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 · Trashed: License glitch dumps...
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Trashed: License glitch dumps biodegrading at Cherry Festival

Anne Stanton - July 6th, 2009
License glitch dumps biodegrading at Cherry Festival

By Anne Stanton 7/6/09

It’s not like the National Cherry Festival isn’t trying to do the right
thing, but the biodegradable dishes and flatware that vendors were
required to use this year will end up in Glen’s Landfill.
“I never heard anything about this; it makes me wonder why we’re buying
all this expensive stuff for nothing,” said Sue Willard, owner of Sue’s
J&S Hamburg on South Airport Road.
It appears that the festival required biodegradable flatware before plans
were nailed down on how to sort and compost them. But they say it’s a
start. The earth-friendly dishes are made from food and plants, not
oil-based synthetic polymers. And they will decompose hundreds of years
faster than plastic. They just won’t break down into dirt, which requires
air, water, micro-organisms and high heat.
Willard took her own “green” steps to save money on the more expensive
flatware by using stirrers instead of spoons, and only providing forks
this year.

Composting and recycling have always been an issue at the National Cherry
Festival, where up to one million people eat food and celebrate. Waste
Management, a corporate sponsor, provides bins to recycle plastic
bottles, paper and cardboard.
This year, the festival had planned to go even a step further by requiring
Open Space vendors to use biodegradable dishes with the idea of composting
A little history here. Starting in the mid 1990s, volunteers scraped food
off the dishes and sorted garbage in a recycling tent. The scrap food was
then hauled off to Clearbrook O.R. (Organic Recovery), a small Traverse
City company that composts yard waste and manure. It’s owned by Mike
Fiebing, whose wife, Monika is known as the Cherry Festival’s ‘trash
queen.’ But in 2003, former festival director Tom Kern closed the
recycling tent to save money.
The Fiebings applauded this year’s effort toward biodegradable place
settings, and they were invited early on to handle the compost. But it’s
not going to happen that way.

Monika said they got involved with the Cherry Festival after being asked
to come back on board last winter by the new executive director, Tim
Hinkley, and Keith DeYoung, the new head of operations.
“Keith said they wanted to recycle and compost everything they could,”
Monika said. “But before we had time to meet with Keith, he left for a
better job. So then it was awhile before we met with the new operations
director, Jennifer, and we explained our operation. And more time went by
and then we got together with her and Waste Management in May.”
That’s when problems cropped up. If Monika Fiebing is trash queen, then
Waste Management is trash king, providing all the totes, trash hauling,
and equipment free of charge for the festival (in exchange, it receives
tickets for various events, signage, advertising and public recognition).
Steve Essling said that Waste Management and the Fiebings have always had
a good relationship, but Clearbrook lacked a state license or written DEQ
approval to compost food and biodegradable dishes. He acknowledged that
the Fiebings as “some of the hardest working people you’ll ever find.”
“The amount of compostables you would generate is large, a single stream
of waste from 200,000 people a day for eight days, and Clearbrook is not
doing food composting at this time. I was worried about the negative
connotation should anything go wrong at the composting site,” said
Essling. “It’s nothing we should apologize for at any particular level.
We just weren’t ready.”

Essling said he is helping to draft rules for the DEQ regarding composting
food waste and is aware of the issues of run-off, rodents, and odors.
“It can become a public nuisance. When you add food waste to your compost
pile, which is traditionally yard waste, you’ve graduated to another
dimension. We want to go there, but we want to do it right,” Essling said.
Clearbrook was relying on Waste Management to supply the containers and
transportation in the first round of discussions, but Waste Management
didn’t want to provide that unless Clearbrook had met its third party
criteria, which includes the state license.
Monika Fiebing said the state law doesn’t require a license, and
Clearbrook decided not to make the effort to get a letter of compliance
from the DEQ because it was clear the festival had already made its
decision not to use the company.
“The law states that if you accept food waste and animal waste, you don’t
have to be licensed. So we do not have to be licensed to accept waste.
However, it’s Waste Management’s policy to only deal with licensed
facilities. That’s okay, they’re a big company, we’re a small town
composting facility. It’s big business trying to match up with little
business, and it didn’t work. “
Mike said Clearbrook has experience in removing and composting food waste
from the National Cherry Festival with no problems. They could have
handled the much larger capacity of the dishes with its two five-ton
trucks and a loader to pick up dumpsters.
“I just did 3,000 yards of horse manure for Horses by the Bay. I don’t
think the volume would have been an issue,” Mike said.

Monika believes that money was an issue; the festival said it didn’t want
to spend the $2,000 to pay Clearbrook to haul and compost the waste.
“I have to be honest; I was very disappointed,” Monika said. “It goes
against my philosophy and I felt that I could not be associated with this.
I’m a recycler. I recycle everything. I make compost for God’s sake. All
those plates would have gone to my compost site, and we would have made
compost with it. When we were picking up food waste, it was composted and
then the city came and put it in the flower bed that sits in the Open
“If I had a nickel for every person at the festival who told us we did a
wonderful job, I’d be a millionaire. We have the best reputation with
everybody that does the festival. All the vendors love us. All the
volunteers love us. So how could we not handle it?”
Monika resigned her volunteer job as “trash queen,” leaving the direction
of volunteers to someone else.
Tim Hinkley, the festival’s executive director, said that it was more a
matter of running a streamlined operation than money. He felt that two
sets of garbage trucks, plus sorting trash that’s errantly thrown in with
the biodegradable dishes and food would have added too much confusion.
Monika felt the issue of sorting would have been a non-issue with the
proper set-up. Clearbrook would do any additional sorting at its own site.
“The problem is they don’t have trust. They heard so many bad things from
last year when we were not involved. The new guys came on and heard the
horror stories from last year, and absolutely didn’t want it to happen to
them,” Monika said.
Waste Management itself is ultimately interested in composting food; some
of its 200 landfills already do so. But Essling said that it won’t make
the move until state laws or rules are in place. They also have to figure
out the logistics of composting food in the dead of winter.
Meanwhile, it’s making efforts to become more green by collecting methane
gas from the garbage, which will be used to power a new evaporator that
gets rid of dirty water (leachate) that leaks from garbage. That saves
multiple trips to the wastewater treatment plant.

Essling and Hinkley are confident they can get the biodegradables absorbed
by Mother Earth next year.
Hinkley said he’d like to run an operation in which nothing needs to get
sorted—where all festival vendors, including Gibby’s Fries and Arnold’s
Amusements, use biodegradable dishes.
“Our overall intent as we go forward is to have the entire festival using
compostable materials and to use compostable landfills and get as green as
we can. We had a decision to make and decided this was the best route to
go, not knowing the volume and hearing about the different sorting and
separating that was going to have to go on,” Hinkley said.
Said Essling: “We’re doing better every year, but you have to let the
technology catch up with the ideals. Waste Management donates thousands of
dollars for trash removal and recycling. We try to do the best we can.
“Can we do it for next year? We’ll get an earlier and better start. Next
year, we’ll have a much better idea of the volume. If Clearbrook can get a
state license, we can probably do it.”

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