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, May 2, 2011

China Mom: Sarah Johnson

Features Erin Crowell China mom: Sarah Johnson brings teaching experience and two daughters to the Middle Kingdom
By Erin Crowell
While Leelanau County resident Sarah Johnson has lived over 30 years in a
home that is “off-grid” (meaning self-sufficiency without reliance on a
public utility), the mother of three is finding a whole new meaning for
the term.
Monday, April 18, 2011

Atop the shoulders of giants: Meryl Marsh

Features Erin Crowell Atop the shoulders of Giants: Meryl Marsh takes tree climbing to a whole new level
By Erin Crowell
High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 7,000 feet above sea level, Meryl
Marsh dangles from a tree limb the size of an oak trunk, reaching for a
new growth branch– a facial hair in comparison to the 400-foot-tall
sequoia it and Marsh are attached to.
Monday, April 11, 2011

Worry, check, repeat/Kevin Putman 4/11/11

Features Erin Crowell Worry, Check, Repeat: Kevin Putman hopes Petoskey ping-pong tourney will shed light on OCD
By Erin Crowell
Kevin Putman is walking to work when he steps over a stone, no larger than
a golf ball. Briefly, he considers picking it up and tossing it into the
grass so no one trips over it. He decides to keep walking.
Monday, April 4, 2011

The Rough Riders of 2 Wheel Technique

Features Erin Crowell The Rough Riders of 2 Wheel Technique Are you ready to take on the ‘Pipe of Death’?
By Erin Crowell
“Like riding a bicycle.”
It’s a comparative statement we use when describing life – the revisiting
of something we thought once forgotten, but relearned as if second
nature…easy peasy, you could say.
Think about it. How many 30-year-olds do you see swapping spots with their
child after teaching them how to ride? Little Tommy cautiously holding the
back of the bike seat as giggling Dad rides nervously down the driveway?
Hopefully zero; because riding a bike is something you only have to learn
once, right?
Jonathan Pool believes there’s more to riding a bike than just pedaling
forward, and many of us could use a refresher.

2 Wheel Technique is a Traverse City-based group dedicated to the art of
balance… on two wheels. Pool, an avid cyclist, started the group after
moving to the area in 2003 from southeastern Michigan.
“When I moved here, I was the only one in the area with trials
experience,” said Pool about the biking discipline where mountain bikers
attempt to cross terrain, using any obstacle such as boulders or logs,
without putting a foot on the ground.
Observed trials are also known as technical mountain biking.
“I started mountain biking seriously in the early ’90s,” he said. “I had a
friend who could ride over anything. He could even ride up stairs without
putting a foot down. I was so envious.”
The group meets every Tuesday during the summer and rides at local spots,
as well as across the state (Marquette) and out-of-state (Ray’s Mountain
Monday, March 28, 2011

Marc Schollett 3/28/11

Features Erin Crowell he Inadvertent Success of Marc Schollett: TV newsman wins ‘Best Broadcast Journalist’ award
By Erin Crowell
When it comes down to it, TV 7&4 news reporter Marc Schollett knows more
about algae than his career – but you would never know that from his
numerous journalism awards from the Associated Press, The Michigan
Association of Broadcasters, the National Television News Director’s
Association and the Seven Seals Award from the United States Army Reserve.
Monday, March 28, 2011

Zany 3/28/11

Features Erin Crowell Raiding the Closet at Zany Consignment Boutique
By Erin Crowell
From the sidewalk, Zany Consignment Boutique looks like any other home in Traverse City’s “Slabtown” – a yellow two-story house with green shutters. Dismiss the sign and hours posted as you walk through the door, and you pause in the covered porch, wondering if you had mistakenly entered a resident’s home.
Inside, it’s like raiding a girl friend’s closet—and a stylish one, at that—but this closet has trickled downstairs, lining entire walls and filling every room. Other friends are over, too – swapping a skirt for a blouse or a pair of heels for a vest.
Monday, March 14, 2011

:Fight the power Ken Paulson

Features Erin Crowell “Fight the Power”:A Rockin’ Look at the First Amendment
By Erin Crowell
How can you marry constitutional law with rock and roll and have it make
any sense?

It’s a question Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center
(FAC), says he gets often before his Freedom Sings presentation, “Fight
the Power: The Music That Changed America.” Presented by the FAC—a
non-profit, non-partisan organization—the multimedia program aims to
remind Americans of the five freedoms of the First Amendment: speech,
press, religious liberty, assembly and petition.
Monday, March 7, 2011

Everybody Vogue

Features Erin Crowell Everybody Vogue: Manistee prepares for landmark theatre’s reopening
By Erin Crowell
Click, click, pop!
Travis Alden flips the breakers and lets the warm glow of lights fill the
cold, dank basement of the Vogue Theatre. He follows a garden hose lying
on the cement floor to the boiler room in back.
“They used the hose to drain water from the roof into here,” he says as he
sweeps the light from his flashlight over a hole in the floor, filled with
two feet of sitting water. “Last week, the water covered this whole
Monday, February 28, 2011

Health hazards of a desk jockey

Features Erin Crowell Health Hazards of a Desk Jockey: Sitting at a desk all day is hell on your body
By Erin Crowell
“Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer
screens all day.” – from the 1999 film Office Space

If you work at a desk, chances are, you had to work hard to get there –
your days as a pre-teen dishwasher are as far behind as your college
tuition payments. This is the culmination of years of education and
planning. Perhaps this desk is mahogany or there’s a sleek Mac at your
fingertips, along with an expensive office chair from eBay that is as
comfortable as a cradle.
Monday, February 14, 2011

Michigan Ice Fest

Features Erin Crowell Scaling the Falls:Michigan Ice Festival welcomes climbers to
a frozen UP playground
By Erin Crowell
I swing the axe over my head, the sharp pick slicing through air. The tip of the blade meets ice then bounces like a hammer, sending a rejected spray of snow and ice into my eyes. It’s like this for several swings until I feel the satisfying thunk of placement. I give it a few tugs before I’m ready to do it again with the other axe; but not before moving my feet a few inches higher.
I’m ice climbing… and I’m not very good at it.
I begin kicking the ice repeatedly as if it owes me money, using the sharp blades of my crampons to stab the wall for footing.
“You’ve got a little notch to your right,” John Nguyen yells from below.
Monday, January 24, 2011

Forever Flowers/ Lilies of the Valley

Features Erin Crowell Forever Flowers: Lilies of the Alley offers silk & dried flowers 1/24/11
By Erin Crowell
Planning a wedding? More than likely, flowers are on the list –
somewhere between reception location and music for the evening. And
like everything on that list, there are options: outside or inside? DJ
or live band? Chicken or fish?
Monday, January 24, 2011

Three birds, one stone

Features Erin Crowell Three Birds, One Stone: Mike Staff ‘s one-stop wedding service 1/24/11
By Erin Crowell
Aside from the all-important “I do,” no other moment of your wedding
day brings forth the culmination of such hard work and preparation
than when the bride and groom enter the reception.
It’s both a crescendo and a sigh of relief.
Monday, January 10, 2011

Allergy... more than Achoo!

Features Erin Crowell Allergy: more than Achoo!: When food intolerance becomes a life or death situation
By Erin Crowell
Several years ago, Zoe Batzer sat before a gymnasium full of high school
classmates—the back of her chair at her chest, arms folded over the
top—and proceeded to have a heart-to-heart with friends and with people
she hardly knew.
Monday, January 3, 2011

Travel by couch surfing

Features Erin Crowell Travel by CouchSurfing: Save a penny, restore your trust in humanity
By Erin Crowell
“Most of my treasured memories of travel are recollections of sitting.”
– Robert Thomas Allen

When he was young, Jesse Coots heard the story about his grandparents leaving the farmhouse back porch light on every evening.
“For travelers,” Coots said, “so they knew they had a place to stay overnight.”
He recalls stories from his father about the hand-dug well and how there was always a ladle there for thirsty passersby.
“We’ve lost that,” Coots said reflectively, now 33 and living in his grandparent’s 1826-built farmhouse in upstate New York. “Everyone’s afraid nowadays.”
In 2007, Coots continued his family’s tradition of inviting travelers a place to stay by joining CouchSurfing.org, a worldwide community that connects nomads with their hosts.
“We’ve hosted quite a few people from five different countries including Germany, Russia and France… and from five or six states,” he said.
Coots, along with his wife Jolene, have opened their home to complete strangers.
For free.
Monday, December 27, 2010


Music Erin Crowell Risque’s Long & Winding Road : Masters of R&B look back on 27 years
By Erin Crowell
When shaking it out on the dance floor, there’s a pretty good chance the people surrounding you fall into the same demographic. At a club, 20-somethings challenge the term “personal space.” Casino? Probably a room full of adults chasing retirement, sporting a touch of gray.
When Risque performs, don’t count on knowing which one will be dancing next to you.
“When you’re in this business so long, you’re fortunate enough to get a diverse crowd,” said Errol Sanders, bassist for the band Risque.
Since its start in 1983, Risque has been entertaining the Northern Michigan dance scene – performing a variety of top 40 and R&B hits that span the decades.
“We play a little bit of everything,” Sanders said. “Well, not everything. We do a little rock and roll, oldies, Motown; and that varies according to where we’re playing.”