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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City of the Dead

Petoskey’s history lies below and above ground at Greenwood Cemetery

Patrick Sullivan - September 30th, 2013  

Mention an obscure but notable name from Petoskey’s past, and if that person was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, chances are Karl Crawford can point to a map of the sprawling, 90-acre estate to exactly where to find the headstone.

Crawford has some experience at the cemetery; you could say it is in his blood. Crawford’s grandfather was superintendent beginning in 1920. His father worked there for 17 years before he was born. Crawford, current superintendent of the municipal facility, started there in 1961 mowing grass and digging graves at age 14.

And over the years, Crawford hasn’t just taken care of the physical cemetery -- its grass and trees and hedges and roads and markers -- he’s taken care of its history.

“I took over the cemetery in 1977 and at that time there were no records before 1912,” he said. “I’m guessing that they kept the records before that, they just didn’t keep the records that they kept.”


Under Crawford, Greenwood became home to Petoskey’s historical newspaper archives.

“The News Review didn’t want them anymore,” Crawford said.

He explained that as the Petoskey News Review acquired other newspapers over the years, it acquired the archives, which became a burden. Eventually, he said, the newspaper decided they didn’t want the cost to maintain them.

The archives wound up at the library, and then the historical society, and finally the cemetery, where Crawford found space for the archives to be stored in a temperaturecontroled environment.

The old newspapers provide the key to Petoskey’s past and the lives of the pioneers who settled here.

Crawford and his staff have used them to so far produce five volumes about Petoskey’s early settlers, beginning with a volume published in 2008. The volumes accompany an annual history tour at the cemetery, held as a fundraiser each August.

Following are a few of the dozens of fascinating lives Crawford has documented:


The absence of modern medicine in pioneer days struck down so many infants and children that the average life span in Petoskey in 1875, the year the cemetery opened, was just under 15 years.

While some people managed to live into their 80s and 90s, the hard times also struck down adults in the prime of their lives.

Take one of the first people profiled in Crawford’s history project -- Dr. William Little.

Little celebrated many “firsts” in Petoskey.

One of them was the unfortunate distinction to be the first person buried in the cemetery.

Little was born on Nov. 18, 1842 and he accomplished a lot in a short life.

In fact, he helped establish Greenwood not long after he moved to Petoskey to become the city’s first doctor.

Little only lived in Petoskey for two years.

He was the first postmaster; the first to open a hotel; the first to open a drug store; the first to organize a school board; and the first to publish a newspaper, though that lasted just one issue.


He arrived on a steamer in the spring of 1873 and was convinced by Hiram Rose, considered to be the founder of Petoskey, that it would be a promising place to live. He soon returned with his wife Annie and their daughter on the first passenger train to arrive in Petoskey.

His death was thought to be the result of his commitment to overwork. Even while involved in so many other projects, Dr. Little treated whoever needed help, including Indians and railway workers and settlers as far north as Cross Village. He fell ill during a winter trip to Cross Village to treat a boy’s broken leg.

He decided to recuperate in Florida and he died on his way, in Grand Rapids.

He was buried in Greenwood with his one-year-old son, Willie, whose body was transferred from a cemetery in Reed City, where the family had lived previously.


At a time when so many lives were cut so short, some people managed to live long enough to see the world change completely.

Minnie Mancelona Pratt was one of those people.

She led an extraordinary life, arriving in Northern Michigan with her family from Missouri as one of the first white settlers of Northern Michigan and giving her name to an Antrim County village.

She lived to be almost 100 years old.

She was born among pioneers a year following the Civil War and she died in the early 1960s, late enough to be able to watch television shows about the lives of pioneers.

Her parents settled what would be called Mancelona in 1871 with several other families. They wanted to get in on the logging boom. Minnie Mancelona was the youngest among them so it was decided the town would take her middle name.

Mancelona grew slowly, though its namesake’s father built a railroad depot to convince the railroad to allow the trains to stop there. He also built a hotel called the Mountain House and he started a school.

He was postmaster, highway commissioner and an elected inspector, but he and Minnie Mancelona and the rest of the family moved to Petoskey in 1877 after he was arrested and charged with bribery amid a scandal over the location of the county seat.

The townsfolk must not have thought too much of the charge, however. Three years later, while he was a resident of Petoskey, he was elected to the Mancelona Board of Trustees.


Minnie Mancelona, meanwhile, began teaching school in Petoskey at age 15 and she married Charles Pratt at age 19.

Pratt was a former canal boat captain in New York and he paid Petoskey a visit and decided to stay for good after he met Minnie Mancelona. He was elected sheriff the following year and later he was named US Marshall.

Pratt served a distinguished career in law enforcement and one time captured a fugitive from Florida and his police work was praised in newspapers throughout the country.

He died in 1912 and Minnie Mancelona lived 50 more years, until the age of 97.

For those 50 years that Minnie Mancelona lived in Petoskey in the 20th Century, for her it remained as if it was the 19th Century.

The Petoskey News Review said in an article in 1960: “She became a widow in 1912 and has continued to reside at her lovely home on Bay-st., among souvenirs of another era. She has never replaced the quaint old carved mahogany furniture, the Persian rugs and gilded mirrors, that she purchased with her husband during happier days. They lend a quaint charm to the gracious atmosphere that surrounds her -- and keeps her memories closer. When you are 95 most of the people you knew are gone and memories become most precious, Mrs. Pratt maintains.”


The man Crawford says most consider the father of Petoskey lived a long and colorful life even before he set foot in the shore of Little Traverse Bay.

Hiram Obed Rose was born in New York and traveled with his family before they settled in Coldwater, near the Michigan- Indiana border. He worked as a printer at the Coldwater Sentinel, having had to make a living for himself from the age of 12, when his father died. He followed the ‘49ers out to California looking for gold in 1851, managed to make some money, and he followed that with an attempt at a life in the Upper Peninsula copper country.

He wound up in what would become Northport after that and he found a wife and purchased 800 acres.

He built a business supplying firewood to steamboats. He was credited with developing Northport by the time he left 19 years later.

He got to know the Petoskey area because he made annual fur trading trips there.

He is said to have used his influence on a trip to Traverse City to convince the railroad to extend the line from there to Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

Rose’s list of accomplishments in Petoskey after he moved here in 1874 is long enough to sound unlikely:

He opened a general store. He founded Michigan Lime Works. He built the first public dock. He platted the village. He promoted Bay View to the Michigan Campground Association. He was the first village president. He built the Arlington Hotel. He built the opera house. He made the first long distance call on an electric telephone. He built the first electric plant. He saw that streetlights were strung.


Perhaps it’s easier to believe he did all of that if you understand that Petoskey was wilderness before Rose arrived.

Rose was also friends with Cheif Ignatius Petosegay, a prominent merchant and landowner who gave his name to Petoskey.

By the time he died, he was beloved.

Upon his death the first line in the Petoskey Evening News story read: “Captain Rose is dead!” … The story continued: “an air of sadness and gloom has since pervaded the city.” He was described as the best loved and best known man in Petoskey “and all of northern Michigan.”

“Captain Hiram O. Rose … has probably had more to do with the development of Petoskey than any other man who has ever lived here.”

He had lived in Petoskey for 40 years and he died of pneumonia.

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