Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Green roofs
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Green roofs

Kristi Kates - April 18th, 2011
Green Roofs Take Root
By Kristi Kates
Installed on top of homes, businesses, and factories, among other
buildings, green roofs - also called eco-roofs or living roofs - are
perhaps one of the more unusual ‘green’ movements going on today.
The benefits of green roofs are many. They include conserving energy,
lowering roof temperatures, cleaning the air, reducing noise inside the
building, creating mini-habitats for wildlife, and extending the life of
the roof itself.
But while a green roof is definitely worth the effort, it’s also not just
as simple as throwing some dirt and plants up on top of an existing roof.
It’s a far more complicated endeavor that involves quite a bit of
pre-planning - and that has been subject to more than a few
misunderstandings about its feasibility in northern climates like

“Certainly the window of opportunity to plant a green roof is a more
narrow one in Michigan, than, say, in Georgia,” Steven Peck, President of
Toronto’s GRHC (Green Roofs for Healthy Cities) organization, points out.
“But in terms of the technical aspect, there’s a bit of a fallacy about
that. I don’t think that anything about Northern Michigan poses any
significant challenge to having a green roof. Yes, Northern Michigan is in
a northern climate - but Yukon, Alaska is much farther north, and there
are green roofs there. There are some great environment things happening
in Michigan already.”
Peck says that there’s vegetation growing everywhere in the world - “you
just have to choose plants that can survive frost/freeze cycles,” he says,
“we collect info on green roofs from Hawaii to Alaska.”
Sod or moss roofs are perhaps a couple of the simplest forms of green
roofs, while others are called “intensive” or “extensive,” depending on
the depth of soil needed, the complexity of the plants, and the amount of
maintenance required. “Intensive” green roofs often resemble parks, and
can include things as tiny as cooking herbs and as large as small trees;
“extensive” green roofs aren’t generally walked upon, and only require
minimal maintenance and fertilizing.

So you like the idea, but aren’t sure where to start? Well, as mentioned
above, a green roof may appear to be merely a layer of soil with greenery
planted in it - simple on the surface. But an actual healthy, safe,
useable green roof takes specialized planning, structural considerations,
and of course careful plant selection, as well; there are a number of
resources online that offer kits, explanations, and how-tos, but Peck
suggests that, in the long run, it might be something best done with
professional help.
“Green roofs really aren’t a DIY technology,” Peck says, “you have to have
professionals working on green roof projects. There are a lot of
structural things that need to be taken care of, or you can cause serious
damage to your home or building.”
One of the largest green roofs in the country can actually be found in
Michigan - at the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge plant, where 450,000
square feet (more than 10 acres) of assembly plants were covered with
foliage. Chicago’s Millennium Park - which is actually built over the
Millennium Park Garage and one of the commuter rail stations - is another
example of a Midwestern-based green roof that the public may not even be
aware of, even as they’re strolling its grounds.
The basics are - well, basic. You start with a waterproof membrane (most
green roofs’ failures are said to involve water damage) and add a root
barrier, such as concrete.
Next, you add a drainage layer like gravel to carry excess water to
gutters and off of your roof. A filter fabric will help to hold your next
step - your growing medium (soil mixtures) - in place. And an irrigation
system will keep your plants healthy without wasting water.
And finally, it’s all about the plants.

  The possibilities are many when deciding what plants to include on your
green roof. Depending on the size of the roof and, again, that structural
foundation (properly done, of course), you may even be able to include
small trees, a light gazebo, or benches as part of your venture.
Common plants included in green roofs, in addition to mosses and grasses,
can be herbs such as chives, oregano, or thyme; flowers such as black-eyed
Susans, phlox, dwarf balloon flowers, bellflowers, or asters; and other
plants such as sedge, oatgrass, or the many varieties of stonecrop.
Your green roof might even be able to be more multi-colored via flowers
than you’d expect, making it a real standout in Northern Michigan, where
interest in green roofs is finally beginning to really catch on.

But what about the heavy snows in this region, you might ask? That might
seem like a deal-breaker for a project that focuses on the growing season.
“Snow is not an issue for green roofs at all,” Peck reassures, “that’s
just something you take into consideration when you’re calculating the
roof’s structural loading capacity - snow is already part of that
Peck says that in 2010, the green roof industry grew by 28.5%, a great
indication that people are becoming more and more interested in
integrating green roofs into their homes and businesses.
“One of the reasons green roofs are growing so rapidly is that there are a
number of public and private benefits available for green roofs,” he
explains, “there are incentives and regulations to support the building of
them, which is helping the whole green roof industry.”

Get more info on green roofs via Peck’s company’s website,

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