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 · Health hazards of a desk jockey...
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Health hazards of a desk jockey

Erin Crowell - February 28th, 2011
Health Hazards of a Desk Jockey: Sitting at a desk all day is hell on your body
By Erin Crowell
“Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer
screens all day.” – from the 1999 film Office Space

If you work at a desk, chances are, you had to work hard to get there –
your days as a pre-teen dishwasher are as far behind as your college
tuition payments. This is the culmination of years of education and
planning. Perhaps this desk is mahogany or there’s a sleek Mac at your
fingertips, along with an expensive office chair from eBay that is as
comfortable as a cradle.
You’ve made it – and now that desk is your home. Eight hours a day. Five
days a week. 260 days a year.
All that time staring at a computer screen and sitting on your rump adds
up – and, while quite the opposite from skydiving or bull riding,
scientists say the life of a desk jockey is also hazardous to the health.
Research shows that prolonged time at your desk can lead to a slew of
health issues such as computer vision syndrome, increased risk for type 2
diabetes, arthritis and even a larger waistline.

According to a recent study published by the American Journal of
Epidemiology, prolonged inactivity, such as sitting, increases your risk
for developing type 2 diabetes by seven percent. Other serious health
problems include a higher level of triglycerides, higher blood pressure,
increased body inflammation and lower levels of “good” cholesterol.
A New York Times article published last July explored the physiological
effects of prolonged sitting, reporting that “if you sit for long
hours…your muscles, unused for hours at a time, change in subtle fashion,
and as a result, your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other diseases
can rise.”
But what about your daily workout? That must lower your risk, right?
The article also stated that “Regular workout sessions do not appear to
fully undo the effects of prolonged sitting. ‘There seem to be different
pathways involved in the beneficial physiological effects of exercising
and the deleterious impacts of sitting,’ says Tatiana Warren, a graduate
student in exercise science at the University of South Carolina.”
Aside from a sluggish metabolism and changes in your muscles’ physiology,
sitting also wreaks havoc on your posture.
“During office chair sitting, the hamstring muscles are inactive, and are
held at a shortened length,” according to the American Journal of Physical
Medicine. “Tight hamstrings are associated with back pain. The reason is
that tight hamstrings stop the hips from flexing during forward bending.
That forces the lower back to bend beyond its strong middle range.”
“A lot of people will come into the office with issues from competitive
stress related to their occupation,” says Dr. Bradley Schiller of Back on
Track Chiropractic in Traverse City.
For those working at a desk, Schiller says the most common stress is from
“gorilla” posture.
“Shoulders roll in, the head goes forward…unless you’re doing something to
counteract that position, your body becomes accustomed to that position,”
he says.
Schiller recommends a stretch that can be done right in the office.
In a doorway, place both hands on either side of the doorway and walk
forward, bringing your head back and chest forward. This helps counter
that “gorilla” posture at the desk.
He also recommends replacing the office chair with a balance ball to help
improve posture – it’s a seating option Hagerty Insurance of Traverse City
provides to its employees.
“Employees have the option of sitting on exercise balls instead of
chairs,” said Susan Vigland, Hagerty training & wellness manager. “Hagerty
provides balls in various sizes. It’s great for toning the core and
encourages more movement than a regular office chair.”
The company also runs a two-week 10k step challenge to encourage employees
to take as many steps throughout their workday as possible.

If you work at a desk, chances are there’s a computer in your face.
Because of this, you’ll begin to see another problem, literally.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) has categorized this problem as
computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is characterized by visual symptoms
resulting from interaction with a computer display or its environment. The
Association highlights studies that indicate visual symptoms occur in 50%
to 90% of video display terminal workers.
Symptoms include eye strain (blurred distant vision), fatigue (dry or
irritated eyes), headache (neck and/or backaches) and blurred near vision
(or double vision).
Desk jockeys aren’t the only ones at risk for developing vision problems
–youth ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front
of a computer, smart phone or television screen, according to a January
2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation – that’s more than 52 hours a
So how do you save your vision if your job depends on using a computer?
Drs. Mark Noss and Rebekah Noss Lynch of Full Spectrum Eyecare in Traverse
City offer their patients several steps for relieving CVS, which include:
A comprehensive eye exam, proper lighting, minimizing glare (reflective
surfaces in the work space), using upgraded displays (such as flat-panel
LCD), adjusting computer screen brightness/contrast, blinking more
frequently (which keeps the eyes wet), taking frequent breaks and doing
eye exercises.
Still want to be able to see the football scoreboard by the time your son
is playing college ball? Try looking away from your computer at least
every 20 minutes and study an object that is at least 20 feet away (like
the bubbles gurgling in the office water cooler) and do so for at least 20
Drs. Noss and Lynch call this the “20-20-20 rule.”
The overall message is, if you work a desk job, take a break – whether
it’s doing laps around the copy room, taking a moment to stand while on
the phone or eyeing the new hire across the hall, doing so will help ease
the burden on your body, as well as on your mind.

Sans Seat

By Erin Crowell

I entered the world of desk jockeying when I started my job at the
Northern Express in late 2008. Having spent a majority of my life on my
feet, for previous work and recreation, I wasn’t used to sitting for long
periods of time.
Boy, has that changed.
While I spend some time out of the office talking to sources for articles,
I still spend a good six to eight hours at my desk – chained, you could
say (no offense, boss).
After reading the articles, listening to health professionals and finding
myself preferring to sit all the time (I once perched myself on our
kitchen counter after just five minutes of conversing with company), I
made the decision to do something about it.
If you find it hard to remember to get up from your desk every so often,
why not take the sitting portion completely out of the equation?

Adjustable desks, which allow you to sit or stand throughout the workday,
can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 – not exactly in my budget. So, I
did some measurements, went to Home Depot and told a helpful—and very
patient—associate what I was looking for.
He cut my dimensions from a 4’x8’ melamine particle board—which costs just
over $30—and sent me on my way with two corner braces and a box of screws.
Under an hour of work later, I had a wood platform that would house my
computer monitor, keyboard and mouse – all for under $40.
I now stand at my computer, allowing myself to sit for lunch or when
proofing pages for the newspaper. At first, it was difficult to stand for
long periods of time; but having been at it for over a month now, I’ve
noticed I will even eat my lunch and proof pages while standing. Away
from the office, I now prefer to stand instead of sit.
Standing converts, as well as health experts, claim there are several
benefits to standing at work, including:
• Improved focus
• Higher level of activity (you take more steps if already standing,
versus having to get up from a sitting position)
• Higher calorie burn and muscle engagement (it takes more energy to stand
than sit)
• Decreased fatigue
• Better posture
For myself, I feel more awake throughout the day and have eliminated the
habit of slouching. I feel less distracted, but at the same time, am more
willing to walk across the room to talk to a co-worker versus sending an
email. As far as calorie burn goes, I’d like to think my hips are
shrinking – wishful thinking, of course.
So what is the only downfall to standing at work?
Nothing offsets a nice, professional outfit like a pair of tennis shoes.

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