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, February 16, 2009

The cougar controversy

Features Anne Stanton The cougar controversy
Anne Stanton 2/16/09

At 4 a.m. on January 31, Dan Kaizer was at the tail-end of his newspaper route, driving his Chevy Silverado on South Betsie Road near Bendon in Benzie County.
About 100 yards down the road, he saw something walking slowly across the road. He was doing 45 mph, so he gained on the creature quickly. As he slowed down a bit, he figured it was some kind of cat.
“When I got up to about 50, 60 yards away in my high beams, I could see it as plain as day. It was a cougar with a long black tail, jet black, it was crouched down in a prey position, slowly walking. I guarantee he was stalking some deer.
Monday, February 9, 2009

Computer Cop

Features Anne Stanton Computer Cop
Anne Stanton 2/9/09

Todd Heller doesn’t seem like a scary guy when you first meet him, but this affable detective with a Colombo-style of speaking softly, carries a powerful stick. It’s called software.
Detective Heller is a computer cop and the bane of child pornographers, white collar criminals, e-Bay cheats, credit card thieves—pretty much anyone who commits a crime and has left bytes of evidence on their computer.
Heller is the only full-time computer cop—or what’s technically known as a computer forensics specialist—in Northern Michigan. On the job since 2003, he painstakingly collects evidence from hard drives and passes it onto Noelle Moeggenberg to prosecute.
Monday, February 9, 2009

Thought Waves

Features Anne Stanton Thought Waves
Anne Stanton 2/9/09

Have you ever felt that you have a dual self? The self who does the naughty, and the voice who scolds you? The guy who eats an entire bag of chips and ruefully promises to start his diet tomorrow?
The teaching of Kriya Yoga says the mind has a sense of duality. The chattering voice – the ego, the “ ”—is not you, but a stream of thoughts, paradoxes, paranoia, worries, and ideas... a continuous response to endless stimulus.
So says Brandon Kietzman, who has invited yogi Shibendu Lahiri to Traverse City to share his teachings of Kriya yoga on the weekend of February 19. “When you observe the observer, you see the whole show. See the
thinker, and then it’s over. It just hits you,” he said.
Monday, February 2, 2009

Green jobs blow into Manistee & Copemish

Features Anne Stanton Green jobs blow into Manistee & Copemish
Anne Stanton 2/2/09

A few hundred feet from the fanfare of the presidential inauguration last week stood a graceful wind energy machine called Windspire. This newest generation wind machine will begin production in Manistee, starting this week.
What’s more, the Windspire will be distributed throughout the state by Contractors Building Supply, a business based in the nearby, tiny town of Copemish, which specializes in energy-efficient products such as solar attic fans, energy-efficient windows and solar water heaters.
The Windspire solves a lot of problems, which has plagued early wind energy generators. It has an attractive design (for those who think windmills are ugly) and doesn’t have wide propellers, which are known to whack migrating birds.
Monday, January 26, 2009

Romance at Center Court

Features Anne Stanton People had fun at my wedding. They tell me that.
They thought it was funny. I thought it was memorable. For years, I remembered it vividly every time I went to someone else’s wedding extravaganza, no expense spared, and it’s taken me years to think it’s funny. Time heals, yes it does.
I met my husband, Doug, while he was still teaching English at a state university in Louisiana. He had stopped in on the day before Christmas Eve at the Traverse City Record-Eagle newsroom, where I worked in 1988 with his sister Debbie. She had told him about me, and me, him, so we went to the Woolworth’s coffee shop across the street, and decided to drive up to the Bluebird in Leland for a drink (he had boldly offered to buy dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort with less than $5 in his pocket). As we rumbled up M-22 in his blue Ford truck, he recited a Yeats poem about wine and love, and I was immediately intrigued. He later joked that the poem worked every time.
Monday, January 19, 2009

New stations on WLDR

Music Anne Stanton Sunny Country (HD-1)
WLDR will continue with its country format on HD-1, playing new country and country legends. Borrowing from Henderson’s Southern influence, the station brings in up-and-coming singers from Nashville and Texas to Turtle Creek Casino; it broadcasts the shows live on Thursday nights (twice a month, 7 p.m., cover at Turtle Creek is free).
This week’s broadcast (January 22) will feature Joey + Rorey, a husband and wife duo who placed third in the Can You Duet reality show. Their hit song, Cheater, Cheater, climbed to No. 37 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.
Monday, January 19, 2009

WLDR‘s bold move into HD radio

Music Anne Stanton Roy Henderson is back in town, and Northern Michigan is hearing the difference.
Three years ago, Henderson went toe-to-toe against the popular WTCM-FM when he turned WLDR 101.9 FM into a country station. The switch was considered profound because the station had played soft rock for four decades.
Now Henderson has made another bold move -- becoming the first in Northern Michigan to go HD (high definition), requiring an investment of $500,000.
Here’s what it means for folks who have HD radios:
• Static-free radio reception
• The ability to listen to multiple stations at a single place on the dial. (See sidebar on WLDR’s new stations)
• A quality of sound that approaches a CD
• Lots of text information on what you’re hearing
Henderson said that WLDR will not only provide the names of songs and singers, but when commercials are running, the radio receiver will flash the product name and contact information.
Monday, January 19, 2009

Bleeding the Bleeding Hearts

Features Anne Stanton When it comes to getting ripped off, people with a generous or romantic heart are the most likely to fall.
So says Darryl Nelson, owner of the Cash Plus store in Traverse City, who sees two or three people getting scammed
every week.
Nelson believes there are three basic motivations involved in a scam—greed, romance, or a generous heart. A scammer will quickly glean what makes you tick, and then swoop in for the kill, Nelson said.
Sometimes it’s the woman who has fallen in love with the wrong man—a guy who comes to Northern Michigan, but has a counterpart in Nigeria, ready to reel her in.
The romance scam is simple enough. A man develops a relationship—either in person or over the Internet (he’ll make contact on a matchmaker site). Over many weeks, maybe months, love blossoms. He sends flowers. He sends her daily love notes. He listens to her problems. And then he has an emergency. He had to run back to Nigeria because his grandmother is dying and he urgently needs money because he finds his account is locked up.
“The girlfriend comes in to wire him money, and I tell her, ‘I can’t say whether your story is true or not, but it looks like a scam.’ Most times they’ll insist that this is really their boyfriend, that no one has ever treated them this well, has never listened to them the way he does. And now he needs to take care of his grandma who is sick.
“… Most people think that people who are scammed are simply idiots. But in a lot of cases, that’s just not true. These are not dumb people. They’re people who have a big heart and a diminishing checkbook.”
Monday, January 12, 2009

Rolfing... Beating the pain rap

Features Anne Stanton Kima Kraimer, who “Rolfs” for a living, has heard it all when people think they know what Rolfing is:
Is Rolfing just a funny name for deep tissue massage?
“No, it’s not at all deep tissue massage.”
Is there some weird thing about rebirthing?
“No. It’s simple physical functional anatomy.”
Is it extremely painful?
Monday, January 12, 2009

The balancing game

Features Anne Stanton You’ve probably met the type. The former basketball jock recalling his glory days with a beer in one hand and a bowl of Cheetos in the other.
Bob Guenther was one of those guys. At the age of 42, he was overweight, under-exercised and wondering how he got there. He actually knows. It was the long, dark winters, large dishes of comfort food, and a partying girlfriend—a fertile environment for life as a couch potato. Over the years, he bought bigger and bigger pants to accommodate his girth. One day, he saw a picture of himself standing at a wedding.
“I still have the picture. I thought, ‘Holy crap, I look like shit,” Guenther said. “The funny thing is, when the picture was taken, I thought I was looking so cool.”
He sought out help from a fitness trainer, Doug Petersen, who “guided him down the path of rightousness.” He lost weight and returned to the buff Bob of old. Then three years ago, he decided to take it to an entirely new level after getting a hip replacement.
Monday, January 5, 2009

Local businesses buck the tide

Features Anne Stanton At a time when most businesses are cutting costs, laying off people, or even closing their doors, there are a few stores in Northern Michigan that are going the other way—opening a new store or hugely expanding their business.
One can only ask, What were you thinking!?
Cream of the Crop?
Most of the stores that are expanding in Northern Michigan are aimed at the affluent. We’re talking high-end dresses, food, furniture and clothing. Coincidence? It’s interesting to note that during the Great Depression, more millionaires were created as a percentage of the population than during any other era in our nation’s history. So maybe not so crazy to take a plunge. Maybe crazy like a fox.
So, what were they thinking? Here’s what they said.
Monday, January 5, 2009

Traverse City to Obama: We‘re ready

Features Anne Stanton No, Matt Skeels has not heard from Obama’s people on what kind of roads and infrastructure TC-Talus wants to build in the area, but he’s ready with a list for when they do.
Earlier this month, President-elect Barack Obama said that he wants to invest billions of dollars into public infrastructure in order to repair crumbling roads and give the withering economy a jump start.
Monday, December 29, 2008

Cut Carbs ( Carbon Dioxide that is)

Features Anne Stanton Last summer, Elizabeth and Jon Roth had an epiphany when they learned the grapes they’d been happily buying and eating were harming planet earth. Simply getting that bunch of grapes from Chile to their Traverse City table poured six pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“We were shocked by that,” Jon said. “We started wondering what other habits in our life caused that kind of carbon emission. So we went to a website where we answered questions about our energy usage and living habits—how many cars we had, how many kids, where we lived, that sort of thing.
“The web site did a calculation that if everyone on Earth lived with the same profile we lived with, it would take 4.3 Earths to support us all,” Elizabeth added. “They didn’t even ask if I owned a horse that lives in a barn out in the country to where I drive five times a week.”
The couple was surprised by their carbon footprint and decided to make
a different kind of New Year’s resolu-tion. They’ll spend the year of 2009
re-engineering their lives to go “green.”
Monday, December 22, 2008

Help Wanted: Mystery Shopper

Features Anne Stanton This week the Express continues its Ripped Off series to alert consumers to pocketbook predators. If you’d like to share your own story, please write a letter to the editor or call Anne Stanton at 1-877-244-8787
This week, the Ripped-Off articles became a little too close for comfort.
After taking the expert’s advice, I began checking my debit card transactions more closely and more often. Last week, I discovered that some @%#@ thief stole my number to buy a couple of items at Himalayan Organic in Grandville. The amounts were small—just $52 and the bank immediately credited the charges back to my account—but I was told scammers usually test the water to see if the card holder is watching.
An even bigger coincidence: The topic of this week’s Ripped-Off series is “scam jobs,” which are often advertised in the newspaper. And, whaddya know, Northern Express ran two such ads last week — one for a Mystery Shopper and the other for a market researcher. The ads have since been pulled, hopefully with no damage done.
Monday, December 22, 2008

Less is more

Features Anne Stanton Times are about as tough as they have ever been for the folks in Northern Michigan. Yet some people are looking at the hard times as an opportunity to profoundly shift their lives. Is it possible to live a richer life on less?
Our “Less is More” series will showcase families who do just that. Their shopping habits reflect their fundamental beliefs about money, consumption, and taking it easy on the planet Earth. The series is meant to inspire thought—not guilt or judgement—so enjoy.