Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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Monday, February 22, 2010

On a roll: A couple discovers the romance of bicycling through Europe

Features Robert Downes On a Roll: A couple discovers the romance of bicycling Europe
By Robert Downes
How do you combine romance with the spirit of adventure? For Casey
Stanton, 23, and Kristen Clauder, 22, it involved taking the trip of a
lifetime, having just finished a four-month bicycle tour of southern
Europe.
 
Monday, February 22, 2010

New life for your home: Jill LeClair aims to reuse, redesign & redefine

Features Robert Downes New Life’ for Your Home: Jill LeClair aims to reuse, redesign & redefine
By Robert Downes
A gift for creativity and an eye for design have served Jonelle “Jill”
LeClair well in recent months: Despite a tough economy, she’s launched her
own business, Renaitre, specializing in home makeovers on a budget.
Despite having no formal training in interior design, Jill decided to take
the plunge at the urging of friends who were impressed by her inherent
skills at selecting just the right color for a wall or the right
arrangement for a room in order to create a fresh new look at home.
 
Monday, February 15, 2010

Rough road ahead

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Rough Road Ahead
City government has dropped the ball on two occasions involving road issues over the past year in Traverse City, and some residents are wondering how we managed to get so far off course.
As a result of these embarrassing, counter-productive gaffs, some feel that a city which prides itself on being a beacon of progress has been set back years.
It started with the news last year that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) had plans to simply resurface Division Street, the north-south artery that funnels thousands of cars from West Bayshore to Meijer’s and the mall.
Advocates of “traffic calming,“ including TART Trails, protested that MDOT’s plan was short-sighted and inadequate. They argued that the time was right to re-engineer Division as a safer, slower route that would take pedestrians and cyclists into account.
 
Monday, February 8, 2010

Whole lotta‘ shakin‘ goin‘ on

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Whole lotta‘ shakin‘ goin‘ on...
Groundhog‘s Day is always a head-scratcher for me. If the little guy
sees his shadow on Feb. 2, it means six more weeks of winter.
This is considered a ‘bad‘ thing across the country or in
Punxsutawney, PA where the prognosticating rodent makes his home. But
here in Northern Michigan, ‘only‘ six more weeks of winter sounds like
a sweet deal. Generally, we get socked with 10 more weeks of winter,
with the last of the snows ending in mid-April. (And many of us can
recall snowflakes even into May.)
 
Monday, February 1, 2010

Biomass a short-sighted plan

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Biomass a short-sighted plan
More than a century ago, our ancestors had a simple plan for dealing
with industrial waste: they simply flushed it into the river or let it
settle into the ground. Problem solved. What could be easier and more sensible? No one had a clue at the time that there were
unintended consequences that would involve billions of dollars in cleanup schemes within a few decades.
 
Monday, January 25, 2010

Wedding bell blues

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Wedding Bell Blues
Sad, but true: I tend to have a hard time getting stoked for our annual
wedding insert each January, possibly because I haven’t personally
channeled getting hitched in quite some time now.
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

The great job eater

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The Great Job Eater
...You stop by Border’s Books & Music over the holidays to buy some CDs
for gifts and notice that the music department has shrunk to a fifth of
its former size, with little to choose from.
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti: What can we do?

Features Robert Downes Help for Haiti
With thousands dead and suffering, what can we do?
Robert Downes
Times are tough in Northern Michigan, with many worthy causes going
begging for lack of donations. But even over-tapped philanthropists and
hard-hearted skinflints will find it hard not to respond to the
humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Fitness 2010 and beyond

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Fitness 2010 & beyond
The Snuggie and Facebook -- there’s a perfect match in sync with our time,
don’t you think? Just swaddle up in a giant synthetic sock, tap into the
‘book and chat with your imaginary friends -- some of whom you’ve never
met in the ‘real’ world.
 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Melissa Dow is Fit 4 Life

Features Robert Downes Melissa Dow is Fit 4 Life
By Robert Downes
Personal trainer Melissa Dow, NASM-CPT, is in super shape, thanks to a lifetime commitment to fitness as well as an innovative TRX suspension strap system made By Fitness Anywhere.
TRX stands for Total-body Resistance eXercise. The straps work on your own body resistance as you pull yourself up from different positions. It’s hard to imagine until you see a demonstration, but the TRX straps are capable of working every muscle group -- abs, arms, legs, the works.
 
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

Adventures in Advertising

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Adventures in Advertising
A current fad in corporate America is to hire marketing firms to pitch stories to newspapers for everything from soup to wingnuts.
Typically, you’re slaving over a hot computer, trying to turn the lead of a dull topic into gold on the printed page, when a call comes through with a brilliant story idea for Northern Express.
Here’s an example.
Caller: “Hi, I’m calling from LadyStretch underwear for plus-size women with a great story idea about our new line of Mirdle undergarments for mega-sized men. I think it would be a wonderful story for your newspaper!”
You (hardly believing your ears at your good fortune): “Wow! What is it?”
Caller: “Well, you know how a lot of hefty men have issues with their big guts? The new Mirdle is a girdle for men... blah, blah, blah...”
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

So long to a dismal decade

Random Thoughts Robert Downes So Long to a Dismal Decade
Remember what excitement there was in the air when we rang in 2000 on
New Year’s Eve 10 years ago?
No one knew whether the wheels would fall off civilization as a result
of the Y2K, but we were exhilarated by the dawn of a new millennium
and the thrill of witnessing another 1,000 years of human progress. I
recall joining friends at a local nightclub that night, listening to a
band called Daddy Longlegs as the clock ticked midnight, and wondering
what kind of amazing good time we were in for in the ’00s.
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas grab bag

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Christmas Grab Bag
Something to Carp About
Do you lie awake nights, worrying about the Asian carp menace and its
possible migration into the Great Lakes?
Relax, we’re probably screwed on this one any way you look at it.
These carp reach up to four feet in length and weigh up to 100 lbs.
They reproduce like rabbits and eat like elephants, gobbling up enough
food to equal 40% of their own body weight each day.
 
Monday, December 14, 2009

A passion for guitars

Music Robert Downes Passion for Guitars
By Robert Downes
Tim Miller built his first guitar in his eighth grade shop class using
coat hanger wire for strings and an old, smashed-up microphone for a
pickup.
 
 
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