Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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Robert Downes

 
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Monday, August 20, 2012

The Letter

Stephen Volas shares the anguish of passing time in a federal prison

Features Robert Downes The letter from a drug rehab prison in Minnesota is a long one: 17 pages of handwritten script filled with tortured explanations, stress, and the stale hours of passing time in a federal prison with five years yet to go.
 
Monday, June 18, 2012

Death in the Forest

Features Robert Downes Killing 80 pig sows and their piglets in cold blood this spring to comply with a controversial order from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was the toughest thing Dave Tuxbury has ever had to do.
 
Monday, June 11, 2012

A Boom in Bike Paths

Features Robert Downes The hottest new tourism trend in Northern Michigan comes on two wheels with a fanny pack.

You can see that trend yourself on any drive along the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Charlevoix, where dozens of cyclists pack the Wheelway Trail each day.

 
Monday, October 17, 2011

INTERNET LAW

Features Robert Downes They were so wrong. Because today, Internet legal issues have exploded to include everything from online defamation that can wreck your reputation, to the theft of your website’s domain name or on-line infringement of your intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents.
 
Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to the Basics

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Back to the Basics
My dad worked on his father’s farm outside Rockford until he was in his early 30s, just as countless sons had done for thousands of years before him.
He started out plowing the fields with a team of horses, tilling up the arrowheads of the Ottawa and Pottawatomi that my brother and I still own today. Later came a tractor, but not much in the way of a paycheck. Yet with his food and board covered by the farm, Dad was able to throw nearly every cent he earned into savings because there was no greater virtue in our family than thrift.
Dad’s family had survived the Great Depression by dint of the fact that they were able to grow their own food. Their one misadventure was when some desperate people stole a pile of newly-harvested beans.
Mom had lived the dirt-poor life on a farm too. By the time I came along, my parents were what would be considered the “working poor” today. Dad had saved enough to buy a Ford (no car payments, of course) and our family lived in a succession of run-down rental homes.
 
Monday, August 22, 2011

Shut up already

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Those of us who live here were thrilled that ABC’s Good Morning America
show cited the Sleeping Bear Dunes as being the most beautiful place in
the country last week. I myself put a link to the news clip on my
Facebook page to brag about my hometown to friends living overseas.
On the other hand, if you look at other “beautiful” places around the
country -- Carmel, Cape Cod, Bar Harbor, Hilton Head, Jackson’s Hole,
etc. -- it’s pretty clear what happens when you start waving the
figurative red cape in the bull ring of the national media.
 
Monday, August 15, 2011

The summer of 1811

Random Thoughts Robert Downes If you happened to be enjoying the beaches of Northern Michigan in the
summer of 1811, chances are you were a member of the Chippewa or Odawa
Indian tribes.
Imagine living in a bark lodge along Lake Michigan or the inland lakes
that summer. Much of the season was spent fishing and drying the catch in
preparation for the winter to come. Nights were spent under a fresco of
stars that we rarely see these days, yet these stars had gazed down on a
way of life that had existed along these shores for thousands of years.
Next year, we will honor the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 between
Britain and the United States -- a country which was barely out of its
cradle at the time. Northern Michigan played a key role in the war, and
the Mackinac Straits in particular were of global strategic importance.
So let’s set the Wayback Machine for the summer before the war to set the
stage for what we’ll be celebrating this time next year.
 
Monday, August 8, 2011

The true believers

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The True Believers
Blogging is where it’s at these days for alternative newspapers serving
the largest cities in America.
Blogging about local theater, trendy cocktails, city politics, transgender
issues, bicycling, Lithuanian hip-hop, video dating for dogs & cats...
pretty much anything an inspired (and often unpaid) blogger is willing to
peck out on a keyboard.
 
Monday, August 1, 2011

The 27 Club

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The 27 Club
“They tried to make me go to rehab and I said no, no, no...”
-- “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse
Some 2,500 years ago, Buddha offered the advice that the best path through
life is the “middle way.” The former prince who gave up his kingdom and
all its pleasures to live naked and alone in the forest prior to becoming
a holy man learned that too much or too little of anything was no good.
In particular, he meant money, fame and power.
We seldom think about the benefits of the middle way here in the West
where songs such as “If I Had a Million Dollars” by The Barenaked Ladies
and “I Want to Be a Billionaire (so freakin’ bad)” by Travie McCoy spell
out the daydreams of millions of people. Winning the lottery, bagging the
cute bachelor on TV, dancing to the stars and the meth-rush euphoria of
being named an Idol are the dreams of our society as expressed in the
media. No one wants to get voted off the island, even though that might
offer a saner, happier life.
 
Monday, July 25, 2011

Soundtrack to the Film Festival Musical acts add a second ?festival? to this week?s events

Music Robert Downes One of the summer’s largest music festivals takes place this week in
Traverse City, providing a supporting role for the glitz & glamour of the
Film Festival.
That’s because approximately 200 artists making up 78 acts will perform
during festival week at Clinch Park, the Open Space, Lay Park, the film
venues and at festival events and parties.
“It’s really like a Traverse City Music Festival when you think about it,”
says Mike Sullivan, guitarist/vocalist with The Wild Sullys and Song of
the Lakes, who serves as entertainment manager for the Film Fest. “We
musicians provide support for the films, but I like to think of it as a
symbiotic relationship because we support each other.”
 
Monday, July 25, 2011

The Tipping Point... on saving our own skins

Random Thoughts Robert Downes There were a lot of complaints about the heat at the Ride Around Torch
bike tour a week ago, followed by a lot of complaints by the public at
large throughout the next few days.
Most cyclists rode a 63-mile loop around Torch Lake in Antrim County. At
the bayside park in Elk Rapids where the tour wrapped up, many talked
about how tough it was cycling the last few miles of hills in the
90-degree heat, glaring sun and high humidity.
Then we packed up our bikes, climbed into our monster SUVs and
emission-friendly pickup trucks and took off down the highway, no doubt to
crank up the AC at home, doing our bit with the rest of the human race to
pump 90 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every day of
the year.
 
Monday, July 18, 2011

What‘s new

Random Thoughts Robert Downes What’s New
New in this issue is a Public Safety Map on page 12 which will include a
snapshot of crime in the region -- assault, robbery, B&Es, drug busts and
car thefts -- as well as brief reports on emergency events such as
drownings and major collisions.
 
Monday, July 11, 2011

Losing Our Traditions

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Losing Our Traditions
For more than 20 years now, my wife has marched her little flock of day
care kids downtown to take rides on the pint-sized train at the former
Clinch Park Zoo. Many of the ‘kids’ are now grown and have children of
their own. They too are devotees of the Spirit of Traverse City, carrying
on a tradition that fills a child’s heart with joy and the air with
laughter and the sound of a chugging choo-choo.
But those sounds will cease forever after Labor Day when the old bugaboo
of budget concerns and other priorities kill off the little engine that
could. As noted in an article in this issue by Pat Sullivan, the park
designers ditched the train as being inconvenient when they re-imagined
the bayfront.
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Paying for that vacation ...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Paying for that Vacation...
Since there will be upwards of 500,000 people in town for the National Cherry Festival this week, this seems a likely time to talk about how to pay for that vacation you‘ve been dreaming of all year.
How can one afford to travel up north for a week of carnival rides, hotels at premium rates, wine tours and dinners by the Bay? Not to mention expensive destinations all over the world?
Easy: save your money.
Okay, that seems like a no-brainer, but most of us have a tough time saving for college tuition or a new car, much less a ‘frivolous’ vacation. The most common complaint I hear from my non-traveling friends is that they “can‘t afford to go anywhere.“
Translation: they failed to plan for one of the most soul-nourishing events you can do for yourself and your family each year.
Those who do bite the bullet and go on vacation anyway often ‘put it on the card,‘ creating an unhappy post-trip experience for the payee, much like when the Christmas credit card bills come rolling in come January.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Gateways offers a visionary trip to TC?s past

Books Robert Downes It only takes a few moments to fall under the spell of historian Richard Fidler’s “Gateways to Grand Traverse Past,” a beautifully-envisioned tale of the ups and downs of life dating back 100 years ago and beyond.
A former teacher, this is Fidler’s third book of history, primarily about the Grand Traverse region but in many ways roaming further afield. Here, for instance, are the scores of black hobos who traveled north on the rails in the 1940s, hoping to pick cherries in the region’s orchards, only to be succeeded by imported Jamaican labor and Mexican migrants. Here are tales of circuses which marched in a line of elephants down the muddy streets of Front Street in the 1890s. Fidler lifts history from its dusty grave and breathes life into the past through eloquent writing and intelligent observations full of perception and wonder.
 
 
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