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Editorials and columns

Don’t make it easy for crooks

Crime went up slightly in Alpena County, up nearly 11% in Presque Isle County, and fell significantly in Alcona County from 2017 to 2018, according to the most recent statistics released by the Michigan State Police. Data from the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department wasn’t available ...

Planting the seeds of survival

It’s boom time in the bunker business. With nefarious foreign sources hacking, troublesome incursions to our social media increasing, relationships with our allies straining, trade war tariffs looming, and people’s search for dignity depicted as invading — some affluent people are ...

Can today’s leaders avoid Gov. Granholm’s shutdown woes?

The tick-tock of the state Capitol clock was getting louder by the minute as the bewitching budget deadline midnight hour was closing in on then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon, and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop. To be sure, they had labored for months to ...

Good luck to the Alpena North Stars

Earlier this month, sports editor James Andersen brought us the news that a new semiprofessional hockey team should be hitting the ice this fall. The Alpena North Stars will join the Battle Creek Cavalry, Bay City Americans, Flint Wolfpack, Oakland Vipers, Hadley Nepessings, Macomb Stags, ...

Be prepared for school’s return

We know, we know, we know. It’s hard to believe, but (*wipes tears from eyes*) summer is almost over. In a matter of days, most Northeast Michigan students will be heading back to class. All of them will within a few short weeks. Already, there are meet-the-teacher events and ...

Crystal balls are no way to run a school district

Who would want to be a school superintendent in Northeast Michigan these days? Take Alpena Public Schools Superintendent John VanWagoner, for instance. First, he had to spend all summer moving on from a defeated bond-sale request in May. At the same time, he keeps his fingers and toes ...

Does a story by any other name still ring true?

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump again went after one of his favorite targets, the New York Times, over the paper’s decision to change the headline on two stories covering the president’s speech on the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. The chronology went like ...

Say a prayer for our farmers

It’s not easy being a farmer these days, especially in Northeast Michigan. All of us are all too familiar with how bovine tuberculosis has made having a dairy herd in this region a gamble at best. We have read too many stories of lives ruined and herds destroyed after a cow tests positive ...

Heller does summer in Michigan …

∫ I’m just going to say it: I like Renaissance festivals. I’ve always been a fan of hokey, and there’s nothing hokier than a guy dressed in tights telling you in a bad English/pirate accent where the turkey leg stand is. Sheer, dumb bliss. ∫ I wonder if, someday, there will be ...

Thank you for a great Northern Strike

Friends and fellow citizens of Alpena, With great pride, I can report that another successful Northern Strike exercise is now in the history books. With several innovative and groundbreaking advancements this year, Northern Strike 19 truly wrote new history, not only for the exercise, which ...

Would you rehire people like this?

What if everyone had to reapply for his or her jobs every two years? I am sure your boss would have quite a few questions for you. My guess would be that you would go into that meeting well-prepared by having documentation of how you contributed to the company’s success. I am not aware of ...

Glad city rejected clean needle program

Earlier this month, members of the Alpena Municipal Council rejected a proposed amendment to an ordinance that would have allowed free needles to be passed out in the city. We agree with the decision, and support those who voted it down. The request had come from District Health Department ...

Do what you can for our furry hero

As we write often in this space, we are routinely thrilled by the generosity of Northeast Michigan’s people. We volunteer. We donate. We step up. We solve problems. We take care of our friends and neighbors. Now, one of our furry neighbors needs our help, and we hope ...

Sad to see dismal voter turnout

It’s been more than a week since Alpena County voters renewed the countywide property tax that supports the Alpena County Library, and we’re still brooding. Not because of the tax renewal. The small price — just $12.50 a year for the owner of a $100,000 house — is more than worth it ...

How to spend $1B more on roads

Lawmakers do not need to find $1.9 billion or even $1 billion for roads in a single year. Road repairs are long-term projects, and the state needs to gradually spend more to ensure that roads are put back together faster than they fall apart. Road funding is already at historic highs, when ...

A final lunch with L. Brooks Patterson

EDITOR’S NOTE: Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick has 50 years of experience covering L. Brooks Patterson, the Oakland County executive who died Aug. 3. If you had to pick three words to describe Lewis Brooks Patterson, you’d say he was passionate, controversial, and funny, and his passion ...

Hoorah for the county fair

Fair time is a wonderful time of year in any town, but especially so in a small, tight-knit community such as ours. The midway rides and games, the 4-H barns, the pie-eating contests, and the bump ‘n’ runs. Fairs are just good, old-timey fun that any family can enjoy. The Alpena ...

Let’s work to make bullying extinct

Reporter Julie Goldberg brought us some troubling statistics in Saturday’s edition: More than 180 incidents of bullying were reported last school year alone in Northeast Michigan school districts. Those numbers also are likely underreported, as more than half of the area’s middle ...

A lot to consider with proposed paid parking in downtown

Is short-term pain worth long-term gain? That is how we view the current discussion taking place by Alpena Downtown Development Authority members who are considering installing parking meters on the streets of Alpena again. The thinking, and rationale behind the decision, would be to ...

Finding the middle ground with civility

German writer Jean Paul once offered this advice: “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” I would hope that for all of us that would be true. I would hope that as we grow older, we also grow a bit wiser from the experiences of ...