Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · From homeless to hope
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From homeless to hope

Patrick Sullivan - May 23rd, 2011
A couple of years ago some of the staff at Goodwill Industries noticed
something about the homeless population in Northern Michigan.
A lot of them are military veterans.
“Ryan Hannon, the street outreach coordinator, brought it to my attention
back in February, 2009 that there were approximately 13 homeless veterans
in the area that were not receiving services,” said Pam Cuthbert, director
of veterans programs at Goodwill. “Because of Ryan we got in touch with
the VA hospital down in Saginaw.”
When a broader survey was tallied, officials estimated the number of
former military personnel without homes in Northern Michigan could be
around 600.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cuthbert was encouraged to apply
for a grant to help pay for a housing complex for homeless veterans.
“That was a huge, huge undertaking,” Cuthbert said. The grant application
totaled 90 pages and took hundreds of hours of work from 10 staff members
at Goodwill. The grant, which will cover a portion of the cost of the land
and construction, was awarded in October and construction of the $1.8
million project is now underway in Gaylord.

The center is expected to open in August but there is already a waiting
list to get in.
Candidates are evaluated by the VA for eligibility. Dishonorably
discharged veterans are not eligible.
Among the first in line is Shawn Cannon, an Army Reserve veteran who
currently lives in a hotel in Gaylord.
Cannon, 48, is originally from Detroit, where he joined the Army after
leaving foster care. He spent six years in the service, spending time in
artillery training in Alabama and as a cook for a military police unit
stationed in the Detroit area.
“I enjoyed serving,” Cannon said. “I joined to serve my country.”
The past few years he’s bounced around from Minnesota to Toledo to Detroit
and he finally landed in Gaylord.
He said being on disability and health troubles prevent him from working
as a cook.
He hopes getting into the transition house will enable him to save enough
money to purchase a small plot of land and a trailer where he can grow a
garden, raise chickens and write Christian poetry.
“I’m wanting to get into the housing over here, I’m looking forward to
it,” Cannon said.

Once in the program, Goodwill and the VA will work to transition vets out
of homelessness.
That means offering life skills and job training, establishing goals, such
as reuniting vets with their families, and setting up whatever medical,
psychological and substance abuse treatment might be necessary.
The primary goal is to find a permanent home for the veteran, who can live
at the center for up to two years.
When Bruce Loose, 58, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, found
himself out of work and without a place to live in Cadillac last fall, he
said a social worker there told him he might find better services in
Traverse City.
Loose moved and he was not disappointed.
He discovered at Goodwill a willingness to help veterans.
“Goodwill Industries is very determined to see that we get the help, that
we get the care we need,” Loose said.
Loose said homeless veterans are good candidates for rehabilitation
because of the training they received while serving.
“The other thing they see is that we’re motivated, we understand
discipline,” he said.
Loose will not need the services of the transition house. Since November,
volunteer work at the Goodwill store led to a job there. Once employed, he
was able to find an apartment, which he plans to move into this week with
another Vietnam veteran.
Goodwill staff have also helped Loose get treatment for post traumatic
stress syndrome and depression.
He’s still worried about the other homeless veterans who live in northern
Michigan, however.
“They’re still under the wire, they’re laying between the tracks
somewhere,” he said.

Gaylord was selected to be home to Northern Michigan’s first homeless
veteran’s community complex because there is a VA outpatient clinic there
and because of its central location.
“What I discovered was, good old Michigan with its mitten, there are
several (outpatient veterans clinics) around Northern Michigan but the one
that is centrally located is the one in Gaylord,” Cuthbert said. “Not only
is it centrally located in northern Michigan, but it’s near major
That means easy access to VA hospitals in Saginaw and Ann Arbor.
The Gaylord complex, which will include four duplexes and two single
family homes, will have room for two dozen men.

While Cuthbert said she expects to see more female homeless veterans and
homeless families of veterans in the area, this transition house will be
open to single males only.
The Veteran’s Administration recommends separating women and men in such
programs because homeless women veterans often have a history of sexual
abuse, Cuthbert said.
“There are more men than there are women up here homeless at this stage of
the game,” Cuthbert said, adding that she expects the number of women to
increase as more veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan struggle to reenter
In fact, Cuthbert said, Goodwill might get to work soon on the massive
pile of paperwork it would take to win a grant for a homeless veterans
transition house for women.
In the meantime, there are several plans underway at Goodwill to raise
money for the current project.

Patrick Sullivan is the new investigative reporter at Northern Express

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