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 · A Gift for Ridge
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A Gift for Ridge

Erin Crowell - April 30th, 2012  
Suttons Bay mother donates kidney to two-year-old son

Lori Matthews had heard it once before: the unmistakable sound of a mother who had just lost her baby.

“I’ve heard the wailing sound one time and knew immediately what it was. I knew because that sound was now coming out of me,” recalled Matthews, the day her six-month-old son became limp in her arms.

Born 12 weeks too soon, Ridge was home for just a couple months when he stopped breathing and started turning blue.

Ridge was taken to the Toledo Children’s Hospital where he was stabilized then put on cooling therapy to bring down the temperature of his brain. Ridge began retaining a lot of fluid while on the therapy and had to be airlifted to Mott’s Children’s Health Center where he would begin dialysis.

It was then that doctors discovered Ridge’s problem. He had polycystic kidney disease, a recessive disorder where cysts form in the kidneys, causing them to become enlarged.

On August 16, 2010, both of Ridge’s kidneys were removed, but that wasn’t the end of his troubles. During the surgery, Ridge lost circulation to his left leg and it had to be amputated below the knee.

Since then, the Matthews family has lived in a world of tubes, trachs, ventilators and dialysis machines. They’ve made countless emergency hospital visits and have gone from near hopelessness to witnessing miracles.

One such miracle occurred January 25, 2011, the day Lori donated a kidney to Ridge, the younger of her two sons (Riley, age 3). For the Suttons Bay native, it was the beginning of a new life for her son.


“Ridge has been admitted at least 16 times (one of those times being for 145 days) for at least 280 days in the last two years, so still about 1/3 of his life has been in the hospital, no wonder he is always looking for the nurses button at home :)” –April 24 update on the RidgeARoo CarePage website.

Since the moment they knew Ridge would need a kidney transplant, Lori and Brian knew they were the first choices.

“Both of us were matches, but Brian would be the first choice since I work fulltime at the moment,” said the elementary/ middle school teacher. “But because Brian is likely to produce kidney stones, I was the next best choice.”

While it was a change in plans, it didn’t change Lori’s mind.

“I’ve seen my baby hurt enough. I’ll take my turn,” she said.

Ridge’s life has been spent in and out of hospitals. From a drop in blood pressure and low oxygen levels to infections and inflammation, Ridge’s health has always been a balancing act between decline and improvement.

“He has our double bedroom if that says anything,” Lori notes of the years of medical equipment that has accrued. “There were some days when he was first on the dialysis that we wondered if he was going to make it.”

Despite his numerous scares, Ridge has also proven to be a fighter and he surprises his doctors all the time.

“There are things (the doctors) cannot explain. We’ve had probably ten conversations minimum about them not knowing how he’s pulled through this,” Lori said. “We’ve seen a lot of miracles with Ridge and we know there’s a purpose for him.”

Ridge is also a pro when it comes to surgery.

“This kid flies through surgeries like no other,” Lori laughed. “We get worst-case scenarios all the time. It’s kind of his MO. But when it comes to surgery, he’s in and out.”

The transplant proved to be just the same. In fact, Lori was the one who struggled the most.

“The last thing I remember was going into the operating room and my anesthesiologist standing over me saying, ‘She’s a redhead. Make sure you medicate her more,’” Lori recalled. “When I woke up, I hurt so bad I thought I was dying.”

When the nurse asked her to evaluate the pain on a scale of one to ten, Lori made her answer clear.

“I screamed, ‘Ten! Ten!’ Once they got that under control, I learned that Ridge had just come out of surgery and everything went well,” she explained.


The surgery has allowed Ridge to grow healthier and stronger. It’s something every parent hopes for their child, and Lori is no exception.

“He’s taken his happiness and playfulness to a whole new level. He’s always smiling and just wants to play,” she said. “If he’s just sitting there not doing anything, that’s when we start to wonder if there’s something wrong. It’s a nice change.”

Ridge has started crawling up stairs, using his head to brace himself before getting his right leg up.

“He doesn’t know his (left) leg isn’t there. Brian and I just love watching him.”

Another miracle happened the day Lori heard her son cry again, something she hadn’t heard in over a year and a half.

“When he was on the ventilator, he’d have tears coming down his cheeks but there was no sound coming out because of the ventilator,” Lori recalled, a tinge of hurt in her voice. “The first time I heard his cry again, it was so beautiful. Now we let him get a couple of squawks in before we soothe him because it’s so good just to hear his voice again.”

Now completely independent of the ventilator, Ridge should have his tracheotomy tube removed sometime later this year.

With Lori’s gift to her son, she said she looks forward to leaving behind Ridge’s medical equipment dependence for a summer of learning, which includes walking and something every mother looks forward to:

“I’ve been trying to teach him and I think he’s getting pretty close now to saying the word, ‘Mama.’”

To learn more about Ridge and Lori’s journey, visit carepages.com and search ‘Ridge Matthews’ (you need an email to register).

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