Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

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The Grow Store

Robert Downes - November 29th, 2010
Let the Sun Shine: The Grow Store trips the light fantastic
By Robert Downes
If Paul Watson has a pair of green thumbs, it’s because he spent 31 years as a commercial indoor grower, raising basil under artificial lights in Benzie County for local restaurants.
“Indoor growing is a lot of fun,” he says. “My passion for this started out with plugging in my first light bulb in 1980.”
Today, Paul’s thumbs are getting even greener from a crop of dollars provided by customers at The Grow Store he owns with his wife Kim. At times, as many as 20-30 customers pack the store near Chum’s Corners, south of Traverse City, seeking high-quality equipment for indoor growing, as well as the Watsons’ advice.
“We are as surprised as anyone by our success,” he says of the business which got its start in April of 2009. “We’ve got a huge amount of inventory as well as the knowledge to share about indoor growing.”
In fact, things are going so well that the Watsons plan to open a new 10,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse in mid December a half-mile down the road. In addition to a wealth of organic gardening materials and lighting equipment (which are literally stacked to the ceiling in the present store), the new location will offer displays of growing plants, with both hydroponic and soil-based systems for the enlightenment of customers.

The Watsons are riding the crest of a boom of interest in indoor growing. In addition to the medical marijuana movement, their customers include people who are fired up about growing their own organic food. They also have customers who are members of the local bonsai and orchid-growing clubs, and even some who are interested in indoor growing as a therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
“I’m all about organic growing,” Watson says. “I have Krohn’s disease, so I try to eat organic as much as possible. Chemical fertilizers contain heavy metals that create diseases, since they don’t pass out of the body. So I advise my customers on better, organic options.”
Watson, 56, has pursued an organic diet for the past 25 years. He also ran a large, indoor basil-growing operation at the top of the hill in Benzonia for many years. Since his powerful lights could be seen shining down on the county jail and sheriff’s department at the bottom of the hill, he took care back then to invite the local prosecutor and cops in for a visit to check out his operation.
With that kind of background, he’s a powerhouse of knowledge. “I’m able to advise customers ranging from individuals who are starting indoor gardens, to businesses which have greenhouse issues,” he notes.
“A lot of people are confused about what’s involved in indoor growing,” he adds. “They don’t know how to set their rooms up, or how to handle ventilation. We’re all about education here.”
As an example, he recently worked with a couple of women who had started a business growing cherry tomatoes. When their agri-savvy partners abruptly left the business, the women found themselves with 700 tomato plants, but not the expertise to save their crop. Watson was able to steer them to a solution.

One thing that he and The Grow Store staff can’t discuss, however, is how to grow marijuana.
“I’m a medical marijuana patient myself and have my card, but we can’t offer seminars or give advice on anything that’s specifically about growing marijuana because that’s a violation of federal laws involving conspiracy and complicity issues,” he says. “That’s something for members of the compassion clubs to discuss, but here we talk tomatoes.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of other indoor growing topics to discuss. Peppers, for instance. “You wouldn’t believe how competitive pepper growers are,” Watson says.
There are also many organic growers in the region interested in producing their own fresh, chemical-free veggies and herbs. “We’re the only source for 100% organic nutrients north of Grand Rapids,” Watson says. “We feel good about it because I know personally that what goes into the body makes or breaks you.”
There’s also a technical aspect to indoor growing, which can involve either soil or hydroponic gardens. “We’ve got all of the equipment you could possibly think of, from hydroponic kits right out of the box to equipment for people with the McGyver mentality who want to do it their own way.”

The success of the store has meant a mini-boom for local plumbers, electricians and contractors who are working to help set up indoor gardeners. Local businesses such as Home Depot, Menard’s and Lautner’s Irrigation have also benefited by supplying hardware needs.
The Watsons see every kind of customer imaginable: doctors, accountants, little old ladies interested in organic gardening, and of course, medical marijuana patients seeking to grow their own medicine.
One interesting development is the sale of indoor kits for people trying to alleviate the effects of seasonal affective disorder caused by Northern Michigan’s long, dark winter.
“Our lighting systems resupply natural light and vitamin D,” Watson says. “When people who have SAD spend a couple of hours in their grow rooms tending plants and loving them, it has a really positive effect. They come in here in January with the biggest smiles on their faces.”
Needless to say, the Watsons are thrilled with the prospect of their new showroom/warehouse, opening in mid-December, to be located at 90 N. US 31 South, next to Great Escapes.
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