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, December 15, 2008

The Scammer Said to Me...

Features Anne Stanton This week, the Express continues its Ripped-Off series that alerts consumers to pocketbook predators. We’ll draw on true stories from people around the region. Of course, the more stories the better, so call Anne Stanton toll-free at
1-877-244-8787 if you’d like to share your own.

How would you like an “instantly approved” credit application for a Target or Kohl’s card?
Hey, it’s not a coincidence these generous card offers arrive just in time for the holidays. Lots of people are running short on cash for gifts and might consider these offers a godsend. But before you call the 800 number to activate the card, check out the interest rate. These cards typically come attached with rates of 21 percent or even higher.
It’s not a scam exactly, but those finance fees and interest rates sure will drain your bank account.
If you’re like most Christmas shoppers, you’re probably more focused on buying the right gift rather than watching out for your wallet.
But ho, ho, ho, the holidays are a gift to scammers, who view this brief period of mania shopping as a personal windfall.
Monday, December 15, 2008

Maritime Heritage Alliance to Joe Public: Climb Aboard!

Features Anne Stanton The billowing, white sails of the schooner Madeline are a familiar sight on West Grand Traverse Bay, but some people have viewed its sailing crew as a bit of a closed club.
That all changed last January when the Maritime Heritage Alliance, a 26-year-old nonprofit group, hired its first executive director and made the decision to energetically reach out to youth and adults alike.
A little background: The Madeline is a replica of a tall ship schooner which graced the Great Lakes 150 years ago. Volunteers built the Madeline over a period of five years and launched the schooner in 1990. Since then, volunteer crews have sailed the Madeline to ports from Duluth to Toronto, inviting the public to tour the ship and learn a bit of maritime history.
Monday, December 8, 2008

‘Tis the Season to be Wary

Features Anne Stanton James Parrent went on a rampage of identify theft

This week, the Express begins its Ripped-Off series that will alert consumers to pocketbook predators. We’ll draw on true stories from people around the region. Of course, the more stories the better, so call Anne Stanton toll-free at 1-877-244-8787 if you’d like to share your own.

By Anne Stanton

Gary Houda doesn’t mince words when describing James Parrent, the rip-off artist who used to work for him: “He’s garbage.”
Houda owns the Used Car Factory on U.S. 31 North. In 2004, he hired James Parrent and trusted him to sell and detail cars for him. But Parrent was a three-time felon, and used the Car Factory as his personal headquarters to steal the identities and bank account numbers of customers.
Monday, December 1, 2008

Explore your inner farmer

Features Anne Stanton Ever toy with the idea of starting your own business as a farmer or simply growing your own affordable, organic fruits, herbs and flowers?
A workshop on hoophouse farming is being offered to inspire wanna-be farmers or those who already farm and could use an extra three to four months of growing time.
A hoophouse — made of PVC pipes, plastic, and sometimes wood — is really a poor man’s version of a greenhouse. The structures are of particular benefit in Northern Michigan with its long, cold winters. The plastic protects plants from excessive rain, wind and frost, and raises daytime temperatures by at least five to 10 degrees. This gives farmers more growing time at both ends of the growing season.
Monday, November 10, 2008

Get in the Flow with two events to Green Up November

Features Anne Stanton For all of you interested in the environment and the future of the Great Lakes, the weekend of November 14 is for you! There are two back-to-back events that are fun and affordable.
The first event on Friday, November 14, will set up a legal fund that will allow area environmental groups to take immediate action to stop water, air, land, or wildlife from being destroyed.
The second event on Sunday, November 16, will launch a broad-based, nonpartisan public education drive to protect the Great Lakes from the commercial sale of water.
Here are the details.
Monday, November 3, 2008

Copy Queenz

Art Anne Stanton With the name “Copy Queenz,” this new business is proud to declare its female ownership.
But the name has caused some awkward moments with a few people, said owner Cindy Lyskawa.
“A man, from another shop, asked us if we only wanted female customers because we’re doing the ‘female thing.’ I thought, ‘What is he talking about?’ Then I realized, it must be our name. Other people have walked in and said they were expecting to see two big guys dressed in women’s clothing.”
Monday, November 3, 2008

A Passion for Women‘s Rights/ Carol Atkins

Features Anne Stanton The Great Depression was just around the corner when Carol Atkins and her family moved into a newly built home in a new Toledo subdivision in 1929.
Atkins, only six, quickly realized she lived on an island of good fortune. Her father was a doctor, and her family prospered, while others struggled to find enough to eat. Their lovely home stood alone in the field until the economy improved years later. Atkins knew she had done nothing to earn her comfort. She was just lucky.
Monday, October 27, 2008

Petoskey‘s Big Hole/Petoskey Pointe

Features Anne Stanton A gigantic hole in the heart of Petoskey was supposed to have turned into a city showpiece by now.
But the hole remains, and on November 3, the Petoskey City Council can opt out of its interest in the $60 million project.
Two men who are running for mayor have different views of how to deal with the hole and the developers of Petoskey Pointe, a project on hold that includes condos, a hotel, restaurant, and spa.
Mayor Dale Meyer would rather not focus on how the city dug itself into this hole, quite literally. He prefers to look forward, not backward. His challenger, Ted Pall, says he wants to examine “past mistakes,” to protect the citizens of Petoskey in the future. He believes the city can avoid a profound misstep by taking advantage of the contractual opening on November 3.
Monday, September 29, 2008

Remembrance Run

Features Anne Stanton Breast cancer is no party, but raising money to help those grappling with the disease is, well … great fun, said Jane Rolf, who organized the Breast Health Fair in the upcoming annual Remembrance Run.
Along with the Breast Health Fair, the October 4 event at features a run or walk (not timed), prizes and lots of pink merchandise. The Traverse City Track Club sponsors the event, with men in spiffy black running tights and tuxes helping out on the course.
Runners can eat all the calories they just burned up with Moomer’s homemade ice cream and Espresso Bay coffee drinks
Monday, September 29, 2008

The Million Gallon Question... Polluted Water

Features Anne Stanton When the developers of Bay Harbor Resort received the go-ahead to build a resort for the rich on top of an ancient mess of cement kiln dust, the DNR was in a “conundrum.”
The cement kiln dust had tested as inert, meaning that run-off water didn’t pick up known toxins from the cement kiln dust, said Bob Wagner, the DEQ supervisor for the ongoing clean-up at Bay Harbor Resort.
Yet, there were significant red flags. Arsenic-laden water was seeping from two of the piles (cited in a DNR memo of 12/14/94) and samples of cement kiln dust contained elevated levels of heavy metals. There was a Congressional report the year before, which raised serious concerns of the presence of dioxins and furans (among the most toxic of toxins) in kiln dust at 11 former cement production sites across the country.
Monday, September 22, 2008

Bay Harbor: Beauty & the Hidden Beast

Features Anne Stanton The late David Hacker, a hard-nosed reporter for the Detroit Free Press, used to say, “Be careful of what you wish for. You might just get it.”
So, perhaps, it is with the developers of the posh Bay Harbor Resort. In the early 1990s, a plan was hatched by developer David Johnson and the CMS Land Company to turn a 1,200-acre moonscape—the former site of a cement plant near Petoskey—into a posh resort. They sought permission to treat the cement dust like dirt since the DEQ had earlier ruled the dust inert.
Their timing was right. Governor John Engler was in power, and so was his policy of minimal environmental oversight. Those in the DNR and DEQ who pushed too hard to apply the rules were often fired or quietly put into a small corner office.
In July of 1994, the state Department of Natural Resources signed a “Covenant of Not to Sue” with Boyne USA and the CMS Land Company, a common practice to encourage development of polluted industrial sites. Soon the five miles of Lake Michigan shoreline became America’s most astonishing makeover.
Monday, September 15, 2008

A baffling system: A mom fights for her rights

Features Anne Stanton When Jessica Edwards decided to take her two-year-old son to the emergency room last November, her abusive boyfriend vowed revenge. He’d do everything in his power to take her son away from her, along with their unborn child.
And he did.
The children are now in foster care and Edwards sees them twice a week for one hour each.
The story of Edwards, an attractive young woman with a wild adolescence, is not black and white. The argument to take her children away could be made either way in court.
But Edwards, 23, was robbed of her day in court because of a state law that gave her boyfriend, Quincy Hurst, the power to waive her right to a trial.
Edwards’ story provides a glimpse into how she lost her children in a system that she views as baffling and unfair.
Monday, September 8, 2008

As the media world turns...

Features Anne Stanton There’s been a quiet shake-up in the region’s media world and here’s the bottom line: you’ll be seeing more news about bake sales and Pop Warner football, and less local hard news on the environment, crime, and political corruption.
The reason for the shift, according to insiders at both papers: the Traverse City Record-Eagle is locked in an advertising war with the Grand Traverse Insider, a newbie paper that specializes in pillowy soft news.
Some of the Record-Eagle’s loss is due to the bad economy. Real estate and auto ad sales are tumbling across the country. The myriad of specialty publications has also cut into sales — the Northern Express, the Business News, GT Woman, Bay Area Times, Traverse Magazine, and Grand Traverse Edibles, to name a few. Radio and TV also compete for ad dollars.
Monday, September 8, 2008

Faith in love: Memories of my father

Features Anne Stanton Two months ago, my oldest brother called me to say the doctors had finally figured out why the lining of my dad’s outer lung kept filling up with fluid.
He had mesothelioma, a cancer caused from exposure to asbestos. It was hard to detect because the hundreds of little tumors were no bigger than little tiny pencil points.
I found the diagnosis very strange since my father was a state trooper and didn’t work around asbestos. He did recall putting in a new furnace in the basement of our old house in Davison. He thought there might have been asbestos tucked around the vents, but he wasn’t sure. Or maybe it was the two years in his early 20s when he worked for a dairy. He thought the pipes might have been lined with the killer white stuff.
I am old enough to have seen death before. Some of my friends were young, some old. My grief was deep, but simple. I’d miss them very much. But the reason I am writing this is because I had problems this time around. My feelings were so… complicated.
Monday, September 1, 2008

2 Lads with a dream

Features Anne Stanton Everything about the new 2 Lads winery is bold, edgy and eye-catching. You could say the same about the hip, 30-something owners, Chris Baldyga and Cornel Olivier.
The winery reflects the inner them.
Two Lads is about 14 miles north on Old Mission Peninsula and well worth the trip up the skinny strip of land, which offers shimmering views of the east and west bays. If you haven’t been on Old Mission in awhile, vineyards are everywhere—a veritable Napa Valley of the north.
Two Lads sits atop a large hill off Smokey Hollow Road. You can’t miss the huge angular, flat-roofed building rising up from a grassy mound with monstrous panes of concrete, steel, aluminum and flashes of orange. Inside is black leather furniture, more orange, and clever accents of cork. Baldyga explained that he and his partner prefer the spare, minimalist lines so as not to clutter up the experience of wine tasting.
The building’s bi-level design capitalizes on gravity to move the wine from the machines where the grapes are squeezed to a cavernous basement where it’s fermented in steel vats or oak barrels. An art gallery off the tasting room features the work of photographer Paul Osborne, who also designed the very cool wine label. Osborne, also in his 30s, has retired—at least temporarily—to
St. Croix Island, where he spends his days kiteboarding.