Editorials and columns

Sister, teacher: A lesson in homecoming

Last month, I drove an hour east of Cleveland to Ashtabula, Ohio, where I grew up and where my youngest sister, Toni, is a high school English teacher. Once a week, she also teaches a “career enrichment” class for eighth-graders, which is why I was there. Our old high school is long gone, ...

Donald Trump using American capitalism to help the poor

During Christmas week, Fox News invited me to discuss how President Donald Trump’s achievements for black Americans are registering in awareness in these communities. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed in scheduling the interview. It’s a subject of enormous importance not just because of ...

Movie of the year: Fascinating look back at World War I

The filmmaker Peter Jackson deserves more than an Oscar; he deserves a medal. What the director of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies has done with his World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old,” is more than restore archival film; he has restored the humanity of ...

Goals for the new year: Be more present

Blink. It’s 2019. Did 2018 really even happen? It did, but, wow, did it go by in a flash. I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. I try to do a little better every day, and that’s what I’ll do again this year. I also set goals throughout the year, as not everything I want ...

Story from Brighton defines the true spirit of Christmas

The Christmas season may have come and gone, but its spirit still lives in the state of Michigan. A southeastern Michigan girl who is battling leukemia has received more than 4,500 Christmas cards since late November, according to an article from the Livingston Daily Press & Argus. Emma ...

We were there in 2018, we’ll be there for you in 2019

Another year into the history books, and 2018 was a doozy. Notwithstanding the raucus news all year long on the federal level and one of the most frantic lame-duck sessions in memory in Lansing, Northeast Michigan saw its fair share of noteworthy events. The years-long dispute between the ...

Talent grant good news for Northeast Michigan

News staff writer Julie Goldberg reported recently that several school districts in Northeast Michigan have collectively reeived $1.9 million in Marshall Plan for Talent grant money from the state. The funds will go toward new and expanded curricula, certification programs based on ...

‘Going to be sad’: Last words from first lady

After she strongly suggested that her husband run for govenror, Sue Snyder sort of sat back to watch what would happen, never thinking that, eventually, she would find her own voice as first lady of Michigan. “I guess I just didn’t think about what my role would be. I would just be in the ...

‘Relentless positive action’ worked for Mich.

As 2018 draws to a close in Michigan, the state and its residents find themselves in a much better place than they have been in many years. Gas prices at many locations around Alpena Friday were below $2 a gallon for regular unleaded. That alone was cause for celebration among many who now ...

Man, I love this job: Starting the new year right

A colleague told me recently that he wished I’d write more positive things about newspapering in this column. That can be a tricky thing, sometimes, especially when the industry news is so often dire and more of your friends are shoved off to the bread line and this thing you care about ...

Alpena stands by its people in tragedy

There is no good time ever for a house fire, but, when it occurs at Christmastime, it seems even more unfortunate. Thankfully, though, this region is filled with good, caring people, and that was again evidenced by the Jason Lowell family of West Lake Street in Alpena this week. Jason, his ...

This year, resolve to be less annoying

This is the time when people start to ask, “Should I make any resolutions for the new year?” It’s a ridiculous question. Of COURSE you should make resolutions. You’re a hot mess. Based on how often you annoy me with your behavior, you need to make lots and lots of resolutions, and the ...

Experiencing ‘newness’

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” — Psalm 27:14 I started a new job last week. The nice folks at The Alpena News decided to let me do some writing for them as an official, honest-to-goodness reporter. On the first day of work, I got a tour of the ...

Ice rink is both magical, inspirational

There is something magical about an outdoor ice rink in the winter. That is partially why a new rink at Bay View Park is exciting. And, while we are pleased that soon area residents will be able to skate there, that is only partially why we find this project so incredible. The project also ...

Can you tow a vehicle with your own truck?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column regularly appears on Thursdays but is running one day late because of the holidays. It will return to its regular rotation next month. I was approached last week with a question about towing private vehicles. The question was, “Can you legally pull a vehicle ...

The darkest evening of the year, hope for bright days ahead

Two years ago, I spent most of the holiday season in Adelaide, South Australia. Beautiful Adelaide, Australia’s first colonial settlement and fifth-most populated city, nestled on the Indian Ocean and surrounded by the rolling hills of the Mount Lofty Mountain Range and Australia’s lush ...

No regrets and no answers from Schuette

No regrets. No second-guessing. No plans for the future. He’s going forward, not looking backward. There, in a nutshell, is the post-election story from defeated candidate for governor William Duncan Schuette, who started his political journey with a key challenge: nobody got his name ...

Compromise means progress in 2018

Our work at the Michigan League for Public Policy is never done. We focus on issues like income inequality, health, child wellbeing, workplace issues, criminal justice and education. And after a whirlwind, contentious lame-duck session, we’re finally able to watch the dust settle and reflect ...

Snyder set many precedents that should be kept

We’ll leave it to historians to decide what Rick Snyder’s legacy will be as Michigan’s 48th governor, and how he might stack up against his predecessors and successors. Certainly, Michigan has seen many successes during his eight-year tenure, including an ever-tumbling unemployment ...

Phony money shouldn’t be so easy to get

The teenager who passed phony money around the region this summer was placed on probation for 18 months recently. It was noted during his court proceedings that the money he passed as if real were $100 bills called “prop” bills. We were curious as to what “prop” bills were, so we ...