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, March 10, 2008

Love Kayaking/Vote do over/Third Level

Region Watch Anne Stanton For the love of kayaking...
...don’t miss the documentary, Pacific Horizons, directed and produced by Traverse City native Bryan Smith.
The action-packed travelogue takes you to some of the world’s coolest sea kayaking destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
You can meet director Bryan Smith, an avid kayaker, at the Traverse City premiere showing on Thursday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Timber Ridge, 4050 Hammond Rd.
Be sure to ask him about his first movie, 49 Megawatts, which just won the award for best environmental film at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. That movie captured how privatization is damaging rivers in British Columbia, where Smith lives with his French-Canadian wife.
Monday, March 3, 2008

K. B. Sutton

Features Anne Stanton Body, spirit, mind. The three are fused in the mind of K.B. Sutton, who is, at this moment, kneeling on the backside of Jon Roth in order to broaden his hamstring.
“The thing I like about you, K.B., is that you have no fear,” Roth said. “Some therapists are timid, they’re afraid they might hurt you, but not you.”
It’s true. K.B. (Kathryn Boss) Sutton is definitely not timid. She’s slim and tan with a long tangle of black hair. At 55, her good looks haven’t faded. She has strong hands and even stronger ideas about how to go about this life.
“The problem is most people think of themselves as humans who are having a spiritual experience. They need to see themselves as spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Monday, February 25, 2008

Body of Evidence

Features Anne Stanton An investigative report on the television news show 20/20 last week put a tiny Traverse City laboratory in the bulls-eye of controversy.
The 20/20 report called into question the ethics of displaying plasticized cadavers as entertainment and alleged that some of them might be prisoners executed in a Chinese prison.
The controversy relates to two traveling museum exhibits that showcase an array of organs and actual dead people coated in plastic. The people are playfully posed — one is kicking a soccer ball, another is conducting an orchestra. In one show, a plasticized pregnant woman lies in repose with her nearly formed baby pushing aside her organs.
So what does that have to do with Traverse City?
Monday, February 25, 2008

At the edge of their seats ... Documentary on Whale Saviors

Features Anne Stanton Call it film feedback.
Last month, a group of about 70 people had the chance to watch the first cut of a documentary at the State Theatre in Traverse City and give their comments to the movie editor — something that’s routine in New York City, but a treat for people who live here.
Jeff Gibbs presented At the Edge of the World on a quiet Thursday morning when most people were at work.
Monday, February 18, 2008

Cottage in a day

Features Anne Stanton More and more people are thinking about living more simply and going “green.”
The problem has always been that it’s just so darn expensive and complicated to do the right thing.
As a Traverse City area builder for 20 years, Drew Craven is ready to deliver on an out-of-the-box, planet-friendly house and he believes the market is ready.
Monday, February 18, 2008

Meijer & The Village

Features Anne Stanton After years of lawsuits and literally millions of dollars given up to lawyers, the anti-climactic news is that Acme Township, the developers, a citizens’ group, and Meijer are pretty much back to square one.
The lawsuits have gone on for so long, punctuated by insults, vandalism, and potential criminal wrong-doing, that it’s easy to lose track over the original issue, which is a proposal to build a Meijer and mixed-use/lifestyle center in a field on M-72 south of the Grand Traverse Resort.
Monday, February 18, 2008

What about Meijer?

Features Anne Stanton Now that Meijer and the Acme Township have worked out their differences in court over a Meijer store on Lautner Road, the question is, what happens now?
Meijer has a choice: it could build its 210,000 square-foot store in a field that it bought on M-72 and Lautner Road in 1988. Or it could build its superstore across the street as part of the Village at Grand Traverse.
Monday, February 11, 2008

An interview with a sex therapist

Features Anne Stanton Imagine having a job that would require you—every day—to listen to the trials and tribulations of people’s sex lives!
Wouldn’t that be… interesting. Well, last week Northern Express caught up with Dr. Barbara Jones Smith, a Traverse City licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist, whose phone is ringing off the hook right now (she’s checking to see if there’s a full moon). Luckily, she agreed to squeeze in this interview.
Dr. Smith said she’s been listening to people’s sex problems since 1975. She counsels male/female couples, same sex couples, and people who have life problems that have nothing to do with sex. When she’s away from her office, she likes to ski, fly fish, kayak and practice tai chi. She needs respite from all that intensity, right? Now, enough of this foreplay. Let’s get to the interview.
Monday, February 4, 2008

For the love of a fiddle

Music Anne Stanton When Stass Pronin set out for one of his first violin lessons, he wanted to be prompt, knowing the demanding nature of his grandfather, a world-class violin teacher.
But as the young eight-year-old crossed a stretch of scorching Israeli desert, his feet dragged. He was a few minutes late when he finally arrived. His grandfather opened the door, his face impassive. He looked at his watch, and said, “You’re late, go home.”
Stass walked another 40 minutes back home in the heat. He was never late again.
Russians take their music seriously and that’s what makes them so fascinating, said Jim Bruno.
Monday, February 4, 2008

Top Tips on unemployment benefits

Features Anne Stanton Tip #1: If you’re denied unemployment, you MUST file your appeal within 30 days
If you’ve never been laid off or fired or quit a job before, the whole area of unemployment benefits might seem like a confusing quagmire.
So here are some tips from Deb Fragel, a Traverse City benefits advocate who helps people appeal the denial or retraction of unemployment benefits.
Most people who have been fired or laid off are eligible to collect unemployment benefits — even people who have been fired for incompetence or poor judgment, said Fragel, an unemployment appeals specialist with Great Lakes Credit Care.
Monday, January 28, 2008

Wading in a sea of debt

Features Anne Stanton How did this ever happen?
That’s what Bob wondered every night for months, his stomach knotted with worry. He and his wife were earning $50,000 per year, and that seemed like a lot. They worked hard and played hard. They took vacations each year, sent their two boys to the Catholic school, bought a new plasma television, went skiing on weekends, and attended sports events in Detroit.
But in reality, Bob (not his real name) and his wife were routinely using credit cards when they came up short each month. Bob’s wife handled all the bills, so he was shocked when Kohl’s and JC Penney began calling the house, wanting to know why payments were late.
Monday, January 21, 2008

The story of Craig Carlson

Features Anne Stanton When Jackie Smith and Bob Carlson called 911 on the evening of November 9, they were desperate for deputies to check on their brother, Craig Carlson. He was fearful he couldn’t survive the night alone. He wanted someone to talk to and asked Jackie to call a police officer.
His sister and brother, in separate calls to police, reported their concern that Craig would take his life. At the same time, they cautioned police that Craig might provoke police to shoot him by pointing a gun. They thought they were being good citizens. They thought they were saving Craig from himself.
Instead, their calls triggered a SWAT team response of some 60 officers – a standoff that would plunge their brother into an even deeper despair and, ultimately, lead to his death. After a 12-hour stand-off at Craig’s rural Interlochen home, a police sniper mortally wounded Carlson with a single shot to the head.
Monday, January 14, 2008

Michigan‘s Primary

Features Anne Stanton The Michigan primary on January 15, is so confusing, it might cause you to boycott the whole thing—especially if you’re a Democrat. But don’t do that. Call the national party leaders and tell them it’s time for a change (phone numbers below).
The reason for this year’s state of affairs owes to the state’s Democratic and Republican party leaders moving up Michigan’s presidential primary to January 15, in order to give Michigan more weight in choosing a candidate—not to mention having the candidates address the state’s specific and serious issues. The primary is normally held in February when the candidates have already gained huge momentum, money and vote wise.
Monday, January 7, 2008

Doug Peterson on fitness

Features Anne Stanton Doug Petersen, a personal trainer, has gained a bit of fame in Traverse City for his 18-month long stint working on the Michael Moore movie, Sicko, as the staff’s wellness coordinator. The job took Petersen out of Traverse City and into the New York City world of filmmaking, celebrity parties and big city stress. We asked Petersen to share with Northern Express a little about his own life and what he learned about fitness in his year spent in New York. Like many professional trainers, Petersen doesn’t share specifics about his clients - and he had to hold to his policy for this interview.
Monday, January 7, 2008

Belly dancing for fitness

Features Anne Stanton As a fairly uncoordinated person, I was never much attracted to belly dancing. But on the spur of the moment last summer, I picked up the class schedule of the Beledi (pronounced to sound like “melody”) Dance and Boutique in Traverse City, and it intrigued me.
There is much more here than belly dancing—a hoopercise class (with padded hula hoops), a music class with preschoolers, a date night couples dance class on Fridays, and Indian hip-hop. Even better, the half-hour lunchtime classes were right in my budget—a mere $5.