Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 6/5/03
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Letters 6/5/03

Various - June 5th, 2003
Pot’s Smokescreen
I am writing in response to the interview article titled “Marijuana Activists March On“-May 15, 2003. Here is a brief cross section of Mr. Fillmore‘s answers, and I intentionally pull these out of context. Smoking Marijuana “is a lung cleaner....and it does lift your spirits,“ “It is a definite advantage for ADHD. It allows children to rest and relax...,“ “I take anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant... If Marijuana was legal I could cut my pill intake in half.“ As to how he found pot, he states, “I run sound for a band and I met a gal who turned me on to “The Emperor Wears No Clothes“ by Jake Hare. It is basically the marijuana hemp bible...“, “...I went to the hash-bash..“, “I have found that I have become a different person.“, “Like where I live I am the neighborhood psychiatrist....“.
This is obviously a man that is protesting for much more than the medicinal uses of this drug. While the “This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs“ anti-drug campaign was an obvious failure and wasted millions and millions of hard earned American tax dollars through both Republican and Democrat White Houses, so is the time and effort so poorly wasted by this mislead cult-like group. There are such greater and more needy battles to fight right here in our community.
I hate that my friends and family have to come up to beautiful Traverse City and see this motley group some of whom drag their children with them, clutter the parkway. These are the real facts, facts that Ms. Eartha Melzer and the Express irresponsibly failed to mention with this article.
In 1995, 165,000 people in the U.S. entered drug treatment programs reporting marijuana as their primary drug of addiction. Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. THC, one of 400 chemicals in a hemp plant suppresses neurons in the information processing system of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation. Smoking marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain. You can get high from second hand marijuana smoke. Because it is illegal, it is a major contributor to petty crime and drug related violence. Some scientific studies have found that babies born to marijuana users were shorter, weighed less, and had smaller head sizes. Studies have shown that marijuana lowers testosterone levels and sperm count in men.
Researchers over and over have reported that marijuana cigarettes release five times as much carbon monoxide into the blood stream and three times as much tar into the lungs of smokers of tobacco cigarettes. Just go to the internet and enter “marijuana dangers.“
Predictably, Mr. Fillmore and his band of pot smokers will accuse me and even the publishers of these studies of some kind of conspiracy theory to justify his inability to cope in society. There are plenty of people out there in our community that are not getting the kind of help they need for many reasons, but supporting the legalization of a blatantly dangerous drug (as is alcohol) is not the answer.
Mr. Fillmore, I have an alternative for you as you have obviously lost your ability to take care of yourself and your own health. Before you burden the rest of us by convincing some of our children to start smoking pot and before we each pay a bit more for the healthcare costs this habit of yours will incur, try this. Get 7-10 hours of sleep each night, drink lots of water, exercise daily, and start sticking healthy foods between your lips instead of that next joint! And experience the “high“ of your life! President Bush is doing nothing to “suppress“ you. It‘s about the daily choices we each make as individuals in our community and in our bodies.

Doug Petersen • Traverse City

Nurses are the Teamsters
I feel compelled to respond to Eric Smith’s letter regarding the Teamsters.  If, as he quoted “Half the truth is the biggest lie,” then he should have gained more information before spouting.  As one of the 275 striking RN’s, I would like to point out that the nurses are the Teamsters! This seems to be a point of fact that continuously escapes the comprehension of far too many people.  We elected to have their representation but we are the ones who make the decisions in this matter.
  The decision to strike was not made by anyone but the nurses who live and work in Petoskey.  Mr. Smith’s assumption that the decision was made by people from Traverse City only proves the old adage about assumptions correct once again.  The decision to strike was not made based on the weather, but on the basis of self-respect and the unfair labor practices of a corrupt administration.
  Had Mr. Smith attended any of the so-called “bargaining sessions” between the hospital and the union preceding the strike, he would have been aware that there was more time spent discussing things like the weather, the beauty of the Petoskey area, and the unavailability of Mr. Fishman’s calendar than any relevant issues pertaining to a contract.
Mr. Smith’s statement that “if they had been smart, they could’ve announced in advance that the strike was going to be for a limited time, say 5-7 days, and then gone back to the bargaining table” is “just plain ludicrous” as we, the Teamsters of NMH have been figuratively sitting at that bargaining table for over a year waiting for the hospital to join us there.  The hospital has refused to honor us with their physical presence at that table for six months.  I fail to understand how a 5-7 day walkout would have had any meaning to anyone involved.
   In response to his statement about the number of picketers, I can only say that the number has, indeed, dwindled.  The reason behind that is the fact that the majority of us have returned to work in some form or another.  Speaking from experience, working 230 miles from home does not leave a lot of time to spend on the picket line.  When I am home I spend those precious hours with my children and fulfilling my duties to my family. 
My duty to my fellow nurses lies in the very fact that I am working 230 miles from home; that I haven’t crossed that picket line for any amount of money or any degree of hardship.  The idea that the “Teamsters are causing these difficult times” is a concept that only makes me shake my head and wonder how the facts in this matter can be so outside the grasp of so many individuals and how they feel they can comment on any part of the issue in good faith. 
My hope is that Mr. Smith never has to stand up for something he believes in that may be outside the popular public opinion.  In order to take a stand as we, the Teamsters of NMH have, one must be willing to accept responsibility for our own beliefs and actions and not point the finger of blame at inappropriate targets.  At this point in the process, the hospital’s refusal to even sit down and bargain is clearly the problem.  Thus, I implore the hospital once again, to come back to the table and resolve this strike.  We, the Teamsters of NMH, will be there waiting for you.

Karen Ann Ciccoretti, RN  
• Petoskey

Leelanau prosecutor
I am a citzen of Leelanau County. I have just had the unfortunate experience of observing our county prosecutor Sara Brubaker in action. Ms. Brubaker demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of her elected position as prosecutor.
I was charged with the crime of reckless driving based on statements not observed by law enforcement. Ms. Brubaker did not only charge me incorrectly, she failed to conduct any supplemental investigation that would have spared me the embarrassment and anguish of a trial. My attorney, Matthew Benedict, quickly demonstrated to the jury that Ms. Brubaker was not prepared nor did she understand the law and had no concept of criminal procedure. The jury returned a not guilty verdict in less than five minutes. I would have hoped the former bank employee Ms. Brubaker would have gained at least enough competence in her three years in office to do the right thing in a simple misdemeanor case.
Residents of Leelanau County deserve better and should not be punished for Ms. Brubaker‘s inexperience. I hope you, your family, friends, or neighbors never have to experience what I have recently gone through. It is horrifying that an elected official with no experience can control criminal charges and could potentially place an innocent person in jail. After three years Ms. Brubaker should know that jury members and court personnel clearly see the hollowness of her campaign promise.

Danielle Freund • Leelanau County

We the People
It is time for the citizens of Leelanau County to have a vote as to where they want their jail/govemment center to be located - the Walters farm or in Lake Leelanau.
As witnessed by many at the Suttons Bay Planning meeting on the current oversized jail, the county commissioners and the contracted builder (an architect is not being used) have many issues to resolve before being given the go-ahead and proper permits to begin. The plan so far includes an oversized road ($300,000) and does not include any plans for a courthouse. Meaning prisoners must be transported to and from Leland at additional taxpayers’ expense. Sensitive wetlands are also an issue; a 110-year-old willow tree was recently removed to make way for the 70-foot-long culvert.
To resolve the issues, responsible elected officials should insist a complete plan with all costs be put together and given to the people of this county to decide. In the past, land in Lake Leelanau was not available for a full government center; this is no longer the case as the VFW site is available. Today with growth and existing road structure, Lake Leelanau is the logical place. We could have everything in one location with utilities and existing roads already available.
Commissioners, we are asking you to make two clear plans with all costs to taxpayers unveiled so we can decide what we, as citizens, want.
Do the right thing.

Shane and Jerry Harrison
• Lake Leelanau

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