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 · When Bath Salts Hit Cadillac
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When Bath Salts Hit Cadillac

Highly addictive psychoactive drug linked to one man’s tragic end.

Patrick Sullivan - June 9th, 2014  

Many questions that surround the demise of James Strobel, but one thing is clear — his death came as a result of a descent into drug addiction.

Strobel’s death by apparent hanging was first ruled a suicide by Cadillac Police. They later reopened the case in an effort to determine if he had been murdered.

Strobel disappeared July 6, 2013 and his body was found two months later in woods outside of town.

Police won’t comment on details in the case and no charges have been filed. They have said witnesses involved lack credibility and that evidence points to suicide.

Strobel’s mother, Michelle Strobel, does not believe her 30-year-old son, who she called Jimi, killed himself.

She believes he was murdered by fellow drug addicts.


Things were bad in the Cadillac drug scene before bath salts arrived, but after the synthetic amphetamine became a convenient alternative to methamphetamine, things got crazy.

The drug can be taken orally, smoked, or put into a solution and injected into veins.

Tasha Faber, a friend of Strobel’s and a self-described former drug user, said bath salts came to dominate the drug scene in 2013, bringing along with it paranoia and hallucinations.

The drug existed in a sort of legal gray area. Even as states like Michigan scrambled to classify and outlaw the drug, bath salts remained available online.

Bath salts are made of synthetic chemicals and their effects include “agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, increased pulse, high blood pressure, and suicidal thinking,” according to the medical website WebMD.

The drug entered the mainstream consciousness in 2012 when the drug was blamed for an incident in Miami, Fla. when a 31-yearold man attacked and chewed the face of a 65-year-old homeless man.


Bath salts indeed turn people crazy, Faber said.

“It’s like something took over you. They do what’s called ‘God punch,’ and basically, it’s the closest to death that you’ll ever get without dying,” she said. “You’re under the complete control of the drug.”

Faber said at first bath salts offer an energetic rush.

“When you take it at first, it’s like speed – you stay up for a few days and then you crash,” she said. “But after long-term use, you just don’t sleep.”

Prolonged use can cause strange, involuntary movement of the hands and arms, which make users appear like zombies. Worse, users eventually lose their good sense.

“I got hit in the head with a hammer. I got beat. My lung was collapsed, and I [was] still walking around like I had no health issues,” Faber said. “You know, every time I breathed out, blood was coming out of my mouth. And I didn’t care.”


Lt. Todd Golnick, the interim head of the Cadillac Police Department, said bath salts indeed caused mayhem and crime in the city a year ago.

“We had all kinds of problems with it last summer. We had people running down the streets naked that were on it,” Golnick said. “People were injuring themselves. They were hallucinating. They were delusional. They were paranoid.”

The source of the bath salts was a local dealer who was getting the drug via mail from China, he said. The prevalence lasted several months until some central figures were busted.

Police went back to busting meth labs and heroin dealers.

“TNT [the Traverse Narcotics Team] did some work and were able to create an impact,” he said. “It definitely seems like the local trend in drugs can be measured in months now, rather than years.”

Golnick said he could not comment on the Strobel death investigation because it’s still officially open.

“We are pretty much wrapping it up,” he said.

He said before the case is closed it will be reviewed by an outside agency to make sure there are no questions about how it was conducted.


Strobel’s mother says that because police don’t trust the witnesses who she believes know what happened to her son, they have ignored evidence that her son was murdered.

On July 6, on what is thought to be his final day, a farmer found Jimi Strobel in his hunting blind outside of Cadillac. He accused Strobel of trespassing and told him to leave.

Police believe Strobel walked several miles from there to the woods where his body was found and he hung himself with a garden hose, Michelle Strobel said.

She doesn’t believe it makes sense that he would walk so far just to go to different woods. She also said she has talked to people who saw her son alive in Cadillac later that day.

She believes, based on sources from the drug world, that her son wound up with a group of people at the Hampton Inn that evening. Later he left with a couple of people and he was last seen going into the woods with a couple of people.

“They came out and he didn’t,” she said.


Michelle Strobel believes two people murdered her son after an attempt to get him to overdose failed. She believes others served as lookouts and even more people were aware of what happened and helped cover it up.

“They wanted him out of the picture because he was a snitch,” she said.

While her son was missing, people told her and Faber that he was alive in Ohio, she said.

She said that before her son was found dead in September, other people told her she could find his body if she searched the woods near where he was ultimately found.

Golnick said investigators were challenged because some potential witnesses in the case were not believable.

“Obviously, Jimi was struggling with drug addiction,” Golnick said. “All of his friends have a common thread – they are all entrenched in a history of drug abuse.”


Strobel believes the case has gone unsolved because the police were too quick to decide it was a suicide. She also complains that police didn’t take her seriously when she first reported him missing.

Police had had run-ins with Jimi Strobel before his death that indicated suicidal tendencies.

He was involved in a standoff with police at a cabin on June 19 when he held a knife to his wrist and threatened to kill himself. An officer talked Strobel down and convinced him to turn himself in.

Michelle Strobel said she twice attempted to convince police to have her son committed because she was so concerned about his erratic and self-destructive behavior.

As recently as July 4, she pleaded with officers to arrest her son, take him to a hospital, and allow her to have him committed.


Prior to his disappearance, loved ones watched bath salts tear Strobel apart.

“I begged him to stop doing that stuff.

I’d never seen him like that before,” said Strobel’s sister, Jessica Edson, who said she thought bath salts made her brother’s morphine habit look benign.

The bath salts deepen the mystery of Strobel’s disappearance because use of the drug calls into question what he said in the days before he disappeared.

“On the Fourth of July, he was really upset about something, and I know, who’s to say if it’s real or not. Was somebody after him? Or was it the drugs? How do you know? How do you determine?” Edson said. “He told me somebody was after him. He said, ‘They.’” Faber said her friend was normally a kind person but on bath salts he became someone else.

“They were giving Jimi bath salts in exchange for his muscle,” Faber said. “They were paying him in drugs to assault people, to collect, to do these things, and they even stated that they created something that they couldn’t control. Everybody was afraid of Jimi. He started losing it. He started snapping.”


Michelle Strobel said her son was kindhearted but he started getting into schoolyard fights at a young age. His father left the family when Strobel was 4.

“It doesn’t matter what grade you’re in, if you get into a fight on the school yard, it doesn’t matter if they did it first,” she said. “If you retaliate and you fight back and you end up whooping them, you’re the one getting charged.”

Jimi Strobel transferred to a military academy and graduated high school by age 16, but his mother said the five misdemeanor assault convictions he had racked up when he was younger prevented him from getting into the military.

“He moved out and he moved in with the Lake City boys, and that’s where it all began,” she said. “He was hanging out with an older crowd.”

That’s when her son got into hard drugs and more arrests followed. Jimi Strobel ended up in prison before age 20 for assaulting jail guards. Other stints in prison followed. He was most recently released in February 2013.

Jimi Strobel wrote his daughter from prison in 2010, vowing to be more responsible than his own dad.

In the letter, he urged his girl to study because he’d learned that people who do well in school do well in life.

“Sometimes going to jail teaches us to grow up even when we don’t want to,” he wrote.

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