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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Hot Spots

Live music is back in vogue at venues ‘round the region

Ross Boissoneau - June 17th, 2013  

Over the past several years, whether it was the rise of DJs, the shuttering of popular nightspots, or the economic downturn, the result was less live music in the region.

But things are picking up. Established eateries are rediscovering the appeal of live music for their patrons. Bars and nightclubs are expanding their offerings, and new venues are popping up, making the region a more musical place.

Guitarist Ron Getz performs numerous times each week, from outdoor gigs to brunches, from Petoskey to Traverse City.“There’s a resurgence of live music,” he said.

Getz plays or has recently played at Om Cafe and Brew in Traverse City, two of the area’s newer venues. He’s also played at Chandler’s in Petoskey and cava in Bay Harbor, as well as Little Bohemia, the deck at the Holiday Inn, and Poppycock’s in TC.

The various outlets allow him to play in different musical settings with different ensembles.

“That’s what I like about music. It’s nice to mix genres,” he said, noting that his playing with other artists allows him to delve into rock, jazz, blues and world music.

For example, his gigs at Stella’s and Kilkenny’s feature solo guitar; at Om he typically plays with Nancy Stignatta or Laurie Sears on flute; the deck at Holiday Inn finds him with singer/songwriter Mike Moran. At Poppycock’s he often plays with a trio; at venues like Union Street Station he’s part of a quartet with Jack Dryden, Joe Willie and Dave Collini called Cowboy Fusion.

“We play everything from Led Zepelin to Chick Corea,” he said with a laugh.


Jazz pianist Jeff Haas isn’t playing as many places, but the crowds at Cambria Suites grew all year long for his Thursday night gigs with bassist Jack Dryden, drummer Randy Marsh, and woodwind player Laurie Sears.

“Our setlist features contemporary and fun arrangements of jazz classics from Gershwin, Ellington and Irving Berlin to Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and Antonio Carolos Jobim,” said Haas. “We also feature selections from my book of over 130 original tunes.”

On June 20 when Haas begins his annual Thursday night residency at Chateau Chantal, the space at Cambria won’t go silent, though the music will switch nights. The “Sundays in the Summer” program will feature a multitude of acts, including singer and pianist Treva Jaffe with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Hunter, vocalist Rose Fraser, classical pianist prodigy ChaoJun Yang and folk-rock duo The Accidentals.

Haas has also performed at the Circuit, the former Traverse City Christian Church and subsequently Just Imagine Creative Arts on 14th Street. The refurbished concert setting has also hosted saxophonist Bill Sears and his Chicago quartet. The venue is home to Building Bridges with Music, the program Haas runs for anti-bullying programs across the country.

“I also use the Bridges performance space for our Teen Mentoring Program with Music,” Haas says. “That is a program for high school music students who are interested in learning more about jazz and are willing to commit to 14 weeks of weekly three-hour rehearsals culminating in three public performances.


David Chown has similarly experienced an uptick in business. The popular piano player and his musical partner Miriam Pico are part of the roster for summer at Cambria Suites, and has a Thursday residency at Phil’s on Front in Traverse City.

Chown recently performed at the grand opening of Opa Uptown. He says he is pleased at the increased opportunities for performing.

“It’s nice to have some venues for some of the veterans,” said Chown.

Opa Uptown owner Paul Barbas says he intends to continue to provide occasional music at the restaurant, where a grand piano sits invitingly at the end of the bar.

“We’ve had David, a jazz trio – I’ll try anything and see if it works,” he said.

The Good Work Collective on Union Street in Traverse City, a project of Porterhouse Productions, offers numerous programs. They include performances by local and touring musicians, such as The Accidentals and Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys. Sam Porter also books artists for events such as Paella in the Park and the Microbrew festivals, as well as other outlets, such as the California Guitar Trio at Crystal Mountain.


Singer/songwriter Robin Lee Berry of Boyne City sees the venues from both sides. She has performed at places like the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City and Red Mesa in Boyne City, and she and her husband Tony Williams host concerts each year at their Freshwater Studios Gallery in her home town.

“I’m playing Morel’s Bistro in Boyne City, Café Santé and at Oryana with Glenn Wolff,” said Berry. “Patrick Ivory started that (the Oryana shows), which is a really nice gig.”

Meantime, their concert series continues to draw fans from around the area.

“We just finished our fourth season, and all our shows have done really well,” she said.

Johnnie Walker of Petoskey has a long history in the music industry. He’s worked as a roadie for touring groups, booked musicians for different establishments, and currently is working with Petoskey’s Festival on the Bay and Indian River’s Summerfest on their musical needs.

“Back in 1999, there weren’t that many venues,” he said. “Now we’ve got the casino, Northern Lights Recreation. Chandler’s, Petoskey Brewers, Shorts in Bellaire. Twisted Olive is opened up for acoustic music. Boyne Mountain has hosted some concerts like Kid Rock, The Allman Brothers, Randy Travis, the Gin Blossoms.

“There’s potential everywhere. Northern Michigan is a destination spot. I think it’s on the verge of busting loose.”


Even smaller establishments are hosting music. Brewery Ferment on Eighth Street just south of Union Street and Northern Natural Cider on Front Street host music on a weekly or monthly basis or on special occasions. Brewery Ferment even is hatching plans for a larger-scale event to take place in the parking lot in back.

On the horizon, owner Susan Leone of the Platte River Inn in Honor says once the lounge is open they will be booking live music as well. Harbor 22, at the intersection of M-22 and Cherry Bend Road in Leelanau County, is beginning a series of Wednesday night shows.

The Pavilions next to Munson Medical Center hosts a weekly lawn concert series, including artists such as Claudia Schmidt, The Bay Area Big Band, and Jazz North. The Leelanau Summer Music Festival, Bay View in Petoskey, the Manitou Music Festival, Interlochen Arts Festival and National Cherry Festival add to the fun.

Add to all that the proliferation of house concerts by touring folk and jazz artists and nightspots such as City Park Grill in Petoskey, Kilkenny’s, Little Bohemia, Holiday Inn and Union Street Station in Traverse City. Throw in Southside Hideout in Buckley, the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay, the City Opera House and NMC’s Milliken Auditorium, and it’s almost hard not to hear music.

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