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 · For Sale: One Family’s Life
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For Sale: One Family’s Life

Erin Crowell - May 7th, 2012  

Troy and Erin Curet are living the American dream.

They own a four-bedroom home, have two cars, two children – a boy and a girl – and one chocolate Labrador.

Both are employed: Troy, a manager at Red Mesa Grill, and Erin, a stylist at Epiphany Salon.

It’s a good life, but they don’t want it. The Curets are selling their home and practically all their belongings, and packing up their children and dog for a life on the road.


The idea materialized during one of Troy and Erin’s “Meeting of the Minds,” a 6 a.m. ritual around the French press where the couple would just talk. This could include issues at work, the day’s agenda or whatever ideas awkwardly formed while waking up.

And it was just that, an awakening for the Williamsburg couple who realized the objects around them, even the kitchen they were standing in, had become a prison.

“It’s been a really slow, progressive epiphany,” Erin said. “Last summer, Troy and I discussed the possibility of moving to Thailand, but I couldn’t comprehend giving up my house or my stuff.”

It wasn’t until they found the “perfect” house and location that the couple pegged their unhappiness.

“We’ve bought three houses, put a ton of money into each one. We thought, ‘Maybe if it’s in a different location. Maybe if it’s nicer.’ The need to find that perfect home was the result of tragedy when Erin’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2010.

“My first instinct was to go home,” Erin said. So the family moved from Indiana to Traverse City, Erin’s hometown.

“This time we bought a house in a great neighborhood. We love the home, we love our neighbors. I wouldn’t change anything about it and we’re still like, ‘this sucks,’” Erin said.

“You feel like your house is so safe. Like that’s your source of comfort. But it could burn down anytime. My dad dying was probably the worst thing I’ve had to face, but it taught me so many lessons,” Erin continued. “I believe in my strength as a person and that security comes in who I am and what I can do. When you only have security in yourself, that’s where the real power comes from.”

“And living with no fear,” Troy added. “If you ask yourself what the worst case scenario is and you just face that right on, is it really so bad?”


Originally, the Curets hadn’t planned to sell the house, continuing their mortgage payments while on the road but having a place to come back to if needed – a glorified security blanket, if you will.

“We thought, ‘Well what if we lose the house?’” Troy said, “So the answer for us was, ‘Well, let’s just get rid of it.’” By eliminating those factors for worry, the Curets say they have continued to shed stress.

“There’s almost this spirit about the trip.

It has its own momentum,” Troy said. “You find what makes you happy and you just pursue it, knocking out the things that are hindering that,” Troy said matter-of-factly.

“We thought okay, this is what will make us happy: traveling, exploring, being creative, being with our kids, teaching our kids. So we’ve just knocked out every single barrier to that, which would be working a ton, it would be this house, filling this house with stuff, providing this house with electricity and internet.”

Erin added to that idea, saying, “When you put your focus on your children and spending time with each other, it’s amazing the things you used to think were important just fall away.”


The Curet children, ages five and seven, are used to change (Marnie has attended five different schools due to Troy’s moving up the restaurant industry ladder) and they have embraced the idea of giving, rather than receiving.

This past Christmas, while the Curets were undergoing their inner dialogue, the family decided that instead of buying gifts for one another, they would purchase a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart and pick a random stranger to give it to.

“Not wanting to draw attention to ourselves, we gave it to a lady under the false story that we were leaving the store and the card had only a remaining $2,” Erin wrote on the family’s online blog. “She may have been suspicious as my children were giggling outrageously and after handing over the card we ran... literally ran from the store. Oh well, we were hooked.”

The Curets continued giving away money, clothing and other household items.

“It’s kind of a high,” Erin said. “It feels great,” Troy added. Even their children caught the giving bug. “My daughter was sticking money in the pockets of her clothes so when people bought them, they’d find it,” Erin noted about her seven-year-old daughter.

Parents were sending in notes to the school saying Marnie was giving her classmates money, concerned their child had taken it from her.

But it’s just who Marnie is, her parents shrugged.


The act of getting rid of materialistic things isn’t new. There’s actually a whole movement called minimalistic living.

“Four plates, four forks, four knives,” Erin listed off what they’re keeping.

Erin and Troy will keep their laptops and phones while Marnie and Ethan are allowed three items each. For Marnie, it’s her ventriloquist doll “Rainbowtrout,” her Barbie and some paper and drawing utensils. For Ethan, he’s taking Legos, his puppet and a toy car.

The Curets plan on homeschooling their children, using the laptops, their eReaders – books take up considerable space – and the open road as their learning tools.

They’ve already started adjusting to what it will be like living in the tight quarters of their 19-foot camper van.

“It was the kids’ idea to move into our room,” Erin laughed.

Despite having three other bedrooms, the family now utilizes only one room until their house sells, which allows their realtor to show the house at a moment’s notice.

However, even if the house doesn’t sell, the Curets are set on leaving in September.

As far as how they will supplement their new lifestyle, the family has savings and the money they’ve received from selling their items. Erin is also an artist (you can find her paper jewelry and artwork at etsy.com) so she plans on selling her work at craft shows and festivals.

If worse comes to worse, the Curets say they will simply settle somewhere and get temporary work.


The overall reaction has been positive when people find out about the family’s endeavor.

“I really expected a lot of people to be like ‘You’re crazy. You’re going to ruin your children,’” Erin said. “It’s been very few, at least to our face.”

With no set itinerary or obligations, the Curets say they’ve found a peace they have long been searching for.

“We wanted the American dream and we worked really hard to get here,” Erin said, “but now that we’ve gotten here, we need to strive for something else. We’re just stagnant and that’s just sad.

“I can’t do this for another 60 years,” she continued, looking around her immaculate home. “That sounds horrible to me, but I just can’t go to school functions. I don’t want to go to basketball games.”

“Which is okay for some people,” Troy added, “but that’s just not us.”

The Curet family will be holding an estate sale this weekend, May 11, 12 and 13, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at their house (which is currently listed on TAAR.com for $175,000). The house is located on Applewood Lane in Williamsburg. To follow the Curet family on their journey, visit curetfamily.blogspot.com.

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