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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Monday, April 27, 2009

Bulldozed: Coast Guard investigation unearths questions of toxic waste dumping

Features Anne Stanton Bulldozed
Coast Guard investigation unearths questions of toxic waste dumping
By Anne Stanton

Randy Stewart held a party for his daughter’s graduation in 2005, but as the festivities swirled around him on the warm summer day, he had more serious things on his mind.
He had burned his ears while scuba diving in the bay at Bar Harbor Resort the year before—he suspected because of leachate from the cement kiln dust—and was talking about it to a friend.
“He said, ‘You wouldn’t believe it. There is so much stuff buried there, it’s crazy. It’s like a Love Canal.’ He said to me they were bringing truckloads of debris and dumping them over the side of this pit and he would, in turn, bury it all. He said it was truckload after truckload. Barrels half full of chemicals and things he didn’t know anything about. Even treated green wood. They’ve outlawed the wood since. The highest point on the golf course on the fairway is where the debris is at.”
Monday, April 20, 2009

Sun, Wind and Power

Features Anne Stanton Sun, Wind and Power
Anne Stanton 4/20/09
Lots of people would prefer to “do the right thing” as far as building an energy-saving home, but the cost and complexity are daunting for most folks.
Gary Woodcock has a vision that would change that reality, and has formed a new company called Healthy Green Homes. He aims to build “green” homes and to remodel existing homes at a price or size that people can afford.
But first, he has to finish building a model home on his 10 windy acres outside of Maple City. The home will have 1,000 square feet, but the 24-foot ceiling and loft will give it a spacious feeling. Its electrical source will come from the sun and wind.
Monday, April 20, 2009

Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale

Features Anne Stanton Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale
Anne Stanton 4/20/09

A skeptical friend of mine strongly suggested that I follow the area recycling trucks back to their plants to see if the bottles, paper and cans were really recycled—or if the trash companies just threw the stuff in the landfill -- ha, ha, and the joke’s on all of us.
She wasn’t going to recycle, she said, until I did an in-depth investigation.
Andy Gale, the owner of Bay Area Recycling for Charities, said that he absolutely guarantees that all the stuff he gets is recycled. And people can actually save money by doing the right thing (meaning I’m off the hook).
Monday, April 20, 2009

Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale

Features Anne Stanton Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale
Anne Stanton 4/20/09

A skeptical friend of mine strongly suggested that I follow the area recycling trucks back to their plants to see if the bottles, paper and cans were really recycled—or if the trash companies just threw the stuff in the landfill -- ha, ha, and the joke’s on all of us.
She wasn’t going to recycle, she said, until I did an in-depth investigation.
Andy Gale, the owner of Bay Area Recycling for Charities, said that he absolutely guarantees that all the stuff he gets is recycled. And people can actually save money by doing the right thing (meaning I’m off the hook).
Monday, April 13, 2009

Economics 101

Features Anne Stanton Economics 101
Anne Stanton 4/13/09

To be honest, Joe Schoonover would prefer not to live frugally, but he has a vision.
It’s called paying off his student loan that he’s now pared down to $65,000. The school loan payment eats up about 60 percent of his monthly take-home pay, which doesn’t leave a whole lot for much else.
That’s why Schoonover, like a lot of college grads, had to ask his grandma for help after graduating a year ago. His grandma lives on Spider Lake and owns one cabin, which she rents out, and another that doesn’t meet rental standards since it lacks a shower. She told Schoonover that he could live in the un-rentable cabin for free in return for doing maintenance and odd jobs on the property.
Monday, March 30, 2009

Most polite... A conversation with Mrs. T

Features Anne Stanton Most Polite
A Conversation with Mrs. T

By Anne Stanton 3/30/09

Our most polite award in this year’s Best of Northern Michigan poll goes to “T” Hanawalt. She actually wasn’t on the ballot, but, quite honestly, she has no competition. Mrs. T, as she goes by, has turned a nook in Building 50 into a picture of gentility—fresh flowers, fine china, and cloth napkins—all in her quest to teach us good manners. As the proprietor of Mrs. T’s Tutorials, her instruction ranges from putting a napkin on your lap to writing a proper thank you note.
Yet Mrs. T (short for a first name she doesn’t care for) isn’t stuffy or judgmental. Instead, she epitomizes the relaxed refinement one can only get from growing up in the South. When she’s not teaching manners, she’s teaching second grade at Pathfinder School, where all of her children wait patiently to be called upon before talking. (Well, most of the time.)
Northern Express asked Mrs. T’s advice on how to soften a bit of our rough edges here in the great white North.
Monday, March 30, 2009

How‘s he doing? President Obama‘s 60-day report card

Features Anne Stanton How’s He Doing?
President Obama’s 60-Day Report Card

By Anne Stanton 3/30/09

Northern Express readers voted President Barack Obama their top choice for “Best Person Who Made a Difference in 2008.” And, let’s be honest, if he can save our country from its deep financial abyss, what word could better describe him than a hero? So how’s he doing after 60 days in office? We called people and asked others on the street to grade the president for his efforts so far.
Here’s what they said.

Grade A
Diana Ketola
Chair of Grand Traverse Democratic Party
I give him 100 percent - he’s trying to follow through on his campaign promises. He has a vision for the United States that includes everyone, not just the elite. I think it’s the right time to address the issue of health care and bring it to a discussion at the national level; it’s a burden for all working families. Bush wouldn’t touch it with a 20-foot pole. Obama isn’t afraid to touch these subjects.
Monday, March 23, 2009

Branded for life

Features Anne Stanton Branded for Life
Anne Stanton 3/23/09

This is the last in a series of articles on sex offenders. This week, the Express focuses on the sex offender registry, which publicly lists convicted sex offenders on the Internet.


Jim is not proud of the fact that five years ago he inappropriately touched his cousin on the outside of her underwear. He had just turned 10 and his cousin was 11. He then threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
His cousin was deeply upset by the experience and still refuses to talk to him. He doesn’t blame her.
Yet Jim, 15, -- whose name has been changed for this article -- has decided to talk publicly about the crime because he was in the fourth grade when it happened. When he turns 18, his name will appear on the public sex offender registry for the rest of his life. The sex offender registry does not reflect when a sex crime was committed. “So anyone looking at this when I’m an adult will think I was a pervert adult having sex with an 11-year-old,” he said.
His case is extreme, but here is the reality for all juveniles: if a youth is convicted or pleads to criminal sexual assault in the first or second degree, he or she will end up on the public sex offender registry list for 25 years, or even for life — long after the youth has completed probation or served his or her sentence.
Monday, March 16, 2009

From homeless to hopefull...Thomas Humphrey

Features Anne Stanton From homeless to hopefull...Thomas Humphrey
Anne Stanton 3/16/09

Nine years ago, Thomas Humphrey’s luck began to turn south.
First, a relative was sexually assaulted twice by a star football player from a wealthy Traverse City family. The teen was convicted, but received less than a year of jail time.
Humphrey, a roofer in the area for decades, said the assault sent him into a downward spiritual spiral. He lost faith in the judicial system and became despondent.
Then he took on a substantial mortgage -- which he was unable to pay -- and had to foreclose on his home. He declared bankruptcy and was living on the edge when a traumatic head injury clinched his place among the homeless in Traverse City.
“You look around at how pretty this place is and what a nice town it is. People like me are in between all those pretty scenes,” he said.
Humphrey, 48, is no longer homeless. Today he feels strong enough to talk about his ongoing journey from the economic dregs of the city. He is a tall, lanky man with craggy features and reddish hair; he has a rich baritone voice, but often draws a blank when trying to remember something. “I used to be young, but now I’m ancient,” he said, laughing.
Humphrey said he has regained his dignity and self respect, but he’ll never get his memory back. (The dates and details of this article are largely based on the daily journal of his dad, Wade Humphrey.) But at least he has an advocate in Marley Navin, who has also lost her life savings due to the effects of multiple sclerosis.
Monday, March 9, 2009

How a pedophile slipped through the cracks

Features Anne Stanton How a pedophile slipped through the cracks
Anne Stanton 3/9/09

Last week, Northern Express reported on how a respite worker for the Northwest Child Guidance Center had sexually assaulted a number of boys before he was finally caught and convicted. Yet this guy was trouble—the police knew, the courts knew, and Child Protective Services knew. So how did he get hired? This article explores the answer.

What are the chances that another serial pedophile like Robert Becker could get a job with the local school district or a nonprofit in town?
Actually, pretty good.
That’s because a lot of schools and nonprofits still rely on the same kind of background check that failed in the case of Robert Becker, a serial pedophile who is now in prison for sexually assaulting a young teen boy six years ago and nearly killing a police officer. [See the complete story in last week’s issue: www.northernexpress.com.]
Monday, March 9, 2009

Religion...no thanks. The first Humanist group forms in Northern Michigan

Features Anne Stanton Religion...no thanks. The first Humanist group forms in Northern Michigan
Anne Stanton 3/9/09

If you don’t believe in God or a supernatural power, can you still live an ethical life?
Members of a relatively new group called the Grand Traverse Humanists think so.
“Some people have the misconception that if you don’t believe in a higher power, you don’t have a moral compass. I don’t have an experience of God or divinity, but I want to do the right thing. I’m just not dependent on a supernatural power to tell me what is right or wrong,” said Heather Kingham, a teacher who recently moved to Traverse City from Portland, Oregon.
“Humanism holds humans responsible for the Earth’s destiny and our destiny. We’re not waiting for God to make it better. It’s up to us to make the world a better place,” Kingham said.
Kingham was wearing a Humanist t-shirt to an interview in the basement of Horizon Books to talk about the new group and its philosophy, which asserts that humans have the ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity—without supernaturalism.
Along with Kingham were Bill Mudget, president of the group, and Joyce Braeuninger. All three say you don’t need religion to live an honest, useful and compassionate life—which they strive to do.
Monday, March 2, 2009

Picture This...new tutoring center in TC uses mind maps

Features Anne Stanton Picture This...new tutoring center in TC uses mind maps
Anne Stanton 3/2/09

The mind is a wondrous thing, and even more wondrous when it can picture or visualize a new concept.
That’s the philosophy of Brian Lynch, director of the gleaming icon Learning tutoring center above Cuppa Joe’s in Traverse City’s warehouse district. (Note: the business intentionally spells its name, “icon,” in the lower case.)
The tutoring center opened in January, but a dozen educators across the country have been working for years on developing this new visual learning system. The education team believes that students should be taught the big picture of a particular subject before getting to the details. That way the brain develops an organized matrix of the topic and can fit in events and facts where they make sense and connect to other facts.
Monday, March 2, 2009

Maternity Massage

Features Anne Stanton Maternity Massage
Anne Stanton 3/2/09

Some women love being pregnant—others aren’t so crazy about it. After all, hormones can make you hot and crabby. Your joints get sloppy, your belly gets tight, your feet swell, and the baby throws off your center of gravity, putting pressure on your back, neck and belly muscles.
Monday, March 2, 2009

Michael‘s Law

Features Anne Stanton Michael‘s Law
Anne Stanton 3/2/09

A handful of dogs were yapping as Michael Garcia opened the door of a shoebox house with a big smile.
Looking at him, you’d never know this slight young man—a happy teen in an oversized orange sweatshirt and camo pants—had suffered so much in his short 19 years.
At the age of 13, Michael was repeatedly blindfolded, tied up and sexually assaulted by Robert Becker, a lonely middle aged man who was employed as a respite worker by the Northwest Michigan Child Guidance Center.
The Child Guidance Center—which was later sold to new owners—did a background check on Becker with the Michigan State Police in Lansing, but failed to check his history with local courts or police.
For that reason, Garcia sued and was awarded last fall an undisclosed sum of money that will pay for his college and therapy, putting some closure to an early and brutal chapter to his childhood.
Monday, March 2, 2009


Features Anne Stanton Zumba
Anne Stanton 3/2/09

WORK IT…Martha (pronounced Marta) Hubbell was born in Colombia where Zumba all began. A salsa dance champ, Martha now lives in Honor and teaches Zumba, salsa, and fitness dancing in Traverse City and Frankfort. Find her dance schedule at marthadancezumba.com or call her at 231-631-4358.