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 · The snows of summer
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The snows of summer

Kelsey Lauer - August 31st, 2009
The Snows of Summer
Teenage snowboarder shreds New Zealand international competition

By Kelsey Lauer 8/31/09

Sliding down a hill on a snowboard is one of Matt Brengman’s favorite things to do -- although Brengman, 17, prefers to do a little more than just slide.
“I like spinning upside down,” he says. “I would say my favorite trick is a backside 360. You just drop your shoulder and then reach back behind your foot so you grab your tail, and then you do a 360 and land back down. I’ve done better tricks, but that one’s my favorite.”
In April, the Traverse City resident took first place in slope-style snowboarding at the U.S.A. Snowboard Association National Championship at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado, beating out 60 other 16-and-17-year-olds from around the nation.
In August, Brengman followed the snow to New Zealand for a month-long training camp and to compete in the Burton New Zealand Open which was held Aug. 11-15. He placed 41 out of 89 riders. It was his first-ever international competition, as well as his first experience with a coach. Until now, the 17-year-old has been entirely self-taught.
“I’ve been snowboarding for eight years,” he says. “I started out on one of the snowboards with the string handle, and then I did recreational until two, three years ago when I started competing.”

The slope-style snowboarding that Brengman participates in is only one of several commonly practiced around the world.
“Well, there’s recreational snowboarding, where you just go down the hill, but then there’s half-pipe, which is what you see like with skaters where they go back and forth,” he says. “Slope-style is what I do, jumps and rails. Then there’s motocross, where you race against people and there’s a bunch of different kinds.”
There are several different ways to score slope-style, according to Brengman.
“Sometimes you have three runs and they’ll add all your scores together; they do each feature, and then most of the time, you have two runs or three runs and they pick the best run out of that.”
Although Brengman says that he enjoys slope-style, he also enjoys goofing around with his friends on occasion as well.
“Most of my friends ski; there’s a couple that snowboard, and we feed off each other. They’re pretty good. I snowboard with my brother and he skis; all of my friends ski, pretty much. It’s fun.”

Winning at the USASA National Championship was probably the highlight of his career so far, Brengman says.
I was just going in not knowing how I’m going to do and then at the end, I thought I was going to be in the top 10 at least and then I ended up being first,” he says. “Right before nationals, we were at Breckinridge and they ended up getting the best snow that day – their best day of the year. We went and rode the upper bowls and the lower bowls and all the powder. It was fun.”
But in the past, the USASA National Championships haven’t been all fun and games for Brengman. In 2008, he placed 27th out of 81 competitors in the 14-15-year-old division -- despite suffering from altitude sickness.
“Last year before nationals, we went up to the top at the Copper Mountain bowl, and I got altitude sickness the day before my competition,” Brengman says. “And so I woke up the next morning not feeling good. I went out and did it, but I got 27th because I couldn’t really do anything. I just hit the jumps and aired them.”
This year, he came prepared with altitude pills and arrived a week early to adjust to the change in elevation, a precaution that obviously paid off.

This winter, Brengman will travel to several different states to snowboard as part of the U.S. Snowboarding Revolution Tour, which the U.S. Snowboard Association identifies as the top event in the country for juniors.
“From December to the beginning of March, I’m going to Colorado with the same people (that I went to New Zealand with),” he says. “In this year, since I’m leaving during the second trimester, I have all five classes (at Traverse City West Senior High) first tri, and all five classes third tri and then none in the middle.”
In the next few years, Brengman says that his ultimate goal is to be able to turn pro.
“Hopefully after this year or the next year or the next, I’ll move to pro. You have to be able to do most of the tricks and compete at their level in their competitions and place very well.”
One example of those tricks is a double-flip nine, which Brengman accidentally performed at Breckenridge Ski Resort last year.
“It’s like when you come off axis and you go back to axis and come off axis again and then you land,” he says. “I didn’t mean to do it, but I did. I have to learn those now.”
And he knows where he wants to go, too.
“When I turn pro, I hope to be (based) either in California around Big Bear or Lake Tahoe, or in Summit County, Colorado, where Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are,” he says. Both locations offer some of the best snowboarding in the world.
As for the travel, he adds, “I want to go to Switzerland, to Norway and Sweden, and to Canada. I’ve never been to Canada to snowboard.”

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