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 · Take It From The Top
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Take It From The Top

Kristi Kates - August 1st, 2011
It’s not often that youthful students have a chance to work with a Broadway director on their theatrical skills, but that’s what’s in store for kids participating in the Take It From the Top (TIFTT) workshops this summer at the Traverse City Opera House.
Poised to offer aspiring musical theater performers a wealth of personalized training and experience in music, dance, and theater, the TIFTT workshops, taught by Broadway professionals and helmed by director Paul Canaan, are enriching and focused, exposing their students to many different facets of on-stage life.
Currently, the workshops are limited to those aged 10 to 18; a teachers’ workshop took place in East Lansing, but that idea has yet to be developed in Traverse City, nor have adult theater workshops. But for the youthful students who are fortunate enough to be able to enroll, it’s a chance to see what the Broadway life is really all about.

“We try to maximize the students’ experiences with our faculty,” Canaan explains, “we usually begin a workshop with a vocal warm-up with the whole group, and then we split into smaller groups and dance in one space, while another group works on vocal material. Then the two groups switch so that they get both classes.”
One-on-one solo coaching is also included through the week (“so students can work on their own material,” Canaan says), and a broad range of both classic and modern musical theater composers and plays are referenced throughout, so performers can get the Broadway experience from the ground up.
“We touch on Fosse, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Rent,” Canaan says, “musical theater encompasses a huge variety of themes and styles.”
TIFTT got its start at the Wharton Center at Michigan State University (as part of their “Artist in Residency” program), a program known as Take It From The Top is quickly becoming a favorite returning event for Traverse City, partnering with the Old Town Playhouse for classes during the day, and performing their recitals at the Traverse City Opera House.

Whether students are just looking to have fun with on-stage arts, improve their performances in local productions, or aim at the bigger footlights of Broadway or national stages, Canaan says there’s something for everyone - but the program does also have a great record of success as far as giving performers the confidence and connections to help get their dancing feet in various professional and college-level doors.
“We’ve had a lot of students stay in touch with our casting directors, and get auditions in New York,” Canaan enthuses, “I actually sent a video of a boy from Traverse City to the casting director of Billy Elliot (the Broadway musical), and she was thrilled to see all of the talent in Michigan.”
“We also have a lot of students get into great musical theater college programs,” he continues, “which I love seeing, as well.”

Canaan’s rewards are, he explains, in seeing new talents gain confidence, and in working with new instructors, as well, which he explains can add a whole new level of enthusiasm to the program itself.
“I’m bringing a new team of teachers into the workshops (for 2011),” he says, “which is always fun when you have some of the same students. And I’m very excited that we get to perform at the Opera House in Traverse City - it’s one of my favorite cities to work in. My favorite part about the workshops week is seeing the growth throughout the week. A lot of our students come to the program not knowing what to expect, and nervous about working with theater professionals.”
“But by the end of the week,” he says, “they’re on stage singing and dancing and taking risks fearlessly. I love that.”

The Take It From The Top workshops begin on August 2. For more information and to sign up, visit http://www.cityoperahouse.org/takeitfromthetop.php
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