express www.northernexpress.com www.expressdog.com
N O R T H E R N
The River Wild Are you ready for the Sturgeon? -- Story by Mike Terrell on page 26
For Russ Barron, health care reform is a matter of life & death - pg. 12
turns the page at Alpenfest - pg. 16
NORTHERN MICHIGAN’S WEEKLY • July 12 - July 18, 2010 Vol. 20 No. 27 Northern Express Weekly • July 12, 2010 • 1
2 • July 12, 2010 • Northern Express Weekly
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Making the Seen (photo by Gary Howe) - p. 24
Features A matter of life & death ..................12 Fear of fracking, part 2 ..................14 Northern Seen ...............................24 The wild Sturgeon River ................26 MyStyle/GearBox ..........................30
On Film Premiere of Christina .....................18 Previews ........................................42 Predators ......................................42 Despicable Me ..............................43
Views Letters ........................6 Columns & Stuff Spectator/Steve Tuttle .....................8 Pageturners News of the Weird/Chuck Shepard..10 Writers Series double bill ...............20 Tasteful Cadillac Park Place........................22 Tastemakers/Bottoms Up ..............23
Hot Dates ................ 32-37 Northern Music Brent James ..................................09 Seger tribute at Alpenfest ..............16 Drumming date .............................21 Nitelife.. ................................ ...38-39
RandomThoughts/Robert Downes .11 Technology/Harley Sachs ..............15 Modern Rock/Kristi Kates..............40 Freewill Astrology/Comics..............44 Crossword .....................................46 Advice Goddess ............................47 Classifieds .....................................48 Real Estate Up North............... 49-51
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to many of us still living in this area. Many very unhappy memories of the asylum still remain with us each time we pass the now beautiful grounds of the Commons. While we understand and fully agree with the progress made for usage in the reconstructing and preserving the barns, the memories remain of the circumstance of those difficult visits with those we loved. The words, “Seek Asylum,” or word usage of “escape” in their ad revisits old memories for many of us. The Commons' ad adviser group should have the ability, with all the people involved to find use for this grounds, to find better terminology -- much of it right at their fingertips. As a member of the older group of our family, we find we cannot use any part of that area; however our children have the ability to look past and do take part and visit the shops at the Commons. Still, having said that, they do have a sense of their parents' feelings and fully agree that the words in the ads could improve. Please rethink your direction. Phyllis Heniser • Benzonia
Israel's big lie
letters Email your letter to: email@example.com Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page). Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. Letters may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed letters are not accepted.
A safe haven
I write in reply to T.L. Watts’ letter finding offensive the heading “Take Asylum” on the ad for the Grand Traverse Commons. Given Mr. Watts’ personal circumstances, no one could disagree with him. I’d like to reassure him, however, that his father’s memory is well respected in the current spirit and atmosphere on the grounds of the old State Hospital. I am not associated with The Minervini Group (TMG), the developers of the Commons, but I have lived in Building 50 for several years now, and in that time I have not heard a disparaging remark about the building’s former inhabitants and their troubles from any of the developer’s staff or residents. On occasion members of TMG have left whatever they were working on to give private tours to former patients or
their families who have come into the office and expressed interest -- or in some cases - a therapeutic need, to see the inside of the building again. Some of those tours have left TMG staff in tears. Those who find the concept of living in a former mental hospital amusing tend to be those who have never visited or are not living here. Before you ask -- no, I do not sense ghosts or troubled spirits in or around Building 50; to the contrary, even walking the grounds at night the atmosphere is peaceful. I like to think that the renaissance of the State Hospital is expunging the pain. In fact, this place has proven to be an asylum in the best sense, a safe haven and shelter. I can only hope that sense of refuge was what the ad writer was imagining. That is no justification for a choice of words that offended Mr. Watts and others, but I hope it may serve as an explanation. Winnie Simpson • GT Commons
My family could not agree more with the letter to the editor published in your paper week of July 1 concerning the poor choice of words in the Commons' advertisement. As the letter writer so well conveyed the hurtful use of some wording ---so offensive
Songwriters in the Round Friday • July 16 • 8:30 pm
• Caroline Kovas • Barbara Jordan • Adair Correll A free concert on the third Friday of each month, drawn from the talents of 50 Northern Michigan songwriters
Horizon Books • lower level • downtown TC 6 • July 12, 2010 • Northern Express Weekly
Regarding Steven Tuttle’s column on Israel (“Surviving Really Nasty Neighbors,” 6.14.10): He was right about one thing—his one-sidedness, so much so that he sounded like an instrument of the Israeli military/government. His position is well-articulated by most of American mainstream journalism. Perhaps this is part of the reason journalism is in trouble. Israel is always the victim, but always it is Palestinians (or Lebanese or Turks) who die and are injured in the greatest numbers. Please don’t believe the myths and clichés and sound bites, dear readers. Tuttle spins a portrait of Israel as always being the one attacked, and that it is only “responding” or acting in “self-defense.” He neglects the ongoing stealing of land and water from the Palestinians by Israel, the apartheid wall and the Israeli-only roads that criss-cross the West Bank, also on stolen land. He ne-
glects the checkpoints and closures and daily humiliations of an entire population, not to mention the large-scale assaults on Lebanon and Gaza that are supported with American weapons and money and the criminal blockade of Gaza that affects mostly children. He neglects to mention that it is Israel that is nuclear armed and increasingly fanatical in its views of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the Israeli Arabs, those folks who have it so good in the only democracy in the Middle East. The government is considering right this minute one law that would expel Palestinians who say things Israel doesn’t like to hear, and another that would make it illegal to participate in the growing boycott/divestment/sanctions movement against Israel like the one that helped end the other apartheid regime. Some democracy. Mr. Tuttle and anyone else in this country who cares (we all should, given the more than $3 billion in American aid to Israel every year) would do well to dig a little deeper for their information about Israel and Palestine. Start with some accurate history, from Jimmy Carter’s Palestine Peace Not Apartheid to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s "A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." Regarding the Gaza flotilla attack, see endtheoccupation.org, jewishvoiceforpeace. org, and gazaflotilla.delegitimize.com. Israeli newspapers provide far more fair coverage and analysis than Tuttle’s column did. See Gideon Levy in Haaretz or Amira Hass, the only Israeli journalist who lives in and writes from the West Bank. There are excellent online resources for information as well. See www.mideastjustpeace.org’s blog for a listing of some of these. Finally, remember what an Israeli official answered when asked by a journalist how Israel justifies its treatment of the Palestinians: “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.” Gina Aranki & 15 members of For the Mideast: Just Peace Collective • TC
Northern NorthernExpress ExpressWeekly Weekly••July July12, 12,2010 2010••77
Our Wars Michael Steele, chair of the Republican Lebanon (twice), Grenada, Honduras, BoNational Committee (RNC), has put the Af- livia, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Liberia ghanistan war in the headlines again. Mr. (twice), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Steele, who apparently believes his job is Bosnia, Haiti, Zaire (now the Democratic to make outrageous statements for which he Republic of the Congo), Albania, the Sudan, must subsequently apologize, said Afghani- Yemen, Macedonia and Pakistan. Today, we have troops in more than 100 stan is now wholly Barack Obama’s war and countries around the world. About 370,000 of we have no chance to win, anyway. Predictably, the Democrats howled in pro- our 1.4 million men and women in uniform are test. So, too, did a phalanx of big-name Re- deployed on foreign soil. We’re pretty much oblivious to all of it. publicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who decried the defeatist comments as Never mind that all of this is done with our tax dollars, the spending of which insulting to our troops in harm’s was approved by our representaway. Demands for Mr. Steele’s tives in Congress and endangers resignation came pouring in from our sons, daughters, brothers, a wide spectrum of politicians sisters, fathers and mothers. left and right. Even former Vice But we aren’t arguing about President Dick Cheney’s wife winning or losing or military Lynn suggested the GOP might consider new leadership. strategy. We’ve long since Officially, the war in Afstopped arguing about whether ghanistan started on October 7, or not we should be quite this 2001, in response to the attacks adventuresome. Now we’ve decided to fight over naming rights of 9/11. It was dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom and involved to the war in Afghanistan. How absolutely remarkable. American and British Special Forces plus a blistering American Lost in the infantile nameBy Stephen Tuttle air assault. (If you want to know calling contest are the warriors who fight these things for us. the real story of the earliest days of the war, which actually started a bit earlier, We’re fighting the longest running military read local author Doug Stanton’s exquisitely conflict in our country’s history and we have researched and written book, Horse Soldiers.) other troops in every corner of the globe. But George W. Bush was president at the time we’ve still been asked to contribute nothing it all started. Support for retaliation against to these efforts. Oh, yes, on the Fourth of July we preAfghanistan was almost unanimous. After all, they were then being “governed” by the Tal- tended to honor our “heroes” by giving lip iban, who had given safe haven to al Qaeda, service to sacrifice and then listening to the who had given birth to the 9/11 murderers. Marine Corps Band just before settling in for Congress provided the go-ahead and funding, some cotton candy and fireworks. Meanand the public was gung-ho for vengeance. while, in the Middle East, the death toll races We’ve been at it ever since, the longest mili- toward 7,000 and the casualty count has tary engagement in United States history. already exceeded 35,000. Except for their President Obama’s recent surge placed an- families, friends and compatriots in battle, other 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, giving us they hurt and die alone. The rest of us suffer not at all. We sacnearly 100,000 troops now engaged. But this is not George W. Bush’s war. rifice nothing. We focus on oil leaks and And it certainly isn’t Barack Obama’s war. vapid campaign rhetoric. Republicans rally for their tea partiers and against illegal imIt is our war. Technically, it isn’t even a war. No migrants while blathering on about less taxes president has requested, nor has Congress and smaller government. The Democrats, a issued, a formal declaration of war since party in search of a coherent platform, rant Franklin Roosevelt requested and received on about reforming Wall Street while trying one in 1941. Since then we have engaged desperately to protect their majorities. Do you know what the GOP or Demoin military operations all over the world for all kinds of reasons. How many countries? crat platform on the war in Afghanistan is currently? They are both “committed to vicLet’s run down the list. Since World War II we’ve put our mili- tory.” Have you heard any candidate for any tary in harm’s way in Iran (five times, in- office discuss our troops in any country other cluding deposing a democratically elected than Iraq or Afghanistan? Have you heard government so we could install the Shah), any candidate talking about an increased Yugoslavia (twice), Uruguay, Greece, Ger- budget for the Department of Veteran Affairs many (twice), China (twice), the Philippines or the VA healthcare system? Or maybe, in (twice), Puerto Rico, Korea, Vietnam, Gua- general, bringing some of our troops from temala (twice), Egypt, Iraq (three times, in- somewhere home? Not one. No, Afghanistan isn’t Barack Obama’s cluding a delightful moment in 1963 when we helped depose the ruling party so Saddam or George W. Bush’s war. It’s our war. All Hussein could return from exile), Panama of them are. We all own every military de(twice), Cuba (twice), Laos, Indonesia, the ployment we ever undertake. We’re just not Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Chile, An- really interested in any of them. gola, Libya (twice), El Salvador, Nicaragua,
8 • July 12, 2010 • Northern Express Weekly
return with Brent James Three of Traverse Cityâ€™s top players make a swing through town next week, backing vocalist/guitarist Brent James as members of the ContraBand. Bassist Jason Kott, drummer Matt Hayes and guitarist Josh Mitchell, all veterans of a number of TC bands, joined the Nashvillebased act at its inception in 2009. Band leader Brent James also has roots in Northern Michigan: originally from Saginaw, he lived for a time in Lake City and served as the lead singer for Kenny Olsonâ€™s band, The Flask. Second guitarist Mike P hails from Detroit. As a songwriter, James cites inďŹ‚uences including Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan,. The band is hitching its star to a new acoustic rock tune, â€œMoment of Silence,â€? with their debut album also in the works. The band has opened for Papa Roach, Stone Temple Pilots, O.A.R. and other major acts and is performing at festivals across the eastern U.S. this summer. Theyâ€™ll make a swing through Traverse City on Monday, July 19 for a 10 p.m. performance at Union Street Station.
Open every day
Getting it right, tight and outtaâ€™ sight are Brent James & The ContraBand, performing in TC on July 19.
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10 • July 12, 2010 • Northern Express Weekly
LEAD STORY A severe but underappreciated American drug problem (sometimes deadly and often expensive) is patients’ failure to take prescribed medications -- even to save their own lives (such as with anti-coagulants or cholesterolregulating statins). In recent pilot programs, according to a June New York Times report, compliance rates have been significantly improved -- by giving patients money ($50 to $100 a month, sometimes more) if they remember to take their drugs. Data show that, indeed, such compliance subsidies reduce society’s overall health care costs by preventing expensive hospital admissions. Beyond health care costs is the social benefit when violent schizophrenics take their meds and refrain from attacking people. Government in Action -- Labor unions’ sweet, recession-proof contract with the New York City area’s severely cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year provided 8,074 blue-collar workers (conductors, engineers, repairmen, etc.) with six-figure compensation, including about 50 who earned $200,000 or more. Researchers cited by The New York Times in April found that one Long Island Rail Road conductor made $239,148, about $4,000 more than the MTA’s chief financial officer and about $48,000 short of being the highest-paid person in the entire system. Included in some of the fat payouts for LIRR locomotive engineers was special “penalty” pay (about $94,600 in one case) for engineers who are required to move a train to a different location from its normal assignment. -- Arizona (viewed by some as hardhearted for its April law stepping up its vigilance for illegal immigrants) showed a soft side recently, implementing a $1.25 million federal grant that it believes will save the lives of at least five squirrels a year. The state’s 250 endangered Mount Graham red squirrels risk becoming roadkill on Route 366 near Pima, and the state is building a rope bridge for them to add to several existing tunnels. Great Art! -- At a June concert in Australia’s Sydney Opera House, American musicians Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed performed Anderson’s 20-minute, very-high-pitched composition, “Music for Dogs,” an arrangement likely to have been largely unmelodious to humans, who generally cannot hear such high pitches, but of more interest to dogs, who can. (Dogs were permitted in the audience, but news reports were inconclusive about their level of enjoyment.) -- Many jihadist recruiting pitches are dry and pious, but in May, the Somali activist Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, 26, who was born in Alabama, began streaming Internet rap “music” videos to encourage warrior signups. (Sample verse: “It all started out in Afghanistan / When we wiped the oppressors off the land / The Union crumbled and tumbled / Humbled, left them mumbled / Made a power withdraw and cower.”) Actually, there was no music but merely alAmriki singing, presumably because in the version of Islam favored by Somali jihadists, “music” is not permitted. -- West Virginia’s Division of Culture and History announced in June it would hold a state-sponsored art exhibition, showcasing the state’s arts talent. Until now, the state has refused such projects because the last one, in 1963, turned out badly. The grand prize that year, supposedly representing the character and tradition of the state, went to “West Virginia Moon,” which was a collection of broken boards and a screen door.
A Professional All the Way In May, the chief media spokesman of the Nye County, Nev., sheriff’s office, Det. David Boruchowitz, announced to the press the arrest of a man charged with burglary and assault. The suspect’s name, he reported, was Det. David Boruchowitz. The chief investigator on the case, Det. Boruchowitz told reporters, was Det. David Boruchowitz. (Three days later, the charges were dropped, but that announcement was made by someone else.)
news of the
WeIRD b y
c h u c k s h e p h e r d
Fine Points of the Law -- In Rehoboth Beach, Del., it is illegal for men and women to publicly reveal their genitals and for women to reveal their breasts, but Police Chief Keith Banks, confronted in June with complaints about some beachgoers flouting their shapely breasts, said there was nothing he could do. Banks said the offenders were actually biological males in the midst of hormonal transgendering. As Banks explained, “(T)hey had male genitalia. Therefore, they were not guilty of a crime.” -- In April, Prince Edward Island (Canada) judge John Douglas acquitted minor league hockey player Chris Doyle of assaulting his former girlfriend, though Doyle had arrived at her home uninvited, had annoyed and berated her, and would not leave. The girlfriend was injured when Doyle punched a door, causing it to smash against her face, but Judge Douglas accepted that Doyle honestly did not know she was behind the door. Said the judge, “If he was charged with being a colossal asshole, I would find him guilty. Of ‘assault causing bodily harm,’ I find him not guilty.” In Two Cradles of Bizarre Politics -- Russia: On television in May, the governor of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, recounted that he had been abducted in a spaceship in 1997 and forced to communicate with aliens telepathically, and later entertained some in his apartment. One opponent seized the moment and called for an inquiry into whether Ilyumzhinov had telepathically spilled government secrets while under the aliens’ spell. Then, former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov announced he would challenge Ilyumzhinov for the position of head of the World Chess Federation (which Ilyumzhinov has been since 1993), but yet another Russian chess icon, Arkady Dvorkovich (who is President Medvedev’s chief economic adviser), said he still backed Ilyumzhinov because of the latter’s superior managerial talent. -- Florida: (1) While still chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer was revealed to have ordered the continuous shuttling of emergency “notes” to him during a Republican National Committee meeting, and according to an April Orlando Sentinel profile, the “notes” were all blank. A Florida RNC official concluded that Greer was simply trying to make himself appear important to his colleagues. (In June, Greer was indicted on six felony counts related to raiding the state party’s treasury.) (2) At a forum in May for county school board aspirants in Orlando, candidate John Mark Coney took the floor to read passages from the Bible and then to emphasize his suitability for office by announcing that he, at age 53, is a virgin.
Easy Fixes Ignored Thereâ€™s a bridge over the Boardman River on the bike path in Traverse City where teenagers enjoy jumping into the water nearly every day in the summer. They climb eight feet or so up the framework and make the leap of perhaps 20-25 feet into the river. It looks like a lot of fun, but some kids report touching the bottom of the riverbed in their leaps and Iâ€™m always tempted to say, â€œKids, remember, if you get killed doing that, youâ€™ll be dead for a mighty long time.â€? Teens make a leap of faith that they won't But that would be a buzz-kill, and like get hurt. I say, it looks like a lot of fun. Kind of like a 7-Up commercial with a lot of yahoo energy. cussion and planning went into Still, you have to wonder: â€œfixingâ€? the disastrous intersecat what point does some teention of the bike path at Diviager break his neck diving, or sion and Grandview Parkway slip and fall over backwards and on West Bay in TC. Yet there crack her skull on the bridge? are still daily confrontations If we had a society that valbetween motorists and cyclists ued personal freedom above all at that intersection, which reelse, weâ€™d simply say that the mains a deadly hazard, despite loss of a life is a small price to all of the signs, â€œwalkâ€? buttons pay for being able to do your and flags meant to catch the atown thing. tention of irritated and confused But we donâ€™t really value drivers, some of whom tend to personal freedom all that much shift into road-rage mode. And in America -- we just give it lip b y r o b e r t d o w n e s you can bet there are plenty of service. In fact, we have a litipissed-off cyclists, runners and gious society, and one can imagroller bladers there too who are ine that any parent whose child dies on that frustrated in their roles as moving targets. bridge wonâ€™t be blaming their kid for his or Again, thereâ€™s an easy fix: Dig a pedesher reckless behavior; theyâ€™ll be wondering trian tunnel under the highway. Use some of why the City or TART Trails maintained Obamaâ€™s stimulus money and get â€˜er done. such an obvious public hazard, and what If every member of TART Trails brought a lawyer to call in the yellow pages. shovel down to the bay, we could dig it ourTeenagers aren't the brightest bunch selves in an afternoon, just like immigrant when it comes to personal safety. Science laborers used to dig basements years ago. tells us that an area of the brain that governs Easy fixes -- why are they so often igjudgement is not yet fully developed in teen- nored? Lack of imagination. agers, which accounts for why society has an Consider the Stateâ€™s ballyhooed law obligation to protect them. against texting while youâ€™re driving. This I recall diving off a cliff overhanging a has all of the efficacy of using a wet Kleenex gravel pit lake in Northville many years ago, for a parachute. Why not require automakwhich was a huge hit with all of the kids. ers and cell phone manufacturers to create But there were steel rebar spikes embedded systems that would automatically shut down in concrete slabs deep underwater which texting and web-surfing whenever anyone gave a friend a good gash in the head (lucky enters a vehicle? In fact, this technology alhe didnâ€™t poke his brains out); and one time ready exists with parental controls to limit I saw a young guy dive 20 feet through the texting and â€œsextingâ€? on their kidsâ€™ phones. donut of an inner tube. Amazing he didnâ€™t According to the U.S. Department of break his neck -- a matter of inches. Transportation, an estimated 812,000 perThe funny thing is, so many hazards are sons are using a cell phone at any given moeasily fixed long before anyone gets hurt or ment while driving. Cell phone distractions thereâ€™s a lawsuit. At the TART Trail bridge, caused 600,000 accidents last year, along for instance, a simple overhanging buttress with 330,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths. similar to those used to keep squirrels out of That's more deaths than those killed in bird feeders would keep the kids from climb- the collapse of the Twin Towers in 9/11 -ing to the top. Or, for a $20 bucket of tar and 3,000 people dead as the result of texting a crate of broken beer bottles, one could cre- every year -- year after year. ate the kind of cheap fix that keeps people All of those people would be alive today from climbing walls in Central America. if we simply had the imagination to require Speaking of TART, several years of dis- an easy fix for a serious problem.
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