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..

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‘A Community Responsibility’

Patrick Sullivan - September 16th, 2013  
New Y aquatics center will teach more young people how to swim

If you’ve driven into Traverse City on Silver Lake Road this summer, you’ve seen the site of the new YMCA transformed from a hole in the ground into a sprawling complex, soon to be home to an aquatics center, health and fitness center, tennis courts and lounges.

This summer in Northern Michigan has also seen case after case that demonstrated why the new Y is so desperately needed in Northern Michigan -- too many people grow up around Traverse City and never learn how to swim, leading to senseless drownings.

The section that will house two pools, a competitive eight-lane pool and a training/ recreation pool, will be called the Robert C. Foster Aquatics Center because it was made possible by a $2 million gift from Rob and Phyllis Foster of Benzie County.

The Express talked to Lynn Schultz, chair of the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA board of directors, about the construction progress and the need for more swim lessons in TC.

Northern Express: It’s amazing how the site of the new Y has been transformed over the summer. A lot of work has taken place. Are you still on schedule to open in the spring? How close are you to setting a date?

Lynn Schultz: We are on schedule. We don’t have a final date right now. We hope that it’s in May of 2014, but we haven’t been given a final date yet by the construction manager. And, you know, those dates move. We’re going to build two pools, so there’s a lot of work to be done yet. The shell is there but they’re going to get inside and do the work from inside out.

Express: One of the reasons the aquatics center received so much support is because of a recognition that more young people in Northern Michigan need to have the chance to learn how to swim. Do you think there is a correlation between the lack of swim training and the inordinate number of drowning deaths we see in the area?

Schultz: Of course I think that. I think we have one pool in Traverse City, and it’s not enough to teach all of our kids to swim. We have water all around us, and our kids don’t know how to swim and they don’t know water safety. So that’s my love and my passion and why I joined the board. I recognized many years ago that this community needed another pool. This is not a pool to replace the Civic Center pool. Ideally we would have both of those pools available for us in the community.

Express: How achievable is the goal to get every kid from the five county region -- Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau -- into swim lessons and to teach them to swim?

Schultz: It’s going to take a lot of cooperation from the school districts. It’s third graders that we’re trying to target. How achievable? I don’t think we have enough water to teach all of them, every third grader. I don’t think we have enough time and water, but we are going to make a huge difference.

Express: Are the schools on board with these plans? Has there been any reluctance or questions about how the programs would be funded?

Schultz: Right now there’s been a gift given to the Y to support the project for two years, so we hope to get it off the ground and continue it as the years go on. We are in talks with TCAPS. I don’t see the money being the biggest barrier. The barrier would be the time in their school day, how we can make that happen, getting them over there in buses. I can’t speak for the outlying communities because I haven’t had those conversations, but I’m sure that they see the devastation this community experiences every year with drownings. It’s a community responsibility. It’s a parents’ responsibility to have their kids learn how to swim. But if we can do it in a cooperative method, I think we’ll be more successful.

Express: Will there be times when the pool will be open to the public for adult lap swim?

Schultz: Oh yes. One of the things that I lobbied very hard for was to have an eightlane lap pool, and a non-swimmer might not know what that means. The Civic Center has a six lane pool. It’s two additional lanes and the pool can be split in a different way for programming and utilized more efficiently when you have eight lanes. Instead of swimming lengths of the pool, you can swim widths of the pool when you have an eight-lane pool. You can divide your pool into three sections and have three different things going on at the same time, including lap swimming.

Express: I know there is a lot of anticipation that the opening of the Y pool will open up some swimming lanes at the Civic Center pool. Do you anticipate the Y aquatic center will take some pressure off of the Civic Center pool?

Schultz: I hope it does, but I hope it doesn’t take so much off that they think it’s not needed. I would feel like we failed if that’s what happens here. We need two pools in this community. We have to have that to be successful. My children were competitive swimmers. They’re all grown now, they’re in their 20s. They did the age group swimming. And that’s what made this my passion, bringing another pool to Traverse City, because I was able to witness first-hand all of the deficiencies in the swimming community. For masters, for kids, for swim lessons, for training for the Coast Guard -- there’s only so much pool.

Express: I understand the Y already has a membership drive going. How are membership sales going and where do you hope to be when you open?

Schultz: What we need to be successful is 2,500 memberships, to keep it open. I would like to see membership between 2,500 and 3,500. It may be a lofty goal. Traditionally Ys do very well the first two years they’re open and then things kind of stabilize. That’s our goal. Between 2,500 and 3,500. We are at about 900 memberships right now. Maybe 800, I’m not positive on that number. So we’re talking about tripling our membership in the first year.

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