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...

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What‘s the alternative?

Robert Downes - June 2nd, 2008
A friend claims that people are now drilling holes in other folks’ gas tanks, siphoning gas from boats, and raiding the fuel tanks of vacant cottages to get at the precious liquid inside (slurp, slurp...).
It sounds like an urban legend, but State Police troopers in Manistee say it’s at least partly true (see Anne Stanton’s story on page 8).
Stealing gas or fuel oil seems like a great way to risk becoming your own funeral director, with the cremation thrown in for free.
But seriously, there’s a growing desperation out there now that gas prices have gone past $4 per gallon. The latest news is that the price of natural gas is rising even faster than gasoline, which bodes ill for next winter. You know it’s bad when people in Northern Michigan are willing to risk jail time and losing their drivers’ licenses in order to steal a tank of gas in “drive-offs” at local stations.
You don’t need to look far in the news to see the first ripple of the coming ‘peak oil’ crisis: Recently, President Bush was invited to take a hike by his Saudi Arabian buddies when he tried to get them to pump more sheik’s pee... American truckers are now driving into Mexico to buy their diesel in order to avoid going out of business.... And the BBC reports that things are even worse overseas: it now costs the equivalent of nearly $2,000 to fill the gas tank of a truck in England. Soon, we will hear reports of gas riots around the world, and of course, more oil wars.
So, what to do? Take charge of your own situation.
In a recent “The City” cartoon strip in the Express, White Middle Class Suburban Man wonders how he’ll ever survive without his beloved gas-guzzling SUV. Meanwhile, an empty bus goes by in the background. Locally, that same scenario has played out for years with cynics snickering at the BATA buses circling Traverse City. But lately, those buses seem to be filling up with more riders. We’re going to need those buses and more -- soon.
That’s the point of Smart Commute Week in Traverse City, June 2-6: it’s time to get onboard with alternative transportation -- that involves simply walking to work, riding a bike or moped, carpooling or taking the bus (see the story on page 12, or www.smartcommutetc.org).
Recently, a reader wrote in, asking Northern Express to support Smart Commute Week. Have we ever not supported it? I wondered. We’ve been cheering this horse on for as long as it’s been running around the track.
Personally, I can’t wait for the ice to melt each winter in order to ride a bike to work all spring, summer and fall. It‘s a glorious feeling, passing a long line of cars on your bike and not bleeding your wallet dry for Exxon & Friends in the oil business.
The point is, it‘s possible to actually find a sense of pleasure in changing your commuting habits. As they say, when life hands you a lemon, it‘s time to make lemonade.
Speaking of change, perhaps it‘s time Smart Commute Week considered an upgrade.
For starters, if the week is a good idea in Traverse City, why not all of Northern Michigan? Smart Commute Week should go region-wide, and no doubt, there are people in Petoskey, Manistee, Cadillac, Leelanau County, Gaylord and the Straits area who’d be happy to give it a push if a little coordination and know-how were shared around the region.
In fact, don’t wait for someone to organize a Smart Commute Week in your town: you can do it yourself.
Second: if you enjoy Smart Commute Week, why not keep it going? Why not Smart Commute Summer? It’s nice that people get their consciousness raised for a day or two, along with free breakfast at stops around town for riding their bike to work. But then many of us climb back into our SUVs and spend the rest of the summer hammering the gas pedal.
Why feel good about yourself for a day or a week when you can feel good all year long and save money too?
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