Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Meet your sister...
. . . .

Meet your sister...

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2008
The next time you enjoy a refreshing glass of green tea in downtown Traverse City, be sure to think of your sister. Your Japanese Sister City, that is. It turns out that the green tea crop is as important to Koka, Japan as cherries are to Traverse City.
That‘s one of the things members of the city commission learned last week when they welcomed a delegation of three Japanese visitors who represent our “home away from home“ across the Pacific.
Yoshinobu Lino, Misato Yamagiwa and Yoichi Shirai spent five days here, touring the region as part of a goodwill mission that was established 38 years ago.
Back in 1970, TC became the Sister City of Tsuchiyama, a town outside the Kyoto/Osaka area in south central Japan. In 2003, Tsuchiyama joined with four other towns to make up the city of Koka. Hence the update.
Formerly, Koka had a population of less than 10,000. Like Traverse City, it too is located on a large lake -- in fact, Lake Biwa is the biggest lake in Japan.
Koka is the birthplace of the legendary Ninja warriors -- those black-claid commandos who strike without warning in the night. The area also serves as the setting for the oldest romance novel in the world: “The Tale of Genji,“ which was written 1,000 years ago. It‘s said to be quite a pleasant place, although quite hot and steamy this time of year, being on the same latitude as Atlanta, Ga.
And please note: Shiga Prefecture, the area surrounding Koka, is the Sister State of Michigan, as is Sichuan Province in China. This is the 40th anniversary of our Japanese relationship, which was put into play by Gov. George Romney back in 1968.
A labor of love keeps our cities connected: several members of the Traverse City Cultural Exchange are hosting the visitors and seeing that they have a good time: Pam and Mike Bailey, Deb Bowman and Don Kuehlhorn and Richard and Susan Cover are citizens who have reached out and opened their homes.
The Baileys have been to Japan five times since hosting a student from Tsuchiyama 14 years ago. They‘ve hosted a visitor from the town every other year since then.
Pam says that when funding to help the visitors dried up at Northwestern Michigan College a few years a back, local citizens got involved, including Vicki and Ralph Hay, Kimi and Cliff Durga, and the Oleson Foundation, to continue the friendship across the sea.
Last year, more than 50 Japanese visitors traveled to Michigan to see their Sisters across the state. The Japanese are apparently big on the Sister Cities program, since they have at least 20 here in Michigan. Some of those connections lead to trade arrangements.
And what an important thing, considering that World War II is still within the memory of many citizens living in both countries. More smiles and understanding -- that‘s what the world needs. More sisters in foreign lands.
Speaking of which, here‘s a run-down on a few Sister Cities across Northern Michigan. Check out your distant relation -- view it on Google Earth, and consider a visit. The folks over yonder will surely be glad to see you.

• Gaylord: Pontresina, Switzerland.
• Mount Pleasant: Okaya, Japan and Valdivia, Chile.
• Petoskey: Takashima, Japan.
• Sault Ste Marie: Ryuo, Japan.
• Suttons Bay: Acteal, Mexico.
 
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