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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Start Stompin‘

Rick Coates - December 8th, 2005
Snowshoeing has been enjoying increased popularity. Last year and estimated seven million Americans went snowshoeing compared to 3.5 million in 1998. Why the renewed interesting snowshoeing?
“Snowshoes are great fun and after your first five steps you are an expert,” said Ben Carr of the Michigan Snowshoe Center in Roscommon. “The great thing about snowshoeing is anyone can do it, whether you are two or 92.”
Prior to 1900 snowshoeing was the primary mode of winter transportation in the north country, but roads, SUV, snowmobiles and television all contributed to its demise during the past 100 years. Its renewed popularity is attributed to various factors, including health benefits, it is easy to learn, its affordability, hikers wanting to explore trails not accessible with cross-country ski’s and runners wanting to stay in shape during the winter months.
“We are seeing an increased number of runners getting into snowshoeing,” said Jeff Gaft of Running Fit in Traverse City. “There are several manufacturer’s making snowshoes for trail running and competitive snowshoe events are also gaining in popularity.
Gaft and other staffers of Running Fit will again be organizing the “Bigfoot” Snowshoe Race, January 26, 2008. This year’s race will serve as the Midwest regional qualifier for the 2006 National Championships; top finishers will compete in the national championships this March in St. Lake City, Utah.
While competitive snowshoeing is gaining in popularity it represents only a small portion of the growing snowshoe community.
“What we offer over here at the Michigan Snowshoe Center is recreational snowshoeing,” said Carr, whose facility is surrounded by trails along the south branch of the Ausable River. “It is a great activity and makes parts of Northern Michigan accessible that otherwise would be off limits during winter months.”
Carr also emphasis that snowshoeing is a great family activity and one of the few winter activities that “you can hold your spouses hand.”
Snowshoeing is affordable and a variety of “shoe” styles are available ranging in price from $75 to $350. Bob McLain of McLain Cycle in Traverse City suggests “renting snowshoes first or trying snowshoes at several manufacturers demo days,” before purchasing. Styles vary depending on what type of snowshoeing planned (hiking or running), height & weight, and shoes are available for kids as well with prices between $30 and $100.
Tim Brick at Brick Wheels in Traverse City has seen snowshoe rentals increase at his 8th Street location every year since they started renting snowshoes 15 years ago. His staff is knowledgeable and they always have the latest skinny on the best trails to explore for first-timers.

The old style, wooden “Michigan” snowshoes are still available for the traditionalist, but they have given way to various lightweight, heavy-duty aluminum frame styles. Bindings also vary so visiting with your local outfitter, outdoor or running shop is the best way to get fitted for the “shoe” that will best meet your needs.
Snowshoeing opens up a lot of trails and enables the hiker or runner access to areas off-limits to snowmobiles and even skiers.
It provides a great opportunity to enjoy the winter months and explore northern Michigan’s beauty. There are several events planned throughout Northern Michigan for the novice and the expert:

WEEKLY HIKES & RUNS: Several local shops that sell snowshoes organize weekly and bi-weekly walks and runs. Many have demo shoes and welcome newcomers to experience the excitement. These weekly events take place in Traverse City, Petoskey, Leelanau County, Roscommon and Gaylord. Call your local snowshoe shop for further details. The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes offer guided hikes on weekends (1 pm on Saturday and Sundays) and reservations are required 231-326-5135 ext. 328.

WINTER TRAILS DAY: January 7, 2006 at the Michigan Snowshoe Center. This is a national event in its seventh year to promote snowshoe activities. The day consists of seminars, guided tours, and activities for kids. The American Hiking Society sponsors the event and several snowshoe manufacturing reps will be on hand with demos. For additional information call (866) 275-0300 or visit the official website at www.wintertrails.org

BIGFOOT SNOWSHOE RACE: January 28, 2006. Part of the U.S. National Snowshoe Championship series. 5 & 10 K runs at the Tubbs Adventure Snowshoe course located at Timber Ridge Campground in Traverse City. For additional info call Running Fit (231) 933-9342 or visit www.runsnow.com

TUBBS ADVENTURE SNOWHOE: Feburary 5, 2006. This event is part of the Subaru Madeline Thomas Memorial Women’s Ski Tour. Ladies may choose the snowshoe 3K, 5K or 7K snowshoeing in lieu of the cross-country ski event. For additional information visit www.womensskitour.com or call 231-360-0661.

TASTE THE PASSION SNOWSHOE STOMP: February 18, 2006. A run or hike through the Leelanau Peninsula Vineyards. Particpants may choose from a 4-mile competitive run or a 2-mile fun run or hike through vineyards, woods and orchards overlooking West Bay.
For additional info call (231) 938-1811or
visit www.lpwines.com

THE SNOW MONKEY: February 25, 2006. Competitive snowshoe race. For futher information call Running Fit (231) 933-9342.

SNOWSHOE NIGHT HIKES: McLain’s will again offer their popular “night hikes” at the former State Hospital grounds in Traverse City (behind Munson Hospital, Parking Lot K.) Hikes are every Wednesday night starting January 4, 2006 at 6:30 pm and continue till the snow is gone. For additional details call McLain Cycle (231) 941-8855. The Shielding Tree Nature Center also organizes moonlight hikes through the Sleeping Bear Sand Dune trails, for a schedule call them at

Get with it this winter, try a pair of snowshoes, it is easy, fun and affordable. Whether you just want to cross the street to get your mail, hike a trail, or go for a jog, snowshoeing will add to your winter enjoyment.

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