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 · Bat Cave
. . . .

Bat Cave

Mike Terrell - March 22nd, 2010
Visiting Lower Michigan’s Only Bat “Cave”
By Mike Terrell
It may not be your typical “caped crusader” bat cave -- in fact, it’s
not a cave at all, but Northern Michigan bats don’t seem to care. Up
to 20,000 bats hibernate every winter in the cavernous insides of
Tippy Dam’s spillway, located on the Manistee River between the
villages of Brethren and Wellston.
When Tippy Dam was completed in 1918, it included a spillway; as is
the case with all dams. The spillway is used when a river is in high-
water or flood-stage to take care of excess water flow that isn’t
being passed through the hydraulic turbines to produce electricity.
Tippy Dam includes four large spillway gates, but it has an unusual
design that no other Consumers Energy dam system has.
“The design created large hollow chambers within the dam structure,
and the chambers remain within a few degrees of the water temperature
held behind it,” said Lorren Hannah, Manistee River Hydro Supervisor.
“The temperature in the chamber remains a few degrees above freezing,
and there’s moisture on the walls and small pools along the bottom of
the chamber. Openings in the structure allow access to the bats as
well as a constant air exchange. It’s very much like a natural cave,”
he said.
“The stability of the Manistee River watershed – dominated by sandy,
water absorbing soil – has made it necessary to spill water through
the chambers only once in the nearly 100 years Tippy Dam has been
operating, and that was during the summer of 2008,” added Dave
McIntosh, a Consumers river hydro engineer.
Having to flush water through the spillway in winter – a highly
unlikely occurrence – would likely result in high bat mortality, they
pointed out.
Apparently it didn’t take the bats long to discover that. Routinely,
16,000 to 20,000 bats hibernate in the chambers during the winter
months. Although bat usage had been documented for decades by
Consumers employees, nobody paid much attention to them until the
1990s when the company enlisted the aid of Dr. Allen Kurta, an Eastern
Michigan University biological professor known for his work with bat
species, and, in particular, the endangered Indiana bat.
For the past 16 years, Dr. Kurta, along with EMU students in his
biology classes, has made a pilgrimage to Tippy Dam every couple of
years to study and catalog the bats in the cave during hibernation;
and again in the fall when the bats are still active, gathering for
“The first time I saw this I was amazed at the number of bats that
hibernate in here, said Dr. Kurta during a winter study on March 13. “
The population has remained very stable over the last 16 years. I
would estimate that there are approximately 18,000 in the spillway
chambers this winter.
“What I’ve been most amazed about over the years is finding a few
Indiana bats and Eastern pipistrelle bats among the population. That
was startling to me the first time I discovered it.”
Eastern pipistrelle bats are common throughout northern Mexico and
most of the United States, but typically not in Northern Michigan.
They hadn’t been found north of Berrien County before, and the same
was thought of the Indiana bat. “A few of those bat species are
finding their way north to hibernate, which might indicate climate
change,” he added.
In Michigan’s UP, old mine shafts and natural caves have been found to
serve as bat hibernacula, but Tippy is the only one documented in the
Lower Peninsula.
As Dr. Kurta and his students handle the hibernating bats to catalog
their species and band them, they are careful to make sure the bats do
not become too active so they won’t use up excess fat reserves stored
for winter hibernation.
“We handle them quickly and carefully to reserve their fat and
energy. Normally they will quickly go back into a hibernation state
once we leave,” he assured. “It won’t be a problem for them.”
Consumers Energy is also on board to minimize contact with the bats
during their hibernation state, according to Hannah.
“We enter the spillway chamber only when necessary during the winter
months, which isn’t often,” he stressed. “Spillway gate tests are
only done during the summer as well as any maintenance we might need
to perform. We pretty much leave them alone except for this study,
and that’s only done every couple of years.”
That also goes for the property around Tippy Dam that Consumers owns.
Many of the local bats, like the brown and northern bats, spend their
summer roosting in trees around the pond. Consumers prohibits tree
cutting on its property around the dam from May to October; the time
when the bats will return to the cave-like spillways.
Dr. Kurta said the bat population looks healthy and appears to be
stable. Many of the bats they catalog have been banded during
previous visits. One of the Indiana bats they examined had been
previously banded in 1996, and they say that of the 18,000 or so bats
wintering here, probably less than 30 are the endangered species; like
looking for a needle in a haystack.
Bats will live approximately 20 years and will return year-after-year
to the same hibernation spot unless interrupted for some reason,
according to the professor.
Bats are fascinating creatures, although we seldom see them. They are
the only mammal that can fly and are most helpful to mankind. They
devour insects at an incredible rate. One small brown bat can eat up
to 3,000 mosquitoes in a single summer night. They also help
pollinate a variety of flowers and transport many plant seeds.
They won’t suck your blood and evaporate in sunlight, like so many of
the myths we grew up with.

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