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, October 20, 2008

Green Leaf Cafe

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw The owner of the Green Leaf Cafè is on a mission: “It’s a way to express my passion of creating a healthier nation, even if it starts with one community at a time,” said Beverly Tarlton.
In a quest to serve her customers the best in organic cooking, Tarlton traveled to Hawaii, California and North Carolina to study menus and recipes of other organic eateries before opening her restaurant. “We cater to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans. All of our foods are all natural, local and/or organic,” Tarlton said.
Beverly’s health was, at age 35, deteriorating.
“I was overweight and having problems sleeping, always tired, and with neck and back pain,“ she said. “I was suffering from sinus problems as well. When I visited my family physician he could find nothing wrong at all and recommended some Western medicines for treatment of allergies. I was not comfortable taking synthetic medications to only mask the problems and cause other side effects like stomach upset and headaches.”
Tarlton decided to start researching her own ideas, accruing more than five years of science, medicine and holistic health studies. Today, she is a holistic health consultant with her own practice, Leelanau Wellness & Nutrition, located in Suttons Bay.
Monday, September 29, 2008

Michigan Lights

Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the country -- around 130 lights in all. In other words, Michigan owns about half of the lighthouses in the entire U.S.
Some are in dire need of help, others have been lovingly rescued, restored, and now serve as museums or even private homes. All remind us of our maritime past and of the men and women who manned the lights in order to keep sailors safe. In discovering lighthouses along the Great Lakes shoreline, you will find that each has its own history, its own unique allure and character.
The lighthouses are also at the center of a never-ending struggle for preserva-tion for the delight of future generations.
Monday, July 7, 2008


Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw It was time for a change. She was features editor for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 16 long years. Kathy Gibbons was a well-loved feature writer and columnist. Her Sunday columns brought both laughs and tears to many of the paper’s readers. The Monday Food Section was scoured by many, including myself -- its wonderful recipes in many a cook’s repertoire. But Gibbons needed a change. “The time was right,” she said. “I just needed a change.”
This change has resulted in the new café, EuroStop, with Gibbons as its enthusiastic and welcoming Italian owner/chef. It opened in early May, located in the historic, fully-restored Traverse City train depot.
The setting could not be more charming. From the bright interior (formerly the baggage area), wide open windows afford a view of Boardman Lake, while picnic benches outside on the patio invite customers to enjoy the lake and its breezes. The depot’s setting prompts thoughts of bygone days when trains ruled transportation. Days when schooners plied the lakes with goods and settlers, and before the advent of the auto industry’s reign.
Thursday, August 30, 2007

45 degrees of dining

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw Whether you are a local or an out-of-towner, 45th Parallel Café has become a favorite of many in Suttons Bay. “We offer both classic American fare and also highly desired, only-can-get Up North dishes,” said owner Tim Lambdin.
Lambdin and his wife Bridgett have owned the restaurant since 1997. “We are most famous for breakfast being served all day,” he said.
Family connections brought the couple to Suttons Bay.
Thursday, August 30, 2007

From Sleeping Bear Dunes to Cheboygan by kayak

Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw It’s not often that we at the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA), are contacted by someone wanting to meet on the island with their own watercraft. After all, the island is 17 miles from the Leelanau peninsula’s tip.
Set in formidable isolation, a lighthouse complex was built on the island in 1867 for obvious reasons. But in early 2006,
John McKinney and I (FILA co-founders, along with H. Joerg Rothenberger), got an e-mail from two kayakers asking for assistance.
Steve Zimmerman and Jim Viviano from Kalamazoo were planning what they termed one of the most important journeys of their lifetime - a 150 mile kayaking sojourn that would take them from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through the Mackinaw Straits to Cheboygan.
Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stubbs Sweetwater Grill

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw Stubb’s Sweetwater Grill keeps Northport local residents and visitors well fed and well watered as it has been doing for the last 13 years. Owners Darren and Meghan Hawley purchased what was once a simple tavern in 1994.  Since then, the couple have turned into a comfortably casual establishment with a charming northern ambiance and an affordable menu that features both local and international dishes.
Stubb’s is only a block from the Northport marina as you drive into town. Open for both lunch and dinner, guests can choose to be seated in either the front section -- dark and cozy -- or in-season, dine in the light and airy back porch.  
Thursday, June 15, 2006


Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw Beautiful Grand Traverse Bay draws many of us to this region. Yet, the bay’s ecosystem is changing because of population growth and development. Monitoring these changes has become increasingly important and the summer of 2006 will prove no exception.
“In ten years Grand Traverse Bay will not even be recognizable,” said Robert “Bobby” F. Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, in an interview a few years ago for the Northern Express. Those words stung. Locally, growth brings with it man-made necessities including concrete, blacktop, roofing, fertilizer - each contributing to contaminants and pollutants flowing from the watershed into the bay. 
The need for waterkeepers to protect America’s waterways was first mentioned in a book by Robert H. Boyle in 1969 about the Hudson River’s contamination. The first riverkeeper, John Cronin, was established on the Hudson in 1983. Kennedy joined the group in 1984, which eventually grew into the present-day Waterkeeper Alliance, active in over 130 locations around the world. 
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Storehouse of Memories

Art Sandra Serra Bradshaw Walk into the Little Traverse History Museum on the Petoskey waterfront and you’ll stroll through the region’s past. It’s a past that has special significance this year in that the Little Traverse Historical Society is entering its second century as stewards of the region’s memories.
Over the past 100 years, the Historical Society has conserved Petoskey’s past, culminating in a storehouse of memories in the museum at Bayfront Park.
In 1969, The Little Traverse History Museum was incorporated as a non- profit organization to showcase the history of Emmett County.  Its motto is, “to preserve, advance and disseminate knowledge of the history of the Little Traverse Bay area,” said Candace Fitzsimons, director of the LTHM.  Fitzsimons has been director here for the last 16 years.
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Half Shell Heaven

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw It might be cold and snowy outside, but step into Whitney’s Oyster Bar & Pub of Charlevoix and be greeted by the warmth of both atmosphere and staff. Owned by Chuck and Gina Whitney, the restaurant was opened on July 4, 1992. Winters offer a respite from the summer crowds – a relaxing nautical atmosphere, muted lighting and background jazz piped in. The restaurant is widely renowned for its oysters, and locals are happy Whitney’s is open year ‘round.
“We have been doing this a long time,” said Whitney, who, with his wife Gina, makes sure things are impeccably run. “We take pride in our restaurant – we have built our reputation on hard work and great food. But the third item we stress – and stress it most - is customer service. Many of the up north restaurants have seasonal workers – they come and go. We try to bring in local staff and thoroughly train them to our expectations and keep them on. We try to bring in local kids as bussers; when they turn 18 they are off to college and come back during the summer to train as servers.
“Twenty plus of our servers have been here at least two years,” he added. “We are proud that our service gives the big city feel and our patrons know this and appreciate it.”
Of note, the restaurant employs 16 persons in the winter and 60 in the summer – they are that busy!
A good 80% of Whitney’s diners come from Traverse City. “We consider all of Northern Michigan as our ‘local’ community,” explained Whitney. “And now they know our second floor is dedicated to non-smoking, which is getting to be a
Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Northern Michigan Gourmet Delight

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw It has been one busy summer in Suttons Bay - just ask anyone at The Silvertree. Whether in the mood for a wonderful sit down meal, or in a hurry for a carryout meal, or perhaps something special to take down to the nearby Suttons Bay Marina, this elegant establishment fits the bill perfectly.
Set under inviting red and white striped awnings with chairs and flowers gracing the atmosphere in warm weather, the Silvertree Deli & Gourmet Market beckons its customers invitingly. What first strikes you when you enter is their “Wall of Wine,” proudly boasting one of the largest wine selections available anywhere. Stop by during a wine tasting trip as well, which has become a strong motivating factor in bringing tourist traffic to the Grand Traverse region.
Thursday, September 15, 2005

A few words with Geoge Weeks

Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw For those who follow state politics, George Weeks is an old friend. Weeks has been writing a political column in the Detroit News since the mid-’80s, which is syndicated in a number of newspapers in Northern Michigan. But his roots in political writing go back as far as the 1950s.
Always interested in reporting an “Up North” spin, Weeks has a side interest related to the region in the form of his reissued and updated book on the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Familiar Waters... Tom & Chris Kastle play maritime music

Music Sandra Serra Bradshaw Familiar Waters
Tom & Chris Kastle play maritime music

By Sandra Serra Bradshaw

Just about anyone in the maritime community from here to Chicago and beyond knows nautical musicians Tom and Chris Kastle. The couple recently released their 12th recording, “Familiar Waters,” a collection of maritime shanties from around the world.
The Kastles combine singing, sailing and songwriting in a weave which has become internationally acclaimed for their interpretations of traditional material as well as their original works. They have performed at festivals, concerts, and on radio and television throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hang-on Express brings Chinese cuisine to Leelanau

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw It is something many people in Leelanau County have wanted for many years: a Chinese restaurant. Their day has come, and what better place than Suttons Bay for an Oriental restaurant? Hang-On Express – a fitting name for this family-owned operation – has filled the niche. With over seven Asian establishments in Traverse City, obviously the demand for Oriental food is stable and will stay reliable in local restaurant trends. Hang-On Express is making for a lot of happy diners, both as carry-out and for dining inside, and is sure to please the boating crowd at the nearby marina, as well as the tourists who will flock to this charming village come summertime.
Thursday, February 24, 2005

Silver Swan Takes Wing as a Family Tradition

Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw It’s one of those special places that draw customers in again and again - so much so that they become eager regulars welcomed on a first name basis. Often they even call in early in the morning for a favorite dish that becomes one of the daily specials for other patrons to savor.
The first Silver Swan, owned by Skender “Ziggy” and Emma Pepellashi closed its doors in Suttons Bay in 1997. Though missed much by many local patrons, Silver Swan reopened at the foot of Leelanau County in Traverse City and contues the family tradition.
Following in their parent’s footsteps, the three Pepallashi daughters, Yola, Erika and Petra, opened the new Silver Swan in 1997. They never regretted that decision. Besides being a restaurant, there are gifts from all over the world decoratively set around the interior. “At Christmas, we were sold almost out,” Yola said proudly.
“Cooking is in our blood, “ Yola added. “For countless generations our family has cooked - it is just a way of our family showing love - and in turn we now cook for our customers who are truly like family to us. We cook everything from scratch.”
Thursday, January 6, 2005

Beach‘s Log Cabin: Where Spam may really have the Last Laugh

Features Sandra Serra Bradshaw Set across from the shores of Crooked Lake north of Petoskey is a charming little dining spot open just in the wee hours of the morning until early afternoons. Stopping in there you will feel immediately at home. Nothing pretentious, just good honest food cooked by Harbor Springs resident John Beach.
Beach used to be a long-distance trucker so that gave him the know-how of what a down-to-earth, home-style restaurant should be like.
“I knew what places were good and what places to avoid - and I quickly learned what I liked and didn’t like,” he explained. He has succeeded in pleasing his customers from those truck-driving learning experiences. That fact is easily in evidence according to his loyal local following as well as the tourist traffic that often stops by on the way up US 31 to places north like the Mackinaw Bridge and beyond.
An affable, tall and instantly likable man, Beach is chief cook and bottle washer most of the time with occasional help on the side. The Log Cabin looks exactly as its name implies; homey, warm pine paneling, floors that have stood the test of time and of course blue and white checkered tablecloths. And it is immaculately kept.