Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · By Rick Coates

Rick Coates

Top Articles from
No articles in this section
Monday, October 26, 2009

The Lord of the Gourd/Pat Harrison

Art Rick Coates The Lord of the Gourd
Pat Harrison is a professional pumpkin sculptor

By Rick Coates 10/26/09

Carver Pat Harrison from Cedar is nicknamed “The Lord of the Gourd.” This time of the year he finds himself in high demand. But Harrison is more than just a pumpkin carver; hence his nickname. He is now known all over the state and travels to all parts giving carving demonstrations. He took time from his busy schedule to answer questions about life as a professional pumpkin sculptor.

NE: How did you get started?
Harrison: By accident. I was attempting to carve a pumpkin late at night back in the mid ’90s and I slipped with a knife and cut a hunk off the pumpkin. I thought it was ruined until I started hacking more chunks off it and realized I was onto something.”
Monday, October 26, 2009

Tastemakers: Martha‘s Leelanau Table/Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Harding‘s Cup champion

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Martha‘s Leelanau Table/Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Harding‘s Cup champion
Rick Coates 10/26/09
Martha’s Leelanau Table
Well known chef, TV personality and cookbook author Mario Batali was asked to select his “best place on earth” for Esquire magazine and he chose the Leelanau Peninsula. Batali, who co-owns 14 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, stated, “It’s also important to me to have great restaurants to chill at.” He then singles out Martha’s Leelanau Table in Suttons Bay for its “simple Alice Waters sensibility.” Waters, co-owner of Chez Panisse in Berkely, California, is one of the leaders of the eating locally/seasonally movement.
Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ghost Whisperer

Features Rick Coates The Ghost Whisperer
Does Tammy Schuster communicate with angels & the dead?

By Rick Coates 10/26/09

Tammy Schuster lives in the woods between South Boardman and Fife Lake, a secluded area and what appears to be the perfect setting for a “ghost whisperer.” While Schuster knows there are skeptics to her talents, she has a long list of those who believe in her ability to communicate with people who have passed on.
“The technical term is ‘medium’ the ghost whisperer title was popularized by the TV show,” said Schuster. “There is no middle ground. people either believe me or they think I am crazy.”
One of those on the believer side is Coby Archa, a star from the reality TV show Survivor.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Bob Seger Turns a Page

Books Rick Coates Bob Seger
Turns a Page

Travelin’ Man On The Road and Behind The Scenes With Bob Seger
By Thomas Weschler & Gary Graff
Wayne State University Press

By Rick Coates 10/19/09

Rock stars have an inner circle and those that are a part of it live by a code: “What happens on the road stays on the road.” Because of that code, at times it is hard to get the real story and some musicians have tighter inner circles than others. Bob Seger is one of them. For his fans, little is really known about Seger except what can be deciphered through his lyrics.
Sure, there have been articles and interviews, but Seger really has only bared his soul on stage. Those closest to him have shared memories in casual conversations. But the man responsible for forging the Midwestern singer/songwriter sound has remained more of a “mystery man” than a “travelin’ man.”
Now, the silence that has surrounded Seger over his 45-year musical career might be changing. A new book by photographer and former Seger road manager Thomas Weschler and music journalist Gary Graff opens the shades of secrecy on Detroit’s favorite son, although only slightly.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine
Rick Coates 10/19/09
Croft Chestnuts
In 1904, diseased Asian chestnut trees were planted in New York City, resulting in the destruction of the American chestnut industry. Only a few groves of trees out west survived. For the past 100 years most of the chestnuts sold in America have been imported.
But now American farmers are trying to revitalize the chestnut industry including Croft Orchards of the Old Mission Peninsula. According to Ella Cooper-Froehlich, project manager the orchards at Croft LLC, “We are seeing a resurgence in this industry and we have 1,600 trees collectively at three locations in the area. We started harvesting this past weekend and we have orders to fill all over the country.”
According to Froehlich: “Chestnuts are a delicious health food rich in nutrition. Just a handful of other foods can match the nutritional value of a chestnut. As opposed to most other nuts, chestnuts have a high water content and very little oil, thus making them virtually fat free. They are high in complex carbohydrates, contain high quality protein comparable to eggs, but are gluten free, cholesterol free, and are very low in fat (1-2 percent while other nuts can be over 50 percent fat).”
Monday, October 19, 2009

The Garden Theater

Features Rick Coates The Garden Theater Blossoms

By Rick Coates 10/19/09

Rick Schmitt chuckles every time he is asked if he and his partners were inspired to buy and renovate the Garden Theater in Frankfort because of the success of the State Theatre in Traverse City.
“There is this assumption that we saw what had happened in Traverse City and decided to do the same thing here in Frankfort,” said Schmitt. “But we actually started this process before they did.”
Schmitt, a Frankfort resident and vice president of sales and marketing at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, purchased the Garden Theater with his wife Jennie and Blake and Marci Brooks about two years ago.
“We took ownership 18 months ago, but we started the process over five years ago,” said Schmitt. “It all started one winter night at a dinner party and everyone was talking about how great it would be to go out to the movies right here in town.”
Monday, October 12, 2009

The loopy sounds of Keller Williams

Music Rick Coates The Loopy Sounds of Keller Williams
By Rick Coates 10/12/09

In the world of “cease and desist” that we live in it is surprising that Keller Williams the nationwide realtor hasn’t sent Keller Williams the nationwide musician a letter asking him to cease and desist from using his/their name. Certainly some people have shown up to a Keller Williams concert thinking they might be going to a real estate seminar and surely some fans of Keller Williams the musician have walked into one of the real estate offices of the same name thinking they may catch the musician at his desk.
Oh you would be surprised about these cease and desist letters. Bill Wyman one of the top music journalists of today received such a letter a few years back from Bill Wyman the bass player for the Rolling Stones. Wyman the journalist was asked to change his name by Wyman the bass player. Funny thing Bill Wyman the journalist was born with that name and Bill Wyman the bass player was actually born Bill Perks. Well the judge laughed that one out of court.
But for diehard fans of the “One Man Jam Band” there is no confusion between the two Keller Williams, though both have a real estate connection. One sells it the other travels it. Keller Williams, “music’s mad-scientist” has been crisscrossing the country for the past 20 years and will make a stop in Northern Michigan this Thursday with a performance at the City Opera House. He is touring in support of his current CD, *Odd,* released in August.
Monday, October 12, 2009

Tastemakers: Caramel Apples/Right Brain Brewery Hallow-Giving Pumpkin Ale

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Caramel Apples/Right Brain Brewery Hallow-Giving Pumpkin Ale
Rick Coates 10/12/09
Caramel Apples
As a kid growing up I loved this time of year because it was caramel apple season. They sold them everywhere, from the grocery store to the concession stands at the football games. Even today I enjoy a good caramel apple and love going to Amical in downtown Traverse City and having one of their Gourmet Caramel Apples after dinner. At Amical they take large Michigan Granny Smith apples and dip them in rich caramel, sprinkle on the toasted pecans, and drizzle with white and dark Belgian chocolate. They are so popular that Amical even ships them all over the country.
Monday, October 12, 2009

Idea man Sam Porter

Features Rick Coates Idea Man Sam Porter
The dreams never stop for the visionary behind Porterhouse Productions

By Rick Coates 10/12/09

Sam Porter leans back in his chair at the Old Town Coffee & Eatery in Traverse City and sips his coffee. He pauses and smiles as he has just connected all the dots on his latest concept. At 33, Porter is still a kid at heart; and he loves to dream.
“I like to see how everything connects itself,” said Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions. “My work is about connecting the dots which are connecting people, connecting relationships and connecting concepts. Typically, when you are connecting the dots, a dot is missing; that is what I like to do -- identify what is missing and put it into place so the dots are all connected.”
Porter grew up in Traverse City and attended Central High School, graduating in 1997. After graduation, he went to Northwestern Michigan College for a year before heading west to Bozeman, Montana to ski and attend Montana State University.
Monday, October 5, 2009

Tastemakers: Matterhorn Grill dinner at Tastes of Black Star Farms

Dining Rick Coates Matterhorn Grill Dinner at
TASTES of Black Star Farms
Rick Coates 10/5/09

When Black Star Farms decided to open a tasting operation (TASTES of Black Star Farms) at the Mercato in Building 50 (located at the Village of the Grand Traverse Commons) a few years ago, their focus was going to be on the eau de vies and distilled spirits they were making at their winery on the Leelanau Peninsula.
Monday, October 5, 2009

A puff of freedom at Nolan‘s Cigar Lounge

Features Rick Coates A Puff of Freedom at Nolan’s Cigar Lounge
By Rick Coates 10/5/09

For 31 years Mike Nolan has been selling tobacco in downtown Traverse City. Nolan’s Tobacconists have enjoyed success over the years because Mike understands the business better than most (he is president of the cigar store industry association for 38 stores in Michigan) and he even has been a trendsetter in establishing the first cigar dinner in the country over 20 years ago (documented by Cigar Aficionado, which credits Nolan and restaurateur Jim Milliman for starting the trend).
As Michigan nears a smoking ban in public buildings, Nolan knows he had to do something if he wants to keep his business a success. So he is launching Nolan’s Cigar Lounge.
“Most of the proposed legislation will allow for established tobacco shops to have a lounge for their patrons to smoke,” said Nolan. “It is something I have talked about doing for a long time anyway, but with legislation looming in Michigan, I figured I better get it down now.”
Monday, September 28, 2009

Tastemakers: National food and drink days

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/28/09
National Food
and Drink Days

I have always wondered who comes up with all of the days of celebration. for example, Sweetest Day (October 17) is on the horizon. Does some guy who is locked in a greeting card company closet dream up these holidays? Thankfully there are not greeting cards for the hundreds of national food and drink days we throughout the year.
Yes that’s right, everyday, 365 days a year there is some sort of National Eat or Drink. For example, this week on September 28, it is National Drink Beer Day. Seems like the proponents of this day picked the wrong day as October 4 is National Eat Tacos Day and also National Drink Vodka Day. Ever try eating tacos and drinking vodka? they should have switched the vodka with beer.
Okay this week is also National Don’t Eat Salt Week. Now what is the point of this? It is also National Drink Beer Week, salty foods goes best with beer don’t they? Oh yeah, it is also National Eat Chili Week. try making a good chili without some salt. Now next week is National School Lunch Week, isn’t every day the kids are in school a school lunch day?
Monday, September 21, 2009

Tastemakers: Dinner in The Hills/ Oktoberfest

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/21/09
Dinner in
the Hills

Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area was on its death bed 10 years ago, until a group of families and ski enthusiasts came together and kept the long time ski operation from heading into extinction. Now operated by a non-profit association, Mt. Holiday is a year – round recreation and entertainment facility offering skiing, disc golf, mountain biking, wedding receptions, private parties and banquets. Last year they brought in veteran ski hill operations manager Rick Van Tongeren (Cannonsburg near Grand Rapids) to serve as their new General Manager and a new banquet manager, Michelle Konstanzer. Now Mt. Holiday is enjoying a 12-month operation. Being non-profit they are dependent on fundraising and on Saturday, September 26, they will host their 4th annual dinner.
“We are calling it ’Dinner in the Hills’ as this is the first time the dinner will be here at Mt. Holiday” said Van Tongeren. “We have a lot going on all night including great food, beer, wine, music and silent auction. We expect to draw 160 people.” The evening will feature 10 area chefs preparing a variety of wild game and other speicliaty entrées and appetizers. The gourmet offerings will be paired with wines from seven wineries from the region and four are microbreweries.
Monday, September 21, 2009

The Cook‘s House

Dining Rick Coates Cooking up Something Good

The Cooks’ House finds culinary success in downtown Traverse City

By Rick Coates 9/21/09

When chefs Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee opened their restaurant The Cooks’ House in downtown Traverse City a year and half ago, they had a vision that they felt would take five years to accomplish, instead they find themselves ahead of schedule and helping to lead a culinary revolution in Northern Michigan.
“We are a lot further along than we expected to be at this point,” said Patterson.
“The area has quickly grasped our mission of using foods from local growers and producers and our vision focusing on the seasonality of what is available to create our menus. We had hoped to release a cookbook after three to five years of being open but have already accomplished that goal as well.”
Monday, September 21, 2009

Gone fishin‘

Features Rick Coates GONE FISHIN‘
Trout Unlimited Celebrates 50 Years

By Rick Coates 9/21/09

There are three closely guarded secrets in Northern Michigan – favorite hunting grounds, morel mushroom locations and choice spots on a trout stream.
Trout fishing in Northern Michigan sometimes takes a backseat to the famous rivers out west but not this past August, as a few hundred who fly-fish headed to Northern Michigan for the annual Trout Unlimited (TU) convention held in Traverse City August 22.
This TU convention was a special one as it marked the 50th anniversary of the national organization. The weeklong conference featured guest speakers, authors, seminars and guided fly fishing trips for anglers who came from several of the 400 TU chapters around North America. There were also several parties, including a formal dinner honoring the founding members.
According to TU spokesperson Erin Mooney, Northern Michigan was picked specifically to host this special celebration