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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Anne Stanton

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Monday, September 1, 2008

One man‘s mission/Greg Mortenson

Features Anne Stanton Sally Stilwill is a Three Cups of Tea groupie and she’s not afraid to admit it.
After reading Greg Mortenson’s book in 2007 in a book club, she flew to Washington D.C. and shelled out $350 so that she and her daughter could personally hear and meet him in the flesh.
After his speech, Mortenson signed a copy of her daughter’s book, a New York Times bestseller, with this advice: “When your heart speaks, take good notes.”
Monday, September 1, 2008

Trouble the Water

Features Anne Stanton When the winds of Hurricane Katrina began to blow and dark clouds threw shadows over the hot streets of New Orleans, Kimberly Roberts grabbed a used $20 video camera that she bought the day before.
Roberts roamed the neighborhood, capturing the nervous looks of little girls and old men. The drizzle morphed into a torrential rain and Roberts was forced to take refuge in her ramshackle attic, along with her husband, Scott, and neighbors. She kept taping the raging floodwaters and awaited rescue that never came. Her most dramatic footage includes a do-gooder guy draped over a punching bag and ferrying her neighbors to higher land.
“It’s unbelievable. She somehow keeps the camera dry while all this is going on,” said filmmaker Tia Lessin.
Monday, August 25, 2008

They came for the children

Features Anne Stanton The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was demolished last fall, but former students say they’ll never forget their formative years at the Indian boarding school. This is the final story of a series that has focused on the school’s legacy.

The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was established by Catholic nuns with the mission of helping impoverished Indian children and raising them in the Roman Catholic faith. But it was just one of scores of boarding schools established by religious groups or the U.S. government that took in tens of thousands of Indian children in a misguided social experiment.
The Harbor Springs school, founded in 1829, was one of the earliest Indian boarding schools in the country. Like thousands of Indian children across the country, the students began boarding school life at the age of six or seven and returned home at the age of 14. Holy Childhood closed in 1983 due to low enrollment, money problems, and staff shortages.
The question is, why boarding schools?
Monday, August 18, 2008

Planet Prophet

Features Anne Stanton The name of Bill McKibben isn’t well known outside environmental circles, but he’s considered a planet prophet – one of the very first to alert the public to climate change.
McKibben will make a free appear-ance in Traverse City on September 7, compliments of the Michigan Land Use Institute (the nonprofit group that’s strenuously pushed the idea of eating locally with its Taste the Local Difference campaign).
McKibben’s got a lot to say even beyond climate change, but will arrive in town with a nurturing kind of message. He believes that scaling down can make people much happier.
Twenty years ago, McKibben warned of climate change in his book The End of Nature. It was the first such book for a general audience and arrived at a time when scientists were still arguing about the phenomenon. There’s now scientific consensus by the world’s leading scientific bodies that focus on climate change, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
McKibben’s latest effort is Deep Economy, which pushes the idea to “think globally, act neighborly” as one of his friends succinctly put it on a homemade bumper sticker. He warns that America’s hyper-individualism has left millions feeling alone, vulnerable and cut off from their communities.
Monday, August 11, 2008

Ride ‘em cowboy

Features Anne Stanton This is a true story.
I was bicycling down the Leelanau Trail last month when suddenly a dark truck turned onto the bike path and drove straight at my friend and me. We looked at our would-be killer. A pretty young blonde talking on her pink cell phone.
Cell phone girl slowed down as she saw us veering off the path to get out of her way. She realized what she’d done, and gave us a quick smile of apology. Then she rested her phone on the steering wheel, backed up her truck and maneuvered over to the real road a few yards down from the bike path.
Wow, it can end just that quickly.
Monday, August 4, 2008

The Legacy of Holy Childhood

Features Anne Stanton This is the third in a four-part series on Holy Childhood School of Jesus. The first two stories on the school in Harbor Springs focused on the sexual abuse of nine young male students at the hands of two Roman Catholic nuns.

On a bleak November day in 1885, a handful of nuns walked into Holy Childhood School of Jesus and began their mission of saving the poor Indian children of Northern Michigan.
So says a 1960 history of the Indian boarding school, which is titled in childlike handwriting on a blackboard: “the problem can be solved.”
The school was run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, an international group of Catholic nuns that remains devoted to schooling underprivileged children. It ran on a shoestring budget and relied on local people and church members for money.
The school opened in 1829 as a small log cabin. It grew into a stately three-story building and closed in 1983 due to low enrollment. The building was demolished last fall, with a new parish building to rise in its stead.
With such a long history, there is no single way to characterize the boarding school. But if you are a middle-aged Native American and a former student, chances are good that you’ll never forget the Roman Catholic nuns of Holy Childhood School.
Monday, July 28, 2008

Stuck in Guantanamo

Features Anne Stanton Remember growing up and hearing your mother say, “You are blessed! You could be starving like the poor children in Africa!! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”
Well, there’s a 46-year-old guy in Guantanamo by the name of Abdul al-Ghizzawi. He is the poster child of misery, although a recent Supreme Court ruling has given him hope. Compared to his story, you’ll never complain again. Yeah, right.
Candace Gorman, an Interlochen summer resident and civil rights attorney out of Chicago, has just returned from her 13th visit (all on her own dime) to meet with al-Ghizzawi. She spoke of his plight at the Friend’s House in Traverse City last week, her visit sponsored by several local peace and civil rights groups.
Monday, July 28, 2008

Reading, writing & reality in Iraq

Features Anne Stanton You often hear the policy debates about the Iraq war, but ever wonder how the people of Iraq manage to shop, work and go to school with a war blasting down the street?
That’s the idea behind Baghdad High, a new documentary directed by Laura J. Winter. The movie will be shown Friday, August 2, at the Traverse City Film Festival.
Winter came up with the novel idea of giving four high school boys their own video camera to document one year of their life.
In an email interview from England where she now lives, Winter explained that she wanted to take a fresh perspective on Iraq. She found inspiration from a film titled The Women’s Story, which featured two Iraqi women who journeyed around their country and filmed what they saw.
Monday, July 7, 2008

Wounded Souls

Features Anne Stanton Elsie Boudreau can relate to the confusion suffered by “Jerry” who felt he loved and was loved by a Roman Catholic nun.
Jerry—not his real name—was one of nine Indian boys who said they were sexually molested by two nuns in the 1960s and 1970s while boarding at the Holy Childhood School of Jesus in Harbor Springs. (To read the article in its entirety, go to northernexpress.com).
Jerry believed the relationship was based in “love,” and he’s still coming to terms with its effects. Yet he’s been in and out of rehab nine times and remains a hardcore alcoholic. His two marriages were marred by a lack of fidelity—he has three out-of-wedlock children—and numerous stints in jail. He once aspired to become a state trooper and won entry into University of Michigan, but dropped out after a semester. Now 55, he feels confused and bitter by what happened.
Monday, June 30, 2008

Unholy childhood

Features Anne Stanton When the Holy Childhood Of Jesus School in Harbor Springs was demolished last fall, so too, perhaps, was some of the evidence of alleged sexual and physical abuse.
That’s the belief of Veronica Pasfield, a University of Michigan doctoral candidate and Bay Mills tribal member. Pasfield is documenting the school’s history, along with the Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School.
Pasfield learned of the abuse at the school in interviews that she conducted with 36 elders and family members over the last 10 years, including more than 20 interviews for an oral history project for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Pasfield said she finds it suspicious that the Roman Catholic church is demolishing boarding schools across the country and in Canada and wonders whether it’s to avert the kind of lawsuits that have swamped four Canadian churches to the point of bankruptcy.
“When these boarding schools are taken down, at the very least, what is lost is the daily visual reminder of their legacy,” she said. “By today’s standards, many of these schools are crime scenes. They are also sacred sites in a sense, in the way that a war camp or a battlefield is a sacred site. But until recently the dominant culture recognized the schools as none of that.”
Monday, June 23, 2008

Why riding a bike can change your life & the world

Features Anne Stanton Some people would consider bicycling through knee-deep snow and dodging ice boulders just to get to work—well, they wouldn’t even consider it.
John Robert Williams, on the other hand, calls it an “adventure.”
Williams, a Traverse City native, is a slender, bespectacled commercial photographer known for co-founding the Traverse City Film Festival. Before that, he and his brother were greatly admired for their weird and huge “Williams Brothers” floats that featured marching queens and racy puns—the high point of the National Cherry Festival Royale parade.
Monday, June 9, 2008

Vet must share disablility with ex-wife

Region Watch Anne Stanton A Manistee County judge ruled recently that a portion of a Vietnam veteran’s disability benefits can be considered when determining the amount of alimony paid to an ex-spouse.
Veteran Calvin Murphy had argued in court that his disability benefits should be off limits to his ex-wife, but 19th Circuit Judge James Batzer disagreed.
Murphy, 61, testified in the trial that he served a harrowing 5 1/2 months in Vietnam and mistakenly believed for decades that he had killed a fellow soldier during a North Vietnamese attack. He was wracked by guilt that his entire squadron had been ambushed, shot in the head, and found with cards in their mouths that said “Yankee go home.” He was not with his squadron at the time of the ambush.
Monday, June 9, 2008

Let the chips fly

Features Anne Stanton As in all things, the devil is in the details.
That’s the case with a wood-fired power plant proposed for an old potato field in Kalkaska County -- a rural area that has seen a big depletion of gas and oil production.
The plan, developed by a Traverse City company called Rapid River Renewable Energy, comes at a time when everyone is talking about the shortage of fuel.
Monday, June 2, 2008

Got gas pains?

Features Anne Stanton As fuel prices soar, you see folks responding in all kinds of ways. Some drive less, some buy a more fuel-efficient car, some drive off without paying for their gas.
Steve at the Speedway on Division and Front Streets in Traverse City said people at his station aren’t driving off -- at least on purpose, but they are venting about prices. “They don’t get mad at us. They know it isn’t our fault, but they’re definitely not happy.”
Beth Roskamp, who was filling up her Volkswagen Passat at the station, said she unpleasantly realized she should be using premium gas after reading a magazine article that said people were damaging their cars by unknowingly using the wrong fuel. Although more knowledgeable, she’s also carrying a lighter wallet. Premium is 20 cents more per gallon than the basic unleaded choice.
“I used to fill up for $20, with money left over for a snack,” she said. “Now it’s $46 -- over twice what I paid.”
Roskamp said it bothers her most that Michigan residents often pay the highest prices for gas in the country.
Norean Martin, a retiree who lives in Torch Lake, said she and her husband schedule their appointments in Traverse City on the same day to save gas. They’re not going to give up their SUV -- they need the space to haul stuff -- but they are looking at hybrids.
Monday, May 26, 2008

Slapping Back

Features Anne Stanton Downstate Goliaths are increasingly swinging lawsuits at townships’ boards and planning commissions for trying to enforce local zoning laws.
So what’s a David to do?
State Representative Kevin Elsenheimer, a Republican out of Kewaydin, is showing some sympathy. He’s working on a bill that would allow a judge to fine a corporation found guilty of this expensive bullying, otherwise known as filing a SLAPP suit—short for “strategic suits against public participation.”
Elsenheimer announced the bill’s first draft six weeks ago, but now believes it didn’t go far enough. He expects a new version by early June.
Elsenheimer knows the territory well. His law firm has defended township governments against dozens of lawsuits brought by developers, although not a SLAPP suit, per se.