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..

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Kid Stuff - Great Lakes Children‘s Museum at a Crossroads

Nancy Sundstrom - March 18th, 2004
In just a few short years, the Great Lakes Children‘s Museum (GLCM) has become one of Northern Michigan‘s, premier attractions. Located in downtown Traverse City, the new museum was voted “Best Place to Take Kids“ in the recent Northern Express “Best of Northern Michigan“ poll.
A hands-on experience with an emphasis on fun for children and families, the museum offers an enriching environment where visitors are encouraged to discover and explore together.
From the moment visitors enter the 5,000-square-foot building, they are surrounded by interactive experiences built around the theme of water and its importance to all living things, especially to life in the Great Lakes region.
Inside this always-lively facility are more than 30 exhibits for young people and their caregivers, including a child-sized freighter, water table, Great Lakes lighthouse, a model of the water cycle where the child becomes a molecule of water, and much more. The GLCM also offers a wide array of drop-in and pre-arranged programs for children, and new programs and learning opportunities are regularly offered, all of which keeps Executive Director John Noonan and his staff extremely busy.
In the midst of all this, GLCM is hoping for expansion of its programs by obtaining space for a new, permanent facility on the Boardman River in downtown that can only be granted by a public vote this coming November. Northern Express had the chance to catch up with Noonan and hear how plans are progressing on that front, along with what it takes to engage, entertain and educate children on a daily basis

NE: How was 2003 for GLCM?
Noonan: The past year was just fantastic. We created two exhibits that helped children enhance their cultural literacy - “Sail Away to Mexico“ and “Sail Away to Ireland,“ giving visitors a small taste of everyday life in another culture, and a number of new programs were presented, from an after-school science and engineering program to a summer fly-fishing class. School programs were expanded and strengthened, creating new experiences that help enrich field trips. The first Children‘s Art Fair was offered in May 2003 and followed up with two more in August and November.
We‘re still a “new kid“ in town, and some people have yet to discover us. Even so, as GLCM moves deeper into the marrow of the community, we continue to find greater support and interest in the unique learning experiences that we offer here.

NE: What are the goals for 2004?
Noonan: We plan to continue to grow and build on our existing successes. I would especially like to get more children in the museum who have never had the opportunity to come visit. A trip to visit us is sometimes beyond the reach of many families and some schools in our community. I plan to continue to work to find ways to fund a trip to the museum for all of them.

NE: What are the new and different programs, features or exhibits that you have planned?
Noonan: We are working to add new exhibits and to embellish some the exhibits that we already have. After the “Sail Away“ exhibit closes in our temporary exhibit space, we hope to bring in a traveling exhibit that explores the principles behind some simple toys, called “Toy Tech.“

NE: What would you like the community know about future directions for GLCM, particularly in regards to the potential new facility and the public vote that could make that happen in November 2004?
Noonan: We are planning to construct a new facility to serve children, educators, and families in new ways that will be expanded to include both younger and older visitors. We hope to offer a special exhibit area for toddlers, as well as more exhibits for older children.
GLCM will be asking the voters of Traverse City for permission to convert a one-half acre downtown parking lot adjacent to the Post Office into a new children‘s museum facility, because the city charter requires a public vote for this. We are not asking for any public funding with this vote, and no millage or bond issue is involved.

NE: What do you see as GLCM‘s role in the community?
Noonan: First and foremost, we are an educational organization, with “education“ being broadly defined. Recently, education specialists have articulated the concept of the “learning family.“ The most influential learning environment for any child is created in the context of the child‘s family. Its importance in successful childhood development is well documented. This is where fundamental attitudes toward learning are formed and the motivation to become a life-long learner is most profound. Notwithstanding all of the great programs that we offer here, I still see our finest strength as being that we offer a place where families can come and explore new things together, reinforcing the importance of curiosity and inquiry for everyone.

NE: What do children and guests tell you about their experiences at GLCM?
Noonan: A third grader from Eastern Elementary put it this way:

“Dear Museum Friends:
Thank you so much for the amazing tour! You have a lot of interesting stuff in your museum. One of my favorite parts was transforming into water vapor and raining down the slide, but every part was exciting. The worst part was leaving. Even though we were learning things, it was very fun! The kids in my group seem excited about learning.“

NE: Are there special ways GLCM reaches out into the community, or partners with the region‘s citizenry?
Noonan: As you would expect, GLCM works closely with area educational and early childhood development organizations, such as area schools, Head Start, and the Way-to-Grow program. We work with science and environmental educational organizations, such as NMC‚s newly-formed Water Studies Institute and the Watershed Center. I see our organization as the beginning of a continuum of Great Lakes education that will go on with the Inland Seas Education Association and will be completed by the programs and research at the Water Studies Institute. The Museum is also an active partner in the Traverse Area Arts Council‘s Cultural Coalition, helping to strengthen the cultural offerings to that keep our community vibrant and, dare I say,“cool.“

NE: In more detail, how does GLCM work with area schools?
Noonan: In addition to offering a diverse menu of group programs to all area schools, we are trying to fund a pilot program that would bring all of the third- and fourth-graders from the Traverse City Area Public Schools to GLCM. This would provide all children in those grades with a culminating experience for a specific curriculum unit, helping make that subject matter more memorable. If we succeed with this program, we hope to expand it to all of the schools in the region.

NE: At present, what are you most proud of GLCM for accomplishing?
Noonan: I am most proud of how quickly the organization brought the museum to life. Before I came on as executive director, I worked for GLCM as a volunteer on the community design team. Looking back at the process and our continued evolution, I am amazed at all of the creative and talented people that this project has attracted at every step along the way.

NE: Five years from now, where would you like to see GLCM be?
Noonan: I want to be in a brand-new facility with new exhibits and room for more exciting programs. We will have more exhibits and activities for older children ages 8-12, and I‘d also like to see the community support us in such a way that we can reach out to more children who might not otherwise be able to afford to experience what we have here and open our doors to them.


Best Place to Take the Kids:

Readers‘ top picks from the Best of Northern Michigan survey:
1. Great Lakes Children‘s Museum
2. Clinch Park Zoo, TC
3. Kid‘s Cove, TC
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes
5. Great Wolf Lodge water park
6. Pirate‘s Cove, Petoskey/TC
7. Waterfront Park, Petoskey
Honorable Mentions:
-- Fun Country, Interlochen
-- To daycare
-- Fishing!
-- Traverse Area District Library
-- Tubing on the Boardman River
-- Cherrybowl Drive-In, Honor
-- Call of the Wild go-carts
-- Cooperation Park, Indian River
-- Around the block
-- Disney World
-- Hands On Art, TC
-- Young State Park, Boyne City
-- Cherry Festival
-- Anywhere -- just do it!
-- Civic Center, TC
-- Empire Bluffs
-- Sportsplex, Gaylord
-- Anywhere outdoors
-- Suttons Bay Beach
-- Downtown Elk Rapids beach

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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