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..

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Battle‘s Over, the War Goes On: Hepatitis C Remains a Challenge, even with a Liver Transplant

Jane Louise Boursaw - July 8th, 2004
Last fall, I wrote a story for Northern Express about our experience with Hepatitis C and my husband’s resulting liver transplant. Many people continue to ask after Tim’s health, so I’m writing to let you know what’s happened since then and where we’re headed.
To recap, in the spring of 2003, Tim was diagnosed with hepatitis C, a virus that experts call “the silent killer,” because most people who have it don’t know they have it. At this writing, about 5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, which slowly attacks the liver over many years and without treatment, can lead to liver failure and death.
Although doctors believe Tim, 52, has had the virus for perhaps 40 years, it wasn’t until last year that he started developing symptoms. He became extremely fatigued, started retaining water, and became noticeably “grayer” with each passing day. A trip to the E.R. revealed the truth: Tim had end-stage cirrhosis and liver cancer – the results of long-term exposure to hepatitis C.
Over the spring and summer, we traveled to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor many times. By the grace of God and lots of prayers from friends and family, Tim managed to survive through the summer and get “listed” for a new liver, which he received on August 12, 2003. It was a harrowing year, to say the least.
Aside from developing diabetes as a result of the transplant, Tim has done well with his recovery. He started out with a handful of pills every day, but by the end of the year, was down to one anti-rejection pill and two shots of insulin each day. Not a bad trade-off to dying, we figured.

It would have been nice to heave a big sigh of relief and continue on with our lives. But life isn’t neat and tidy like that. After we turned the corner into 2004, Tim’s liver enzyme numbers (a.k.a AST and ALT) started going back up again, meaning the hepatitis C was once again active – only this time at a much accelerated rate. It was already starting to damage his new liver.
Many people think that once you have a new liver, the hepatitis C goes away. Not so. It remains in the bloodstream forever. For many transplants, it may take years for the virus to show itself again – if it ever does. Such was not the case for Tim.
The virus can be treated, but there’s no guarantee that it will work. Success depends on many factors, including your particular viral “genotype.” Tim’s genotype is 1B, one of the hardest to treat, and one which has anywhere from a 20 to 40 percent chance of sustained response to treatment (meaning, the virus is reduced to “undetectable levels” over the long haul).
The doctors gave Tim the option of continuing as is (leading quickly back to a place he’s been fighting desperately to escape) or taking the treatment, with possible side effects of fatigue, depression, nausea, rejection of his new liver, and an assortment of other problems.
Tim opted for treatment – a year-long regimen of daily pills of Copegus (Ribavirin) and weekly shots of Peginterferon. He also takes periodic shots of Neupogen to boost his white cell count. Tim is one of only 53 transplant patients in the country to take the treatment – which requires a delicate balance of anti-rejection drugs (immune system suppressants) and treatment drugs (immune system boosters).

His liver enzyme numbers are responding well (they started at 600 and are now below 100), and his viral count has dropped from 2 million to 240,000. This is all good, but we really won’t know if the treatment has worked until six months after he’s done – in the fall of 2005.
Life is funny. Of course, we’re ecstatic that Tim is still alive – a feeling reinforced with each school concert, birthday party, and family gathering we attend. And yet, we can never go back to the carefree life we once had, blissfully living each day with an “it can’t happen to us” attitude. Now we know the truth. It can – and does -- happen to people just like us – and people just like you.
The trick is to find joy and happiness in something every day – like the laughter of my 7-year-old daughter, making supper with her Dad in the kitchen as I write this. Life is good. Don’t lose yours. Get tested.

Jane Louise Boursaw of Mission Peninsula writes for Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Oxygen, AARP Magazine, USA Weekend, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and other national publications. She also writes a syndicated movie review column, Reel Life With Jane. Feel free to email her at jboursaw@charter.net or visit her web sites, www.janeboursaw.com and www.reellifewithjane.com.

Could you have it? A Hep C primer

Hepatitis C – known as the “scourge of the baby boomers” – is quietly raging through the blood of 5 million people in the U.S. and more than 200 million people world-wide, according to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID). But that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, because most people now infected are unaware of it.
Between 1993 and 1998, hepatitis C infections skyrocketed by a dizzying 260 percent. Those numbers are expected to double in the next decade, making hepatitis C one of the greatest epidemics of this century. The World Health Organization believes the hepatitis C problem is now five times greater than the AIDS epidemic and growing 20 times faster. The Centers for Disease Control predicts that by 2010, the deadly virus will claim more victims than AIDS.
Hepatitis C was only given a name in 1989, but has been in the U.S. blood supply since before WWII, according to the NCID. Because blood has only been tested for it in the U.S. since 1992, anyone who’s received a transfusion or blood products prior to that is at risk.
Other risk factors include any direct or indirect exposure to infected blood – poorly sterilized medical instruments, blood spills, unbandaged cuts or injuries, IV drug use, tattooing, or body piercing. There are also less obvious sources of blood – shared razors or toothbrushes and body secretions containing small amounts of blood. Like Tim, many people have no idea exactly how they got it.
Symptoms can be evasive – fatigue, mild fever, jaundice, muscle cramps, joint aches, loss of appetite and vague abdominal pain. Many cases go undiagnosed because a decade can pass between individual symptoms as they quickly come and go. If caught early enough, though, a variety of treatments may reduce the disease enough to protect the liver from further damage or liver cancer.
If you have any risk factors, a simple blood test – easy and free for those who can’t afford it – can save you from a world of hurt. If you DO have it, you can reduce the stress on your liver by avoiding alcohol (which causes severe damage to the liver in hepatitis C patients), as well as things like acetaminophen, vitamin A, and some OTC and prescription drugs.
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