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 · Shoes & Snacks for backpacks
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Shoes & Snacks for backpacks

Robert Downes - February 14th, 2011
Shoes & Snacks for Backpacks blends family fun with a great cause
Even though the next school year is still seven months away, a small army of volunteers will be ringing the school bells of a good cause at a Shoes & Snacks for Backpacks fundraiser this Saturday.
The fundraiser will combine a family fun snowshoe event with food and beverage treats at the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City from 1-5 p.m. The idea is to raise funds to fill backpacks with much-needed school supplies in the coming year.
“This year we will pass the 10,000 milestone of backpacks donated for kids in need since the project’s inception in 2004,” says Nancy Thornton, a Kingsley resident and marketing professional who serves president of the Rotary Club of Traverse Bay Sunrise. “We expect to distribute approximately 1,300 backpacks in 2011, and will also distribute 1,100 books as part of the project.”
Typically, the 55-member club raises between $17,000-$20,000 each year. That amount helps pay for hundreds of age-appropriate backpacks. “It costs about $15 per backpack for elementary school students and closer to $25 per backpack for the high school kids,” Thornton says.
It’s no small operation: the club spends all year raising the money and purchasing the supplies and then has a marathon pack-stuffing event, followed by distribution of the packs over a five-county area.

“Our main fundraiser has been a raffle each year, but last year we decided to do a snowshoe event that was such a success that we’ve expanded it this year,” Thornton says.
“People can come out and go snowshoeing at the Commons and we’ll also have a bonfire on the grounds with s’more fixings. We’ve also enlisted the support of the food merchants at the Commons – participants can stop in at Pleasanton Bakery, Underground Cheesecake, Left Foot Charley, Higher Grounds and other providers.” They will receive a complimentary treat (free wine tasting, cup of coffee, cheesecake treat, and mini-Pleasanton. Snowshoes will be available on site from GT Cycle for a nominal $5 rental fee).
So, what goes into those packs?
Everything from glue sticks, pens and tissues to notebooks, calculators and mechanical pencils, depending upon the age of the students receiving the backpacks and what their needs are. There will also be an age-appropriate book included in each pack this year.
The backpacks go to a number of distribution sources, with the majority going to K-5 kids in the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) system, the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District, and special needs students. “We partner with TCAPS and the school system ID’s students who are going to be part of the project each year.”

Needless to say, children across five counties are thrilled to receive their new backpacks on distribution day in the fall.
“The elementary school kids are really excited because that’s what they are in general at that age, but the high school kids also appreciate it because a lot of them really have their backs against the wall and may be struggling to graduate under difficult circumstances. This is a really big vote of confidence for them.”
Often, recipients of the backpacks come from families which are going through hard times due to unemployment, the loss of a family member or divorce that has thrown the entire family into a state of crisis.
“The parents tend to be very appreciative,” Thornton notes. “Often, these are families that have three, four, even five kids, and that adds up.”

Shoe & Snacks for Backpacks will be held this Saturday, Feb. 19 from 1-5 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Commons (check the rear of Building 50 where the snowshoe trails are). Snowshoes will be available for a $5 fee. A donation of $15 per individual or $25 per family will provide participants with treat tastings at the event. Registration will take place at TBAISD Administration & Conference Center, and additional details and on-line advance registration are available at www.tcsunriserotary.org

-- By Robert Downes
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