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 15, 2012

Corn Maze Mania

How I got lost and found in a field of corn

Features Erin Crowell

For awhile, all I hear is the rustling of dry corn stalks in the wind. Then, I hear the laughter of a child somewhere toward the west. I can’t see anyone, but I know they are wandering like me through this maze of maize.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Heavy Metal

Scrap industry provides second chance for junk & its peddlers

Features Erin Crowell In a rotted-out building in Suttons Bay, Jeff Bryant sifts through a pile of rusted desks, abandoned cabinets, broken windows and molding furniture. A grape vine, with violet berries still attached, snakes through the gaping hole in the ceiling into the collection of junk.
Monday, August 6, 2012

Here Come the Drones


Features Erin Crowell Under the Wikipedia entry for “drone,” you will find such words as “chemical,” “warfare,” “target” and “humanoid” – words that send a chill down one’s spine when considering their recent presence in the media. Drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as they are technically referred to, are being heavily manufactured and put to use by the U.S. government, and in countries throughout the world.
Monday, July 23, 2012

'Ticket, Please'

Volunteers keep TC Film Festival reels rolling

Features Erin Crowell

Last year at the Traverse City Film Festival, I volunteered at the State Theater. My shift, which consisted of taking tickets and counting occupants, had me working alongside a couple who were summering in the area.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Long Whiskers, Tall Tales

Folks share their stories through Weathered Beard Series

Features Erin Crowell A small audience at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City sits in the dark. They are at tables and on lounge furniture, drinks in hand. Some lean back, a leg crossed. Others sit on the edge of seats, chins mounted on fists, eyes fixed to the stage that holds everyone’s attention in the room. Someone is telling a story.
Monday, July 2, 2012

The Other Traverse City

Photographer Alan Newton captures the lives of the homeless

Features Erin Crowell From the time the leaves started to turn and drop to the rise in spring temperatures, Alan Newton sat down and spoke with 24 homeless people living in Traverse City. A few are on the street by choice; but all are there by circumstance. Some are drug addicts, others are alcoholics.
Monday, May 21, 2012

Horses for Heroes

Features Erin Crowell

While serving in Iraq as a recon cavalry scout in the U.S. Army, Jason Young survived three explosions.

But the ordeal left him with a traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome, known as “shell shock.” Along with arthritis in his back and structural damage to his neck, Young was medically discharged.

For a man who wanted to make a military career for himself, the transition wasn’t easy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

For Sale: One Family’s Life

Features Erin Crowell

Troy and Erin Curet are living the American dream. They own a four-bedroom home, have two cars, two children – a boy and a girl – and one chocolate Labrador. Both are employed: Troy, a manager at Red Mesa Grill, and Erin, a stylist at Epiphany Salon. It’s a good life, but they don’t want it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Gift for Ridge

Features Erin Crowell Suttons Bay mother donates kidney to two-year-old son

Lori Matthews had heard it once before: the unmistakable sound of a mother who had just lost her baby.

“I’ve heard the wailing sound one time and knew immediately what it was. I knew because that sound was now coming out of me,” recalled Matthews, the day her six-month-old son became limp in her arms.

Monday, April 23, 2012

In It for the Long Haul

Features Erin Crowell Dean Karnazes has a lot of numbers in his life.  In 2006, he ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days (that’s 26.2 miles per run). In 2011, he ran from California to New York City, or approximately 3,000 miles, averaging 40 to 50 miles per day.
Monday, April 16, 2012

The Man Who Planted Trees

Features Erin Crowell David Milarch, the subject of a new book, uses intuition and science in an attempt to save the planet: “Did you know that 98% of our old growth forest is gone?” he asks, a rhetorical question that seems to hang in the air with the puff of cigarette smoke. As we talk in the the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA) office—a small building located in the village of Copemish—new age music streams from the office speakers.
Monday, February 27, 2012

A Dose of Inspiration

Features Erin Crowell So when a friend propositioned me on helping him with an upcoming book project that would have me running my first marathon, my initial thought was excitement, which was immediately followed by doubt as I pictured the number – 26.2 miles – in my head.
Monday, February 20, 2012

Reinventing the Inside

Features Erin Crowell

For those of us who are completely lost when it comes to interior design, there are folks like Diane Kolak, design consultant and owner of Dwelement Home Design, who can help make our spaces more than just “livable.”

The Grand Traverse resident shares her tips on several common interior design topics in this year’s Home & Furnishings issue.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vietnam Vagabond: Veteran Shares Raw Stories of Homelessness in ‘The Walking Wounded’

Features Erin Crowell In May 2005, Jeanne Oleniczak received a package from her brother, Winfred Roy Compton II. In it was a diary written by Compton from 1970 to 1995 describing his life living as a homeless veteran, wandering through the streets of countless cities. With it was a note from her brother telling Oleniczak to do whatever she wanted with it.
Monday, January 16, 2012

Beyond the Centennial

Features Erin Crowell To say Doris Brackett is a Red Wings fan is a huge understatement. She has kissed the Stanley Cup, ridden the Zamboni at Joe Louis Arena, owns a jersey signed by her favorite player, Dan Cleary, along with a custom jersey with “Brackett 100” stitched on the back – a gift for her 100th birthday.