Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Music · On a Roll...benefit concert for...
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On a Roll...benefit concert for the Benzie Bus System

Danielle Horvath - July 13th, 2006
A millage election will be held on August 8 in Benzie County for residents to decide whether to fund a new public bus service. A benefit concert by the popular local band Song Of The Lakes to help support the Benzie Bus Initiative is set for Saturday, July 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Elberta waterfront band shell. Admission is free and donations are welcome. A silent auction will also be held that includes a season ski pass from Crystal Mountain Resort.
Ingemar Johansson, a member of Song Of The Lakes, has been involved in the issue of public transportation – or the lack of – in the county for years. Here are his thoughts on the need for busing in Benzie.

NE: Why do you feel this is an important issue for the people in Benzie?
Johansson: A healthy and vibrant community needs to have transportation for everyone. A professional study we commissioned in April 2002 showed that public transportation needs are going largely unmet in Benzie County; with poorly funded service that today is limited only to seniors and people with disabilities.
In presenting the Benzie Bus plan to hundreds of Benzie County residents in the last two years, my fellow volunteers and I have heard time and time again that most people know someone who needs a ride to get to the doctor or the grocery store, that soaring gas prices are squeezing family budgets, and that some local residents simply cannot afford a reliable vehicle in order to get to work. Some cannot drive because of age or disability and need a hand.
Businesses, meanwhile, say they need employees who can make it to work reliably every day. The Benzie Bus system is designed to meet those needs and support dignity, economic security, and independence in the lives of Benzie County residents.

NE: How much will it cost?
Johansson: The ballot will seek a 0.5 mil property tax for five years. It would cost the owner of a $150,000 no more than $37.50 a year, or about a dime a day.

NE: How will it work?
Johansson: The Benzie Bus system would consist of five buses and one van, all accessible to the general public, seniors, and people with disabilities. It would operate countywide from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, with daily express roundtrips to Traverse City and Manistee as well. With voter approval, buses would start running in early 2007.

NE: How much will it cost to ride?
Johansson: A dial-a-ride bus would pick you up at your curb and take you any place in Benzie County for $2 per one-way trip, $1 for seniors and people with disabilities. A daily express bus on U.S. 31 would cost more and take riders to Traverse City or Manistee and back.

NE: Who will run it?
Johansson: In April, the Benzie County Commissioners voted unanimously to form the new Benzie Transportation Authority and appointed 10 county residents to direct the independent public body. If funded by county voters, the transportation authority would combine local revenues with more than $400,000 a year in state and federal matching funds to develop and run the Benzie Bus system. The Benzie Transportation Authority and its board of directors are independent of the county board and will be insured to bear sole legal and financial liability for the bus system.

NE: Isn’t there some kind of bus service in the county already?
Johansson: The Benzie County Council on Aging operates a very limited dial-a-ride service for seniors and people with disabilities only. If the bus proposal passes, it would absorb the current service.

NE: What kind of response have you gotten from the community?
Johansson: In the last few months, the Benzie Bus campaign has gained dozens of new endorsements. Support is booming among businesses, civic groups, and local residents all across the county. We have presented plans for the bus system to several hundred Benzie County residents at meetings of civic, business, and non-profit groups and government. The feedback we received resulted in a revised and better plan, with expanded hours so that people can ride the bus to work, extracurricular activities, the doctor, local shops, or other destinations.

NE: Who is sponsoring the Benzie Bus initiative?
Johansson: The Benzie County Council on Aging, the Benzie County Human Services Collaborating Body, the Northern Michigan Alliance for Independent Living, Manistee-Benzie Community Mental Health, the Benzie Ministerial Association, and the Michigan Land Use Institute have spent the last several years evaluating the county’s need for public transportation and developing a plan to meet it. Crystal Mountain Resort, Graceland Fruit, Inc. and Honor State Bank are three of over forty businesses that have endorsed the plan.

NE: Where can someone find out more information?
Johansson: Local residents in early May formed a new group called Friends of the Benzie Bus to promote a “yes” vote, they are meeting every Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the First Congregational Church, 900 Barber Street, Benzonia. Or they can contact me at (231) 882-2150 or via email at HYPERLINK “mailto:ijohansson@mbcmh.org, or check out our website at HYPERLINK www.benziebus.org.





 
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