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 · Best of the Idealists
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Best of the Idealists

Anne Stanton - March 29th, 2010
Best of The Idealists
Two guys plan to run 240 miles across Ethiopia
By Anne Stanton
Hans Voss and Chris Treter aren’t the fastest ultra marathoners in
Northern Michigan, but they certainly qualify as the craziest—and
most idealistic.
The duo plans to run across Southern Ethiopia to raise $100,000 to
help build and supply rural schools for a region that’s considered
the poorest of the poor. Only half the children complete elementary
school, 36 percent of adults can read, and their life expectancy is
53 years.
Their run will total 400 kilometers or 240 miles over 12 days. That
equates to 20-mile, back-to-back runs over a dozen days. Okay, just
pause here and think about that.
Voss and Treter are running buddies and spend each Sunday in each
other’s company for several hours at a time.
“My running is central for me,” said Voss, the 42-year-old executive
director of the Michigan Land Use Institute. “We run four or five
hour runs and by the time you’re into the third or fourth hour, your
whole being has crossed into a new threshold of awareness. You have
more insight into what’s important. You’ve scraped away what’s
impeding you from thinking clearly and having real vision.”
Said 35-year-old Treter : “I view it as a form of meditation and
reflection. Once you get into running 10 miles, it sort of gives you a
calming feeling. You can think clearly and deal with everyday
So during one of these lengthy runs, these so-called clear thinkers
dreamed up this idea to run 240 miles across Ethiopia to help the town
of Afursa Wara, where Treter buys some of the world’s most unique and
sought-after coffee beans.
Treter goes to all corners of the world to work with coffee growers.
Eight years ago, Chris and then wife Jody Treter opened Higher Grounds
Trading Company in their basement, vowing to buy organic, fair trade
coffee. Members of the Ethiopian coffee cooperative, Negele Gorbitu,
decided to use their 5-cent per pound premium, as well as funding
from a number of coffee companies, to build a health clinic and
schools in Afursa Wara. Yet there are still a lot more needs, Treter
“They hardly have any books. The 8th grade Civics class has 100 people
in just a small room, and they have two civics books. How are you
going to get an education? Teachers have no housing. They have to stay
in neighbors’ huts, and the kids and teachers go all day, from 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m., without food,” Treter said.
The schools also lack desks, chairs, chalkboards, a library,
bathrooms, medicine and science labs.
Treter said that looking back, it was easy to raise the $18,000 to
build a kindergarten because Northern Michigan is so responsive to
people in desperate need. So he decided to form a new nonprofit, On
the Ground.

The run will kick off on January 8, 2011 in Ethiopa’s capital of Addis
Abab, which sits at 8,500 feet above sea level. A group of Ethiopian
elite runners will join Voss and Treter, who will drop down into the
lush Great Rift Valley and run along the country’s main thoroughfare
that cuts across a number of towns and cities. The runners will then
climb back into the Ethiopian Highlands and finish near the town of
Yrgacheffe. There, residents of Afursa Waro and representatives from
the international Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union will meet
the runners and run the last 10 kilometers with them through the
countryside to the community of Afursa Waro.
The run will end with a big party, which is consistent with how Treter
and Voss prefer to end a race. When they ran a 50- mile ultra-marathon
in Manistee two years ago, they celebrated with burgers and chilled
The runners will be fed and led by Timothy Young, cofounder of Food
for Thought, an organic food company. Voss’s wife, Maureen, will
likely be on hand at the run’s end with their two daughters to help
with the celebration. Support during the run—food, shelter, and
transportation—will come from members of Team Tesfa, a professional
track and cross-country team made up of disadvantaged Ethiopian women,
who have been given the opportunity to train and compete.

Right now Voss isn’t running because he twisted an ankle while
snowboarding. Treter is down with a bad cold. But they are anxious to
get back on the road, having gained inspiration from Born to Run, a
book by Christopher McDougall and Chi Running, a DVD and book. The
advice from both books is to run in a forward posture with your chest
open for breathing. Land on your full foot rather than your heel to
lessen the impact on the knees, a common running injury.
“You keep your leg back as long as you can,” Voss said. “The other
thing I do is go to Bikram yoga—it’s a complete body experience that
stretches everything.”
A side benefit of this running is that it ingrains in the runner the
Buddhist principal of living in the moment, Voss said.
“When I was at mile 42 (in the Manistee 50-mile ultra-marathon), I
felt like my body was falling apart, and I still had eight to go—and I
could barely take another step. I thought, ‘How am I going to go
another eight miles?’ So I took one step, and another step and I was
forced into the moment thing.”
Added Treter: “Everything’s in your head. The only reason you can’t
do it is you let yourself think you can’t do it. Anything you can
imagine, you can do. You just have to put the pieces together and take
the appropriate steps.”
Their upcoming plan: to celebrate the summer solstice with a
sundown to sunrise run from Empire to Suttons Bay.

Help the Ethiopians
On May 14, a kick-off fundraiser for the new nonprofit, On the Ground,
will be held in the roastery of the Higher Grounds Trading Company at
the Village Commons in Traverse City. The fundraiser will feature a
silent auction and a local artisan market from 1 to 5 p.m. A CD
release party for May Erlewine begins at 7:30 p.m.

To contribute to the nonprofit, make out a check to “On the Ground”
and send to Higher Grounds at 806 Red Dr. Traverse City, Michigan,
49684. For more information, email Chris Treter at

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