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...

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Standish: Gitmo of the North? Benefit for bass player Jason Kott

Express Staff/ Rick Coates - August 10th, 2009
Standish: ‘Gitmo North‘?
Small town would reap 340 jobs & $100 million makeover

Some residents of the small Lake Huron town of Standish say they’re more afraid of losing their jobs than the threat of housing 229 Guantanamo Bay prisoners at the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, which is in imminent danger of closing.
Throughout the town, handmade signs saying: “Save Our Town, Save Standish Max” have reportedly been popping up in the windows of local stores, restaurants and outside the prison itself.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced that the 640-bed prison is being considered as a possible destination for the detainees who’ve been held at Guantanamo, Cuba for the past seven years. The other site being considered by the Obama administration is Fort Leavenworth, a military penitentiary in Kansas.
If Standish is approved, it would mean upgrading the prison to the tune of $100 million, according to published reports.
“I have spoken with local officials, who have indicated a willingness to listen to a proposal the administration might put forward,” Stupak said in a release, adding that officials from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice will be visiting sites under consideration over the next few weeks.
“It is important to remember that Standish is just one option under consideration and no decision has been made,” Stupak added. “Any proposal must have a comprehensive security analysis and economic and job creation implications. I will work with local and state officials to gauge their level of support before a final decision is made.”

The Saginaw media reports that area residents are generally supportive of moving the Gitmo prisoners to Standish, a town of 1,500, where 340 jobs are at stake. A one-industry ‘prison town,’ Standish is located about 150 miles southeast of Traverse City in Arenac County, where unemployment is currently at 17.3 percent. Water and sewer fees from the prison account for 25 percent of the town’s municipal budget.
Standish Max is one of three prisons and five correctional camps that have been targeted for closure in Michigan this year due to budget cuts. The prison got a ‘stay of execution’ last month when Michigan State officials made a pitch to turn it into a medium-security prison to house up to 1,100 prisoners from California.
Michigan’s Corrections Department notes that the Level 5 maximum security prison is designed for the most dangerous, violent criminals, with one cell per inmate. Standish Max is surrounded by 16-foot-high double chain link fences topped with razor wire and monitored by electronic detection systems. Five gun towers overlook the prison’s interior and a patrol vehicle with armed guards constantly patrols the perimeter.

Odd couple opponents include Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, who are trying to scuttle the plan as being too risky.
The governor’s press secretary released the following statement on the matter: “Gov. Granholm continues to have concerns about the homeland security implications of relocating Guantanamo detainees to Michigan. The governor’s top priority is for the safety and security of Michigan citizens. Until the federal government can address the Governor’s concerns, she is not in favor of moving detainees to Michigan.”
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Holland, who is running for governor next year, has made an issue of the matter, saying: “I intend to do everything possible to prevent it from happening.
“The detention facility in Cuba was built for a specific type of prisoner with unique challenges,” Hoekstra said. “They are some of the most dangerous people in the world who pose a major threat to U.S. national security.”
Ironically, the transfer of the Guantanamo detainees has been endorsed by former Michigan governor John Engler, a conservative Republican who was once considered as a presidential running mate.

Benefit for bass
player Jason Kott

Bass player and Traverse City resident Jason Kott was in a serious car accident two weeks ago, suffering major injuries that will keep him from performing for awhile. Kott has performed with several bands in the region and is regarded by many as among the top if not the best bass player around.
His music colleagues, many of whom he has performed with over the years, will be coming together Sunday August 16 at 2 p.m. for a benefit concert to help Kott with medical expenses. The concert will go into the evening and will take place at Union Street Station. Scheduled to perform are the Ron Getz Trio, Zeke and Robbie from Bloodshot Victory, Al Jankowski & Friends, Jeff Bihlman & The Trio of Doom, Guilty Plesures, Egon, T.S.P., Mike Moran, and Four Finger Five.
“Jason has been a big supporter of the Northern Michigan music scene. He is looked up to by many not only for his talents but for the type of person he is,” said Tim Miller of the Great Lakes Guitar Company. “Jason has always been a giver of his talents to other musicians and to the community, donating his time to numerous good causes. Now his musician friends are calling on others to give to Jason. I know he doesn’t want us to because that is the kind of guy he is, but we all agreed that we are going to anyways.”
For details, or to make a donation, contact Union Street Station at 231.041.1930 or myspace.com/unionstreetstation -- Rick Coates.

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