Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

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Cherries On Paper

New Cherry Fest Book Is All Fun

Pamela Garth - July 7th, 2014  


Just in time for Cherry Festival 2014 comes The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City: Blessing of the Blossoms, by Brooks Vanderbush. This book’s subject matter and bright cover are bound to attract the attention of locals and visitors to the Grand Traverse region. It is neither a scholarly historic treatise nor a literary meditation but a people’s account of an immensely successful, longrunning festival. The style is breezy and folksy, with puns, asides and digressions on almost every page. In fact, “fun” is really the heart of this book, as the author presents the Cherry Festival in that context.

Readers will find old photographs and will even spot familiar buildings with long-ago business names. There is a lot to be learned, too. For instance, those who think the Cherry Festival has become “too commercial” might be surprised to realize that marketing was integral to the festival right from its beginning. Marketing cherries isn’t “forgetting the farmer,” but aiming to ensure farm product sales. Promoting tourism for the region was also a Cherry Festival focus as early as 1928.

How many people today who object to the militarism of the Blue Angels air show remember or know that in 1967 the Seabees put on a simulated nuclear attack at the old Grand Traverse fairgrounds, a “show” designed “to stimulate interest in civil defense?” Can you believe it? Duck and cover!

As the Cherry Festival grew over the years, disappeared a couple of times, came back, and was transformed, the author believes that change has kept it always fresh, while traditional elements ensure the survival of a family-friendly event for locals and visitors alike. Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, Vanderbush tells us, is among the top ten in the United States. The number of free events, about 85 percent of the Festival total, make it a natural destination event for budget-conscious families looking for summer fun. Change and tradition are two more themes in the book.

What is the role of the Cherry Festival Queen, and how have queens been chosen over the years? Who was the first invited U.S. president to actually attend? How was the first festival financed, and how much did it cost? Read to find out.

The last chapter features stories and reminiscences of attendees from the age of six to the age of 83, and here exclamation marks abound in the paragraphs written by children. “I went to the Cherry Festival!” “The Cherry Festival has a lot of floats!” “I will have so much fun!” “It’s going to be awesome!” Their enthusiasm is unabashed.

You can tell Vanderbush absolutely loves the Cherry Festival, and it’s hard to fault a writer for boosterism when a man wears his heart on his sleeve so shamelessly.

 
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