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Letters 12/18/03

Various - December 18th, 2003
Stinks in Manistee

There is something smelly in Manistee, and it‘s getting riper. The Tondu Corporation, aka Manistee Saltworks, aka Northern Lights, has applied to the planning commission for a special use permit to allow construction and operation of a 425 megawatt coal burning electrical generation plant. The newest addition to the planning board is a woman whose husband works for Tondu. Another member of the commission has been absent from the last two meetings, and has commented in public, “We do need the energy, and if we don‘t allow it here, some other community will get all those jobs.“
We have been told by Joe Tondu to not worry about pollution, because the 400-foot-tall smokestack and the prevailing northwest wind will blow any pollution far, far away (how far northwest is Traverse City from Manistee?). He also said not to worry about the plant‘s warm water discharge into Lake Manistee, because the warmer water will make the fish grow bigger. Lake Manistee is the only lake in Michigan with an advisory against eating bluegills. The thought of larger toxic bluegills does not reassure me at all, nor does the claim that only “clean“ coal will be burned.
This proposed plant will generate 450 tons of ash daily, destined for the local landfill. There are no regulations on coal ash. Scrubbers can remove up to 95% of particulate emissions, but the scrubber sludge gets mixed with the coal ash and goes to the landfill. Coal burning emits particulate matter, hydrogen fluoride, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, mercury (48 tons released in the U.S. alone in 1999), nitrogen oxide, uranium (including uramum 235), thorium, and sulfur dioxide, to name but a few toxins.
I am writing in the hope of increasing public awareness. The job carrot is being dangled in front of the local population, and a media blitz is underway to convince us that local industry is environmentally friendly. If this plant is built, Northern Michigan will suffer from it. Please contact the City of Manistee and let them know how you feel about coal burning. Thank you for your time.

Bob VanderLewn • Manistee

The Wal-Mart way

Are you happy now? Wal-Mart has driven another Michigan-based business out, according to the November 14 Petoskey News-Review article. Carter’s Food Center, and their 20-year history of serving our community means nothing to the hundreds of shoppers who flock to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in the name of saving a penny here or nickel there. Has our thriftiness cost the jobs of 42 local people?
Who will be next? The hometown hardware store? Our local department store? The jewelry stores, clothing stores, booksellers, electronics or appliance retailers, furniture stores, shoe stores? Maybe another grocery store? As more of our neighbors lose their jobs and businesses close, there is less money in our local economy. Other businesses such as restaurants, drugs stores and the cinema are also impacted.
We now have the choice of many shopping options in our community. If you do not patronize these local businesses, one by one, they will cease to exist. Then your only choice will be the Supercenters. You will be forced to leave your community for any other options.
Ironically, in the same News-Review issue that reported the closure of Carter’s, was an article about the new “lifestyle centers” being built in Michigan and across the country. The developers are spending millions to replicate a “downtown” look and feel in the architecture and storefronts. These community gathering places offer convenience, safety, and a wide shopping selection. There are parades, concerts and other events planned to create a small town experience. We are fortunate to already have all of that in our community! We do not have to create an artificial façade. We have a real community of retail and service businesses and events that surround us.
As we enter this “Season of Giving,” before you hop in your car and travel to the superstores or malls in other communities, take an excursion through your own community. Save your gas. Save your travel time. Make it a day of enjoyment in your own community. There is rarely an item that cannot be found, and at a competitive price in the myriad of stores that populate our community. You’ll meet people you know and receive service from people who care; people who have made a commitment to your community.
Remember, the best gift you can give this season is to the community where you have chosen to live and to the sustenance of your own local economy. Take responsibility. The job you save may be your own.

Mary Ellen Lapp • Petoskey

The good priest

We are writing to tell the story and sing the praises of our priest, Fr. Wayne Dziekan, pastor of St. Michael Parish, Suttons Bay. He leads us enthusiastically and prayerfully in worship. He is an outstanding homilist, without doubt one of the best, if not the best in the Gaylord diocese.
He is steadfast in preaching the gospel of justice and peace. This constancy
has created problems for him as it did for Jesus. Though he supports his words with the teachings of the Gospel, of the bishops of the United States and of the popes, he has been vilified and rejected. He has been accused of bringing politics into the pulpit when he joined with Pope John Paul II in opposing the war in Iraq. Those, who like some listeners of Jesus, could not accept the teaching have left and gone elsewhere. But he does not waiver.
Fr. Wayne is a priest after the heart and way of Jesus and we want the world
to know.

Thomas F. Hinsberg & Constance A. Soma • Cedar


Does Anybody Care?

Does anyone care that the turkey that President Bush was shown with when he served the troops in Iraq at 6 a.m. was a plastic prop or that hundreds of our young men are without a vest that will stop bullets unless their parents can send one for $660?
Does anybody care that thousands of Iraqi and thousands of our young men are missing arms, legs and eyes because of many lies? Does anybody care that the White House ordered the FBI not to arrest bin Laden‘s family or even question them
right after 9/11?
Does anyone care that our borders are wide open and young men and women from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan and Egypt can still get passports even though these have been declared terrorist-sponsoring countries?

Marshall Raftery • Brutus
 
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