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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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Glass Master

Glass mosaic artist Brian Strickland bucks all kinds of trends. He doesn’t own a computer … or a car.

Art Al Parker My art form of glass mosaics originates from a desire and commitment to transform a ‘concept’ into a ‘tangible reality.’ Frequently my inspiration stems from a particular subject or theme, and on other occasions my imagination is fueled by the scale of a project or dominant color scheme.
Monday, April 14, 2014

Heavy Metal

As a Detroit-area sculpture student, David Petrakovitz sold his first piece to Mrs. Edsel Ford.

Art Al Parker Growing up in the Motor City during the heyday of the automotive industry, Petrakovitz developed an avid interest in industrial machinery. He says he sees the raw beauty in their functions and their forms. He features gears, wheels and levers prominently in his creations.
Monday, April 7, 2014

Divinely Inspired

As a Catholic schoolgirl in Dearborn, Michelle St. Amant would sit in church services, gazing on the beautiful alabaster figures of saints behind the altar.

Art Al Parker At the age of 10, a friend’s mother invited me to attend an art class at the civic center. We were each given a small lump of clay and told to create whatever we chose with it. I had been fixated on becoming a nun, so I placed my hands at work molding my shapeless mass of clay into a small version of one.
Monday, March 31, 2014

A Life of Fiber

Insurance was a less than perfect fit for Marcia Koppa, who left her job when the urge to get creative struck her.

Art Al Parker “About 15 years ago, I felt a real need to do something artistic,” said Koppa, who lives just outside of Grayling. “I tried sketching and found out I couldn’t sketch. So if I couldn’t sketch, how could I possibly paint?” Koppa turned to weaving, turning out hundreds of scarves, vibrant table runners and wall hangings.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sochi Winter Olympic Games

The Northern Michigan connection

Features Al Parker Northern Michigan has more than a few ties to the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Games, ranging from East Jordan yarns in the U.S. team sweaters to a sports psychologist hailing from our region to Heather Clark, who will be on the slopes of Russia weeks from now.
Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Arts

A round-up of the season’s most creative events

Features Al Parker Art lovers in Northern Michigan can find a high quality show almost every weekend through Labor Day this summer. Here are details on some of the most popular shows and art fairs across the region.
Monday, April 1, 2013

Pet Portraits

Shanny Schmidt has a doggone good time portraying pooches

Features Al Parker

Shanny Schmidt has found an art niche that offers something special for animal lovers.

She paints pet portraits, mostly dogs, which feature vibrant colors and unusual poses. Her growing collection of works ranges from Airedales to Wolfhounds and most breeds in between.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Grande Vision

Gary Grimshaw's Exhibition of '60s rock posters coming to InsideOut

Features Al Parker While much of America was grooving to the sultry “Summer of Love” sounds in 1967, Detroit was cranking out gritty, raw, pounding music from its epicenter, The Grande Ballroom.
Monday, July 9, 2012

There’s Always Something New from Richard Asher

Features Al Parker As a youngster growing up in New York City, Richard Asher’s early artwork drew attention from his teacher. “I doodled on my test papers in elementary school and I got in trouble for it,” he recalls with a laugh. “I was not The Art Kid in my neighborhood.”
Monday, February 6, 2012

Real Life

Features Al Parker Since those early Colgate-on-cardboard days, she’s become an award-winning landscape artist whose oil works hang in collections and galleries across the country. At the Northwest Michigan Regional Artists show currently at the Dennos Museum, Saxon’s The Sky Above the Lake.
Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Shows

Features Al Parker What’s hot on the region’s stages

It may be wintry outside, but Northern Michigan theatre stages are warming up with several exciting performance choices in coming months, from professional presentations to community theatre to student performances...

Monday, October 3, 2011

A PRESSING Engagement

Features Al Parker Driving west and north out of Mancelona, it’s not too long before you’re surrounded by a lush green forest where you find the gurgling waters of the under-rated Cedar River.
Monday, August 29, 2011

Todd Warner's Zoo Charlevoix sculptor loves animals & 'sophisticated whimsey'

Art Al Parker In his downtown Charlevoix studio, sculptor Todd Warner puts flame to his first Dominican Excalibur cigar of the day, exhales a plume of fragrant smoke and recalls his early artistic efforts.
“I was always drawing stuff,” he says with a chuckle. “From the time I could pick up a pencil. My kindergarten teacher said ‘We need to foster this.’”
Decades later, Warner’s clay-and-wood works include life-size cowboys, Indians, butlers and fishermen. He has a special affinity for animals and crafts unique beasts from armadillos to zebras.
“I’ve always loved animals,” says Warner, who grew up in Farwell, near Clare. “And I really like the more interesting animals – wart hogs, rhinos – not the sleek one. I spent some time in Africa and really want to go back.”
Described as ‘sophisticated whimsy,’ his works can be found in lobbies, living rooms, zoos, museums, offices and airports across the nation. His creations are cornerstones of collections at the corporate headquarters of USA Today, McDonald’s, Gannett Publishing and Detroit Tigers and Little Caesar’s owner Mike Illitch.
Celebrities who own at least one of Warner’s works include Randy Travis, David Copperfield, Kelly McGillis, Charlie Gibson and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo Replay

Art Al Parker Steve Ballance says his interest in photographic processes is comparable
to the ancient practice of alchemy where the wizard attempted to turn base
metals into gold.
For decades, he’s been intrigued by how one’s perception is changed by the
processes that translate subject matter to the viewer.
Monday, August 15, 2011

Mi Farm Market

Dining Al Parker Scotty Bruce is one of those uber-creative guys who just seems born to be
an entrepreneur.
His creative mind, coupled with a strong work ethic, thrives on generating
money-making opportunities. At his 2004 Ellsworth High School graduation,
much to the chagrin of school officials, Bruce sold advertising space on
his graduation gown.