A lack of respect
Im probably the worlds worst lesbian. I dont own any rainbows. I dont have a sticker on my car declaring my sexuality. I rarely go to a gay bar. I think by now you get the point Im trying to make. Id rather people get to know me, for me, than judge me by the sexuality of the person I am dating.
Im not an activist of any sort, but maybe that changed the night of August 16th at around 11 p.m. My girlfriend and I had left the benefit concert for musician, Jay Kott, at Union Street Station. We were walking down the street to our car and holding hands. We hadnt even walked a block from the bar when a gray SUV drove by with its windows down. A young mans head appeared and he yelled a homophobic slur at my girlfriend and me.
Mind you this is the first time I have ever had this happen to me. I just couldnt believe it. Did that really just happen? I didnt even have time to wrap my head around it, when a completely different gray SUV parked at the corner. And this time it was a young woman whose head came out to bombard us with yet another homophobic slur. Thats right people, two homophobic slurs in not even two blocks. They were disgusting things to say and I wont repeat them here.
I couldnt even talk. I was so livid. Really? This is 2009. I know that people are inherently different. And I know that we all have different views. Im not trying to preach to anyone. Im not trying to change anyones mind. I just want the respect that every human being deserves. I believe in the words of our forefathers. I believe in what our great country was founded upon. That Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are for every human being. I think these rights should apply regardless of your age, ability, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation. My pursuit may be different than others, but to me that makes every human being so amazingly wonderful. I honestly believe that no one deserves to walk down the street in fear of harassment. And I wouldnt wish that fear on anyone.
Kiki Karpus via email
Banks‘ rip-off scam
I read with great interest the article by Dominic Sondy (“An Overdraft Nightmare,“ 9/28). I, too, have had the misfortune of learning exactly how banks operate, and Im none too pleased.
We have done our banking with the same bank, and its predecessors, for over 30 years. I recently received, via snail-mail, a notice from my bank that my account was overdrawn to the amount of one dollar. By the time I got everything squared away with the bank, overdraft fees and penalties had reached $84 -- for a one dollar overdraft. The bank waited two weeks to notify me.
I later found out that this is normal practice. Banks count very heavily on overdraft and late payment penalties to bolster their bottom line, and theyre vicious about it.
Someone could have, if they really were into customer service, picked up a phone and said, Hey, man, youre overdrawn by a buck. Well cover it, but how bout you drop by today with a dollar bill and set it right? But they didnt. They deliberately waited two weeks to notify me so that the charges and penalties could add up.
They also failed to notify me that some businesses charge a handling fee for debit card purchases, and the bank passes that on to you -- but isnt legally required to tell you that theyre doing so. Likewise, using another banks ATM involves a handling charge -- whether or not it says so on the screen. I have been robbed of $84 by my own bank.
The reality is, there is no customer loyalty on the part of banks or credit card companies. You are a money-making asset, and nothing more, no matter how long youve been a customer.
Needless to say, I no longer use my checking account. My employer requires me to have one because they only pay by direct deposit, but the money is deposited at 8 a.m., and its withdrawn -- all of it -- by noon. I pay bills with cash or money orders. I refuse to be a pawn in this financial con game any longer.
Howard J. Blodgett TC
Cops retrieved gun
In our store, we do everything possible to make sure the selling and buying of guns is done according to the laws. These laws were put in place to protect our neighborhoods, our children, and our right to bear arms. But when a handgun was stolen from its case just a few weeks ago, it was all put in jeopardy.
Im writing this letter now, with great appreciation and, thankfully, the ability to exhale due to the Grand Traverse County Sheriffs Departments investigation. Their commitment to the safety of Northern Michigan led to a speedy recovery of the stolen handgun and one less unregistered firearm on our streets. I could not be more grateful for all the time and effort that was put forth in this case and I will sleep well at night knowing that we have good people out there protecting us.
Dan Griffith, Ace Buyers TC
Kiln dust questions
The Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) report to Congress on cement kiln dust (12/31/94) reveals that the dust contains dioxins and furans, known carcinogens. All 11 of the cement-producing sites like the one in Bay Harbor (the old Penn-Dixie-Holnam plant) contained dioxins and furans.
The EPAs 12-31-07 Bay Harbor Progress Report stated that in the summer, Petoskeys Camp Daggett well #5 draws water from under the CKD deposit, diverting it from entering the Lake Michigan shore not surprising, considering the 1.5 million gallons of irrigation water poured daily onto the whole golf course just above the kiln dust deposits.
Mike Robbins, head of Petoskeys Water Works confirms that pumping is reduced during the golf course irrigation season for Camp Daggett well #5 and is used as a back-up.
It is also noteworthy that the water capture area shown in EPAs water well charts of the Bay Harbor project has shrunk from 2006 to 2007. The new EPA report doesnt show the Preserve well #4 and Camp Daggett #5 well drawing Lake Michigan water in 2007, as it did the prior year. How can this be?
The new EPA report doesnt show the Townsend well #3 drawing Lake Michigan water. This phenomenon was reported back in 1994 in NTH Consultants hydro-geological study, hired by Bay Harbor Co., reported that the more water they pumped, the softer the water got. Petoskey hydrologist Bob Buechler explained that after 18 hours of pumping, the cone of depression (source of the water being pumped) spreads out until it reaches a recharge barrier which, in this case, is Lake Michigan, whose water is very soft compared with the limestone hard ground water. How can this be?
Lake Michigan water levels rose nine inches in the last year. And CMS is having to capture and truck away more and more water. How much does Lake Michigan have to rise to flood out the leachate collection lines in Bay Harbor?
The cement kiln dust needs to be dug out of Bay Harbor. Paving roads with a 20 percent dust-asphalt mix has been approved by the EPA in other states.
David L. Clink Petoskey
Apologies to artist Kevin Summers, whose name was misspelled in a recent article on the Artprize competition.
Also, the Father Fred Foundation was incorrectly described as a Catholic organization in a recent Random Thoughts column. Although the organization was started by Father Fred, it is now a non-denominational and totally non-ecumenical foundation.