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 · A collage degree: is it worth...
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A collage degree: is it worth it?

Kelsey Lauer - August 10th, 2009
A College Degree:
Is It Worth It?
Weighing a four-year degree
against lower-cost alternatives
Kelsey Lauer 8/10/09

As a student in my third year at a pricey private university—with a cost of $37,070 for this year—I can understand the frequently asked question of, “Is my degree really worth it?”
I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to cover a good portion of those costs; but not everyone is so fortunate. Approximately two-thirds (65.6 percent) of the 2008 graduating class carried an average debt of $23,186, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.
Depending upon the career, college graduates earn more money over a lifetime than high school graduates, and graduates of master’s programs even more—that’s a widely accepted fact. But does the time and money invested in a traditional undergraduate degree equal the increased return? What if you don’t want to get a bachelor’s degree? What about alternatives like community colleges and technical programs?

Many students spend four or more years and a hefty sum of money to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree, only to be unable to find a job by graduation and return to live at home, at least temporarily. Around 80 percent of the 2009 undergraduate graduating class moved back home after graduation, according to a CNNMoney.com article.
“Cost is a tremendous factor to consider. I think there’s good evidence that if a person finishes a four-year-program with a $50,000 debt, that might not be the best outcome,” says Charlie MacInness, director of public relations at North Central Community College in Petoskey.
“In today’s world, individuals should seek education and work that will lead them to a job, to some sort of productive path because the cost of education is high,” he adds. “Three-quarters of our students are on some kind of financial aid. Education is an investment, both of time and money.”
Whether you will earn that investment back depends on the type of degree you decide to pursue, says Petoskey High School guidance counselor Tamara Kolodziej.
“It really depends on the degree. Some bachelors (degree holders) might not earn as much as a plumber. Teachers are some of the lowest-paid and highly-educated people there are,” she says.
“It really depends on what you’re doing and how much work you put into it. Hard work is involved in anything, whether you’re working or starting a business or getting a master’s or bachelors.”

Jason Jeffrey, principal/director of the TBA Career-Tech Center in Traverse City, acknowledges the challenge of cost and time invested in pursuing a traditional degree, but says that pursuing some type of learning beyond high school will almost inevitably help advance your career.
“Well, there’s research that indicates that in many cases folks that have some type of a degree beyond high school (make more money). Lifelong learning is where you want to go with it; I think that folk that have attained some type of a degree beyond high school, it’s a signal to employers that that person is able to engage in lifelong learning.
“Challenges do not outweigh benefit. I think we need to think long-term, and I think that for us who are working in the field of education is that we share with students the benefits of considering their education in some way.”
What type of lifelong learning you need to best pursue your ideal career depends on the career itself, Kolodziej says, and indicates her own career as an example.
“My career, I couldn’t do it without a master’s. It depends on what field they’re going into. Usually, a master’s allows you to get more pay.”
Jeffrey, for the most part, echoes Kolodziej’s sentiments, but points out that the scale can swing the opposite way. While a master’s degree may allow you to pursue a certain career, an apprenticeship may be necessary for another type of career.
“I think that there are certain careers –on- the-job-training – that is probably enough. I think there are some areas in the trades, particularly where students have the opportunity to learn through an apprenticeship. Those are examples where lifelong learning is happening, but is much more closely related than someone earning a four-year degree.”

Among Petoskey High School student graduates, Kolodziej says that about 80 percent pursue a traditional bachelor’s degree, while the other 20 go down alternate paths such as tech schools, joining the military or simply finding a job.
“(Where they go) depends on what they’re interested in,” she says. “Community colleges specialize in different things. There are a couple (of students) per year in culinary school who go all over. Kids go to the automotive program and someone went through the concrete program at Alpena.”
She adds, “(Petoskey has) a medical occupation program—only 30 kids per year. We try to use programs to have them explore a little beyond what they think they need to do. Traditionally, what you tend to see in high school is that they’re either going to be a lawyer or a doctor.”
Some of those alternatives to a traditional bachelor’s degree—pursuing a career as a plumber or electrician, for instance—offer just as much income as a traditional bachelor’s degree, according to Jeffrey.
“Apprenticeships are often referred to as the ‘other’ four-year degree,” Jeffrey says. “If you look at earnings, you will see that there are many careers where you have a technical certificate of some kind where wages compare to a four-year degree at a lower cost to the individual.”
MacInness points out that lower-cost alternatives can be particularly useful to adults who are returning to school for more education after being laid-off from their jobs or otherwise affected by the economy.
“For people who are a little bit older, the applied degree is better. Nursing is an intense and longer program, but the payoff is a good job forever. There are business-type degrees that put somebody into an office relatively quickly,” MacInness says.
And now is a particularly good time for adults to pursue that education, MacInness says, thanks to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which offers qualified workers who have been laid-off, benefits for up to two years if they enroll in some type of retraining program—such as a technical degree or community college.

MacInness says that North Central Michigan College has seen an increased number of adult students enrolled thanks to the act.
“Our enrollment is rising dramatically every semester,” he says. “The winter semester was up six percent from the previous year, and full-time enrollment, which included the TAA folks, was up 13 percent. Eighteen to 19-year-olds were the largest category, but 45-49 was the second largest category, and that was because of lay-offs.”
Ultimately, however, the decision of which career or degree to pursue—and which will be the best fit—is up to the individual.
“They have to go in the direction they are going to excel in. There is no single key to success. It really depends on the individual,” MacInness says. “We can tell them what’s available. We can guide them in a direction to find where the wages are, but each of us have to go where our inclinations take us.

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