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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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Local Music: Stovepipe Stover

Music Kristi Kates A drumset strapped to his back, a guitar in his hands, the occasional harmonica and a voice somewhere between Bob Dylan and Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Justin Stover, aka Stovepipe Stover, performs as a one-man band, dividing his time between Traverse City and Grand Rapids.
Saturday, April 2, 2016

Modern Rock: Then and Now

Music Kristi Kates What was going on in music back when Northern Express first got its start compared to where the scene is now? In some cases, a lot has changed. In others, we’re nearly back where we started. Let’s wind up the Modern Rock time machine and take a look back at music news happenings from 1991.
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Local Music Spotlight On: Turbo Pup

Music Kristi Kates MEET THE BAND They started gigging as Turbo Pup in late August 2015, after singer/guitarist Aaron Dye and violinist Brett McDowell had done a few rounds of performance as a guitar/fiddle duo. The two friends found common ground after learning they had both spent time out west (Dye in Bozeman, Mont.
Saturday, March 19, 2016

Patty Larkin’s Natural Evolution

Music Kristi Kates Patty Larkin’s soulful, contemporary brand of music is easily woven into things like latenight public radio shows, compilation albums and supper parties. It’s there she makes her strongest mark, with tunes that catch the ear so well, you’ll find yourself Googling or Shazaming to learn just who is making this music.
Saturday, March 19, 2016

And Don’t Miss Chris Smither

Music Kristi Kates When singer-songwriter Chris Smither hit 50 years of singing and songwriting in 2014, he marked the occasion with Still on the Levee, a two-disc career retrospective recorded in New Orleans and featuring fresh versions of two dozen songs from the entire stretch of his career, including “Devil Got Your Man,” the first song he ever wrote.
Saturday, March 12, 2016

Matuto Brings Bluegrass and Brazil to the Dennos

Music Kristi Kates He was particularly inspired by the music he was hearing coming out of Brazil and he traveled to that country to study it further; coupled with his jazz roots, bluegrass flatpicking abilities and wry lyrics that recall the Talking Heads, he conjured up quite a mix for his individual sound.
Saturday, March 5, 2016

Welcoming Spring at The Ramsdell

Music Kristi Kates Soul in the stairwells, melodies in the mezzanine, honky-tonk in the hallways — there will be live music in every corner of the historic Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee this upcoming weekend.
Saturday, March 5, 2016

Celtic Sounds from The Outside Track

Music Kristi Kates The Outside Track, a five-member group named one of the top Celtic acts in the world by both the TIR (Traditional Music) Awards and the Livies (liveIreland Awards), blends instrumental music, traditional songs and step dancing to craft a skillful and energetic show.
Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jumpin’ and Jivin’

Music Kristi Kates Twenty years’ worth of a twenty-piece musical outfit is a lot of history to keep straight. There are so many past members of The Up North Big Band (The UNBB) that current band leader Joshua Raber, for all his diligence, can’t even name them all.
Saturday, February 20, 2016

Celtic Nights brings “Spirit of Freedom” to the City Opera House

Music Kristi Kates Revamping the theme of their show to honor the 100-year anniversary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising, when Irish nationalists proclaimed the establishment of the Irish Republic (said to be similar to the United States’ Independence Day), Celtic...
Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Great Indoor Folk Festival Returns

Music Kristi Kates Adair Correll is the head of Northern Michigan Songwriters in the Round, an organization that began in June of 1997 with five musicians seeking a more “listening audience.” That group has expanded to more than 60 songwriters from northern Michigan who perform on the third Friday of every month at Horizon Books in Traverse City.
Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rolling Out the Red Carpet For The Hollywood Concert Orchestra

Music Kristi Kates If you’re looking forward to the upcoming 88th “Academy Awards” on Feb. 28 (especially to see who will end up with the “Best Song” award), then the City Opera House has a performance you shouldn’t miss.
Saturday, February 6, 2016

Defrost and Dance!

Music Kristi Kates “I believe in doing a full production, even though this is a winter fest,” he said, “with full lighting, full sound, heated tents, lots of great bands. Many people don’t have the budget to create that kind of experience this time of year, but we really want to keep highlighting this region in all seasons.
Saturday, February 6, 2016

Brother Dan’s Got A Big Heart

Music Kristi Kates What better day than Valentine’s Day to host an event that’s all about showing a little love to the community? The Have a Heart Brother Dan’s Valentine’s Benefit gives even more purpose to the holiday with their charity concert, now in its seventh year.
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ronnie Malley and Zeshan Bagewadi

Music Kristi Kates In the Middle East, a caravanserai — from a compound Persian word combining caravan with palace —is a roadside inn where travelers gather after a long day moving through the desert heat, where they enjoy the cool night and share news and entertainment.