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, January 17, 2011

National Writers Series 2011

Features Erin Cowell National Writers Series 2011 1/17/11
The return of the National Writers Series
By Erin Crowell
If you thought the National Writers Series (NWS) was just another
festival to draw tourists to Northern Michigan, founder Doug Stanton
would tell you you’re wrong.
Monday, January 17, 2011

Stranded: Terrie Gerbe

Features Erin Cowell Stranded: Terrie Gerbe spent a night in a blizzard on Highway 22
By Erin Crowell
Terrie Gerbe spent a night in a blizzard on Highway 22
By Erin Crowell
Imagine being stranded in your vehicle for the night in the middle of
a blizzard. Hundreds of motorists have faced that peril this winter
in the storm-swept Midwest.
On Dec. 13, Shannon Kochis—a stylist at Salone de Capelli in Traverse
City—spent the day on her phone, checking for updates on her mother,
Terrie Gerbe, who was stranded in a snowstorm on Highway 22 between
London and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
Monday, November 29, 2010

Smart Lipo

Features Erin Cowell Feel the Burn… Literally!: SmartLipo uses lasers to melt fat and speed recovery
By Erin Crowell
Three years ago, Melissa Kasarskis of Irons woke up to find a large
mass on her left and right hip, just below the skin.
“I looked down and saw this huge looking tumor and I freaked out,”
said the 43-year-old mother of two.
Monday, November 15, 2010

Jill‘s Gallery

Art Erin Cowell Five Friends in Art: Jill’s Gallery offers a fall open house
By Erin Crowell
Unlike most art sales that bring the work of several strangers
together, the Second Annual Fall Open House & Art Sale combines the
work of five sisters and friends. Expect lots of color and variety
when these five Northern Michigan female artists present their work in
support of a local cause at the Second Annual Fall Open House & Art
Sale at Jill’s Studio, in Traverse City, on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 9
a.m.-5 p.m.
Monday, November 15, 2010

The Bay Film Series

Features Erin Cowell The Bay Film Series
By Erin Crowell
For Northern Michigan and beyond, summer rolls in big tourist crowds and blockbuster films.
The Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay is on that list of blockbuster providers during the summer; but come the colder months—unlike its big chain brothers—The Bay raises its curtain to the unfamiliar and thought-provoking world of international indie films.
Dim the lights and enjoy The Bay Film Series, The Bay Theatre’s annual selection of international and independent films showing one weekend of every month from September through April. Featuring a variety of genres from countries all over the world, the series offers a chance to experience the cinema in a different way.
“People get to see some films that they otherwise never would have access to,” said Denise Sica, manager of the Bay Theatre. “Sometimes it’s a comedy, sometimes a drama, sometimes it’s a documentary… it’s nice to have a mix of first-run movies coming out for summer, but this is an opportunity to experience and appreciate the unknown.”
Monday, November 8, 2010

White Christmas

Music Erin Cowell We‘re Dreaming of a White Christmas
By Erin Crowell
Old Town Playhouse director Phil Murphy grew up wanting to be Danny
Kaye after he watched the 1954 Paramount Film “White Christmas.”
“Bing Crosby…not so much,” said Murphy. “I didn’t make much of a
dancer and I’m not much of a comedian.”
Monday, November 1, 2010

Paper Plane Pilots

Music Erin Cowell High Flying : Female bandmates help propel Paper Plane Pilots
By Erin Crowell
By day, Chandra LaPointe and Jennifer Harrison earn their paychecks like any other person— LaPointe as a middle school teacher at Mancelona Public Schools; Harrison as a parts sales rep at Traverse Motors. But by night, they take center stage, representing the double X chromosome of the Paper Plane Pilots.
One of Northern Michigan’s most popular bands, The Paper Plane Pilots is a combination of male and female talents, glued by the rhythms of Harrison (on drums) and the unquestionably able voice of LaPointe (main vocals and keyboard).
“Other than designated dressing rooms, there’s really nothing to say about having two female band members,” says Jon Head (guitar and vocals). “They really nail it.”
Monday, November 1, 2010

Nicole Charbonneau/Tattoo artist

Features Erin Cowell The Feminine Touch: Nicole Charbonneau breaks into the boy’s club of tattooing
By Erin Crowell
Nicole Charbonneau has worked on a lot of body parts. She can recall that list on the spot: back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, thigh, lower abdomen, foot, leg. And although Charbonneau works in the medical industry (she’s an administrative assistant at a Traverse City eye clinic), her part-time job is what has her operating on bodies.
The 26-year-old Kalkaska native works as a tattoo apprentice at Glenarts Studio in Suttons Bay. While most of her work consists of prepping equipment and making needles (the studio manufactures its own for its specialty in fine line tattooing), Charbonneau also sits in the inker’s chair from time to time – many times after a walk-in enters the studio doors, looks at Charbonneau without knowing her work and says, “I want her.”
Monday, October 25, 2010

Revisiting the Salem Witch Trials

Features Erin Cowell Revisiting the Salem Witch Trials: ‘May thy souls rest in peace’
By Erin Crowell
October settles over the New England coast, bathing its small towns in
warm colors of red, orange and gold. I chase the foliage by car,
taking a 2,500 mile road trip out East through New York, Vermont and
down along the shores of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
With Halloween fast approaching, a stop in Salem, Massachusetts seems
appropriate. So I plug the address into the GPS on my
dashboard—Margaret, as I’ve named it—and let her even, monotone voice
guide me to the coastal town famous for the witch trials of 1692.
Monday, October 4, 2010

A whole other world: Attack of the social gamers

Features Erin Cowell A Whole Other World: Online social games immerse players in a cyber fantasy
By Erin Crowell
Zack Mahrle leans back on the red floral couch in his bedroom, his
feet propped up on a white ottoman. He’s focused on the 87-inch
projector screen that covers the length of his closet, tapping away
with a fierce rhythm on the ergonomic computer keyboard sitting on his
Monday, September 20, 2010


Dining Erin Cowell Growing Self Reliance: Oryana’s Toast to Farmers features ‘localism’ expert
By Erin Crowell
The early morning stirs with the busyness of shoppers at a local
farmers market. Goods are strewn about tables, stacked in bushels and
overflowing rims of wicker baskets. There’s a sense of connection,
optimism and energy flowing through the crowd of vendors and
Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall of Females

Features Erin Cowell The Fall of Females: Celebrating Women at the Dennos
By Erin Crowell
This fall, the Dennos Museum introduces its exhibition Celebrating
Women, a photography exhibit by Paola Gianturco, featuring festivals
that honor women’s roles, rites of passage, attributes,
accomplishments and spiritual lives.
Monday, August 30, 2010

Roller Derby

Features Erin Cowell Fishnets & Fractures: Northern Michigan catches roller derby fever
By Erin Crowell
It’s a Tuesday evening in the Kalkaska Kaliseum and the Derby Dahlias are practicing for their first “bout,” a roller derby scrimmage happening on Saturday with the Sault Roller Derby Travel League Team from Canada.
The 11 young women are decked out in derby attire: helmet, knee guards, ankle guards, fishnets and striped knee-high stockings. Although just months old, the team is focused, cranking out drills, dropping pushups and hitting the floor—literally—doing a drill specifically aimed at falling “the right way.”
Friday, August 6, 2010

In for the long run

Features Erin Cowell In for the Long Run
By Erin Crowell
When Higher Grounds Trading Company started several years ago, the
mission was to offer Northern Michigan handcrafted, gourmet and
organic coffee through fair trade: by providing a dignified wage to
small community farmers in the less-developed regions of the world,
including Columbia, Ethiopia, Mexico and Peru.
Monday, August 2, 2010

Journey to the Deep

Features Erin Cowell The Search for Le Griffon: Underwater explorers seek shipwrecks and other treasures in Northern Michigan waters
By Erin Crowell
Somewhere in the Great Lakes lies the answer to a question that has been on the minds of archeologists, historians and sailors for centuries:
What happened to Le Griffon? -- the French sailing ship that left Washington Harbor, near Green Bay, Wisconsin on September 18, 1679, but never reached its destination in Niagra Falls. Built by Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle, the ship was the first European-owned vessel to sail the upper Great Lakes. Used as a fur trading ship to help supplement La Salle’s search for the mouth of the Mississippi River, the ship and its crew of six was on its return voyage to its home harbor when it disappeared.
What happened to Le Griffon?—a time capsule that many consider, when found, could reveal much about our country’s history—has been an unanswered question for the past 331 years.
That question may be answered soon.