PHIL IN THE BLANK: Stop the loss

Over the last few years I’ve been concerned with the rate of suicide amongst veterans, about 20 per day from what I’ve heard most say. This Veterans Day, I decided to look it up with the most official source I could think of, the Veterans Administration. Their statistics listed 6,139 veteran suicides nationwide in 2017. […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: 20’s to roar again

In 10 weeks it will be the twenties once more, and I’ll be glad to be able to name the decade again. After the nineties, what decade were we in? The aughts, naughts, the ohs? And then that decade was followed by what, the tens? The teens? None of these labels seemed to have caught […]


Suicide is tragic, perhaps more so when involving a young person. For me, the loss of Jack Lehman hurts more because I know his parents — we’re friends through the Clarkston Village Players. The Clarkston schools superintendent, high school principal, teacher, and pastor have better words about how to deal with this than I do, […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Looking for health

A trip to Ford Field is in order for me. That became clear as I interviewed Frank Miglione for a story about his experience losing 135 pounds in two years. He was helping plug the upcoming Men’s Health Event in Detroit on Sept. 21. Info provided by the organizers was also a gut check. “Based […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Back to school

Thanks to a faulty memory and fondness for booking nonrefundable hotel room, I’m spending two weekends in a row in Columbus, Ohio, this month. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, so it’s almost my hometown. It’s the home of my alma mater, the Ohio State University. I’m also a Wolverine grad and have lived here […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Where to go

I’m now in my 50s, but I’m still up for more technology and automation. Directionally challenged my whole life, I used to pore over map books and painstakingly write down directions turn by turn. I’d scout new places, a couple dry runs so I’d know how to get somewhere before I had to be there. […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Not lost in Pontiac

I’ve spent some time in downtown Pontiac and gotten to know the city to our south a little bit, enough to get around without getting lost at least. I’ve lived in Michigan for the past 25 years, but up in Flint. Everything south of Clarkston seems like one confusing mass of urban sprawl to me. […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: 26.2 for 50

I’ve managed to keep kicking long enough for this planet to spin itself around a star 50 times, and for that I decided I wanted to do something special. When I noticed the Charlevoix Marathon was on my birthday, June 22, I figured that would do. Training was going fine for awhile. I was up […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Memories of service

I recently joined a Facebook group, “Desert Storm photos,” where people post their old snapshots from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during Desert Shield and Desert Storm back in the ’90s. I posted one of me as an E-4 Army soldier on latrine duty, which involved filling a half barrel we had been using as […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Dog with no name

The new bronze pooch is an excellent addition to Depot Park, something for adults to admire, kids to play on, and flesh-and-blood hounds to be confused about. It’s a fitting tribute to James and Gini Schultz, and all the other volunteers serving the community, especially in the downtown park. The metal mutt doesn’t have a […]

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