Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Reflections of 9/11: Area...
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Reflections of 9/11: Area citizens recall the attack on America

Erin Crowell - September 5th, 2011

Begin forwarded message:
Area citizens recall the attack on America
By Erin Crowell
I was 17 years old in my high school drama class, blindfolded and
awkwardly navigating the auditorium by voice of a classmate. It was one of
many activities created by our teacher meant to exercise communication,
reliance and the hope our partner wouldn’t lead us into a chair or brick
Blind trust, I like to call it today.
A cafeteria worker came into the auditorium, whispered to our teacher who
then quietly instructed us to go back to the classroom without explanation
of why.
In the hallway, the same image flashed in intervals with each passing of a
classroom, the eyes of students and staff glued to the televisions, seeing
the same tower capped in billowing smoke against a brilliantly blue sky.
I don’t need to tell you more because you know what happened afterward.
You saw it, too; and if you didn’t, you saw it later that day or week. You
shared your learning of that event with others who did the same – where
you were, who you were with, how you felt.
Despite the miles between Northern Michigan and New York City,
Shanksville, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia, the events of September
11, 2001 remain engrained in our memories.
The Express interviewed a handful of community members who shared their
reflections on that day and what it means to them now.

As a resident of Traverse City since 2002, Chris Anderson was at his home
in Pittsburgh, PA (just 81 miles from where United 93 crashed into a
field) during the time of the attacks. As a pilot for World Airways,
Anderson was between trips flying U.S. troops in and out of Bosnia.

Northern Express: How did you see those day’s events unfold?
Anderson: I was watching an interview on CNBC when the host interrupted
the guest showing a distant view of the WTC on fire… The second plane flew
into the south tower and then (I thought) it was certainly a terrorist
attack; and for some reason I also had a feeling it wasn’t over... within
30 minutes there was news of the other aircraft.
About an hour later the media reported that United 93 was not
communicating with air traffic control and was flying the wrong direction.
It turned toward Washington DC near Cleveland, Ohio. I knew the line
between the two points would be very near Pittsburgh, and in fact it was.
The local news station in Pittsburgh was the first in the country to
report a crash in the mountains near Shanksville, PA.
I finally couldn’t take the imagery on TV any more. I walked out into my
yard and heard F16 fighters flying all around the area... in wide circles.
It was truly a disturbing sight.

NE: What effects did you feel from that day?
Anderson: Being that I fly military troops around the world for a living I
knew that I was going to be very busy for a long time to come.
My company, World Airways, committed all its aircraft to flying troops –
350 troops at a time. In just a few weeks our operation was geared up to
meet the demand. Other airlines did the same.
The troops I flew initially were very motivated and excited and were
cheering on takeoff and landing; but as the years rolled on, the cheering
has stopped completely. They are now very stressed after multiple
deployments and we have distressed/panic attack problems quite often.

September 11 was a blow to the whole world, especially to the Sovereign
Nations of our home soil.

Northern Express: How did those events unfold for you?
Bailey: At the time, I was working at the Behavioral Health Department
with the Grand Traverse Band. We were in a room interviewing an elder with
the tribe—a Vietnam veteran—when Jack Chambers, our medicine man, broke
into the office and said, “We’re under attack;” and boy, we stopped right
there, turned on the television and sat there watching the events unfold.
NE: What were your initial thoughts?
Bailey: Immediately I thought about the fact that this was an attack on
the American people on our soil. We were just standing there speechless
thinking, is this happening? It was a moment that was collectively shared
in that room and throughout America; and everyone was drawn to that
NE: How did that moment change for the tribe?
Bailey: We heightened the safety training of our tribal
citizenship…simulated exercise in case a terrorist or chemical attack was
to happen. At one point our tribe did receive a bomb threat on tribal
NE: Would you say this event has made us more wary?
Bailey: I’d say yes. You have to. A lot of that is decided by our
environment, who makes it up and what surrounds us. I’m more aware of who
is in my vicinity, especially as a traveler; and 9/11 brought that to the
NE: What did that day mean to you, personally?
Bailey: It was interviewing a female Vietnam veteran at the time and had a
Marine Corps Vietnam veteran come in… then watching the events unfold with
them. The Grand Traverse Band, the council and tribal citizens, we will
always support and recognize those who have served and those who continue
to make sacrifices for U.S. citizens and the rights we hold. To them, we
say, “miigwetch,” which means thank you.

Like most firefighters around the country, Grand Traverse Metro Fire
Department Chief Patrick Parker felt helpless while hundreds of
firefighters and rescue workers perished in the rubble of the World Trade
Center. With 17 years experience under his belt at GT Metro, Parker could
only watch as rescue efforts continued for weeks.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Tony Posey was in his high school economics class
at Traverse City Central when the first plane hit the North Tower of the
World Trade Center. Little did either firefighter know at the time that
they would bring a piece of that tower back to Northern Michigan.

Northern Express: Tony, you were one of three firefighters who drove to
New York City to retrieve the 3,200 lb. piece of steel beam that will be
used as a permanent 9/11 memorial in Traverse City. How did you get that
Posey: Chief Parker started the process about a year and a half ago. I
told him if anything comes through, I’d be interested in being a part of
it, whether that meant helping build a monument or picking up the piece.
I was fortunate enough to go out to New York City two years ago for a
class and was able to meet some of the firefighters that were there that
day. Once we found out we were getting a 3,200 lb. piece of steel I told
him I was interested in getting it and he gave me the go-ahead. It was
myself, Kyle Chute—who is a high school friend—and Scott Allman.

NE: What was that experience like?
Posey: There were about 100 people who showed up at the (JFK Airport)
hangar who were picking up pieces of steel, which ranged from 100 pounds
to 100-foot-long beams. There was a motorcycle group of retired FDNY
firefighters. Seeing how emotional they were, we thought, “We shouldn’t be
here. We shouldn’t be leaving New York with this.” But just after that
same time, a member of the motorcycle group came up to us and said, “ We
don’t want all this to just be sitting here. We want these pieces spread
out throughout the U.S. We want people to remember.”

NE: Patrick, what was your reaction to that day’s events?
Parker: I wanted to help, but felt helpless. That happened to a lot of
people in our department. They showed up, ready for action and service if
they were needed; but we just stressed that our people needed to stay in
TC. The State of Police said the same thing to their people. Some did go
to Ground Zero, but only because it was by invite and it was a coordinated
event. There was just already so much help being offered from all over the

NE: What was the atmosphere like afterward in the firefighter community?
Parker: There was a lot of camaraderie and feelings that we are going to
stick together during this thing. There was no greater time in our
country, at least in recent years, where the public just thought the world
of EMS, police and firefighters. It was at the height of appreciation.
Unfortunately, it’s almost like there needs to be a disaster in order to
heighten that kind of awareness.

NE: When the North Tower piece came to Traverse City in April, what was
the welcoming ceremony for the memorial like?
Parker: There was a lot of introspective that day about what happened,
memories. At least for me it brought back the knowledge that our
country got kicked down temporarily but showed how resilient we are and
that we moved on forward and didn’t let this moment slow us down.


It was another day in the office when Julie Neph, an engineer of 19 years
with the Mackinac Bridge Authority, learned about the attacks. While the
bridge connecting the Peninsulas remained open, 9/11 stepped up security.

NE: How did you find out?
Neph: I was walking to our maintenance building, which we call “the shop,”
and saw the small TV that a couple of guys were standing around. They
waved me over and said, “Come take a look at this.” It was a live news
feed of the North Tower with smoke coming out and then as we were
watching, a second plane suddenly hit.

NE: At that time, did you fear the Mackinac Bridge would be a target?
Neph: I guess subconsciously because we have these towers and it’s out in
the open; but being that we’re so far from New York and what was going on,
that kind of set me at ease.

NE: What was the engineer in you thinking when you saw the Twin Towers
Neph: While they were standing I was wondering how a building could
withstand such a hit; but at the same time, I wasn’t expecting it to
collapse either. I figured once it was hit and still standing that they
would have been fine. Of course, I didn’t realize at the time the fires
happening inside the buildings, which is what caused them to collapse.

NE: Did it change security for the bridge?
Neph: Well, we were already stepping up our security and had things in the
works to increase that security; but when the attacks happened, it truly
made us realize how necessary it was. We put new security measures in
place and are better prepared; but then again, you never know until
something so tragic happens.
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