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 11, 2013

Comedian Roundtable

A discussion with Winter Comedy Arts Festival’s Dick Gregory, Robert Wuhl and Festival Co-Founder Jeff Garlin

Features Rick Coates

We caught up with a few of the headliners of this week’s Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival and got their thoughts on comedy, coming to Traverse City and some of their future projects.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Laughs are Back

Festivals join forces for a weekend of laughter and fun

Features Rick Coates

After a one year hiatus, Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival is back and with a new partner, The National Cherry Festival.

“For all the right reasons, we’re taking our wintertime efforts that went into producing the Winter WOW!Fest over the past six years, and this year we’re putting them to great use by working together with the Traverse City Film Festival to make a world-class event that will benefit the entire community,” said Trevor Tkach, executive director of the National Cherry Festival.
Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year’s Resolution

Make Northern Michigan the Culinary, Cultural and Craft-Farming Capital of America

Features Rick Coates Typically, resolutions are for individuals, but maybe now is the time for Northern Michigan to have a New Year’s Resolution. I have a suggestion. The time is right for Northern Michigan to work collectively to become the “culinary,” “cultural” and “craft-farming” capital of the country.
Monday, December 17, 2012

The Deadly Consequences of Distracted Driving

Features Rick Coates It is a parent’s worst nightmare, that knock on the door, that phone call with the words: “your child has been in a serious car accident.”

That nightmare happened for my family a couple of weeks ago. As I rushed to the scene of the accident on a highway just south of Traverse City, my first sight was several flashing lights of emergency vehicles.
Monday, November 26, 2012

The Bihlman Brothers Get Real

Dates Rick Coates Hometown heroes Jabo and Scot Little Bihlman return to return to Northern Michigan this week to join their older brother Charlie to shoot the pilot for their new reality TV show, "Blood Brothers."&nbs
Monday, November 26, 2012

A Dose of Reality for the Bihlman Brothers

TV pilot to be filmed in Northern Michigan

Features Rick Coates There’s a saying that “blood is thicker than water,” and the Bihlman Bros. plan to prove that with their new reality TV show “Blood Brothers.”
Monday, November 19, 2012

Taste Makers

Dining Rick Coates are a lot of schools of thought when it comes to preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. Many food experts suggest preparing two medium size birds (10 to 12 lbs) versus one large 20-plus pound turkey. Then there is the great stuffing in the bird versus not stuffing the bird debate.
Monday, November 5, 2012

Liz Horn’s Life in Mexico

Now married, she and husband Russell Horn fight to return to U.S.

Features Rick Coates It was two years ago this week that Liz (Larios) Horn’s life was turned upside down. What seemed like a scene out of a movie became a reality as U.S. Immigration and Enforcement agents arrived in black suits and vehicles to the home Horn shared with her boyfriend Russell Horn.
Monday, October 8, 2012

Taste Makers

Little Traverse Inn Gastro Pub

Dining Rick Coates Finding authentic “fish and chips” is not always an easy task as there are lots of “posers” out there. The Little Traverse Inn Gastro Pub located on the Leelanau Peninsula between Glen Lake and Leland (at the former North location) offers a signature fish and chips dish prepared in the English tradition.
Monday, October 1, 2012

Little Traverse Inn: Gastro Pub

Dining Rick Coates Fish and ChipsFinding authentic “fish and chips” is not always an easy task as there are lots of “posers” out there. The Little Traverse Inn Gastro Pub located on the Leelanau Peninsula betwee
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Petoskey Brews


Dining Rick Coates Petoskey is the latest to contribute to Michigan’s growing reputation as “The Great Beer State.” Just six weeks ago Beards Brewery opened on Howard Street in downtown. Later this week, a new venture, Petoskey Brewing, is expected to open in the Old Brewing Building on M-119 (around the corner from La Senorita).
Monday, September 17, 2012

Tipping Point: Service Industry Revisited

Features Rick Coates Recently, I was asked what I thought about service in Northern Michigan and I responded, “it depends on the day.” One day I experience exceptional service, the next day I have a less than satisfactory experience. I wrote an article five years ago giving Northern Michigan a C-minus grade for its service industry.
Monday, September 10, 2012

Lisa Christian set to celebrate Sleder's 130 Birthday

Features Rick Coates Sleder’s Family Tavern has been a Traverse City tradition for the past 130 years. Everything from “Kissing The Moose,” to their burgers, to great service and their music on the porch series have made them a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
Monday, August 20, 2012

Reforming Medical Marijuana

State rep offers a breath of fresh air

Features Rick Coates Republican State Representative Mike Callton (87th District, Barry County) was originally opposed to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act. His district is part of Michigan’s “conservative corridor” and having a medical background (he is a chiropractor and has a private practice in Nashville, Mich.) he wasn’t so sure that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes was a good thing.
Monday, August 6, 2012

Putting the Sportsmanship Back In Youth Sports

Features Rick Coates This week thousands of athletes around Northern Michigan will begin their fall high school sports seasons. But there is rising concern about the direction and future of youth and high school athletics in our country.