Editorials and columns

Now is the time to watch City Hall

We are still four months from the filing deadline for candidates hoping for a seat on the Alpena Municipal Council, and seven months from the polls opening for that contest. But now is the time to start paying attention. Matter of fact, if you’re not already paying attention, you’re ...

Gun control debate is not one-dimensional

Gun control is not the one-sided argument its proponents claim. In addition to the Second Amendment, there are practical considerations. For example, as a federal judge in California recognized recently, there is the very real potential for new limits on firearms to be harmful. California ...

Days like today are why I love this job

On days like today, being the publisher of The Alpena News puts a smile on my face. While many would like to write newspapers off as being dinosaurs in the journalism industry, it is a newspaper like today’s that reminds readers of the important role community newspapers still play in the ...

Newspapers aren’t (just) entertainment

One of the biggest frustrations to me and journalists the world over is that people too often treat our work as just another diversion, something that can be tuned into or tuned out of as easily as the last episode of “Survivor” or the latest Lions game. This isn’t entertainment. At ...

Please, vaccinate

An outbreak of measles in Michigan has state officials concerned, and rightly so. As of midweek this week, 34 confirmed cases have been noted this year, the highest level since 1991. Of the cases, 33 have been in Oakland County and one in Wayne County. Officials with the Michigan Department ...

On health care and the joys of cow bell

Come Heller high water … ∫ A new survey says Americans borrowed $88 billion last year to pay for health care. One in four skipped treatment because they couldn’t afford it. And half of all Americans — half! — say bankruptcy is just one health emergency away. That should be the most ...

Breaking silence on vaccines, measles, autism

UNICEF recently warned that global cases of measles are surging to alarmingly high levels. Worldwide, 98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 than in 2017, eroding progress against that highly preventable but potentially deadly disease. In the U.S., the CDC has confirmed more than ...

Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 is ‘all wet’

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but think one of my missions in life revolves around water. As a former newspaper publisher in York, Neb., I worked tirelessly to inform our readers about the injustice we know as TransCanada’s KXL pipeline. There are so many reasons why that is a ...

Marquardt’s story is one worth sharing

Hats off to Jim Marquardt. This month, Marquardt celebrates his 50th year in law enforcement, which by anyone’s standards is a milestone worth celebrating. As reporter Steve Schulwitz noted in a story Wednesday, 50 years in any job is an achievement, but to do so in a demanding field ...

Illegally taking a game animal

When it comes to law enforcement in northern Michigan, we work hand-in-hand with other departments on complaints all the time. I started my career with the Michigan State Police at the Newberry Post, and my back-up while working the day shift was the local sheriff’s department and the guys ...

We all play a role in keeping kids safe

This week, students, activists and those on the front lines of combatting child abuse and neglect are planting “pinwheel gardens” at conspicuous places all around the state in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, which happens every April. Such a garden was planted outside the Alcona ...

Can we count on you to count all kids?

On Monday, the Michigan League for Public Policy joined a variety of other state and national advocacy groups, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), the Partnership for America’s Children, and the Michigan Nonprofit Association, to hold a Census Day of ...

Congrats, and thanks, Jim Marquardt!

Next month, Jim Marquardt will step down from the DARE program in local schools as he caps off 50 years of service with the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office. Serving 50 years in any field is remarkable. Doing so in a job that puts your life on the line every single day and is so ...

On a journey, coming home

Tom Turk may have been the first person to “come home” to Alpena. In 1840, Tom and a friend spent a night under the stars at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River. They were alone. Forty years later, in 1882, Turk came back to that same spot, but failed to experience what those who return ...

Plastic bag ban a liberal grab bag on taxes

New York politicians have given Americans one more reason to be leery of so-called “environmental” initiatives. Too often, they are grabs for money and power. A new state budget about to be adopted by the Empire State’s legislature includes a ban on use of plastic bags. Liberal ...

Smollett shouldn’t get away with it

Television actor Jussie Smollett lied when he claimed he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago, police there maintain. They say he used two accomplices to stage the assault, in a bid for publicity he may have hoped would help his career. Yet, other than a few days in jail ...

Not a great week for auto owners in Mich.

It was not a good week for auto owners. On Thursday, members of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association announced they were raising the per-insured vehicle assessment in insurance policies from $192 to $220 for the 2019-20 period. The announced increase generated an immediate response ...

Do journalists owe Donald Trump an apology?

No. So plainly obvious, in my mind, is the answer to the question I pose in that headline that I could end this column right there. But I’ll expound. First, the background: Most of Donald Trump’s presidency has been consumed by a special prosecutor investigating whether he or his ...

Ships ahoy! Great Lakes shipping season underway

Another Great Lakes shipping season is officially underway, with the opening of the Soo Locks this week. Movement in the lower lakes had begun earlier, with Alpena receiving her first boat of the season March 10, when the Innovation arrived, after needing assistance from a tugboat because of ...

No, MHSAA, video games are not sport

Come Heller high water ... ∫ The Michigan High School Athletic Association is studying whether video gaming is a sport. I can save them time: It’s not. I like sports, playing and watching. And I like video games, although I lose badly to my sons, whose thumbs and brains are way faster ...