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 · Small farms on the grow
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Small farms on the grow

Rick Coates - January 26th, 2006
It is an exciting time to be in the business of agriculture, especially if you live in Northern Michigan. The rise of the wine region, new markets for the cherry industry and a change in consumer trends are creating new markets for the small family farm operations. And this weekend hundreds will gather in Grayling for the 7th Annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference.
The small American farm was considered to be on the path of extinction in the 1980s, seemingly giving way to large corporate farming entities and the increase of agricultural products coming from overseas. But this trend is changing, as American consumers desire to have a more personal connection with the food they consume.
“There is no question that the consumer is desiring that connection, maybe not necessarily knowing the grower personally, but at least knowing where the food came from,” said Stan Moore, Antrim County MSU Extension director and one of the conference organizers. “The popularity of farmers’ markets points to the fact that people are preferring fresh, locally grown foods.”

Moore said that the conference grew out of a one-day seminar on grazing issues seven years ago to a conference that now offers seminars that address technical and marketing aspects of the industry. So what defines a small farm?
“We really have stayed away from defining it by acreage or production levels. We basically leave it up to the attendee to define if they are a small farm or not,” said Moore.
Conference organizers believe that conference appeals to anyone who has an interest in farming in Northern Michigan.
“Certainly if you are thinking about starting a farm, or taking some acreage and growing a crop or raising animals, this conference is a great resource and a place to network,” said Moore. “We have several examples of people throughout Northern Michigan that have become successful in their agricultural endeavors with small plots of land.”
Moore said that he and his colleagues also try to introduce new agricultural opportunities as well.
“Steve Fouch (Benzie County Extension Director) made a presentation about the Saskatoon Berries. These berries (grown primarily in Canada) withstand frigid temperatures and Fousch felt they would be a natural here,” said Moore. “We had people attend his presentation who are now growing these berries here.”

Each year after the conference is over organizers survey participants as to what topics they are interested in for the future. Moore said they take the results and shape the agenda for next year based on that. The formula seems to be working as the conference is expecting 700 plus attendees this year.
Popular sessions this year will be “Going Organic in Michigan - Perceptions, Reality & Opportunities,” “Food is Medicine,” and “Food We Love - NW Michigan Food System Project.”
The conference will also have 30 plus vendors offering an array of services and products for farmers and consumers alike. Moore said the value added products like cheeses and jams are very popular items sold in the vendor area.
Conference sponsors include Michigan State University Extension County Offices of the North Region, Michigan State University— Project GREEEN, C.S. Mott Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at MSU, Michigan Organic Food & Farm Alliance—MOFFA, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance—NLEA and Michigan Food and Farming Systems.
The Small Farm Conference starts at 8 a.m. on January 21 and is at the Grayling High School. Call 231-533-8818 or visit www.web1.msue.msu.edu/iac/farmconf/#Trade_Show for a complete schedule of activities and to download a registration form.

The future continues to look bright for both the cherry and wine industry in Northern Michigan. Last week several hundred cherry and grape growers gathered along with international experts at the 2006 INTERNATIONAL CHERRY CONFERENCE AND NW MICHIGAN VINEYARD SHOW to discuss the future of both industries. There were lots of smiles and both cherries and grapes had a banner growing season in 2005.
Leading experts from New Zealand, Poland, Hungary, South America, Germany and Italy shared their expertise and commented on Northern Michigan’s rise as an internationally recognized fruit growing region, especially in the area of grapes and cherries.
These experts gave glowing reviews on the wines they tasted from the region as well as the many value-added cherry products. Look for Northern Michigan’s stock to continue to rise in the wine world as the 2005 wine vintages reach maturity.

In addition to his duties as a contributing editor with the Express, Rick Coates is the spokesperson for the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association and serves on the board for the Michigan Farm Marketing and Agri-Tourism Association.

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