Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 11-18-13
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Letters 11-18-13

- November 18th, 2013  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification.

‘Big problem’ in TC

Today Traverse City Police sent two officers in separate cars to search downtown for me. An officer approached me while I was sitting on a chair in the hallway of a store with a sleeping baby in my lap, and said, “You’re the one I’m looking for... if you sit on Talbots’ ledge or smoke within 15 feet of the store, you and I will have a big problem.”

It seems strange to be singled out, even searched for, especially since officers never witnessed the so-called crime and downtown is full of smokers “breaking law.” Perhaps we all need reminding, Traverse City has bigger problems.

Maria Housden • via email

He’s not so old...

I just finished reading your article about my father; 61 years old is not OLD! Many people have told me that they were offended at the description of my father’s attempted burglary. In this day and age, 61 is not old. It would be easy for many 61-year-old men to defend themselves against a young man.

Jonquil Norman • via email

A black eye for millage

I have called Traverse City home now for 14 years. I have witnessed many wonderful, progressive and positive things over the course of time. My family has a deep passion for our community.

This brings up an issue that is a bit mind boggling. I got up this morning to hear the school millage had gone down in defeat. This came as a shock to learn this, chiefly because this millage was for basic improvements for the future of our schools and not for administrative costs.

It’s also hard to fathom that nearly 50% of TCAPS parents are not registered voters. This millage would have cost the average household nearly $29 a year! I’m guessing a typical family probably throws away this much in food in an average week.

I don’t want to ever have to witness the bewilderment and confusion on my daughter’s face after telling her that today a majority of voters opted to put a black eye on nearly 10,000 of our kids and their future.

Chris Oblinger • TC

Hoarders take note

A front page article in the October 11 edition of the Record Eagle read, “Hoarder found dead after home fire.” The fire took place in the Cherryland Mobile Home Park in the early morning of October 10. It took the life of the mobile home’s sole resident, John Norberg.

To me, the article seems to insinuate that Norberg, whom a nearby neighbor described as a ‘pack rat,’ fell victim to his habit of collecting items that he liked to tinker with. Apparently, his mobile home was packed so full of ‘boxes upon boxes’ of items, that it thwarted any attempt that Norberg may have made to escape the fire.

My questions: do you know anyone who could easily be described as a ‘packrat'? So much so that the person thus can be considered a ‘hoarder’? (And is that person, in fact, you?) I find it very sad that it comes down to a person losing his life to shed light on the issue of hoarding. It’s sad to walk past a place right in my own neighborhood in Garfield Township with my preschool daughter, explaining to her for the first time that fires can kill.

But hoarding DOES NOT have to contribute to your demise... there may very well be help from the mental health community. Ask a local psychologist if your collecting habit has gotten to the point of “hoarding disorder,” with information available at the library. Reach out and help someone, especially if that someone is you.

Joe Connolly • Garfield Township

Straitjacket education

A well-researched article in the Christian Science Monitor reviews the International Student Assessment (PISA) scores of U. S. students as 30th in math literacy, 20th in science and 14th in reading.

This seems troubling; however, studies by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), an international consortium of 400 researchers, consistently rates the U.S. as excelling in entrepreneurship which, of course, requires free thinking, innovation and action.

The article further states that scholars have noticed an inverse relationship between GEM scores (entrepreneurship) and PISA scores ( academic).

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is cited as saying that a company like Apple would not emerge in a structured country like Singapore, “because that would require a society with great artists, musicians and writers,” which they do not have. They have great PISA scores, but no creativity.

An on-line short biography on the other cofounder of Apple, Steve Jobs, indicates that he dropped out of Reed College after 6 months, and for the next 18 months sat in on creative courses of his choice, thereby designing his own educational program as a base for his phenomenal success.

Because he was a college dropout, should we consider him a bad statistic?

A companion article in the Monitor details Singapore’s realization of the importance of the arts, now considering them “crucial to Singapore’s growing innovationdriven economy.” Major changes are being instituted.

Our statistics-loving bureaucrats and educators are pushing for national standardized education with standardized tests as an absolute measure of “success.” This will be restrictive and intense academics. No room for individual thought or the arts. This can be called Straitjacket Education.

Goodbye creativity and entrepreneurship. Congratulations Singapore.

Bernard Hanchett • TC

Quack diagnosis?

I see that Dr. Benishek has described global warming as “some sort of scam.”

Congressman Benishek is a physician; he has no formal training or education in the environmental sciences. So his characterization of global warming as a “scam” would be as valid as the environmental scientists calling him a “quack.”

You do not want an environmental scientist to diagnose your cancer, and neither do you want a physician to diagnose global warming.

George Wellman • Cedar

Helping the homeless

Homeless Awareness Week is Nov. 17-23, so I decided to take a few moments to share optimistic news about homelessness for Grand Traverse, despite the HUD data that indicated roughly 350 people are homeless in the five-county area.

Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing (NMSH) is the only local nonprofit organization that makes its mission housing homeless individuals and families with mental health needs in Permanent Supportive Housing.

Supportive housing results in our tenants’ decreased use of homeless shelters, hospitals, emergency rooms, jails and prisons. NMSH boasts a 92% success rate for people who stay in housing.

Over the last 13 years, the Greater Grand Traverse Area Continuum of Care (of which NMSH is a member) has been awarded upward of $14 million in federal funds to support local organizations serving the homeless. The Grand Traverse community should be very proud of itself, the work of the Continuum of Care and NMSH. As a community, we are setting a great example.

Emilee Syrewicze Executive Director NW Michigan Supportive Housing

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