Editorials and columns

What are the Alpena area’s SWOTs?

A SWOT Analysis is a tool used to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of an organization or program. Once identified, the goal is then to create a plan to improve by growing the strengths, improving or addressing weaknesses, embracing opportunities, and eliminating — ...

Talent is never a bad investment

In a recent edition of The News, reporter Julie Goldberg detailed how Alpena Public Schools, Alcona Community Schools, Hillman Community Schools, Atlanta Community Schools, and the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District have partnered to seek a $2 million Marshall Plan grant ...

Wish more had given input at City Hall on proposed smoking ban

Monday night’s Alpena Muncipal Council meeting provided a perfect snapshot of the ever-present tension between a government and its people. At issue was a proposal to prohibit smoking — at least cigarettes, and perhaps vaporizers and electronic cigarettes —in city-owned parks, including ...

Lessons and truths learned as I turn 40

I’m not usually a birthday celebrator, but next week I level up to age 40. I’m actually excited about where I’m at in life. I realized the other day that, while I’m getting older in age, I actually refer to my younger self as the “old” me. I did think I would have more things ...

George H.W. Bush was tough, and decent, and a good man

When former President George H.W. Bush passed away Friday, he left a legacy with much to recommend it. It is of a kinder, gentler nation fully capable of using an iron fist. Bush, our 41st president, was 94 when he joined his beloved wife, Barbara, who died earlier this year. Supreme Court ...

The rest of the story: George Perles

The intriguing thing about politics is that more often than not, the stories you read are not always the full story. What you see may not be what is really going on because for one reason or another, certain “facts” are often omitted which brings us to the departure of 84-year-old George ...

Folly to guess how pot will fare in lame duck

“Up in Smoke” was a 1978 comedy featuring Cheech and Chong that became a cult favorite of many recreational marijuana users over the years. Today in Michigan, proponents of the recently approved recreational marijuana initiative aren’t happy, and probably wonder if next week’s ...

Yes, Mason, there is a Santa Claus

Sitting here, with a light blanket of new-fallen snow outside my window, beyond my Tannenbaum, I am feeling Christmassy and want to tell a Christmas story about newspapers. One of my favorites is the story of “Yes, Virgina.” You’ve likely heard the story. There are books and movies, ...

Thankful for our firefighters

Thank you, firefighters, for being there when we need you. We are reminded of the wonderful job those men and women do with Friday morning’s early fire at KiKi Cuyler’s in Harrisville. In very cold conditions, firefighters battled the blaze to the end, trying to preserve a Harrisville ...

Why are we chucking hockey pucks?

Come Heller high water … ∫ Oakland University is passing out hockey pucks to faculty and students to chuck at would-be mass shooters on campus. If that wasn’t so sad, it’d be funny. We seemingly will do anything to avoid re-instituting the assault weapon ban and taking other ...

The high cost of new construction

On certain crisp winter mornings, I can still feel the crunch of the snow as I walk from the warmth of Wednesday morning Mass to the warmth of the brick-walled school, the only light the final moonbeams in the air. On certain crisp winter mornings, the radiators burr and hiss as we re-enter the ...

Anonymous benefactor a Christmas joy

In what has become an Alpena tradition this time of year, a generous, anonymous benefactor again this season left several $100 bills in Salvation Army red kettles around the city. Two years ago, an anonymous donor started the $100 bill tradition. Last year, the same thing occurred. Exactly a ...

Clear your car windows of snow, ice

As I was traveling to work after the last big snow storm, I witnessed a vehicle whose driver must have been in a rush, was being lazy, or just did not care that morning. Their vehicle’s windows and, specifically, the windshield, were not clear of frost and snow. The driver was lucky if ...

UPDATED: APS taxpayers, please do your homework

CORRECTION: This editorial has been updated, based on new information provided Nov. 29 by Alpena Public Schools Superintendent John VanWagoner, to more accurately reflect the total tax burden property owners would have for APS debt if a new millage request goes forward. In Tuesday’s edition ...

Fighting for Michigan veterans in the 2018 Farm Bill

Twelve years ago, my then-fiance was given three weeks’ notice that he was being deployed to Iraq with the Michigan National Guard. We had a quick courthouse wedding, followed by months of phone calls that always ended too soon and a crushing anxiety that felt like it would never end. When I ...

This Christmas, think Northeast Michigan

In today’s global, online marketplace, someone sitting on their phone in a deer blind in Hawks can buy their aunt a gold-fringed serving plate from Italy and have it shipped to her home in Los Angeles, then pick up a rare, first-press vinyl edition of “The White Album” from a record store ...

Knowing nothing after having read something

When little or nothing is known about a subject, it becomes difficult to write about. If it’s something we nevertheless wish to comment on in an essay or column, it can be embarrassing if nothing is known about what is written. However, there are those who maintain that, if you concentrate ...

The importance of shopping local

In deciding what model of a particular product to buy, shoppers should inspect various types, the adviser suggested. One strategy is to go to a local store to do that — then buy it online, it was noted. That’s crazy. Saturday was Small Business Saturday, an annual event held every ...

How image won a state Senate seat

You’ve got a registered lobbyist and a combat war veteran running for a state Senate seat. For whom would you vote? Dollars to donuts, you picked the vet and not the crook ... excuse me ... the lobbyist. When you frame the question as an either-or, you probably did what most voters do, ...

Measles cases show pros outweigh cons for vaccination

We are concerned about the high number of confirmed cases of measles in Michigan this year. As of this week, officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said 15 confirmed cases of measles have occurred in 2018 in the state — the highest number since 1994, when 26 ...