Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

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Erin Crowell

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Scott Harmony

Music Erin Crowell Scott Harmony?
By Erin Crowell
Scott Haggard will perform for the first time in Northern Michigan, backed
by a band that he’s never met.
Scott Wikle and the Lonesome Fugitive Band will provide the backdrop for
Haggard’s country music performance at the Blue Pelican, in Central Lake,
on July 20.
Monday, July 18, 2011

Nothing for Granted: Grant Forrester

Features Erin Crowell Nothing for Granted: The long run of quadriplegic Grant Forrester
By Erin Crowell
Saturday, July 9, was a beautiful day for runners at the Meijer Festival
of Races in Traverse City. By 9 a.m., most of the participants in the 5k
race had crossed the finish line and were enjoying the complementary
water, bagels and Gatorade – some settled into the empty lawn chairs left
overnight along Front Street in anticipation for The National Cherry
Festival Grand Royale Parade that would begin in just a couple hours.
Meanwhile, a dozen people had just crossed the first mile mark. From afar,
the pace seemed too casual for a race as the white t-shirt cluster stopped
every few feet, then continued on a slow shuffle towards downtown.
“Team Grant,” with participants ranging from ages 16 months to 80 years
old, wasn’t concerned about winning the race, setting a personal best or
even seeing everyone to the finish line.
Monday, July 11, 2011

Lip Service

Music Erin Crowell When a rock star lip-syncs on stage it’s considered cheating. Lip-syncing
on YouTube? Perfectly acceptable… even celebrated as lip dub music videos
are popping up all over the Internet – most recently (and famously) a
music video to Don McLean’s “American Pie” performed by the City of Grand
Thousands of residents participated in the downtown lip dub after a
January Newsweek article declared Grand Rapids as one of America’s Dying
Cities. The music video—which runs approximately nine minutes—was declared
a new world record, with over 3.4 million views (as of print) on YouTube
and Roger Ebert claiming it as “the greatest music video ever made.”
Traverse City hopes to make its own musical mark with a lip dub scheduled
to shoot on Sunday, July 17.
“We’re not saying we’re a dying city,” said Max Fischer, director of the
planned lip dub, “we’re just saying TC is an amazing place.”
Monday, July 11, 2011

A rally for Marker

Features Erin Crowell Even before he could drive, rally car racer Matthew Marker wanted a Subaru
“It was his dream,” said Marker’s girlfriend, Jennifer Majszak of Traverse
City. “He loved Subaru.”
That dream fell short on April 30 when Marker, an Elk Rapids resident, and
his co-driver Chris Gordon crashed their rally car at the Olympus Rally in
Ocean Shores, Washington.
Just over three minutes into the race, the drivers were entering the sixth
stage—a hairpin right turn—when Marker lost control of his Subaru WRX STI,
driving over the edge of a 40-foot ravine and crashing into a tree.
“After the impact, Chris was like, ‘Woah that was one hell of a ride,
buddy!’” explained Majszk, “(Chris) turned to Marker and said, ‘Marker,
turn off the car. Marker, turn off the car,’ but Marker didn’t respond.”
The 31-year-old was killed on impact.
“Right before the race in Ocean Shores, Subaru’s marketing guy had called,
saying they wanted to sponsor (Marker),” Majszak added between fresh
Monday, July 4, 2011

H.O.P.E. for pets and their owners

Features Erin Crowell These days, people can’t afford to keep their pets – a reality that happens in Northern Michigan and across the country every day due to a bad economy.
The Cherryland Humane Society managed to keep its doors open this June, thanks to a community effort of donations and fundraisers that helped counter a $20,000-per-month budget shortfall discovered by the organization in May.
While annual donations for the Traverse City shelter have been down, animal drop-off numbers are up – a record number due to job losses and foreclosures in the area, according to Jess Reed, CHS president.
According to the ASPCA, annual costs for a medium-size dog averages $695; a cat totals $670; even a small bird costs $200 per year.
Now consider a home with multiple pets.
While it’s responsible to drop off a pet at a shelter rather than denying its needs, the process is painful – heartbreaking for most owners who have found love, companionship and even a family member through pet ownership.
“I thought, ‘gosh, how terrible would it be having to give up a pet?’ My pets are like my children and I couldn’t think of not helping them,” said Susan Reabe, founder and president of Helping Owners With Pet Expenses (H.O.P.E.), a Traverse City-based non-profit that assists pet owners with food and vet expenses.
Monday, June 20, 2011

Nocturnal Jazz A night of sight and sound at the Dennos

Music Erin Crowell Having grown up in California and experiencing the all-senses performance
of The Blue Oyster Cult and laser light show of Pink Floyd, Stosh — a
Traverse City artist who moved to the area in 1993 — knew firsthand that
an audience at a jazz concert could experience more than
just sound.
Monday, June 13, 2011

Super Summer Calendar

Features Erin Crowell What to Do? Check out our Super Summer Calendar
By Erin Crowell
You won’t have much time to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs this
summer because there are hundreds (thousands?) of events to choose from
all across Northern Michigan.
Perhaps it’s our long, cold winters that act as a catalyst, but
whatever the case, there’s an incredible explosion of fun each year in
the region. Here are some of the best events, but by no means all of
Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Race Calendar

Features Erin Crowell Fit in the Mitt: Your summer calendar of endurance sports
June 18
HomeRUN 4 Chris, Traverse City
Summer Solstice 5k Fun Run, Sault Ste. Marie
Ellsworth 5k Fun Run
Portage Lake 20k Relay, Onekama
East Jordan’s Main Street Mile & 5k Road Race
Higgins Lake Sunrise Run one mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon — Roscommon
Monday, June 13, 2011

Grand Traverse Balloons

Features Erin Crowell This weekend, the sun will set on the Traverse City Open Space as a deep blue haze of twilight is replaced by the soft glow of approximately 25 hot air balloons at the Grand Traverse Balloon Classic, happening June 17-19. 
With a roar, burners will ignite and send a stream of hot propane into the belly of these standing fabric monsters – colorful orbs with names like Huckleberry, Phantasy Phive and Gypsy Wind.
The evening balloon glow will take place at the Traverse City Open Space, Friday and Saturday from approximately 9:30-10:30 p.m., and although the balloons will remain on the ground for the evening glow, spectators will have the opportunity to watch several take off during a sunrise or sunset fly out— with balloons launching into the Traverse City sky Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. 
“Our preferred spot is launching out of the Open Space if the winds are out of the north,” says Grand Traverse Balloon Classic organizer Jeff Geiger, “but depending on the direction of the wind, we could launch from another location in the Grand Traverse area.”
Monday, June 6, 2011

Doggone shame

Features Erin Crowell “The community has always rallied behind us and I know it will happen this
time around,” Sue Schwartz said over the echo of barking dogs at the
Cherryland Humane Society (CHS). The volunteer remains optimistic after
Mike Cherry, CHS executive director along with CHS president Jess Reed,
announced last week that unless the 501(c)(3) nonprofit can raise $20,000
as early as June 15, it will be forced to shut down operations.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All about us

Features Erin Crowell By Erin Crowell
Behind our 20 year anniversary publication this month is a team of
hard-working—and sometimes crazy—folks who conceive, report, sell, layout
and deliver the area’s largest news weekly. Get to know the faces behind
the Northern Express!
NE: Wow. 20 years. Aside from starting up a new paper, what was on your
mind 20
years ago?
Monday, May 23, 2011

Beach Bums

Features Erin Crowell It took five seasons and one game, but the Traverse City Beach Bums have
reached one million fans. The professional baseball team will celebrate
this VIP at the home opener, in Wuerfel Park against the Rockford
RiverHawks, on Friday, May 27.
“We’re giving away season schedule magnets to the first 500 fans,” says
Tim Broxterman, director of Beach Bums promotions and community events.
“Then, we will give away a brand new high efficiency refrigerator courtesy
of Cherryland Electric for the winning fan.”
Monday, May 23, 2011

Moth spraying threatens a local tea grower‘s organic status

Features Erin Crowell In a matter of days, Angela Macke will know if her Traverse City organic
tea farm will remain open or be forced to close for six years. The Light
of Day Organic Tea owner has spent the last eight weeks attempting to sway
her neighbors, residents of Ironwood Hills Subdivision, from aerial
spraying microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and organic
pesticide Dimilin over the subdivision property in an attempt to kill
forest tent caterpillars.
Monday, May 16, 2011

Standing atop the Third Level

Features Erin Crowell Standing Atop the Third Level
By Erin Crowell
You lost your job and now you’re behind on rent. Your girlfriend left
when the money did, along with your self-respect. Alcohol only does so
much until the pain returns like a flood, drowning any confidence and
motivation you once had. Darkness replaces light as the days blur
Just as the whispering hurt becomes a deafening scream, you turn to pick
up the phone, only to realize it’s 3 a.m. and your best friend is asleep.
I don’t want to burden him anyway, you think and quietly replace the phone
on the nightstand.
Monday, May 2, 2011

The art of motherhood:Jaimie Kramer

Features Erin Crowell The ART of Motherhood: Egg donor Jamie Kramer celebrates a global Mother’s Day
By Erin Crowell
Jamie Kramer sits at her computer, scrolling through the columns of photos
before her. She rolls the mouse over several images—a little girl smiling,
standing knee deep in the ocean, another dressed in princess garb, a
little boy in a pile of toys—until she finally settles on one.
She clicks the mouse and opens a photo of two sisters in a phone booth –
one, with soft hair and blue eyes, sitting quietly holding the phone; the
other, a mess of curls with eyes pinched shut in a fit of laughter.
“That’s totally a Jamie face,” Kramer smiles.
It’s a smile any mother would have when talking about her children, only
these children are not hers.
Well… technically.