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 · Hoping for a Miracle: Home for...
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Hoping for a Miracle: Home for Addicted Mothers & Kids Struggles to Re-open its Doors

Danielle Horvath - February 3rd, 2005
Stacie was homeless and carrying everything she owned in a few backpacks when she landed on the steps of Miracle Manor, a halfway home for women on State Street in Traverse City. She was on the verge of losing her five-year-old son; she was an alcoholic and drug user who knew something was wrong but didn’t know what it was. She only knew she was a failure as a mother, daughter, sister and friend who had lied, cheated, manipulated and made excuses for her life for years. “I put my son through five years of hell and I knew, deep down, I needed help.”
Stacie also knew that if she went for help, she might lose her son forever.
Theresa was pregnant for the fourth time, with her first three children born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Putting her in jail was the only choice the court had to keep the unborn child safe, which meant her other children would probably be split up in foster care homes.
Miracle Manor offered an alternative and the judge jumped at it. Theresa and her boys moved in together and three months later, she delivered a healthy baby girl.
Despite having three other children, Theresa could not bond with the newborn. She held her at arm’s length, like a doll. She couldn’t bathe her, cuddle her or rock her. Through therapy, Theresa was discovered to have been molested as an infant. She couldn’t rock her baby girl because she herself needed to be rocked, a measure of love she didn’t get as a child and didn’t have to give to her baby.
Kim was facing jail time for her third DUI and her three children were facing being placed in foster care homes. Miracle Manor meant a chance for the family to begin the healing process together. The children returned to school, the family received much needed medical and dental care, and through intensive therapy, Kim began to realize what her alcohol addiction was doing to her children and started taking steps to get her life back on the right track.

“Women can’t heal from addiction in isolation, without their children, and children also need to heal with their mothers,” Mary O’Connor, director of Miracle Manor explains.
Miracle Manor was modeled after the successful Project SAFE, now going on its 18th year in Illinois, which has established Project SAFE houses in 19 communities and has treated more than 5,000 women and their families. One of the most innovative aspects of Project SAFE is a style of outreach work that keeps mothers and children together and treats the family. The program has eliminated many of the obstacles that have kept significant numbers of women from entering or successfully completing substance abuse treatment.
Most drug rehabilitation facilities in Michigan do not treat mothers and their children together. This realization is what keeps almost two-thirds of drug and alcohol addicted mothers across the state and nation from seeking treatment. Mothers end up in jail and children become another statistic in the foster care system.
O’Connor and her staff at Miracle Manor were working to change that trend until they had to close their doors due to a lack of finances in early December.

O’Connor saw a need for family-centered treatment while serving as clinical director at Phoenix Hall, a residential treatment facility for women in Traverse City. Phoenix Hall had 12 beds but was typically filling only two or three. It was forced to close and women are now being treated at Dakoske Hall, which is a 40-bed facility for men, with six beds devoted to women.
In 1999, with a grant from HUD and a lot of determination, O’Connor purchased a condemned Victorian house in Traverse City and spent the next two years renovating and setting it up to accommodate mothers and their children in drug treatment.
Miracle Manor opened its doors in 2003 with space for eight families, and they were full until it had to close at the end of 2004.
The Manor employed a specially-trained staff of 11, including one counselor, and contracted with area therapists. The treatment was as comprehensive as possible, including formal therapy, mental health services, dental or medical needs, clothing, nutrition, work skills and personal empowerment.
“We tried to make every resource available to them, including re-entry when we worked on where they would live, where they would work, etc.,” O’Connor says.

The minimum six month commitment often wasn’t enough time for some women, who returned for additional care.
“We had some that come back for renewal,” O’Connor says. “It takes time to address all the issues that come up for some of these women and children. They also developed a sisterhood here with each other and for many, it was the first positive relationships they’ve had with anyone.
“Every addiction is about something, until you can find the reason, they’re going to relapse,” she adds. “They may have four generations of issues to deal with. Sexual abuse is very common with most addicted women, and many were abandoned or neglected as children. They are victims, too.”
Studies have shown women become addicted differently than men, they fall harder and it takes them longer to heal. Although women who get clean and sober often become less neglectful of their children’s needs, they often need interventions such as parenting training, an understanding of what makes a healthy relationship, a feeling of empowerment and improved self-esteem.
“The ultimate abuse to women is to make them choose between themselves and their kids. This is why so many won’t access the help they need for their addiction,” O’Connor says. “There is huge social shame heaped upon the heads of women with addictions who are parenting. The only help typically offered to them is to take their kids and separate them.”
Although Miracle Manor was accredited by the state, and O’Connor has the ear of Governor Granholm on her side, she is now hoping for a miracle to re-open doors to a population she sees has been overlooked by Michigan’s antiquated social systems. “It seems so obvious that the best treatment for families is to keep them together and treat them as a whole.”

“There is great support in for this idea, and we firmly believe in this model of service. We will be back, if not on State Street, then somewhere else,” O’Connor says. “There is a tremendous need for this kind of treatment, not just in this area, but across Michigan and the nation. Illinois and a few other states have been successful in setting up treatment sites like Miracle Manor in many of their communities. I hope someday Michigan and other states follow suit.”
When asked if Miracle Manor was successful, O’Connor is quick to answer, “How do you measure success? Is it being sober? Is it having a newborn on a schedule for the first six months of its life, and forming a bond with its mother that will last forever? Is it a four-year-old who came in with seven cavities, who has started school and is living with its mother who now has a job? I say we were successful because we have made these women come out of the closets and let us know they are here and need help.”

The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation has an endow-ment fund established to help support
the work of Miracle Manor. Contact
them at 231-935-4066 or Mary O’Connor at Overlook Resources, 231-929-5281.

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