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, October 31, 2015

First Lady of Yoga

Features Patrick Sullivan Yoga is many things to many people: a workout, a spiritual discipline, a mental and physical challenge and — for some — a legacy. No one has been teaching yoga in northern Michigan, or perhaps even the entire state, for as long as Sandra Carden.
Saturday, October 17, 2015

Meet Northern Michigan's Climate Change Activists

Features Patrick Sullivan A never-aired television show changed Bill Latka’s life. The producer and director worked on a Discovery Channel program in the early 2000s called The Final Hour, a show intended to chronicle how scientists would confront climate change. He said he was not an activist before that show, but he became one after.
Saturday, October 10, 2015

Traverse Bay Blues

Features Patrick Sullivan Here’s a notable fact. One of the biggest sporting events in the world — the Rugby World Cup — is happening right now in England and two players from Traverse City made the Team USA roster. One of them, Phillip Thiel, has played in World Cup matches watched by millions.
Friday, October 2, 2015

A Red Wine Odyssey

Features Patrick Sullivan Marty Lagina is on a lifelong treasure hunt. He made a fortune discovering natural gas in the ’90s, turned wind into electricity with large-scale turbine development, and his search for actual buried treasure on Canada’s Oak Island is the subject of a History Channel television show.
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Northern Michigan’s Woodstock

Two Decades After The Party’s End, Nostalgia for Castle Farms’ Wild Years Still Grows

Features Patrick Sullivan It’s been 20 years since armies of halter top- and mullet-clad heavy metal kids took over Charlevoix on summer weekends, jamming up roads and leaving beer cans, whiskey bottles and cigarette butts in their wake. For most locals, the era was a bad dream they hope will never return. For the revelers, it was a beautiful time; thousands of people follow a Facebook page dedicated to those long-gone days.
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Have Food, Will Travel

Catering Industry Thrives in Northern Michigan’s Destination Wedding and Event Boom

Features Patrick Sullivan Labor Day used to mean the return of a more relaxed pace for almost every business in northern Michigan, but this is no longer the case in many of our region’s industries – especially when it comes to food...
Friday, September 11, 2015

Traverse City’s Tobacco Stalwart

If You Happen To Smoke Cigars, Thank Mike Nolan For Being Able To Do It Inside

Features Patrick Sullivan Walking into a smoke-filled bar with ash trays on every table feels like stepping back in time, but that’s what you’ll find at Nolan’s Cigar Bar on Front Street in Traverse City.
Friday, September 4, 2015

Mindless Senseless Destruction

Reward In Cadillac Vandalism Case Is Raised To $1,000

Features Patrick Sullivan

It was a frigid Tuesday morning in January when Rick and Tammy Grant arrived at the back of a building in downtown Cadillac they’d entered a thousand times before – and something wasn’t right.

A burgundy and white cap sat at the top of the stairs leading to the basement; it was a foreign object. They didn’t know immediately, but that hat signaled their lives were about to change.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thinking About Killing Yourself? Read This.

Features Patrick Sullivan

People who work in suicide counseling say the biggest factor contributing to someone’s life or death is whether that person is able to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness and ask for help.

If you live in northern Michigan and you’re thinking about killing yourself, call one of these numbers: (231) 922-4800 or (800) 442-7315. They connect to the Third Level Crisis Intervention Center suicide hotline.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sun Frog

Fast Growing New Company Could Turn Gaylord into the T-Shirt Capital of the World

Features Patrick Sullivan

In a nondescript industrial park on the outskirts of Gaylord, young workers have their fingers on the Internet’s pulse. For instance, take their approach to March 14, 2015.

“I didn’t think anything of Pi Day, but when Pi Day hit, we sold tens of thousands. I’m going to guess we sold 50,000 Pi Day T- shirts, and that just came out of left field,” said Josh Kent, founder and CEO of Sun Frog Shirts, an online T-shirt store. “I was like, ‘Wait, what’s Pi Day? Oh yeah, the day of Pi, 3.14.’ I love it when they go viral.”

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Welcome Aboard the Floating Classrooms of Grand Traverse Bay

Features Patrick Sullivan “I was doing that and going to college, trying to figure out what I was doing with my life, and I saw this unique experience occurring and I just loved it. I watched kids learn and all I could think about was, ‘Man, why wasn’t school like that for me?’ I hated school,” Sitkins said.
Friday, July 31, 2015

Local Food

An Industry Made From Scratch

Features Patrick Sullivan “I think people are definitely becoming a lot more aware of where their food is coming from and I think that has definitely opened up the potential,” he said. “With water shortages out west and all that, pretty soon, it will be a necessity to source all food locally.
Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gay From Gaylord

A Coming-(Out)-of-Age Story

Features Patrick Sullivan This winter, Ryan made a short documentary with some classmates about his transformation called “Gay From Gaylord.” The film can be seen on YouTube and it will be shown as part of the Traverse City Film Festival on July 30 at 6pm at the Inside Out Gallery.
Friday, July 17, 2015

Brownfield Dollars

Features Patrick Sullivan There’s never been a time when so many large-scale developments were proposed, or in progress, in Traverse City. The incredible number of projects that could develop in the next year — and the requests for Brownfield funding expected to accompany them — means development and public incentives are slated to be a hot topic.
Friday, July 10, 2015

Licensed To Perform

Permits No Longer Required to Sing and Play in TC

Features Patrick Sullivan Maayingan and Kewayden Brauker’s grandmother had enough one day last June. She told the teenagers to get out of the house and do something. The brothers took acoustic guitars to the Jay Smith Walkway on Front Street in Traverse City. Maayingan played while Kewayden listened. They didn’t have a guitar case open on the ground to collect money; they were just hanging out.