Kudos to Beth Bechtel for writing a letter to the editor regarding Foie Gras (10/11/07). I had the same reaction of disgust to the restaurant article that she did, but she did me one better by actually writing - my protest was simply to make a note to self never to patronize that restaurant. So in one sense, I was glad you mentioned the Foie Gras to save me the trouble of walking out of the Andante when I saw it on the menu.
I am looking forward to Rick Coates‘ upcoming article on the issue. (Note: Ricks article appeared in last weeks issue of the Express - Ed.) I dont know if any of the restaurants in Traverse City currently serve Foie Gras, but I did email 310 Restaurant a few months ago that I would not return to their restaurant until they took it off their menu.
The most recent menu listing online no longer features the cruel dish, and I wonder if I was the lone voice of protest and their menu is simply changing with the seasons, or if others complained about the inclusion of such a dish on their menu.
Bari Dilworth TC
No More Foie Part Deux
Thanks to Rick Coates for his detailed feature on foie gras. People who care about animals should be aware that foie gras is banned in over a dozen countries because of the inherent animal cruelty involved in its production (Foie Gras, October 16).
Foie gras producers force-feed ducks vast amounts of grain by shoving pipes down their throats, which can cause painful lacerations and even organ rupture. This can cause the birds livers to become diseased and enlarged up to more than ten times their normal size, making it difficult for the birds to walk, breathe and sometimes even survive.
Caring consumers can take a stand against this factory farming abuse by asking restaurants to remove foie gras from their menus. For more information, readers can visit www.humanesociety.org
Alyson Bodai Washington DC
Perturbed With Pelosi
On Thursday, October 10, 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged the House of Representatives to support her resolution condemning the 1917 genocide perpetrated by Turkey against the Armenian population. In defending her ardor, Pelosi declared: This isnt about Turkey, its about the Ottoman Empire.
Said empire is history. It fell as a consequence of the War to End All Wars. That was eighty-five years ago!
So why is Popette Pelosi pontificating about a defunct government? Is this why American voters, Republican or Democrat, send representatives to Washington? The correct answer is, No. We send them there to stay out of our way and do no harm.
Why cant Pelosi and her sidekicks just be satisfied with criticizing the U.S. Government? Or perhaps The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
And speaking of pontificating against genocide, why does not the Catholic Speaker of the House pass a resolution condemning the deliberate deaths of over forty-million American citizens, infants aborted as a result of the U.S. Supreme Courts 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade?
Here lies a contemporary tragedy that affects us all and cries out for Pelosis maternal instincts.
Joseph Pasulka Southport, NC
Another Vote For Obama
Barack Obama looks very presidential to me. He has a plan to get us out of Iraq, by meeting with leaders of the region to find a political solution. We all know endless war is not the answer. Once out of Iraq, America can concentrate on the real war on terror. Mr. Obama has a good health care plan, plus the energy and ideas to help make this country great again.
Mr. Obama has put together the biggest Grass Roots movement this country has seen. His campaign funds almost match the coffers of the Clinton Machine, and most of his money comes from people like us, sending moderate donations. Mr. Obama is smart and sincere. He has great appeal to all people, young and old, all races, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Hes bringing people together for a common cause.
Some people think Mr. Obama doesnt have enough experience, and theyre wrong. He has been an elected official for 11 years. He served the great state of Illinois for many years, and the two plus years hes spent in Washington D.C. is enough for him to know that it needs to change.
He has a Harvard law degree in Constitutional Law. That means he knows what the U.S .Constitution means. Thats refreshing. He also has command of the English language, and he not only reads, but he wrote his own book (yes, HE wrote it). He can relate to many Americans in todays world. He came from a broken home, he was the product of a mixed race marriage, and he has worked hard for all he has achieved. He grew up Christian, tough, and smart.
He would bring fresh new ideas to the White House. He could unite us, heal our wounds, and make us proud. He might just be the miracle we are all hoping and praying for in 2008. So fire it up, join the movement, lets go change the world.
S. Kay Rose Empire
Where‘s The Worth?
When my mother was in journalism school at Northwestern University, she attended a related talk by a visiting speaker. His talk so impressed her that she saved a newspaper clipping about it.
The title on that newspaper clipping affirmed an important journalism standard that is now lacking in the American news media. It was Ideas Count, Not Words, Author Tells Students.
A following quote from author and investigator of industrial conditions, Whiting Williams, said this:
Young writers too often overemphasize skill in handling words. They slight content for form.
Implied in that criticism is that the ideas must be of real worth to be able to form real worth writing content.
However, when measured by that standard, nationally-syndicated columnists generally are failing to write about most important public issues needing such meaningful exposure from them. For example, take the real Iraq war with its unlimited following costs.
It does not matter whether the nationally-syndicated columnists are not able, not willing, or not allowed to write such real worth columns. The damaging result is still the same. It is the formation of a mostly ignorant public at a time when such ignorance is not bliss, but danger.
Yet as long as the nationally-syndicated columnists continue to write their unimportant and false peace columns, then they and their readers will continue to be like the blind leading the blind and falling into a ditch.
But, on the other hand, where is a new John Peter Zenger to lead an editorial crusade for a free press reformation?
Meanwhile, wheres the beef?
Louis Burford Petoskey
Kudos to Greg Niewendorp for facing corporate ag gone wild. NAIS was made solely for their benefit but financed on our backs. Corporate ag will not have to file movement reports and they only get one lot number per groups of animals (any one of their animals could be sick and who would know) while the rest of us have to tag and track every birth, death and movement our critters make and pay for the privilege. Even pet pot belly pigs in suburbia are not exempt.
Funny how the USDA tells us the mad cow disease is among the reasons we need NAIS, yet when Creekstone Beef wanted to test every carcass for mad cow, the USDA would not let them. Hmmm. If NAIS is such a great program, why are there so many anti-NAIS websites popping up, showing how NAIS will not be a good thing, simply by reading the NAIS document? The GAO is currently running an investigation into all the problems in NAIS, even though they missed the most obvious one, like the fact the majority of the American livestock owners, who, when they find out about NAIS, overwhelmingly DO NOT want it!
P.S. The USDA said they wanted our input about NAIS. We did and they came out with a booklet on how to handle those against NAIS! How dya like them apples?
Susan Barackman Paris, TX
Praise for Press
I wanted to thank Anne Stanton for a very well done article (“The Rebel Cow Farmer,“ October 16.) It is hard to get factual press with regard to NAIS.
Enosburg Falls, VT
As a family, we could not help but wonder where were the people that are so upset now about their septic tanks when we had problems in the area? Our family owned Gull Island for many years, and paid taxes. This is the island in your view that had a home/septic many years ago on 7 acres (probably 10 or 12 now with low water).We had a special design for a septic system that cost us several thousand dollars (in late 80s-early 90s dollars), but the community showed up at a local meeting that we were at and kept saying that it should be saved for a bird nesting ground. And the Traverse City college professor told us (after going on the property many times without our permission) we should just give it away as it had no value anyway (I guess they thought we were rich).If you think a septic system is adequate on a small waterfront lot, why were you not there when a larger parcel was discussed and furthermore, had a state of the art system? Yes, I remember the hall being filled and the people suggesting we give it to the conservancy; maybe the waterfront people should consider giving their property to the conservancy now. We remember the newspaper articles and the college being involved; and we could not get a permit at any price.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly everyone is concerned about the price and the thought that they may have to move. Our advice to the people is the same advice that they gave us - give it to the conservancy... your land probably isnt worth much anyway.
By the time it was finished, we lost a great deal of money. The property was sold at an absolute auction, and the man auctioning it had to tell everyone under law that we could not get a septic. Of course, the only bidder was the conservancy, so now they have it - and it is off the tax roll.
The people of Leelanau got the Islandand the gulls - they got what they wanted. So what are you complaining about?
What happened amounted to the taking of private land. But, as a family, we did not have the money to fight. Our comment is turnaround is fair play - maybe there is justice after all!
As an extended family of current Michigan tax payers (in four different counties), we only hope the State doesnt step in to help. That would add insult to injury.
Mrs. Ward (Yost) Martinsen WI
Reflecting on the October 2, 2007 Lake Ann Village Council meeting, one should not be surprised at what occurred. It seems that whenever a community seeks to provide access to public water, there is opposition.
When I came to this village 30 years ago, it was having a growth spurt that has never really stopped. Look at all the new homes surrounding us. I was made to feel welcome in Lake Ann, and todays newcomers deserve to feel welcome, too. These new folks are just waiting to pitch in and help.
When I raised my children, they had a park to swing in thanks to Dr. Burnett, a library cart to visit in the corner of the town hall, and a long bus ride to Platte River School. I was told, You used to be able to use the lake, but not anymore!
Well, look at our park now. It has a sprinkler system, flagpole, play structure, basketball court, horseshoe pit, picnic shelter, and one killer water feature. Look at our new library, and check out our block-long museum complex. These were all made possible by a community filled with volunteer spirit. We have our own elementary school. We can do great things and still keep our small town flavor.
Now, a local couple, Gardner and Bridgett Klassen, have extended the opportunity to once again say we can use the lake. They have offered us a golden opportunity that the outgoing village council had the good sense to accept; one that gives us a say in how Lake Ann will be developed.
One can only hope that the newly elected officials realize that their job is to serve, not to act as naysayers. And by serve, this means to serve everyone, not just the people that voted them in.
Lets get on with the beachfront park project, because this is not just a Lake Ann issue. This is not a township or a county issue. This is a public access issue that affects everyone in Michigan... and if you dont champion this cause, someone else will.
The village is not limited by its physical boundaries on this one; it extends in all directions. I suggest that you get on the bandwagon, because the parade has already started!
Sherry L. Hoeft Lake Ann
IN OTHER LOCAL NEWS:
Food For Thought
This year the Benzie County Chamber of Commerce will honor a business thats a little on the wild side.
Wild berries and organic fruit go into the preserves, mustards and salsas made by Food for Thought, a business known for its scrumptious specialty foods.
We have a gentleman named Fuzz Brown in Elberta who is our wild harvester extraordinaire. This guy is amazing. And we work with a lot of local farmers too, said Kathy Young, who co-owns the business with husband Tim.
The company was formed in 1995 with Tim and a couple of other people hand-pouring in our house, Kathy said.
The firm employs 15 people, who enjoy such fringe benefits as weekly fresh produce from the onsite vegetable garden. Some of their specialty preserves include wild blackberry shiraz and blueberry lavender preserve. Their products are available nationally and locally in specialty stores, and their award-winning preserves have been honored with the distinction of being the first and only certified Fair Trade preserves in the country.
Food for Thought was named Business of the Year 2007. The award ceremony takes place on October 23, 6 p.m., at Crystal Mountain Resort.
Find out more about them at
And Just In Case You
The two calves on an East Jordan farm that tested positive in the first round of bovine tuberculosis tests do not have the disease, according to follow-up blood tests.
Last week Northern Express‘ Anne Stanton covered the controversy over the testing of 20 head of cattle. Farmer Greg Niewendorp, who shares the meat with family and friends, forced the MDA to get a search warrant before testing his cattle.
He objected to the testing on the grounds that it was unnecessary, wasteful, and illegal. State law says that if cattle are found clean in a high risk area for three years, it must stop whole herd testing. The area was originally called high risk, but later redefined as infected. For that reason, state officials say the law doesnt apply.
Niewendorp said he will work to expose the USDA regulatory system that might make sense for factory farms, but can bankrupt small farms.
Its going to take time for us to build our case, but there will be serious repercussions,“ Niewendorp says.
Mark Nixon is making a TC-TV 2 documentary on the issue. Watch for it in November or call 231-932-8572 for a copy.