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Editorials and columns

Parking with disabled veterans plates

This week’s question came in via email: “I am a disabled veteran rated 100% by the Veterans Administration. The good folks of Michigan have been kind to recognize those of us in these circumstances by granting some benefits such as a license plate for a vehicle. The plate is designated ...

Glad to see marching bands rebound

The best education is a well-rounded one, and the best school experience is one that is not only grueling work but also a bit of fun and camaraderie. And that is why we were happy to see reporter Julie Goldberg show us on the cover of Saturday’s Northern Lifestyles section that marching ...

Homelessness: More than empty desks

Teachers don’t like empty desks. Occasionally, an empty desk means a student is off doing something fun — a family vacation, a field trip, a sports tournament. In those cases, we feel happy for our students and try to remember that some things are more important than school. Of course, ...

We must teach work ethic

We read with great dismay reporter Crystal Nelson’s Saturday dispatch in which she told us of area employers’ struggle to find workers. Some of the struggle is understandable: A culture that until recently has pushed four-year university degrees over skilled trades training has left a ...

Feelings from the fairgrounds

For many years, our high school was located on 2nd Avenue. There were no adjacent athletic fields, so buses transferred athletes to the fairgrounds for football practice and for baseball and track practices and competitions. This spring, I returned to the fairgrounds. I walked across the old ...

The ghost of Gov. John Engler still haunts state budget talks

Former Gov. John Engler stopped being governor back in 2002, but, as incredible as it may seem, he’s still very much part of the current budget battle. It’s as if he’s right there at the bargaining table with the current governor and the two GOP legislative leaders. Of course, he ...

State budget has real-life implications

We understand those of us who have watched the bickering and blaming in Lansing over the state budget and see it as one more exhibit proving government’s dysfunction, one more reason to throw up your hands and disengage. It’s hard to be inspired when our leaders, unable to find common ...

APS is right to protect its bottom line

Alpena Public Schools teachers, staffers, administrators, students, and parents have all made sacrifices to help the district’s budget. Those sacrifices have yielded results. The district has gone from $1.6 million in the red in summer 2014 to more than $4 million in the bank now, enough ...

A president, a comedian, and a glimmer of hope

Over the past several years, I have written a lot about the lack of civility in the world today. More specifically, my opinions have focused on the lack of civility in politics, and how the erosion of common decency in that environment has been eroding the public’s trust in politicians and ...

The truth ‘constantly exists’ and ‘always comes out’

“Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists, and does not seem to require too much an active energy …” — Benjamin Franklin What is a democracy? Is it the simple act of the governed casting ballots to decide the future of its government? Can you call it a democracy ...

Welcome back, dear warbler

Over the years, one of Northeast Michigan’s greatest success stories has been the restoration of Kirtland warbler habitat. By restoring jack pines across the region, the bird’s numbers have climbed to the point where, today, they have been removed from the federal list of endangered ...

Tell Senate, Whitmer to protect counseling

A few weeks ago, the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association posted a plea on its Facebook page indicating that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) was proposing updates to the licensing rules governing licensed professional counselors. the rules would ...

In my great and unmatched wisdom …

Come Heller high water ... ∫ My favorite Donald Trump tweet of the week was the one where he said that, “in his great and unmatched wisdom,” he was pulling troops out of northern Syria. Honestly, who, besides the Wizard of Oz, talks like that? ∫ In my great and unmatched wisdom, we ...

Celebrating National Newspaper Week

For as long as our great nation has existed, newspapers have been part of the fabric that strengthens our democracy and makes our communities stronger. Before James Madison became our fourth U.S. President, he wrote the Bill of Rights and enshrined the freedom of the press into the First ...

Pick up your Old Newsboys edition this weekend

Ho. Ho. Ho. No, Christmas is not just around the corner ... even if holiday merchandise can now be found at many merchants around the region. The “Ho, Ho, Ho” mentioned above is a tease to the focal point of the 2019 Lions Old Newsboys edition that only can be purchased today and ...

Let actions speak louder than words

Have you ever met a salesperson who told you that you should do business with him or her because they are an “honest person?” I have. It makes me think they are not honest, and makes me not want to do business with that person. I feel they shouldn’t have to tell me they are honest. ...

Dear kids: Vaping isn’t worth it

In Saturday’s edition, reporter Julie Goldberg told us that vaping in high schools in Northeast Michigan and beyond has reached, as Alpena High School Principal Tom Berriman put it, “epidemic” proportions. Vaping has become so popular that one set of bathrooms at Hillman Jr./Sr. High ...

CTE reform needs more than money

Over the summer, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a campaign to remove stigmas about skilled trades jobs, marking the latest effort in Whitmer’s mission to close the so-called skills gap in Michigan. The governor has also called for increasing per-pupil funding ...

Welcome aboard, Rachael Smolinski

The Alpena Municipal Council has picked its replacement for retiring City Manager Greg Sundin. Rachael Smolinski is the current director of the Harbor Springs Downtown Development Authority, but she has ties to the Alpena area. The council had a tough task before them, interviewing six ...

Happy homecoming, Alpena!

Nothing says fall quite like football, and nothing says football quite like homecoming and Spirit Week. Alpena High School is now counting down the days to the Wildcats’ home game against the Traverse City Trojans on Friday. Reporter Julie Goldberg last week previewed the fun Alpena High ...