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 · Oosterhouse brothers plan anew...
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Oosterhouse brothers plan anew winery

Rick Coates - June 6th, 2011
Acting on an Impulse Oosterhouse brothers plan new winery
By Rick Coates 
What do Dan Aykroyd, Mario Batali, Antonio Banderas, Tommy Smothers and
Carter Oosterhouse have in common? They all own wineries. At least that
will be the case soon for HGTV hunk and heartthrob Carter Oosterhouse.
Last week Oosterhouse hosted an open house for close friends to show off
his new vineyard and winery location on the Old Mission Peninsula as well
as introduce his fiancee, actress Amy Smart, to family and friends.
Oosterhouse joins the growing ranks of celebrities worldwide venturing
into the wine industry. Last year celebrity-owned wineries saw a 25%
increase in wine sales from the previous year. While their celebrity may
be a factor, many of those wineries do not even have the stars’ names on
the labels. Ask any celebrity why they opened or purchased a winery and
making money off of gimmick wines will not be on that list -- and that is
also the case for Oosterhouse.
“It is funny but growing up here I couldn’t wait to get out of here,” said
Oosterhouse. “But after living in LA for several years now I am always
trying to figure out how I can get back here more often. I always knew
that I wanted to have a business here in Traverse City.  Growing up on the
Peninsula and watching the wine industry emerge. I thought it was a good

While Oosterhouse will be a hands-on owner, his work with HGTV along with
a modeling career and owning his own production company will keep him from
managing the operation daily. He will leave that in the hands of his older
“Todd has been successful in business. I can trust him and when I asked
him he was excited as I was with the potential for this project,” said
Oosterhouse. “He will manage the day-to-day end of it, but I will have
Oosterhouse Vineyards will have 20 acres of grapes to start and a tasting
room located off Nelson Road near Chateau Grand Traverse. They expect the
tasting room to open in the spring of 2014.
So, for two brothers who grew up with construction backgrounds, exactly
what is their wine knowledge?
“We feel very fortunate that so many people have stepped up to give us
input,” said Todd. “For example Cornell of Two Lads Winery is consulting
with us. We both like to ask a lot of questions. We are basically figuring
it out as we go along.”
Their open house included an opportunity for guests to help plant some of
the vineyard; for the Oosterhouse brothers this concept of community is
“We want this be a very community-oriented winery,” said Carter. “We want
the community to be a part of what we are doing and participate along the

Carter Oosterhouse graduated from TC St. Francis (as did Todd) and
attended Central Michigan University. Carter worked construction during
the summers and moved to LA after graduating from CMU where he worked in
the building trades before being discovered by talent scouts. He has been
selected People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man on TV.” In addition to his
television work he has had several modeling projects; currently he’s the
male model for Nautica. Oprah used Oosterhouse on occasion to oversee
on-air makeovers for fans of her show. 
He has used his celebrity resources to bring attention to Traverse City
having a few television shows filmed here of home remodeling projects. In
addition, he and his family secretly remodeled one of the Old Mission
Peninsula Fire Department buildings to the tune of $130,000. Last summer
his charity, Carters Kid’s, built a children’s playground at the harbor at
Greilickville Harbor Park in Elmwood Township.
Oosterhouse, now 34, started to get the itch to come back to Traverse City
six years ago and bought an old Victorian style farmhouse and some acres
about 10 miles out on the Old Mission Peninsula. Despite living in
California with its famed wine country Oosterhouse kept hearing about
Michigan wines.
“I would mention to friends I was from Michigan and they would talk about
how great the wines are from there and that was really a selling point for
me as well,” said Oosterhouse. “Plus every time I would come back home I
would go out to dinner at the Peninsula Grille and order a glass of
Riesling and that first sip of wine just reminds me of all the great
things about Northern Michigan.”

So do the Oosterhouse brothers plan to focus on Rieslings?
“I thought about it at first, certainly our region is known for that but I
decided to take the approach I have with my career, to be more of an
opportunist,” said Oosterhouse. “Todd and myself are going to keep an open
mind to our approach and maybe even help usher in some new ideas for the
wine region.”
Todd adds:
“We have a pretty diverse vineyard right now and certainly a lot to learn
as we move forward,” he said. “This is a delicate business and we had to
buy land away from where Carter bought his farm because the growing
conditions were not right.”
Carter jokes: “It is funny but I guess I never figured I would lay awake
at night trying to figure out how to get rid of weeds. There are so many
weeds. But Todd and and I also want to use the best farming practices at
all times.”
As for how much his new fiancee will be involved, that remains to be seen.
“Amy is very busy with her acting career; she is excited about the winery
project,” said Oosterhouse. “I have joked with her that I will name a
section of the vineyard after her, but we have to be married for awhile
before I commit to that.”
Oosterhouse and Smart are known as Hollywood’s “green” or “eco” couple.
They plan to spend as much time here as possible. They met last fall and
were engaged this past spring. 
“I have spent a lot of time up here, my parents live in Omena,” said Smart. 
As for a wedding date and location, Oosterhouse just smiled as the couple
has several Hollywood friends and revealing too many details will
certainly result in the papparazzi showing up.
“We are planning on this September,” said Oosterhouse. “Location to be
determined, I’ll get back to you on that one.”
In the meantime Oosterhouse is leaving this week for the west coast to
start filming for some upcoming HGTV shows. His production company is also
in negotiations for a brand new show as well. Todd will stay focused on
tending to the vineyards along with processing the mounds of paperwork the
state and federal government require to operate a winery. 
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