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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Erin Crowell

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Recycle a bicycle

Features Erin Crowell Recycle A Bicycle: Don Cunkle’s repair marathon helps the homeless
By Erin Crowell
Traverse City resident Don Cunkle has restored and donated over 340 bicycles for area homeless and the economically disadvantaged since 2007. He hopes to reach close to half that number this Saturday, May 22, with the Recycle A Bicycle Marathon.
“I’m hoping to get a jump start on the bike giveaway program,” says Cunkle, who has already invested over 400 personal hours turning wrenches, greasing gears and scavenging yard sales.
The Recycle A Bicycle Repair Marathon will be held in the parking lot of the Career Tech Center in Traverse City, Saturday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cunkle and several other volunteers will collect and restore bicycles during that time. Area residents are invited to drop off or request pick-up for their unwanted bicycles.
Monday, May 10, 2010

Turning the tables

Features Erin Crowell “It was a long two years,” Brittany Denzel says of her time earning cosmetology certification at Traverse City Beauty College. As the sole graduate on May 5, the 21-year-old Denzel donned a pink tiara and colorful eye shadow – a runway themed graduation that matched her outlook on life.
You could say the bubbly, outgoing young woman has been struttin’ her stuff. While many young adults face challenges after being discharged from the foster care system, Denzel has thrived. She will share her success story with audiences at the 9th Annual Festival of Tables, a fundraising event for Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, held May 14 & 15 at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City.
Monday, May 10, 2010

The Starkermann Challenge

Features Erin Crowell The Starkermann Challenge: 4 events, 3 days, one tough race
By Erin Crowell
Running is hard. So are triathlons, the multi-sport event that
combines running, swimming and biking into one race. Now, imagine
those disciplines spread out through the course of one weekend.
Monday, May 3, 2010

The Books for Walls Project

Books Erin Crowell The Books for Walls Project
By Erin Crowell
This story is about fathers and daughters, mothers and husbands. It’s about the sharing of ideas – a story about stories, inspired by a poem.
The Books for Walls Project is a virtual dinner table, surrounded by conversation. The topic is primordial, the medium – modern.
Enter www.BooksForWallsProject.org and discuss your favorite book, your newest book and books you have yet to read. Listen. Others are reading too.
Books for Walls was a family project, set in motion by a mother who wanted to share her family’s conversation about books, hoping to inspire others to join in the discussion – an open seat, if you will, around the dinner table.
Monday, May 3, 2010


Features Erin Crowell GreenFest aims for ‘edutainment’ by the Bay
By Erin Crowell
Earth Day may have come and gone this year, but there’s still an
opportunity to think “green” at the second annual GreenFest, which
invites residents and a
rea visitors to learn more about environ-mental products, services and
projects at Traverse City’s Clinch Park, on May 8, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
“We like to call it edutainment,” says Kim Pontius, executive vice
president of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors (TAAR), one of
the GreenFest sponsors. “The event combines educational resources with
entertainment. If people aren’t having fun, they’re just not
Monday, April 26, 2010

Jack Hanna

Features Erin Crowell Wild Side of Petoskey:“Jungle” Jack Hanna featured at 2010 North Central Michigan College Lecture Series
By Erin Crowell
Jack Hanna has been making late night talk show hosts nervous with his
exotic animals since 1985. Hanna has even been in the wildlife industry
longer than Earth Day has existed, which is currently celebrating its 40th
Monday, April 26, 2010

Mud, Sweat & Beers

Features Erin Crowell Mud, Sweat & Beers: Get your mountain bike on at Mt. Holiday
By Erin Crowell
Mountain biking and beer.
Together, they have become practically synonymous for a good time in Northern Michigan. Cross the finish line at a mountain bike race and chances are, you’ll see a beer tent near the timing clock. It’s the reward for hard work: hammering up hills, fixing flat tires, avoiding flattening squirrels... it’s what mountain biking is about and it’s the idea behind Mud, Sweat & Beers – Fat Tire Fest 2010.
On Saturday, May 1, Mt. Holiday in Traverse City will host a 20 mile and 10 mile mountain bike loop along the variable terrain of Traverse City’s east side ski hill. Mt. Holiday is the only non-profit 501c3 ski, mountain biking, and Frisbee golf area in the Midwest. All proceeds from the race will support Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area.
Monday, April 19, 2010

The Boardman River Nature Center

Features Erin Crowell Before the Boardman River Nature Center opened its doors two years ago, there wasn’t an education facility dedicated to conservation efforts in the Grand Traverse region.
“It’s kind of shocking for this kind of community,” says Colleen Masterson-Bzdok, education director of the Boardman Center.
Located on Cass Road, just south of Traverse City in the Boardman River Valley, the center opened in 2008 as the gateway to seven miles of trails running through 500 acres of forest, fields, marshes and wildlife habitat along the river. In addition to being the starting point for a trail system along the Boardman River, the center has provoked a positive response from the community with the multitude of programs and events. It is also at the center of activity with the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
Monday, April 19, 2010

Leeding the way/Green homes

Features Erin Crowell When it comes to living green, it’s about getting the most bang for your
buck without leaving a considerable carbon footprint in your wake. The
U.S. Green Building Council has developed a standard that allows
homeowners to do just that through its LEED program (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design).
Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Day Parade

Features Erin Crowell “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Native American Proverb
On April 24, Northern Michigan residents will take to the streets of Traverse City for the Earth Day Parade. The route begins at Central Grade School at 1 p.m. and will continue on Seventh Street to Eighth, then on to State Street, ending at Park Street.
The Earth Day Parade is coordinated by Penny Krebiehl, founder of Little Artshram – a non-profit community of artists, musicians and environmentalists committed to learning, celebrating and co-creating with area youth and their families in the Grand Traverse region.
Monday, April 5, 2010

Grinding the rails

Features Erin Crowell Grinding the Rails at North Coast Freeride
By Erin Crowell
Several months ago, Levi Kyser took his mountain bike to Ray’s
Mountain Bike Park, an indoor skate and bike park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It was an inspirational trip for the Traverse City native, who has
traveled to places such as New Jersey, West Virginia and New York as a
semi-professional downhill mountain biker.
Monday, March 29, 2010

Horizon Books: The Third Place

Features Erin Crowell Horizon Books: “The Third Place”
By Erin Crowell
Horizon Books sits on prime realty. Somewhere between the tourist
artery of Front Street, the neighboring State Theatre, the gentle flow
of the Boardman River, and the aqua blue of West Bay at her backside,
the 49-year-old bookstore has become its own local landmark – an
invariable symbol of prosperity.
Monday, March 1, 2010

A Mennnonite memeoir

Books Erin Crowell A Mennonite Memoir
By Erin Crowell
On the heels of its first comedy festival, Northern Michigan will get
another dose of humor when the National Writers Series presents “An
Evening with Rhoda Janzen,” on March 5, at the City Opera House, in
downtown Traverse City.
Monday, March 1, 2010

Go now, be free: Microlending

Features Erin Crowell Go Now, Be Free:Duo goes international with microlending
By Erin Crowell
Jody Treter got involved in the global fair trade movement through a coffee connection.
Fair trade is a social movement that promotes sustainability in lesser-developed countries by providing fair pay to producers of exports such as clothing, tea, cocoa and coffee. As one of the original minds behind Higher Grounds, the fair trade coffee company based in Traverse City, Treter has taken on a new project called GoBe, a microlending program that connects locals with entrepreneurs in other countries -- often, the same who benefit from the fair trade movement.
We spoke with Treter by phone just before she and GoBe business partner Juliette Shultz were about to board a flight to Ecuador.
Monday, March 1, 2010

Small planet, big hearts

Features Erin Crowell Small planet, Big Hearts
By Erin Crowell
In Northern Michigan, you get kudos for shopping local – and are
encouraged to do so. After all, by supporting local businesses, you
support your neighbors, community and, in turn, yourself. Everybody