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..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale
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Recycle Ranger: Andy Gale

Anne Stanton - April 20th, 2009
Recycle Ranger
Andy Gale’s motto is ‘waste not, give a lot’

By Anne Stanton

A skeptical friend of mine strongly suggested that I follow the area recycling trucks back to their plants to see if the bottles, paper and cans were really recycled—or if the trash companies just threw the stuff in the landfill -- ha, ha, and the joke’s on all of us.
She wasn’t going to recycle, she said, until I did an in-depth investigation.
Andy Gale, the owner of Bay Area Recycling for Charities, said that he absolutely guarantees that all the stuff he gets is recycled. And people can actually save money by doing the right thing (meaning I’m off the hook).
Gale admitted that when he moved here in 2007, he originally wanted to form a nonprofit to help heal and release injured birds. He has fond memories of walking to school with a pet crow on his shoulder. But he soon discovered that Rebecca Lessard of Empire was already doing that with her nonprofit, Wings of Wonder. He decided he wanted to help her in some way.
His next big idea was to collect recyclable materials, sell them and funnel some of the proceeds to needy nonprofits. The motto of his recycling service became: “Waste not. Give a lot.” He bought a trailer and set up a recycling center in Maple City near M-72.
His nonprofit business became a reality last spring and is quickly ramping up. He services the Pathfinder School and the Montessori Children’s House, where kids are recycling, re-using, and composting. He picks up stuff at Building 50 in Traverse City, residential homes and several businesses in the five-county area of Antrim, Benzie, Leelanau, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse. He also hauls away food and paper waste from area restaurants, such as Oryana, the Dish, and Cuppa Joe. And he just worked out an agreement with the State Theatre to pick up all the uneaten popcorn at the end of every night.
Admittedly, Bay Area Recycling did not make a ton of money its first year. But hey, it was the first year, and the group recycled many tons of material.
Gale admits he was not an expert on recycling a year ago and could not confidently give an interview. That’s all changed. Here’s what he has to say:

NE: How does your service work? I’m thinking for a residence.
Gale: We have a 96-gallon rolling can. Just put all your stuff inside. All you need to sort is the paper. We’ll come to your house as often as you need—usually once a month—and pick it up in an open trailer. We can recycle or re-use just about everything except for food, which you can compost in your backyard.

NE: What about clothes?
Gale: We take them. If they’re worn out -- I’m talking an old pair of socks -- they’ll go into our compost. You can compost cottons and linens. You can’t compost polyester, but we’ll take those kinds of clothes to the Resource Center. If they can’t sell them, they’ll get shipped to Africa. We can re-use most anything. We take books to the local libraries and glass jars to a mushroom grower. He needs them for the mycelium, the first root structure of the mushroom.

NE: Does he pay you?
Gale: Not yet, but he will as soon as he starts making money.

NE: What would you say to my friend who wants to know if traditional waste haulers really do recycle?
Gale: If you follow the Waste Management truck, you’ll see they do have a recycling plant. I think all of the haulers recycle. But not all of them accept all the plastics—they might accept #1 and #2, but the others ones—3 through 7—those might end up in the landfill. You have to remember, at the end of they day, they’re waste haulers. If they don’t want to deal with something, it’s in the landfill. With us, it’s guaranteed—it will be recycled, re-used, or composted.

NE: How do you get paid?
Gale: We charge by the cubic yard—for residents, it works out to about $10 to $15 a month.

NE: I’ve considered going by the bag with our trash hauler, but it’s hard to let go of our trusty black bin.
Gale: It’s a little scary, a little daunting. You never know when you’re going to clean up your basement or garage and need to throw stuff out. But you could start with us, and when you see your garbage has dwindled to nothing, then you can opt into the “throw as you go” program.

NE: How many garbage bags are used by your family a month?
Gale: We fill up one bag about every three weeks. And we have two kids.

NE: No way.
Gale: Well we have a kitchen compost container—now that’s a tongue twister—it’s a little bin in the kitchen where we put bones, meat, coffee grounds, anything organic. And then we take it out to our backyard to compost, and we turn it with a pitchfork every few days. It’s basically a four-foot barrel with a screen on top. You can compost or recycle most everything, although people don’t realize that.
NE: Like what?
Gale: You can recycle Styrofoam cups. They’re made of oil.

NE: I’m shocked, I really am.
Gale: You cannot recycle dirty paper plates, but you can compost them. Same with tissues. You can even compost Q-tips but you have to make sure they’re paper. But at the house, we’re trying to do more with re-use. Instead of buying paper plates for a picnic, we use real plates and wash them.

NE: When you’re asked at the grocery store, paper or plastic, what should you answer?
Gale: They’re both bad. You should use reusable bags. But if you don’t have them handy, second place goes to paper because they’re easier to recycle. We take the grocery bags to Trinity Lutheran food bank. There’s no market for plastic bags, but we’re accepting them and bailing them up.

NE: What about recycling metal stuff?
Gale: Aluminum foil is great. There’s so much energy that goes into making aluminum. We also recycle hangars, plastic and metal. Part of this whole thing is being careful about the packaging. I just found this oatmeal that comes in a cardboard box that you can recycle so you don’t have the plastic rings to deal with. We don’t buy juice boxes anymore. We bought a glass with a lid and a straw and fill it up with organic juice.

NE: Is there anything you can’t recycle?
Gale: Cigarette butts and chewing gum comes to mind.

NE: I heard you’re making little wrappers for lunch bags that you can use over and over again.
Gale: That’s not me. But I know the Traverse City woman you’re talking about. Go to www.ecolunchgear.com.
NE: What’s the quickest way to reduce your trash?
Gale: Go to your computer and Google “Stop junk mail.” And then do it.

NE: Have you given any money to Wings of Wonder yet?
Gale: No, but we will. We made $1,500 on the backside last year and I sent letters out asking people where they wanted their money to go. People came up with great ideas—Food Rescue, Habitat for Humanity. And Wings of Wonder—we’ll be sure to fling her a few bucks.

NE: Any parting words?
Gale: Okay, here’s a great line that should go into the article (pauses for effect) ‘I always wanted to be a philanthropist, but I never had the money to do so.’ By recycling, you can help your favorite charity.’

To contact Bay Area Recycling, call
231-884-3417 or email andy@bayarearecycling.net.

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