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 · 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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