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, April 26, 2010

Northern Muse

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Northern Muse ; Petoskey’s literary scene
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Ernest Hemingway came to Walloon Lake from Chicago and fell under the
spell of the North Country. He married his first wife, Hadley, in a
tiny northern church. His Nick Adams short stories became
classics—explorations of fishing and hunting and discovery in the
Upper Peninsula. Hemingway’s novella, “The Torrents of Spring” began
at the railroad station in Mancelona, his two men dead drunk and not
sure where they were. Except they were in Northern Michigan, which
seemed to be enough.
Monday, April 12, 2010

Essayist sets life‘s questions to music

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Essayist sets life’s questions to music
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Essays on Memory and Identity
By Fleda Brown
University of Nebraska Press

If the unexamined life, as Socrates said, isn’t worth living, then Fleda Brown’s is truly a valuable life. Her new book: Driving with Dvorak: Essays on Memory and Identity, could have been a memoir, except that it isn’t—exactly.
What it is are snapshots -- or maybe better -- X-rays from an ordinary life: father, mother, two sisters, three husbands, children, a retarded brother who dies young, a decaying summer cottage on Michigan’s Central Lake, other American places: east, west, Midwest. Scenes from a woman’s life, a poet’s life, that dive beneath the surface to return with reasons, discoveries, new understanding, new pain, new acceptance -- all the bits of life that make us human beings.
First there is the father, a prominent person in the book and in Brown’s life. In the title essay, he is old, he is angry, and she goads him as she did as a teen. Her sin? She used too much dish soap while washing dishes. She is 44, a grown woman, and doesn’t think she has to tolerate his fits of anger, his penuriousness, his inability to act in his own best interest, and even his self-loathing. She talks back only to have him yell, “By God, I’ll hit you.” Maybe this is where the book begins, with a need to know this man, this husband, this father. Then maybe to learn something valuable about herself.
What she can share with her father is music. Therefore Dvorak, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky. Not in an intellectual joust but in the silent ways music connects person to person, down in what Brown calls an ‘’inarticulate core.”
Monday, April 12, 2010

An evening with Mary Karr

Books Anne Stanton An Evening with Mary Karr? Author of The Liar’s Club talks about life,drinking, poetry, recovery and God
By Anne Stanton
I have a ritual when trying to find a book of cracking it open and
reading a random paragraph. If I find the writing amazing in at least
one of my openings, I check it out of the library. If the writing
soars on every random page, I buy it.
Monday, March 15, 2010

Michael Delp seeks answers though short stories

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Michael Delp Seeks Answers Through Short Stories
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
As If We Were Prey
By Michael Delp
Wayne State University Press
The magic thing about writers is that we get to watch the way they think. They leave a trail of pebbles behind them, a body of work that, with good writers, expands, then flattens into a wide vista of explored ideas.
Michael Delp, teacher of creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy and writer of many books of poetry and fiction, including: Over the Graves of Horses, Under the Influence of Water and more, is one of these good writers. With, As if We Were Prey, his new book of Michigan-based short stories from Wayne State University Press, he takes old and new themes and drives them and us to new places.
Monday, March 8, 2010

Getting to know da U.P.

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Getting to Know Da U.P. :Odd facts abound in new Almanac
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac
By Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak
University of Michigan Press.
600 pages - $27.95

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of those empty places you go because you want to be alone. Or you want to hunt. Maybe you want to cross-country ski. There are lots of reasons to visit. For me it is waterfalls—making a list then finding every one of them. And it’s small lakes so blue-green and clear you think the lake must be shallow, but it isn’t. And it’s miles of Lake Superior shoreline, driving along and wondering about the gales of November and the men out on the freighters and if they are always watching the sky for storms. So many miles of forest and swamp with tiny villages and small towns, all far apart.
Monday, March 1, 2010

A Mennnonite memeoir

Books Erin Crowell A Mennonite Memoir
By Erin Crowell
On the heels of its first comedy festival, Northern Michigan will get
another dose of humor when the National Writers Series presents “An
Evening with Rhoda Janzen,” on March 5, at the City Opera House, in
downtown Traverse City.
Monday, February 8, 2010

Meet Amy Alkon‘s Better Half

Books Anne Stanton Meet Amy Alkon’s Better Half
By Anne Stanton
Thanks to Gregg Sutter, the Advice Goddess is coming to town on
February 11 to dish out her saucy advice on love at the City Opera
House, and to talk about her new book, I See Rude People.
Sutter is the researcher for Elmore Leonard, the reigning king of
crime writers.
Monday, January 25, 2010

Mind your manners, The Advice Goddess rages on the rude

Books Erin Cowell Mind Your Manners
The Advice Goddess rages at the rude
I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite
By Amy Alkon
McGraw Hill, $16.95

By Erin Crowell

Amy Alkon, humorist and nationally syndicated columnist of “The Advice
Goddess,” has taken her bold opinions of society and had them print, set
and bound into her newest book, “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to
beat some manners into impolite society.”
Monday, January 4, 2010

Words of WisdomMatt / Sutherland?s journal offers daily inspiration

Books Robert Downes Words of Wisdom
Matt Sutherland’s journal offers daily inspiration
By Robert Downes
Consider the following quote and how it might apply to your own life:

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe.” -- John Muir.

That bit of wisdom by the legendary California naturalist is one of the quotes in Matt Sutherland’s new book, Go Seek: Journaling to Spiritual Fulfillment. The idea is to think about what Muir said about the interconnectedness of the universe and write out your own thoughts on several blank journal pages that follow the quote.
To aid you in that endeavor, Sutherland also includes some thoughts on how physicist Albert Einstein viewed “the connections between all elements of the universe, be it energy, matter, space or time.”
Spiritual stuff? That’s what Sutherland, 46, is hoping readers and journal writers will get out of his project, which has been published by Spirituality & Health Books, a firm launched by himself and his wife, Victoria, who is also the guiding light behind ForeWord Magazine in Traverse City.
Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year?s Resolutions?

Books Anne Stanton New Year’s Resolutions? Try putting them in pictures this year
By Anne Stanton
Have you vowed to never make another resolution, knowing that you’re
quite likely to fail?
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they’re more about
what you don’t want to do, as opposed to dreaming up a vision that
puts a smile on your face.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Couple makes Torch Lake History

Books Anne Stanton Couple Makes
Torch Lake History
By Anne Stanton
Torch Lake is known for its beauty, as well as its summer flotilla of floating parties thanks to an endless sand bar. The vast emerald blue lake is reputed to be the inspiration for Kid Rock’s hit song, “All Summer Long.”
But, ever wonder how Torch Lake got its name?
The early settlers in the area saw Native American Indians waving birch bark torches along the shoreline in order to attract fish for supper.
You’ll find that fact along with all kinds of history about the Torch Lake area in Torch Lake, The History of Was-Wah-Go-Ning, a 436-page book with stories that trace the lake’s evolution from a frozen tundra to a resort that inspires rock song lyrics of catching “walleye off a dock and watching waves roll off the rock.” The book, priced at $60, features no less than 673 maps, drawings and photographs.
The book reflects the combined efforts of Mary Kay and Edward McDuffie, a wife and husband team. Ed (known as Eb to his close friends) focused on the area’s ancient history, glaciers and maps, while Mary Kay compiled the more recent information and wrote most of the text.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 20 Michigan notable books

Books Top 20: Michigan Notable Books
Each year, the Library of Michigan compiles its list of 20 Notable Books highlighting Michigan people, places, and events.
Short stories of people living on the rough side of life in Detroit; a biography of the state’s first geologist; and a children’s book that tells the story of a slave family’s flight to freedom are among this year’s most notable Michigan books.
“This year’s Michigan Notable Books bring to life the Michigan experience through vivid storytelling that creates portraits of the people and places that make Michigan great,” said State Librarian Nancy Robertson. “These books celebrate Michigan as a place and a people that even in the most trying of times find transformation.”
Michigan Notable Books is a statewide program that began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, geared to pay tribute and draw attention to the people, places and things that make Michigan life unique.
The 2009 Michigan Notable Books are:
Monday, December 14, 2009

Hard covers and hard cider

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Hardcovers & Hard Cider
Book sale brings female authors together
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Hardcovers and Hard Cider don’t sound like two things that normally go together. But they’ll both be offered by local women writers when they gather to sell their books for holiday gift giving at the Mercato in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons on Friday, December 18, from 4-9 p.m. Cider will be offered, along with the writers talking about their craft and sharing the holiday season.
Monday, December 7, 2009

American Savage By Bonnie Jo Campbell

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Meth & Mayhem Make their Mark in
American Salvage
American Salvage
By Bonnie Jo Campbell
Wayne State University Press

By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s American Salvage, from Wayne State University’s ‘Made in Michigan Writer’s Series,’ is ugly in the stories of sad and stupid people who do harm to themselves and others, but beautiful in prose that cuts deeply into places where good writing should go.
Monday, November 9, 2009

Book round-up

Books Robert Downes Book Round-Up
What’s new from local authors
By Robert Downes 11/9/09

Books about Northern Michigan topped the mailbag at the Express this fall as a number of authors explored fictional territory that is ‘close to home.’ Here’s a round-up of what’s new on bookstore shelves:

Echoes of L’Arbre Croche by Donald A. Johnston is a re-write of a 1917 mystery novel called The Indian Drum.
L’Arbre Croche is French for Cross Village -- once a large town of Ottawa Indians, as well as Pottawatomies and the Chippewa. As the book notes, every time someone dies out on Lake Michigan, an Indian drum sounds in the village to mark their passage.