Editorials and columns

Shutdown threatens healthy food for kids

Kids are busy — trying to juggle school with family responsibilities, along with afterschool activities like sports, clubs or playing an instrument. And, at the end of the day, it seems like there’s always the much-dreaded homework. We know it takes time, effort and focus to do it ...

This community comes together for everyone

The News has been filled with features in the past week of the many ways residents of Alpena and Northeast Michigan come together — often to offer help to those who need it. In Saturday’s edition was the story of the various individuals and organizations who work to help inmates released ...

How we can grow the next Ron Winter

Ron Winter died a few weeks ago. A few days later, Steve Fletcher wrote a tribute to him. As Steve said, “We lost a giant this past week.” We sure did. Ron and I went to Alpena High School together. Though he was a couple years older, I remember him well. Ron stood out. His first wife, ...

Hold public meetings when the public can attend

Several times in recent weeks, members of the public have complained to their elected officials about the time meetings are scheduled and the advance notice —or lack thereof —that the public received about the meeting. Last month, it was Alpena Township’s decision to host a public ...

John Engler was a victim of John Engler at Michigan State

“John Engler was a victim of John Engler.” That poignant and spot-on quote is from the former governor’s strongest critic on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, which just engineered the end of the former interim university president’s run. Brian Masollom had nothing ...

Take time to celebrate MLK Day

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a celebration of the birth of the civil rights activist who was murdered on April 4, 1968. The day, celebrated on the third Monday of every January, is now deeply ingrained in American culture. It’s a day off for federal and state government workers, ...

In Northeast Michigan, cold isn’t just cold

Does there come a certain point in the winter when the temperature doesn’t much matter? After all, cold is cold ... correct? You and I both know that isn’t true. Seventeen degrees feels quite different depending on whether there is any wind or not or what the humidity is at the time. A ...

We won’t host nasty conversations on our Facebook page

Last week, we posted a breaking news item to thealpenanews.com on the arrest of and pending charges against former Alpena Public Schools teacher Heather Winfield, who stands accused of sexually assaulting at least one minor. As we do with all stories, we posted a link to that story on our ...

Plummeting unemployment something to smile about

Alpena’s unemployment rate in December was 3.9 percent. At least one local official, Alpena Economic Development Director Jim Klarich, was pretty excited by that accomplishment. In his latest area economic update to financial backers, he writes, “The last time it was that low was in ...

Baffled by treatment of Nassar victims

Come Heller high water ... ∫ One true thing: If you want to start a heated debate, tell people you like or hate traffic circles. They’re all over Michigan now and there’s no middle ground on them. Personally, I like them. That’s your cue to write me an angry email. ∫ John Engler ...

Come to the table, Democrats

For those of us who call the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan home, the discussion around border security is often different than what we see on the nightly news. The challenges for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents and other federal, state and local law enforcement in the Soo vary ...

Thank you for our ice tree

Not surprisingly in this cold weather, Alpena’s Ice Tree is back and growing. If temperatures remain frigid through the weekend, as forecasters are predicting, we expect that, by next week, the tree will have grown quite a bit. The Ice Tree, courtesy of State Street Car Wash owner Wayne ...

Don’t be afraid to be the newbie

While at the gym recently, I was looking around the room, observing. It is one way I learn ideas for new exercises. It wasn’t long before I found myself thinking about the difference in levels of fitness in the room. I started thinking about how everyone in that room got there through a ...

Building boom is good news for Alpena

In Wednesday’s edition of The News, Steve Schulwitz reported on the banner year for construction activity in Alpena and Alpena Township. In Alpena, Building Official Don Gilmet said $18.2 million in construction is underway now, compared to only $5.3 million in 2017. In the township, ...

We should all work in politics

I once fancied a career in politics. I watched every presidential speech broadcast on network television. I studied the requirements of being a presidential speechwriter. I looked into the experience necessary to be a member of the Senate or House. I toured the state Capitol, and met with ...

Kudos to the film festival’s salvation

Disagreements in Washington over a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border threatened a film festival in Northeast Michigan, but our giving community has saved it. Most of the five-day festival was going to be hosted by the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary at the Great Lakes ...

Tell APS what you want

The time is fast approaching for the Alpena Public Schools Board of Education to make a decision about whether or not it will seek a property tax increase to fund the sale of bonds for renovations to school buildings throughout the district. For months, the board has considered a project ...

Superintendents in a tough spot on snow days

If you get a job interview with me at some point, there is a good chance one of the questions I am going to ask is, “If you could be doing any job in the world right now, what would your dream job be?” As for me, when I grow up, I want to be a meteorologist in Michigan. Tell me, at what ...

The point of these commentary pages

Today, a chief tenet of journalism is objectivity. Reporters strive to tell all sides of a story and give every player in a storyline the chance have their say. That wasn’t always the case. The forefathers of newspapering launched their publications not as fair arbiters of the day’s ...

Gov. Whitmer, don’t forget us

Once again, northern Michigan is left out. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition team announced Friday a series of “meet-and-greets” by the governor and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist over the next several weeks. The events, being called “Whitmer Winter Warmups,” will be held in ...