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 · Wings of mercy
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Wings of mercy

Rick Coates - August 6th, 2010
Wings of Mercy : Pilots host Careaffaire to benefit medical patients in need
By Rick Coates
If you want to feel your heart lift for a good cause and have some family fun to boot, consider the Wings of Mercy “Cairaffaire” this Saturday to benefit a program which flies people in financial need to distant medical centers.
The Traverse City CareAffaire will take place at Cherry Capital Aviation (located on Airport Access on the north side of the airport which was the former entrance to the airport off of Parsons Road) from 11am to 3pm. There is no charge for the event that will feature several planes, the Coast Guard, North Flight and several fire departments who are lending their culinary skills to make the day happen. Donations will be accepted to help the Wings of Mercy, West Michigan Chapter. There will be an opportunity for plane rides as well.
“The plane rides are a great way for kids who have never been up in a plane to get an opportunity to experience this and see the beauty of the region from above,” said Mary Robinson, who is the school nurse and wellness coordinator for the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District. “This is a great family event to benefit a wonderful organization that has helped so many families in our region.”
The annual Wings of Mercy benefit almost didn’t happen this year; but, according to the organization’s director, “an angel” came to the rescue.
“For the past few years we have been having a pancake breakfast at the airport to create awareness and raise funds for the Wings of Mercy,” said Sharon Huminsky, flight director. “Well it didn’t look like it was going to happen this year until Mary Robinson stepped up to volunteer. Not only did she take the reins and run with it, she expanded the event into an afternoon affair that will now be a hot dog luncheon and several additional organizations involved in making this all happen. This event is beyond what we could have imagined.”

The Wings of Mercy was founded in 1991 by Peter VandenBosch, a Holland, MI businessman and pilot who was asked to fly a person to a distant medical facility for treatment. VandenBosch learned that there were several people in the area who couldn’t afford to fly to medical facilities. In June 1991, Mr. VandenBosch and a group of pilots met in Holland, Michigan to organize a service named Wings of Mercy, Inc. to offer flights at no cost to financially needy persons from that area who required specialized medical treatment at distant medical centers.
The success of the program has led to other chapters forming and to date, the West Michigan Chapter of Wings of Mercy has flown 3,425 missions.
“We like to call them missions,” said Huminsky. “This has been our busiest year ever and in the Northern Michigan area we have made 51 missions year-to-date with more scheduled. We have 20 pilots in Northern Michigan who volunteer their services. Year-to-date we have completed 176 missions overall (statewide) with 557 hours donated by pilots with 151,000 gallons of fuel used at $4.41 per gallon on average. There is absolutely no cost to the patients and a family member or members to accompany them to their destination.”
Huminsky says if you do the math you quickly see how expensive it is to offer this service.
“Fuel costs this year have exceeded $600,000 alone,” said Huminsky. “We offer to reimburse our pilots for their fuel costs which represents about 20% of their cost to operate their plane, but most refuse even that. These are special individuals who are providing a service that is allowing for people who need specialized treatment at a distant facility who otherwise would not get the treatment they need.”
She recalls one example a few years ago: “We had a patient needing a transplant and it was during the holidays and I was fortunate to connect with Dr. Sean Rivard of Traverse City, who dropped everything he was doing with his family to come to our aid.”

Wings of Mercy goes to great lengths to screen their pilots and to make sure that every safety precaution is taken.
“We all heard about the tragic accident earlier in the summer over Lake Michigan where a pilot crashed resulting in the death of four passengers on their way for medical treatment,” said Huminisky. “The pilot was not a part of our organization and had he been, we would not have allowed him to fly his type of plane over Lake Michigan with patients on board.”
Huminisky points out that Wings of Mercy pilots have to meet a number of standards and all flights require two pilots on board. Patients interested in the free flight service must also apply for the service.
“We have criteria that has been established by the board of directors. But we work on a case by case basis with all decisions made by myself and my assistant. The founder, the board or anyone else may not step in and make these decisions. This process has served us well for nearly 20 years.”
Huminisky joined Wings of Mercy several years ago as a volunteer after hearing about the organization through a friend. She eventually was asked to be a part-time administrator and the workload brought her on full-time. She is looking forward to Saturday’s event.
“The CareAffaire is several events in one. It is a fundraiser for us but more importantly it is an opportunity for the public to get informed on what we do. We need more pilots and this day is a great way to talk to our current pilots about helping. This is also an opportunity for patients to learn about us and several of our patients will be on hand from previous missions. We are so fortunate to the many businesses who have stepped up to make this day possible.”

To donate to Wings of Mercy directly and to learn more about their organization visit www.wingsofmercy.org or call Sharon Huminsky at 888-786-3729. This Saturday’s (Sept. 11) CareAffiare 2010 Hot Dog Lunch will be held from 11am - 3pm at Cherry Capital Aviation (Airport Access Road across from the Coast Guard Base)_. There is no cost but donations are appreciated. To volunteer, become a sponsor, or to donate, contact Randy Kitzman at 231-941-5709.

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