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 · 18 Blessings for Mother‘s...
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18 Blessings for Mother‘s Day

Erin Cowell - May 4th, 2009
18 Blessings for
Mother’s Day
Connie & John Kennedy adopted every child in their foster care

By Erin Crowell 5/4/09

With 11 boys, seven girls and two golden retrievers, Connie and John Kennedy would still consider making their family bigger. But unlike the large families we see on television (i.e. the Octomom, Jon and Kate Plus 8, and the Duggar Family), most of the Kennedy children are adopted.
After the birth of her first three children, Connie was unable to have more children due to health complications. And, coming from a family of 12, she felt three wasn’t enough. So, the Interlochen couple turned to Child and Family Services and became foster parents.
“Foster care about killed me,” says Connie.
But, it wasn’t because the children were difficult. It was quite the opposite.
“Foster care is only temporary,” explains Connie. “After we gave one child back to his family, we were invited over to the house for a visit. When it was time to leave, the boy said to me, ‘Foster mommy, I want to come home with you.’ It broke my heart.”

After 19 years of fostering, John and Connie have adopted every child that has come into their care. Last year they adopted seven more children, bringing the total number to 18.
A few years ago, the couple attended Michigan’s first National Adoption Day.
“A judge was giving everyone statistics, saying that 300 kids in Michigan are in need of a home,” says John. “Then (the judge) said, ‘Oops! I shouldn’t have told John that.’ Everyone thought it was funny.”
With 12 of the 18 children living at home, money gets tight. John works as a licensed builder and is the owner of J & C Home Improvement, while Connie works out of their home as a cosmetologist. Although the couple gets some financial aid from the government, it isn’t much.
“We obviously don’t do it for the money,” Connie says. “The kids get Medicaid, but that’s about it.”
Currently, eight children are in braces, something the government doesn’t pay for. And for the Kennedys, everyday spending can add up big. One trip to McDonald’s costs an average $80, while a trip to the movies can run a total of $200.
That’s why the couple is creative in their spending. Rather than go to the movies, they purchase DVDs and play them on the projector screen at home. They also own a camper trailer, which sleeps everyone comfortably (the boys “like to tent it,” as John says) and on longer vacations instead of staying in a hotel, they rent a house for the weekend.

When it comes to Christmas, The Kennedys save early, starting on the very first day of the year.
“By Christmas, we’re knee high in wrapping paper,” Connie jokes.
Other spending strategies include looking through the discount racks, buying off-season clothing and buying food in bulk.
When people wonder how to run a large household smoothly, The Kennedys preach consistency.
Every day starts at 5:30 a.m. and ends by 10 p.m. And when they’re not doing homework, all the kids are responsible for a daily chore, which Connie has charted out on the computer, from doing the dishes to vacuuming the carpet to feeding the dog.
“I tell the kids that we’re a team. If someone doesn’t load the dishwasher, then someone else might not be able to use a clean glass in the morning,” Connie says. “If one person slacks off, someone else suffers.”
The Kennedys are also consistent in discipline.
“I don’t repeat myself a lot,” John says. “If they mess up, they do laps around the house or move the wood pile from one end of the yard to the other.”
Connie says some neighbors have adopted the running laps strategy for their children.
A while back, one of the Kennedy boys got kicked off the school bus for misbehaving.
“He walked a mile and a half to school every day that week,” John says. “Of course, we followed behind him in a car so he
was safe.”
And with just two licensed drivers in a household of 14 people, travel coordination becomes a challenge. Several children are involved in extra curricular activities including football, baseball, orchestra and choir. On the upside, John and Connie now only have to attend parent teacher conferences at three different schools, versus five.
While the Kennedy family seems to have everything together, people still ask questions.
“They’ll ask us things like, ‘Are you Catholic? Ever heard of birth control?’” John says. “They just don’t get it.”
What the Kennedys do tell people is that if anyone has the room, they should consider foster care or adoption.
“There are a lot of kids out there in need of a home,” Connie says.
John adds, “Every kid needs to know that there’s someone out there who cares about them.”

Festival of Tables

Would you like to support adoption and foster care for needy children?
Come to the 8th Annual Festival of Tables, one of the region’s most popular celebrations of springtime. It’s the primary fundraising event for Child and Family Services, a private non-profit organization providing foster care (its biggest program), adoption (second biggest), counseling, advocacy and prevention programs.
The event will take place at The Hagerty Center on Mother’s Day Weekend, May 8 & 9.
The festival features dozens of dining tables, designed by local families and organizations— Enjoy the beautiful designs and enter a raffle to take one home. Participants may also enter four fantasy raffle packages such as the “”Room Re-Do” or “A Year of Fine Dining,” each valued around $2,000. There will also be a silent auction and the “(Not) Just for Men” tent, new to the Friday Night Gala Preview (beginning at 6 p.m.). The traditional Ladies’ Luncheon will be held on Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hagerty Center.
The Festival of Tables provides 20 percent of funds donated to Child and Family Services annually, helping nearly 3,000 people each year receive vital services in 13 counties in northwestern Michigan.

Tickets to the Festival of Tables are $50 each for either event.
For tickets and information, visit www.festivaloftables.org or call 231-946-8975.

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