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Editorials and columns

Keep water rates affordable

We were pleased to read reporter Steve Schulwitz’s recent story saying water rates in Northeast Michigan remain far more affordable than in many big cities. According to a recent report in The Guardian, growing numbers of Americans living in major cities can’t afford to keep water ...

Politics put aside in budget talks

All the news out of Lansing and Washington isn’t always negative. Occasionally our state leaders can bury their ideological differences and come together for the common good. That sense of bipartisanship leadership was on display this week by our State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, who ...

Political signs add interest to the November election

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” - Five Man Electrical Band, 1971 We are at that point of the political season where indeed wherever one looks, a political sign will most likely be in view. I always have enjoyed a fascination with such signs, internally rating them on color background ...

Politics is so much more than a pastime

Consider this a sequel to the column I wrote a couple weeks back on whether newspapers should give readers what they want or what they need. And we open with this scene: In the Lansing State Journal newsroom, as in Gannett newsrooms across the country, large TVs are mounted high, visible by ...

Ringing the bells revisited

Back in October of 2016, I wrote a column about bells; interesting things, bells. Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem about them - here’s a stanza: Bells, bells, bells, What a world of merriment their melody foretells! Bells can be happy, rolling on the floor jangling happy - ...

Take time to unwind outside this fall

We’re slipping into that time of year when our days end a little earlier, nights run a little longer, and I’m sometimes woken up by the sound of the furnace burning away the early-morning chill. As much as I frown at the thought of my propane tank slowly draining, the rumble of those gas ...

Have we seen the highest lake level?

Here’s a lead you haven’t read for quite awhile — the water level of Lake Huron has begun to recede. So says officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of Detroit in their latest Great Lakes water level report for August. While the water level of Lake Huron again set a new ...

Why is truth so hard to find?

The passing of time should act as a constant reminder that lessons learned should never be forgotten. For example, one man, now relegated to the shadows of history, had many answers to the problems that plague today’s government. That man was George W. Norris. First elected in 1902 to the ...

Glad to see RC tackle runoff

It all ends up in the big lake. When you live in Michigan, it’s important to understand that cardinal rule. Whatever finds its way into the groundwater, into the stormwater pipes, into the rivers, eventually makes its way to one of the Great Lakes. For years, stormwater has been a big ...

Making progress on joblessness

Hard though it may be to believe, sometimes — what with ongoing restrictions on our daily lives and the way we’re forced to wear masks in public and the fact that Michigan has now passed the sad milestone of 100,000 cases of coronavirus infection since mid-March — but we are making ...

Tax cut trigger will prove costly

In 2015 as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s push for road funding, the Michigan Legislature and governor established Public Act 180, which included a provision that created a trigger that would reduce the state income tax rate if Michigan’s General Fund/General Purpose revenue rises at a rate ...

Some things stay the same

Recent stories in The News have highlighted just how different the upcoming school year will be for parents, students, and teachers as the coronavirus pandemic drags on. First, News staff writer Crystal Nelson informed us that a larger-than-usual number of parents have elected to have their ...

Making sense of poll numbers

Readers are accustomed to seeing polling numbers. Candidate A has a 12-point lead over candidate B. But rarely do they get a chance to dive into the numbers behind the numbers. Professional pollsters call them the cross-tab statistics, which break down where the candidate is getting his or ...

Back to school too weird, new, raw

The night before the first day of school, you would usually see me organizing my new school supplies, color-coding binders and laying out my first outfit of the year. Point being: I’m a girl who loves school. A girl who can’t wait to make friends, join clubs, have dances — the ...

Baby Boomers: It is time to pass the torch to younger folks

I am a Baby Boomer (one of those born between 1946 to 1964). I grew up in Alpena and fondly recall dining at Tubby’s, Lud’s, Dave and Jim’s Pizza, shopping downtown at J.C. Penney’s, Montgomery Wards, Gately’s, Kotwicki’s, and Vaughn’s department stores, and attending teen dances ...

Glad to see athletes playing again this fall

It just doesn’t quite feel like fall without the sights and sounds of prep sports. As the coronavirus continued to spread throughout Michigan into the summer, it wasn’t clear if any kids would return to their classrooms, let alone whether any students would get the chance to continue ...

Lessons on civility from American history

My favorite place at Disney World is the Hall of Presidents. It is not an adrenaline pumper, like many of the rides. There are no fast twists and turns, no spray from animated elephants as the Jungle Boat glides by. Instead, you just go inside a large hall, sit back into a comfortable ...

The essential guide to responsible journalism

A couple weeks ago, I did a column on readers’ most common misunderstandings about journalism, which I believe contribute to many unjust criticisms of our work. A reader accused me on Facebook of trying to pass the blame entirely on readers. Never one to shy away from self-critique, I ...

Rose a wise choice for outdoors board

Northeast Michigan is filled with a lot of woods and water. Thus, outdoor conservation issues always are important to residents. That is why it is especially important right now to have Carol Moncrieff Rose, of Hillman, chairing the state’s Natural Resources Commission. Rose is an ...

How millions and billions are different

There’s a big difference between a million and a billion, even though you commonly see them appearing together at the same political function. It’s a difference that can be expressed in ways other than dollars. For example, a million seconds is just shy of 12 days. A billion seconds? ...