Its a Downer -- Literally: As a follow-up to Anne Stantons article,
Up North Robbery, in this issue about the high cost of flying to and
from Northern Michigan, consider what a round-trip flight to Chicago would
cost you this weekend from Cherry Capital Airport: According to
expedia.com, the lowest flight is $615 -- and thats with two stops in
Detroit and Indianapolis! Or, fly direct there and back for $687.
Ouch. Consider that you can currently fly 6,700 miles to New Zealand from
Los Angeles for $758 (and that‘s round-trip). Thats only $71 more than
what it takes to fly 300 miles to the Windy City from Northern Michigan.
But as airport director Steve Cassens notes, the airlines have us over a
barrel, and the fewer people who fly out of the region only means less
service and higher rates...
Great quote: Now, instead of coming up north for the fall color tour,
tourists will be able to come here for a tree stump tour. -- Lee Sprague
of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club, commenting on Traverse City
Light & Powers plan to build a new biomass plant.
NMEAC (Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council) is launching a
Smart Community Energy Initiative on June 10 to explore renewable energy
options for the region. You can vote for choices including nuclear, wind,
hydro and garbage incineration at nmeac.org.
Loose Lips Sink Ships: The Tea Party reports that dastardly left-wing
activists are infiltrating their rallies. So whats the problem?
Provocateurs are pretending to be sympathizers while recording some of
the less-than-intelligent utterances of tea baggers in the radical fringe
who are inclined towards racism or violence. Makes for funny content on
Judicial Trend: A viewer reports that two out of 10 cases on the Judge
Judy Show seem to involve medical marijuana disputes these days (ie.,
growing plants or getting high in rental houses). A near second are cases
involving who should get stuck with the bill for breast implants (like a
sugar daddy who reneges on paying for his ex-girlfriends new C cups).
Nikes Women Problem: Why does Nike continue to sponsor alleged
rapist Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Thats what Timothy Egan, columnist for the New York Times, wants to know.
Roethlisberger, who stands 6‘ 5“ and has been charged with sexual assault
in the past, allegedly spent an evening getting drunk at a nightclub and
then followed a 20-year-old student into a restroom and raped her. Cries
for help by her friend were reportedly ignored by Roethlisbergers
adoring cohort of cops and bodyguards, and the resulting police work was
so sloppy that he got off scot-free.
What, exactly does it take for Nike to dump a jock? Egan wonders.
Dog-fighting will do it. After Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick
pleaded guilty to running a felony dog-fighting ring, Nike took action...
But cruelty to women is O.K. I dont know how else to read the companys
inconsistent stand. Here is a guy who treats women like garbage, yet a
company that boasts of having humane corporate values uses him as their
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has proposed bulldozing one-quarter of the city
to help get past Motowns $300 million budget deficit. With unemployment
currently at 45-50% and thousands of people fleeing the city, Detroit has
an estimated 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant lots, according to
Michael Snyder of businessinsider.com. Mayor Bing would like to bulldoze
10,000 empty buildings within the next three years to downsize the city.
Recession R.I.P. America is coming back stronger, better, and faster
than nearly anyone expected -- and faster than most of its international
rivals, reports Newsweek in last weeks cover story on the economic
recovery. Newsweek notes that the Dow Jones Average has risen 70% in the
last 13 months, and this years 3.6% growth rate of new economic activity
will equal the Gross Domestic Product of Indonesia.
So, look for a boom in Northern Michigan as plans for new restaurants,
hotels, concert facilities, revitalized factories producing alternative
energy products, and other businesses which were stalled over the past two
years for lack of credit or investors get back on track.
Seize Power: Affordable wind and solar kits are finally starting to hit
the market. New at Home Depot is the Sunforce 900 watt wind generator kit
for $2,498 or a 400-watt kit for $940. Meanwhile, Lowes is rolling out a
new Eco Options line of solar panels and wind turbines ranging from
1,000 to 10,000 watts. Menards also has wind power kits on its shelves.
Some local electricians are also offering solar and wind options, with
prices coming down as the technology improves. Check out the Alternative
Energy page at jdstrattonelectric.com for an example of where home power
is heading in the region.