Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oryanna Natural Foods

Region Watch Oryana Natural Foods Market is on the grow in Traverse City. On Sept. 14 the co-op broke ground on a building expansion and renovation project that will more than double the store‘s existing retail space from 4,500 to 10,000 square foot.
The need for expansion has come from robust growth. Sales at the natural products retail store have tripled since 1996. Over the same period, membership in the consumer-owned cooperative has risen from approximately 2,000 to over 4,000.
 
Thursday, September 8, 2005

Lost Lama

Region Watch LOST LAMA: Members of TIBETmichigan have asked Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos to help find the missing Panchen Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.
Gedun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989 and was officially proclaimed as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died unexpectedly after delivering an anti-Chinese government speech. The young Panchen Lama is presently the youngest political prisoner in the world.
 
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Bicentennial Barn

Region Watch For nearly 30 years motorists have thrilled to the sight of the Bicentenniel Barn on M-22 near Port Oneida, north of Glen Arbor in Leelanau County. But the paint on this nationally-recognized art treasure owned by Susan Shields has faded almost entirely away, so volunteers are being sought for its restoration. This weekend, Sept. 3-5, volunteers are being sought for scraping, painting, structural support, carpentry and other fix-ups. Musicians are also being sought to entertain the volunteers. Anyone logging 10 hours of volunteer time becomes a “Barn Buddy” and will be invited to a volunteer picnic on September 5, as well as a gala celebration of the completed project, slated for July 4, 2006. In October there will be a contest for a painting on the barn‘s north side. If you‘d like to lend a hand, contact Bill Dungjen via email at bill@lakeshoretitle.net or visit www.restorethebarn.org. Or, just show up, beginning at noon, Sept. 3-5.
 
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Northwest Airlines braces for August 20 crash landing

Region Watch Hundreds of Northwest Airlines employees are bracing for a possible strike or a lock-out on August 20 in an industry-shaking event that could have an impact on airports in Northern Michigan.
Northwest is a major carrier at both the Pellston Regional Airport and Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City with up to six flights per day flying to hubs in Detroit and Minneapolis.
At Detroit Metro Airport, some 900 Northwest employees are facing the imminent loss of their jobs -- an event which could affect the airline’s 590 flights per day. The Detroit Free Press reports that the shock waves of the labor dispute “could be devastating for the Michigan economy.”
Northwest is demanding major concessions from its unionized employees, having lost $878 million last year and $683 million in the first half of 2005. Its stock has lost 63% of its value since the beginning of the year, and some experts believe that a strike could tip the airline into bankruptcy.
The result is a life-and-death struggle over jobs. The airline wants to cut almost half of its workforce of 4,000 mechanics and all but 30 of its 800 aircraft cleaners. That on top of a 25% pay cut for the remaining mechanics, whose average salary is $70,000, according to the Free Press. The plight of employees is compounded by the fact that they are ineligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan and there are no union plans to provide strike pay.
 
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Federal Deficit

Region Watch Federal deficit
on the decline

The federal deficit is $94 billion less than expected, boding good news for the nation’s economy, reports Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland).
A release from Camp’s office notes that the national deficit is $94 billion less than a forecast made in February and now stands at $333 billion, or 2.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is smaller than the deficits in 15 of the last 25 years as a percentage of GDP.
Camp credits Republican tax cuts as playing a role in generating better than expected revenues. He adds that nationally, the economy has created over 3.7 million jobs since May 2003, with job gains for each of the last 25 months and more Americans working than ever.
 
Thursday, July 14, 2005

Moore‘s Film Fest

Region Watch Moore‘s film fest likely to be
a bonanza for Traverse City

If the success of other film festivals around the country is any indication, then Michael Moore‘s Traverse City Film Festival could mean millions of dollars in revenues for Northern Michigan tourism.
Consider the progress of Park City, Utah, a similar resort town which hosts the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. In 1999, Sundance drew more than 20,000 visitors and generated $17.4 million for the community, according to Park City‘s Chamber of Commerce.
This year, Sundance will draw 40,000 visitors, selling more than 200,000 tickets over a 10-day period, generating more than twice the revenues of six years ago.
 
Thursday, July 7, 2005

Traverse City Film Fest

Region Watch Traverse City Film Festival a box office smash before it even opens

The excitement was as palpable as a scene from “Jaws“ last Friday as the first tickets went on sale for Michael Moore‘s Traverse City Film Festival.
With a line out the door of Interlochen‘s Bravo! shop located next to the State Theatre and Moore himself selling tickets inside, the advance word and expectations on the festival set for July 27-31 is up there with the stars themselves, some of whom may be attending the premiere event.
Moore and festival co-founders author Doug Stanton and photographer John Robert Williams are bringing 31 independent films to Traverse City in an attempt to duplicate similar events at Sundance, Toronto and Telluride. Moore has personally screened and selected each film for the event.
“These are the absolute best independent films made in the last year or two,“ said the Oscar-winning filmmaker at a press conference outside the State Theatre.
He predicted that some of the films could attain the significance of such cultural icons as “The Graduate,“ “A Clockwork Orange“ and “Blazing Saddles.“ “We think that when you walk out of these movies you‘ll regain that sense of some of the great films you saw as a kid.“
The biggest film in the lineup is “Broken Flowers,“ starring Bill Murray as an “addled Don Juan on a journey through his love life“ that leads back to Sharon Stone. Other standouts include Sean Penn‘s “Assassination of Richard Nixon,“ “Grizzly Man“ by director Werner Herzog, “Gunner Palace,“ which explores life under fire in Iraq, and “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.“ The 31 films will be aired a total of 50 times, with some shown twice.
Films will be shown at the State Theatre, which has been the scene of a volunteer fix-up over the past week, and at the Traverse City Opera House. A free “On the Waterfront“ series will also be held each night at 10 p.m. at the Open Space on West Bay, with screenings of “Jaws,“ “The Princess Bride,“ “Ferris Beuller‘s Day Off“ and “Casablanca“ projected on a 50-foot screen.
As at other festivals, the films shown in Traverse City will be judged by attendees as well as by the festival‘s organizers for the awarding of prizes. The winning film will be shown on Sunday night to close out the festival.
While Moore is renowned for the political stance he took with “Fahrenheit 9/11,“ there is no particular agenda at the festival, which includes some date flick offerings such as “Summer of Love“ and “Balzac.“ The festival doesn‘t shy from topical subjects, however: Several films examine problems of the post 9/11 world, including “The Ax“ and “Time Out“ on unemployment; “Mondovino,“ a wine industry film about globalization; and “Enron,“ about corporate greed.
Tickets at $7 per film are on sale now at the Interlochen Box Office and the Bravo! store downtown.
-- by Robert Downes

 
Thursday, June 30, 2005

Public broadcasting spared the ax

Region Watch Public broadcasting
spared the axe
Cries for help and expressions of outrage on WIAA-FM talk radio and other public broadcasting outlets in Northern Michigan were heard by Congress last week, which voted 284-140 to rescind a planned cut of $100 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
Public broadcasting has been targeted by conservatives since the early ‘90s when a Republican Congress led by Newt Gingrich planned a similar budget cut to hamstring programming.
But, as in the ‘90s, the threat of crippling small stations and the cancellation of popular programs such as “Sesame Street” and “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” led to an avalanche of phone calls, emails and letters to Congress.
 
Thursday, June 16, 2005

Dove‘s Best Friend

Region Watch Express Staff Green Party of Michigan is crowing over the certification of their petition to restore Michigan’s 99-year ban on hunting the mourning dove -- a bird recognized by the state legislature as the Michigan Bird of Peace.
The law that ended that ban has been suspended, and there will be no more shooting of doves in the state until after a statewide vote on the measure in November 2006, according to a release from the Greens.
The Committee to Restore the Dove Shooting Ban filed over 275,000 petition signatures in March -- almost twice as many as were needed to qualify the referendum for the ballot. Dove hunters, who had influenced elected officials to get the ban ended, did not challenge the petition.
 
Thursday, June 9, 2005

Paving funded for bike path

Region Watch Paving funded for
62-mile bike path
The rail trail between Gaylord and Mackinaw City is getting a makeover, thanks to a grant of more than $1.4 million which will be used to pave the 62-mile bike path.
The Top of Michigan Trails Council (TOMTC) reports that $1,483,024 in Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds will be used to create a 10-foot-wide surface of crushed, compacted limestone on the trail which connects Gaylord, Vanderbilt, Wolverine, Indian River, Topinabee, Cheboygan, and Mackinaw City.
The scenic route runs past farmland, through Stewart’s Creek Marsh, along and across the Sturgeon River, on the west side of Mullett Lake and parallel to Lake Huron along U.S. 23. Once completed, the TOMTC claims it will rate as one of the premier rail-trails in the United States.
This is the largest federally funded enhancement project to ever benefit Cheboygan and Otsego counties.
 
Thursday, June 2, 2005

Carbon Monoxide Hazards

Region Watch A Traverse area family is hosting a day dedicated to educating the public on the hazards of accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in memory of their parents.
The four Overbeck siblings lost their parents several years ago on Elk Lake. The senior Overbecks had just moved into their new retirement home when a vehicle was accidentally left running in an attached garage, and they were overcome by the resulting CO build-up.
 
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Boyne makes a splash with new waterpark

Region Watch Northern Michigan‘s newest waterpark resort opens its floodgates Memorial Day weekend with the debut of Avalanche Bay at Boyne Mountain.
The indoor waterpark is part of a $70 million resort development which includes the all-new Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa.
 
Thursday, May 19, 2005

‘We take hard cases‘ A. C. Paws celebrates with a pet reunion

Region Watch Danielle Horvath For the past nine years, A. C. Paw has rescued over 3,000 cats, dogs, puppies and kittens in Northern Michigan which would have otherwise been destroyed. This often means animals that have been abused, neglected, sick or when there is no room at the local shelters.
To celebrate their successes, they are having their second annual “Family Reunion” day on Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m. 5 p.m. at PetSmart in Traverse City. Anyone who has adopted a pet through A.C. Paw is encouraged to bring their animal, or a picture of them to the reunion. Highlights of the day will include door prizes, a display, and a raffle of specially-built dog houses to support the Gimme Shelter Project. The event will be broadcast live by Steve Cook from WTCM.
“This is a chance for all our volunteers to see the results of their hard work and dedication,” says Brian Manley, co-founder of A.C. Paw, along with partner June McGrath.
 
Thursday, May 5, 2005

Confessions of a first time marathoner

Region Watch REGION WATCH

Confessions of a
1st time marathoner
For her very first marathon, Jennifer Belfry wanted to cross the finish line with an even greater sense of accomplishment than finishing this May’s 26.2-mile Bayshore. That’s why she and 12 teammates decided to lend their legs and fitness ambitions to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.
And Jennifer is going the extra mile this Wednesday, May 4, helping to organize a fundraising benefit at Union Street Station in TC, where she works as a waitress.
 
Thursday, April 28, 2005

Rock Star Paleo Joe brings trilobite tour to Petoskey

Region Watch Paleo Joe lives in the past with a passion. A paleontologist, his “Trilobite Treasures -- Arthropods of the Ancient Seas” debuts at the Little Traverse Historical Society Museum on Petoskey’s bayfront this week, bringing 250 specimens and artifacts from the good old days of 250 million years ago.
It’s a fitting exhibit for the heart of Petoskey Stone country.


“This whole area was under water millions of years ago,” says Joseph J. “Paleo Joe” Kchodl. “Petoskey Stones are made of the coral which lived in the ancient seas of those times.”
And amidst that coral scuttled strange little creatures called trilobites, also known as “ancient marine arthropods with hard chitenous exeskeletons.” They were small, wiggly creatures on the ocean floor; the largest was just two-and-a-half feet long.
What’s an arthropod?
 
 
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