Editorials and columns

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 ...

Rationally optimistic in the new year

Come Heller high water … ∫ My whole life, it’s taken me three months each January to stop thinking it was still the old year. This year, I immediately started writing 2019 on checks (yes, I still write a few of those) and saying 2019 when I’m talking about ... 2019. What I can’t ...

Things that go bump in the night

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 It was winter, that’s for sure. All was peaceful when we left for an Illinois getaway the weekend of New Year’s Eve. The roads were clear and a little fluff of snow ...

Thank you for showing the spirit of Christmas

This morning, know that, because of you, 600 area residents were able to enjoy and experience Christmas a few weeks ago. Thanks to your generosity, every time you passed a red kettle and shared some of your wealth, all 600 people who sought aid from the Salvation Army this year received help ...

What if there’s no posted speed limit?

A reader submitted the following question: “Can you clarify what the speed limit is on a rural, unposted road? Is the speed limit lower on gravel roads?” MCL 257.628 of the Michigan Vehicle Code sets the maximum speed limit at 55 miles per hour on all unposted highways. Unpaved and ...

Cheers to city for solid finances

In Wednesday’s edition of The News, Steve Schulwitz reported on the City of Alpena’s positive audit report covering the fiscal year that ended June 30. Auditors told members of the Municipal Council that the city had $2.5 million in its general fund cash-on-hand account, enough to cover ...

Let’s not go the way of Arkansas

Medicaid is not a jobs plan. You probably know that. It’s a plan designed to provide access to health care for people who are struggling. And, although it isn’t perfect, it’s a pretty good health plan, covering more than 2.5 million Michiganders. It plays an especially important role ...

Look forward, not back on water-sewer dispute

In back-to-back public statements over their years-long dispute over water and sewer rates, officials with the City of Alpena and Alpena Township have offered different views of the history of what is now a battle in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The township buys water and sewer services ...

Taking a trip to the dump

Stuff builds up. So quickly it goes unnoticed at times — time being what it is. Then, one day, what should have been obvious but somehow wasn’t becomes apparent. This time, it wasn’t a quick gathering; rather, a slow accumulation of time’s markers and life’s sweepings, but to the ...

Stay safe out there, Alpena

As if we needed a reminder so soon after our New Year’s Eve snow-dump, Mother Nature is reminding us once again of her beauty and her power as she pummels Northeast Michigan with snow and rain. The National Weather Service says the chance of a wintry mix will stay with us at least until ...

This year, resolve to be more involved

The new year means new terms for local government boards, the Legislature, and Congress. It means the start of fresh annual budgets for counties across the state. In Alpena County, Brad McRoberts is the new chairman of the county Board of Commissioners after Cam Habermehl was defeated in the ...

Whitmer: ‘Comprising with each other’

Well that didn’t take long. The air around the state capitol is rarified these days with a renewed sense of optimism that the long-awaited public demand for bipartisan cooperation is within reach. Pumping that air into the process is none other than the new governor who has spent a big ...

For new year, our newsroom is reorganizing

One of the first pieces of advice I got from my first editor was this: Reporters have to know a little bit about a lot of things. It’s true in any newsroom, but especially so in a small newsroom like we have here in Alpena: You never know when you’re going to be called off to some place ...

Be good neighbors, keep your sidewalk cleared

As we continue to dig out of the first big snow of the season —and more snow on the way early next week, according to the National Weather Service —we are reminded of the beauty that is our Up North winter wonderland. But we are also reminded of the many hassles that nature’s bounty ...

Being more positive … that 2018 sucked

Come Heller high water … ∫ If I’m 2019, I’d be feeling pretty cocky right about now. That’s because 2018 was so bad on so many fronts — politics, journalism, human rights, environment, climate change, weather, stocks, Michigan sports, pop culture (here I’m specifically thinking ...

It’s tax season; protect yourself from scammers

Now begins a peak time of the year for scammers. Officials with the Michigan Department of Treasury warn residents, especially seniors, to be alert to tax scams this time of the year. Be hesitant to share personal information, officials warn. “Taxpayers need to be extra alert for ...