Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Our own reverse Robin Hood

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Our own Reverse Robin Hood
“Savings almost depleted, might last through the winter. 59-year-old
male, unemployed, wife, disabled with no benefits. 99er! Please vote
for unemployment extension in lame duck session. I see no help coming
after Jan.”
-- Letter to U.S. Rep. Dave Camp from a resident of Empire
 
Monday, November 29, 2010

The Grow Store

Features Robert Downes Let the Sun Shine: The Grow Store trips the light fantastic
By Robert Downes
If Paul Watson has a pair of green thumbs, it’s because he spent 31 years as a commercial indoor grower, raising basil under artificial lights in Benzie County for local restaurants.
“Indoor growing is a lot of fun,” he says. “My passion for this started out with plugging in my first light bulb in 1980.”
Today, Paul’s thumbs are getting even greener from a crop of dollars provided by customers at The Grow Store he owns with his wife Kim. At times, as many as 20-30 customers pack the store near Chum’s Corners, south of Traverse City, seeking high-quality equipment for indoor growing, as well as the Watsons’ advice.
“We are as surprised as anyone by our success,” he says of the business which got its start in April of 2009. “We’ve got a huge amount of inventory as well as the knowledge to share about indoor growing.”
In fact, things are going so well that the Watsons plan to open a new 10,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse in mid December a half-mile down the road. In addition to a wealth of organic gardening materials and lighting equipment (which are literally stacked to the ceiling in the present store), the new location will offer displays of growing plants, with both hydroponic and soil-based systems for the enlightenment of customers.
 
Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sound of Music

Music Robert Downes Sound of Music :New amphitheatre dovetails with garden & barns project at GT Commons
By Robert Downes
A new 1,000-seat outdoor concert facility at the site of the historic barns of the Grand Traverse Commons could fill the surrounding hills with the sound of music within the next two years.
“We’re very excited about this project, which will combine the efforts of the Botanic Garden Society to create a new 25-acre botanic garden, along with a plan to renovate and restore the cathedral barns at the Grand Traverse Commons,” says Benjamin Marentette, executive director of the Recreational Authority for both the City of Traverse City and Garfield Township.
 
Monday, November 22, 2010

Music to our ears

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Music lovers in Northern Michigan have pined for another outdoor
concert scene since the days of the Castle Farms music venue back in
the 1980s. Happily, a new concert facility planned for the Grand
Traverse Commons within the next couple of years should make that
dream a reality (details on page 10).
 
Monday, November 15, 2010

20 years in the rear-view

Random Thoughts Robert Downes 20 years in the rear-view
Less than six months from now, Northern Express Weekly will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the paper.
We’ll trot out the old story of how my friend George and I launched the Express in my kitchen on Mission Peninsula with an investment on par with what you’d pay for a 10-year-old used car, and reminisce about the glory days. But mostly I think we’ll dwell on the past decade of the paper, since the first half of our adventure has grown rather mossy in the memory.
 
Monday, November 8, 2010

Job #1: downsizing Lansing

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Job #1: downsizing Lansing
There was an odd moment on TV 7&4 News last week that indicated where
we might be headed now that the balance of power has shifted in
government.
Greg MacMaster, who ran for office on a pledge to downsize state
government, said in an interview that he has 13 new bills in mind for
his role as the new State Rep for the 105th District.
 
Monday, November 1, 2010

Would you buy this bridge

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Would You Buy This Bridge?
Anyone interested in buying the Mackinac Bridge? It’s perfect for the
person who has everything, or that ‘hard to shop for’ person on your
Christmas list.
There was a flurry of manufactured outrage over an alleged plan to
sell the Mighty Mac last week to help patch the state’s $1.6 billion
budget hole. The idea seems about as likely to happen as selling 40
acres and a mule to homesteaders on the moon, but it’s worth passing
on.
 
Monday, October 25, 2010

Peter Mattiessen

Books Robert Downes On the Trail of Peter Matthiessen
By Robert Downes
Author Peter Matthiessen reached a summit in his literary career years
ago during an expedition to find a rare and elusive snow leopard in
the Himalayas. A student of Buddhism, the search for the nearly
extinct cat became a metaphor for his own quest for enlightenment in
the 1978 book, “The Snow Leopard.”
 
Monday, October 25, 2010

Trick or Treat...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Trick or Treat...
This used to be the time of year when you kept your black cat indoors
at night and peered out the window now and then to make sure that
young hoodlums weren’t out smashing pumpkins and acting up on “Devil’s
Night.”
Those were the days when teens were revved up to go out tossing eggs
and toilet paper at night, spray-painting graffiti, and role-playing
in inappropriate places like cemeteries.
 
Monday, October 18, 2010

For gay people, a dangerous world

Random Thoughts Robert Downes For gay people, a dangerous world
When an anti-discrimination ordinance for gay and lesbian citizens was
considered by the Traverse City Commission last month, some locals
wondered why such a measure would even be necessary in this day and
age in America.
 
Monday, October 4, 2010

David Grath

Art Robert Downes David Grath captures the Spirit of the Land
By Robert Downes
Painter David Grath has a funny story about his earliest days in
Leelanau County.
“I came up to Leland in 1957 and was wandering around Fishtown Harbor
with no place to stay,” he recalls. “Then I found this big
hollowed-out log on the beach just south of the harbor and I crawled
in with my sleeping bag and spent the night there.
 
Monday, October 4, 2010

A Republican for health care reform

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A Republican for health care reform
A Republican friend of mine -- let’s call him Joe, since that is in
fact, his actual name -- agrees with his party on most issues, with
one exception:
“Sometimes I wonder if the Republicans aren’t going the wrong way with
the idea of doing away with health care reform,” he says.
Joe reads two newspapers each day, especially the editorial pages. He
gets most of his TV news from FOX. He prides himself on having a
“point of view,” and it tends to be a strong one.
 
Monday, September 27, 2010

A canal runs through it

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A Canal Runs Through It
Travel is expensive, especially in America. Thus, the arrival of the
so-called “staycation,” the oxymoronic equivalent of a cruel joke
perpetuated on people who are unaware of cheaper options.
There is an exciting alternative with a rock bottom budget, however:
bicycle camping.
 
Monday, September 20, 2010

The bittersweet season

Random Thoughts Robert Downes The bittersweet season
Fall is that time of year when we “get our life back” here in Northern Michigan.
I’m always amazed at the hush that falls over the region just after
Labor Day Weekend. Suddenly, the road along the bay looks less like
the Daytona 500 and more like a country lane. As the smog and
automotive roar of the tourist migration dissipates, you can start to
see something of that small town we remember from way back when -- a
place more like Lake Woebegone than the Vegas Strip. Fall reminds us
that life here isn’t all just a cabaret, old chum... we get our sense
of home back.
 
Monday, September 13, 2010

Losing our religion

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Losing our Religion
Maybe it’s just a wild coincidence, but most of the Muslim people I’ve
ever met have been remarkably gentle and considerate.
Not a terrorist among them.
There was Darla, a college friend of Arabic descent from Dearborn who
aspired to a career in journalism. A mysterious beauty with a sense of
dignity and style, I can’t imagine she ever thought of a side career
in bomb-making.
 
 
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