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, February 6, 2016

A Michigan Oil History Primer

Features Patrick Sullivan People drilled for oil in Michigan before there were cars to fill up at gas stations. Prospectors drilled for oil in Port Huron in the 1880s. They cooked it and turned it into axel grease for wagons, said Dr. William Harrison, director of the Michigan Basin Core Research Laboratory at Western Michigan University.
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Putting The Exchange In Foreign Exchange

Features Patrick Sullivan This school year, Rotary is hosting three foreign students in Traverse City. At the same time, there are students from Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School studying through Rotary’s foreign exchange program in Brazil, Germany and Columbia.
Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Drifter Out To See The World

Local Sees Syrian Refugee Crisis Up-Close

Features Patrick Sullivan Winowiecki, a Kingsley High School graduate, travels and writes about traveling on his blog, headedabroad.com, whenever he can; he’s also a student at Lake Superior State University, where he majors in creative writing and marketing. Last fall, the 21-year-old came face-to-face with desperate Syrian refugees and he found it heartbreaking.
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Robot Battle!

Features Patrick Sullivan One might think schools from northern Michigan wouldn’t stand a chance in robot competitions against Detroit-area teams sponsored by General Motors or Delphi that have some of the world’s best engineers on speed dial. One might think that, but one would be wrong.
Saturday, January 16, 2016

Go Fighting Whities!

Is the use of Native American imagery in Petoskey sports teams offensive?

Features Patrick Sullivan

What would happen if a high school football team decided to call themselves the “Fighting Whities” and used a Caucasian stereotype as a mascot?

Fred Harrington said it wouldn’t fly — neither would mascots portraying Jewish, African American, Italian, Asian or any other racial identity. So why, he asks, are Native American mascots, like the one used by the Petoskey Northmen, acceptable?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sitting, Sugar, Sun


Features Patrick Sullivan Sitting too often, eating too much sugar or spending too much time unprotected from the sun can have harmful or deadly effects equal to more obvious dangers. The Northern Express talked to experts about how we can redefine these behaviors as vices in order to live healthier lives.
Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Place in the World

Cadillac’s After 26 Depot Helps Connect Disabled Adults to Their Community

Features Patrick Sullivan Forty-four-year-old Keith is finally in touch with the world. As he washed dishes, he thought about why he loves his job at After 26 Depot restaurant in Cadillac. Keith, who is cognitively disabled, once worked at a sheltered factory that employs disabled adults.
Saturday, December 19, 2015

Northern Michigan’s Crystal Ball

Features Patrick Sullivan Development, big and tall, will be the hottest topic in Traverse City for the foreseeable future. Debate has raged for months over whether the city should allow the construction of a nine-story building, a project that would either promote density,...
Saturday, December 12, 2015

Glimpse Into the Past

Features Patrick Sullivan Rudolf Paziener arrived in the Boardman River Valley in 1922, it was known as “plains country” because loggers has stripped the land of trees as far as you could see.
Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fun on Ice

Features Patrick Sullivan The USA Hockey American Development Model (ADM) has been implemented in an effort to reverse the trend of fewer kids playing hockey each year. Despite being greeted warily by some parents, after five years, ADM seems to be paying off for the Grand Traverse Hockey Association (GTHA).
Saturday, November 28, 2015

Heroin's Popularity

Pushes Drug Dealing to A New Level in the Region

Features Patrick Sullivan A drive-thru drug store in an East Bay Township motel parking lot? That’s what police thought their subjects’ activities looked like during a surveillance operation last February. Detectives turned up evidence against the man and woman they were observing that led them up the supply chain to a bigger fish: Ronald Norfleet, one of the most significant drug dealers ever captured in Grand Traverse County.
Saturday, November 21, 2015

Nine Stories of Conflict

Features Patrick Sullivan Debate over two nine-story buildings proposed at the corner of Front and Pine streets in Traverse City has become about something bigger than whether developers should be able to build a large mixed-used apartment complex — it’s become a debate about the future of Traverse City.
Saturday, November 14, 2015

Licensed to Carry, Reason to Worry?

Features Patrick Sullivan County gun boards, the gatekeepers who decide whether a person should be given a concealed pistol permit, will disappear at the end of the month. Beginning in December, state police will conduct background checks and county clerks will process the paperwork to issue licenses to carry handguns.
Saturday, November 7, 2015

What Happens to the Ones Who Serve When They Come Home?

Features Patrick Sullivan A surge of veterans — that’s what Northwestern Michigan College expected when the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect in 2008. In 2012, NMC established a Veteran Services Office and, since then, the aim of its leader Scott Herzberg has been to make the school a more welcoming place for students who come from the military — and it’s working.
Saturday, November 7, 2015

Snapshots: Three NMC Vets

Features Patrick Sullivan In January 2014, Frederick rejoined civilian life in Traverse City after his wife found a job as a social worker at Bethany Christian Services. They are expecting their first child in April. Frederick is in his third semester at NMC and holds a work-study job in Scott Herzberg’s Veteran Services Office.