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 · Third Career. Limitless...
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Third Career. Limitless Perspective.

Frankfort painter Ellie Harold never intended to become an artist for her third career.

Al Parker - June 16th, 2014  

She started her working life as a registered nurse, caring for patients in an intensive care unit. Later she became an ordained Unity minister, leading a church she pioneered in Atlanta. About a dozen years ago, Harold picked up a paint brush and began creating landscapes and still lifes that vibrate with color.

One of her landscapes, “Boathouse Impression,” recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Leelanau Community Cultural Center’s plein art event. “That was a very satisfying painting to do,” says Harold. “There were so many good artists in the competition. I was a little nervous. But the brush just took over and it flew out. And it was sold before the judging.”


In the early 2000s I advocated for women who had been childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. I became involved in SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). While in Boston for a meeting, I found myself unable to sleep on three consecutive nights. Instead, I seemed to hear an inner voice imploring me to “Do Art, Do Art.” Having previously had a similarly insistent calling to ministry, that I’d ignored for several years, I decided to respond to this calling in a more timely manner.

I bought some oil painting supplies, an easel and some canvas. Twenty years prior I’d dropped out of a beginning oil painting class, but remembered enough to get started. That partial class and a year of life drawing are my only formal art training. Once I got my equipment together, I put it in a corner of our screened porch and more or less forgot about it. Six months later, I spied some blue asters and orange tiger lilies, grabbed them up, stuck them in a pitcher and started painting. I’ve been at it ever since.


The skills I developed as a nurse -- the ability to scan the environment and respond quickly -- and as a minister -- the ability to think on my feet, sense where energy is flowing and interact creatively -- have served the painting well. The painting seems to be part of a continuing evolution of spiritual purpose, one that I love and enjoy serving. While I devote most of my time to my painting, I also love my work mentoring artists who seek me out for assistance in learning to fulfill their aesthetic needs more completely.


I try to avoid taking a lot of pride in my artwork or getting too attached to any one painting. Pride is a tricky thing and if I start feeling like “I” am doing “good” work, hubris takes over. As a chronic people-pleaser, I’ll start trying too hard to reproduce the good result and in the process lose any aliveness or energy, the qualities I feel determine the real value of a work. That said, I do love most of my artwork! My Frankfort studio & gallery occupy a large portion of my home and my work is everywhere. Until they go to another home, I’m in constant conversation with the paintings. I actually believe they don’t sell because there’s something I still need from them and then, when I no longer do, they fly off to a new home.

At the recent Leland Plein Air event I had the experience of selling a wet painting. It’s the first time I haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with a painting before it went to a new home. I can only conclude that, based on the evidence, I got all of what I needed simply from making the painting.


How everything in life conspires to equip us with what we need to fulfill our spiritual purpose. I feel fortunate that I learned early on how to transform the so-called bad stuff in my life into a tremendous sense of meaning and purpose. I keep on painting the way I keep on living – to see what’s going to happen next!


I can’t say there’s one artist who is my favorite. I enjoy Monet and Bonnard, Diebenkorn and Matisse, but mostly because of the inspiration for an artistic lifestyle they demonstrate.


My advice for all artists is “Do your Art.” As I wrote in my book 7 Habits of Deeply Fulfilled Artists: Your Aesthetic Needs & How to Meet Them, if you’re an artist, making art is a need, not a want. My father was a commercial artist who for various reasons didn’t do his creative art. As a result, he was very critical of my early attempts to make art and I didn’t get around to fulfilling this need until I was 52. I’ve met a lot of older artists who’ve also been put off from doing their art because of family and other obligations. If as a young person you have the opportunity to pursue your art, just do it! Don’t deprive yourself! Do whatever it takes to do your art. As Dr. Seuss suggests, “Oh, the places you’ll go ….”


At my Frankfort studio and gallery and at the Sleeping Bear Gallery in Empire. I have my Caribbean paintings in the Siddhia Hutchinson Fine Art Gallery in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

clockwise from top left:

Boathouse Impression

Point Betsie Dune Scene

Barn Vista

Ellie Harold welcomes visitors to her in-home gallery in Frankfort.

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