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 · Horse Heaven
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Horse Heaven

Kelsey Lauer - July 13th, 2009
Horse Heaven
Four-week equestrian festival
brings thousands to Traverse City

By Kelsey Lauer 7/13/09

Imagine having $250,000 in your pocket. Can you picture yourself spending
it on a horse?
That’s the average price for an equine at the four-week Horse Shows by the
Bay Equestrian Festival, where some horses have recently sold for as much
as $1 million. The horse show will be held for its sixth year at the
80-acre Flintfields Horse Park off Bates Road in Williamsburg, July 8-Aug.
More than 3,000 riders are coming from all over the U.S. to compete for
$395,000 in prizes in three different disciplines: hunters, jumpers and
dressage. And with a polo match and special events for spectators, there’s
plenty to do and see -- regardless of whether or not you are familiar with
Following are some of the events at Horse Shows by the Bay:

What’s the difference between a High Junior/Amateur Show Jumping Prix and
the Show Hunter Derby? You’ll see both terms — hunter and jumper — used to
describe events listed on the festival schedule.
Both disciplines involve a horse-and-rider sailing over a jump of an
intimidating height, that’s where the resemblance ends. So what’s the
A hunter competes over jumps from two-feet, six inches to four feet in
height and is judged on style, motion and way of going. Because the hunter
discipline originated from foxhunting, the horse should effect a safe and
comfortable ride.
Consistency counts for hunters; ideally, the horse should jump every time
in a manner identical to the prior jump.
For jumpers — also known as show jumping — speed is what counts, rather
than style. The object of the game is to jump over a series of jumps in an
allotted amount of time without knocking down any jumps.
A show jumping class consists of two different rounds. The primary focus
of the first round is to clear all of the jumps within 90 seconds. Only
competitors who have gone clear in the first round may compete in the
second round, which lasts 45 seconds. Jump heights are commonly raised,
and some jumps are usually eliminated.
The jump height varies depending on the difficulty of the class. At Horse
Shows by the Bay, jump heights range from three feet to four feet, nine
The hunter-jumper series runs July 8-26 and includes classes such as the
weekly $30,000 Grand Prix, four $5,000 hunter classics and a $15,000 UHJA
International Hunter Derby Classic.

Meaning “to train” in French, dressage is one of the most artistic equine
disciplines. Sometimes referred to as “horse ballet,” precision is the
Horse and rider perform a series of predetermined movements -- known as a
dressage test -- in perfect unison. Ideally, the signals that the rider
gives to the horse will remain absolutely invisible.
The difficulty of movements varies depending upon the level of the
dressage test. Examples of upper level movements include tempi flying
changes, which resemble skipping, and piaffe, during which the horse
marches in place.
Dressage by the Bay runs July 29-Aug. 1. New this year will be a musical
freestyle dressage competition on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m., which
differs from normal dressage in that it is performed to music and that
riders may decide which movements they want to use in their performance.
Music -- chosen by the rider -- is selected to fit with the horse’s
movement and rider’s preference and ranges from classical to rock.

Back on the schedule for its second year is the Polo by the Bay
Tournament, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2 at 2 p.m.
Co-ed polo teams sponsored by Team Elmer’s and Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel
will face off against each other. Each team consists of specially-trained
horses and riders from the Grand Rapids area.
Also returning is the Hat Contest, which judges the creativity and flair
of spectators’ hats. The owners of the four most creative hats will split
$400 in cash prizes.
One of the oldest team sports, polo is similar to field hockey, but takes
place on horseback and uses long-handled mallets and a wooden ball in
place of a hockey stick and puck.
More than 3,000 attended last year’s match, the first of its kind to be
held in Northern Michigan.

If you tire of the horses, enjoy some laughs at the Doggy Costume Parade &
Contest on July 18 at 2 p.m. Five categories include Best Couple (owner
and dog), Best Celebrity look-a-like, Best Group (three or more dogs),
Best Dressed (rescue only) and Most Original.
Proceeds from the event benefit the AC Paw Animal Rescue. The contest is
sponsored by Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital in Acme; the prizes
were donated by D.O.G. Bakery and Posh Pet Boutique, both located in
Traverse City.

Mystery of the Horse ...why we fall in love

By Kelsey Lauer

Do you know that little girl who asks, “Can we keep a horse in our
suburban backyard, Mommy?” I was one of them.
But most girls grow out of their desire for a 1,000-pound horse. I didn’t.
I started taking horseback riding lessons when I was eight years old, 12
years ago. I’m still as addicted to horses as I was the day that I started
To this day, I’m not sure what exactly it is that still draws me to them.
Maybe it’s the sheer beauty when a 1,000-pound animal allows you to get on
its back and move with it in perfect unity. Maybe it’s the spirit a horse
exhibits when she runs and kicks and bucks in the wind that precedes a
coming thunderstorm. And maybe it’s merely the tickle of whiskers when
they siphon the umpteenth carrot out of your hand and come back for more.
(A horse does, after all, tend to eat like a horse).
My own first horse, Perky, is no exception when it comes to inhaling
carrots, as well as peppermints, sandwiches, grapes, Skittles and just
about anything else you offer her. As you might expect from her name,
Perky, who is an 18-year-old Arabian mare (female), is one of the resident
personalities at the stable where I keep her.

In horse years, her age is approaching the upper end of middle age, but
someone seems to have neglected to tell her that. Her latest nickname is
“beautiful brat,” given by the vet when Perky refused to allow her to
check her teeth. It’s my favorite nickname that she’s acquired in her time
with me, although “Marezilla” isn’t far behind.
When we first met in March 2006 during my junior year of high school,
things didn’t go so smoothly. Perky was a world away from the saintly old
mare I had leased for the past four years (that same mare is now used to
give lessons to six-year-olds). That mare would put up with anything;
Perky wouldn’t.
Perky knew perfectly well that she was the one in charge, and because I
didn’t understand the way to signal to her, I was just along for the ride.
Her favorite trick was to “forget” how to stop. I would ask her to come to
a halt; she would merrily keep on moving, completely ignoring me.
Riding away from the barn was just about impossible, and the first horse
show we tried to participate in was an unmitigated disaster (think moving
too quickly on slippery mud, while lacking brakes). I stayed on the horse,
but it was made obvious that we needed a change.

From there, however, our partnership took an upward turn. A few stepped-on
toes, slobber-covered fingers and months later, we were placing at the
regional meet for my last year on my high school equestrian team and were
well on our way to mastering the difficult skill of stopping.
What I have with her today is a stronger partnership than I’ve had with
any other horse I’ve ridden. She follows me around like a dog, comes when
she’s called and neighs to say hello (the canine resemblance is becoming
rather eerie). When we ride, I would swear that she reacts to my very
thought, and we can ride just about anywhere together.
She still has a few of her old quirks, like drinking water out of the hose
when getting a bath and flirting with the resident stallion. The fitness
water, Propel, has been added to her list of favored human foods, too, and
she goes nuts trying to get to a bottle.
But that’s what makes her Perky, and I think, like it or not, she’s here
to stay for a while.
I still don’t know what it was that attracted me to horses in the first
place, or what it is that keeps me going back to them day after day.
Perhaps it’s the majesty and innate sense of awe that a beautiful horse
inspires, or the sense of accomplishment when a 1,000-pound animal obeys
your every thought.
Maybe it’s simply laughing when you’re trying to pull your ponytail out of
a curious horse’s mouth. It can be all of the above, or none of the above,
depending on the day. It’s something different for everyone, but what
attracts us is all the same: that beautiful being known as a horse.

Kelsey Lauer is the Express summer intern.

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