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 · TC takes urban chickens under...
. . . .

TC takes urban chickens under its wing

Noah Fowle - November 23rd, 2009
TC Takes Urban Chickens Under its Wing
By Noah Fowle
With interest in local agriculture growing and more people interested in knowing where their food comes from, Traverse City is on the cusp of a popular movement with the passage of its chicken ordinance in September.
Russell Soyring, the Traverse City planning director said there has been little activity in his office about the issue since the ordinance passed despite the fact that it changes rules kept in place for more than 50 years to keep chickens out of the city limits.
“Typically, we might get some calls from neighbors,” he said. “But there has been zero. There’s no permit required.”
The issue was first broached to the Traverse City Council in the summer by city resident Kimberly Dante. After adding an herb garden and greenhouse to her 12th Street home, Dante said she began researching the Right to Farm Act, and realized raising chickens was a protected activity and petitioned the council.
“It was less of a battle than I thought,” Dante said.
Soyring said he and his colleagues turned to other cities that had recently passed similar ordinances to find out if there had been any drawbacks to allowing chickens within city limits.
“We did a lot of our research on the internet, contacting people in those cities to find out what the issues were. And there were virtually no issues,” he said. “Most have a severe limit on the amount you can keep and roosters seems to be a trouble some part.”

Sarna Salzman, the executive director of SEEDS, a local non-profit, quickly threw its full support behind the initiative.
“This is just the beginning of going back to how our grandparents lived. We’re a big fan of ordinances to make it easier for people to cohabitate with livestock,” she said. “We’re trying to make more self-reliant communities, and that’s about feeding yourself on a small scale level.”
In July, prior to the ordinance passing, SEEDS started its own small hen operation in Garfield Township on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons.
Angela Stricker lives a block away from Dante and quickly got her operation underway before the cold weather of winter arrived, building an elevated coop and an enclosed run for her four hens. Stricker said her chicken operation was born out of her steady path on the slow food movement. A frequent shopper at local farmers markets, Stricker is also a member of an Eastport community-supported agriculture cooperative.
“I want to know where my food is coming from,” she said. “Next year I’m tearing up my front lawn to put in a vegetable garden.”
Stricker said in the spring, when her chickens begin to produce eggs, they will also serve a dual purpose by providing pest control and fertilizer for her new garden. With little previous farming experience,Stricker said it was relatively easy to get started by turning to the Internet. She also operates a blog, hippieingeeksclothing.wordpress.com, focusing on her efforts as a “slow foodie.”
With the attention the ordinance has put on the urban chicken operations, Stricker also discovered a new online community. One of her first cyber connections put her in touch with Tony Seely, who lives a few blocks away on 11th Street, and operates another blog, TCbokbok.blogspot.com. Seely said he hopes his blog answers the questions others might have as well as give him some insight to the process. Seely had hoped to join Stricker and start his operation this year, but scrapped his original plans for a coop for a more maintenance-free design, and will now wait until next spring to begin.

“Angela got a head start, I’m a little jealous,” he said. “Right now I’m using the blog to pick up little tips. But come spring next year, that will change and all of those questions I didn’t know to ask, I’ll be needing answers.”
Seely acknowledged that producing better tasting and more nutritional eggs was part of what prompted him to start raising chickens, but he would not discount the pet factor either. Seely has always had an interest in unusual pets, owning an iguana, a ferret and white mice in the past. With more time before his operation gets underway, Seely continues to research the hundreds of breeds available and plans on choosing two of the four more for their looks and demeanor over optimum egg production.
“Chickens are unique pets with interesting personalities,” he said. “They have some pretty outrageous looking ones, and others like to follow you around and sit on your lap.”
The Internet may provide plenty of avenues for self education on urban chickens, but Lynn Henning, the poultry species chair for the Grand Traverse
4-H Club, encouraged others interested in chickens not to overlook local resources of information. Henning expects to receive a growing number of inquiries next year, but added the basics are relatively simple.

When deciding on a breed, whether it be for laying eggs, producing meet, for a pet or show, she said it is important to consider the cold winters and purchase a heavier breed. There are plenty of hatcheries that will ship young chicks directly, but bulk orders are required, sometimes consisiting of a 25 chick minimum. Instead, Henning said an even better source for small orders is the local feed store, where chicks can cost as little as two dollars. Next she said it is important to create a safe and enclosed area for the chickens. Not only to protect them from the elements and to keep them contained, but also to keep out predators, like dogs, cats and raccoons.
“Protect your flock,” she said.
In preparation for winter, she added it is a good idea to install some sort of heat-producing bulb in the chickens’ coop as well as installing a water source that will not freeze. In order to produce the best quality eggs, she recommends a higher protein feed mash. Henning estimated it would cost about $10 a month to feed four hens. Once they begin producing, she said you can expect about one egg every 24 to 48 hours, and that hens can produce for between 18 and 36 months, and live well past their egg producing years.
The experiment may not even be off the ground in Traverse City, and the popularity of it is already spreading through Northern Michigan. In Petoskey, the planning commission is in the early stages of rewriting all of its zoning ordinances and planning director Amy Tweeten said she already handed out copies of other cities’ chicken ordinances to the commission.
“The commission has preliminarily looked at the issue and they are keeping it in mind as they work through the zoning updates,” Tweeten said.
In Traverse City, there are no plans to expand the ordinance to allow for other types of non-traditional pets, but Soyring said there have already been more inquiries.
“We’d like to test and see how well the introduction of chickens is doing first,” he said. “People are asking about other types of livestock, and ducks. I guess duck eggs are pretty good. The movement to growing your own food and having more confidence what you eating is safe is getting people to think about being more independent.”

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5