Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Park Place Cafe

Dining Al Parker Cadillac’s Park Place Café offers star power on a shoestring
By Al Parker
So you’re getting ready to launch a new eatery and there are certain
essentials you need to open the doors, right?
Gotta’ have a stove or large tabletop grill, of course. Maybe a deep
fryer and spacious oven too.
 
Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dockside delivers

Dining Al Parker The Dockside Delivers: Torch Lake destination offers dining and good times
By Al Parker
It’s 10 a.m. on a sunny May morning, the kind they call “a Dockside day” at the popular restaurant that has been a fixture on Torch Lake’s eastern shore for more than a century.
The crystalline waters of the lake are amazingly calm, the air cool and fresh with the promise of a gorgeous spring day.
Owner Gordy Schafer greets three new employees with a question. “What’s the first thing we asked you when you applied here?” he asks.
“What’s your GPA,” the three young women answer in unison.
 
Monday, February 22, 2010

Your tummy is sure to growl at The Bear‘s Den

Dining Al Parker Your tummy is sure to growl at the Bear’s Den
By Al Parker
Stroll into the Bear’s Den Pizzeria and you’re immediately surrounded by the aura of the legendary hunter and businessman to whom the restaurant pays homage.
Images of that craggy, wide smile, basset hound eyes and rakishly tilted battered Borsolino hat mean that the spirit of Fred Bear is alive and well in downtown Grayling.
“I hunted with a Fred Bear bow at 13, “recalls Bill Gannon, owner of the restaurant. “My Dad started me out on that and I’ve been a hunter ever since.”
Gannon’s father was a conservation officer and a friend of Bear’s. “Every story you hear about Fred Bear is about how he was a very kind person,” says Gannon. “He was just a real down-to-earth, nice guy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing about him.”
That respect for Bear led Gannon to open the pizzeria a few years ago and display his huge collection of Bear memorabilia that he had collected over the decades. Several large framed Bear Archery advertisements line the walls and some 40 Bear bows and dozens of arrows are on display.
 
Monday, February 1, 2010

Folgarelli‘s

Dining Al Parker When you’ve been voted the No. 1 sandwich maker in Traverse City for
eight years, you might get a little complacent.
But Donna Folgarelli is as energetic, optimistic and excited as if
she’s opening the doors on a spanking new business instead of
operating a TC landmark that has been dishing up delicious eats for
more than three decades.
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Trout Town Country Cafe

Dining Al Parker Fishing for Comfort at the
Trout Town Country Café
By Al Parker
It’s mid-morning, mid-week in mid-November and the Trout Town Country
Café is jammed with a combination of lingering regulars and hungry
deer hunters swapping tales, telling jokes and savoring a hot cup of
coffee.
 
Monday, November 23, 2009

A ‘Green‘ oil change alternative

Features Al Parker Pretty Slick:
a ‘green’ oil change alternative
By Al Parker
When Doug Brown wheeled his family car into Cherry Capital Cadillac Subaru for an oil change he didn’t plan on making an environmental statement.
But that’s what the Munson Medical Center retiree did last month when he became one of the dealership’s first customers to opt for the green alternative of using re-refined oil.
“It works great and if it helps reduce the amount of oil we need to import, why not do it?” says Brown.
 
Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflects Bistro

Dining Al Parker “We‘ve been definitely well received,“ says a smiling Jack Buist
as he pours a glass of Cambria Chardonnay and offers it to a visitor.
Buist is the general manager of Traverse City’s newest hotel, Cambria Suites, which opened in June. It recently hosted a grand opening that attracted some 400 visitors in three hours.
“It was really great that so many people stopped in to check us out,” says Buist, an Allegan native who’s been working in the Traverse City area hospitality scene for more than 25 years.
One of the new hotel’s most popular attractions is Reflect, a cozy and comfortable dining area done in earthy patterns of tan, brown and crimson. There’s seating for nine at the counter/bar area and ample room for dozens more at nearby tables. Assistant general manager Colleen Whittaker oversees the bistro’s staff of 12.
 
Monday, November 2, 2009

Spud burger/ Railside Bar & Grill

Dining Al Parker Spud Burger!
Railside Bar & Grill serves it up in Elmira

By Al Parker 11/2/09

“You’re about to enjoy a rite of passage,” says smiling day shift bartender Chris King as he deftly slides a full platter and an ice cold Labatt’s across the table toward a guest.
Like a gaudy oversized jewel nestled in a crown, Michigan’s original potato burger dominates the dish at the Railside Bar & Grill. There’s a side order of hand-cut home fries, but the potato burger is the star of the menu at the Railside, formerly the Elmira Inn.
“It’s a blend of black Angus beef, cheddar cheese, some special spices and grated Kitchen Farms potatoes,” explains chef Randy Troy, an affable culinary veteran who’s well known in the Northern Michigan restaurant scene.
About four years ago, Bob Huppert and Larry Beurkens bought the slightly ramshackle Elmira Inn and sank a lot of cash and sweat equity into it, expanding the kitchen, redoing the rest rooms and updating the furniture.
Huddled right along the railroad tracks, the place had seen its better days, but the new owners worked hard to change its image from a smoky, aging bar into a clean family-friendly eatery. It’s no longer a bar that serves food, but a restaurant that offers drinks.
 
Monday, November 2, 2009

Diamonds sparkle for gemologist Nesrine Hamati

Features Al Parker Diamonds Sparkle
for Gemologist Nesrine Hamati

By Al Parker 11/2/09

Nesrine Hamati, owner of Diamond Galleria, the elegant new jewelry store at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, remembers clearly when she first broke into the jewelry game.
“I was nine years old and my dad used to take me on the floor of his shop,” recalls the 27-year-old entrepreneur with a smile. “I’ve had a passion for the business ever since.”
For many years her family has operated several MJ Diamonds stores across the Detroit area. Born in Lebanon, she was a three-year-old when her family came to the U.S. in 1985. She’s one of four daughters and the only one to follow in the family business.
 
Monday, October 26, 2009

New Trend: Pet Funerals

Features Al Parker New Trend: Pet Funerals
Grieving owners seek fond farewells at
Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory

By Al Parker 10/26/09

The inspiration for Kerri Collier’s business came while visiting her grandfather in Florida.
“He had lost his beloved Shih Tzu, Susie, who died and it was really hard on him,” she remembers. “He created a memorial shrine to Susie that contained her collar, some of her toys and other items. I thought other pet owners might want to do the same.”
So early in 2008, Traverse City native Collier and her husband, Dustin, opened Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory to serve pet owners who have lost a much-loved member of their family. From its building located south of Chum’s Corner, the company serves grieving pet owners from Ludington to Cheboygan.
 
Monday, October 19, 2009

Pop into Grayling‘s Bottle Cap Museum & ‘50‘s Diner

Features Al Parker Pop in to Grayling’s Bottle Cap Museum & ’50s Diner

By Al Parker 10/19/09

Tucked along East Michigan Avenue, just off Grayling’s main drag, is a classic ‘50s style diner that houses a 10,000-piece museum that pays homage to the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola.
Dawson & Stevens Classic ‘50s Diner and Soda Fountain is home to the Bottle Cap Museum, Northern Michigan’s largest privately owned collection of all things Coke – century-old bottles, carriers, trays, posters, playing cards, bottle caps, barrels, ads, baseball cards, coins, dolls - even an original Coca-Cola delivery truck that came across Lake Michigan from Minnesota.
 
Monday, October 5, 2009

Martha‘s Leelanau Table

Dining Al Parker A Taste of Europe in Suttons Bay

By Al Parker 10/5/09

Martha Ryan wipes her hands on her crisp white apron, hoists plates of still-warm pastries in both hands and pauses from her busy duties to give credit to her year-old restaurant’s bustling staff.
“I have a great team here,” says Ryan, owner and operator of Martha’s Leelanau Table Café, a non-smoking restaurant housed in a remodeled 107-year-old residence on Suttons Bay’s main drag, St. Joseph Street.
Helping Ryan run the European-style café are her son Matt who does some cooking and daughter-in-law Rachell who runs the front. Especially busy these days are pastry chefs Susan McConnell, a longtime friend, and Daniela Weiner, an Austrian native and recent graduate of the Illinois Institute of Arts culinary arts program.
For 20 years Ryan was the food service director for Leland Schools. In summers she served meals at a number of Leelanau County restaurants, including Hattie’s, Thyme Out and the Homestead. In her spare time she did some catering.
 
Monday, October 5, 2009

Martha‘s Leelanau Table

Dining Al Parker A Taste of Europe in Suttons Bay

By Al Parker 10/5/09

Martha Ryan wipes her hands on her crisp white apron, hoists plates of still-warm pastries in both hands and pauses from her busy duties to give credit to her year-old restaurant’s bustling staff.
“I have a great team here,” says Ryan, owner and operator of Martha’s Leelanau Table Café, a non-smoking restaurant housed in a remodeled 107-year-old residence on Suttons Bay’s main drag, St. Joseph Street.
Helping Ryan run the European-style café are her son Matt who does some cooking and daughter-in-law Rachell who runs the front. Especially busy these days are pastry chefs Susan McConnell, a longtime friend, and Daniela Weiner, an Austrian native and recent graduate of the Illinois Institute of Arts culinary arts program.
For 20 years Ryan was the food service director for Leland Schools. In summers she served meals at a number of Leelanau County restaurants, including Hattie’s, Thyme Out and the Homestead. In her spare time she did some catering.
 
Monday, September 21, 2009

They‘re gunning for the Artprize

Art Al Parker They’re Gunning
for the ArtPrize

Two dozen local artists seek their fortune in Grand Rapids contest

By Al Parker 9/21/09

Traverse City artist Eric Daigh shoves the last of 23,625 push pins into place, then stands back to examine his four x six-foot portrait with a critical eye.
“I’m entering three portraits,” he tells a visitor. “Each will be made in five colors of pushpins – white, black, red, blue and yellow. Once completed, they will be tied (with each other) for the “Largest Pushpin Mosaic in the World” in the Guinness Book of World Records. I currently hold that record, but will be beating my own record.”
Daigh is one of some two dozen Northern Michigan artists entered in ArtPrize, an unprecedented competition that will award nearly $500,000 to prize winners, including $250,000 to the artist who receives the most public votes.
The event begins Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 10 in Grand Rapids. ArtPrize will have no formal jury, curator or judge. The viewing public will decide who wins the prizes by voting, using mobile devices and the web. ArtPrize has attracted 1,262 artists from almost every state and many countries, including Italy, Sweden, England, Israel, Mexico and Canada. It’s expected to draw art enthusiasts from across the globe.
 
Monday, September 14, 2009

My one shot in a million

Features Al Parker MY One Shot in a Million
Tough questions rule at game show audition

By Al Parker 9/14/09
Press News Service

The 20-something brunette clears her throat, stares sternly at the crowd in front of her and warns, “Don’t even think about taking this test home with you. If you want a souvenir, you can take the pencil.”
With this admonition, 102 of us test-takers gathered in the ABC Building’s cafeteria in New York City to begin the 30-question “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” qualifying exam. We have 10 minutes (timed with a stopwatch by the stern brunette) to finish.
 
 
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