Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters
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- May 31st, 2010
With justice for some... Justice? You tell me!
Let’s see if I’ve got this right. Joe Soffredine, an off duty
38-year-old policeman, while under the influence, becomes disorderly
in a downtown TC bar, leaves the bar and attempts to drive home in his
impaired condition. On his way he passes a motorist at a high rate of
speed in a no passing zone. He subsequently crashes his car and his
actions cause the vehicle to catch on fire. Two policemen, ages 25 and
29, called to the scene recognize that it’s Joe Soffredine a senior
officer who is the driver in a one-car accident. Seeing there are no
injuries they give Joe a ride home without performing a sobriety
check. Joe catches a big break. Shouldn’t have, but did.
As a result two junior officers with “impeccable service records” are
summarily fired from their jobs of one and five years respectively.
The Record Eagle lauds the firings - “The law applies to everyone,
even cops” ...“It was a harsh sentence, but no less than what
taxpayers — and justice — demanded.”
And what happened to Joe Soffredine, son of the former Traverse City
Chief of Police and current Traverse City Commissioner who was at the
center of all of this? How about a 4-week unpaid suspension.
Some things never change!

Gordie La Pointe • Williamsburg

‘No comment‘ not enough
Thanks to Anne Stanton and Bob Downes for laying out the events that
led to the conflict between the Leelanau County Road Commission and
Wings of Wonder raptor rehabilitation center operated by Rebecca
Lessard (“Ruffled Feathers,” May 10). Your in-depth piece took a
convoluted series of actions and laid them out in a concise, clear
fashion – Commissioner Glen Noonan’s several “no comment” responses
Commissioner Noonan’s no-comment stance does nothing to shed light on
the road commission’s claim that S. Greenway – the two-track running
through the Wings of Wonder compound – is a public road. That’s the
real mystery here: Why does the Leelanau County Road Commission covet
this sand two-track,
.7 miles that go nowhere?
A document generated by the road commission to support its ownership
claim is, as yet, unconvincing, and exacerbates a situation that is as
absurd as it is needlessly expensive – to the non-profit Wings of
Wonder, to Rebecca Lessard, to Leelanau County taxpayers. The matter
will be set for trial and attorneys still cost money. Leelanau County
residents will be picking up the tab for the road commission’s legal
Of more import: the Leelanau County Road Commission’s claims have put
the future of Wings of Wonder in total jeopardy. The state and federal
permits Rebecca Lessard obtained, which allow her to operate her
rehabilitation center, are predicated on the fact that S. Greenway is
a private road. At no point in advance of creating the center,
throughout numerous public meetings and presentations, at no point was
any document uncovered that showed S. Greenway was in public
ownership. Wings of Wonder was established in the legitimate belief
that the road running through it is private.
The Leelanau County Road Commission’s aggressive attempts to assert
public ownership threaten Rebecca Lessard’s ability to earn a living,
as well as close down one of the state’s few licensed raptor
rehabilitation centers.
Money is also required to keep roads repaired and plowed. The Leelanau
County Road Commission will be asking for a renewal of its millage in
August. The road commissioners will, no doubt, be out in force
explaining why voters ought to renew the millage. Perhaps then, the
road commissioners will be more forthcoming – less prone to offer a
“no comment” comment -- about how they intend to spend the money the
taxpayers grant them, than they are about their interest in S.
Greenway Trail.

Sarah Bearup-Neal • Empire
Shame on you...
Shame on all of you who unjustly judged Anne Avery guilty on a
“suspicion” of murder. Anne was arrested and jailed on November 3,
2009 and remained jailed until she committed suicide on May 3, 2010.
She died forsaken and alone, yet secure in her innocence.
While incarcerated, Anne endured the ridicule of people in and about
Antrim and Grand Traverse counties, especially in Elk Rapids, where
the rumor mill was alive and well. Anne was vilified in Topix blogs
and was described as a monster and a murderer. Many people,
including store owners, law enforcement, court officials/workers,
professionals, parents, teachers, students and “Christians” displayed
a lynch mob mentality, despite no evidence having been presented that
she was guilty. Anne read your comments, felt your hatred and died
Anne was denied her due process, which guarantees mental health
services, a fair trial and the presentation of proof beyond a
reasonable doubt, which never happened! Anne requested counseling
from November 3, 2009 to May 2010. On March 4 an order to allow
mental health professional Barbara Cross access to Anne Avery was
entered and signed by Charles H. Koop, and Judge Thomas Power. She
could get it only if she could pay for it, which they knew she
Anne was isolated from other inmates, deprived of basic necessities,
and had no access to the outside. She had a 20-minute visit on a
telephone once a week. Anne was “supposed” to be presumed innocent
until proven guilty. That never happened! In all respects, Anne
Avery was presumed guilty and never given the opportunity to prove her
It is unfathomable to witness people who convict another human being
in their minds without any presentation of proof. It is also
mind-boggling that many relied on rumors, gossip and outright lies.
The public had no solid facts or evidence to form their opinions.
Regrettably, the defense does not get its chance to present its case
at trial.
Judgment day will come to all and Anne Avery will be judged by the
all-knowing justice-dispensing God. We wait that day with gladness
because the truth will be revealed and the truth will show that Anne
Avery was indeed innocent. We encourage deep soul-searching for all
who judged Anne Avery because you too will be judged. Matt 7:1

Richard and Deb Zerafa • Elk Rapids

Shocked & disappointed
In light of your “Adventures in Advertising” editorial earlier this
year -- rightly taking shots at people trying to get in a “news” item
that really should be a paid advertisement -- I am shocked and
disappointed that the “story” you ran about Forest Dunes didn’t carry
“advertorial” at the top.
Whether newsworthy or not, if the
author of that article is indeed “management”
at Forest Dunes, why would you give him a byline? Why would you cross
that journalistic line?
Since 2001, 41,500 full-time journalists have lost their jobs.
Clearly, credibility is at stake for all of us. Editorial?
Advertorial? Do you understand the difference? It’s not even a fine
As long as publications like the Northern Express continue to blur the
ethical standards of journalism, I see nothing but bad news ahead --
particularly for those of us who practice the real thing.

Patty LaNoue Stearns • TC

How many is too many?
In a tiny, obscure wire service article tucked away on the back page
of the Record-Eagle was a report that “in an unprecedented accounting
of a secretive arsenal,” the Pentagon had announced that the United
States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several
thousand” more “awaiting the junkpile.” Hillary Clinton, speaking at
the U.N., said that the disclosure was in the interests of
A quick look at Google tells me that there are 336 cities in the world
with a population over one million, and another 256 with a population
of between 600,000 and a million. Accordingly, if we were to drop one
nuclear bomb on each of those 592 cities, we’d still have 4,521 left
(not including the surplus over by the dumpster). Hmmm. Tough
decisions ahead. Just what will we do with all those unused bombs?
Well, you never know, do you, when a little extra will come in handy.
Since we’ve experienced the awesome fright of the shoe-bomber, the
underpants-bomber, and now the Times Square non-bomber, we’ve learned
several times over that it always pays to have a few of the really big
bombs in reserve. We just can’t have too many of those nukes at the
So, the Times Square scare notwithstanding, if you missed the article
and are learning about the level of our stockpile for the first time,
I’ll bet you’re feeling safer already.
Aren’t you?
Oh, and by the way, where the hell is that “junkpile” located? We
could use a little transparency on that subject, too, Hillary.

Steve Morse • Suttons Bay

Lambs to the slaughter
It disappoints me that there are those who think the Traverse City
Light & Power biomass proposal is the solution to long-term energy
needs. Based on statements from people in Cadillac who know
first-hand, and have experienced the effects of ash residue from their
local biomass plant on their homes, cars and lives, it’s ridiculous to
think that the same won’t happen here in Traverse City.
Depending on the prevailing wind, the (formerly) proposed site would
have affected schools (TBA Career Tech Center and Traverse City High
School), a hospital (Munson), neighborhoods, businesses who depend on
tourism, our beautiful bays, our State Park, possibly all of Traverse
City, East Bay Township, and the very air that we all breath.
Former Texas Governor John Connelly once said, “The American people
are like sheep. You can lead them wherever you want them to go.”
Traverse City Light & Power is leading us like “lambs to slaughter.”
Why aren’t our leaders moving in a more environment friendly direction
like wind and/or solar solutions? Why invest all that money in a plan
where the resources will eventually be depleted? We will never run out
of wind and sun.
We live in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. Why ruin it?
I just don’t understand.

Joel Secrist • TC

The final count
Robert Downes has been misinformed about Archie Kiel’s case. Here are the facts:
Archie was charged with 30 plants too many (21 of 66 total counted as
plants were clippings that he had just cut on the morning of the
raid... no roots!). So the actual count should have been 45 plants
(with roots!).
At time of raid (in August), Archie had his patient card, two
caregiver cards, and paperwork (recommends from doctors signed on July
24) for two more patients, naming him their caregiver. This entitled
him by our new law to have a total of 60 plants, but he only had 45
plants (with roots) when he was raided. He was actually under his
limit by the new law!
So far, the court, TNT officer Kip Belcher and prosecutor Brian
Donnelly still are stating that the 21 clippings were plants; refuse
to accept the two patient’s paperwork as legit at time of raid; and
Donnelly has furthered his harassment of Archie by filing perjury
charges against him (and his patient/son), stating that they lied
under oath about when their papers were sent to the state (remember
the doctors signed them on July 24, making them legit patients).
At this last hearing, Donnelly stated to the judge, “your honor, this
new law as written can’t possibly be this simple!” Well it is, and it
was written the way it was to protect the patients and caregivers
from arrogant, self-righteous, so-called professionals like Mr.
Belcher and Mr. Donnelly.
All of this sad mess, this waste of time and taxpayer’s money, this
unjust harassment of a legal patient/caregiver will come to a head at
9 a.m. on July 15 when Archie and his son’s jury trial begins.
Donnelly has even asked the judge to not allow the defense to argue
the new law to the jury because it will only confuse them. Can you
say, “jury nullification?”
One final note: We need to retire Kip Belcher, Brian Donnelly, and
closed, narrow-minded people like them because not only are they a
drain on our taxpayer money, but more important, they are a huge
hindrance to all of us moving forward to change for the better... real
change that we can actually believe in!

Rev. Steven B. Thompson
Michigan NORML • Benzonia

Seek new power options
Winston Churchill said, “We are shaping the world faster than we can
change ourselves, and we are applying to the present the habits of the
past.” One of our great challenges is to recognize habitual mind-sets
and directions that no longer apply to today’s world.
On May 21 the Michigan DNRE denied Wolverine Power’s air quality
permit for their proposed coal plant in Rogers City. A study done by
the MPSC supported an earlier study done by T.R. Rose Associates:
rates would have gone up by 59.2% - an additional $77 a month for the
average residential customer.
What is needed now is the ability of all parties to come to the table
and examine other options, including natural gas, wind and solar. We
need to leverage state and federal resources to support energy
efficiency improvements for members. We need to identify and institute
best practices for today’s cooperatives, including honest
communication and open records.
As a candidate for Cherryland power company’s Board of Directors, I’m
asking you to vote – if you want change. Last year 1,700 Cherryland
members voted out of 34,000 total. I bring strong business experience
with an MBA and a commitment to be part of the solution. We can be
respectful of the past without being limited by it. There are two
ways to vote: 1. Send in your ballot from the May issue of Country
Lines magazine; 2. Attend the annual meeting on June 16 and vote in

Maureen (Mo) Charbonneau

Head in the sand
Re: “Environmental Plot,” by Thomas Baird, Letters 5/1/10.
Typical of those individuals persisting in their head-in-the-sand
state of denial about climate change is their failure to see the big
Clearly, it would be a greater crime to avoid the consequences of
global warming than to keep the enormity of such news about the risk
to the planet’s future from our children and grandchildren. After all,
it’s their world they’ll be inheriting.
As far as labeling environmentalists (scientists too?) as Marxists, I
suppose valid journalism is to be found at Faux News with the likes of
O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity. Really.
As far as claiming that no other newspapers out there are reporting
acidification of our lakes and oceans, what newspapers is Mr. Baird
referring to --The Washington Post or The New York Times? As recently
as April 26, 2010, the New York Times reported on the alarming rise of
CO2 and its impact on the acidification of our oceans.
And finally, what’s wrong with electric cars? It’s a no-brainer that
we have to wean off petroleum. Just look at the disaster in the Gulf.
To the gainsayers I say: “Please get your head out of the sand and
come up for air. We all have a responsibility to protect our planet
and its precious resources. Tread lightly.”

Gary Klinga • Beulah

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