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 · The Free Range Option
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The Free Range Option

Anne Stanton - December 13th, 2010
The Free Range Option: Local farmers offer healthy choices
By Anne Stanton
If there can be good news in the trend toward confined animal feeding
operations (CAFOs), it’s this. A growing number of farmers are trying
a health-oriented tack. They are marketing their free-range cattle,
turkeys, chickens, eggs and cattle to local residents at premium
Some of the well-known players in the region that are on the local
foods bandwagon include Shetler’s Family Dairy, Gallagher’s Centennial
Farm, and Jim Biehl who raises free-range turkeys in Mancelona. Even
Moomer’s, famous for its ice cream, has started selling milk.
Individual farmers, like Mike Hampel of Mesick, sell portions of
cattle to neighbors and friends, who divvy up a cow to make it more
affordable. A quarter of a cow, for example, would cost about $300 at
$2 to $3 a pound. Federal law prohibits him from selling cows at any
lower quantity than a quarter animal.
Hampel said he can’t believe how demand keeps growing each year,
despite the bad economy.  He attributes it to the better taste and
knowing where and how the animal was raised.
“People who can afford to buy locally may want to,” he said, adding
that local farms are at stake. “When I was a kid and growing up on
Birmley Road, it was all farms. Farms on both sides of the road --
pigs, beef, cattle and cherries. So much is gone, all gone, it’s
The downside for customers is that they pay more and need a large
freezer for organizing and storing all that meat.
The disadvantage for Hampel is that individual sales are more
complicated than selling to Tyson Foods, which involves one quick
phone call. When he sells a cow to a family, he has to transport the
animal to Ebels General Store in Falmouth, which is one of only two
USDA-approved butchering facilities in the area.  The other is L&J’s
in Lake City.
The time to negotiate the price, transport the animal, fill out the
paperwork and meet with the buyer all adds up, he said.

Joanne Gallagher started selling beef about five years ago in the
farmer’s markets when her son wanted to return to the farm with his
wife and son, along with a grandson.
“We had always milked cows, and we were trying to think of an entity
to help keep the farm going, sustain it, because there’s not enough
money in dairying. Today our big dairy farms are huge, 500 to 2,000 to
3,000 cows, and we really couldn’t go that way.
“So we got the beef idea going, we bought beef cows, and we’ve been
growing a herd. We go to the farmers’ market, we’re working on online
ordering, and we have our market store here.”
Gallagher sells hamburger for $5.99 a pound, a higher price than a
grocery store, but the customer is getting a much higher-quality,
better-tasting product, free of antibiotics and growth hormones, she
Sally Shetler said her family started bottling milk 10 years ago as a
way to financially survive.
“The farmers put their milk on Dean’s milk trucks, and it goes to a
huge production facility, and they don’t pay you anything, and that’s
why there are hardly any dairy farmers left,” she said. “In the 1990s,
we had to decide we couldn’t continue to farm on the income we were
getting for 40 cows for one family. We started bottling milk, and it’s
a lot more work than we expected it to be. Now 40 cows are supporting
three families and six part-time employees. We haven’t made a profit
yet, but we’re happy and we’re supporting three families.”
Shetler’s milk is sold at a premium—about $3.80 for a half gallon,
plus a $2 deposit for the glass bottle. Shetlers also sells a wide
range of related products at its Kalkaska County market, including
chocolate milk, heavy cream, and individual cuts of meat for $5 a
pound, or $2.50 a pound if you buy a quarter cow.

Shetler says the milk, which isn’t  homogenized, tastes better and the
cows live a happier and longer life—from seven to 12 years. In
contrast to a CAFO, Shetler said their calves are not immediately
removed from their mothers, but are allowed to nurse for a week. After
that, they’re removed to a pen with other calves and continue to visit
and nurse from the mom for six weeks. Cows on the farm aren’t given
“We give them a combination of vitamin C and peroxide and that heals
just about anything. And we also use Impro, an all-natural immune
system booster.”
Shetler believes that cattle are healthier walking out in the sunshine
and eating fresh grass. “That’s what they are meant to eat, and
they’re out doing what cows are meant to do.”
During the winter, the Shetlers house their dairy cattle in the barn,
but they’re allowed to go outside on calm and sunny days.

That said, the biggest obstacle to buying local is price. Most
families are already struggling to make ends meet, without adding
premium meat, poultry and milk to the grocery list.
But there are ways to make it work and also live a healthier
lifestyle, said Mary Clifton, a Traverse City physician and
A good first step is to eat meat fewer days of the week. When you do
eat meat, have it play a minor role by adding lentils, vegetables,
brown rice, pasta or beans.
“There appears to be a connection of using animal protein to heart
disease, obesity, and some cancers. By modifying your protein source
to a plant source, you can eat protein without the negative health
effects,” Clifton said.
“I often tell people that beans have the same protein as meat, but
beans don’t have the same saturated fats or cholesterol. Beans are
cheaper and healthier. You can do baked beans instead of a baked
chicken. Add a can of beans into soup instead of a pound of hamburger.
I like the idea of replacing meat with a healthier choice, and at the
same time saving money.”
Buying locally is a good idea when you want to be sure that the
animals are raised humanely without antibiotics and growth hormones,
she said.

The Michigan Land Use Institute has spearheaded the effort of getting
local food onto area plates with its “Taste the Local Difference”
program. You can go to the website (localdifference.org) to find a
farmer that sells what you’re looking for.
It’s also easy to find locally-raised beef cattle, chicken and milk at
co-ops, such as Oryana in Traverse City and Grain Train in Petoskey.
You can also buy buffalo meat at Oleson’s grocery stores. But when it
comes to other stores, it’s best  to ask where the meat comes from.
The labels usually don’t tell you or can be misleading (chicken raised
in Amish country, for example, isn’t necessarily the same as chicken
raised by the Amish).
Despite the local food movement, the amount of regional food,
particularly milk and meat, is infinitesimal compared to CAFO-sourced
One reason area farmers don’t sell their meat locally is that they
have to drive to a USDA-certified butcher in Falmouth or Lake City,
which involves time and expense.
That might eventually be solved with a facility closer to home. Rory
Royston, a storefront butcher in Buckley, is USDA custom-exempt,
meaning that he can legally slaughter, process, smoke, and
packagefamily farm animals without the USDA seal. His business has
grown enormously, but some farmers won’t use him for liability
Royston said that if his business continues to grow, it would make
financial sense for him to seek USDA certification, a lengthy and
expensive process. That would mean far more farmers could affordably
slaughter and sell their animals.

Meanwhile, there’s a three-year effort involving to get a mobile
slaughtering facility on the road, said Don Coe, who owns Black Star
The first step is to ensure there’s enough interest by local farmers
to support a mobile slaughter unit, said Coe, who sits on the
Department of Agriculture Commission.
“It’s not easy and it’s very expensive, so we need to know what’s the
critical mass before it makes sense. That’s really the issue.”
Families can place an order with Cherry Capital Foods for locally
grown food, including beef and poultry. With Cherry Capital serving as
a distributor, farmers have less paperwork and families have to do
less legwork, because Cherry Capital deals directly with the farmers
and will deliver to a home. A minimum order is $400, said Evan Smith,
senior operations manager.
“One of the issues that we as a community need to address on local
food is what is the value of distribution,” Evans said. “Some farmers
are distributors, but they would rather just farm, and we need, as a
community, to sort out how we want to value distribution. The exciting
thing is that the community is having a conversation on how food can
be fresh and delivered on a regular basis.”
Hampel cautions that buying from an individual farmer is different
than a grocery store. Each farmer “finishes” an animal with a
different feed. Hampel’s cattle eat grass in the summer, for example,
and grain in the winter, which makes the meat more tender and marbled.
“Once you find a taste you like, you need to stick with the farmer,” he said.

Gallagher’s and Shetler’s Farm sell their products at area farm
markets and their own markets. Biehl’s all-natural turkeys are
available fresh on his Mancelona farm for the holiday season (or call
Jim Biehl at 231-587-9580 for store information). To submit an order
to Cherry Capital Foods, email sales at sales@cherrycapitalfoods.net
and ask for an order form. If you want to order beef, poultry, or
pork, please indicate that in your email.

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