Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Moving On

Love’s call leads to a new life in Chicago

Erin Crowell - November 4th, 2013  

For the first time in my five years of writing for the Northern Express, I am writing my first paragraph last.

I’m not sure why, either. Maybe because it’s easier to get down what you know and deal with the theatrical introduction later. Not that I have one, but I guess it’s a big deal for me since this will be my last article – at least as a feature writer and listings editor for Northern Express.

Two weeks ago I decided I didn’t want a long distance relationship anymore and moved to be with my fiancé.

Michael is from Cadillac but currently lives in the Chicago area. We did the “five-and-a-half hour drive and a timezone” thing for awhile, but on my most recent return trip to Michigan, I decided I needed to stop being a chicken shit (that may be the last time I’ll be able to swear in an article) and just go for it.

Quitting my job and moving has been a topic we’ve discussed exhaustively for the past several months; and involved me sending numerous resumes with not much response.

So here I was, driving back to Traverse City without prospects and realizing I’d soon be doing this ridiculous commute in wintry conditions.

Then I realized what I knew all along. I just wanted to be with my fiancé.


For awhile, I grappled with how I’d explain this decision to not only my family and friends, but—in particular—my mentors, co-workers and the readers of Northern Express.

I’m moving on in my career, looking for the ‘next big break,’ finding myself and exploring other options.

Don’t get me wrong. This is also true, especially when I first started looking for work. Making the decision to move has been a combination of being smart about it and not looking like a fool. After all, my fiancé and I agreed I had a pretty sweet life up here, but finding full-time, year-round work that paid equally well for him would be nearly impossible.

I never like hearing about young women who quit their jobs and moved away from family for a boyfriend. I didn’t want to be that person.

But my mentality began to shift from ‘how it looks’ to ‘what’s important’ on the day I looked for my wedding dress.

Earlier that morning, Kelly Boyce Hurlbert was struck and killed by a motorist while riding her bicycle home from work. She was my age and was a week away from celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary.

Then my dear friend, Shannon, lost her husband, Billy, in a car accident in September.

Every six months or so, I would sit in Shannon’s salon chair and we’d chat about relationships, marriage and children as she circled my head with scissors – her usually pregnant tummy brushing my hair apron.

“We both come from a big family,” she said about her and Billy’s plan to have several children.

Hearing the way Shannon described her husband and their relationship, along with the outpouring of stories about Kelly and her husband, Paul, made me realize how precious my own relationship is – and that life is so unpredictable and fleeting that you really can’t wait to love.

(When I asked a close friend of the Hurlberts and Shannon, herself, for permission on bringing up their tragedies, both assured me of something I already knew: They want people to remember how much they loved).


I think about a blog post that was circulating the internet this summer: “The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying,” in which a palliative nurse (one who helps relieve suffering) recorded her patients’ most common regrets.

These included: working too hard, not living a life true to oneself, realizing happiness is a choice and they didn’t choose it enough, not staying in touch with friends and not having the courage to express their feelings.

I’m sure all of us can confess to having at least two or three of these regrets; but the good news is that we can work on fixing them now.

One thing I’d like to add about choosing happiness is that I don’t think we realize how happy we could be; and sometimes that takes risk.

Five years ago in October, I was given two offers: work a guaranteed, full-time job outside my career field or chance a temporary, part-time position at a newsweekly.

I turned down the full-time position and went for the gamble. Five years later, I walk away from that gamble having learned and grown more than I could imagine. I’ve met people I never would have otherwise; and I’ve developed a standard for what a job can do for my self-esteem and integrity.


What I loved most about my job at the Express was the amount of trust my editor had in me, not only to find my stories, but to—symbolically so—leave the red pen capped. Of course, when there were holes and things needed to be clarified, he’d step in; but for the most part, my stories were untouched (unlike some editors who tend to get cut-and-paste happy).

I think this allowed me to write more confidently because not only did my editor trust me, but I began trusting myself.

And the stories… I learned the more invested I was in the story, the more effort I put into it. And it wasn’t hard to come across inspiring subjects in this area who made my job easier.

Some of my favorite stories include (but aren’t limited to): the story about Grant Forrester, the “Nothing for Granted” quadriplegic who walked his first 5K; the health hazards of working a desk job; the ethereal efforts of David Milarch in “The Man Who Planted Trees”; Jamie Kramer’s nontraditional story of motherhood; “Ping Pong for OCD” and the search for “The Griffon,” one of the Great Lake’s greatest shipwreck mysteries.

While I’ve been thanked by individuals for promoting their work, business or cause; I’m not sure they fully understand a story is reciprocal. Every week I’m rewarded to hear stories that have humbled, motivated and sometimes changed my life; and as a writer, it’s my hope I’ve done my job in allowing others to experience the same.


Just as I was pulling into town on my last return trip from Chicago, I got a call for an interview.

By this point, I had rallied myself to consider doing something a little off-pace from the normal work routine – like working front desk at a gym and part-time at a health foods store. After all, I have a wedding dress to fit into.

There are other prospects on the horizon, as well.

I’m sure this is mostly due to my changing of the address on my resume (big tip: use a local address if applying from out-of-state), but a part of me can’t help but smile and shake my head when I think about the day I put in my two weeks at the Express.

Just moments after telling my bosses I was moving on, I opened the paper and decided to read my horoscope. There, on page 42, contributor Rob Brezsny wrote this about Aries:

“’I’m greedy,’ says painter David Hockney, “but I’m not greedy for money – I think that can be a burden – I’m greedy for an exciting life.’ According to my analysis, Aeries, the cosmos is now giving you the go-ahead to cultivate Hockney’s style of greed. As you head out in quest of adventure, here’s an important piece of advice to keep in mind. Make sure you formulate an intention to seek out thrills that educate and inspire you rather than those that scare you and damage you. It’s up to you which kind you attract.”

To make a donation or learn more about the search for the person responsible for Kelly Boyce Hurlbert’s death, visit RememberToLove.org. To make a donation in memory of William Kochis for his children’s college educations (Sophia, age 5; Porter, 3; Josslyn, 2; and Brooks, 5 months), visit http:// www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/kochis-kids-college-fund/88980 (or search Kochis Family Fund on YouCaring pages).

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