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 · Swimming Upstream
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Swimming Upstream

Patrick Sullivan - May 26th, 2014  

Group wants to bring back Coho Fest’s glory days for Honor

There was a time when the Honor Coho Salmon Festival brought thousands of people to this small Benzie County town.

In recent years, whether due to fatigue or the economy or small-town politics, the festival lost its oomph.

Attendance and activities dwindled. Last year, the festival had just three volunteers.

To some, the Honor festival looked doomed.

That’s when Bud and Becky Lane decided it was something worth saving.

“Once we figured out that we were going to have a lot of outpouring from the public and a lot of close friends, [we] decided that we were going to step up and take over the Coho Festival,” Bud Lane said. “We didn’t want it to die.”


How did a festival go from being among Northern Michigan’s most popular to an afterthought at the end of summer?

In many ways, the ups and downs of the Coho Festival mirror the ebb and flow of salmon fishing on Lake Michigan.

The festival began in 1967, a year after coho salmon fingerlings were first planted at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery just up the highway.

Biologists expected the alewive-eating salmon to do well in Lake Michigan, which was becoming overrun with the small invasive fish. No one expected the coho to do as well as it did.

Soon, anglers from around the world mobbed Benzie County in search of the fish that could reach 12 pounds in less than a year. Fishermen yanked coho from Lake Michigan by the boatload.

“People don’t realize, that year there were cars parked from the mouth to M-22. People were walking three miles to go fishing,” Bud Lane said. “A lot of people go, ‘I can’t believe you guys named a festival after a fish,’ and I have to explain, ‘Well, Honor wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the coho.’”


When the couple took over the festival, the best word to describe it was “disarray,” Bud Lane said.

For example: Last year’s festival was called the “47th Annual.” It was really the 46th. The mistake had been made years ago and no one caught it.

“It stuck,” he said. “Nobody ever did their homework. They just stuck with it.”

The discovery gives organizers an extra year to whip the festival into shape, however – they want the 50th to be special.

Lane said there is a lot of work to be done. Over the years the festival bylaws have been lost or forgotten. Sponsors dropped out. Residents felt ignored.

“The community didn’t feel like they had a voice anymore,” he said.

The new board seeks to change that.

The board meets twice a week. They hold monthly community meetings that feature ice cream socials or spaghetti dinner fundraisers.

They spent two weeks boiling down several paragraphs to a one-sentence mission statement.

Pat DeLorme, the board treasurer and only holdover from last year, said she believes excitement for this year’s festival is contagious.

“I think the community is getting a lot more excited,” DeLorme said.


For the past two years, the Coho Festival was run by another couple, Walt and Laura Langille. No one puts the decline of the festival on them; they say it’s been in decline for years.

Bud Lane doesn’t know for sure what happened. Part of it could have been the economy, he said.

“I can’t really put a reason on the decline, except for, I would say, small-town politics,” he said. “People would get bitter and then the bitterness would go to their friends, and before you know it, people would only show up to one event or the parade.”

Volunteer fatigue also set in. “A lot of the people that had stepped up to the plate in the previous years, they’ve been doing it so long, they just got burned out,” he said.

Now, Coho Fest organizers are busy planning activities, recruiting volunteers and signing up sponsors.

They’ve already lined up a big one – Turtle Creek Casino.

“For me to say we could’ve ran it without them, we sure could have, but it wouldn’t have been the festival that we wanted,” Lane said. “Turtle Creek has been outstanding.”

Chris Theobald, an owner of the Honor Motel, said the festival has been in decline since she arrived in town eight years ago.

“It was already in the decline, but it was still more successful than it’s been in recent years,” Theobald said. “I don’t know if it will ever get back to what it used to be, but I certainly hope so.”

She’s optimistic the festival could be turned around under new leadership.

“They’ve got a great volunteer base this year and they’ve got some great plans,” she said.


Walt Langille said he and his wife took over the festival because they wanted to help Honor, but in retrospect, they may have tried to make too many changes too soon. And it didn’t help that he came from out of town.

“The problem that we encountered is that we’re not from here, I guess is the way to say that,” he said. “Bud’s a friend of mine. I think that they’re going to do alright.”

The biggest change the Langilles made was to move the festival from Maley Park near the center of town to the softball fields out of town, a move Langille now knows was a mistake.

He wanted to make the festival bigger but wound up frustrating some old-timers.

Langille said he’s pleased with the plans of the current board to move some of the activities back to Maley Park and keep some at the softball fields.

Family activities this year will take place at the park and downtown. These include the parade, children’s games, food vendors, arts and crafts show, and 5K run.

Adult activities – like the beer tent and live music – will remain at the softball fields.

The fireworks and a parachutist show will also take place at the fields.

Langille said he believes some people misunderstood what he was trying to do.

“We want the Coho Festival to succeed.

We want it to do well,” he said. “Hopefully, Bud and Becky will be able to win the hearts of the community and be able to make it happen.”


Bud Lane, 40, says he is a Benzie County native even though he was born and raised in Florida. He thinks so and everybody in town seems to think so, too.

Lane’s wife, Becky (née Rayner), is from Honor.

That should give them the credibility to turn the festival around, Lane said.

“I was born and raised in Florida, but all my family is right here from Honor and the Frankfort area,” he said. “I spent my summers coming up here, looking forward to the Coho Fest.”

His grandfather on his mother’s side was Bud Rosa, the former owner of Bud’s in Honor, the gas station. His father owned the Villa Marine in Frankfort. Lane’s mom and dad decided to leave Benzie County for Florida before he was born.

“From a very young age, I always wanted to live here. I always used to ask my parents, ‘How come we live here in Cocoa Beach, Fla.?’” he said. “You know, they never really gave me a good answer.”

What: The Honor Coho Salmon Festival

Where: Village of Honor, on US 31 in Benzie County

When: Aug. 22, 23, 24

Wanted: Lots of volunteers; lots of people to come and have fun

Why: Attendance and interest in the festival has dropped off in recent years. Organizers of this year’s Coho Fest want to turn things around by adding more events and better incorporating the history of the coho salmon into the festival.

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