Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · TC takes urban chickens under...
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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.”

SELF-RELIANCE
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.

SEEKING ANSWERS
“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.

WHAT BREED?
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.”

 
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