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Editorials and columns

Castro’s death doesn’t ensure change is coming

Fidel Castro’s death certainly is the end of an era, that of the cult of personality that kept Cubans oppressed and without economic opportunity for decades. But does Castro’s demise signal an end to repressive rule of the island nation? Probably not. For more than half a century, ...

Tuesday is a day for giving

Black Friday is behind us, today is Cyber Monday and Tuesday is Giving Tuesday — 24 hours for residents to share their generosity this holiday season to nonprofits in need. Last year locally over $30,000 was raised on this day, as coordinated by officials with the Community Foundation for ...

DeVos not to be taken lightly

Here's an angle on the Betsy DeVos story that none of the national folks are aware of: She played in the percussion section of her high school band. What the heck does that have to do with being the next U.S. Secretary of Education? Good question but it reveals a significant peak into the ...

Cost of city, township water dispute is getting out of control

Remember this number: 270. More specifically, remember $270 an hour the next time you do the dishes, take a bath or flush the commode. Alpena city and township residents learned this week that is the number that is going to be paid for a mediator to help the two government entities try and ...

More thoughts on being great again

A lot has happened in the week since we shared some of your thoughts on what would make America great again. Who would have thought Vice President-Elect Mike Pence would attend the Broadway show of Hamilton and find himself the center of attention? While John Caplis shared his thoughts before ...

Be careful with the news headlines you share

The Washington Post recently interviewed a guy named Paul Horner, one of the top purveyors of the fake news stories that clot Facebook these days. The paper asked Horner why people bite on his stuff. His answer ought to scare the heck out of you: "Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They ...

Leaving a legacy: Easier than you think

There’s a Greek proverb that says a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. While the sentiment is profound, here’s a note to the ancient Greeks: You need not be elderly or male to do things today that will benefit others far into the ...

Take in and enjoy all the holidays have to offer

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle this time of year. Christmas trees need trimmed, gifts need  purchased and cookies need baked. As we rush into a store we’re too caught up in our shopping list and miss the sound of a bell ringing at a red kettle. As we hurry home ...

Give thanks, but also enjoy the season

Today is a time for reflection, for giving thanks and for remembering the many blessings that we have experienced this past year. Some of us are filled with more thanksgiving than others, but all of us should, if we stop and ponder it for a while, have something to be thankful for ...

Watching people whenever I travel

Whenever I travel, I like to observe the differences in cultures. I like to talk to people who actually live in the place I am visiting and ask questions. If I am in a place with a great mix of diversity it is especially interesting for me to observe the way different cultures interact and ...

Stop making our law officers targets

If four civilians were shot needlessly and intentionally by U.S. police officers in one day, it is a safe bet existing condemnations of law enforcement personnel as a class would be intensified greatly. There would be demands that something be done immediately to stop the violence. Four ...

Being thankful for the long haul

It’s pretty easy to be thankful for things around Thanksgiving time. The word itself, “Thanks,” is everywhere. This reminds us to reflect on the word more frequently than usual and thus, here we are, thankful for everything for at least a couple of weeks out of the year. Science ...

Trump needs to guarantee Gitmo stays open

In anticipation of the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has accelerated an initiative to empty the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and shut it down. Not long after he took office, Obama announced he would keep a campaign promise to close the center. In one of the most bipartisan ...

Hats off to museum board, employees

Isn’t it wonderful when a great plan comes together? Congratulations are in order this morning to Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan board members and museum employees who just concluded a successful 50th anniversary capital campaign. Not only did the museum reach its $500,000 goal, it ...

Readers respond to making us great

Wow! The response to my request for your thoughts on “What would make America Great Again” was quite significant. I received responses from so many that I am going to share them over the course of  the next several weeks with readers. Naturally many of you are local residents, but some ...

Did fake news influence this year’s election?

For those of you on Facebook, do you believe all the news stories you see? Do you read all the news stories you see, and if not how do you determine which ones you read? I ask that for two reasons: 1. I'm not on Facebook, and 2. Stories about its news feeds are all over the place right ...

Random thoughts on the election

Come Heller high water: The presidential election edition … * It was silly and typical for Trump and others to say the post-election protests were "unfair" or un-American. Peaceful protest is as American as you can get. On the other hand, as I watched footage of the protesters I couldn't ...

Where we are

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28 Have you noticed the caterpillars? They seem to be everywhere this year. Every time I rake I send a couple of them flipping onto their backs in their c-shaped you-can't-see-me posture ...

Imagine what could have happened

Can you only imagine? This week controversy surrounded the selection of Rick Porcello as the American League Cy Young winner, as determined by a select group of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Porcello, of the Boston Red Sox, edged out Detroit Tigers pitcher ...

Trump presidency the least of blacks’ worries

Donald Trump’s surprise win has millions of Americans, many of whom are black, in a tizzy. Many, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, are writing about what it means to be black during a Trump administration even though Trump’s presidency has yet to begin. My argument has always been that the ...