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..

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Don Piper spent 90 Minutes in Heaven

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Years ago, Don Piper was pronounced dead after a horrific auto accident crushed his car. For 90 minutes he lay lifeless, with medics attending to others since he was without a pulse. It wasn’t until a friend and pastor, who happened to be in the area, stopped to pray with the dead man and sing over him, that Piper returned to life, waking to his own voice singing a much-loved hymn.
Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeking Asylum

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Seeking Asylum: New book illuminates quest for mental health in Northern Michigan
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
“Northern Michigan Asylum”
By William A. Decker, M.D.
Arbutus Press, $50

“Northern Michigan Asylum: A History of the Traverse City State Hospital” by William A. Decker, M.D., is a sad story despite Dr. Decker’s attempt to keep this history to facts and figures, and keep the human equation to a minimum. I don’t mean sad in the attempts made to upgrade the care of asylum patients, but sad that we’ve come full circle, back to the lack of mental health care that the people of Michigan found unacceptable in the mid-1800s.
Built in 1885, the present-day site of Building 50 and the Grand Traverse Commons was first called the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. Later the name was sanitized to the Traverse City State Hospital, and then Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital.
Monday, August 16, 2010

The Body in the Shoe Tree

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli The Body in the Shoe Tree
The Hanging Tree
By Bryan Gruley
Simon and Schuster - $15
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
I challenge you to read Bryan Gruley’s “The Hanging Tree” and then drive by the shoe tree on US 131 north of Kalkaska and not see a body hanging among the highest branches. As I drove passed the tree recently, there she was, Gruley’s Gracie McBride, swinging amid the sneakers and flip-flops. A truly sad and riveting image to begin a book.
In this second in Gruley’s Starvation Lake mystery series, Gus Carpenter, executive editor of the Starvation Lake Village newspaper, the Pine Country Pilot, is not only in trouble over negative stories that could cost the town a new hockey rink, but deeply involved in the mystery surrounding Gracie’s death. The verdict is suicide.
Gracie McBride used to live, over 20 years before, at Gus’ home. His mother, a sweet and caring woman, had taken the young girl in when her own mother was too involved with yet another man to look out for her own daughter. The thing is, Gus never really got along with Gracie and now there is, perhaps, a little guilt involved as Gus watches Gracie’s body swing high in the snow-covered branches. His married lover, a sheriff’s deputy, has to shut him out of the investigation or face losing her job. His newspaper has been pressuring him to tame his hockey rink stories down but Gus isn’t the kind of man who can turn his back on truth.
Quickly the people of Starvation Lake begin shouting “foul” over the verdict of suicide. Even Gus’ mom, who is growing older and having lapses of memory, still insists Gracie, a troubled girl to be sure, would never take her own life. Though she hadn’t seen her in the 18 years she’s been gone from town, his mother knows secrets that will eventually lead Gus to some hard places buried deep within the fabric of the town.
Monday, August 9, 2010


Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Admissions: Novel probes a mental hospital’s past
by Jennifer Sowle
Arbutus Press, 19.95
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
There is something about the Old Traverse City State Hospital —
“mental hospital” it was called back when it functioned as a home for
the mentally ill, or home to the dysfunctional, or home to people
warehoused to make life more convenient for their relatives, more
convenient for abusive husbands, even business partners wanting a too
inquisitive partner quieted.
Friday, August 6, 2010

From rags to riches: Wayne Lobdell

Books Anne Stanton From Rags to Great Riches
By Anne Stanton
Traverse City entrepreneur Wayne Lobdell is known as a full-throttle
kind of guy when it comes to running his empire of fast-food
franchises. But he’s been more laid back when it’s come to promoting
his autobiography, “Climb from the Cellar,” which was published in the
Spring of 2009 with sales of a couple thousand copies.
Monday, July 12, 2010

Double Bill

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Double Bill: Up in the Air with the Time Traveler’s Wife
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
In a true double header, the National Writers’ Series is bringing best
selling writers Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her
Fearful Symmetry) and Walter Kirn (Up in the Air) to the Traverse City
Opera House on July 15, 7 p.m., to talk about their books, writing,
life, art, and inspiration.
Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Roundup

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Book Roundup: Local authors bring out their best
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
It seems as though almost every cottage stuck back in the Northern woods harbors a writer, toiling away at a memoir, a novel, short stories, anything that can be written. I find this an exciting occurrence. I was once told it is due to the confluence, the commingling of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, with even a bit of Lake Superior thrown in, that has brought this burst of creativity to our area.
Since the lakes have been here for awhile, I don’t think that’s the real answer. Personally, I would opt for the laptop — which goes anywhere, works as long as there is electricity, and stores mountains of files. And then, of course, we have all these creative types fleeing to the woods where the biggest distraction might be a noisy woodpecker. Whatever the cause, there are lots of new ideas, new voices, writers’ groups, events and conferences. So, on to new books, writer appearances, and even one intriguing contest open to everyone.
Monday, June 21, 2010

Naked in the stream

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli The wilds of Isle Royale come to life in Naked in the Stream
Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories
By Vic Foerster
Arbutus Press
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
If you liked Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods,” you’re going to love “Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories” by Vic Foerster.
Forester’s tales of almost 30 years camping and canoeing and hiking on Isle Royale and surrounding islands is not only a captivating read, but instructive, throat-catching, and deeply knowing, the way good outdoor books should be.
In beautifully clear prose, he writes about the vagaries of weather so far north, as well as about people he’s met along the way. There are stories of encounters with animals and stories about himself—what he’s learned and how Isle Royale has made him the man he’s become.
Monday, June 14, 2010

Beach reads

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli What to Read? Summer’s Best Beach Books
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Yes, another list of books to read while on vacation, sitting on a
quiet beach, in a summer house, in a garden—any place you dream of
being and don’t often get to.
Monday, June 14, 2010

An Ernest Endeavor

Books Glen D. Young An Ernest Endeavor: Picturing Young Hemingway in Northern Michigan
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
Wayne State University Press
216 pages, 269 illustrations
By Glen Young
It would be easy to believe that there’s nothing new to say about
Ernest Hemingway. Writers as well as relatives have detailed the
history of Michigan’s most iconic writer in every manner of
Monday, June 14, 2010

An Ernest Endeavor

Books Glen D. Young An Ernest Endeavor: Picturing Young Hemingway in Northern Michigan
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
Wayne State University Press
216 pages, 269 illustrations
By Glen Young
It would be easy to believe that there’s nothing new to say about
Ernest Hemingway. Writers as well as relatives have detailed the
history of Michigan’s most iconic writer in every manner of
Monday, May 31, 2010

Soul Searching

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Soul Searching: Three take top prize in Michigan Writers Chapbook Contest
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
As all writers eventually discover, writing is a lonely business. Not just the hours spent at a computer, but the aftermath — trying to sell the work that has kept the writer busy for months, or even years. As local writer John Mauk notes: “Authors can’t write and then fall into a hole… Authors have to carry their work into the world — even when it’s heavy.”
Monday, May 24, 2010

Strange Days

Books Erin Crowell Strange Days: A Dead Sleeping Shaman meets her own end of the world
“Dead Sleeping Shaman”
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Midnight Ink $14.95
By Erin Crowell
There’s something eerie going on in Northern Michigan, people are coming up dead and they’re doing it in strange places – at least is the case in the Emily Kincaid murder/mystery book series.
In “Dead Sleeping Shaman”—the follow-up to “Dead Dancing Women” and “Dead Floating Lovers”—local author (and Northern Express book reviewer) Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli returns readers to the world of writer Emily Kincaid, who is busy working on a Northern Michigan ghost town story when she happens to stumble across an old woman lying motionless against a tree near a remote walking trail.
Monday, May 3, 2010

The Books for Walls Project

Books Erin Crowell The Books for Walls Project
By Erin Crowell
This story is about fathers and daughters, mothers and husbands. It’s about the sharing of ideas – a story about stories, inspired by a poem.
The Books for Walls Project is a virtual dinner table, surrounded by conversation. The topic is primordial, the medium – modern.
Enter www.BooksForWallsProject.org and discuss your favorite book, your newest book and books you have yet to read. Listen. Others are reading too.
Books for Walls was a family project, set in motion by a mother who wanted to share her family’s conversation about books, hoping to inspire others to join in the discussion – an open seat, if you will, around the dinner table.
Monday, May 3, 2010

A traveler finds meaning in unexpected places

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli A traveler finds meaning in unexpected places: An American Map:
Essays by Anne-Marie Oomen
Wayne State University Press, $18.95
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
“Why do you think we have so many good writers here in the North?” a doctor recently asked me.
Maybe he didn’t add the ‘good.’ That might be my own addition because that’s how I feel, and that’s what makes me proud of where I live: these good writers who circle us with golden words and take our lives deeper, make them brighter.
“An American Map: Essays by Anne-Marie Oomen,” is a fine book by a northern writer cutting a sometimes microscopic and sometimes a deep and wide swath into our hearts and minds.
Oomen, a writing instructor at Interlochen Arts Academy, uses moments from her life to facet experience, finding small and large truths in unusual places. Moving from Empire, Michigan, across the United States, to Puerto Rico, and back to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Oomen unrolls a different kind of landscape, a deeper travelogue, pulling unexpected meaning from unexpected places.
“Stone Wounds” honors the sacred. In Mount Cardigan, New Hampshire, Oomen is mountain climbing when she comes to rest against a slab of granite running with veins of quartz. “ …long lines crossing and crisscrossing this rock like a child’s script, teasing some words or a story just to the edge of recognition—a mystery, almost a meaning. I hear in the abrupt wind some question I do not understand. Then I remember,” she writes.