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 · Books · 1, 000 mile hike
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1, 000 mile hike

Robert Downes - March 7th, 2011
1,000 Mile Hike: Loreen Niewenhuis’s walk around Lake Michigan
By Robert Downes
Loreen Niewenhuis doesn’t have much of a background as an adventurer or a
long-distance hiker, but nonetheless, in 2009 she completed a walk around
the entire circumference of Lake Michigan.
Today, the 45-year-old author from Battle Creek is on a new adventure,
embarking on a tour in support of her new book, “A 1,000-Mile Walk on the
Beach,” published by Crickhollow Books, with stops at bookstores
throughout Northern Michigan.
The book details her experience hiking from the Navy Pier in Chicago
counterclockwise around Lake Michigan in a seven-month odyssey from
March-October that was broken up into 10 segments. “I hiked a total of 64
days, averaging 16 miles per day,” she says in a phone interview.
Her new book is just part of the satisfaction Niewenhuis has from
completing her walk.
“I know now that I can take on something this big -- a 1,000-mile walk --
and accomplish it,” she says. “I wanted to take on something that had the
possibility of failing -- something that would be difficult to do, but
worth it. Completing the walk made me feel more empowered and able than
I’ve ever felt before.”

Niewenhuis is new to writing as well as hiking. She grew up in the South
Lyon-Plymouth area; earned degrees in science from Calvin College and
Wayne State University; and worked in the field of medical and basic
science research while raising two sons with her husband, Jim, a
pathologist. “I fell into writing later in life after I returned to
school and got my MFA,” she notes.
As for adventure travel, she and her family had done a 40-mile hike in
Glacier National Park a few years ago, as well as a rafting trip out West,
“but this was my first big hike.”
So, what made her take on such an adventuresome project?
“I had been contemplating doing something involving Lake Michigan for a
long time,” she says. “It’s my place. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I
head to the lake; it’s the place where I feel the most connected and at
peace. It’s a special place that’s like no other.”
She also decided to go it mostly alone. “I did 80% of the hike alone, and
20% with friends and family. As people started hearing about what I was
doing, they’d email me and we’d meet up along the route for a few miles.”
What did her husband think of her trip?
“He wasn’t very enthused about the undertaking at the beginning, but as
the hike went along he became very proud and happy for me. We hiked the
last few miles together to the Navy Pier.”

As her website notes, Niewenhuis walked through rain and snow as well as
sunny days. Obstacles in her path included the urban blight of South
Chicago and Gary, Indiana as well as nuclear and coal-powered plants,
rivers and limestone cliffs.
“One day I hiked with my youngest son into a 35-mile-per-hour headwind and
one of the gusts blew me right over on my back,” she says. “We were only
able to hike five miles that day.”
Navigating the urban wilderness of Chicago and Gary meant using a
hand-held GPS unit and researching the route online and on Google Earth.
“I couldn’t walk a lot of that route along the lakeshore because there was
so much industry,” she says.
Hiking for long stretches on sand also had its challenges. “I tried to
keep to the water’s edge where the sand is packed down hard, but sometimes
I had to get up where the sand was soft and rolling and that really made
for workout and sore legs.”
Although she carried a pack throughout her hike, Niewenhuis decided to
stay at B&Bs and small hotels, rather than camping. “So much work is
involved in camping and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of
housekeeping. Plus, I wanted to stay at B&Bs to ask the owners about the
areas I was walking through. They’d tend to know everything about the
history of the area and so many other things of interest.”

Niewenhuis broke her hike into 10 segments in order to digest and reflect
upon what she had learned along the way.
“It allowed me to research each segment, including the people, history and
geology of the places I was passing through; and then I could weave
everything together. The book, ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson was
my model. He weaves in so much information and you feel like you’re
walking along with him.”
Another advantage to doing her hike in segments was that she had a rough
draft of her book done by the time she completed her hike. “Revising the
book over the winter turned out to be another adventure, and so was
finding a publisher.”
Today, she’s looking forward to another literary challenge: publishing her
novella, “Atlanta” this summer. It’s based on the people and
neighborhoods of the southern city where she once lived for four years.
She has also published a number of award-winning short stories.
In the meantime, there’s a book tour that is taking her to bookstores and
libraries throughout the Midwest. “I’ve had a packed book tour with great
turnouts,” she says. “Lots of people come out who love to share their own
feelings and experiences of Lake Michigan.”

Loreen Niewenhuis will offer a book signing and talk on Friday, March 11
at 7 p.m. at Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay and Saturday, March 12 at
Horizon Books in TC from 2-4 p.m. She will also give a lecture about Lake
Michigan on March 15 at 7 p.m. at the Inland Seas Education Center in
Suttons Bay. And on Wednesday, March 16 at Great Lakes Books and Supply
in Big Rapids from 2-5 p.m. Check out her website at

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