While my husband and I have our permanent residence in lower Michigan, we recently purchased a house on an inland lake in the Traverse City area -- a vacation place. Our dream has always been to have a place on the lake and a boat -- up north. We have finally got that, and are spending as much time as possible up north. I was surprised and irritated by some of the printed comments in the Northern Express showing disdain for “fudgies“ -- which I presume are tourists (re: “The Best of Northern Michigan,“ 3/4).
These same tourists and/or vacation people bring dollars into your local economy. We bought our pontoon boat in T.C. -- buy gas, food, home furnishings and supplies there. We patronize your restaurants, shops, casinos; hire your local people for repairs, tree trimming, septic problems, roofing, etc. In short -- we bring a lot of our earned-in-lower-Michigan dollars up north.
We are not wealthy people and have worked hard for everything we have. Our four grown children are university-educated and beyond -- due to diligence and hard work. We are ordinary, down-to-earth people, not afraid of getting our hands dirty. We do not act superior or flaunt any imagined riches -- AND -- we do not deserve derogatory names or labels.
Perhaps some of you “northerners“ who look down on us would be perplexed by some of our “big city“ ways, traffic jams, etc., and would be different than us -- BUT -- as far as I know, we don‘t have derogatory labels of distinction for northerners that visit lower Michigan.
Perhaps you should learn and practice tolerance. That would be better for everyone. The same day I read those disturbing comments, we were driving home and stopped at a restaurant in Cadillac. A man there overheard my husband on the phone say that we were driving back from up north, and he said to his companion, “Good -- get back in your car and get the h-ll out of here.“ I don‘t think he meant for me to hear this. I turned and gave him a long look and he looked sheepish. I would have liked to say a few things to him, but didn‘t want to mirror his rudeness.
This incident, following what I read in your paper got me to thinking. I always thought Northern Michigan was beautiful and have had many great times there -- BUT -- I never knew the people were so *rude.* My eyes and ears are now open!
Loreen Schaldenbrand Orion, MI
Thank you for your thoughtful, respectful article on the trials of Judge Thomas Gilbert (2/26). While other publications chose to vilify the man and snicker at his attempts to atone, you took the path of excellence and let him tell his story.
Having known Tom for almost 30 years, it‘s nice to see publicity that represents the true nature of this man. He and his family deserve our understanding, forgiveness, and ongoing suppot, and it‘s time we all moved on.
Mary Dillon Grawn
Questions for Tondu
On October 9, 2003, Joe Tondu of Houston Texas, introduced his Northern Lights prorposal to the Manistee community in a Tondu Corporation sponsored “information“ presentation. Attending this public relations event were key decision-makers from the Manistee city and county government as well as trusting and hopeful citizens. Joe Tondu in his opening remarks stated:
“There are two approaches we could have chosen. We could have tried to sneak around the public and get things done without people knowing. However, we wanted to be totally open about this.“ -- as quoted from the Manistee News Advocate, 10/10/04.
Thus began Mr. Tordu‘s and the Manistee Salt Works Development Corporation‘s process of deception, omissions, and skillful “sneaking around the truth“ regarding the Northem Lights plan. In the past four months the curtain has been pulled back on this Enron-style scheme and the list of omitted details and outright misleading statements is !ong.
Topping the list is the fact that Tondu and his representatives failed to reveal that tax-exempt public power agencies were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr. Tondu, since the winter of 2003, to secure the permits and develop phase 1 of the Northern Lights project tor their economic and environmental benefit.
Manistee Salt Works‘ plan was to secure the permits and blessings of our community, sell the plan to these other cities, and then reveal that it was to be owned by tax-exempt municipalities. It was only through the suspicions and hard work of city officials that this “sneaking around“ was revealed. To this date, Mr. Tondu himseif nor any city or county official can say who will even own the proposed Northern Lights or how much, if any, tax revenue will be generated by this $700 million facility.
The long list of omissions and confusion about Northern Lights includes practically every important aspect of this proposal. How many jobs will there really be for the citizens of this city and county? What benefits, if any, are there for the health, safety and welfare of Manistee residents? Why are there no plans for the environmental clean-up of the proposed General Chemical site? Why is no money whatsoever being offered to schools, health facilities, fire, police, roads and other financially-impacted infrastructure?
Why has one set of plans been submitted to the Holland Board of Public Works -- a primary investor -- and a significantly different and incomplete plan submitted to the Manistee City Planning Commission? Why is the Tondu Corporation negotiating a community service fee on behalf of the Michigan Public Power Agency, when that agency has specifically stated that Mr. Tondu CANNOT negotiate on their behalf?
The path for the city planning commission is clear: they should deny the special use permit as presented by the Manistee Salt Works/Tondu Corporation based on these uncertainties and legally defined criteria.
Gerard Grabowski Bear Lake
It is a shame that WNMC 90.7 was not voted as one of the best radio stations (ie: “The Best of Northern Michigan,“ 3/4). The station is such
a unique asset to the local community. If the programming is not satisfying the needs of the listeners, or drawing in new listeners, we as a community should let the management know how we feel.
Tune to 90.7 and see what you think. This is our community public radio station. Next year, it would be good to see WNMC on the list of
Robert Apap, part-time on-air volunteer Williamsburg
Happy Women‘s Day
March 8 was International Women‘s Day -- a day that reminded us to take action on the unmet need for family planning and other reproductive health services around the world.
A decade ago, the nations of the world - including the United States - gathered in Cairo, Egypt, to make a promise to mothers around the world: we will find solutions to problems faced by millions in poor countries trying to make a better life for their children. They drafted the Cairo Programme of Action, a road map to help nations address a broad range of issues, from women‘s health and girls‘ education, to environmental protection and economic security - issues crucial to safeguarding the lives of people everywhere.
Ten years later, the problems addressed in this document are still crucial, but we have not met our promise to face them. This is why I joined A Mother‘s Promise campaign. I joined with thousands around the country in recommitting ourselves to the promise made in Cairo ten years ago. You can too. Go to www.amotherspromise.org
I urge Congressmen Bart Stupak and Dave Camp to make their own pledges: Show the world that we know we are partners in the care of all people and our planet. A great nation keeps its promises.
Ann Fraley Walloon Lake