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..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Turning a Page at McLean &...
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Turning a Page at McLean & Eakin Booksellers

Rick Coates - November 25th, 2013  

It has been 21 years since Julie Norcross opened the doors to McLean & Eakin Booksellers in downtown Petoskey. Her son and daughter-in-law Matt and Jessilyn Norcross bought the store from her four years ago. Despite a changing marketplace in the book industry, the store continues to flourish.

“We have tried to follow my mother’s philosophy and that is not to go to war on price but to go to war on customer service,” said Matt Norcross. “She never chased discounts, she chased customer service.

“We received the best compliment to date from a customer through an email they recently sent when they complimented us on our service and stated, ‘Your staff made it feel like it was a life or death matter to find the right book for me.’ I think that sums up our approach.”

That service includes suggesting good books for the holidays.

“Books always make great gifts, especially for that hard-to-buy person. If you know what a person is interested in, we will find a book for them.”

Northern Michigan seems to have more independent bookstores per capita than anywhere else in the country. Norcross attributes that to the people who live and visit here.

“The reading culture of Northern Michigan is essential to all of us independents up here. We have very discerning readers which makes it fun for us, because we get to go beyond just the commercial stuff in our offerings.”


Another key to the success of McLean & Eakin is the quality of authors they bring to Petoskey.

“Bringing authors to town was a real important element to my mom when she started the store,” said Norcross. “We are successful in bringing top-notch authors by creating strong ties with New York publishing houses. We are known for giving them a lot of prepublication reviews and blurbs. It’s those kind of things that keep us in the loop with publishers. We have flown to New York with other Michigan booksellers to pitch our region for book tours.”

Recently, Norcross and his team helped to facilitate Booktopia, which brought nine bestselling authors in four days to Petoskey.

“Booktopia was phenomenal. There is this group called Books on the Nightstand who puts it together in three different communities around the country each year. They called us last fall and said they wanted to come to Petoskey. It usually takes a week to sell out, but the Petoskey event sold out in 56 minutes.”


With all the changes in technology and e-books some independent bookstores are facing extinction. At McLean & Eakin they have found ways to embrace the trends and serve the customers.

“Since customer service has been our motto and top priority, we have embraced the new technologies,” said Norcross. “We were very happy last year about this time that we were able to offer e-books to our customers. We have had a lot of support and in fact we are in the top five in e-book sales of all the independent booksellers in the country. It is neat to see a store like ours in a geographically isolated area outselling major independents in metropolitan areas.”

In the next few days McLean & Eakin will launch a digital audiobooks program. Customers will be able to download audiobooks from their website.

“Our website and the fact we update it daily is a big part of our success. Our staff all have their picks and little reviews on books on the website and people constantly tell us this helpful,” said Norcross. “We offer 99 cent shipping anywhere in the country so our summer residents stay loyal to us year round. Plus, locals ship books as gifts. Every Monday over 5,000 subscribers get the newsletter that my wife Jess puts together, so people who don’t live here year round still feel connected to our store.”

Norcross is also proud of the store’s commitment to the young readers in the community.

“Certainly my wife and others have worked hard to create a great children’s section,” said Norcross. “We also have annual book fairs at area schools and have raised $125,000 for those schools over the years.”

Here are Matt and Jessilynn Norcross picks for books to give as gifts this holiday season:

For Adults: Detroit, An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

No one tells the story of Detroit quite like Charlie LeDuff. A mixture of heartache and humor.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Sisters Marnie and Nell have a little secret they would like to keep buried; two actually. They’re hiding the fact their parents just died and they’ll need to work together to stay out of the orphanage.

For Kids: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

When a little dino hatches from his egg, one of the first things he sees is a kiss, but he can’t seem to figure out how to give one without BONKING, CHOMPING, or STOMPING. Fun for ages 4 and up.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

After Flora rescues a squirrel from a terrifying vacuum accident, she takes him home and names him Ulysses. Then she discovers that he can write poetry. Ages 8 and up.

To learn more about McLean & Eakin Booksellers, store hours and location along with additional book suggestions for this holiday gift giving season, go to mcleanandeakin.com

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