Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


Home · Articles · News · Features · A Circle of Comfort: Yurt...
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A Circle of Comfort: Yurt Living Offers an Affordable Alternative Close to Nature

Danielle Horvath - February 20th, 2003
It‘s like stepping into a circle of warmth in the middle of winter. Large windows bring in bright light, even on a gray day. The steel support beam dIrects your eye up to the skylight dome in the middle, and then down the wood trim that completes the circle to the wood floor. Open, airy and inviting, the yurt home of Karen Coussens stands out in a field overlooking an 80-acre valley in Benzie County.
“I wanted a home that was as close to being outside as I could get, and this is it,“ Karen explained. A retired career preparation specialist, she discovered the property while visiting friends in Cedar and quickly fell in love with the area.
“I knew I wanted to build a new house, -- one that would fit the property -- where I could see out of windows everywhere. I laughed the first time I heard of a yurt, but then I started doing some checking and found Pacific Yurts in Oregon. The more I learned about them -- energy efficient, open, designed to bring fresh air in, could be built anywhere -- the more I was sure that‘s what I wanted.“
The traditional portable home of the shepherds of inner Asia, the yurt is the equivalent of the American tipi. It is ingeniously constructed with light poles for a roof, sapling lattice for walls and a thick felt exterior skin. With the rising cost of house building in the early 1970s, many young people turned to unique, inexpensive, do-it-yourself construction methods. Pacific Yurts has been manufacturing a modern yurt for 21 years and was awarded the U.S. Senate Productivity Award for excellence in manufacturing and an international Achievement Award for design excellence.
Considered a “soft“ structure, the yurt reacts more readily to climatic conditions than do “rigid“ structures, so the site must be considered for wind patterns, over-head tree limbs, water runoff, etc. For yurts set up for extended periods, a deck is recommended.
It took a little longer to complete the project because the local contractor and excavator had never built a yurt before. At first, the excavators didn‘t know how they would do a round cement basement.
“There was a lot of cell phone calls between Roger Pierce -- the contractor -- and the yurt company,“ Coussens says. “But Roger was great; once they got the idea, it all came together.“
Yurts come pre-fabricated in a kit, ready to assemble. Coussen‘s design included a sma}ler- yurt for the bedroom, with the two connected by a closet and front entryway.
Coussens has made it through her first year in her yurt and so far she loves it. “It‘s so easy to clean, a little Pledge on a rag, a couple of turns and I‘m done. There‘s no outside maintenance. In the spring, I take off the plexiglas on the inside of the windows and let the air in through the screens and lattice. If it rains, I go out and lower the flaps. The canvas is guaranteed for twenty years; the roof for 25. By then, I won‘t really care!“ she says with a laugh.
Coussens heats with a pellet-burning stove and has electric heat for back up. She estimates the cost of her yurt is about the same as a traditional 2,000 square foot house with a basement. “There was more ttime and labor, and the windows had to be insulated and drywall had to be installed on the inside walls for it to pass the county building codes.“
For more information, check out www.yurts.com.


 
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