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 · Stranded: Terrie Gerbe
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Stranded: Terrie Gerbe

Erin Cowell - January 17th, 2011
Stranded: Terrie Gerbe spent a night in a blizzard on Highway 22
By Erin Crowell
Imagine being stranded in your vehicle for the night in the middle of
a blizzard. Hundreds of motorists have faced that peril this winter
in the storm-swept Midwest.
On Dec. 13, Shannon Kochis—a stylist at Salone de Capelli in Traverse
City—spent the day on her phone, checking for updates on her mother,
Terrie Gerbe, who was stranded in a snowstorm on Highway 22 between
London and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
“I found out my mom was stranded through my dad,” said Kochis. “He was
like, ‘Mom’s stuck in Canada,’ which didn’t seem like a big deal at
the time.”
A winter squall had swept through the Midwest, pounding unsuspecting
motorists traveling along highways 402 and 22 with whipping snow and
high winds.
With just over an hour left of travel to her home in Oxford, Michigan,
Gerbe was returning from a shopping trip and visiting her son in
Buffalo, New York when traffic started slowing to a glacial pace.
“Before I got on (Highway) 402, everything was fine until it started
snowing,” said Gerbe. “I was traveling behind a semi, which helped
tremendously because I couldn’t even see the road.”
Gerbe said she and other cars were diverted from the 402 onto a small
highway to Sarnia, Ontario; and with just 15 minutes to the border,
she thought her quarter tank of gas would be plenty to get her there.
Then traffic stopped.
“Suddenly he wasn’t moving along at all,” she said about the semi
driver. “I couldn’t get around him and I couldn’t see in front of him,
so I just waited. The traffic passing on the left had stopped
completely, too. Probably an hour had passed and that’s when I started
to get concerned.”
One hour in the car would eventually turn into 24 for Gerbe and over
300 motorists traveling between London and Sarnia.

”Say a prayer. I had to shut my car off cause it looks like over night
is what they r saying.” – Facebook post on Monday, 6:07 p.m.
Several hours had passed since traffic first stopped, and a truck
driver—walking through the maze of cars to a Tim Horton’s restaurant a
mile down the road—stopped to inform Gerbe they would be spending the
night on the road.
“He asked if I wanted to walk with him to the restaurant and I said,
‘No thanks.’ I didn’t want to be outside. It wasn’t snowing really
bad; it was more the wind. The visibility was zero.”
And Gerbe had left her coat at home.
“I just packed a couple sweaters and a vest,” she said. “But, I had good boots.”
She continued to wait in her car, turning it on every so often to
charge her phone and warm up the small space. Because it was a rental
car, Gerbe did not have a winter survival kit, which includes vital
tools such as a flashlight, blanket, first aid kit, hand warmers,
water and dry food.
An employee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Traverse City explained that
“(Winter survival kits) don’t come in the vehicles,” adding she was
unaware of any rental companies that provide them. “People just have
to bring those themselves.”
Volunteers and emergency personnel via snowmobiles passed out water
and sandwiches to many of the stranded motorists on Highway 402; but
not on 22, because it wasn’t the main highway.
And although she didn’t have anything to eat or drink, Gerbe was still
faced with the challenge of using the bathroom. After several hours,
it was too much to bear.
“I had to go between my car and the semi, which was just a nightmare
because I didn’t have that much clothing. But then, once I was out
there, I couldn’t go because it was so cold.”
An article in the Detroit Free Press reported “bitter temperatures”
and wind gusts of up to 50 mph during the storm, with 12 to 20 inches
of snow. Officials deemed the 40 miles of highway a natural disaster

“It’s been 17 hours now. how much gas do they think we have? I have
had my car off most the night. no one even checks to see if we r
alright .if anyone knows me the inside of my car isn’t pretty. I have
had about 50 fits in here. but it did generate some heat!!” –Facebook
post on Tuesday, 5:36 a.m.”
Hoping to conserve gas, Gerbe shut off her car until the cold was
unbearable. Then, on the hour, she would turn it back on to warm up.
To occupy her time, she stayed in touch with friends and family
through text messages and Facebook on her phone.
“I called her probably six times before I went to bed and updated
people on Facebook about what was happening to her,” said Kochis.
Gerbe unpacked every article of clothing in her suitcase to pile on
herself for warmth.
“By 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, I had slept too long because I was really
cold. Too cold,” Gerbe said reflectively.
Kochis urged her mother to seek shelter with the driver of the semi truck.
Gerbe walked over to the semi next to her, and asked the driver if she
could sit in his cab. Like many other stranded motorists along the 22
and 402, Gerbe was welcomed into the warm cab.
There, she was able to charge her phone and warm up to a comfortable

Later that morning, Gerbe flagged down a snowmobile to get gas for her
car just down the road; but after arriving at the gas station,
authorities told her she was unable to return to her car.
“I didn’t want to leave my car, but I didn’t have much of a choice,” she said.
Gerbe waited at the service station with several other motorists until
a bus came to take them to a shelter that afternoon.
By Wednesday afternoon, the skies had cleared to a bright blue and
highway personnel started the process of moving vehicles and plowing
roads. However, when Gerbe returned to retrieve her car, it was gone.
“They told me it wasn’t there and that it must be in a tow yard,” said
Gerbe. “So I went back to the shelter, called the tow place, and found
out I had to pay $125 to get it out.”
The fees didn’t stop there. Gerbe was charged two more days for her
rental car at $350.
“I had paid for extra insurance and thought my tow fee would be
covered, but it wasn’t,” said Gerbe. “That was the only thing I was
really disappointed about.”
Fees aside, Gerbe and the hundreds of other motorists are considered
lucky, having survived over 24 hours stranded on the highway. One
person wasn’t so lucky.
On Dec. 17, Chatham-Kent police found the body of 41-year-old Neeland
Rumble. He was found in a field near Ridgetown, Ontario. His car was
just 50 meters away in a snowdrift.
Authorities aren’t sure why the man decided to leave his car, whether
it was to seek help or offer it, but they know he died of hypothermia.

“Well it’s been a experience to remember! 48 hours of being stuck on
highway 22 in Canada. I am finally home!!!! Thanks everyone for the
phone calls and the messages on FB. It really kept me from being all
alone and very bored!! Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.
Thanks to my family for listening to all my ranting!”

–Facebook post Wed., Dec. 14, 1:44 p.m.

Survival Kit: What You Need

Be prepared for the worst.
The following is a list of survival gear you should keep in your car
at all times, regardless of the season. Keep emergency and tow
company numbers handy, as well.

• Booster cables
• Cell phone and charger
• Shovel
• Tow rope and bungee cord
• Sand or kitty litter
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Emergency flares
• Non-perishable food/bottled water
• Blanket or sleeping bag
• Multipurpose tool
• Duct tape
from the AAA Traffic Safety Guide

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