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 · Art · Heavy Metal
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Heavy Metal

As a Detroit-area sculpture student, David Petrakovitz sold his first piece to Mrs. Edsel Ford.

Al Parker - April 14th, 2014  

It was an auspicious beginning to an artistic life revolving around metals, gears, wheels, and spheres.

Petrakovitz’s engineering of steel, bronze, and aluminum is a nod to his passion for Michigan’s industrial history; many of his hulking works are found statewide, including the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.

Growing up in the Motor City during the heyday of the automotive industry, Petrakovitz developed an avid interest in industrial machinery. He says he sees the raw beauty in their functions and their forms. He features gears, wheels and levers prominently in his creations.

Petrakovitz works most days in his roomy, well-lit workshop in rural Wexford County. He is constantly adding to the assortment of more than a dozen metal creations that dot his acreage southeast of Cadillac.

Petrakovitz is currently working on a public sculpture for Elk Rapids. He recently put down his welding equipment and took a few minutes to share his story with the Northern Express.


I was born in Detroit and started out studying engineering in college, but took a sculpture class and it changed the course of my studies and career. I kind of fell in love with it. The first sale I ever made was as a student, I sold a small sculpture to Mrs. Edsel Ford.

I went to the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and studied ceramics. I met my wife (painter Joyce Petrakovitz) there. We started a ceramics studio together after graduation and made our living as potters for the next 25 years.

We sold our clay pieces at art fairs and in galleries across the country. In 1998 we retired from the traveling art fair life. Joyce took up painting and I returned to being a sculptor.


Most of my inspiration comes from what I knew growing up in Detroit. It was the automotive industry. The automotive, mechanical themes. I enjoy spending time exploring in old barns, scrap and junkyards looking for weathered and rusted old metal parts that retain a hint of their original use.

Sometimes I employ that original function, other times I simply allude to it, such as wheels that do not move or gears that do not turn. Or I just ignore the original use and let the part stand on its own strength and uniqueness.


I’ve done a series of small abstract works in wax that I’m proud of. Some of those have been cast into bronze.


I biked almost 2,500 miles in 2013. I rode the White Pine trail from Cadillac to Grand Rapids and that was fun. I usually try to ride 25 to 30 miles a day.


Like my art has evolved, so has my favorite sculptor. If I had to choose now, I’d say Richard Hunt is a favorite. Rodin and Michaelangelo are up there too. Among other artists I admire are Jerry Gates and Howard and Nancy Crisp.


You have to have a real passion for it, the attitude that you have to do this. If you have that drive, then go do it.


Since most of my sculpture is large in scale, it is easier to make sales from my home. So if anyone is interested in seeing what I have, they should contact me directly at petroart@charter.net or go to Gallery Fifty in Traverse City. There are some smaller sculptures there.

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