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, December 19, 2011

Peace of the Olive Branch

Features Erin Crowell Run Across Palestine raises funds and awareness for fair trade farmers. While most people would consider running a marathon (26.2 miles) a daunting or impossible task, imagine running one every day, five days in a row across a foreign landscape.
Monday, November 28, 2011

MUSICAL forecast

Features Erin Crowell The segment is recognizable within earshot because this forecast isn’t read aloud – instead, viewers are treated to a sample of music with their condition predictions. And it just so happens, that music may be the work of a Northern Michigan musician..
Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Blu for the holidays

Features Erin Crowell It’s once again that time of year when we whip out the credit cards, cash and checkbooks to splurge on our loved ones – which can leave little left over for ourselves. For women hoping to dress up for a holiday party or New Years Eve bash, this can pose quite the financial predicament.
Monday, November 7, 2011

ANIMAL HOUSE: Veterinarian Karen Mertaugh lives an unconventional life

Features Erin Crowell When you come to the house of Karen Mertaugh, chances are you’ll be greeted by a dog, a cat or even a school of fish housed on the west-side wall – all before setting foot in the actual home.
Monday, October 10, 2011


Features Erin Crowell

“It was a mad scramble,” Skiba said. “Chris ran to the tent and got the rifle. Me and the other cameraman, Jason, sprinted for the cameras and Casey kept calling the moose until he was just a hundred yards away.”

It was day 18 in the Alaskan wilderness and Trent Skiba was hungry. With only small rations of trail mix, granola bars and wild blueberries to tide over the Gaylord native and his group, all four men sat at their campsite—the second day since finishing the caribou, shot weeks before—and waited in the rain for hours, breaking sticks...

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Day I Found Out

Features Erin Crowell Eighteen years later, the Remembrance Run returns to Timber Ridge Resort in Traverse City, on Saturday, Oct. 1, where participants will have the opportunity to raise both awareness and funds to help women fight breast cancer, along with other forms of cancer.
Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot Dates Sept. 12-18

Dates Erin Crowell The Osmond family has spent more than 50 years entertaining audiences across the globe. The Osmond Brothers, a.k.a. Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy, continue the family tradition of performing pop, rock & roll, country and gospel. They will make an appearance at the Performing Arts Center on the Kirtland Community College main campus, in Roscommon, on Sept. 17.
Monday, September 5, 2011

Reflections of 9/11: Area citizens recall the attack on America

Features Erin Crowell I was 17 years old in my high school drama class, blindfolded and
awkwardly navigating the auditorium by voice of a classmate. It was one of
many activities created by our teacher meant to exercise communication,
reliance and the hope our partner wouldn’t lead us into a chair or brick
Blind trust, I like to call it today.
Monday, August 29, 2011

Saviors of the Switchboard

Features Erin Crowell Saviors of the Switchboard
It’s a cool, sunny Monday afternoon in August. The work gears are primed again as folks settle back into the 9-to-5 pace, taking a half hour for lunch, running errands and finishing projects left on-hold for the weekend.
Above the hustle, overlooking the Boardman River in a room bathed in darkness, the gears have never stopped for a group of people known as Central Dispatch, the consolidated emergency services answering point responsible for handling requests for law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies for the entire Grand Traverse County.
Whether it’s a fire, car accident or an emergency at home, every call to 9-1-1 in the county is directed to this room on the third level of the Governmental Center – an average of 125,000 total calls each year.
Monday, August 22, 2011

Do it yourself

Features Erin Crowell Do-It-Yourself:Father/son duo says ‘Man Can Fly!’

By Erin Crowell

Nothing says do-it-yourself like building your own car. Today, you’ll see
self-assembly kit cars driving all over the highway, thanks to 50
automobile manufacturers offering packages ranging anywhere from $6,000 to
Why not take it a step further and build your own plane? Given pilot
certification and FAA regulations, homebuilt airplane kits allow you to
assemble and fly your very own ticket to the skies – costing a gaping
$10,000 to nearly $1 million (depending on your aircraft and budget).
Do-it-Yourself father/son duo Gary and Kevin Copeland of Williamsburg have
been working on their own homebuilt aircraft, a 23-foot-long GlaStar, for
the past 10 years.
Monday, August 22, 2011

High 5

Features Erin Crowell It’s ‘all Michigan’all the time for3 entrepreneurs
By Erin Crowell
In Michigan, we know how to use our hands – from hard labor and sipping
local spirits to geographically showing our location; yes, if you’re a
Michigander, at one point you’ve probably thrown up that palm for an
out-of-stater and pointed (whether a wrinkle or pinky) to where you live.
Thanks to its shape, Michigan is the hardest U.S. state to draw but likely
the most identifiable.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The art of wine/N.M. Wine & Art Fest

Dining Erin Crowell California winemaker Robert Mondavi once said, “Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art,” a statement that is reflected by the award-winning wines of Northern Michigan. These masterpieces will be featured, along with actual art from local artists, at the 3rd annual Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, held on the front lawn of the Grand Traverse Commons, Saturday, Aug. 20.

“When we were seeking an identity for the festival, we talked about the other things that our area is known for,” said Andrew McFarlane, director of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. “While there was no question that food and music would play a huge role in the festival, we realized that our region is home to some incredible artists of all kinds and felt that we could work to promote these artists and their work.”
Artwork will be on-display and for sale at individual booths, ranging from paintings and sculpture to fiber art and functional art.
Participants will have the opportunity to become part of the art, as well. A new element to the festival this year is the Fashion is Art contest. Judges will circulate the area looking for the most creative, the most flashy, bold and dramatic wardrobe. The grand prize winner will receive an overnight spa package from Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa as well as a welcome gift from the wineries of the festival.
Monday, August 1, 2011

Take me out to the ballgame

Features Erin Crowell The hurler stares down the striker – a young chap who, to the
inexperienced rooter, would appear a Muffin; but the hurler knows better.
He considers his options: should he toss a dew drop for an easy pop or
send one fast and hard to his behind for his gardeners?
He hurls it against the timber.
Monday, July 25, 2011

Double, Double?? Macbeth and A MidSummer night?s Dream headline Lakeside Shakespeare

Features Erin Crowell Like night and day, Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s
Dream” vary greatly in tone, from the dark and spooky to the light and
dreamy; however, the wooded venue of Forest Hill in Frankfort provides an
ideal setting for both—even a second character—as Lakeside Shakespeare
presents its eighth season of classic Shakespearean theatre July 28, 30
and Aug. 2 & 4 (for “Macbeth”) and July 29, 31 and Aug. 3 & 5 (for “A
Midsummer Night’s Dream”).
Monday, July 18, 2011

Scott Haggard

Music Erin Crowell Great Scott!:Son of country legend Merle Haggard truckin’ our way
By Erin Crowell
While music has always been in his blood, Scott Haggard—son of country
music legend Merle Haggard—is first and foremost a truck driver.
“I drive an 18-wheeler and spend anywhere from five to six days a week on
the road,” said the 43-year-old Alabama native.
It wasn’t until around 2005 that Haggard decided to follow in his father’s
footsteps as a serious musician.