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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Thursday, September 12, 2002

On the Lookout with Northern Michigan‘s FBI: Two Agents Cover Everything from Terrorism, Drugs and Scams to Civil Rights

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Like many of us in the wake of September 11, things changed for the two special agents in the Traverse City office of the FBI. During the past year, they‘ve responded to over 100 calls on everything from Anthrax to “my neighbor looks like a terrorist“ to “I saw someone driving around the fuel depot storage tanks,“ says Richard Licht, supervisory special agent for Northwest Lower Michigan.
“We‘ve had a significant amount of leads come up,“ he says. “When things got really heavy, I sent a couple of people up from Lansing to cover leads and help out.“
Thursday, August 1, 2002

A Clinic that Cares: The Community Health Clinic is a Godsend for Uninsured Patients... but their Numbers and Needs are Growing

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Nina Zamora remembers how tough things were trying to raise three children on her own. Money was tight, and health insurance was a luxury she couldn‘t afford.
“We‘d just wing it,“ she recalls. “The kids got sick and we couldn‘t afford health care. You‘d just go to the store and buy over-the-counter remedies... I wonder how many other parents are in the same boat I was in way back then.“
Probably a lot. That‘s one reason why Zamora volunteers at the Community Health Clinic in Traverse City. For the past 27 years, the clinic has been providing donation-based health care for people who don‘t have insurance or simply can‘t afford health care.
Thursday, June 20, 2002

Traverse City‘s Unknown Park... Soon to be a Major Sprawl Zone

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Sara Cockrell has probably logged more river miles than just about anyone in these parts.
But the seasoned canoe racer has a favorite right in Traverse City -- a 1.5-mile section of the Boardman River stretching from the YMCA to the Sabin Dam.
“It‘s such a tranquil area,“ she says. “There‘s a beautiful cedar swamp along there and a lot of wildlife, mostly muskrats and birds. Sometimes I see blue herons farther up along River Road, and that just makes your whole paddle to see something like that.“
Near the Cass Road bridge is a tranquil, flat-water pond rife with cattails and a pair of
nesting swans. “It‘s a beautiful little pond and totally unknown,“ she notes. “I never see anyone in there at all.“
Thursday, June 13, 2002

Trail Update 2002: New Trails in Petoskey and TC are Coming on Strong

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Northern Michigan is blessed with a network of trails that stretches from one side of the
state to the other. Every year brings more additions to the trails, and last year was no exception.
Here are a few of the new additions.

*Top of Michigan Trails Council*
In Petoskey, the Top of Michigan Trails Council celebrated several achievements last
year. Although some residents are opposed to the Little Traverse Wheelway, which will
eventually run from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs, a new segment links M-119 to Pleasantview
“It‘s a nice new segment,“ said Tom Stanley, a volunteer with the council. “It skirts right
across the edge of the airport at Harbor Springs, and it has a nice view of the bay. It‘s very
Thursday, May 9, 2002

Local Groups Shed Light on Palestinian Conflict

Region Watch Jane Louise Boursaw Although the Middle East is on the other side of the planet, a few local groups are hoping to shed some light on the conflict to those of us in Northern Michigan.
One is “Mideast: Just Peace,” a group focused on educating themselves and the community about what’s going on over there.
“If you only watch TV for the news, you’re clueless,” said Marian Kromkowski, a Suttons Bay attorney and one of the founders of the group. “They don’t ever get to the root causes or offer a political or economic explanation as to what’s happening. The press in this country, from my point of view, primarily gives the U.S. government’s point of view, which, in many respects, goes hand in hand with the Israeli point of view.”
Thursday, May 9, 2002

Two Peoples, One Land: Jim McCormick on the Conflict in Israel

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Every day, we hear new reports about the deadly conflict in the Middle East -- suicide
bombings, terrorist killings, refugee camps filled with angry and desperate people, and two
leaders who can‘t seem to reach a peaceful compromise.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been erupting for over 50 years --
since the end of World War II when the United Nations ordered that Palestine be divided into a
Jewish state and an Arab state. Since the creation of Israel at that time, two different peoples have been fighting over one very small piece of real estate.
For many of us, it seems incomprehensible that so much unrest can result from such a
small piece of land. Yet, it continues on decade after decade with no peaceful end in sight.
What is the history of the conflict? Will Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
Palestinian National Authority leader Yasser Arafat ever reach an agreement? And where does
the United States fit in?
Jim McCormick, a retired district court judge in Traverse City and author of “Jerusalem
and the Holy Land: The First Ecumenical Pilgrim‘s Guide,“ has journeyed to the Middle East
several times in the past ten years. He tries to sort it all out for us here.
Thursday, May 9, 2002

Getting Along: Fostering Tolerance with the Human Rights Commission

Features Jane Louise Boursaw When Blake Ringsmuth moved back to Traverse City in 1995, he never dreamed the sleepy
town where he‘d grown up would be such a fire-pit of controversy. The same day he came back,
someone burned a cross in a yard in Interlochen.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my God, why did I move back here if this is what‘s going on?‘“ he
recalls. “I literally laid awake most of the night tossing and turning, trying to figure out what I could do. So I finally got up and wrote a letter to the editor condemning the act and asking everyone to step up and speak their mind, because silence allows this kind of activity to breed.“
Ringsmuth, who studied law at the University of Michigan and is now a local attorney,
thought he‘d be the only one to take a stance. But the next day, the issue was splashed across the front page of the paper and a storm of other letters followed.
Thursday, May 2, 2002

A Bridge Runs Through It -- Mike Dillenbeck is at the Eye of the Storm with the Hartman-Hammond Bridge

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Nothing has stirred up so much controversy in recent years as the proposed Hartman-
Hammond project in Traverse City -- a plan that would link Hartman and Hammond roads by
building a bridge over the Boardman River, north of the existing one-lane Cass Road bridge.
Under the plan, Hartman Road west of the Boardman River would be realigned
and widened to a four-lane boulevard between Cass Road and U.S. 31 South. A bridge would be
constructed over the river to connect Hartman and Hammond roads, and Hammond would be
widened to four lanes to LaFranier Road east of the river. The project entails about 2.25 miles.
Related work includes widening Three Mile Road to five lanes from U.S. 31 North to
South Airport Road, and possibly reconstructing Four Mile Road, if funds are available. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing Cass Road bridge would be closed to vehicles.
The plan appears to be a done deal, since the Federal Highway Administration endorsed
the project with a “record of decision“ on August 9, 2001. This allows the Road Commission to
move forward with preliminary designs, display plans to the public, and acquire right-of-ways.
Thursday, April 11, 2002

Migrants: Putting Down Roots - With a Permanent Job comes a new Home in the North

Features Jane Louise Boursaw Cuthberto Paniagua raises his pruning shears and squints into the sun as he carefully clips
another branch off an apple tree. It‘s a cold, clear day on the Old Mission Peninsula farm where
he works, but he‘s glad for the quiet stillness and the wide-open blue sky.
Things weren‘t always so settled for Paniagua. Twenty years ago, he was like many
migrant workers -- picking oranges in Florida during the winter and traveling north to Michigan every summer to pick cherries. But it wasn‘t an easy life. There was the stress of raising a family on the road, the constant struggle for adequate housing, and the rigors of working outside every day.
In 1982, he gave up the nomadic life and started working full-time for Dean Johnson, an
Old Mission fruit farmer. Now he‘s Johnson‘s right-hand man, handling all aspects of the 500-
acre operation with a never-ending smile and a “work is work“ philosophy.
“This place could not run without him,“ says Johnson, adding that Paniagua has also
evolved into a “crew boss,“ overseeing the 15 or so migrants who work on the farm during the
busy summer months.
“He gets the crew, and I stay right out of it,“ notes Johnson. “I‘ve had people ask me for
work, and I tell them, ‘You‘ve got to talk to Cuthberto.“
Thursday, March 21, 2002

Spam Across America: A Plague of Unwanted E-mail Messages are Choking the Web

Features Jane Louise Boursaw The word “spam“ used to represent such an innocent icon of Americana...a simple (albeit
mysterious) lunchmeat, lovingly tucked between two slices of Wonder Bread by a June Cleaver type in high heels and pearls.
But the age of technology has brought new meaning to this word. Now it represents the
volumes of unsolicited junk e-mail clogging our mailboxes the way its namesake clogs the arteries. The e-mail version of spam supposedly got its nickname from the famous Monty Python skit in which a poor couple‘s attempt to place their restaurant order is drowned out by a chorus of Vikings chanting “Spam! Spam! Spam!“
However it came about, it‘s a real nuisance. “Get rich quick“ schemes, pornographic ads,
“sure-fire“ stock offerings, and quack health remedies are just a few of these unregulated,
unscrupulous, offensive and often fraudulent e-mails.
Thursday, March 14, 2002

Brew Pioneers: Traverse Brewing Company keeps Northern Michigan‘s Suds Flowing

Features Jane Louise Boursaw The year was 1973, and Jack Archiable was studying literature and psychology at Ohio
University. In his spare time, he was learning how to make beer. Little did he know this fun hobby would one day turn into a full-time business.
Now Archiable spends his days at Traverse Brewing Company, Ltd., a microbrewery located
just south of Elk Rapids. Since 1996, he‘s been brewing up stouts, ales, and porters, all lovingly named after Northern Michigan hang-outs -- Old Mission Lighthouse Ale, Manitou Brand Amber, Sleeping Bear Brown, Torch Lake Light, and a host of others.
But starting a business in these North Woods takes lots of courage and stamina, not to
mention a good sense of humor. “Our motto has always been, ‘We‘re too dumb to go away, and
we‘ll make the best beer possible,‘“ he jokes, then adds a bit more seriously, “ We‘ve constantly kept focused, and we love what we‘re doing here.“
The “we“ he speaks of is himself, beermaker John Niedermaier, assistant brewer Sam
Sherwood, and Elaine Edstrom, who handles much of the office work. John Edstrom, who founded the business with Archiable, is no longer with the company, but a host of dedicated volunteers are taking up the slack, for which Archiable is extremely grateful.
“We have an incredible volunteer staff,“ he says. “I have people who help on the bottling
line, who help move snow... and they get paid with a hearty pat on the back and with low fills off the bottling line, and they‘re happy.“
Thursday, March 7, 2002

Dominic Fortuna Hits all the Right Notes

Music Jane Louise Boursaw It‘s 8:45 p.m. and Dominic Fortuna is just getting warmed up. He‘s plying the crowd at South City Limits in Traverse City, cracking jokes, singing songs, sending energy into the audience. And they‘re giving it right back to him.
“They‘re not just here to drink and eat, they‘re here for the entertainment,“ he says. “And the more energy they have, the more they give back to you. It‘s like a circle.“
Fortuna‘s set list includes a waterfront of musical styles ranging from Sinatra to salsa. He‘s at his peak on romantic ballads (“When I Was 17“), Latin numbers in the “La Vida Loca“ mode, pop hits and even country. At New Year‘s Eve, he packed the house with dancers.
Fortuna -- who was raised in Bellaire and who could pass for John Travolta in the right
lighting -- has been in the entertainment business since he was 13 years old, belting out songs at Brownwood Acres in Central Lake.
He spent the next several years touring the country with the Young Americans, performing
West Side Story in Europe, doing a Midwest tour of “Grease“ with the American Musical Theatre, and finally landing in California, where he worked as a DJ for Disney‘s Videopolis, introducing and interviewing bands a la Dick Clark.
Thursday, March 7, 2002

Local Heroes: Firefighters put our Values back in Focus after the 911 Attack

Features Jane Louise Boursaw It was a heart-wrenching scene as firefighters sifted through the rubble at Ground Zero last fall -- searching not only for people who worked at the World Trade Center, but also for fallen comrades who perished while trying to save lives.
A new-found respect for firefighters swept across the country, and while we hope to never
see such a tragedy in these parts, it made us keenly aware of just what firefighters are willing to do if necessary.
We spoke recently with Art Shaw, public safety officer for the City of Petoskey. In addition to being a firefighter, EMT, and police officer, Shaw is a state-certified fire investigator, a public educator on fire prevention, and a fire systems inspector for new construction.

NE: Tell me about the fire department in Petoskey.
Shaw: We‘re a combination department. All of our full-time people except one are police, fire and EMS, and the other individuals are paid on call. We take in the original city limits and the Bay Harbor Development that‘s now part of the city.
Thursday, March 7, 2002

Local Heroes: Rain, Snow, Dark of Night & Anthrax couldn‘t Stop Postal Workers

Features Jane Louise Boursaw The anthrax scare that began last fall sent shockwaves through the country, thrusting postal workers into the limelight and shedding new perspective on a service many of us take for granted. Along with firefighters, Northern Express readers selected postal workers as “Best Local Heroes“ during this year‘s survey.
We spoke recently with Dan Windsor, officer in charge at the Traverse City Post Office, to get an update on how things are going.

NE: How many employees work at the Traverse City Post Office?
Windsor: Between the plant, which processes mail for the 496 area, and customer services, there are about 300 employees.

NE: What‘s the range of pay for postal workers?
Windsor: Between $30,000 and $45,000, generally. We have part-time employees on our rural carrier routes that are paid a little less than that, but anywhere from $13 to $20 an hour would be the norm.
Thursday, February 28, 2002

The Snow Men: Paying Homage to Those who Clear the Roads

Features Jane Louise Boursaw It was the blizzard of ‘78, and for two days in January, a snowstorm raged, dumping over
30 inches of snow in some areas and paralyzing traffic. Winds gusted to 50 miles an hour,
closing all major and secondary roads in several counties. The 140-foot training vessel Allegheny capsized in her berth at the Maritime Academy, the airport shut down, and cars were abandoned wherever they got stuck.
Most of us were holed up in our homes, but for a few brave souls, duty called. John
Linnerson had only been driving a county snowplow for a few years, and he and another driver
had the task of opening up the roads out to Acme. But something unexpected happened when
they got to Four Mile Road.
“There was a big drift, and we rolled it back and rolled it back, and the last time I hit it,
there was a car in there,“ he said. “The snow was so bad that by the time you plowed from the
Woolen Company to Acme and back, you had to literally get up on your truck and clean the snow off the hood with a shovel. We had a lot of snow. I didn‘t get home for three days.“