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 · Sara Cockrell
. . . .

Sara Cockrell

Robert Downes - January 10th, 2011
A Life of Adventure: Superfit Sara Cockrell follows her dream
By Robert Downes
Hiking solo for more than 40 miles across Isle Royale in her first-ever
backpacking trip is the kind of thing you expect from Sara Cockrell, one
of the most energetic and upbeat persons you could hope to find in the
Grand Traverse fitness community.
Sara spends several months each year driving her Scamp camping trailer
around the country and backpacking some of America’s most breathtaking
locales: the Sierra Nevadas, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Tetons and
the Appalachian Trail to name a few. Her trips usually include solo hiking
and camping trips into the backcountry for up to two weeks at a time. In
recent years, she’s added the trails of the Swiss Alps and Italian
Dolomites to her list of accomplishments.
At times this has meant hiking at elevations of more than 10,000 feet,
including her hike to the top of 14,484-foot Mt. Whitney in California. Or
paddling down rivers with Class V rapids. Or hiking all day with a pack
with little idea of a destination or a place to camp.
For Cockrell, an outdoor life filled with fitness and adventure is the
good life. She will share her inspiring tales at two slideshows this
month, including “Hiking the John Muir Trail” this Tuesday, Jan. 11, 7
p.m. at the Traverse Area District Library; and “Alps Adventure” on
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center on Cass
Road in TC.
“I want to inspire others -- that’s what I really want to do,” she says.
“If I can get a lot of people out to enjoy our beautiful lakes and forests
and trails and protect them, that’s what means a lot to me.”

Cockrell seems many years younger than her current age of 59, and she
projects an electrifying sense of energy that tends to light up the room.
Vibrant? Friendly? You bet. Everyone involved in the cycling, paddling and
ski-racing community seems to know Sara.
It’s hard to believe, but she was something of a late bloomer when it came
to the fitness lifestyle -- she didn’t take up the endurance sports she
now excels at until she was in her mid 40s.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Cockrell says it’s an “old story” as to how
she moved to Northern Michigan: “I met a man and got married.”
That was in 1986 when she was 35. But the marriage, which included her
participation in two businesses, didn’t last. “I got divorced when I was
43 and decided I had to do something new with my life, so I started
biking, cross-country skiing, white water rafting, canoe racing and
mountain bike racing,” she says.
Fitness pursuits can be a balm for the pain of divorce, or simply a new
lease on life. Cockrell took her new lifestyle to the limit, doing as
many as four mountain bike races each year, along with up to a dozen
XC-ski races and a dozen canoe races. “I think I must have raced 30
weekends out of the year,” she says.
“It was excessive -- I went full steam. I worked and I trained. There was
no room for anything else. But I had no reason to go home to Texas, so I
had to find a reason to stay here, and I met all of these people who were
doing the same thing -- skiing, biking and paddling. It’s always fun to
see everyone you know each week.”
In fact, Cockrell is still friends with most of the people she met during
her first brush with the fitness lifestyle in the early ’90s. “They’re
like a family -- they’re always there for you and are so supportive.”
She, in turn, has become perhaps the most notable live-wire in the
region’s fitness community, often volunteering with the Grand Traverse
Hiking Club, Cherry Capital Cycling Club, Traverse Area Paddle Club and
Vasa Ski Club, among others. She’s personally led some 20 hikes and
camp-outs, 20 paddling excursions and 20 or more XC ski outings. “That’s
my biggest contribution. I really like to meet people and get outdoors.”

Eventually, Cockrell’s fitness interests morphed into a desire to pursue
the adventure travel path. “When I retired, I wanted to do something else
besides training and racing all the time, so I decided to start
Since then, life has been one continuing adventure. She drove around Lake
Superior her first summer of retirement and then joined friends for part
of the Appalachian Trail the summer thereafter. Then she made a
commitment to visiting 25 national parks during a three-month period and
backpacking through some of their wildest country for a month. “All of
the time by myself.”
“I like to go backpacking in a place like Wyoming out in the middle of
nowhere for two weeks at a time,” she says. “When I went out to Rocky
Mountain National Park one summer, I realized I have a passion for being
out West. I got hooked and wanted to see more.”
That passion has included hiking stretches of the 221-mile John Muir Trail
in the Sierra Nevadas for two weeks at a time in 2008, ’09 and ’10,
meeting up with kindred spirit Marilyn Kamp and other hiking friends.
She’s also hiked the Big Horn Mountains, the Canadian Rockies and Glacier
National Park.
Over the past two summers, she’s done the European Alps, hiking the Alta
Via One trail through the Italian Dolomites and the Swiss Haute Route from
Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland.

Cockrell notes that while she has joined friends such as Marilyn Kamp on a
section of the Appalachian Trail, she’s too antsy to make the whole trip
as a through-hiker. “I like to do backpacking trips that last around two
weeks; then I’m ready to move on to something else.”
She’s had her share of adventures in the backcountry. Like the time she
hiked 10 hours down from the Adirondack Mountains in 2008, helping a
fellow hiker who’d broken his ankle and needed a splint to walk.
What about bears? She takes them in stride -- even the grizzlies who roam
the parks of the far West.
“I was walking down one trail out West and there was a sign at a bend in
the trail that said to watch out for bears,” she recalls. “And I looked
up and there was a bear right there in front of me. He was a two-year-old
sandy brown grizzly. And he just looked at me, crossed the trail, and went
down to a creek.”
That particular grizzly was only about 15 feet from her, one of several
bear encounters she’s had out in the wild. “You just have to pay
attention, remember that this is their home you’re intruding on, and give
them some space.”

Cockrell is saving the easy stuff for when she gets old.
“I want to do the most physically-challenging things that I can while I’m
still in good shape,” she says. “I want to paddle the Everglades when I’m
80, because I know that will be possible; but I can’t hike the John Muir
Trail when I’m 80.”
She says the ‘do it now’ approach to taking on the toughest challenges
while she’s still able to go dovetails with her belief that life is a
fleeting gift for some -- even those who may be super healthy.
“There’s no guarantee that we’ll be here tomorrow. You can have a healthy
lifestyle and do all the right things, but that’s no guarantee that you’ll
live a long life.”
That’s why you’ll find Cockrell in the middle of Yellowstone Park this
January, lodging in a yurt camp 40 miles from anywhere and doing lengthy
XC-ski trips each day. Or why you may spot her driving around New Zealand
for a month this March, hiking that country’s legendary trails, bungi
jumping off its bridges and paddling its fjords. Or, be sure to wave
hello if you see her out West this summer, heading down some trail to a
new adventure. Sara Cockrell has a ‘go for it’ spirit that drives her to
new horizons.

Sara Cockrell presents “Hiking the John Muir Trail” this Tuesday, Jan. 11,
7 p.m. at the Traverse Area District Library; and “Alps Adventure” on
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center on Cass
Road in TC. Both events are free of charge.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5