Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic

Harley L. Sachs - May 4th, 2009
Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic
Harley L. Sachs 5/4/09


If you think the government has been asleep at the switch regarding a pandemic, be reassured. This year, Michigan’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and the Michigan Department of Community Health mailed an insert to businesses around the state about an expected pandemic.
I’ve written about pandemics before, primarily in my thriller “Scratch—out!” in which a terrorist group tries to kill everyone in the USA with a biological warfare agent. The reason why such a weapon is not used is that it is uncontrollable once it gets loose and causes a pandemic. It’s like the poison gas used by the Germans in World War I. If the wind changes, it blows back in your face.
Swine flu is not a biological warfare agent, but it could be a pandemic, as in the sudden outbreak of an epidemic that affects a broad area, ranging from a region to the entire world.
A pandemic, of course, is one of the worst public health fears. It was a pandemic of smallpox, measles and other European imports brought ashore by Spanish invaders that wiped out the Aztec civilization of Mexico. Now, with air travel, the Swine flu can sweep the world like the Black Death that in the 14th century wiped out whole cities and killed one-third of the people living in Europe.
The Spanish flu that swept the world at the end of World War I killed more people than the war did -- an estimated 4o million to 100 million people. The Spanish flu was so swift that a person could be healthy in the morning and dead in the afternoon.
The response to the Swine flu pandemic is similar to what we did in the 1950s. During the polio epidemic we shut down swimming pools and movie theaters, and kept people afraid of public exposure until the Salk vaccine was developed.
It was a surprise to get the health warning from the State of Michigan. I hadn’t seen anything like that health notice since the 1960s when every town had designated fallout shelters complete with supplies of crackers, candy, and tampons. We were given a handbook on how to build a family shelter in case of nuclear war. Kids in school were drilled to “duck and cover.” That was before Chernobyl, of course, which demonstrated that a fallout shelter is useless. The persistent radioactivity makes a region uninhabitable. Get out or die.
Now we are in the midst of a level 5 flu pandemic. If you want to read the details of Michigan’s plans to deal with it on every level, you can learn visit www.plandemicflu.com or www.michigan.gov/flu. Businesses are instructed to set up an emergency preparedness plan.
The State lists 11 issues to prepare for, including:
• designate a pandemic coordinator or team
• identify essential employees, materials, etc.
• set up and update emergency communications
• prepare for employee absences
• make a policy for flexible worksites
• evaluate employee access to public health services
• encourage hygiene practices, etc.
Details are available at www.michigan.gov/prepare.
The prophylactic procedure to avoid the Swine flu is similar to that of last year’s norovirus, an extremely contagious but not often fatal intestinal bug that had everyone washing hands frequently and wiping down surfaces with bleachy water. It was near panic.
As long as kids in school haven’t experienced any cases, schools will remain open. The Swine flu is not as dangerous as the Spanish flu of 1918. But this pandemic should serve as a warning. Sooner or later something even worse is bound to emerge. Consider this emergency as a warm-up so you will be ready.

 
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