Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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Monday, July 11, 2011

Alpenfest

Music Rick Coates Something troubling you? Consider the Burning of the Boogg at Alpenfest as your opportunity to rid yourself of your troubles.
The 47th Annual Alpenfest in Gaylord kicks off Tuesday July 12 and the Burning of the Boogg has become an opening day tradition for the popular festival.
“The Boogg is from Swiss tradition where a giant snowman made of cotton is burned to celebrate the transition of winter into spring,” said Meghan Aimoe, president of Alpenfest. “Since it is already the middle of summer we have created a different concept here at Alpenfest. People jot down their troubles and slips of paper they are placed inside of the Boogg and we light it and your troubles go up in smoke.”
The process begins at 7 pm with the creation of lampions followed by the Lampion Parade. Another Swiss tradition adapted by the Alpenfest, lampions are created by cutting designs into the sides and top of a box. The designs are then covered with colored tissue paper or plastic wrap. A flashlight is inserted providing light as well as a handle to carry the lantern. Everyone carries their lampion in a procession that takes the Boogg to its burning site.  About 9:30 is when the Boogg is finally lit. 
 
Monday, July 11, 2011

Calling All Zombies: Walking dead extras needed for Wade in Cheboygan

Features Rick Coates During recent road construction on US 23 heading into Cheboygan, the electronic road signs flashed: “Warning Zombies Ahead!... Don’t Worry It Is Just Wade.”
The sign was referencing the filming of the action horror film Wade.
“My parents called me when they saw the sign thinking I had something do with it, but we didn’t know anything about it,” said Mike Julliet one of the producers of Wade. “We are just so excited that the community has embraced this film project.”
The excitement continues for Wade, which was originally filmed in 2009 as a 20-minute short to be entered in film festival competitions. After winning several awards at various film festivals, interest in Wade has reached Hollywood.
“We have interest now for this film to becoming a full length feature,” said Haynze Whitmore, who wrote the screenplay. “Now we are making what is called a financial trailer, that will be about seven minutes in length. This trailer is what investors or productions houses such as Lions Gate will use to decide if they are interested in backing the film.”
 
Monday, July 11, 2011

Partners in the arts; Julie Kradel & Steve Kostyshyn

Features Rick Coates Combine two different artists with two distinctive styles and the result
is one dynamic farm-based studio that’s producing eye-grabbing artwork in
Leelanau County.
Julie Kradel and Steve Kostyshyn share the airy, well-lit studio at Blue
Crow Farm, their 20-acre home on a quiet road near Cedar. While they each
have their own individual methods and techniques, the result is artworks
that are gaining a legion of collectors.
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Tom Rush

Music Rick Coates Now in its 31st season Blissfest should be on every “music festival-goers” bucket list. Among Northern Michigan music festivals this is the “grandaddy” of them all. If someone says a festival can’t be all things to all people they should come and check out Blissfest, located just north of Harbor Springs near Cross Village that takes place this weekend Friday July 8 - Sunday July 10.
Along with ‘60s folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie, headlining this year’s festival is Tom Rush, who Rolling Stone magazine credits as the artist responsible for ushering in the singer/songwriter generation. Rush helped Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and many others gain recognition by covering their songs.
Rush’s impact on the music industry has been felt for the past 50 years, inspiring musicians from Bob Dylan to Garth Brooks to Bono.
“Tom Rush was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” said Garth Brooks in an interview with Country Music Television.” He is definitely one of my top five musical influences of all time.”
U2’s Bono echoed that sentiment after incorporating Rush’s “No Regrets” into their setlist and performing it on Saturday Night Live.
“I am a big fan of Tom Rush and admire his songwriting talents. He is one of the songwriting greats,” Bono told the BBC in 2009. “I often incorporate his song ‘No Regrets,’ into our setlist.”
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Rock memories

Music Rick Coates The story behind how progressive rockers Kansas formed seems like it could be a scene out of the Forrest Gump movie.
When Kansas kicks off the national acts portion of the National Cherry Festival Bay Side Music Stage on Wednesday, July 6, not only will they be bringing their hit songs “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Point Of Know Return,” “Dust In The Wind,” “Hold On,” and “The Wall” -- they will also bring links to some obscure moments in rock music history.
The origins of the band date back to the late ’60s though the band uses their 1974 label deal with legendary Don Kirshner as their official formation year.
Formed in Topeka, Kansas and morphing out of the band White Clover, Kansas would rise to the top of the rock scene in the late ‘70s and early ’80s. When their self-titled album debut was released in 1974 the group wrote on the back of the album jacket: “From the beginning, we considered ourselves and our music different and we hope we will always remain so.”
That being “different” according to founding member and drummer Phil Ehart stemmed from the group’s early influences and experiences. Just out of high school, the members of White Clover in a one-year period were jamming with Jim Morrison and The Doors, hanging out with Jerry Garcia, being told that Santana was opening for them, and having Janis Joplin come up to them and tell them “you guys are pretty good.” But it was the circumstances of these chance encounters that put the group in some of rock and roll music’s most obscure moments.
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Global Wine Pavillion

Dining Rick Coates Master Sommelier Ron Edwards has been busy tasting a lot of wine in recent days. Not for his personal benefit, but rather for the hundreds of attendees at the National Cherry Festival’s Global Wine Pavilion Wednesday - Friday (July 6 - 8) from 5 to 10 pm each night.
Edwards, who is based in Charlevoix, serves as a wine consultant to restaurants and wine events throughout Michigan. He is busy finalizing a wine menu that will feature 90 plus wines from around the world.
“Your exploration can include at least 30 different grapes, and wines from Michigan, South Africa, Portugal, California, Argentina, and beyond,” said Edwards in his blog. “You haven’t tried a Tempranillo, Nebbiolo or Viognier; well come find at least one of each.”
The Global Wine Pavilion is the brainchild of Matt Sutherland, who co-founded The Epicurean Classic and has lent his wine and event planning expertise to several events in the area.
“This partnership was born out of my interest in expanding wine tasting opportunities in the region and the Cherry Festival’s goal of expanding their audience,” said Sutherland. “We have seen this event grow each year and even earlier this spring at sneak preview night under some pretty cold conditions several people came out to get a taste of what is in store for them during the Festival.”
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Tastemakers:Cherry Pie Whole Beer/Bacardi Arctic Grape

Dining Rick Coates Cherry Pie
Whole Beer

The breweries of Northern Michigan have taken the art of craft brewing to a “whole” new level as of late. Now, Right Brain have taken the cake, uh “the pie” with their latest creation.
Located in the Warehouse District of Traverse City, Right Brain Brewery just released their Cherry Pie Whole Beer, using 50 whole cherry crumb pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company.
This actually is the second “pie whole” brew from Right Brain which launched the concept this past February with their original Pie Whole beer made with 75 carmel apple pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company.
When asked why another pie beer? proprietor Russell Springsteen stated, “Why not? It makes sense and it was really fun the first time. Plus, Grand Traverse Pie Company has such a fantastic variety of flavors!”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Kenny Olson?s Friendly Jam

Music Rick Coates Since hitting the big time with Kid Rock over 12 years ago, Kenny Olson has always made a point to return home to Traverse City once a year to jam. This year is no exception.
Olson, who left Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker band five years ago to pursue solo projects, will be back on Sunday, July 3 for one show at Union Street Station.
Olson is currently working on several projects since relocating to Nashville a couple of years ago. He has become a major part of the Nashville music scene by hosting an almost weekly Kenny Olson and Friends jam sessions, where A-list music stars join him on stage when they are in town recording or touring. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Buddy Guy, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Three Doors Down, Chaka Chan and some of Jimi Hendrix’s former band mates among others have all joined him.
“It has been pretty cool and a lot of fun,” said Olson. “I have been getting encouragement to turn this into a record and a tour and now that is happening.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Dominic Fortuna

Music Rick Coates Dominic Fortuna is back in Northern Michigan, at least for the moment. Fresh off his third stint with Grease, that kept Fortuna on Broadway and on the road for much of the past three and half years, he is happy to be back in Northern Michigan and working on a new summer season.
Fortuna and his wife Ashley Moeggenberg Fortuna are producing three shows this summer at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater beginning this Friday, July 1 and continuing through August.
“I launched the Williamsburg Dinner Theater eight years ago and we have had a great run and we want to keep it going,” said Fortuna, who is a 33-year veteran of the region’s entertainment scene. “My wife and I talked and decided we are going to put everything we can into making this work as we want to stay here in Northern Michigan and be performers and raise our children.”

IN DEMAND
The challenge Fortuna is facing is that the rest of the country is calling for his talent. Vegas wants him, so does LA and Nashville and New York is also calling and they want him back.
“I started performing in Northern Michigan in 1978 at Brownwood, I was in the Young Americans and built a following performing at my father’s restaurant,” said Fortuna. “I have been fortunate to be able to perform throughout the region and I love it here; I am hoping to stay but I have to make it work financially.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Tastemakers:Harrington?s By The Bay Pork Involtini/Michelle?s Miracle Tart Cherry Concentrate

Dining Rick Coates Restaurateurs John McGee and Glen Harrington were struggling to come up with a name for their new restaurant. Taking over the former Freshwater Lodge location on West Bay in TC last fall, everything was set for a winter remodel and a spring opening except the name.
“We were tossing around about 100 potential names and it was to the point where we couldn’t move forward with several things without a name,” said McGee. “So I wrote two names on a slip of paper and put one in each hand. I asked Glen to pick a hand, he had no idea why, and he did and I opened the slip and it was Harrington’s, so that is the name we went with, of course the other slip had my name on it.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Up North Fourth booms in Charlevoix

Features Rick Coates You can expect Charlevoix’s Up North Fourth to rock out a lot more this
year, thanks to some high-powered promotional help.
Since returning to his hometown from Montana a few years ago Sam Porter
and his Porterhouse Productions team have focused on events in Traverse
City. He is now expanding into Charlevoix with the Up North Fourth one-day
celebration Saturday, July 2  at the East Park Odmark Performance
Pavilion.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Get naked!

Features Rick Coates This weekend kicks off “National Nude Recreation Week” across the country.
Now, while shedding your clothes in the privacy of your own home is okay,
doing so in public is not, so while this might be a week-long celebration
of doing things in the buff, be sure to be in a place where such
activities are acceptable. 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Seamus Shinners: The Man Behind the Music

Music Rick Coates Just mention his name in certain music circles and one will quickly find
that Seamus Shinners is a legend. He may not be a household name in
Northern Michigan, but there is a good chance over the past 20 years if
you are an aficionado of music you have attended at least one of the more
than 500 concerts he has presented around the region.
The founder of Connemara Concerts, Shinners has brought an eclectic
collection of performers, from Greg Brown to Second City to Lynn Miles to
Chris Smither to name just a few. His quiet but passionate demeanor has
helped shape the culture of the music scene in the region. While
concertgoers from the area have benefitted so have the performers Shinners
has brought in. 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Stripped-down Cracker brings acoustic rock to Legs Inn

Music Rick Coates In the early ‘80s when major record companies were trying to get every band to sound the same, the indie-rock scene emerged to counter the money-oriented music industry. As commercial radio embraced the homogenized rock sounds, college radio and MTV were busy ushering in the independent labels, with such bands as R.E.M. and U2, among others, leading the way. 
Another band that was part of the second generation of the indie-rock scene was Cracker founded by vocalist and songwriter David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. Formed in 1991, Cracker signed with Virgin Records and released their self-titled debut CD in 1992 with alternative rock hits “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Teen Angst.”  Cracker would become best known for their platinum-selling album, “Kerosene Hat”  in 1993, which featured the hit songs “Low”, “Euro-Trash Girl”, and “Get Off This.”
Lowery and Hickman will head to Northern Michigan on Friday June 24 at Legs Inn (Cross Village, north of Harbor Springs) with a special version of Cracker.
“Johnny and I do a stripped down version of Cracker. I can’t afford to bring the full band to a small venue in Northern Michigan so this works. we call it Cracker Duo,” said David Lowery. “It gives us a chance to play out of the way places and we still rock out, we are not sitting on stools we are standing up and jamming. Our fans love this, they view the Cracker Duo as a separate entity from Cracker. This format gives us an opportunity to play a different set of songs, of course w
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Val du Lakes

Music Rick Coates It has been 15 years since Val Du Lakes hosted their last summer concert
series. The popular concert and camping venue located just south of
Pentwater (two hours from Traverse City) is back after a long hiatus. The
16-week concert series kicked off in May with the return of Pop Evil, from
neighboring Ludington that has hit the big time, and concerts will
continue through the end of August.
 
 
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