Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Couple makes Torch Lake History
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Couple makes Torch Lake History

Anne Stanton - December 21st, 2009
Couple Makes
Torch Lake History
By Anne Stanton
Torch Lake is known for its beauty, as well as its summer flotilla of floating parties thanks to an endless sand bar. The vast emerald blue lake is reputed to be the inspiration for Kid Rock’s hit song, “All Summer Long.”
But, ever wonder how Torch Lake got its name?
The early settlers in the area saw Native American Indians waving birch bark torches along the shoreline in order to attract fish for supper.
You’ll find that fact along with all kinds of history about the Torch Lake area in Torch Lake, The History of Was-Wah-Go-Ning, a 436-page book with stories that trace the lake’s evolution from a frozen tundra to a resort that inspires rock song lyrics of catching “walleye off a dock and watching waves roll off the rock.” The book, priced at $60, features no less than 673 maps, drawings and photographs.
The book reflects the combined efforts of Mary Kay and Edward McDuffie, a wife and husband team. Ed (known as Eb to his close friends) focused on the area’s ancient history, glaciers and maps, while Mary Kay compiled the more recent information and wrote most of the text.

“It’s interesting topography. Once you’re aware of it, you’ll find yourself looking at the lake in a different way,” Ed said. “The glaciers, for example, left ancient beaches at different heights, and the cottages are built on one or more of these ancient shorelines.”
The book is the product of pure determination on the part of Mary Kay, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease four years ago, and went onto finish the project despite the added handicap of having to rely on a voice synthesizer and tube feeding. But she never gave up.
“She’d been in the middle of writing it when she was diagnosed with ALS and she continued writing it for three years,” Ed said. “She was still going after it, up to the point, where we said, we need to finish it.
Jeanne Hannah, who designed the book’s website, said this book was the “miracle that gave Mary Kay daily purpose and inner strength.”
“This is a book filled to the brim with photographs and history that have nothing to do with illness and everything to do with the unique beauty, ecology, geology and history of Torch Lake. I can only imagine how it felt for Mary Kay to hold the published book in her hands a few weeks ago. She has given us a gift that will last forever.”
Said Mary Kay through a voice synthesizer: “Writing it was out of love for the lake.”
After the text was mostly finished in 2008, Mary Kay and Ed had to work with the book designer, Margaret Wagner for the next year. “There were a lot of things we had to change or amend,” Ed said.

The book covers the history of Torch Lake from the retreat of the last glacier 10,000 years ago to the end of World War II. Ed said the book offers the most comprehensive history of Torch Lake ever published. Yet the “work” to research the book was actually a lot of fun for the most part.
“I remember once, we went to a house across the lake from us. We went to the door and told them what we wanted,” he said. “We’d been to church so we were reasonably dressed up. Anyway, they didn’t want to let us in because they thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. But once we were there, we stayed for three or four hours. They let me take their photo albums home, and I was up all night scanning them because I told them I’d return them the next day. It was really neat, and then they steered us to other people.”
Ed said that as a boy, he lived in Cincinnati, but spent every summer on Torch Lake. “Only once did we miss it and it was World War II. We didn’t have enough gas.” He met and married Mary Kay Unger, whose father owned a lumberyard in Bellaire. Ed said his wife began writing the book after taking a Michigan history class in the early ‘60s at an MSU extension course offered through Northern Central Michigan College.
“She knew a lot about the area. We had a lot of relatives that were part of the history; one thing led to another, and she decided to write this book.”
Over a span of 20 years, Mary Kay compiled and wrote the text. Although her health condition has deteriorated in the last month, she was able to see the book in printed form, Ed said.
“It’s been a long process, but it was my aim to get it into Mary Kay’s hands while she was still here because it’s been her life’s work. And we made it,” he said.

To order Torch Lake, go to torchlake-history.com.

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