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...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Meet your sister...
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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.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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