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 · Winds of fortune
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Winds of fortune

Anne Stanton - November 29th, 2010
Winds of Fortune: 12,000-acre wind farm planned for Manistee and Benzie counties
By Anne Stanton
Over the years, Jim and Carol March have traipsed in the hills of
their Arcadia hay fields with energy company reps who talked of
building a wind turbine on the farm’s hilly ridge. But after getting
the couple’s hopes up high, the company reps disappeared and refused
their phone calls.
A new company is in town, also talking of wind turbines, but the
Marches believe that Duke Energy will make good on its plans to build
a 12,000-acre wind farm in northern Manistee and southern Benzie
counties. For them, it would be a godsend.
The Marches live in a small home on a 263-acre hay and cattle farm in
Arcadia Township. Like most area farmers, they work second jobs to
keep their farm going. Carol, who’s been on crutches over the last
several months, works at Shop’N’Save; Jim, a Vietnam War veteran,
usually works construction, but hand surgery for crippling arthritis
has put him out of commission. The farm has belonged to the March
family since 1914; Jim’s voice quivers when he says the wind turbine
money — if and when it becomes a reality — will get the farm to the
centennial mark.
Since last February, Duke Energy has quietly met with the Marches and
dozens of other property owners — many are farmers who live a mile to
several miles inland from Lake Michigan. The company calls the project
the Gail Windpower Project. If it proceeds, the company will put an
estimated $1 million or more into the pockets of those who live in the
12,000-acre footprint and another $1 million of tax money into
township and county coffers, according to a slide show presentation in
the company’s Beulah satellite office.

So far, Duke Energy has already signed leases for 6,000 acres of land
with up to 100 landowners. The 25-year leases pay about $14,500 per
year to owners who’ll put a turbine on their property.
The company, which plans to erect about 100 wind turbines, will divide
a share of the revenues among the property owners living within the
12,000-acre footprint, including those without a turbine on their
property, said company spokesman Greg Efthimiou.
Allan O’Shea, a regional coordinator and long-time wind power
enthusiast, said the pooling agreement is significant.
“This is something important. If you put these turbines out into the
water, no one benefits except the State of Michigan and the power
company. No township, no county, no landowner benefits. I’m kind of a
populist, I believe that people do best if they get a little taste of
the pie, and I love this pooling agreement. It’s very complicated for
Duke Energy to do that. Even a person with five acres gets into the
pooling agreement,” O’Shea said.
Unfortunately, because of Proposal A, the area’s struggling school
districts won’t gain any additional tax revenues, said O’Shea, who is
trying to figure a way for them to benefit, as well.
The wind project would provide enough power for 60,000 homes and an
urgently needed shot of jobs in an area that struggles with
joblessness, even in good times. But it’s all contingent on finding a
utility willing to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a
utility, such as Consumer’s Power, Cherryland Electric or Traverse
City Light and Power. A PPA is a long-term contract between a utility
and developer, which locks in a rate for 20 to 30 years, Efthimiou

“Once we have a purchase power agreement, we’ll know we’ve got a
guaranteed revenue stream, and it gives us a certainty to proceed,” he
At the same time the company is seeking out a potential power
purchaser, it’s also proceeding with an environmental analysis to flag
any potential concerns, such as avian and bat migratory paths,
critical habitat, or wetlands. The evaluation will also include
reviewing local ordinances and zoning requirements, Efthimiou said.
Duke Energy chose Benzie and Manistee counties for a few reasons.
First, the high ridgeline produces powerful wind currents — some of
the highest in the state. Secondly, the State of Michigan will require
that utilities procure 10% of their energy from renewable sources by
the year 2015, he said.
The third reason is personal. The project site was flagged by Milt
Howard, Duke Energy’s vice president of wind development, whose wife’s
late grandma, Gail Swanson, lived in Manistee and is the project’s
“She was a force of nature in her own right. She loved nature, her
family, and her home town,” said Efthimiou.
Howard’s in-laws also live in Manistee County much of the year. Howard
came to the Michigan Energy Fair in Onekama, said Mary Bigelow, who
works as a contract company representative in the Beulah office, along
with Lindi Milner.

The community’s enthusiastic response is accelerating the project’s
momentum relative to the company’s other wind energy projects on the
drawing board, Efthimiou said.
Softening potential controversy is Duke Energy’s decision not to site
turbines along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Also, the company is not
presently considering putting turbines on a 60-acre Arcadia Bluffs
parcel that’s contained in a conservation easement, he said.
Some of the property owners are still angry about the idea of the huge
turbines, which reach nearly 500 feet. They fear the turbines will be
noisy and vibrate.
The Marches had the same concerns, so they went to wind farms in
McBain and Ubly, located in the thumb of Michigan.
“To see them firsthand, they were awesome. When I hear people say they
are noisy or make the earth move — it’s just not true. They just have
to go see them,” said Carol March.
Area environmental leaders couldn’t be more excited, in part, because
wind turbines emit no carbon dioxide or pollutants. Even the pollution
emitted during the life cycle of a wind turbine — from manufacture,
start-up, use and dismantling — is recovered in less than a year,
according to an International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment study.
“I think it’s an exciting opportunity and an incredible opportunity
for Manistee to lead the way for wind power in Northern Michigan,”
said Benzie County resident Monica Evans, a member of Michigan
Citizens for the Energy, the Economy and the Environment, a group
formed last spring to oppose biomass plants.
“There will be concerns about views and the impacts on the environment
as far as placement goes, and those are legitimate concerns. I hope
Duke Energy will have public meetings and get comments, and reassure
us that they’ll do this right and in the best way. They really have to
engage Benzie and Manistee. I share those concerns, but I’d much
rather have a wind farm than a biomass plant. It’s pretty much a
no-brainer,” Evans said.

Gerard Grabowski, who led the charge to oppose a 425-megawatt,
coal-fired electrical plant in Manistee six years ago, couldn’t be
more delighted.
“I’d like to think, in some ways, that the fact that we were able to
avert a nasty coal plant in Manistee has paved the way for a project
of this scope and this size. It’s truly the kind of project that would
deliver serious amounts of kilowatts,” said Grawbowski, adding that he
won’t financially benefit from the project.
Grabowski said there is nascent opposition by those who don’t want
turbines near their homes, but he believes that wind is the best of
all alternatives.
“We are all consuming electricity at an incredibly obnoxious rate.
We’ve got to do something. Both my children have asthma. Benzie County
has some of the highest ozone ratings in the country, as high as
Denver, Colorado, because of the winds that carry heavy noxious stuff
all the way from Gary, Indiana, and Chicago. In the summer, Benzie,
Mason and Manistee have issued ozone warnings. You can see it coming
in a fine haze. If you have ever seen your kid unable to breathe with
their lips turning blue, it makes you move pretty fast.”
Jim March said the wind turbine farm is a breath of fresh air for
Manistee, which has a paper mill and coal plant.
“I understand that we need manufacturing, but this has next to zero
environmental impact on our children, our children’s children, and our
children’s, children’s children. They’ll breathe in clean air.”
March said that he and his neighboring farmers sat around his kitchen
table last spring to talk about the project. Later the Marches sought
out legal advice to come up with the best deal they could.
Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a major energy
player with assets of $49 billion and 18,000 employees. The company’s
portfolio includes nuclear, coal-fired, and hydro-electrical energy.
Wind energy and solar are a minor, but growing part of the company.
The company’s nine wind energy farms are located in Wyoming, Texas,
Colorado and Pennsylvania,  Efthimiou said.

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