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 · Betsie Valley Trail
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Betsie Valley Trail

Mike Terrell - June 14th, 2010
Betsie Valley TrailScenic ride captures the essence of Northern Michigan
By Mike Terrell
The Valley Trail, which meanders for 23-miles through Benzie
County from Thompsonville to Frankfort, could be called the “gem” of
Northern Michigan’s rail/trail conversions. Connecting several rural
communities, it also passes through Beulah, Elberta and even a ghost
The trail, which follows the old Ann Arbor Railroad line, was first
opened in its entirety about five years ago. The paved portion of the
trail from Frankfort to Mollineaux Road just outside Beulah was
completed a few years earlier. Having ridden it both ways on my
mountain bike, from Frankfort to Thompsonville and vice-versa, I
prefer riding from inland to the coast. While the trail is essentially
flat either way, it does offer a slight downhill run to the water.
I enjoy the change of scenery from hardwood and pine forests, tall
ranging hills and stream crossings, down to riding along the shore of
Crystal Lake and on over to Lake Michigan along the Betsie River. It’s
a scenic ride.  Spur trails in both Frankfort and Elberta lead you to
their beautiful Lake Michigan beaches. It really captures the essence
of Northern Michigan in one ride.

“Since the Betsie Valley Trail opened a few years ago, it has proven a
real boon to our communities,” said Joanne Bartley, a spokesperson at
the Frankfort-Elberta Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s one of our most
requested brochures.  People frequently ask about it.  They want to
know about the trail. It really brings many people into our area as
well as getting a lot of local use.”
Leaving the village of Thompsonville you pass over the Betsie River –
which you won’t see again for another 16 miles – at the site of an
antique railroad bridge that has been restored. For the next seven
miles you travel through the Pere Marquette State Forest passing over
Dair Creek and an extensive beaver dam area. At one point, twin steps
lead down both sides of the high dirt overpass to the creek.
You pass the site of a ghost town, formerly called Homestead, as you
approach Aylsworth and Zimmerman Roads.  Railroad maintenance workers
lived here in boarding houses at the turn of the 19th century. The
trail turns west at this point and cruises through a valley called
“The Cut,” which was named by the railroad. Tall hills line both sides
of the valley.  As you cross Homestead and Case Roads, look carefully
and you can spot the remains of an old lumber mill.

You drop quickly out of the forest and down to Crystal Lake as you
approach the village of Beulah. There are several choices for
refreshments, and the Beulah Trailhead & Visitor’s Center, a replica
of the former railroad station, has public restrooms, a water
fountain, picnic pavilion and bike racks. There’s also a public park
down on the lakeshore. You are about halfway to Frankfort at this
The next three miles glide along the lakeshore and by the many old,
well-preserved cottages that line much of the Crystal Lake shoreline.
This has been a popular summertime destination since the
turn-of-the-last-century for many Chicagoans. Many of the cottages are
at least a half-century old, and some more than that. The last mile
you ride along Crystal Lake, the cottages disappear and the trail hugs
the lakeshore offering unparalleled views. The waves almost lap at
your feet.
The last eight miles are paved, which you pick up at Mollineaux Road
as you leave Crystal Lake. The six-mile section over to Elberta is a
peaceful, easy ride with some beautiful overlooks of the Betsie River,
which you can once again see. You also start to see more trail users
at this point. The eight-mile paved section of trail gets a lot more
use from both cyclists and rollerbladers.
Up to this point, most of your ride is away from busily traveled
roads. You will see few vehicles between Thompsonville and Beulah, nor
along the Crystal Lake section. That’s a nice feature of this
rail-to-trail that you don’t find along many such pathways; solitude
and peace. A lot of rail/trail conversions seem to follow along busy

The trail has three different surfaces; the paved portion from
Frankfort to Mollineaux Road, a crushed limestone surface along
Crystal Lake, and a hard aggregate surface from Beulah to
Thompsonville. While cross bikes will work fairly well, especially on
the paved and aggregate surfaces, a mountain bike works best for the
entire trail.  Skinny-tired road bikes would have problems on
non-paved portions of the trail.
A nice option for trail riders is that Benzie County Bus service –
231-325-3000 – will take you and your bike to any road crossing along
the trail.  Just spot your car. The busses have bike racks, and the
fee is $3 per person, $1.50 per person for seniors (55+). While a
24-hour reservation is preferred, sometimes reservations may be made
on shorter notice. More information is available at
www.benziebus.com.  It’s a nice plus, because you don’t have to do an
out-and-back ride.

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