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Letters 4/29/04

Various - April 29th, 2004
Lights out in Manistee

On behalf of the Sierra Club, I would like to commend the Manistee City Planning Commission for their decision to unanimously approve the resolution denying the Tondu Corporation of Houston, Texas, a special use permit application for the proposed “Northern Lights” project.
The planning commission had an unfathomable task to accomplish, and clearly felt an enormous amount of pressure from Tondu Corporation to approve the permit.  That said, the commission faced intense public opposition, scrutiny and pressure from the citizens of Manistee and Northern Michigan to deny the permit. 
The motivation for opposing Tondu’s plant had nothing to do with greed, company advancement or business deals.  It came from the purest of intentions: protecting our children and families; our air, water, wildlife and their habitats.
It came from the heartfelt belief that along with the privilege that comes with being able to live in such a magnificent part of the world, the responsibility is ours to protect and preserve it.  The planning commission must know that now their decision has been made, they have the full support of the community and the entire region.  This was a precedent-setting case and they have served us all well. 
However, while Michigan may not be in immediate need of energy, we are in need of a drastic change.  Until we commit to energy conservation, and work to develop alternative, sustainable forms of energy, there will always be the threat of coal-burning power plants.  At the present time, there are 94 proposed coal-burning power plants in this country alone.  Rumor has it that the Michigan Public Power Agency may now be looking at Stronach Township as a possible site for a smaller power plant.  And the Tondu Corporation will look to other communities to build their plant. This is not a NIMBY (not in my back yard) issue.  This is a NIABY (not in anyone’s back yard) issue and the Sierra Club is committed to offering our help and support to those communities as well.  One more coal-burning power plant is one more too many.

Monica Evans, Chair • Traverse Group of the Sierra Club

Downtown for BATA

The bus station has to be on Hall Street.  There is no better place for it to be.  It has to be downtown.
It has to be downtown because the nature of a bus station -- a piece of public transportation -- is that it be accessible to the public.  People will use public transportation if it takes them where they want to go, leaves them at some convenient location.
South Airport is not a convenient location -- unless you have a car -- and the point of public transportation is that you should not need a car.  If you place the bus station downtown, people will be able to walk to the station from many homes, apartments, offices -- and from the bus station departing passengers can walk to the shops & offices downtown.
If someone is waiting for the bus, or has just arrived after long travel, what do they do?  They go look for food.  Just around the corner is this wonderful local delicatessen, a big city transplant to a small city: delicious sandwiches to go.  Oh the heavenly pleasures of a well designed city: a bus station downtown, within walking distance of the courts, the police, the city administration, the good food shops.
And what about those who say that a bus station drags down the neighborhood?  We can plan to avoid that.  If the city commission keeps a close eye on what is built nearby, it can make sure there is no “slum.“
Winchester, England, used to be the capital city of England.  It is a small town now -- not much larger than Traverse City.  Their bus station is across the road from the most magnificent building in town: the beautiful, ornate Guild Hall. The station is hidden behind the smart shops around it.  What is built next to the bus station -- and we can control that -- decides whether the neighborhood thrives or slides.
We must place the bus station downtown.  Public transportation is meant to serve the public -- the people from surrounding areas who want to come to work in Traverse City -- the only real city for 150 miles around.  And the location of the proposed bus station is right off Grandview Parkway, the road all travelers north of our town must take into our town.  What could be more convenient?
Give Traverse City the gift it deserves, the beginning of a true public transportation system: conveniently located in the heart of our jewel of a town.

Henry Morgenstein • TC

Save a stinking dime

What‘s so bad about Walmart? I love loading my Toyota with cheap foreign made goods from Walmart. After all, the Toyota was made in the U.S., right? Wrong, you ostrich-like brood of cretins! Your Toyota It was assembled here with Japanese made parts. Using the same harebrain logic, the bike I assembled for my kid was made in the USA too.
Well, say the proud owners of foreign made cars “American cars are shoddy,“ to which I reply, “Sure, after all it was made by people like you, in a factory managed by people like you -- lazy slack asses who will gladly buy goods made with slave labor to save a stinking dime.“
So go ahead and build your Walmart, buy Chinese slave labor produced “Proud to be an American“ bumper stickers. Display them proudly on your VW, KIA, Mercedes or Lexus. After all, your job is safe, right? Maybe it is if you work at Walmart. At least until the failure of this country to produce wealth with value added enterprise catches up to our dumb asses. Oh wait, maybe that‘s what the monster trade deficit number is telling us right now!

J. Hanson • TC

VA is OK
I was saddened and dismayed watching the ABC Primetime investigative report on Thursday, April 8. As a concerned citizen, I was distressed by the reports of inadequate care for our veterans at a few Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. There is no excuse for the poor treatment of these veterans and the untimely deaths of veterans cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. VA health care professionals who ignore their duties and responsibilities, or act to the detriment of veterans should not be allowed to remain a part of the VA health care system. I condemn the poor treatment of these veterans. It was gratifying, however, to learn from the program that the VA had corrected these discrepancies long before this program was broadcast.
I also was dismayed that Primetime chose to indict the VA?s outstanding health care system based on three isolated medical centers. Primetime failed to report the outstanding service given to nearly all of our veterans in highly professional and creditable VA medical centers.
I agree that the VA health care system has been chronically underfunded for decades and annually receives less than needed to sustain current levels of health care services. That is the major reason why the DAV and all major veterans service organizations support legislation before
Congress calling for mandatory funding for VA health care, rather than relying on the discretion of Congress and the Administration to provide adequate funding.
Overall, the VA health care system is the finest in America, and easily superior to the health care offered in most private and public hospitals. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has determined that all VA hospitals exceed its quality standards ? the
same standards the watchdog agency applies to private health care facilities. In fact, VA hospitals score higher than private facilities on the JCAHO?s quality of care rating scale.
The facts are that VA health care has dramatically improved and overall ranks among the best in the nation. VA health care professionals are compassionate and provide the best health care to veterans.

Ronald R .Schrieber • Roscommon

Returnable problem
I‘m writing to share my experience and warn others of the “high crime“ problem that is excessive bottle return in the T.C. area.  My scourge on society was brought to my attention during a recent shopping trip to Glen‘s Market on 8th Street.  Maybe it was denial or just fear of people knowing I had them in my possession but my “returnables“ began pilling up in the basement a year ago. After mulling the issue for a while and a long talk with my therapist, I decided to rid my life of the many returnables that had accumulated in my basement.
 I worked diligently Sunday afternoon, carefully carrying each bag to my vehicle hoping no one would see, and thinking nothing of the crisis that awaited.  Upon arrival at Glen‘s,  I went to the designated returnables area.  The first cart went quick, I was greeted warmly and not until mention of the second load was there any reason to panic.  When I brought the second cart, the staff began to circle, peering at my returnables and lurking nearby.  $54.10, $54.20, $54.30, the total began to climb, as the third cart was finally in the store and out of my life or at least I thought... like a flash of light two, three, no four Traverse City Police officers were watching me spread the scourge of society, my returnables. 
One approached asking for identification and where did these “returnables“ come from?  For a long second I thought I was busted, and would be hung from the barber pole on the bay for letting my returnables get out of hand. Luckily my returnables were cleared and I was able to pass the returnables act background check.  After a short discussion with the manager, she allowed me to leave with my returnables money and I went to Miejer where I blew it on groceries.  After much guilt I contacted the Glen‘s store director who explained that staff call the police whenever returnables exceed $24.
  I think this is a wonderful way to curb returnables.  I bet if they limited each drop-off to $5 and made the returnees prove they bought the returnables and paid the deposit, we could completely eradicate returnables altogether.  I know I‘ve learned my lesson, I‘m going back to the days of old and throwing them out the window when they‘re empty. My friend told me mice make homes of them and who cares anyway; let the homeless spread the scourge of society. I can only hope that my story makes a difference and that it be a reminder to all, the next time you think of letting your returnables build up, it‘s a growing problem and the authorities will get you eventually!   
 
Steve Goeke • Williamsburg

Go Don
I wanted to respond to the article about the boycott on Don Swan and the Radio Flyers.
I am from Detroit and I‘m 53 years old. Me and my parents, who are in their 60s and 70s, stopped in the Big Eazy and noticed they also had entertainment which was Don Swan and the Radio Flyers.
I think that young man that emceed (Don) was very gifted with such an outgoing spirit and a fantastic singer and entertainer. My parents, who never want to stick around and hear music for such a time, didn‘t want to leave. I loved over at them; both were clapping their hands and moving to the music.
My mother who is 76 years old wanted to get up and dance. I was so happy to see them that way. My father didn‘t want to leave until they were done. It was a great night with that young man Don Swan and the Radio Flyers.
We plan on coming back to that restaurant to hear them again. Keep up the good work Don Swan and Radio Flyers. You have a guardian angel watching over you.

Sandy Lancaster
 




 
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