Editorials and columns

Using a cell phone in a commercial truck

The question this week comes from a local company who operates a commercial business but only has a standard panel van. The question is, “I do not have any vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds, only a standard panel van. Can I legally use a hand-held cell phone while ...

Don’t let Kim repeat history of lying to the US

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un are planning a second summit meeting. The question the two will discuss is clear: Is Kim keeping his pledge to dial back on North Korea’s runaway militarism? North Korea already possesses nuclear weapons and long-range ...

Are you ready for tax-filing season?

Tax filing season has officially opened in Michigan and nationwide. On Monday, Jan. 28, the Internal Revenue Service started accepting paper and electronic returns — despite the temporary government shutdown. As everyone groans and starts collecting their W-2s and other various forms, ...

If it’s him in the yearbook, Gov. Northam should resign

Gov. Ralph Northam has posed a series of questions to Virginians: Is our governor racially insensitive? Is he dishonest? If he is neither, what, exactly, happened in 1984? Northam made headlines first last week when he was asked about a proposed change in Virginia’s limits on abortion. If ...

Staying with the right stuff

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.” That’s information we need. Once again, the time has come to engage The Shadow. And to put in a call for Sgt. Preston of the Yukon and his wonder dog, King. “Why not the Lone Ranger and Tonto?” you may ask. ...

Something’s different about our willingness to sacrifice

Something clearly changed between the time of World War II and this past week, when citizens were asked to make a personal sacrifice for the good of everybody. During the war, citizens responded en mass when told to ration food, gas, rubber, nylons, and what-not. And, human nature being what ...

Trump, Pelosi: Time to compromise

President Donald Trump may have much to say on a great number of topics tonight when he delivers his postponed State of the Union speech. But many listeners, perhaps including the woman who will be seated directly behind Trump, will be listening closely for comments on a single subject: “the ...

Thank you, Michigan, for heeding the call

In the midst of last week’s historic arctic blast and heavy snowfall, a Wednesday fire at a Consumers Energy natural gas compressor station in Macomb County threw the state’s supply of that home-heating fuel into question. Michiganders across the state were awoken by a screeching ...

How will Whitmer keep her roads promise?

“Fix the damn roads.” Many Michigan residents grew tired of that phrase last summer and fall as now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used it at every campaign stop she made. Now in office for a month, residents will look to her in the weeks and months ahead to see just what is her plan is to make ...

Why we cover cops and courts as they work

For the past several weeks, I have been training a brand-new criminal justice reporter to work a brand-new criminal justice/cops-and-courts beat at The News. It’s given me the opportunity to wax philosophical about why we do what we do the ways we do it on such stories. It’s been ...

ACC a feather in Alpena’s cap

The value of education, we believe, is something that really can’t be measured. How can you assign value to things like responsibility, maturity and reliability — all traits that, hopefully, increase as part of a student’s education? Inevitably, there are those who seek to assign value ...

This week does not disprove global warming

Come Heller high water … ∫ OK, maybe a decade ago it was marginally clever during a bad winter storm to say, “Gee, I guess they called off that global warming thing!” Today, it’s not funny. Regardless of your political beliefs, global warming/climate change is real, and it ...

Come in from the cold for Business Expo, book sale

If ever there was a need for a break after a rough week of nasty weather, it would be this weekend. Frigid temperatures and tons of snow have left residents cold and achy ... desperately needing a little change of scenery to rejuvinate their perspective on life. We believe we can ...

Communicate during a disagreement

Communication is important, which is nothing new to you. For me, it is a very interesting topic. So interesting that it is what my college degrees are in, and I enjoy continuous study of it. I am currently reading a book called “We Need to Talk,” by Celeste Headlee. A really good read, ...

Get involved in city’s capital planning process

We know. Municipal budgeting can be mind-numbingly boring. Revenues, expenses, interest, funding ratios, fund equity, assets, liabilities, line items ... It can test the mental endurance of almost anybody. But, just as it does in your own household budget, the ways in which governments ...

The opportunity to right the wrongs

We don’t always get it right. Even with the best efforts to prepare, we can still make mistakes. I recently had the opportunity to right two wrongs I inadvertently created. During an interview last week, I rattled off the wrong number regarding tourism growth in 2018. For some reason, my ...

Great that slowdown is a good thing

In Wednesday’s edition of The News, reporter Steve Schulwitz reported that hotel occupancy in the Alpena area in 2018 increased nearly 15 percent over the prior year. That’s no small feat. Imagine if you got a 15-percent raise at your job. If you were making $50,000 a year, that would ...

Benson drops high-stakes political mapmaking bomb

That tick, tick, tick, boom you heard in this town last Friday was the new Democratic secretary of state setting off a political bombshell. The explosion, if approved by the federal courts, will increase the chances that Democrats can take control of the Michigan state House in 2020. And that ...

Good to see 2nd Avenue storefront filled

Late last year, we got some sad news when Stephen and Joanne Gallagher, owners of Stephen’s Menswear, announced they would retire and the store would close. Stephen’s has been a downtown Alpena staple for 30 years, part of the cityscape as it occupied a key storefront on our city’s main ...

Why we call a top-30 coldest city home

A wise newspaper sage many years ago shared with me this advice: If you want your newspaper guaranteed to be read, include stories or photos of kids, pets and the weather. While the popular belief is that newspapers just want to sensationalize headlines to lure readers into stories, in ...