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August 21, 2013 - Steve Schulwitz
There has been a lot going on in Alpena, the state, the country and in my personal life, so I am going to just leave my thoughts on some of them. Tidbits you might say. Let's roll.

Well summer is about ready to wrap up and fall is on its heals. On a trip last weekend there were leaves changing already and August hasn't even closed yet. To me it is no surprise because with the exception of a week it has been a chilly summer and quite drab in terms of weather. My fingers are crossed that a warm fall is on the horizon, but if the cool trend continues, we could see snow by the end of October. Ugh.

On the local front the last month has seen, or will see, a parade of state and federal political figures visiting the area. Gov. Snyder has made a pair of trips to Alpena in the past two weeks, and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley makes a stop on Aug. 22, as well as Rep. Dan Beneshek. There is a buzz about Alpena at the state and federal level and I think the people representing us want to be attached to it, so when development takes off they can claim to have a link to it.

The political landscape locally was jarred last week when former Alpena Councilman Mike Nunneley announced he was going to run for one of two vacant seats on the council only a year after being recalled. Nunneley and current council member Shawn Sexton were the only two to file for the November election. Two others have since filed to run as write-in candidates, but the odds either can pull off an upset are long. To be honest I have no opinion either way on Nunneley exercising his right to seek a city seat. He has always been accommodating, forthright and cordial to me and for that I respect him. Many others in Alpena feel differently. I have no skin in this game, as I live in Rogers City and will not have a say in the matter. I will say this however. Now is the time for the council to come together and act as one. There are a lot of things brewing under the surface in Alpena and only a unified and strong council will lead Alpena to where we envision it. I don't care if the council consists of Nunneley, Sexton the Easter Bunny, Darth Vader or anyone else. The time is now to come together and leave leave what is in the past, in the past and navigate toward the future.

Did you go see the Georgia Satellites at the Alpena County Fairgrounds when they were in town? I didn't think so because few did. The concert was scheduled on the opening night of the HOG Rally with the intent of luring bikers to the event. Oops. That didn't turn out so well, as the opening ceremony for the rally was taking place as the same time as the concert. The Georgia Satellites? Come on! I know the names of some of the others bands considered and all I can say is "The Georgia Satellites?" There were others that would have gone over well. On a different weekend. Reports claim about 250 tickets were sold to the show, but people I am close to and involved in the local music scene say there were maybe 150. Knowing what I know in terms of what it cost to book the band, secure sound and light production and advertise for the event, it sounds as if a significant loss was taken by the fair board. This is unfortunate because if it had been successful there very well have been more shows in the future. That seems unlikely now. The board was approached and offered advise or council for booking a concert by those who have worked with national acts, but it chose to ignore the help and pushed ahead with its plan. Epic fail. Perhaps it should have listened. The local music scene is full of talented and knowledgeable people with a great deal of connections. These people know what is going to be appealing and when the best crowds can be expected. Their advice was not utilized and if there is red in the fair board's budget, we can point to this event for it.

OK, I think I have said enough, almost.

I feel there are great things in store for Alpena in the not so distant future and even though I don't live here any longer Alpena will always be my home. That is why I care enough to provide my thoughts and concerns, with the full understanding my opinion won't be shared by all, and all I ask is you consider my points and the points of others who care enough to express them. Expressing your own is always welcome as well.


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