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 · A Cold Blast From the Past
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A Cold Blast From the Past

December, so far, has looked more like an old fashioned winter

Patrick Sullivan - December 23rd, 2013  
You are not imagining it. This winter has been a brutal one so far.

Just ask Patricia Ross, a 74-year-old who grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula. She remembers when winters like this seemed to come every year.

“This is more like an old-fashioned winter like years ago, you know,” said Ross, who was recently celebrating the holidays at the Traverse City Senior Center. “It’s been really cold and snowy this winter.”

For people who have lived Up North for just five or 10 years, this winter (which technically just began on Dec. 21, even though it has been here for weeks) might seem a bit jarring. It has been snowy and cold.

Extraordinarily cold, in fact. “This cold, this early and this long -- I’d have to say is a pretty big story,” said Scott Rozanski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord. “It’s pretty cold. ... Had you moved up here five years ago and you’d lived up here for the last five years, you’d say, ‘I’ve never seen it like this.’”


It has been especially cold since Dec. 6, Rozanski said.

In Traverse City, the average temperature for December through the middle of the month was seven degrees below normal, and there is no warmup in sight.

What’s more, that average temperature includes two days at the beginning of the month which saw high temperatures climb into the 50s. Without those outliers, the average temperature is actually much colder.

“The warmest it’s been since the 6th is 21 degrees,” Rosanski said. “You’ve been below freezing for 11 days.”

Will it last through January, February and March?

Rozanski said we’ll have to wait to find out.

“How well can we predicte it? Exact details are not really what an extended forcast provides,” Rozanski said. “There’s a lot of things that could happen and take place in the next couple of weeks that aren’t necessarily on the screen.”

That said, Rozanski said cold air is stubborn.

“Honestly, cold air is very bullish,” he said. “When cold air settles in, it’s hard to dislodge it. Warm air can be blown aside. Cold air just kind of comes in like a bulldozer.”


With the cold comes snow. And lots of it. No matter what way you cut it, this year’s winter packed a heck of a wallop even before winter arrived officially on the calendar.

Towns across northwestern Michigan were well above average for snowfall in December, said Joe Charlevoix, a meteorologist for 7&4 News in Traverse City.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” Charlevoix said. “Gaylord has already picked up more than half a season’s worth of snow, and we’re not even into winter yet.”

Gaylord gets on average 145 inches of snow per season. As of Dec. 17, the city had already seen 74 inches. Elsewhere, the numbers were above normal. Petoskey had 37 inches when they on average would have had 29. Traverse City had about 50 percent more snowfall than normal, clocking in at 34 inches a week before Christmas.


Do the early signs mean a long season of skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling is ahead of us?

“You can’t really draw that conclusion yet,” Charlevoix said. “The reason being is the big pattern can shift quickly; that cold air is always there in the winter, but it’s not always on top of us.”

A lot of recent years, that cold has stayed a hundred or so miles north of Northern Michigan.

That’s because an west-to-east jet stream brings moderate temperatures across the country. Lower Michigan, during many of the last five or so winters, has gotten warmer air from the Pacific Ocean.

This year we have gotten a good oldfashioned arctic blast. And if that arctic pattern holds, the coldest temperatures could be yet to come. The coldest average temperatures in the region typically come the third week of January, Charlevoix said.

The cold is, for the most part, the reason we’ve gotten so much snow -- when that bitter cold air sweeps across the warmer Great Lakes, it brings snow.

Charlevoix, a U.P. native, said this winter so far harkens back to blustery winters of the 1980s.

“It is kind of nice to see kind of a regular winter for people,” he said.


The cold and snow is great news for winter businesses.

Crystal Mountain opened 100 percent of its slopes earlier than ever this year, said Jim MacInnes, the resort’s president and chief executive officer.

That goes against the trend of recent years. “It used to be that early, even before Thanksgiving, we often had a chance to open, but in recent years it’s been difficult and Thanksgiving openings have been really rare,” MacInnes said.

MacInnes said his resort has invested heavily in snow-making equipment and that’s helped them take advantage of the December freeze.

They’ve also invested in a winch groomer, which enables them to move snow uphill and spread it to bare patches that were once out of reach.

MacInnes is optimistic about the rest of the season, though he won’t predict if the weather will be favorable for winter sports throughout.

“It’s really hard to predict the future of a whole winter,” he said.

MacInnes believes the artificial and natural snow base the resort is building up through December will mean a long season, though.

“Even if we have a warmup, we’re in a very resilient position right now,” he said.

A bicycle got caught in a deep freeze parked outside of the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. (Photo by Patrick Sullivan)


Kristin Levesque, co-owner of Timber Ridge Resort, said she remembers those hardcore winters from the 1970s and 1980s.

Then she moved to Florida for a couple of decades before she returned home.

“This is my first year that it’s really a winter,” Levesque said. “I think I would have been shocked if it was my first year back and it was like this.”

The snow is great for her resort, a crosscountry skiing and snow biking hub.

They opened before Thanksgiving this year, the earliest in Levesque’s memory.

“Literally overnight Saturday we had all that snow and it was good enough to go out and groom it,” Levesque said.

She said she believes they should be in good shape now no matter what the rest of the winter brings. They’ve got a 12-inch base already, and if a thaw makes snow disappear elsewhere, the high-elevation, tree-covered trails around Timber Ridge tend to stay snowcovered further into the year.

“We typically will have snow here when you don’t have it downtown or even a few miles away from here,” she said.

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