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, March 8, 2010

Getting to know da U.P.

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Getting to Know Da U.P. :Odd facts abound in new Almanac
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac
By Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak
University of Michigan Press.
600 pages - $27.95

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of those empty places you go because you want to be alone. Or you want to hunt. Maybe you want to cross-country ski. There are lots of reasons to visit. For me it is waterfalls—making a list then finding every one of them. And it’s small lakes so blue-green and clear you think the lake must be shallow, but it isn’t. And it’s miles of Lake Superior shoreline, driving along and wondering about the gales of November and the men out on the freighters and if they are always watching the sky for storms. So many miles of forest and swamp with tiny villages and small towns, all far apart.
Monday, December 14, 2009

Hard covers and hard cider

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Hardcovers & Hard Cider
Book sale brings female authors together
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Hardcovers and Hard Cider don’t sound like two things that normally go together. But they’ll both be offered by local women writers when they gather to sell their books for holiday gift giving at the Mercato in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons on Friday, December 18, from 4-9 p.m. Cider will be offered, along with the writers talking about their craft and sharing the holiday season.
Monday, December 7, 2009

American Savage By Bonnie Jo Campbell

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Meth & Mayhem Make their Mark in
American Salvage
American Salvage
By Bonnie Jo Campbell
Wayne State University Press

By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s American Salvage, from Wayne State University’s ‘Made in Michigan Writer’s Series,’ is ugly in the stories of sad and stupid people who do harm to themselves and others, but beautiful in prose that cuts deeply into places where good writing should go.
Monday, November 2, 2009

From sex to glass ceilings

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli From Sex to Glass Ceilings
The Shriver Report Updates Women’s Progress

A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything
By Maria Shriver, edited by Heather Boushey
Available as an ebook or as a free PDF download at www.americanprogress.org/issues

By Elizabeth Buzzelli 11/2/09

Women have come a long way, according to a new study on women published this month as The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.
The report, available only as an e-book or as a free online download, was authored by Maria Shriver and edited by Heather Boushey (a senior economist with The Center for American progress), and Ann O’Leary (Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security).
Monday, October 19, 2009

Isadora‘s Secret by Mardi Link

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli A Nun Meets a Tragic End in Isadore’s Secret
Isadore’s Secret
Mardi Link
U of M Press

By Elizabeth Buzzelli 10/19/09

In 1907 a young nun was murdered and buried beneath Holy Rosary Church in the Leelanau County village of Isadore. Isadore’s Secret, by true-crime writer, Mardi Link, captures the despicable crime, and extends the fascination, disgust, and sadness to yet another generation.
It was the summer of 1907. Sister Janina, 33, disappeared from the convent in the bucolic village of Isadore, a town of Polish immigrants devoted to family, priest, and their church. At that time the clergy held sway over people who were superstitious, uneducated, and—like small towns everywhere—inundated with gossip. Rumors ran through town. It was said the nun had run off, leaving the convent because she was unhappy with her life there. Soon it was rumored that she was pregnant.
Monday, August 31, 2009

Lost in Detroit

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Lost in Detroit
Short stories dust up urban grit

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 8/31/09

The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit
By Michael Zadoorian
WSU Press - $18.95

It’s exciting to read something truly new, passionate stories woven as if from the web of the writer’s being. That’s what is found in Michael Zadoorian’s The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit.
These newly envisioned stories of Detroit come at you without apology for the gritty language of the city, the racism, the madness of everyday life. The whiff of ‘presence,’ of being there, grabs at your throat. I was compelled to read on by an author who knows how to involve readers with his implied promise: Stay with me here. I’ve got something new to show you.
In ‘The World of Things’ the son of a recently-dead mother has been tantalized for years by the kitschy detritus of her life, kept in a locked basement. My mother put a lock on our basement door when she decided I was after everything she owned, her son says. He is a collector of all things from the early ‘60s, that era when my parents were in their prime, living in a good white middle-class Detroit neighborhood.
He collects his mother’s memories, in the guise of Danish Modern and limned-oak furniture; things ludicrously self-serious with their commitment to the well-living of the American dream as if collecting her -- in bits and pieces. What he finds in that basement, kept from him for so long, is a rebuke for trifling with other people’s lives, and a slap at his need to collect what his mother once valued -- the bits and pieces that defined her, for reasons having nothing to do with family memory but having much to do with separating himself from his heritage.
Monday, August 10, 2009

Unlocking the secret of Gloria Whelan

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Unlocking the World of Writer Gloria Whelan

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 8/10/09

The Locked Garden
By Gloria Whelan
Harper Collins - $15.99

I met up with writer Gloria Whelan at Horizon Books in Traverse City where she had come to do a book signing for her newest young adult novel, The Locked Garden. Gloria and I have a history that goes back a few years. I’d interviewed her often while sitting on the deck of her lovely home overlooking Oxbow Lake in Mancelona, watching deer come to drink on the shore and loons gliding past; and talking of literature, writing and writers through the afternoon hours.
I missed those afternoon teas we’d shared and, now that’s she’s moved to southern Michigan after the death of her husband, Joseph, I couldn’t help but ask if she missed Northern Michigan.
“I miss Oxbow Lake and the woods every day of my life,” she said. “I’ve never really left it. We travel, you know, with all kinds of worlds in our heads.”
One of the worlds inside Whelan’s head is one other fiction writers might only dream of. A couple of years ago her book, Homeless Bird, won a National Book Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in American Literature. She and her husband were in New York City for the presentations. “All the other winners went off for a night of partying and drinking,” she said at the time. “Joe and I went back to our hotel room.”
Evidently, life back in the woods outside of Mancelona doesn’t prepare one for dissipation and the high life.
Monday, June 29, 2009

Deer Season

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli DEER SEASON
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 6/29/09

Deer Season
By Aaron Stander
Writers & Editors, LLC

It is deer season in Northern Michigan and the area is caught (as if in amber) under an unusual blanket of snow. The roads are dangerous. Things are hidden in the snow — clues to attempted murder, then murder. Also hidden beneath the snow -- beneath the years in Cedar County, Michigan, beneath family facades -- are the old secrets and simmering hatreds about to explode during this hunting season.
In this new mystery from Traverse City writer, Aaron Stander, Sheriff Ray Elkins is recuperating from past injuries while confronting a group of suspects ranging from super-wealthy, international businessmen to your everyday saloon habitués; from barmaid and drunks to condescending lawyers.
Elkins has his work cut out for him: while returning from her morning yoga class, local anchorwoman Lynne Boyd is shot and wounded in front of her twin daughters and their French au pair.
Monday, June 22, 2009

At least in the city someone would hear me scream By Wade Rouse

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli A Gay Green Acres
Set in Saugatuck
At Least in the City Someone Would Hear
Me Scream
By Wade Rouse
Harmony Books

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 6/22/09

You take comedian Stephen Colbert, throw in a generous dash of the guys from Queer Eye, and what you get is Wade Rouse’s hilarious new memoir, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream - Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life.
Wade, and his partner, Gary, leave St. Louis to come live their dream life in the Michigan woods outside of Saugatuck, where they innocently run smack up against themselves, the culture of the north woods, and the problem of getting what they asked for and maybe not wanting it at all.
Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer‘s best beach reads

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Summer’s Best Beach Reads

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 6/15/09

A soft, summer day; a comfortable chaise lounge; a cold drink beside you, and a good book in your hands. It’s the stuff of winter dreams, but nothing can bring a bigger letdown than the wrong book; or one not perfect for a summer mood.
When I asked people about favorite beach reads, or when I spoke to Lois Orth at Horizon Books, or Deb Bull at the Kalkaska County Library, everyone felt strongly about their picks. Still, it is a matter of personal taste—some people want to be instructed, some want to catch up on books they’ve heard about all winter, some want to wallow in things they don’t usually read, and some want to simply slide into a book the way they might a warm pool on a sun-ridden day. The following books are among the most entertaining, memorable, or just plain fun, that have come out in the last couple of years.
Monday, February 23, 2009

Historic Cottages of Glen Lake by Barabara Siepker

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli It is a bit like entering a dream, to open Historic Cottages of Glen Lake, and come across comfortable old places; meet the visionary families who built their residences along the shores of a lovely Northern Michigan lake so long ago. What struck me first was that the photographs, by Dietrich Floeter of Traverse City, were in black and white, not the sepia tones I was seeing. It was my imagination—the sepia. My own warming addition of memory and soft summer days to a book that allows for nostalgia.
Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli Ahh—how I miss the scheming, the sex, the petty jealousies, the back-biting, the shameless snobbery, the hangers-on, and the social climbing, now that Sex and the City, has moved to rerun heaven.
I’m lost without my obsession with $900 Manolo Blahnik shoes, with $1000 Prada boots, and YSL bags at $1399. Take me back, oh Candace Bushnell! Take me back to the time of full-blown collagen lips and plastic noses. I want to feel, once again, how deprived I am because I don’t live in New York City, reside at one of the better addresses, buy clothes more expensive than my first house, and have friends who would drop me at the first hint of a pay cut or a loss of status.
Monday, December 29, 2008

Judgement Day: The trial of selecting Michigan‘s most notable books

Books Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli It’s tough to sit in judgment on your peers. I’ve been on the Michigan State Library’s Notable Books Committee for two years now, with one more to go, and it didn’t get easier this year. I doubt next year will be any different.
I don’t remember why Kim Laird, who runs the group for the library, with Nancy Robertson, head librarian, as final arbiter, first asked me to join the 14 judges from around the state. Four of the judges come from the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries. There are librarians from as far away as Marquette, a representative from Cooley Law School, and another from Grand Valley State. There are book store people and newspaper people -- reviewers and columnists.
When Laird called, the job sounded challenging. I welcomed that, and maybe having a say in the kinds of books which would represent Michigan writing. I knew I could be impartial, only search out the very best, and grind no axes. What I wasn’t prepared for were my own biases, my own pet-peeves, and my inability—at a juncture or two—to give in when a book I didn’t think one of the best was close to making the final 20. I found I’m a lousy team player. I can be intractable. Dogmatic. And a few other things I don’t wish to confess to here. But all in the name of honoring the best writers among us.