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 · Motor, Paddle or Sail: Boating...
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Motor, Paddle or Sail: Boating Season Looks Bright

Patrick Sullivan - April 2nd, 2012  

A couple of years ago, the economy looked grim and prospects for the annual boat show in TC looked dead in the water. Who was going to buy a new boat in the middle of an economic meltdown?

“It was ’09 when, at least from our perspective, the industry hit bottom,” said Andrew MacDonald, whose company Blue Water Promotions has run the Traverse City Boat Show for seven years. “It was very tough, it was almost panic, and we haven’t seen anything close to that since.”

This year, when the boat show takes place April 13 through 15 in the Howe Arena at the Grand Traverse Civic Center, prospects look much brighter.

MacDonald knows things are better this year because demand for space at the show is up.

Previous exhibitors want more space and dealers who haven’t taken part in the past want in, MacDonald said.

That’s in stark contrast to three years ago. “It was a time when some very longtime reputable dealers almost did not do the event for fear of not selling any boats,” MacDonald said. “We were able to pull ’09 together, but there were some nervous days in there.”

That said, when the 2009 boat show did take place, it wasn’t a disaster as some had feared. A fair number of boats were sold despite the gloomy economy, he said.

“The actual boat show went fairly well,” MacDonald said. “It was all the trepidation and anticipation beforehand, of the market being spooked.”


This year, in contrast, looks good from the start.

“Here’s what we see we see, buyers coming in, and it goes like this -- ‘We’ve wanted to have a boat for so many years, and now we’ve decided this is the time to do it.’ People want to enjoy life, and we hear that story more than anything,” MacDonald said This year, MacDonald said, the hottest models are pontoon boats. He says that’s because the new models feature more and more options.

“Pontoons are red hot and they’re making them nicer. There’s bathrooms on board, they’re more powerful, they can pull skiers, they’re versatile,” he said. “They can choose to do a cocktail cruise, they can do many things. Far and away, there’s more pontoons than anything else in this show. It’s not even close.”

There is one thing about this spring in Northern Michigan that MacDonald surprisingly calls a negative for a boat show.

From a show promoter’s perspective, this year’s summer-in-March weather wasn’t ideal, he said, because you want weather that makes people want to go inside to look at boats. MacDonald hopes the weather on the second weekend in April isn’t as nice as the weather over St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

“You want 50 degrees and rain,” MacDonald said. “One thing you don’t want is, to have the first nice weekend of the year, so in that regard, that’s passed.”


Apparently the weather has the opposite affect if you run a boat dealership on the water.

That’s because sunshine and warmth get people thinking about summer and boating season, said Christine Davis, co-owner of Dewitt Marine in Bellaire.

“We started our operations five weeks early, as opposed to previous years, due to the very mild spring,” Davis said.

Typically the business would open in mid or late April. This year, staff were called in on the Monday after St. Patrick’s Day.

“When there’s snow, we can’t really navigate boats, we can’t put them into the water,” she said. “When the sun is shining, the phones are ringing and people stop by.”

Davis said sales of the boats she offers – Boston Whalers and Premier Pontoons – are already up this year and she believes it’s going to be a great season.

“Sales are definitely up,” she said. “Last year was a decent year and so far we’ve sold a couple boats this winter and we’ve sold boats this spring, much more than we ever had in the past.”

Also, calls are up already this year to reserve slips and rental boats.

Perhaps because of their location on the Chain of Lakes, close to Torch Lake, boat rentals are a big part of their business. They keep 11 late-model pontoons available to rent through the season, and by the end of June, each one is typically rented out every day.

Families rent them out or small groups get them for parties, like bachelor and bachelorette parties, she said. Some people want to spend the day on the sand bar at the south end of Torch Lake; others want to take a quiet cruise through the Grass Lake Natural Area.

“It’s much more practical to rent a boat than it is to go buy one,” Davis said.


In a normal year, Long Lake Marina would still be in snowmobile sales mode and the woods around its Interlochen sales center would be buzzing with sleds.

This year, employees at the boat and snowmobile dealer were busy removing shrink wrap from the boats that will soon be on the sales floor.

It’s been an odd year, said Doug Clemens, sales manager at Long Lake Marina.

“We sold some snowmobiles before the weather went absolutely crazy on us,” Clemens said. Then the snow just disappeared, and many of those people who bought new snowmobiles didn’t have much time to use them.

Now, Clemens is dealing with special orders for boats, an early indicator of what’s in store for the boat-selling season. Clemens said what’s in store looks good. Long Lake sells Rinkers, Hurricanes and Sweetwater pontoons, among other makes.

“It gives me a really good feel for what this year is going to bring,” Clemens said.

Clemens doesn’t see the prospect of four dollar gasoline this summer as being a big problem for the boating industry because people have already gotten used to gasoline in the mid to high three dollar range and they’ve adjusted their budgets. The added 25 cents or so per gallon shouldn’t be a big deal, he said.

“Just like everything else, they get adjusted to it. It’s the old boiling frog theory,” Clemens said.

Gas prices affect used boat Gas prices might push some people toward jet skis, Clemens said. He said the Yamaha Waverunners he sells carry three people and have four-stroke engines rather than the oil-injected two-stroke engines found in older models. They are more fuel efficient, cleaner and quieter, he said.


Of course, for absolute fuel efficiency, nothing can compare boats powered by wind or muscle.

Scott Wilson, owner of Sailsport Marine, a Hobie dealer on M-72 west of TC, talked to the Express from a worldwide Hobie meeting in California last week. He said the talk there was about the emerging popularity of small sailboats, like the new Hobie Trimaran.

They don’t take gas and they’re easy to transport and store, making them much less expensive to own than a powerboat.

“Nationwide, it seems like people are talking about how small boat sailing is coming back. It’s relatively inexpensive to get into,” Wilson said. “The closer to the water, the more fun it is -- it seems like you’re going fast even when you’re not going that fast.”

Wilson said this year looks like it’s going to be a strong sales year. His shop also sells popular stand-up paddle boats and kayaks.

“We had a pretty good season last year, but I think interest is strong this year,” he said. “At least a few people have said they’re not putting gas in their motor boats and they’re buying sailboats instead.”

He said he expects another popular item this season to be the Hobie fishing kayak, which can run by pedal instead of paddle.

That enables fishermen or fisher-women to have both arms free when they reel in fish.

“Everybody this year is talking about the fishing kayaks” at the Hobie meeting, he said. “You can even stand up in them. They’re really stable.”

sales, he said, because those customers tend to be young families looking to get into boating on a tight budget and they are taking every expense into account.

“We noticed last year that used boats were down because of that,” Clemens said.

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