroom in disarray. They found her deceased, lying on the floor. And they found a bloody injury around the woman’s eye.
Sandra Gregory quickly admitted to police that she killed her mother. She told them at first she attempted to smother her with a pillow.
When the old woman struggled against the pillow, she took a lamp and beat her over the head.
Sandra Gregory covered her mother with a blanket and called a friend, telling her she’d done something “bad.” Another friend was contacted who called 911.
The day of her mother’s death, Gregory tried to take her own life by slitting her wrists.
Lieberman filed a notice with the court that he intends to pursue an insanity defense.

Prosecutor Jarema said he doesn’t know what justice might look like in this case.
“That’s the perfect question because that’s what I’m struggling with daily,” he said. “What is justice in this case? As of right now I don’t know.”
A conviction for murder would likely put Gregory away for the rest of her life, Jarema said. He said he hasn’t discussed plea deals with the defense yet.
The case is further complicated because of the violent struggle that led up to the death. Jarema said Amelia Gregory said she wanted to be with her deceased husband, but she didn’t explicitly say she wanted to be killed.
“Imagine you live 94 years and the last thing you see is your daughter coming at you with a pillow,” Jarema said.
He said he hopes the killing didn’t happen because Sandra Gregory was unaware of services available to take care of the elderly through the county’s Commission on Aging such as in-home nursing care and Meals on Wheels.
“I think she was anxious over her declining health, and I think she was anxious over her mother’s declining health, and I think she was at a loss for what to do, and it’s sad,” Jarema said.

Although this is by no means a straightforward case of assisted suicide, it appears Sandra Gregory’s intent in this case was a compassionate killing to end her mother’s suffering.
Michigan has a long and controversial history with assisted suicide.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian admitted to assisting around 130 suicides before he was convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder and ultimately spent eight years in prison.
In response to Kevorkian, Michigan made assisted suicide illegal. In 1998, Michigan voters rejected a bill that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide.
Kevorkian, of Royal Oak, died last month, but as the case in Charlevoix demonstrates, the controversy over assisted suicide lives on.
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