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 · Region Watch · Tent worms & Gypsy...
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Tent worms & Gypsy moths/TC‘s new art form/Forrum to discuss future of print/ guns in our parks/Michael Moore‘s new film/new museum opens

Robert Downes - June 1st, 2009
No fix for a plague of tent worms & gypsy moths
By Robert Downes

A devastating onslaught of tent worms is stripping forests of their leaves across Northern Michigan, with a similar invasion of gypsy moths expected in the weeks ahead and no remedy in sight.
“They are especially bad this year,“ says Cindy Rutherford, coordinator for gypsy moth control in the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
The two pests are often thought to be one and the same, but Rutherford notes that tent worms are actually a separate species known as the Eastern tent caterpillar, while gypsy moths hatch in the early summer and occupy the canopy of trees.
“When we sprayed for gypsy moths a couple of years ago, it killed the caterpillars at the same time, but we haven‘t had a suppression program for two years now,“ Rutherford says.
Reason? Hard times for Michigan and a shortfall in federal funds have meant cuts in the State‘s Department of Agriculture budget which funded the spraying program in counties affected by moths and caterpillars.
Although you can find broad stretches of forest stripped bare by tent worms this spring, Rutherford says the pests don‘t tend to kill trees unless there are additional hardships.
“The tent caterpillars do localized damage but don‘t kill the tree,“ she says. “But they can put a lot of stress on trees, and if there is an especially hot summer or a really cold winter, that adds even more stress.“
The gypsy moth infestation is also expected to be worse than usual this year.
“Gypsy moths go in cycles and we‘ve been on a downward cycle over the past few years, so their population is building again. It helps to spray every three or four years.“
Rutherford adds that a gypsy moth infestation for two or three years in a row can kill trees. The gypsy moth is an invasive species from Europe and Asia against which Michigan trees have few defenses.
Gypsy moths were first discovered in Michigan‘s lower peninsula in 1954 and are now considered to be an established species in the state. An outbreak can last from one to three years with common hosts being oaks and aspen trees. The U.S. Forest Service calls the moth‘s caterpillar “one of North America‘s most devastating forest pests.“
Eradicating tent worms and gypsy moths involves spraying affected areas by airplane with a naturally-occurring bacteria. Typically, the State obtains bids to spray areas ranging from 5,000-50,000 acres. In prior years, Grand Traverse County has had as many as 10,000 acres sprayed to kill off the pests.
But this year, with no funding in sight, it‘s up to individual homeowners to take action, at least on tent worms.
Since tent worms come out to feed at night, it‘s best to trim branches containing their nests during the day and either soak them in soapy water or burn them.
As for the trees being stripped in our State forests... they‘re on their own.

TC‘s New ‘Art Farm‘
After almost five years of planning and negotiating, the Little Artshram has a home to call its own at the barns property on the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.
Little Artshram is an art/farm program for kids, best known for spearheading the creation of colorful species-oriented costumes at the Earth Day Parade each year. In April, the organization signed an agreement with local officials to formally occupy the site.
“The barns property and the old farm of the former State Hospital is now our ‘official‘ home-place for our Community Gardens and Art-Farm programs,“ said program founder Penny Krebiehl in a release. “We will be occupying approximately four acres along with an old garage building which we plan to transform into our Art-Farm Workshop and Community Learning Center.“
Little Artshram is offering a number of programs this summer, including Art-Farm Teacher and Apprentice Training, Introductory Permaculture, and a Forest Garden Workshop. If you‘d like to get involved, contact tccommunitygardens@gmail.com, or see www.littleartshram.org.

Extra, Extra: Forum to
Discuss Future of Print
In a story ripped from today‘s headlines, local newsmen will discuss the “Fate of the Print Media“ in a public forum on June 10.
The future of print media across the country is in flux, with many large papers reducing their print days, supplementing with web-only reporting, or stopping the presses altogether.
“What happens next in the evolution of print media is an important topic for our region,“ says Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, which is one of the forum sponsors.
“Print media has long played a number of important roles in America’s communities, and ours are no different,“ Luciani says. “Whether as a way to keep track of local happenings, acting as a public watchdog, providing images of moments in our lives, or functioning as a major employer and economic driver, newspapers have mattered and still matter.“
Panelists will include Mike Casuscelli, publisher of the Traverse City Record-Eagle; Alan Campbell, publisher of the Leelanau Enterprise; and Robert Downes, managing editor and co-publisher of the Northern Express Weekly. Gregg Smith, former owner and publisher of the Antrim County News, will moderate.
Co-sponsors of the event include the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC), and the League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area.
The forum will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, at the Oleson Center on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. The public is invited to attend.

Guns in our parks
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) was one of 249 congressmen who voted to allow “law-abiding Americans“ to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.
“Today 40 states – including Michigan – allow residents to carry firearms for self-defense,” Stupak said in a release. “The regulations governing firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges are out of sync with state firearms laws and are inconsistent with regulations for other federal lands. This amendment corrects this discrepancy and affirms Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
Carrying firearms in national parks was restricted by the Reagan administration in 1983. At that time, only six states allowed residents to carry firearms for self-defense.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 249-147 to allow guns in parks an amendment, which was added to the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights by the U.S. Senate. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Michael Moore‘s new film
“The biggest robbery in the history of this country“ sets the theme for Michael Moore‘s new film, which is set to open Oct. 2.
The film is Moore‘s follow-up to Fahrenheit 9/11, according to a release from Overture Films, which has joined Paramount Vantage in co-financing and distributing the film.
Initially, the film was set to focus on foreign policy, states Overture Films, but as the global economy went sour, Moore decided to “take a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in the massive transfer of taxpayer funds to financial institutions.“
“The wealthy, at some point, decided they didn’t have enough wealth,“ Moore says. “They wanted more — a lot more. So they systematically set about to fleece the American people out of their hard-earned money. Now, why would they do this? That is what I seek to discover in this movie.”

New museum opens
The new Eyaawing Museum & Cultural Center opens this week in Peshawbestown, showcasing the culture and history of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
The name Eyaawing was selected by tribal members. It translates as “Who we are” in Anishinaabemowin, the native language of Michigan’s Anishinaabek.
Located near the Leelanau Sands Casino, the new museum includes a gift shop, with admission by donation. For information, call 231-534-7764 or 231-534-7768.

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