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.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Gardens for Africa Music Fest
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Gardens for Africa Music Fest

- September 29th, 2008
Rock out for a good cause Sunday, Oct. 5 at a benefit concert to help the drought-stricken farmers of the tiny African nation of Lesotho.
This fall, Leelanau County musician and landscaper Chris Skellenger is preparing to return to Lesotho to carry on with an irrigation project designed to help subsistence farmers. But, it’s an expensive undertaking and he needs roughly $20,000 to make it happen.
The second annual Gardens for Africa concert will be helf at the InsideOut Gallery to help raise these funds; The concert will feature Skellenger’s band, 3 Hr Tour, along with Chris Amidon’s String Quartet and The Dawn Patrol dance-rock band. A silent auction will be held from 4-7p.m.

11 OAKS
Chris and his wife Susan established the 11 Oaks group last year to help encourage an innovative bucket irrigation system that makes it possible for small farmers to overcome drought in parched and dusty lands. Last winter, Chris traveled to Africa to establish an irrigation system at the St. Charles School and orphanage in northern Lesotho. The project has received a boost from Traverse City Rotary Charities and many other contributors in Northern Michigan.
The group’s mission statement states: “To increase the food security of the world’s poorest people using gravity-fed irrigation and recycled water, enabling them to grow vegetables when there is no rain.”
“We chose Lesotho to launch the project because it’s a stable, English-speaking country,” Skellenger says. “We also set up a project in Belize and hope to someday take it to a higher level, helping farmers throughout the Third World.”
What is bucket irrigation? It’s Simple. A five-gallon bucket is attached to plastic drip-hose lines running between rows of crops. The farmer fills the bucket with water from a well or other water source and the plants receive a drink, spiked with a fertilizing dose of “manure tea.” A single bucket system can support 100 plants.
Lesotho is a small, land-locked country nestled within the borders of South Africa. The country is set high on a plateau and tends to be dry and drought-stricken. “It’s got about the same climate as Wyoming,” Skellenger notes.
But the irrigation project has a special urgency because Lesotho has been hammered by drought and disease. More than 30 percent of the children in the country are orphans -- mostly because Lesotho has the third-highest level of HIV infection in Africa. Life expectancy in the country is 38 years and falling. In fact, it has been predicted that the entire population of the country will disappear within 30 years unless action is taken to turn back the plague of AIDS/HIV.
“Most of these people are so weak they can barely take care of themselves, and because of the drought, they have nothing to eat but grain for most of the year,” Skellenger says. “If we can teach them how to use the bucket method of irrigation, they will have fresh vegetables to eat. When people don’t have a balanced diet, they get even sicker.”
For some, going without vegetables means eating oatmeal or other grain products 10 months out of the year.
This is the second annual event for the Gardens for Africa concert and there will be numerous silent auction items available at the show. There is no suggested donation at the door, but concertgoers are encouraged to give what they can.
The Gardens for Africa MusicFest will be held from 4-7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5 at the InsideOut Gallery on Garland Street in Traverse City (the alley running parallel to Front Street, across from the Open Space).
 
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