Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Planting a seed
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Planting a seed

Robert Downes - May 19th, 2008
Planting a Seed
Can ordinary citizens take charge of Northern Michigan’s destiny and help shape what our region will look like over the next 20 to 50 years?
That’s the dream of the folks behind the Grand Vision, a series of workshops which has been attracting visionary citizens from six counties over the past few months to share their ideas on the future of Northern Michigan.
Starting in Grand Traverse County, where 1,500 participants shared their ideas on land use and transportation alternatives, the Grand Vision has expanded to Kalkaska, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie and Wexford counties, with 109 governmental participating.
The two-year Grand Vision study is being funded by the federal government. It is administered locally by TC-TALUS (the Traverse City - Transportation And Land Use Study) for Grand Traverse County and by the Northern Michigan Council of Governments for the outlying counties.
In addition to having the enthusiastic support of local planning and zoning officials, the Grand Vision has signed on some of the region’s major movers-and-shakers. Marsha Smith, the executive director of Rotary Charities, for instance, is chair of the project’s public involvement committee.
Personally, I’d love to see a light rail system in Traverse City, running along the bay and out to the malls and down Airport Road and back. Others would like to see urban growth boundaries, more bike paths, protection of the Boardman River Valley, more parks and greenways, limits on building heights and such. Guess we should go put our two cents in at one of the meetings... Who knows? Our vision of the future could someday come to pass.
One question, however: How do you make those great ideas stick?
When Dick Cheney was reproached on the five-year anniversary of the Iraq war for his disastrous ideas that had wreaked so much death, carnage and expense, his response was, “So?” How do the people behind the Grand Vision plan to avoid the same response from developers who may not respect their ideas?
How will they keep the Grand Vision from being the equivalent of a “non-binding resolution“?
Backers of the project make no guarantees, but they point out that there is $2 million in federal funding to help implement a portion of the Grand Vision when the study is completed. There’s also a “tool kit” to help guide local communities bring the Grand Vision’s recommendations to life. And it’s also felt that this sort of large-scale, collaborative planning will make it easier to obtain state and federal grants.
Land use and transportation specialists on the Mead & Hunt team which is guiding the project also point to successful planning sessions in southern California; Portland, Oregon; and southern Louisiana.
So, think of the Grand Vision as planting a seed and growing our future in a positive direction.
What’s on your wish list for the region? The Grand Vision would like to hear from you, with an invitation to join an upcoming workshop, including those planned for Antrim and Wexford counties (May 27) and Benzie (May 28). You can learn more about the project at www.thegrandvision.org
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