Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Monday, July 5, 2010

It‘s the berries...

Random Thoughts Robert Downes It’s the berries...
What do people do when times get tough? They hold big parties and try
to fuggedaboudit for awhile.
It’s a global impulse: in Rio de Janeiro, where millions live in dire
poverty, slum-dwellers who may not even have electricity or running
water spend the entire year working on parade costumes and floats for
their annual Carnival.
Monday, June 28, 2010

Tex-Mex spirit of Los Lonely Boyskicks off National Cherry Festival

Music Robert Downes Tex-Mex spirit of Los Lonely Boyskicks off National Cherry Festival
The three-man power-pop of Los Lonely Boys will light up the crowd this Saturday, July 3 as the opening act on the Bayfront Stage at the National Cherry Festival.
Los Lonely Boys is the vanguard of a week of music that includes the return of several old favorites as well as some new faces. That lineup includes:
• Sunday, July 4: Gregg Rolie’s tribute to Santana (see related article).
Monday, June 28, 2010

We‘re all journalists now

Random Thoughts Robert Downes It was old news long before it hit the newspaper or the airwaves.
Last Wednesday, citizens writing on local Internet and social
networking sites helped spread the news that Traverse City Light &
Power (TCL&P) had shelved a plan to build a controversial new biomass
The news was passed on via environmentalists on Facebook and Twitter
and by TCL&P’s own e-mailed press release. The Traverse City
Record-Eagle also issued an email blast, scooping its print edition
story by some 20 hours.
Monday, June 21, 2010

The Moody Blues

Music Robert Downes The Moody Blues bring the power of poetry
By Robert Downes
Blasting, billowing, bursting forth
With the power of ten billion
butterfly sneezes
Man, with his flaming pyre
Has conquered the wayward breezes
Climbing to tranquility,
far above the clouds
Conceiving the heavens,
clear of misty shroud.

-- “Higher and Higher” by Graeme Edge

Monday, June 21, 2010

So long to Smoky Joe‘s Cafe

Random Thoughts Robert Downes So long, Smoky Joe’s Cafe
I’ve been hanging out in smoky joints most of my life and have
probably inhaled enough second-hand cigarette smoke to fill a
Monday, June 14, 2010

The Art Crowd Gets Serious

Art Robert Downes The Art Crowd Gets Serious: ArtisanDesign Network offers a bold new venture in TC
By Robert Downes
Walk into the new ArtisanDesign Network Cooperative Gallery on Front Street in downtown Traverse City and it’s not hard to imagine that you’re in an upscale gallery in New York City or Chicago.
The new gallery is a bold yet thoughtful venture embarked upon by more than 40 of the region’s top artists and artisans. Committed to the exhibition of fine art, the gallery aims to elevate Northern Michigan’s art scene into the rare air of national significance.
In other words, don’t expect to find Petoskey stone knick-knacks, paintings of old barns, faux impressionist harbor scenes and other staples of the Northern Michigan art scene. The gang at the ArtisanDesign Network are gunning for glory with serious art, and are laying serious cash on the line to see that their work reaches the public.
Monday, June 14, 2010

Beyond Petroleum

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Beyond Petroleum
More than 20,000 suggestions on how to stop the oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico have been received by British Petroleum since its Deepwater
Horizon oil platform went up in flames this spring.
But some of us are wondering, what comes after that titanic rip in the
ocean is repaired?
Monday, June 14, 2010

Beyond Petroleum

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Beyond Petroleum
More than 20,000 suggestions on how to stop the oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico have been received by British Petroleum since its Deepwater
Horizon oil platform went up in flames this spring.
But some of us are wondering, what comes after that titanic rip in the
ocean is repaired?
Monday, June 14, 2010

Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre

Features Robert Downes Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre
“There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know.” That’s one of the tunes in the lineup of plays and musicals across the region this summer; but do you know what Broadway hit it comes from? (Hint: it involves a lady who can shoot the wings off a fly.)
If “the play’s the thing” for you, then there’s a robust season in store at theatres across Northern Michigan this summer. Here’s a sneak preview:
Monday, June 14, 2010

Elberta Summer Solstice Festval

Features Robert Downes Return of the Sun: The Elberta Solstice Festival
One of Northern Michigan’s newest festivals also has one of its most
dramatic locations: Elberta’s Solstice Festival is held in the town’s
expansive Waterfront Park on Frankfort’s harbor, with great views of
the lighthouse and Lake Michigan.
Monday, June 7, 2010

A view of the Bay

Random Thoughts Robert Downes A View of the Bay
Is a “view of the bay” still worth “half the pay” in Northern Michigan? I
have a story to share about that old saying.
Years ago, I was indirectly involved in landing the 2,000 or so employees
of Munson Medical Center what was perhaps the biggest raise in the
hospital’s history.
Monday, May 31, 2010

Up in smoke/ Stupak‘s view/ Looking ahead

Region Watch Robert Downes Up in smoke: two proposed coal plants in Rogers City & Bay City
Plans for two new coal plants in Rogers City and Bay City were
scuttled last week, raising hope in Michigan’s environmental community
that power companies will pursue a cleaner path to producing
Monday, May 31, 2010

Bringing the War home

Random Thoughts Robert Downes Bringing the War Home
Perhaps someday, someone will unearth some top secret file at the
C.I.A. which will tell us exactly what we’ve gotten in return for
5,456 deaths and $3 trillion spent on our wars in Iraq and
Monday, May 24, 2010

Pickin‘ Party? Hayloft

Music Robert Downes Pickin’ Party: Hayloft open mic offers authentic Americana
By Robert Downes
It’s not quite the Grand Ole’ Opry, but it feels pretty durned close:
Every Thursday, a driven group of guitar, banjo and mandolin pickers
congregate at a country-western bar outside of Traverse City to open their
musical veins and let it flow in what is widely considered to be the best
open mic in the region.
Monday, May 24, 2010

Marc Alderman

Music Robert Downes ‘Still Breathing’ -- Marc Alderman: Musical friends come to the aid of injured percussionist
By Robert Downes
Marc Alderman doesn’t remember what happened after a pickup truck crossed
the center line of an icy highway last Dec. 3, sending him into months of
pain, surgery and hospitalization.