Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 22, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 10/22/2012


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Planning starts at home

This month's edition of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine contains a very enlightening article regarding the personal finances of the Obamas and Bidens (October: pages 35-36).

Most everyone should agree there's a critical need for our next administration to develop and implement an effective and realistically achievable plan to resolve our country's serious financial issues.

It is the voters' responsibility to select the best-qualified candidates to perform this challenging task. Here's the Web URL where you can review the article and decide for yourself:

I am a firm believer that smart fiscal planning and responsibility starts at home.

Mike Peron

Traverse City

More than a tag line

"Dedicated to Serve" is more than a tag line for the candidacy of Kirsten L. Keilitz to become Grand Traverse County's next Probate Court Judge.

The daughter of Gene and Marlene Keilitz, Kirsten and her sister, Kelli Hannum-Spencer, a longtime Traverse City Public Schools educator, were taught at an early age that community service is a responsibility.

Dad, Gene, for many years directed the local United Way. And some of the family's earliest memories are of lending a hand at the Salvation Army.

It is these life lessons that will make her an outstanding Grand Traverse County Probate Judge.

Cheryl Litwiller

Traverse City

Won't be a statistic

This Election Day I won't be a statistic. I'm voting for Bridget Mary McCormack. Each election around 25 percent of voters fail to cast a vote on the non-partisan section of the ballot where candidates for the Michigan Supreme Court are listed.

The court affects everything from pensions and insurance to our environment and consumer protection. McCormack is a legal educator and scholar who has spent thousands of hours in the courtroom and who believes everyone deserves a fair shake in our courts.

On November 6 I won't give my ballot back until I vote McCormack.

Bruce Ogilvie


Committed to community

I am writing to urge you to vote for Kirsten Keilitz for Probate Judge. I have known Kirsten to be deeply committed to this community, having served as president of the United Way and on various boards and committees. Professionally I have known her to be a referee in the Juvenile Division of the Probate Court. Her professionalism and her commitment to positive outcomes for children is admirable. I believe that she would serve this community well in matters regarding the most vulnerable of our citizens. Vote for Keilitz on Nov. 6.

Mary L. Marois

Traverse City

Air of professionalism

As we vote let us not forget a few months ago when two members of the Michigan House of Representatives were prevented from speaking by Republican bullies.

Sadly, Wayne Schmidt was in complete agreement with this treatment of two of his colleagues. Wayne believes that it was just fine for them to be put in "time out" like children.

Vote for Betsy Coffia. She will bring a welcome air of professionalism to representing all people in the 104th district!

Lynn Freeland

Traverse City

Experience, knowledge

We are writing this letter in support of John Mead for Benzie County Probate Judge. He is the only candidate who has been a police officer, law clerk, research attorney, court referee and a Magistrate. His career as a police officer and an attorney has taught him to seek the truth and make decisions based on facts, not arguing for one side or the other.

We have been in the law/criminal justice field for many years combined and we believe that John has the experience, knowledge and communication skills to be the most effective and fair judge for Benzie County.

Rick and Melanie Doehring


Independent, Republican

I am endorsing independent prosecuting candidate Scott A. Isles for Kalkaska County Prosecuting Attorney and Republican sheriff candidate Bruce Soloway for Kalkaska County Sheriff in the November general election. The separation of the executive (sheriff and police) and judicial (prosecutor and courts) branches of government has not existed in Kalkaska County since 1996. Mr. Isles knows what it means to be overcharged and over prosecuted in a "he said/she said" situation, and Mr. Soloway is not a career police officer and he believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Harold Eickholt


A living document

The Michigan constitution, unlike our national constitution, was designed to be a living document, changed by a majority vote of the people, especially when the Legislature is unable to do the appropriate work for the people.

Proposal 3 gives voters the opportunity to address the real urgency of climate change. Voting "no" because it is a constitutional amendment simply gives more power to big oil and coal, DTE, Consumers, and their lobbyists.

This is a critical vote for public well-being. Vote "yes."

Mary VanValin

Traverse City

Letter not informed

The Oct. 6 letter "An Informed Decision" is wrong. The Social Security Trust Fund did move to the general fund under Johnson, which put all government funding in a unified budget (on budget) — an accounting measure where all government functions went on general budget. It in no way, affected operations of the Fund. In 1990, it was moved (off budget) — an accounting strategy.

Free annuity payments were not granted to immigrants by Carter. Social Security is not distributed unless someone has paid payroll taxes. Read the truth on the SS web site ( The Benishek supporter letter is not informed.

Mickey Grooters

Traverse City

Make educated decision

It is not often that I express my opinions regarding election issues but this year's millage proposal is of particular interest. Regardless of where your views fall, it is critical all voters get the facts.

There have been a number of misconceptions circulating throughout our community.

This millage is much more than an auditorium. It is the continuation of a 20-year plan that was put in place 10 years ago.

Traverse City Area Public Schools has shown great fiscal responsibility in being proactive to the educational needs and safety of our children. Please make an educated, thoughtful decision this November.

Cathy Szafranski

Traverse City

Practical experience

A rare person can garnish the support from diverse individuals, but such a person is Melanie Stanton for Probate Judge.

I first met Melanie 30 years ago as an registered nurse. Since transitioning into law, she served our area as: assistant prosecutor; defense attorney; mediator; and representing neglected children.

Melanie practices with the highest degree of integrity, fairness, and insight, and has the most practical legal experience of the candidates.

She is one of the most intelligent and honest individuals, combined with her legal knowledge and proven experience,

Ms. Stanton is the most qualified candidate for Probate Judge.

Charles Gwizdala

Traverse City

Impeccable ethics

I am a graduate of Northwestern Michigan College's paralegal program.

I had Grand Traverse County Probate Judge candidate Kirsten Keilitz as an adjunct professor for some classes.

Later, after I secured a paralegal position with now District Court Judge Michael S. Stepka, I had the occasion to work on cases in which Kirsten was opposing counsel.

I know first-hand that Kirsten treated her students and law office staff respectfully. Her knowledge of the law, along with her ethics, are impeccable.

I am confident Kirsten is the most qualified and experienced candidate. I urge you to vote for Kirsten.

Vicki Parzych

Rapid City

Limitless energy

Melanie Stanton is the perfect candidate for Probate Judge.

She is hard working, always professional, and truly cares about the people she represents.

Over the past 27 years I have seen Melanie as a dedicated mother and wife, a friend to many, and an outstanding professional in our community.

She is honest and compassionate, and her energy is limitless.

What I admire most about Melanie is her integrity.

Melanie strives to make our community the best that it can be.

Please join me in voting for Melanie Stanton on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Probate Judge.

Lynn Baumann


Responsibility, balance

Almost all of my contacts with Ross Richardson have been at governmental meetings connected with transportation issues at TC- TALUS and, because he cares, he has shown up at Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation meetings from time to time.

Regardless of the situation, Ross consistently exhibits responsibility, balance, thoughtfulness, fairness, knowledge and intelligence in his participation.

He does his homework.

When he speaks, I listen.

I am hopeful that the citizens of his district also appreciate the quality of his representation and vote to maintain his positive, effective presence in the public realm.

Bob Carstens


Well prepared

In 2009, over 24 local attorneys applied for the position of 13th Circuit Court Domestic Relations Referee and Grand Traverse County Juvenile and Probate/Family Division Referee.

Kirsten L Keilitz was hired for that position by Circuit Judges Tom Power and Phillip Rodgers, and Probate Court Judge David Stowe.

Her subsequent three years as a Referee has prepared her well for the Probate Judgeship.

Kirsten is the only candidate with this level of experience in the courtroom.

Please join me in voting for Kirsten L. Keilitz in the general election.

Kate Greene

Traverse City

Independence, sincerity

Please vote for Gary Appel for re-election to the Traverse City Area Public Schools board.

Gary and I have served the last two years together on the board and I have grown to respect his honesty, independence, and sincerity.

Every day we are asked to make decisions that affect both parents and students.

Those decisions must weigh opinions and information that have long term consequences.

Gary is always willing to vote his conscience even if it runs counter to board momentum.

This benefits all of us.

Please vote for Gary Appel, we all need his voice at TCAPS.

Scott Hardy

Traverse City

The writer is a member of the Traverse City Area Public Schools board of education

Dedicated, hard working

I find it both hopeful and refreshing to see that a person who is smart, caring and committed is running for State Representative.

Betsy Coffia has done the hard work, explored the issues and articulated her position on them very well.

She believes strongly in representing the people of this district (no PAC or outside money for her), and she will be accountable to us, not lobbyists or big money.

She is dedicated and hard working, and truly wants to work hard to make this a better place to live.

Coffia is the candidate we need to see in Lansing.

Michael A. Kroes

Traverse City

Compassion, diligence

The Grand Traverse County Probate Court race has two able candidates and, no matter the outcome, we will elect our first woman jurist.

One of the candidates, Kirsten Keilitz, earned the trust of the judiciary by her appointment as Domestic Relations Referee, a position she now holds.

She knows the Court and how it operates, and is highly respected by Court personnel and professionals who appear there on a regular basis.

If elected, she will serve with compassion and diligence to protect vulnerable adults, children and estates.

Please cast your vote for Kirsten Keilitz, Probate Judge.

Patrick J. Wilson

Traverse City

Organizational skills

Starting with the Presidential election of 2008, I have worked under Lynette Wolfgang in Blair Township precincts as an elections inspector.

Lynette served as chairperson of the largest of four precincts which encompassed Blair, Kingsley and Traverse City ballot issues.

As precinct chairperson and now as Township Clerk she has been an excellent leader.

Every election she oversees runs smoothly and assures an early balance of the results.

This is largely due to her organizational skills and attention to detail.

Please join me in voting for Lynette Wolfgang — Blair Township Clerk.

Duane K. Sanford

Traverse City

Will be better served

I am writing to voice my support for Melanie Stanton in the upcoming race for Probate Judge of Grand Traverse County. In recent letters to the editor, it has been implied that her opponent's three years of experience as a referee in the court trumps Melanie's 16 years of work experience in the Probate Court and 20 years of work experience in the Family Court. Not so. The families, individuals, children, seniors, and vulnerable adults of Grand Traverse County will be better served with a vote for Melanie Stanton on Nov. 6.

Tricia Klaasen Smith

Traverse City

Hard work, fairness

John Mead is running for the non-partisan position of Probate Judge in Benzie County. Because it's non-partisan many people who know John and know his reputation for hard work and fairness might overlook this race because they check Democrat or Republican and then go right to the ballot proposals.

John Mead deserves our support. If you ever have to deal with Probate Court you will be glad you took the time to find his name on the ballot.

Terry Frysinger


Dedicated, compassionate

I am voting for Kirsten Keilitz for probate judge. As a teacher, I am well aware of how probate court decisions affect children.

Kirsten is a dedicated and compassionate attorney with both personal and professional experience in probate court.

She is currently the Domestic Relations and Juvenile and Family Division Referee for the 13th Circuit Court.

She knows the impact her role as probate court judge will have on lives and has the ability to make difficult decisions that keep children's best interests at heart.

I trust Kirsten Keilitz and believe she is the best candidate for this important position.

Kathryn Phillips

Traverse City

Experience, integrity

I am writing this letter in support of Melanie Stanton for Probate Judge of Grand Traverse County.

Melanie has the experience, integrity and compassion necessary to make her an exceptional judge.

Her extensive Probate and Family Court experience is supported by 20 plus years as a practicing attorney dealing with family law cases and as a domestic relations mediator.

All of us who are casting votes in the upcoming election need to seriously study the qualifications of the candidates.

By doing this, it will prove that Melanie Stanton is the most qualified person running for Probate Court Judge.

Rick Smith

Traverse City

Caring and respectful

Grand Traverse County has a well qualified person running for probate judge in Melanie Stanton.

She has extensive experience in working with children and their families and with developmentally disabled adults.

Her experience in mediation, estate planning, adoptions and guardianships make her especially well qualified for this position.

She also has experience as a registered nurse, giving her unique insights into the human condition and the difficulties people face.

I have known Melanie for many years and have found her to be knowledgeable, caring, and respectful of all people and backgrounds. She is our area's top choice for probate judge.

Jim Fischer

Traverse City