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 8, 2010

Tastemakers: Phil‘s on Front Chocolate Lounge/ MYNORTH Passion Brew Brew with Benefits

Dining Rick Coates Phil’s On Front Chocolate Lounge
Chef Phil Murray has been on the cutting edge of the culinary scene in Northern Michigan for the past 25 years. His Window’s restaurant was a popular destination for years on West Grand Traverse Bay and while the entrées and service were always exceptional, so were the homemade confectionary creations.
A few years back he opened Chocolate Exotica in Traverse City, featuring an array of chocolates and desserts. Recently he opened Phil’s on Front (across from the State Theatre), and Murray has picked up right where he left off when he closed Windows.
Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy St. Libations Weekend

Features Rick Coates Happy ‘St. LIbations‘ Weekend
A weekend of events celebrating local brews, wineries & food
By Rick Coates
The success of two new festivals (Microbrew & Music Festival and the Wine & Art Festival) this past summer in Traverse City has led organizers of those events to offer winter versions. Toss in the popular North Peak patio party and a wine weekend on the Old Mission Peninsula and there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate Valentine’s and President’s Day Weekend.
Numerous events are encompassed in the Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest, scheduled for February 12-14 at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, downtown Traverse City, and Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area. See www.winterwonderfest.org for more details.
Monday, February 1, 2010

Tom ‘Terrific‘ Knific brings his Quartet to Crooked Tree

Music Rick Coates Tom ‘Terrific’ Knific brings his Quartet to Crooked Tree
By Rick Coates
One criticism college professors often receive is that they live within the protective walls of their respective institutions and don’t venture into the real world to gain practical experience in their subject matter. This is not the case with bassist and composer Tom Knific who is the professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University. Knific has built an international reputation for himself in the classroom and he is equally impressive on the performance stage. Jazz enthusiasts will certainly want to make their way to the Ross Stoakes Theatre within the Crooked Tree Arts Center this Saturday night for the Tom Knific Quartet.
Tom Knific may not be a household name; probably casual listeners of jazz are unfamiliar with him. But he is well respected among his academic and performing peers. “It gives me great pleasure to recommend Tom Knific, not only for his superb musicianship but equally important, in my estimation, for his fine personal qualities,” said musician David Brubeck. “I could not recommend anyone higher.”
Monday, February 1, 2010

Meet Chef Carrie Trogan

Dining Rick Coates Meet Chef Carrie Trogan
She brings a touch of Chicago’s style to Hanna Bistro
By Rick Coates
Executive Chef Carrie Trogan of Hanna Bistro in Traverse City left her home in
Saginaw to pursue a psychology degree at Western Michigan University. Growing up, she had not given much thought to becoming a chef, but after college graduation she moved to Chicago where she found herself helping friends cater parties.
Trogan caught the culinary bug and headed off to chef school. After working in a variety of positions at kitchens in Chicago and out west, her parents suggested that she move to Traverse City (where they had recently retired) and try to get a job working for Amanda Danielson at Trattoria Stella (their favorite place). Lucky for Rob Giffer and Hanna that Stella was not hiring.
Chef Carrie took time after a busy Tuesday night dinner rush to share some thoughts:
Monday, February 1, 2010

Tastemakers: Boathouse Restaurant Wild Game Dinner/ Taste the Passion

Dining Rick Coates Boathouse Restaurant Wild Game Dinner
In Northern Michigan “wild game” dinners are somewhat common fare in many homes. Venison, duck and fresh fish from area lakes make their way to my table at home on somewhat of a regular basis. Several restaurants in the region offer entrées featuring game from local fields and streams. Now the Boathouse Restaurant located at Bowers Harbor (the actual harbor, not the restaurant) on the Old Mission Peninsula puts the “wild” in their game dinner, hosting their sixth annual dinner this Friday night.
Chef Eric Nittolo and proprietor Doug Kosch have outdone themselves in creating an impressive menu of wild game “oddities” that will give most in attendance a first time opportunity to taste lion, yak, zebra and even piranha. Sourcing such exotic meats is challenging as much research goes into verifying these game items come from legitimate and legal sources. Kosch and Nittolo went to great lengths to insure all menu items came from lawful suppliers.
Monday, January 25, 2010

Ground Zero ready to rock

Music Rick Coates Ground Zero ready to rock thanks to Doug Street
By Rick Coates
After a one year hiatus, Doug Street is now back at the helm of the Ground Zero Nightclub (Streeter’s, The Terminal) in Traverse City. Street, who developed the vision for the Streeter’s entertainment complex at the age of 23 after traveling to such entertainment destinations as Las Vegas and South Beach, sold his interest in the nightclub in late 2008 but retained ownership of the property.
After a successful 10-year run of bringing major club entertainment to Northern Michigan, Street decided to look for new challenges and opened a club in Grand Rapids. He is currently opening a restaurant and nightclub in downtown Grand Rapids near Van Andel Arena.
“I am commuting between Grand Rapids and Traverse City,” said Street. “I am energized and looking to be creative in this economy to re-brand Streeter’s into Ground Zero. I don’t think that Ground Zero really had an identity over the years, this place was either Streeter’s or The Terminal; now it will be known as Ground Zero.”
Monday, January 25, 2010

Tastemakers: Hanna whitefish cake & bittersweet chocolate cake/ Acustic Draft Mead Cherry BZZZ

Dining Rick Coates Hanna Whitefish Cake & Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
When Executive Chef Carrie Trogan took over the kitchen at Hanna from proprietor Jim Milliman (also of Hattie’s fame) she had some pretty big shoes to fill. But Chef Carrie took a different approach: She decided to bring her own shoes and create a name for herself. Along with new proprietor Rob Giffer (long-time manager for Milliman at Hattie’s and Hanna) Chef Carrie has taken the popular downtown eatery into a different culinary direction.
She has energized the menu with her creativity by blending local favorites with classic recipes. For example, her Whitefish Cake is a play on crab cakes.
“Everyone has a crab cake -- I wanted to give it a different look and to use whitefish,” she says. The Whitefish Cake has been a big hit, especially with visitors to the area. The presentation is impressive and the chunks of whitefish blended with smoked corn, smoked portabella, sautéed and roasted, make for a tasty gastronomic experience and a welcome change from the traditional planked, broiled or blackened whitefish.
Chef Carrie finishes off the Whitefish Cake with a topping of watercress and apple slaw and places the cake on a bed of rice and greens and serves it with a roasted red pepper sauce. This entrée or appetizer pairs nicely with several wines from the wine list that Rob Giffer has carefully crafted from a variety of unique boutique wineries from around the world.
Monday, January 25, 2010

The modern wedding reception

Features Rick Coates The Modern Wedding ReceptionKeep it personal
By Rick Coates
In the quest to find out “what’s in,” the modern bride may be shocked to
learn that just about “everything” and “anything” goes for today’s wedding
reception. It is important to remember that this is your day and your
guests are coming to honor and celebrate with you. So the secret to a
successful wedding reception in 2010 and beyond is to “personalize” it.
Make it about you and your significant other and the reception will be
Monday, January 18, 2010

Tastemakers: Homemade food on the fly/Dutchess Vodka

Dining Rick Coates Homemade Food on the Fly
The Flying Bowl is located at the entrance of Centre Ice just off of Hammond Road. It is a tough location because of traffic, so getting in an’ out is somewhat of a challenge (I know, I have been doing it for years taking my son to hockey) as Hammond seems to be the Autobahn bypass for Traverse City. But battling traffic is well worth the trip to The Flying Bowl even if it is just for a bowl of their Sirloin Chili. I do not know if this chili has ever been entered in any local chili competitions but I see it challenging the best chili around.
We all have our favorite dish and mine is pot roast with mash potatoes and gravy. I learned the art of this meal from my grandmothers so when I had it for the first time at The Flying Bowl I was wondering if they too had spent time with my grandmothers in their kitchens.
Monday, January 18, 2010

The spirited life

Dining Rick Coates The Spirited Life
Good times flow at speakeasy cocktail bash this Saturday
By Rick Coates
Party like it’s 1929, well minus Prohibition, there are some things going
on lately that are remarkably similar to the start of the Great
Monday, January 11, 2010

Two great shows

Music Rick Coates Two Great Shows/Solas & Sister Wilene perform in TC and Cadillac
By Rick Coates
Okay, so the big venue shows may be non-existent in Northern Michigan at present, but there are a plethora of great musical offerings throughout the region this weekend at more intimate venues. The great folks in Cadillac at Gopherwood Concerts host Sister Wilene (a Patsy Cline Bob Wills honky-tonk hoedown). The City Opera House in Traverse City is not wasting any time since forming a new partnership with the MSU based Wharton Center as they bring the highly acclaimed Celtic group Solas to kick off their 2010 concert season.
Monday, January 11, 2010

Tastemakers: 2010 Restaurant/beverage trends

Dining Rick Coates 2010 Food/Restaurant/Beverage Trends
The world of food and beverage is changing quickly and with the start of a new year, and even a new decade, it is time to talk trends. Concerns over food safety and health-related issues (using your diet to combat influenzas, disease and new world viruses) are two driving factors in a changing food world that has consumers seeking out local and organic foods. Look for similar books to Dr. John La Puma’s popular 2009 ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover’s Road Map to: Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, Getting Really Healthy.
But with that said, the hot menu item is fried chicken. But look for healthier versions of this classic popping up on menus with free range—skin off—oven-baked fried chicken leading the way (traditionalists will beg to differ). Lamb dishes are also hot, pork is not, and burgers are getting mixed reviews (but does anyone think that a good burger will ever lose favor?).
Monday, January 4, 2010

A Conversation with Chef Ted

Dining Rick Coates A Conversation with Chef Ted
By Rick Coates
Executive Chef Ted Cizma epitomizes the modern day chef—“this is not a
job, it is a lifestyle”—seven day work weeks, 15 hour days and
believing that being a great chef is more than just about the food, it
is about creating a “memorable experience.”
He took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Monday, January 4, 2010

Tastemakers: Gravlax/Michigan Bubbly

Dining Rick Coates Gravlax (Lox)
This time of the year lots of people reach into the family cookbooks preparing foods in honor of their heritage. We just finished making a year’s supply of pirogues in my family, honoring my wife’s Polish ancestry. One of my favorite ethnic dishes this time of the year is Gravlax, and since our region is rooted in Scandinavian settlers, I always scan the appetizer tables at parties looking for it.
Gravlax (Gravad Lax, Lox) is a traditional method of preparing salmon by coating spices and then covering and weighing down to draw out the salmon flavor. It’s also prepared in Germany, Nova Scotia and Scotland.
Monday, December 28, 2009

They Wuz Robbed

Music Rick Coates They Wuz Robbed...
KISS gets passed up for ABBA at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
By Rick Coates
Recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announced its
2010 induction class.  But with a major band being snubbed again this
year, many are now calling it the “Rock and Roll Hall of Shame.”
When the nominations were announced nearly two months ago, KISS was on
the list and everyone had them as a shoe in; everyone that is, but
those who select the members. The outcry is over the fact that Swedish
pop stars ABBA made it in and KISS didn’t.