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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Friday, August 6, 2010

Tastemakers: Green Plate Challenge/Bell‘s 9000

Dining Rick Coates Green Plate Challenge
This is a really cool concept, the Green Plate Challenge, where four Benzie County restaurants are not really competing, but challenging each other to better connect with local farmers and local products.
The Challenge creator is Jim Barnes of Crystal Lake Catering. Barnes was one of the pioneers in the Benzie culinary scene to incorporate local products into his menu during stints as chef/owner of both Northern Delights Cafe and The Roadhouse. “There are several components to this challenge from developing better relationships with area farmers and restaurateurs as well as to improve culinary skills, help to develop new customers and also encourage servers to be better informed on the local items they offer,” said Barnes.
Here is how the challenge works: Each eatery is featuring a menu item everyday with ingredients 90% sourced from within 100 miles of their restaurant. “Purchasing food products locally has not been the most common way of purveying food for our local restaurant industry,” said Barnes.
Friday, August 6, 2010

Wings of mercy

Features Rick Coates Wings of Mercy : Pilots host Careaffaire to benefit medical patients in need
By Rick Coates
If you want to feel your heart lift for a good cause and have some family fun to boot, consider the Wings of Mercy “Cairaffaire” this Saturday to benefit a program which flies people in financial need to distant medical centers.
The Traverse City CareAffaire will take place at Cherry Capital Aviation (located on Airport Access on the north side of the airport which was the former entrance to the airport off of Parsons Road) from 11am to 3pm. There is no charge for the event that will feature several planes, the Coast Guard, North Flight and several fire departments who are lending their culinary skills to make the day happen. Donations will be accepted to help the Wings of Mercy, West Michigan Chapter. There will be an opportunity for plane rides as well.
Friday, August 6, 2010

Medical Marijuana Academy

Features Rick Coates Clearing the Air: Medical Marijuana Academy aims to cut the fog on pot issues
By Rick Coates
The Michigan Medical Act passed by voters in 2008 seems to have created more questions than answers. Recent raids on compassionate care centers, medical marijuana operations and caregiver homes by law enforcement agencies have added to the confusion.
Now there is a Michigan House bill in committee proposing the ban of medical marijuana clubs and bars where those who are legal to medicate gather. Plus, medical marijuana patients remain confused as to where they may legally medicate away from their homes. Some patients have been fired by employers who view any use of marijuana as drug use, even if a doctor gives the employee a medical marijuana referral.
And some Northern Michigan residents who have asked their physicians for medical marijuana referrals have been denied by doctors who have responded that they have been advised not to make such referrals.
Friday, August 6, 2010

Michigan Schooner Festival

Features Rick Coates Celebrate the Great Lakes with the Michigan Schooner Festival
By Rick Coates
On September 10-12, you can enjoy the heritage of the Great Lakes with
“A Great Lakes Celebration” and the 2010 Michigan Schooner Festival on
West Grand Traverse Bay.
Monday, August 2, 2010

Blues Traveler

Music Rick Coates Blues Traveler dishes up Paella in the Park
By Rick Coates
The Paella In The Park event on Friday night in Traverse City will
focus on the Spanish peasant dish, Paella (see Tastemakers). The
evening will be highlighted by wine pairings from the Wineries of Old
Mission Peninsula. The question is, what will be for dessert?
How about a full serving of Blues Traveler?
Monday, August 2, 2010

Got Soul?

Music Rick Coates Got Soul? Collectively, soulful rockers keep it together
By Rick Coates
Even in the world of rock and roll, a lot of times it is about who you know versus what you know. Just ask Collective Soul lead guitarist Joel Kosche who joined the band in 2001. Kolsche and his bandmates, Ed and Dean Roland and Will Turpin (all founding members) will take the stage at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey this Saturday.
“Yeah I was a part of that same music scene in the Atlanta area that Collective Soul was a part of. I had my day job painting in a body shop and fronted a band at night,” said Kosche. “Well, I was getting tired of the day job and so I asked a buddy connected with Collective Soul if they needed anybody and eventually he passed my name along and I got hired.”
But not to be a member; Kosche was hired to be the guitar tech for the band in 1996.
Monday, August 2, 2010

Tastemakers: Paella in the Park

Dining Rick Coates Paella In The Park
When organizers of the Epicurean Classic decided to move the popular
food and drink celebration from Traverse City to southwest Michigan,
the food festival pantry in the region seemed pretty empty. That was
two years ago, and now a host of gourmand events have sprouted up
throughout the year fully stocking the Northern Michigan culinary
Monday, July 26, 2010

Ted Nugent

Music Rick Coates The Nuge Goes Ballistic: Ted Nugent brings politics as well as rock to Leelanau show
By Rick Coates
The political season is in full swing and the Motor City Madman Ted
Nugent is definitely campaigning. While not running for political
office as of yet, Uncle Ted believes for now his best platform is the
rock and roll stage and living by example. But he says the “threat is
there, it will always be there, (to run for office).”
Monday, July 26, 2010

Tastemakers: Amical‘s Duck Breast w/Cherry Stout/ Short‘s Brewery Huma-Luma-Licious IPA

Dining Rick Coates Amical’s Duck Breast w/Cherry Stout
One of the really cool things about the Traverse City Film Festival are the impromptu post film discussions that take place around town. Either with friends or total strangers, lively discussions take place over cocktails or dinner, and one of many great gathering places is Amical right next to the State Theatre.
I stopped in last week to catch the buzz on the Film Festival. since I was dining alone, I sat at the bar. Seated next to me was a producer in town working with Carter Oosterhouse (the sexy handyman from the HGTV show Carter Can and a model for numerous commercials). Also next to me was a recent transplant to the region from Texas as a result of growth in the oil and gas industry in Northern Michigan. While both were interested in the Film Festival, conversation quickly turned to their frustrations on how early stores closed in downtown TC (that is an article for another issue).
As has been the case since Dave Dennison opened Amical 16 years ago, my dining experience was exceptional. It started with my server/bartender Erica; new to town and only in her second week on the job, she handled herself as if she had been at Amical since the place opened. Amical was packed and Erica never missed a beat, making drinks and waiting on those in the bar area by herself. She was very knowledgeable of the menu and was able to guide myself and those around me in making our selections.
Monday, July 26, 2010

Michael Moore‘s sneak preview

Features Rick Coates Michael Moore’s Sneak Preview
By Rick Coates
Academy Award-winning film producer Michael Moore is never at a loss
of words. The co-founder of the Traverse City Film Festival took time
out in the wee hours of the morning to sit down for a two-hour
interview, sharing his insights on not only the Film Festival but also
President Obama, the future of Michigan, the state of Downtown
Traverse City and the new Comedy Festival. Moore also discussed his
own future and how he almost threw in the towel on living here in
Northern Michigan to move to Ann Arbor.
Monday, July 26, 2010


Features Rick Coates Rush Behind The Lighted Stage
By Rick Coates
Filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden will be in Traverse City this week with their latest project Rush: Behind The Lighted Stage, an intimate look at one of rock music’s most influential yet often misunderstood bands. The documentary gives an insider’s look and unprecedented access to the Canadian power trio’s musical journey through the decades.
The film will screen Friday night at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 11:59 p.m. with Dunn and McFayden appearing at both screenings as well as at the panel discussion on Saturday morning.
Rush ranks third for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums in the world behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Yet unlike the latter two bands, Rush has been primarily ignored by critics despite being revered by musicians and having legions of loyal fans. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has failed to recognized the group’s accomplishments by not nominating them for the HOF.
Rush is a musical anomaly; as the band says themselves, “you either love us or hate us -- there is no middle ground with Rush.” The band’s music is hard to define by traditional categories.
“We are not the kind of music you put on to dance to or as background music at a party,” said Geddy Lee, lead singer and bassist. “Our music requires some thought and work to listen to, and that is not for everybody.”
Monday, July 19, 2010


Music Rick Coates Meat Loaf on the Menu: Singer brings Northern Michigan players to Kewadin
By Rick Coates
When Meat Loaf takes the stage Saturday at the Kewadin Casino for their 25yth Anniversary Summer Celebration, he will be joined by two former Traverse City residents, keyboardist Justin Avery and sax player David Luther.
Luther joined Meat Loaf’s band in 2006 and Avery earlier this year. The two knew each other back when, with Luther part of the last Traverse City High School graduating class in 1997 and Avery graduating from TC West in 1999.
“We knew each other in high school because we were both musicians,” said Avery, son of musician and former Dill’s Old Town Saloon owner Larry Avery. “I remember David being a very serious musician for someone that was just a teenager.”
Monday, July 19, 2010

Brett Michaels wild year

Music Rick Coates Bret Michaels’ Wild Year: Poison frontman helms Kewadin’s 25th anniversary bash
By Rick Coates
If a cat has nine lives then how many lives does Bret Michaels have? This past year has proven he has at least three, and if you toss in the car accident back in the mid-’90s that nearly claimed his life, then Michaels is on life number four. But Michaels’ health issues are not over yet; after a year that has included an emergency appendectomy and a brain hemorrhage, he will have surgery next January as a result of a hole in his heart.
Michaels, the front man for the glam-rockers Poison from the hair band generation, is currently out touring in support of his new solo work Custom Built, released last week. He will make his way to Northern Michigan Thursday, performing at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie as part of the resort’s 25th Anniversary Summer Celebration. Motley Crue front man Vince Neil will open the show.
Monday, July 12, 2010

Bob Seger in Gaylord?

Music Rick Coates Bob Seger at Gaylord’s Alpenfest?: No, but his tribute band will be turning the page
By Rick Coates
The 46th Alpenfest in Gaylord kicks off on Tuesday. The five day festival is loaded with family friendly activities that are at no cost or are free of charge after purchasing an Alpenfest pin for $3, making it one of the best entertainment values in the Northern Michigan.
“The Alpenfest pin is a great value because it allows you to attend the many food events we have for no additional charge,” said Gayla Lamberies, festival special events coordinator. “Otherwise to participate in these events they are $5 each.”
Food is one of the focal points of the Alpenfest with Wurst Wagon on Tuesday being the first as troopers from the Michigan State Police post in Gaylord don aprons and serve guests at the opening night ceremonies. On Wednesday is the Die Groeste Kaffee Pause (The world’s largest coffee break) at 9:30 am under the pavilion with coffee, donuts and milk. For dinner, enjoy a chicken BBQ hosted by Dowker’s Meat Market, also under the pavilion. Other food events through the weekend include a sausage and sauerkraut dinner, pancakes and sausage breakfast along with the Pontresina Suppen Mahlzeit featuring the Festival’s secret Pontresina soup recipe.
Monday, July 12, 2010

Tastemakers: Green Cuisine

Dining Rick Coates Green Cuisine
It was an impressive sight during the first Green Cuisine event in 2006. Event co-founder Timothy Young gathered the 200 guests in attendance around him and said, “Let me show you how much trash this event produced,” he opened up the palm of his hand to reveal a couple of small pieces of non-recyclable plastic. But creating a “zero-waste” event was only one aspect of Green Cuisine.
“A big goal is to have an event that creates networks between local people and our incredibly rich local food system,” said Young. “We didn’t want to start just another festival.
This is an event with a mission. This is a chance for local friends and neighbors to come meet the heroes behind the food that they love and appreciate.”