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 · Music · A Bliss-tering Hot Music Fest
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A Bliss-tering Hot Music Fest

After 34 years, Petoskey’s Blissfest has become as much a community as it is a music festival.

Kristi Kates - July 7th, 2014  

Now “generations old,” as its co-founder puts it, each year’s Blissfest just keeps getting better and better, with a more eclectic lineup and more Bliss devotees.

This summer’s Blissfest, July 11-13, is no exception.


Co-founder Jim Gillespie said he never expected Blissfest to grow beyond a simple fundraising event with fellow Grain Train Natural Foods Market colleagues.

“But there has been a steady year to year desire to gather with friends and like-minded folks who care about people, the planet and the universal language of music,” he said.

Gillespie was a part of the Remus, Mich. Wheatland Music Organization during its early days in the 1970s, an idea that traveled back with him to Petoskey to raise funds for a Bliss, Mich. alternative school.

Although originally held for one day under a big maple tree in a Bliss Township field, Blissfest now needs a full staff, a board of directors, and 600 volunteers to help each year. A lot of work, yes – but well worth it.

“I am rewarded by the fact that I have been able to stay with this ‘party with a purpose’ for all these years, and still love it,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie’s background in anthropology plus his own musicianship has helped him keep each year’s lineup fresh and well balanced between favorite performers and emerging artists.

“Today we embrace our roots music roots, but also include innovators of the folk and roots traditions,” he said. “And we balance local and regional talent with our other goal of bringing national and internationally recognized touring acts to Northern Michigan.”


This year, the Blissfest lineup is another solid one, with main headliners Rusted Root anchoring the fest with their blend of world music and roots jams.

Also topping the bill are Canadian folkfusion band The Duhks, who manage to put soul, gospel, folk, Cajun zydeco, Irish dance music, and old-time country string sounds all into the same blender.

L.A.’s Fishtank Ensemble embraces an Eastern European sound, with a fusion of Balkan, Romanian, Flamenco, Gypsy, and hot jazz. The Appleseed Collective dip their toes into Dixieland and ragtime along with their own hot jazz/Gypsy sound.

“A couple other acts to look for are Star and Micey from Nashville, and Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers for an indie folk sound,” Gillespie said. “Then there’s Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Heywood Banks … and don’t miss The Brown Rice Family for some reggae/hip-hop, and The Andrew and Noah Band for an Americana roots romp.”


Local favorites are always well represented at Blissfest, too. This year’s picks include The Peacemeal String Band, E Minor, Josh Davis, Billy Strings and Don Julin, Claudia Schmidt with Dean McGraw, The Accidentals, Earthworks singer-songwriter DarlenYa, and Galactic Sherpas.

In addition to music, Blissfest offers showcases, workshops, and crafts. Tai Chi, ukulele lessons, an African dance party, silk painting and leather works are all on the docket.

So how are Gillespie and the Blissfest crew going to top all of this next year, when the fest hits its 35th birthday?

“Gads! Another landmark year?” Gillespie said, laughing. “Well, we already have some bands that we are chasing, but it’s cheating to give away the surprise too early. No one is booked yet, but rest assured we already have a list that will blow your socks off.”

The 2014 Blissfest Roots and Music Festival will take place July 11-13 in Bliss, Mich. Rustic camping is available. For tickets, a full schedule, and more, visit blissfest.org.

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