Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Al Parker

 
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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Contemporary Quilts of Sarah Bearup-Neal

Art Al Parker It’s been about 25 years since Sarah Bearup-Neal visited a small historical museum in Flint and was taken aback by what she saw there.
“There was a twist,” she recalls. “The quilts were hung from the ceiling rather than spread horizontally across a bed. It was explained to me these quilts were being exhibited for the strength of their design.”
Quilts as Art?
“The idea struck me as revolutionary and it germinated inside my brain for 20 years,” she says.
Art has been part of Bearup-Neal’s life since she was growing up in Grand Blanc, south of Flint. In 1978, she earned a BFA in studio art from Michigan State University. Despite this background, she didn’t pursue art professionally until the late 1990s when she displayed her fiber arts.
“I created women’s clothing using techniques from the quilting world,” she explains. “But then I decided my heart wasn’t really in that and I began really studying contemporary quilts. They’re different from traditional quilts. People believe they just belong in the bedroom. Quilting as an art medium is sometimes difficult for people to get their minds around.”
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Rick Daigh

Art Al Parker Gaze on the evocative works of Rick Daigh and you might wonder who his
early artistic inspirations were.
The Old Masters? Perhaps the Impressionists?
“When I was about 9 years old, I got Mad Magazine,” he says with a wry
smile. “My heroes were those artists – Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Mort
Drucker. I loved those guys. By the time I was in high school, I wanted to
be an illustrator.”
After a year and a half as nt art major at Sacramento City College and a
tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force, Daigh found work at a number of print
shops and ad agencies in Southern California. He gradually got more
art-related jobs, working as a cartoonist at a greeting card company and
for several design studios where his detailed illustrations were featured
on brochures, print ads and publications.
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

The nature side of Kaye Krapohl

Art Al Parker Kaye Krapohl finds the perfect view atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, pulls out her gear and settles in to interpret the stunning scene before her. 
“Here’s my ‘very technical’ approach to painting,” she says with a laugh. “Get a clip board, gessoed paper, or piece of wood, grab whatever paints will fit into my Oryana cloth bag, roll brushes up in a dishtowel, grab a small china plate and water in a water bottle. Get on my bike or travel to a nice location and paint. I take a backpack, sit on a rock and do my little sketches.”
Then she returns to her in-home studio in Traverse City and turns those ‘little sketches’ into 24x36-inch or 38x38-inch things of beauty. Her favorite medium is oil on wood with very thin washes.
Nature dominates Krapohl’s works, mostly landscapes of stunning appeal and accuracy. Her acrylics, oils and watercolors capture clouds, rivers, lakes, marshes, streams and sunsets from across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. 
“I do landscapes because it’s there,” she explains. “You can always expect my work to give a sense of being there in the present. The greatest compliment anyone could give me is ‘I can hear the snow crunch’ or ‘I can smell the river.’”
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

The nature side of Kaye Krapohl

Art Al Parker Kaye Krapohl finds the perfect view atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, pulls out her gear and settles in to interpret the stunning scene before her. 
“Here’s my ‘very technical’ approach to painting,” she says with a laugh. “Get a clip board, gessoed paper, or piece of wood, grab whatever paints will fit into my Oryana cloth bag, roll brushes up in a dishtowel, grab a small china plate and water in a water bottle. Get on my bike or travel to a nice location and paint. I take a backpack, sit on a rock and do my little sketches.”
Then she returns to her in-home studio in Traverse City and turns those ‘little sketches’ into 24x36-inch or 38x38-inch things of beauty. Her favorite medium is oil on wood with very thin washes.
Nature dominates Krapohl’s works, mostly landscapes of stunning appeal and accuracy. Her acrylics, oils and watercolors capture clouds, rivers, lakes, marshes, streams and sunsets from across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. 
“I do landscapes because it’s there,” she explains. “You can always expect my work to give a sense of being there in the present. The greatest compliment anyone could give me is ‘I can hear the snow crunch’ or ‘I can smell the river.’”
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

Char Brickel

Art Al Parker It’s easy to see that artist Char Bickel is serious when it comes to joy and fun.
“It’s good to keep in touch with that childhood joy,” advises the smiling Northport resident who creates evocative, handsome shadow boxes of painted silk and cotton fabric that is painstakingly cut and glued. “I loved making art as a kid and I still do.”  
Paying homage to collage, Bickel’s works draw their inspiration from the nature that surrounds her in Leelanau County and most of her works include images of animals – rabbits, fish, birds, and most noticeably, bears. In fact, her haunting image of a Juggling Bear has become synonymous with her work, appearing in a variety of her shadow boxes.
“There’s something about the shape of bears,” she says. “I’ve been doing the Juggling Bear since 1992. It’s sort of a logo for me now. To me, it reflects that you should handle parts of life in balance and joyfully.” 
Bickel’s shadow boxes begin simply with white silk that is screen printed with splashes of color. Then she cuts and glues the silk into images as simple and subtle as bears flying kites or ponies romping on a beach. The scenes may seem other-worldly, yet are rooted in the familiar. Take a closer look and you’ll see sturdy stitching linking a stone to the beach or fixing the moon in the sky.
“I like adding detail,” she says. “I like to start with a strong image first, then see something else and something else, adding details.”
 
Monday, December 20, 2010

Dining with Gusto

Dining Al Parker Dining with Gusto! in Suttons Bay
By Al Parker
Just for the record, the colorful Italian eatery in Suttons Bay is pronounced “Goose-tow,” not “Gus-tow.”
“I don’t care how they say it, as long as they come in,” laughs Sam Hybels, owner of Gusto! on M-22 just a couple of doors north of Suttons Bay’s south blinker light.
In a prior life, the building housed Hattie’s, operated by noted restaurateur Jim Milliman. In 2003, Milliman decided to sell Hattie’s and Hybels, who had worked at the eatery, saw an opportunity. He bought Hattie’s, changed the menu and reintroduced the restaurant as Samuel’s.
About 18 months ago he transformed Samuel’s into Gusto!
“It’s been a good direction for us to go,” says Hybels, who comes from a family of self-proclaimed foodies and has been a chef for 20 years. “I really modeled Gusto! after a couple of Italian restaurants in Kalamazoo where we went when I was growing up.”
Hybels devotion to authentic Italian cuisine goes back many years and was sparked when he spent two weeks visiting Sicily. “I had been a corporate chef for 10 years and was burned out,” he recalls. “The Italian people are food people. They emphasize freshness and quality. That’s the way I do it.”
 
Monday, December 6, 2010

Union Cantina

Dining Al Parker Union Cantina offers South of the Border style
By Al Parker
You might say restaurant entrepreneur Matt Davies has come full circle.
“I started early on (in the restaurant business) at Taco Ed’s in
Findley, Ohio,” says Davies, an Ohio native whose family summered in
Northern Michigan when he was a boy. “I was just a kid.”
 
Monday, November 29, 2010

Cogs Creek Collective

Art Al Parker Cog’s Creek Collective : Offers New Art Gallery & Café
By Al Parker
Kim Bazemore smiles widely, wipes her hands on a rag and talks about her latest project of turning a neglected building into a home for creative art and artists. “It’s been a lot of work over a long time, but it’s coming together,” she says, her voice rising with excitement.
“It” is the Cog’s Creek Collective, a 6,000-square-foot building in Traverse City’s “Little Bohemia” neighborhood, tucked behind the popular Lil Bo Pub & Grille on North Maple Street.
The former home of Coddington Cleaners, the building now houses an art gallery for Bazemore’s gold and silver jewelry creations, an eatery, a clothing designer, a knife sharpening workshop and room for more artisans.
A grand opening celebration is set for Friday, Dec. 3 at the century-old building that took about a year to renovate. About 10 artists are expected to display their creations – paintings, photography, furniture, modern art quilts, ornaments and more. It’ll be catered by their neighbor, Lil Bo Pub & Grille.
 
Monday, November 8, 2010

Alden Bar

Dining Al Parker In Alden: a facelift revitalizes the ‘AB’
By Al Parker
In many communities, the largest employer is a factory, hospital or
maybe a school.
That’s not the case in Alden, according to Walt Owens, who owns and
operates the newly-remodeled Alden Bar & Grille in the friendly little
village that hugs the east shore of Torch Lake.
 
Monday, October 18, 2010

Tuscan Bistro

Dining Al Parker Bistro Offers a Taste of Tuscany
By Al Parker
Some chefs spend years in culinary schools learning their craft and
honing their skills before launching into a career in the kitchen.
But that isn’t Mickey Cannon’s style.
 
Monday, October 11, 2010

Enjoy a Fall Picnic with Rolling Farms

Features Al Parker With cooler days elbowing aside the warmth of Indian Summer, another
spectacular Northern Michigan autumn is here.
But there’s still time to enjoy one of the area’s most beloved outdoor
traditions, the picnic. There’s something memory-making about enjoying
a simple outdoor meal with a special companion on a comfy slice of
your favorite terrain.
 
Monday, October 4, 2010

Willie‘s Rear

Dining Al Parker The View from Willie’s Rear
By Al Parker
Jim Rowland was a just a kid in junior high school down in Clawson
when he began dreaming about owning his own restaurant.
And in 1989, the first time he strolled into the unassuming little
diner on South Airport Road between Barlow and Garfield Roads, he had
a vision. “It was just how I imagined it,” says the outgoing Rowland.
“It was my dream restaurant.”
 
Monday, August 30, 2010

Willow Mercantile

Dining Al Parker Willow Mercantile brings farm-fresh foods to Cadillac
By Al Parker
A pair of energetic entrepreneurs have taken a shabby location on Cadillac’s South Mitchell Street and turned it into a bustling produce and specialty market that lures shoppers from across the region with its fresh produce, extensive roster of Michigan products and on-site greenhouse.
 
Monday, August 23, 2010

Da Dawg House

Dining Al Parker Da Dawg House offers Dining in a Dog Dish
By Al Parker
It’s a mid-summer, mid-morning in Cadillac, a time when a lot of
breakfast joints are starting to slow down a bit after the breakfast
rush.
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

Chez Peres

Dining Al Parker Chez Peres offers French comfort food
By Al Parker
French cuisine often conjures up images of white linen tables, a pretentious maitre d and entrees smothered in thick, creamy, calorie-laden sauces.
Kick those concepts to the Lake Avenue curb when you visit Traverse City’s newest French bistro, Chez Peres.
“Our food is elegant, but very much down to Earth,” says chef Keil Moshier.
 
 
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