Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Offbeat Winter

Melissa Fruge - December 8th, 2008
The nights are dark and the days are often gray… welcome to winter in Northern Michigan. This year the snow arrived early and it seems to be sticking. Some of us can’t wait for Old Man Winter to arrive; we’ve been waiting since early spring to break out the skis and hit the slopes again… But if the thought of strapping two sticks on your feet and hurling yourself down an icy hill at breakneck speeds is less than appealing, fear not. There are other ways to while away the winter besides downhill skiing. Check out these offbeat ideas to add zest to the season:

Rent a Snowmobile
Snowmobiling is one option, and a popular one too. There are more than 6,000 miles of trails in Michigan and chances are you live near one of them. Gaylord is a mecca of the snowmobiling world, with trails fanning out across the north, including a new 62-mile trail running all the way to Mackinaw City via Cheboygan.
If you don’t own a sled but want to feel the wind in your face, there are lots of places to rent one for the day, just check out www.michigan.org, which provides detailed maps and a list of businesses that rent snowmobiles. Both Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highland ski resorts rent sleds.

Snow Tubing
Maybe the kid in you is dying to get out and play in the fresh powder. Why not take a snow day and relive your childhood by grabbing a sled and finding the nearest hill?
The latest twist on sledding is the snow tube, which offers downhill thrills with a greater margin of safety than traditional sleds or toboggans.
Just west of Traverse City, families head to Timberlee Hills for a day of fun, whizzing down the hills on a snow tube. It’s $15 for a two hour pass, but that includes a break midway through to warm up and enjoy the other activities Timberlee has to offer like the Hilltop Hideaway, which serves up food and hot chocolate so you can recharge. Plus, as an added bonus you won’t wear yourself out trudging back up the hill because the handletow system brings you back to the top with ease.
In Boyne City, kids still flock to Avalanche Hill to see who has the guts to go all the way down from the top, while in Petoskey they go to the Winter Sports Park to find out who has the fastest bump jumper in town. Both cities run parks that offer more than just sledding; there are also outdoor ice rinks, warming huts and concession stands.
Additionally, both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain both have tubing parks with three lanes of twisty, turny fun and a rope tow so you can easily haul yourself and your tube back up to the top. An all-day pass will cost you $20, and season pass holders can enjoy unlimited tubing at both resorts.

Dog Sledding
Boyne Highlands (in Harbor Springs) first partnered with Nature’s Kennel last year to bring Iditarod sled dogs to Northern Michigan. The dogs are back again this winter and rides will be offered from late December through March. The hour-long adventure includes a stop midway for hot cocoa and photos.

Water World
If you don’t feel like braving the cold, Boyne Mountain (in Boyne Falls) has your ticket. Dig out your bathing suit and spend the day splashing around Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. There are several waterslides, like the giant Super G and the Vertigo Cannonball tube, an indoor wet rock climbing wall, and wave pool. There’s even a floating basketball court.
At the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, you’ll find a new 15,000-square-foot Indoor Water Playground that includes a 16-foot-tall, 70-foot-long waterslide, along with a waterwalk, sprayground, and water basketball. Then there’s Traverse City’s premier waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge, with a mammoth facility open to hotel guests.

You can also relax and spend the day getting pampered at a spa, with facilities at virtually every ski resort in the region, along with the Grand Traverse Resort. And we’ve got some of the best: Solace Spa at Boyne Mountain, for instance, was named one of the world’s best by Spa Magazine, it also happens to be the largest spa resort in the state.
From detoxifying steam treatments to facials, soothing massages, and state of the art fitness centers, spas provide everything you need to recover from an exciting day outside.
Spa action is ‘heating up’ literally and figuratively in Northern Michigan. At Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, the new Crystal Spa and Fitness Center is set to open in January. The spa will offer 12 treatment rooms, infared saunas, a steam room, a meditation lounge and garden with a hot tub for relaxing soaks after searching for snowmen.

If snowshoe trekking is your thing, check out the guided hikes every weekend at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, or at the Grass River Nature Preserve in Bellaire. Many ski resorts also offer guided snowshoeing hikes, such as the Wild Wonders Moonlight Hike at Crystal Mountain, where you can spend the evening tromping through the woods waiting for owls and other nocturnal animals to begin their nightly activities. To find out more visit Crystal’s website

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