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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From Rogers City to Project Runway

Melissa Fleis has style to spare

Patrick Sullivan - August 27th, 2012  
Rogers City native Melissa Fleis beat out hundreds of applicants to be among 16 designers who are competing in season 10 of Project Runway in New York City.

So far, she’s done her home town proud. In the first episode, when the contestants introduced themselves in a runway competition filmed outside in Times Square, Fleis was picked as having made one of the top three designs.

In the episode that aired on Aug. 16, Fleis’s design won that week’s competition.

Each week, the designers are given just hours and $100 or so worth of materials to design and construct a garment to be worn by a runway model for the week’s competition. Each week one designer is eliminated. So far, Fleis is still standing.

The show airs on Lifetime Television Thursdays at 9 p.m.

The 1998 graduate of Rogers City High School now lives in San Francisco where she works as an assistant designer at Chaiken Clothing.

The Express recently had a chance to talk to Fleis about her background and how she wound up on Project Runway.

NE: How do you go from being a girl from a small town like Rogers City (a city which Wikipedia notes is famous for being home to the world’s largest open pit limestone quarry) to being a contestant on Project Runway?

Fleis: It’s been a long road. I have always been into fashion since I was little and I knew, being in Rogers City, I knew I always wanted to leave. I wanted to get out and do bigger things. And when I went to the University of Michigan, I was originally studying pre-law, but I knew that that wasn’t my calling and I knew that I had to go into fashion.

And I just slowly worked. I went into fashion publishing in Florida. I worked in the beauty industry. And then finally I just went back to get my masters.

NE: When did you start designing clothes and how did you get into it?

Fleis: Four years ago. To get into the Academy of Art I had to present a portfolio, and I had never drawn (a design) before or had done anything like that or had even sewn. So I had to kind of make up my own thing, and I got my first taste of it when I got into school and had my first design class.

NE: What advice do you have for someone from a small town who wants to do something that maybe seems a little bit outlandish given where they are from?

Fleis: I think that no matter what, in life you always have to go for your dreams. Nothing’s ever too big or unattainable. You have to continuously work hard and see your future and see what you really want to do because, no matter what, through all the hard work, and the blood, sweat and tears, you’re doing something that you are very passionate about, and that you’re going to love and be successful at.

NE: That first challenge, in the first episode this season, the contestants had to show their designs in a runway show in Times Square. When I saw that there was a contestant from Northern Michigan on the show, I rooted for you, but I was also worried the designer from Northern Michigan was going to get eliminated. But then your dress came out and it was great and the judges loved it and you were in the top three. What was that night like?

Fleis: It was crazy. I had never seen my garments walk a runway before, so that was in itself amazing, and being in Times Square was, I mean, your heart just races and you get chills and everything that comes with it.

And being on the top, I was so nervous.

I was very, very nervous and what I think, when you are on stage like that, (it’s really important to be true) as a designer and to yourself. Really standing for that. And that’s what I constantly have to remind myself. To really own who you are and what you design, because in life, you are going to get good critiques and bad critiques, and you have to stay strong.

NE: Season 10 of Project Runway has been pretty intense so far. Two of the designers have just walked off the show. Is the atmosphere among the group as intense as it looks like on TV? What has it been like?

Fleis: It’s more intense than I thought it was going to be.

NE: Tim Gunn seems like such a great guy. Is he really that kind and supportive of all of the designers?

Fleis: He’s super cool. He’s really the best mentor you could have when you are going through such a high-stress time. You know, you’re looking at your design, and if you’re looking at what the other people are doing, it’s really hard to stay focused on what you’re doing and Tim always kind of reminds you of that and is really there to help you.

NE: What is it like to be judged by people like Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia?

Fleis: It was intimidating. It was definitely intimidating. I think the greatest thing is being able to be recognized as soon as your model comes down the runway, like that’s who you are, and they do recognize that. In the end, I love their critiques. Michael is so damn witty. I don’t know where he comes up with all of those one-liners. And Nina, I respect her immensely. She’s a fashion editor, but she really gives sound critiques. And Heidi, she just wants to wear it.

NE: Do you get back to Northern Michigan much? What are your favorite things about the place you left behind?

Fleis: So many things. I haven’t been back. I was supposed to come back this summer but I haven’t been able to make it. I think growing up in Rogers City, when I go back it’s like this little oasis right on Lake Huron. When you are in Rogers City you look out and it is just a beautiful lake. I just love driving up the coast. I love going to Mackinac. I love Traverse City, where my dad is from and I also have a lot of family there. I’ve also worked in the Harbor Springs area. I just love being on the coast. Especially in the summer and fall. It’s just amazing.

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