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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Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Modern Day Take on Strang

Features Patrick Sullivan A Strangite Mormon Diaspora occurred after James Jesse Strang was assassinated in 1856. There was no census taken to determine what happened to his followers; they are thought to have scattered to Utah and Wisconsin and elsewhere. For a time, the Mormon religion seemed to vanish from northern Michigan.
Saturday, April 23, 2016

Beaver Island’s Historical Divide

Features Patrick Sullivan Once, the island was home to a Mormon king, a charismatic and despotic leader who commanded that his followers adhere to his strict, splinter brand of Mormonism. James Jesse Strang’s followers were chased from the island following his assassination in 1856 and, since then, the place has cultivated an Irish identity, one that’s survived to this day.
Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Green One Percent

Early Adopters of Solar Technology Worry About a Utility Backlash

Features Patrick Sullivan Electric utilities are pushing back against incentives encouraging people to go solar and conserve energy. The latest local example of this nationwide struggle flared up in March, when Cherryland Electric Cooperative’s board of directors approved a measure to slash what it pays for solar panel-generated kilowatts beginning in November.
Saturday, April 9, 2016

All of These T-shirts Were Born in Northern Michigan

(But Not All of Them Were Made in America)

Features Patrick Sullivan Go anywhere in the country and you can find a quirky T-shirt shop that celebrates that particular place. Go to a tourist town and there will be several. Look at Traverse City; it’s got M-22, High Five Threads, the Roth Shirt Co., Tee See Tee, not to mention shops, wineries and breweries that create their own designs.
Saturday, April 2, 2016

What’s Happening in Greilickville?

Turns Out...A Lot.

Features Patrick Sullivan

As traffic volume nears a level suggesting M-22 become a five-lane highway, township planners hope to turn the village into a tourist destination with small-town appeal. Here are two visions for Greilickville’s future.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Features Patrick Sullivan The 38-year-old convict was several years into a 5-to-30-year sentence for running a downstate meth lab, keeping his head down as chance for release approached. Then, the unthinkable happened at Pugsley Correctional Facility, the low-level security prison near Kingsley.
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Another Slice of Life Inside

Features Patrick Sullivan

One former northern Michigan resident ended up at Pugsley while serving a five-to-ten-year sentence after a felony conviction. The ex-con, who talked in the condition of anonymity, recalls his time spent in prison as an extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars noting recidivism rates that exceed 40 percent within three years.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bringing Light Back to the South Fox Island Lighthouse

Group Hopes to Make One of the State’s Least Accessible Parks a Little More Welcoming

Features Patrick Sullivan

Bruce Rollins always wanted to be a lighthouse keeper. That romantic and isolated occupation was a dying job even back when he was in high school in the 1960s, though. He became an engineer and eventually retired in Texas. A year ago, he spotted a two-line classified ad in a boating magazine that read, “camper-keepers wanted.”

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Brewers Getting Together at Breweries Having Brews

Features Patrick Sullivan

In the early years of northern Michigan’s craft beer scene, beer makers from competing breweries used to gather to talk shop.

They’d meet once a month at someone’s brewpub, have some beer and swap ideas.

After Traverse City’s Workshop Brewing Company opened in 2013, owner Pete Kirkwood heard about those meetings and decided he wanted to try to revive them.
Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hops Are Hopping

Features Patrick Sullivan “We bought 10 acres about 10 years ago to camp on and things got out of hand,” said Brian Tennis, owner of New Mission Organics and creator of the Michigan Hop Alliance, who quit his corporate job in February because hops have taken over his life. “Now we’ve got 30 acres in hops and we’re looking to buy more property to expand.
Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Danger Zone

It’s hard to talk politics with people you disagree with these days; that hasn’t stopped some people from trying

Features Patrick Sullivan Rahrig set out to create a safe place on Facebook for people who disagree about politics. It was a success in its early months, bringing together diverse people in Traverse City who debated difficult topics. However, in reflection of national politics, things fell apart—debate Rahrig got heated, a comment was removed and Rahrig closed the group.
Saturday, February 27, 2016

Postcards From Africa

Northern Michiganders Work to Improve Life in a Faraway Place

Features Patrick Sullivan

Not all travel is about relaxation and fun. Some people travel for a purpose. In recent years, people from across northern Michigan have found themselves in Africa to heal the sick, to help the poor obtain access to water, and to oppose the victimization of women. These are some of their stories.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pig Trouble At Baker’s Green Acres

Features Patrick Sullivan Mark Baker said stores or restaurants that carry his pork products made from his Mangalitsa pigs have been intimidated by county, state and federal inspectors. Officials deny this. They say Baker’s recent trouble with health regulations is unrelated to an earlier feral pig dispute.
Saturday, February 13, 2016

From the Third World to Front Street

Features Patrick Sullivan Chef Anthony Craig has come a long way from Bluefields, Nicaragua, an isolated, tropical trading village where he began his life. In Bluefields, Craig lived on a dirt floor and watched his father load boats with ice for days-long fishing trips into the Atlantic.
Saturday, February 6, 2016

Boom Or Bust?

Features Patrick Sullivan In the 1990s, 1,000 new oil wells were drilled across the state of Michigan. In 2015, only 100 wells were drilled. Many of the people who drill and service those wells live and work in northern Michigan. This is the other side of the incredibly cheap gasoline seen in recent months.