Letters 09-07-2015

DEJA VUE Traverse City faces the same question as faced by Ann Arbor Township several years ago. A builder wanted to construct a 250-student Montessori school on 7.78 acres. The land was zoned for suburban residential use. The proposed school building was permissible as a “conditional use.”

The Court Overreached Believe it or not, everyone who disagrees with the court’s ruling on gay marriage isn’t a hateful bigot. Some of us believe the Supreme Court simply usurped the rule of law by legislating from the bench...

Some Diversity, Huh? Either I’ve been misled or misinformed about the greater Traverse City area. I thought that everyone there was so ‘all inclusive’ and open to other peoples’ opinions and, though one may disagree with said person, that person was entitled to their opinion(s)...

Defending Good People I was deeply saddened to read Colleen Smith’s letter [in Aug. 24 issue] regarding her boycott of the State Theater. I know both Derek and Brandon personally and cannot begin to understand how someone could express such contempt for them...

Not Fascinating I really don’t understand how you can name Jada Johnson a fascinating person by being a hunter. There are thousands of hunters all over the world, shooting by gun and also by arrow; why is she so special? All the other people listed were amazing...

Back to Mayberry A phrase that is often used to describe the amiable qualities that make Traverse City a great place to live is “small-town charm,” conjuring images of life in 1940s small-town America. Where everyone in Mayberry greets each other by name, job descriptions are simple enough for Sarah Palin to understand, and milk is delivered to your door...

Don’t Be Threatened The August 31 issue had 10 letters(!) blasting a recent writer for her stance on gay marriage and the State Theatre. That is overkill. Ms. Smith has a right to her opinion, a right to comment in an open forum such as Northern Express...

Treat The Sickness Thank you to Grant Parsons for the editorial exposing the uglier residual of the criminalizing of drug use. Clean now, I struggled with addiction for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve never sold drugs or committed a violent crime, but I’ve been arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned. This did nothing but perpetuate shame, alienation, loss and continued use...

About A Girl -- Not Consider your audience, Thomas Kachadurian (“About A Girl” column). Preachy opinion pieces don’t change people’s minds. Example: “My view on abortion changed…It might be time for the rest of the country to catch up.” Opinion pieces work best when engaging the reader, not directing the reader...

Disappointed I am disappointed with the tone of many of the August 31 responses to Colleen Smith’s Letter to the Editor from the previous week. I do not hold Ms. Smith’s opinion; however, if we live in a diverse community, by definition, people will hold different views, value different things, look and act different from one another...

Free Will To Love I want to start off by saying I love Northern Express. It is well written, unbiased and always a pleasure to read. I am sorry I missed last month’s article referred to in the Aug. 24 letter titled, “No More State Theater.”

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Public Safety


Patrick Sullivan - January 6th, 2014  

Police are investigating a fresh tip in the hit-and-run death of Kelly Boyce Hurlbert.

There have been over 600 tips in the case, and while the latest one is not particularly promising, Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said detectives will follow up on the potential lead.

Hurlbert was struck and killed by what police believe was a dark-colored SUV or pickup truck at around 2 a.m. July 5 while she bicycled alone on Washington Street near F&M Park.

Police have exhaustively searched for the driver of that vehicle but so far all of the leads have come up empty.

Ayling said the new tip concerns a Michigan resident who lives elsewhere in the state and who drives a vehicle that matches the suspect vehicle description. It came in before Christmas and detectives haven’t yet made contact with the person.

He said he hoped to be able to either close that tip or announce a development in the case in early January.

There is a $50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the responsible driver. Anyone with information should call the Silent Observer at (231) 947-8477 or TC Police detectives at (231) 995-5152.


Two men face charges after one of them allegedly broke into a house, stole a safe, and then used stolen hundred dollar bills to “make it rain” on his girlfriend.

The Dec. 11 breakin in Garfi eld Township began to unravel almost right away.

The homeowner whose house was robbed of jewelry and as much as $4,000 in cash suspected a former tenant who had been evicted for nonpayment of rent, according to charges.

When Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the tenant, Anthony Vernon Bucco, 29, they learned his girlfriend had become suspicious on the day of the burglary when Bucco appeared with four or fi ve hundred-dollar bills “and began to make it rain on her.”

She questioned Bucco about the money, investigators said. That upset him, but the following day he confessed to her in an effort to patch things up, according to the charges.

Bucco, of Mancelona, faces up to life in prison on charges of safe breaking, second-degree home invasion and being an habitual offender.

Another man, a 27-year-old Traverse City resident, faces charges of being an accessory after the fact for allegedly lending Bucco tools and a place to break open the safe.


A 26-year-old Boyne City man died of injuries after a fi ght with a family member. William Grice appeared at the Charlevoix Area Hospital Dec. 22 having suffered injuries in what police called an early-morning “incident” at his home eight hours earlier.

Charlevoix County Sheriff Don Schneider said investigators believe there may have been an altercation with a family member that led to the injuries.

Schneider also said alcohol was a “contributing factor” to the incident.

Grice was transferred to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey for emergency surgery, but he died on Dec. 24.

His body was taken to Grand Rapids for a forensic exam.

A report will be submitted to Charlevoix County Prosecutor Alan Telgenhof once an autopsy is complete. Telgenhof said he had no comment prior to the completion of the investigation.


The case of a man accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend appears it could have been what the man said it was -- an accident.

That call will have to be made by Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Robert Cooney, who received the voluminous fi le on the death of Monica June Anderson on Dec. 20.

Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said investigators turned up no proverbial smoking gun to indicate the suspect, Robert L. Caldwell, 33, planned or intended to kill Anderson.

Caldwell initially told police he meant to commit suicide by shooting himself but that he shot Anderson instead.

“We haven’t been able to disprove that,” Ayling said.

The shooting occurred in a Traverse City apartment on Nov. 19.

Days after the shooting Caldwell was sentenced to 93 days in jail with credit for time served for a probation violation in a Leelanau County drunk driving case. He remains in jail.


Thousands came to see the sparkling red cherry drop on Front Street to mark the beginning of a new year.

Fortunately, the crowds and the crowded bars did not add up to much trouble in the city.

Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said no one was arrested by his department for drunk driving on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. There were three warrant arrests, six minors cited for possession of alcohol and a shoplifting bust.

In the county, things weren’t much more hectic. State police made no drunk driving arrests in the county over the twoday period. There was just one drunk driving arrest by Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s deputies, Lt. Bryan Marrow said. That occurred at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1. During the twoday period, deputies arrested two for possession of marijuana and one person for driving with a suspended license.


Two men were arrested after a man reported he was beaten and robbed at his home. State police arrested two Gaylord men, Renard Kevin Wilcox, 21, and Dustin Eugene Redman, 25, on Dec. 27 stemming from an alleged unarmed robbery several days earlier.

A 53-year-old told police he was robbed in his home in Otsego Lake Township by two men, one of whom wore a mask. The man was assaulted and required medical care after the incident, police said.


Six horses that were killed at a home that burned to the ground the following day were laid to rest and the investigation into the series of events remained open.

The 57-year-old woman who was pulled from the home remained hospitalized and the horses were buried Dec. 26, Grand Traverse County Sheriff Capt. Christopher Clark said.

Investigators were called to the home on Miller Road in Grant Township on Dec. 16 to investigate the horse deaths. The following day fi refi ghters were called to the home, which was ablaze, and the woman was saved from the fi re. Investigators say the fi re is suspicious.


Deputies arrested a 43-year-old Lake Leelanau man on charges that he beat up his 25-year-old girlfriend.

As the man drove the woman from his house to her house on Dec. 19, he berated her and accused her of infi delity, Leelanau County Sheriff’s deputies said.

He allegedly pulled his car over near the intersection of French Road and E. Duck Lake Road and ordered her out of his car. When she refused, he punched her in the head, police said. After, police said he removed the woman from his car as he continued to strike her. The woman ran to a nearby home to call 911.

The man denied the assault but deputies said they could see the injuries and arrested the man for domestic violence. Paramedics treated the woman at the scene.


A man already headed to jail faced more serious charges after he was found with what police say turned out to be a bottle of morphine.

Dustin Laver Miller, 28, of Traverse City, was being booked into the Grand Traverse County Jail Oct. 9 when offi cers found a small bottle that contained a gooey substance.

The material was sent to the state police and tests revealed the substance was morphine, according to charges.

Miller faces a charge of possession of morphine and being an habitual offender. A warrant was issued for his arrest Dec. 23.

Miller has faced numerous misdemeanor and felony charges in Grand Traverse County in recent years. In October he was arrested on a warrant issued after he failed to pay fi nes in a suspended license case from earlier in the year.

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