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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- November 9th, 2009
Letters 11/09/09
Parents & responsibility
Is this article about the high costs parents pay for their children’s crimes or is it a sob story about a teen drug addict? (Re: “The High Price of Toking,” 10/26.) The fact is that teens with parents that take responsibility for their children’s actions make
better parents.
This article shows that the father, Dan, was trying to get out of paying his son’s fines rather than simply having his son, Trevor, assume some of the responsibility. The saddest part of this story is that Dan did not seem to be able to control Trevor. Even after months in rehab Trevor continued to ‘hang with the wrong crowd’ and use drugs and alcohol. Why did Dan allow this? Considering the lack of parental control in young Trevor’s life, I agree that the parents should be responsible for the fines and costs.
I feel sorry for Trevor’s mother; she seems to have had no say in what discipline Trevor received and yet she paid the fines and costs without complaint.
I am the non-custodial parent of a teenage boy (he lives with his grandmother due to the poor choices I made in the past). I have already had to pay some court costs for the choices he has made. Yet, whenever I try to suggest a different way to discipline, or voice an opinion as to the unacceptable behavior of his friends, I am reminded that I do not have custody and therefore (in their opinion) I have no say in his upbringing.
I understand how Trevor’s mother must feel, and I am sorry for her loss.

Elizabeth Fox • via email

Advice for journalists
In his column Robert Downes reflected about which stories to pursue in the Nov.
3-10 Northern Express. In that issue you carried a long story by Anne Stanton about a woman who could be brought up on a murder charge. You went through her history in painstaking detail in a manner reminiscent of Jerry Springer.
I would argue that such a story should not be featured in your newspaper. Why? Because it does not relate to larger issues that affect the public. By contrast, your piece on Dan Coddington (“The High Price of Toking”) and the justice of courts inflicting large monetary obligations upon youth and parents is totally appropriate because it lays bare state laws and law enforcement practices that could be changed.
While the difficulty in getting all the facts frequently provides a barrier to writing a story (as Downes indicates), some stories are not worth investigating simply because they have no significance outside the people directly involved. Reject the stories for which evidence cannot be found. Reject the stories that have no significance. Following those rules you should be able to do a terrific job on the rest!

Richard Fidler • TC

Juvenile justice
“The High Cost of Toking” was an awfully good, interesting, dimensioned, detailed story. Thanks for a fine read about an extremely important set of issues.
I’ve rarely seen these issues written about with such unexpected and surprising detail, or written about with human faces and identities.
Ordinarily newspapers mention these issues only in the police blotter, and never delve into or question the actual process juveniles and their families have to go through.
Clearly there is a profound disconnect between what the community wants for juveniles in criminal trouble, what the community assumes happens to them, and what really happens to them.

Bob Merkin • Chesterfield, Mass.
The party of ‘no‘
This week we have seen the Republican Party members not showing up for a committee meeting on energy legislation. What is needed is a comprehensive national energy policy that addresses clean coal, nuclear power, natural gas, wind and solar power, but GOP members decided not to show up.
The party of “NO” has also sided with private healthcare providers and are rejecting a comprehensive overhaul of the healthcare system. While Republicans “stonewall” this process, insurance premiums have tripled, co-pays and deductibles have increased, and individuals and families are left with no affordable coverage.
The GOP is also against regulations
holding banks and financial institutions responsible and making their actions transparent. These same financial institutions brought our economy into a deep recession and have a “death grip” on our economy and government.
The GOP leadership needs to decide if they are going to address and contribute to the debate and solve the many problems associated with energy policy, affordable healthcare, and regulations of financial institutions or just become extinct. If so, the party of “NO” should step aside and let the other party solve the issues that affect us all.

Ronald D. Dykstra • Beulah

Digs Jonesin‘ crossword
As a devoted Express reader, it seems to me that a glaring omission occurred when you did not herald the addition of “Jonesin‘ Crosswords” to your publication. Even if your articles were not consistently thoughtful and engaging, the red newspaper boxes would be sought for that feature alone.
Matt Jones is truly an artist. He is playful, but not at the expense of intelligence. Also of note is the fact that he is, to my knowledge, the first published crossword constructor to have crossed the blue line; but again, not at the expense of taste.
To his credit, Jones has created a unique niche for himself (and us) while escaping the stranglehold of the Will Shortz machine and the staid requirements of middle-American dailies.
Cruciverbalists! Enigmatologists! Ink users! Hear my lay -- I sing the joy of “Jonesin’ Crosswords!”

Matt Smith • TC

Prime cuts
A butcher looks at an animal and sees meat and profits in cuts. The animal has a different perspective.
When it comes to taxes I see the politicians and the power brokers who sing the praises of cuts as the butchers. They and their cabal promote cuts because they get the vast majority of the pork. The tax cuts implemented during the Bush years have cost us over $2 trillion in lost revenue. The consequences are that the butchers are very happy and the rest of us bleed. Look at our schools, our police, our fire, our roads, our jobs, our senior centers, our health care and more.
The butchers are now saying we can’t afford health care for everyone. We have to cut more. We have to tighten our belts. Yet I don’t hear any of the butchers saying they want to pay their fair share or give back any of the $2 trillion, or give up their tax paid health care.
Perspective is key. A democracy demands that We the People not be the pork.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

In last week’s story about Anne Avery Miller and the mystery surrounding her son’s death, the article mistakenly stated that Anne’s mother, Joanne Szymkawiak, took bullets out of the home on January 16, 2008. In fact, the date was November 8, 2007, the day after Sam Avery died and while Anne was hospitalized (she said she wanted to prevent another suicide attempt).

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