I wonder how many readers have been as inspired as I have been by Managing Editor Robert Downes recent accounts of his Downes and dirty globe-circling prowls through the underbelly of the third worlds teeming cities. Maybe you have to have visited some of these places to appreciate that his sort of seat-of-the-pants travel, flopping in two-star hostelries and assorted caravanserai, dining on peasant fare and mixing it up with the locals, is a daunting experience even for twenty-somethings. And Downes has more than a few miles on him.
His column entitled The Missing (Northern Express, 12-17-07) is on target, if I may say so, regarding the missing American world travelers, once one gets beyond the safe destinations. There is a fascinating world out there, folks. The Western Europeans, Canadians, and Aussies dont shy from it. Our mass media (but certainly not the Express) have traumatized us with exaggerated images of the dangers out there.
Ill be off to Jerusalem and Israeli-occupied Palestine in a few weeks; my eighth time over there. Should I be afraid? Not at all. Will I watch where I go, and avoid trouble spots? Sure, but no more so than in any American city. And, yes, the attractions are irresistible.
Come on, fellow yankees. American travelers are great ambassadors of goodwill. As a group we are probably as friendly, egalitarian, and generous as any travelers in the world. People may resent the actions of our government, but they like the casual, curious, smiling and unpretentious Americans who do roam the globe. Hasnt Downes whetted your appetite? Vamanos!
James R. McCormick TC
On Boardman Pond
As I wake this morning Im absolutely beside myself with joy. There could never be a better birthday present for me. My prayers have been answered. The water level on the pond has nearly reached the three foot (theatrical) draw-down level.
I dont know if the DEQ and County have conceded after reviewing all of the evidence we have compiled, or if they just pushed the wrong buttons when attempting to control the Roller Gates, blocking the flow of water instead of letting it flow naturally as we were told.
The wildlife has now taken another shot to the head. Any life living in or around the pond after rebuilding their homes, burrows, or nests have now been caught in a death trap while hibernating.
Bruce Carpenter TC
What‘s Up, Wolverine?
Citizens for Environmental Inquiry is reviewing the implications of a 600MW coal fired power plant that is proposed to be sited in the quarry at Rogers City by Wolverine. We would greatly appreciate the active support of your readers and friends in CEIs effort.
According to reliable information about other coal fired power plants in the United States, similar but smaller than that planned by Wolverine, a 600MW plant as proposed for Rogers City would probably require about 14 million gallons of water and 300 tons of coal PER HOUR (thats 5 tons per minute). The annual demand would be in the neighborhood of 122,640,000,000 gallons of water and 2,628,000 tons of coal. This is based upon figures for a 500MW power plant from a Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energys Power Plant Water Management R&D Program Summary, July, 2005.
An April, 2005 scoping document for preparation of an environmental impact statement by the Montana DEQ for a 250MW plant, using circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology, reveals it would receive its coal supply by rail...110 rail cars of coal, twice per week. Its total annual demand would be for 1,200,000 tons of coal, which computes to 137 tons per hour or nearly 2.3 tons per minute.
Wolverine has evidently been involved in a five-year deal supplying power to Canada, so why their sudden need for more capacity? Perhaps they just want to sell more to Canada?
William Lewis Presque Isle
Illinois Pen Pals
The Fourth Grade at Aviston Elementary, located in southern Illinois, is learning about the United States and the different environments, climates, resources, and highlights found in each region. The kids in the class think it would be fun to receive postcards, souvenirs, resources, or any information about our great country from each of the 50 states.
We hope that people who read this letter will be interested in mailing our class items pertaining to their state.
4th Grade @ Aviston Elementary
350 Hull Street
Aviston, Illinois 62216
A sincere Thank You to anyone who is able to contribute! We appreciate the excitement you will add to our learning experience.
Mrs. Niemyers‘ Fourth Grade Class Aviston, IL
Taxpayers Due Change
The New Year brought good news from Lansing; we actually have a surplus in the state budget. After much political wrangling, a short shutdown, spending cuts and a 22 percent surcharge on businesses, we learn that everyones predictions were wrong. The state has collected $350 million more than it needed and Michigan taxpayers are looking for their change.
Emergency measures that were taken to close the budget gap have proven excessive. The Michigan Business Tax that has just taken effect should be adjusted to account for the additional funds that have flowed into state coffers. Lansing should also write a batch of checks and send back the money it didnt need. And belt tightening should continue across the state.
Amy Hagerstrom,Americans for Prosperity, MI director Lansing
No to ATVs on Benzie County roadways!!!
We are opposed to allowing ATVs (all terrain vehicles) to operate on Benzie County roadsides -- as proposed by the Benzie County Board of Commissioners in their upcoming ordinance. The Commission is having a public hearing to discuss this issue on January 31.
This proposal exposes the Benzie County residents and visitors to a significant traffic/safety hazard. It presents a law enforcement problem at a time when our policing agencies are short-funded and short-handed. Also, who is going to pay for the maintenance and damage to the roadway and the collateral damage to adjacent private (and public) property?
If you share our concerns, we urge you to do three things:
1. Contact members of the Benzie County Board of Commissioners.
2. Attend the Public Meeting of the Benzie County Board on January 31 at 7 p.m. at the Platte Valley Elementary School in Honor and voice your opposition.
3. Tell your friends.
Gary & Nancy Richter Thompsonville, MI
Correction: In Carina Humes Express December 31 article Living Off Local Foods, it was stated that Black Star Farms makes handmade cheese. In fact, it is Leelanau Cheese Company, which is (located at Black Star Farms) that makes the cheeses. They are very popular, especially across the Northern Michigan region. Express apologizes for the error.