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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53-year-old Craig Webb captures race titles by wheel, water & road

Erin Crowell - August 19th, 2013  

When it comes to endurance sports, it’s all about the individual. Runners, cyclists and triathletes train and compete against other individuals looking to push their physical limits. Of course, many athletes compete and train on endurance teams.

It’s what Craig Webb of Traverse City prefers in his own athletic endeavors.

“It’s the simple joy of getting on your bike and being with your buddies,” said the 53-year-old Webb, who is president of the Hagerty Cycling Team. “It’s just the same as it was when I was 10 years old. Even though we didn’t have cell phones, we were still able to show up at the same spot at the same time and ride our bikes. Someone would see a stop ahead and we’d race for the stop. Forty years later, it’s the same excitement and passion.”

That passion has gotten Webb quite the impressive athletic resume, including achieving state masters titles in road racing, criterium, time trial and mountain biking. Webb has also finished in the top 20— twice—in the Iceman Cometh (a point-topoint mountain bike race with over 5,000 competitors).


Webb still trains on his own when he’s not participating in Tuesday group rides along Mission Peninsula, or Thursdays on the Vasa single track south of town (“There’s always a group ride going on in Traverse City,” he said). But even those moments take on a structure-less schedule that is loosely based on Webb’s own intuition of how to train, how hard to train, and when it’s time to rest.

Even his diet follows a loose set of selfguided standards.

“It’s not anyone’s diet but my own,” he states matter-of-factly. “My simple mental thought at every meal is to have at least half of everything I’m eating be completely natural. I make sure to eat fruits, veggies and lean meats. It works pretty well.”

Being lean is important with all endurance sports, Webb said.

“Weight is everything in this game. It’s literally an end-all, be-all. A friend of mine used to say, ‘You know, if you lose 10 pounds, it’s like holding a small child for awhile and then setting that same child down.’” When it comes to gear, the vehicle is only as good as its driver, he says.

“That same friend who gave the child analogy said the same about the bike. ‘It’s still just a triangle with two wheels.’ It’s the person on the bike who makes the difference.”

So how does a guy who started cycling competitively at the age of 40 manage to not only place in several races, but to capture titles?

“I don’t mean to make it sound easy,” said Webb, who followed his own seven month, self-disciplined training schedule with one goal in mind: “To win the M22 Challenge.”

For months, Webb treated his own life as if he were a professional athlete.

“All winter long, I was literally dedicated to training… everything I ate and drank, my sleep, training schedule… every single day, it was a lot of sacrifice every day. I would think, ‘I’ve got to go for a run. But it’s raining outside, it’s cold outside. Doesn’t matter.’” Webb was rewarded with a third place overall finish behind Denny Paull of Cheboygan and Jeff Smoke, a former Olympian paddler from Chicago, who took first in the run/bike/ paddle race in Glen Arbor.


“I had never thought of doing triathlons ‘til I did all these time trials and running for M22,” said the dedicated cyclist. “Around the time the M22 Challenge got over, I thought, ‘I’ve got all this fitness, what am I going to do now?’” During a swim at the Grand Traverse Civic Center, a fellow pool buddy asked Webb if he was doing the upcoming triathlon — referring to the Jordan Valley Triathlon at the end of June — to which Webb said, “I didn’t know about the race. The guy was like, ‘Yeah, there’s three triathlons coming up.’” So, Webb set his sights on three triathlons within one week of another.

Less than a month after his podium finish at the M22 Challenge, Webb knocked out three consecutive first overall finishes at the Little Traverse Bay Triathlon, Interlochen Sprint Triathlon and Jordan Valley Sprint Triathlon.

Like the M22 Challenge, Webb proved his strength in the cycling portion of all three races.


Webb participated in the usual high school sports, such as football, wrestling and track; but it was his four years in the U.S. Marine Corps Second Force Reconnaissance Company that helped fuel a disciplined passion for competition.

“We went from one training school to another and trained with different elite forces in different countries,” he explained. “And that’s probably where I got the bug for pushing myself in athletics. Once, we went to train with the French War Legion and the very next morning, the legionnaires wanted to see if they could beat the Marines in a foot race. Everything was a race and I think that carried through my life.”

It carried through to his home life, as well.

It helps having a wife who enjoys endurance sports just as much, Webb credits.

“It’s very nice to have that connection with your spouse. I met my wife, Laura, riding bikes here,” said Webb, who moved to Michigan from Las Vegas after his parents purchased a home in the 1980s. “My wife… you really should be doing a story about her. She’s a big Nordic skier and has won the North American Vasa a few times. She’s also placed in the top four or five in Iceman.”

After living some time in Lansing, the couple chose to buy a home on the southeast side of Traverse City, purposely for its close proximity to the Vasa trail for skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the spring, summer and fall.

Webb, who is a semi-retired CFO, is able to train more for his endurance events, “much to the dismay of the competition,” he laughs.

That said, he does spend some time providing consulting work for friends and other entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, Webb serves on the Cherry Roubaix board and spends much of the winter helping the Vasa Ski Club develop the nordic ski scene. During the warmer months, he helps guide the 60 members of the Hagerty Cycling Team, with riders ranging from beginners to hardcore racers.

“We want to put more time into developing young racers in this community. It’s been a slow movement because cycling is a hard sell to a young person,” said Webb.

When it comes to career highlights, Webb tosses the idea a bit.

“If I had to pick a race and if I was to say it was the highlight of my career...,” he whistles, “I don’t even know.

“You know, it’s funny because we were just talking about this the other day. At the start of a race, I look around at all the participants and realize, ‘It’ll just be five of us left.’ That’s almost as fun as winning the race: The chess match. I can honestly say I’ve felt more achievement in not even winning a race, but being in the mix of that race with some really strong, talented riders and how it plays out.”


2013 Little Traverse Bay Triathlon 1st Overall
2013 Interlochen Sprint Triathlon 1st Overall
2013 Jordan Valley Sprint Triathlon 1st Overall
2013 State Time Trial Masters Champion
2013 Cherry Roubaix Omnium Champion
2013 Cherry Roubaix TT 1st Masters
2013 Master’s Criterium Champion
2013 3rd Overall M22 Challenge
2010 MBRA State Masters Champion
2010 State Masters Road Champion
2010 Masters State Track Champion
2010 Cherry Roubaix Road Race Masters Champion
2010 Maillot Jaune Road Race Champion
2010 BTR Criterium Masters Champion
2009 Superior Bike Fest Masters Criterium Champion
2009 Barry Roubaix 10th overall
2008 Superior Bike Fest Masters Criterium Champion
2007 Iceman Expert overall Champion & top 20 overall
2006 Expert Masters State Mountain bike Champion
2005 2nd overall Avita Black Bear
2004 Cone Azalia Cat 3 Champion
2003 21st overall Iceman

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