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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Getting our share

Robert Downes - July 21st, 2008
“May you live in exciting times.“
-- ancient Chinese curse

These certainly are exciting times in every sense. On one hand, we have war and ruin blaring in the headlines and newscasts each day. Alarms are going off over the mortgage crisis, the inflation crisis, the Madonna/A-Rod crisis...
But turn the page and you‘ll also find that titanic forces are in play to transform the earth for the better with a ‘green‘ energy movement that will benefit billions of people -- including those who get the jump on building the infrastructure of the new world.
That‘s the news we should be excited about. There‘s a sustainable-energy revolution about to explode in the coming decade and we‘ve got a front-row seat.
Consider a few articles in the July 21 issue of Newsweek:
• Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens says it‘s “madness“ for us to spend $700 billion on foreign oil each year. He proposes that we harness the constant winds of Texas, Oklahoma and the Great Plains to generate electricity. That way, we could run our cars on natural gas, which is presently being squandered as fuel at electrical power plants.
His plan will also provide a cleaner alternative to coal power plants.
Pickens isn‘t just talking: he‘s building a $10 billion wind farm in the Texas panhandle. Someone is going to have to build the tens of thousands of windmills that will soon dot the Earth. Who will it be?
• There‘s also an electric car revolution in the works.
Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, has used his profits to launch an electric car company. He expects to produce 20,000 electric cars by 2010. The cars will run 200 miles on a charge.
Musk claims that in 30 years, most of the cars sold in the U.S. will run on electric motors, with gasoline engines being a thing of the past.
Who will build them?
He also claims that you‘ll have a 10-by-15 foot solar panel on your home which will generate enough power to run your car from 200-400 miles per week.
Who will build those panels?
Meanwhile, GM is working on the new Chevy Volt electric car. Owners will be able to drive 40 miles on a standard charge, at speeds up to 100 mph. Chrysler has its own electric car on the drawing board.
Again, someone is going to build those new vehicles. But who?
• Can‘t afford to fly? The good news is that train travel is getting back on track as an affordable alternative.
Plans are underway to revitalize Amtrak and other rail lines for commuters and to ship goods to market.
And no wonder, because the Association of American Railroads reports that a diesel train is capable of moving a ton of weight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
Imagine your car being able to travel more than 400 miles on a gallon of gas... That‘s the beauty of reviving train travel.
These are just a few ideas plucked from a weekly magazine. The challenge for Northern Michigan is how do we get our piece of the action?
How do we tempt the manufacturers of solar panels, electric car parts, train technology, windmills and a thousand other elements of the green energy revolution to locate in Northern Michigan?
Well, for starters, let‘s go with what we‘ve got: a very nice place to live.
A few years back, Gov. Granholm launched the Cool Cities initiative to try to buck-up Michigan cities with new arts & culture scenes, improving downtowns and waterfronts in the hope of tempting techno-savvy hipsters and their companies to our state.
Back then, I pointed out in this column that Northern Michigan is a pretty doggone cool place already and we don‘t need any help from the State to make it more so.
We‘ve got nothing less than one of the finest locales in all of North America for scenic beauty, and one of the best places to live.
But we need to share that news if we want to get our piece of the green energy revolution. We need strong incentives to bring representatives of the new technology here for a visit. The alternative energy fair held each June in Manistee is a good start.
Perhaps what we need now is some sort of national green energy convention, with discounted airfares or a free shuttle bus from Detroit and Chicago to all who wish to attend.
We also need to encourage our own local innovators. Why not a major homegrown alternative energy company? What can we do to encourage local entrepreneurs?
Northern Michigan has all the charms needed to sell itself as a great place for sustainable energy companies to locate. But they need an invitation. They need to know we‘re here.

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