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, April 4, 2011

Very big bike 4/4/11

Features Rick Coates Ridin’ High with the Very Big Bike
By Rick Coates
Joseph VanLoozen of Levering has always been fascinated with bicycles.
While growing up in Redford Township outside of Detroit he was always
riding and fiddling around mechanically with bikes. While in high school
shop class in 1978, he began experimenting and developed what would become
the prototype for the Very Big Bike. 
Monday, March 28, 2011

Disco Inferno 3/28/11

Music Rick Coates Disco Inferno: ‘Best Band’ winners change name to Ella R!ot
By Rick Coates
For the past couple of years Ann Arbor based My Dear Disco has been making regular stops in Northern Michigan. The band recently headlined the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival and just last week they performed to a packed house at the Loading Dock in Traverse City.
Voted “Best Band” in Northern Michigan, the players are getting ready to embark on a national tour. Guitarist and band co-leader Robert Lester sat down to give an update:
Monday, March 28, 2011

Miriam Pico 3/28/11

Music Rick Coates Miriam Pico : Best Solo Performer
By Rick Coates
Singer/songwriter Miriam Pico has been on the Northern Express radar for the past six years; in our recent survey, readers of the paper selected her as Best Solo Performer in Northern Michigan.
Releasing three CDs since she launched her professional singing career at the age of 21, Pico is now 27 and performs at several venues in the region, most notably Phil’s on Front. Her 2009 release “S’bout Time” with pianist David Chown has sold well and when the duo gets together to perform it is a big draw for area venues.
Monday, March 28, 2011

Tastemakers: Cafe Sante New Holland Brewing Spirit & Beer Dinner/ Avery Brewing The Reverend Belgian Quadruple Ale 3.28/11

Dining Rick Coates Café Santé New Holland Brewing Spirit and Beer Dinner
At some point Michigan is going to have to address several of its archaic alcohol laws if it wants to be competitive with other states. One example is the inability to sample products at retail outlets, especially high end spirits and wines. Several states allow retailers to have sampling events or a tasting bar aiding in the decision making process which makes investing in $50 bottles of wine or $80 bottles of spirits easier.
In Michigan, consumers either have to take the word of the retailer or go to a tasting dinner at a restaurant like the one Café Santé in Boyne City is hosting on Tuesday April 5. The New Holland Brewing Spirit and Beer Dinner will feature a seven course tasting that will include a combination of their beers and spirits line.
Monday, March 28, 2011

Christos Piliafras 3/28/11

Features Rick Coates Christos Piliafas: Best Fitness Trainer
By Rick Coates
Mess with Christos Piliafas and you’re asking for a whoopin’ -- either
that or some good advice on how to get in shape: Christos was voted “Best
Fitness Instructor” by Express readers in a recent poll.
Monday, March 21, 2011

Bill Staines 3/21/11

Music Rick Coates The Long Road of Bill Staines: Folkie cult favorite logs 65,000 miles each year 3/21/11
By Rick Coates
Sleder’s Family Tavern has been offering their On The Porch Concert for
several years and one of the favorites has been singer/songwriter folkie
Bill Staines. He will return this Sunday, March 27 after just making a
swing through Michigan 10 days ago.
Monday, March 21, 2011

Chris Smither 3/21/11

Music Rick Coates Time Stands Still for Chris Smither
By Rick Coates
At 67, singer/songwriter Chris Smither has not lost his passion for
performing. He plans to cut his tour schedule from 120 shows to 80 shows a
year, but it has nothing to do with his age.
“I have a six-year-old daughter and I don’t want to miss out on her
growing up,” said Smither. “I love performing, I just don’t like getting
Monday, March 21, 2011

Tastemakers: Great Lakes Whitefish Cookbook/ Bell‘s Oberon Ale 3/21/11

Dining Rick Coates Great Lakes Whitefish Cookbook
The Michigan Sea Grant program has released a new cookbook, Wild Caught
and Close to Home: Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish. The book
celebrates the Great Lakes whitefish with recipes, cooking techniques and
chef insights. It was edited by Chef Chris Kibit, a professor at the
Northern Michigan University hospitality and culinary management program,
along with his colleague Chef Deborah Pearce.
Monday, March 21, 2011

The strange case of Jacob Cabinaw 3/21/11

Features Rick Coates The Strange Case of Jacob Cabinaw: Missing a year, his disappearance remains a mystery 3/21/11
By Rick Coates
People sometimes just disappear; often with adults it is by their own
choosing. But typically that disappearance is attached to some reason:
crimes committed, financial pressures, mental illness or stress. There is
usually some sort of indicator that points to a person choosing to
disappear. But what happens when not one of the indicators exists? That
seems to be the case with Jacob Cabinaw of Traverse City.
March 31, 2011 will mark the one year anniversary of Cabinaw’s
Monday, March 14, 2011

Tastemakers: North Peak Brewing Irish Stout Stew/ Arbor Brewing Company Michael Faricy‘s Stout

Dining Rick Coates North Peak Brewing Irish Stout Stew
North Peak Brewing Company is celebrating their 15th Annual Irish Fest in
grand style. Fresh off hosting the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Parade and
the Lucky Leprechaun Ball this past weekend and with a full day of
celebrating planned on Thursday in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, North Peak
plans to keep honoring Irish traditions through the weekend with a special
menu and beer offerings. 
Monday, March 14, 2011

Something‘s brewing: Scott Graham

Features Rick Coates Something’s Brewing: Scott Graham heads-up Michigan’s craft brew industry
By Rick Coates 
Currently, Michigan ranks fifth in the United States for the number of
craft breweries, and when the new totals come out next month it is
expected to be fourth in the country. 
Driving that figurative beer truck with a full load in fifth gear and with
the pedal to the metal is Scott Graham, who was named the first executive
director of the Michigan Brewers Guild in 2007. 
Monday, March 7, 2011

St. Patrick‘s Day celebrations

Music Rick Coates St. Patrick’s Celebrations Sweep the North
By Rick Coates
You don’t have to go far to ‘get your Irish on’ this coming week: St.
Patrick’s themed events will take place across the region. Here are some
of the highlights:

31st Annual Traverse City Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Parade
Saturday, March 12

The festivities kick off with pre-parade activities at North Peak Brewery
starting at noon with the announcement of the Irish Queen, Grand Marshall,
Irish Prince and Princesses and the Irish Lord Mayor.
The parade will commence at 1:30 p.m. with pre-staging starting at 1 p.m.
on North Hall Street. The parade route goes down Front Street to Pine to
State, Park  and Front streets and ending on North Hall.
Post parade activities will include dancing and Irish music by the Wild
Sullys at North Peak Brewery starting at 2:30 p.m. All activities are open
to the public. Anyone interested in participating in the parade should
contact Hibernian president Todd McCall at 231-715-6265.
Monday, March 7, 2011

Tastemakers: Alpine Tavern & Eatery Corned Beef Hash Skillet/Bell‘s Two Hearted Ale

Dining Rick Coates Alpine Tavern & Eatery Corned Beef Hash Skillet
This is the season when corned beef enjoys much popularity on Irish themed menus here in America. Despite the fact that corned beef has no connection to the roots of St. Patrick’s Day and has never been considered a national dish in Ireland, its popularity with Irish Americans dates back to the 1800s when Irish immigrants in the northeast substituted corned beef for the traditional bacon (thick cut ham similar to Canadian bacon) in their boiled dinner.
There is no historical evidence that corned beef was even “invented” in Ireland; the practice of brining meats has been found throughout many European cultures. Even in America early settlers brined meats in the fall and so corned beef found its way on several kitchen tables regardless of one’s cultural heritage. In fact in 1861 President Abraham Lincoln served corned beef at his inaugural dinner, which at that time was always in early March. Corned beef was also popular at many springtime formal dinners during that era including the Easter table.
Monday, March 7, 2011

The Luck of the Irish/ comedy tour

Features Rick Coates The Luck of the Irish: Gets a Workout with Comedy Tour
By Rick Coates
According to folklore, the long tradition of Irish humor is rooted in the
tragedy, despair and tough times the Irish have faced through the years.
It is believed that comedy and prayer is what got many an Irish through
the bleakest hours of their history. Comedian Derek Richards of the Irish
Comedy Tour believes there is a simpler theory.
Monday, February 28, 2011

St. Patrick‘s Day

Music Rick Coates St. Practice Day:: Raise a toast with The Young Dubliners, Shrub and 12 Year Reunion
By Rick Coates 
Almost 20 years ago Guinness started The Great Guinness Toast, nicknamed 
“St. Practice Day,” where on the third Friday of February Guinness
drinkers gather at pubs to raise a toast to set a Guinness Book of World
Records for the largest simultaneous toast. Each year a new record has
been set. The St. Practice Day concept has expanded beyond what Guinness
originally intended with clubs putting their own spin on it.
Ground Zero Nightclub in Traverse City will launch its first-ever St.
Practice Day on Friday March 4 with three bands, The Young Dubliners,
Shrub and 12-Year Reunion. Tickets are only $10 in advance and doors open
at 8 p.m.