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  Online Detective
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Online Detective

- February 18th, 2013  
Mother turns to Facebook and Twitter to find daughter

If it wasn’t for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Michell McGahey doesn’t know how she would have found her 5-year-old daughter, Hayden.

McGahey said she was surprised to return to Northern Michigan from Florida last spring to discover that her daughter and her daughter’s father were gone.

McGahey and the father, Brandon Beard, had joint legal custody of Hayden, so McGahey was supposed to be kept abreast of her daughter’s whereabouts.

But when McGahey visited Beard’s rented house in Beulah last May, she got a bad feeling. She said she suspected almost right away that Beard and her daughter were headed to California.

She knew that Beard had recently married a woman from California who he had met online.


McGahey said that while she suspected Hayden was headed west, she had no idea as to where in California.

McGahey, 39, said she and Beard had always been on good terms, even if their relationship didn’t last long.

When Hayden was younger, McGahey voluntarily let Beard have physical custody of their daughter because McGahey was struggling financially and she thought he was a good father.

Despite him having physical custody, however, the terms of their most recent custody arrangement, hand-written on a piece of paper filed in the probate court in Grand Traverse County, dictated that McGahey was entitled to parenting time.

Now she was left searching an abandoned house in Beulah, looking for clues.

“The house was just filled with all of her belongings and Hayden was gone,” McGahey said. “Everything that meant something to her, they left. They just took her.”

McGahey said the house was otherwise a complete mess.


McGahey said the first place she turned for answers was online, where she monitored Beard’s activity on Facebook and Twitter for clues.

In the coming days she was able to check the progress of a cross-country trip as Beard posted photos and status updates.

She said she called the police to report a parental kidnapping but was told by officers there was nothing they could do.

She said that Beard had earlier had permission to take their daughter to Las Vegas, but she believed he did not have the right, under the terms of their shared custody agreement, to take Hayden on a one-way trip to California.

At this point someone with resources might have bought a plane ticket to California to search for their daughter. Maybe they would hired a private investigator.

But McGahey is a person of modest means -- she is a painter and a house cleaner. She realized she would have to find her daughter herself, from her home in Traverse City.


McGahey said that while she didn’t know exactly where Beard and Hayden had gone in California, she wasn’t completely cut off from her daughter.

She was sometimes able to call Beard’s cell phone and speak to Hayden, but those calls were kept short.

“I’d call for her and they’d hang up on me,” she said.

She turned her sleuthing skills to Facebook and Twitter. She read status updates; she looked at who was commenting on Beard’s posts; she friended friends and family of Beard and his wife; she studied photos they posted.

“When I saw pictures of them doing anything in California, I would zoom in on the pictures” and look for street signs or landmarks or business names, she said. Anything to offer a clue about where Hayden was.


She found the mother of Beard’s new wife and friended her.

Hayden’s new step-grandmother accepted her friend request.

Though the woman apparently did not believe anything was wrong with her daughter’s and son-in-law’s arrangement in California, the woman showed some kindness to McGahey.

She sent cell phone photos of the girl. “She pretty much said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll send you pictures every once in a while,’” McGahey said. “She thought they were just normal, smiling pictures.”

In these, McGahey said, she saw evidence she believed showed that her daughter was not being treated well in her new home. She said she saw in the pictures what appeared to be bruises on Hayden’s face and body. She said she also thought her daughter looked too thin.


The best clue McGahey got was a picture of Hayden’s student ID.

McGahey asked for a photo of it, and Hayden’s step-grandmother sent one along. McGahey learned the name of the school Hayden attended -- Fallsvale Elementary School in San Bernardino County, outside of Los Angeles.

It was late September. McGahey had been looking for her daughter for months.

McGahey called the school and explained her circumstance and expressed concern about the appearance of her daughter. She said a school staff told her they were also concerned about Hayden.

“That’s when I knew the school had my back and were going to help me,” McGahey said.

Soon McGahey also had the help of a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy and a California child protective services worker.


Once the authorities were involved, that started Hayden’s journey back to Traverse City.

A sheriff’s deputy visited Hayden’s school.

“He went to the school and talked to a couple of the teachers and the teachers said something isn’t right,” McGahey said.

Officials paid a visit to Beard and his wife where they found evidence of child abuse and substance abuse, according to a report included in a court petition that put Hayden into foster care in November.

Beard and his wife denied they had been abusing drugs or that Hayden was physically abused, according to the documents.

Nonetheless, California CPS sent a caseworker to Traverse City to interview McGahey and make sure she could provide a safe home for Hayden. The same caseworker accompanied Hayden on a cross-country flight that finally arrived in Traverse City for a reunion between mom and daughter on Feb. 5.

“She almost knocked me down,” McGahey said of the airport reunion. “She came running into me, she almost knocked me over.”


McGahey’s attorney, Gerald Chefalo, has filed a motion to give McGahey legal physical custody of Hayden in Michigan, in line with what officials in California determined to be best for the girl.

Chefalo said it is remarkable how thorough California officials were in this case and that they flew Hayden across the country to reunite her with her mother.

“I would never have thought that they would do that level of investigation,” Chefalo said. “I was shocked that they did this, and I was glad that they did this.”

Brandon Beard has not responded to the probate court motion. He could not be reached for comment.

Beard’s mother, Wanda Beard, defended her son, but said she just wants the best for Hayden.

“I do not want anyone to downtalk her mother or father to her,” Wanda Beard said. “I am glad she is back in Michigan, where she has a nanna, a grandma, a greatgrandma, and cousins and uncles, plus a little sister and a big sister.”

She added: “We’re glad that she is back.

We know that there were a lot of mistakes made along the way by a lot of people, and not one person in general.”

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03.30.2013 at 07:41 Reply

you neec to get a new fact checker because this story is so far from the truth you should be embarrassed for publishing it as anything but fiction.