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 · Crooked Tree rings  in the New...
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Crooked Tree rings  in the New Year

Kristi Kates - December 30th, 2013  

A shimmering ball drop, live music, festive surroundings, and lots of cheering about a brand new year. If that sounds like your typical New Year’s Eve celebration, well, it is - but it’s also a New Year’s celebration that’s a little different than the usual.

Now in its seventh year, the Crooked Tree Arts Center (CTAC) New Year’s Celebration was an idea originally started by Petoskey Downtown’s Becky Goodman, who wanted a distinctive New Year’s Eve event for the Petoskey area.

CTAC decided to run with the idea, and also made the event alcohol-free - which means that it’s one of the few alcohol-free New Year parties in the region that isn’t “just for kids.”


“It’s incredibly important to us that this be an alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve events,” says Valerie St. Pierre Smith, CTAC’s program director. “Focusing on having a great time and packing an insane amount of music, art, crafts, classes, and purely fun activities into the evening is party enough.”

CTAC’s New Year is modeled after Boston’s First Night, which started in Beantown in the 1970s, also an alcohol-free event that blends arts and culture to help ring in the new year.

“We were intrigued by the ‘First Night’ concept, but wanted to make it our own,” Smith says.

Cindy McSurely, who coordinates the CTAC event, moved to the area with her family two years ago, and says that before she worked at the arts center, she had a plethora of people telling her that the CTAC

New Year’s party was a must-attend.

“And they were right,” she says. “Having it be an all-ages event is an important distinction because we make an effort to have broad ranging activities that many can enjoy.”

These include a main stage that changes musical acts every 30-45 minutes, after which those performers do an additional acoustic set in one of CTAC’s art galleries.

“This is one of my favorites,” Smith says. “You can see a performer or band high-energy on the main stage, and then follow them to the acoustic gallery for a totally different type of performance. That is if you aren’t glued to your seat because you can’t wait to see the next main stage performer.”


In addition, the entire lower level of the Arts Center and the Carnegie building will be stuffed with classes from dance and music workshops to pottery and crafting opportunities, plus the popular return of the Old Time Family Dance as hosted by Blissfest Music Organization, which will help end the evening with a dance caller and live music.

“The upper level of the Carnegie will have a variety of artisans demonstrating, reading, storytelling, and more,” McSurely says. “And in another gallery, we’ll serve treats, pizza, alcohol-free beverages, and more all amid the backdrop of more music, poetry readings, and the wonderful hubbub of the event itself.”

Among the highlights for the 2013 event are a couple of crowd favorites returning after a hiatus: adult improv troupe Laugh and Disorder, and speed painter Martina Hahn.

“The Laugh and Disorder players are from all over the area, and recollect the comedy of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’,” McSurely explains. “And Martina often cooks up something new for us - we can’t wait to see what new twist she has added for this year.”

And then there’s the music that is such a huge part of the celebration.

“This year will be rockin’ with performances that include Boyne River Remedy, Charlie Millard, and a couple of surprises that I can’t let out of the bag,” Smith smiles.


The “tickets” - actually admission buttons - for the CTAC New Year’s Eve Celebration are “one of my favorite things,” McSurely says.

Each year a call for entry is held, with the artist chosen from local Emmet/Charlevoix county students. The winner’s artwork is used for the event’s buttons, t-shirts, and marketing materials, and are something of a collector’s item.

“You’ll see a handful of guests each year wearing all the buttons from the previous years on the evening of the party,” McSurely points out.

A ball drop wraps up the night - CTAC’s drop changes up the time and gives everyone the chance to ring the New Year in, regardless of their other holiday plans.

“We have our own ‘Times Square’ on Division Street (in downtown Petoskey), where at 9 p.m. we drop our own New Year’s Eve ball,” Smith says.

Hosted by Moran Iron Works on the street, the New Year’s Eve ball was specially-built for the event by Tom Moran himself, and measures six feet in diameter with over 1,000 lights.

“The timing of the ball drop is perfect for adults who just want a night out, musicians who then have a later gig in an area establishment, and parents who maybe want a later dinner,” McSurely says. “The ‘Midnight at 9’ celebration part of our event is really growing.”

As is the CTAC New Year’s Celebration itself - the event has sold out the past three years in a row during the first hour of at-the-door ticket sales, and attendance is limited to 700 people at $7 each.

The Crooked Tree Arts Center New Year’s Celebration takes place on December 31st beginning at 5 p.m. at CTAC in downtown Petoskey. Buttoms can be purchased online at www.crookedtree.org, by calling 231-347-4337, or by stopping by CTAC or the Petoskey Chamber of Commerce.

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