Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The Buy Local Movement
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The Buy Local Movement

Robert Downes - December 6th, 2010
The Buy Local Movement
In some ways, the early ’90s were a scarier time for downtowns in
Northern Michigan than what we face today in the “Great Recession.”
Nearly 20 years ago, we interviewed Bryan Crough, executive director
of the Downtown Development Authority about the future of downtown
Traverse City. At the time, America was undergoing the recession of
1991-’92. Merchants and restaurateurs in Northern Michigan were also
threatened by an invasion of chain stores and eateries.
Back then, there were plans to build the Grand Traverse Mall south of
town; an outlet mall was also in the works; and there were empty
storefronts downtown, similar to those popping up all over America.
WalMart and the ‘big box’ retailers were sucking Main Streets dry
across the country.
Would downtown survive, we asked Bryan? How could it with all of the
mammoth chain stores moving to the area? He expressed confidence,
despite the gloomy outlook.
Crough called it right: today most downtowns in Northern Michigan are
thriving. In TC, the shopping and dining action runs well after dark,
with downtown streets filled with people strolling throughout the
Despite gaining a beachhead here, several big box stores have come and
gone through the years (Circuit City, Eastern Mountain Sports) along
with a number of chain stores (remember Hudson’s? Prange’s?). And
today, TC’s outlet mall is practically a ghost town.
What happened? Us. The “buy local” movement had its fans long before
that phrase went viral. Many of us chose to vote with our dollars to
support our downtowns.
Our downtowns also responded with makeovers: hardware stores and other
small town institutions moved on, replaced by boutiques, upscale
restaurants and ethnic dining options. Street fairs and gallery walks
were established, and theaters in Frankfort, Elk Rapids and TC got
makeovers. ‘Downtown’ quickly became the fun place to be.
These days, “buy local” is a rallying cry for those who recognize that
you‘ve got to use it or lose it if you want to live in a healthy, fun
community. It’s in sync with the “local foods” movement, which has
been a godsend for area farms, farm markets and independent
Recently, a “Shop Your Community Day” raised $23,000 in donations for
local nonprofits in Traverse City, with 15% of sales donated to the
customer’s favorite charity.
What the “buy local” and “local foods” movements have in common is
quality that lasts, along with the personal touch, the smile, and the
eye contact that make you feel welcome. You may pay a little more at
times, but that’s a small price for enriching your life and your home


Then there’s the Internet and the growing push from the mainstream
media to do your shopping online.
I like this comment from a Facebook friend who noted that you shop
online on Cyber Monday, get your stuff on Tuesday, send it back in the
mail because it’s not right on Wednesday, and go downtown to buy it in
person on Thursday...
Last week, one of our local broadcasters was on the air suggesting
various websites for holiday shopping: It made me think: honey, don’t
you know you’re putting yourself out of a job when you don’t ‘buy
local’? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the
rest of your life...
According to an outfit called the Michigan Main Street Center, $68 of
every $100 you spend at a local business stays in your community.
That compares to $43 for every $100 you spend at a chain store or
non-local business.
That means that when you buy gifts off the Internet, you’re sending
your home town a lump of coal for Christmas.


Add to that, how do you buy gifts of music and books in the age of
digital downloads?
I used to enjoy buying CDs for presents, but we’ve moved on to
downloading iTunes, which falls flat in the gift-giving department.
And how do you make a gift of a digital book for the person on your
list who owns an e-reader?
Perhaps an empty box with a note inside: “Look for the new Shakira
album in your iTunes.”
Not much fun in that.

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