On May 3, a group of fourth graders from Crystal Lake Elementary went to the State Capitol to learn about state government. On the way they discussed the budget impasse that will cost schools $125 per pupil retroactively.
As a demonstration, some students wore t-shirts that said, -125. It was not directed at either party, or branch of the government. It was meant to put faces to the numbers.
Sen. Michelle McManus responded in a most surprising way. She got mad. She phoned the superintendent and several school board members to express her anger, and then apparently contacted the capitol tour guide service to try to get the children banned from the capitol.
Is this how our state senator represents the people of her district? These power struggles are hurting our schools, our communities, and now our individual children.
Shame on you Senator McManus. Stop playing politics and get the job you were elected to do done.
Antoinette (Tiyi) Schippers
Set McManus straight
I was one of 18 parent chaperones with a group of fourth graders from Benzonia who toured Lansing. On the way there, several of us discussed the budget crisis, and then discussed citizenship and advocacy with our kids (part of fourth grade curriculum of core democratic values). We thought we would use the opportunity to write a message to our elected officials on the backs of our t-shirts.
Since this was a group of active parents who are both Republicans and Democrats, we decided the message should just be “-125.“ Some people blamed the Governor, some the Senate and the House, but the thing we agreed on is that the clock is ticking and we cant afford these cuts.
This touched a nerve with Sen. Michelle McManus, because she got on the phone mad as hell, and ranted to our school superintendent and several of our board members Thursday afternoon before we got home, and then called the capitol tour guide service trying to get us banned!
Were not sure if she was threatened by fourth graders or if she was feeling guilty because there are now faces attached to that -$125.
You can email Sen. McManus at: firstname.lastname@example.org with -125 in the subject line. Please let her know that she is elected by us, and her job is to LISTEN to US -- and let her know that we are very disappointed in her unprofessional behavior. Then let her know that ANY cut to schools will impact us and hurt our children. Another cut this year will be the third pro-ration cut in the last five years.
As an elected official she has an obligation to provide Michigan with more than bargain basement services.
Lynette Grimes Benzie County
Ban all smoking
I support House Bill 4163, Senate Bill 109, and Senate Bill 110 that aim to ban smoking in all Michigan workplaces, including restaurants, bars, office buildings and factories. These bills are important preventive measures to protect Michigan citizens from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke is the second leading cause of preventable death in Michigan, behind only smoking. Nonsmokers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke suffer death rates that are 30% higher than those of unexposed nonsmokers. Also, between 1,570 and 2,790 Michigan adults, children and babies die each year from others smoking.
In addition to saving lives, these bills have the potential to save health care dollars from being spent on preventable illnesses. As a second year medical student, this is one of the most valuable ways to improve the health of our nation.
Kimberly Johnson Walloon Lake
Cough up the news
I am sure many of your readers, as well as the restaurants, would appreciate your noting in a prominent place in your review, whenever they are smoke free.
In your review of Agave Mexican Grill, nothing was said that it is smoke-free. Most non-smokers as well as many smokers prefer dining where they dont have to breathe tobacco smoke.
Karl DeFoe TC
Don‘t be a gossip
Moving to Northern Michigan from a small town downstate, I thought I had already seen and heard all the damage that gossip can do. But I was wrong!
Maybe its due to a mistaken form of loyalty to the storyteller, but I have now seen this harmful gossip actually affect the business decisions that some area residents have made. Sound implausible? I would have said the same before. But I currently know of an area business that is building their clientele by going after their former employers customers and using small town gossip to their advantage to get them actual results.
My word of caution to all those who listen to gossip: remember, there are two sides to every story and usually the story you dont hear is from the person who has chosen to take the higher ground. In general, I have also found that any person who spreads gossip usually has many a story to tell, and many of those stories often portray them as a victim. Do you see a pattern here?
Watch what you believe, get the whole story, or who knows, you could be the next target!
Nancy Miller via email