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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A Double Vision of Classic Rock

Styx & Foreigner at Cherry Festival

Rick Coates - June 24th, 2013  

Classic rock dominates this years National Cherry Festival with six of the eight nights featuring bands rooted in that old time rock and roll. There really is something for everyone musically with the blues and country tossed into the mix.

The National Cherry Festival Bay Side Music Stage continues to be the best music value in Northern Michigan with an eight-day general admission pass for $50, individual tickets for each show are also available.

Styx in the Mix Saturday, June 29 It has been 40 years since Styx released their first album and the band finds themselves at the top of their game, filling arenas. They plan to pack their suitcases with all their hits including “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “Fooling Yourself,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man,” and “The Best of Times,” kicking off the National Cherry Festival on Saturday June 29.

Styx got its start in the Chicago area. The original incarnation formed in 1968 with the band taking the name Styx in 1971.

Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist JY Young has been there every step of the way. Intimately involved, the mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate is very analytical about Styx’s success and staying powers for the past 45 years.

“I think there are several factors. Certainly our songbook is strong and continues to resonate with our fans and now a whole new generation of fans,” Youn said. “Our songs are being used by professional sports teams and in the movies, guys like Adam Sandler are huge fans and use our music in their movies. Plus, classic rock radio is very strong right now as well so we get a lot of radio airplay. I also believe that we work really hard and this is a very talented group of musicians on stage right now.”

Young is now 63 and is closing in on retirement age, but with Tommy Shaw just turning 60 this year, as is Ricky Phillips (the rest of the band is younger) there appears to be no retirement on the horizon.

“No I don’t think so. I know people I went to college with who are retired because they were tired of their jobs or others who have lost their jobs or no longer needed at their place of employment. I feel fortunate not to be in that position and I know the rest of the guys feel the same way,” said Young. “I am so lucky to be doing what I do and it is very rewarding going on stage every night and playing our music to thousands of people. I like looking out at the crowd and see what these songs mean to the people. So I don’t see us retiring.”

Styx has played Northern Michigan a few times over the past 40 years. Do they have any recollection of the very first show they played at the Glacier Arena in TC in 1975?

“We have played so many shows over the years but that is one you remember and occasionally people remind us of it,” said Young.

“Rush went on stage followed by us with Kiss going on next. But the power went out at the end of our show and Styx never made it on.”

Styx played the Cherry Festival in 2001 with Bad Company and Billy Squier at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds and most recently Interlochen last summer. They just wrapped up a tour with Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon for the second year in a row and are touring solo for the summer.

The band called it quits in 1983 to pursue other projects and for Styx fans, a big thank you for their return is owed to the band’s manager.

“We took about a 13-year hiatus from the band. I did some solo work; Tommy did the Damn Yankees,” said Young. “Then our band manager came to us and said that we should start touring again, that people wanted to hear our music live. He was right and I see us doing this until we are so old they have to scrape us off the stage.”

There won’t be any “scraping” the band off the stage on Saturday June 29 when Styx plays the Bay Side Music Stage at the National Cherry Festival. After their concert, a night time air show will take place -- a Cherry Fest first.

Foreigner Rocks July 1 On Monday night July 1, classic rock fans will be back in full force as Foreigner takes the stage. Since their first release in 1977, Foreigner has sold more than 60 million albums behind such hits as, “Cold As Ice,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Hot Blooded,” “Double Vision,” “Dirty White Boy,” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.” In all, 20 of their songs reached the Billboard Top 20.

Guitarist, lyricist and co-founder Mick Jones has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the music business. He is the only original member left in the band. Along with Lou Gramm (now on a solo career) Jones penned the hits of Foreigner; they both were just inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a respected producer in the business and when Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth, Van Halen asked Jones to produce their “5150” album.

The group is touring in support of their first studio album in 15 years, “Can’t Slow Down.” Jones explains the hiatus was due to the band going through some transitions.

“There were several reasons for the delay between albums; certainly the personnel changes were part of it,” said Jones. “I kept putting off recording. It was a little bit scary after awhile as well. You start to wonder if people will accept your music. But finally I felt we needed to take the plunge, this lineup had been together for a few years and I thought we were ready. What I like is that when people listen to ‘Can’t Slow Down,’ they recognize it as a Foreigner record.”

Considering Jones is the only original member of Foreigner that formed in 1976, the band still maintains that signature sound.

“It is a testament to these guys in the band. They are very conscientious and respectful of the past. They have a tremendous amount of dedication to the catalogue of songs the made Foreigner,” said Jones.

“For me this has been a blessing. I got caught up with the demons of this business and left for awhile and really felt I was done for good. But eventually I came back and these guys in this band have really inspired me and I have people tell me I am playing better now than I ever did in the past.”

Despite the fact that Jones and Gramm have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the band had not received the invitation in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I think a lot of us are confused over the criteria to get in. Look, I have no problem with Madonna being in but there are a lot of rock bands -- again, emphasis on rock -- that are not in,” said Jones. “My sense is that there is a small club of decision makers who want to seem cool with who they select to get in. I am not sure that those making the selection have a very good handle on the last 35 years of rock music. There seems to be a lot of bands that had a major impact on rock music who are not in. I do not know if we will get in or not, it would be a nice honor and certainly, Lou Graham, myself and others from the original band would go and perform.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials will not be necessary for Foreigner to pack the Bay Side Music Stage on Monday July 1.


Other acts for the week include: • Country legend Montgomery Gentry on Sunday, June 30.

• Blues Rocker Duke Tumatoe on Tuesday. • Country superstar Aaron Tippin on Wednesday.

• Simon and Garfunkel Tribute on July 4. • Edgar Winter and Rusted Root Friday, July 5.

• Closing out the Festival, 1964 the Tribute on Saturday.

Ticket options may be found at cherryfestival.org.


Sign up for the new Express Extra email publication to be in a prize drawing for a pair of VIP tickets to Foreigner at the National Cherry Festival on Monday, July 1.

To enter, go to www.northernexpress.com and click on the sign-up link at the top right of our website.

The Extra is emailed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and includes the latest from the Express, including our “Buzz” column, Weekend Planner, and videos.

Deadline for entries: Thursday, June 27.

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