I disagree with those opposing the Ice Mountain water bottling plant in
Mecosta County. As I understand it, the Ice Mountain plant is taking water,
putting it in bottles, and selling it. Miller Beer does the same thing,
they just add alcohol and hops. Coca Cola adds sugar. Shampoo and water
based paints add a little more stuff to the water. If the only difference
between Ice Mountain and Miller Beer is the fact that Ice Mountain is
selling water as water while Miller Beer and Coca Cola are selling “improved
water,“ then that distinction as a reason to oppose Ice Mountain is
intellectually dishonest. The protesters should also be protesting any
company that sells a product containing water, which of course is
ridiculous. Selling water in little bottles should be treated the same
whether it‘s pure water, or water with stuff added. This company is simply
producing a product to sell like any other company.
In my opinion, selling water in pint-sized bottles is not bulk diversion of
water, and therefore, not a problem. Bulk water diversion means pipelines,
channels, or even as small as a tanker-trucks transporting water outside of
the Great Lakes basin. Bulk diversions of water are potentially very
damaging and should be opposed. An example would be the redirecting of the
Chicago River in Chicago, IL, so that instead of flowing into Lake Michigan,
it now flows to the Mississippi. Another example was the proposed Nova
Group, Ltd. plan to fill tanker ships with Lake Superior water and sail to
Japan for bottling. While the actual amount of water these tankers would
have taken was insignificant, it would have been bulk diversion. Water put
into pint-sized bottles meant for retail sale is not a bulk water diversion,
as long as the bottling plant is inside the watershed.
When you look at the amount of water being used by Ice Mountain, it is
insignificant compared to the amount of water that flows out of the Little
Muskegon River, let alone out of the Lake Michigan-Huron basin. There would
have to be many thousands of Ice Mountain sized water bottling plants
operating a peak capacity before there would be any noticeable or measurable
impact to the Great Lakes water levels. Water flowing out of Michigan in
little bottles (being trucked out as already happens with other products)
cannot alter the water budget of the Great Lakes, the scale is just too
The protesters warn that many water-bottling companies are going to come to
Michigan to bottle and sell water. I say great! As long as the water is
bottled in Michigan, and the local aquifer or stream can handle the pumping
(as required in Ice Mountain‘s well permit), there should be no disruption
of existing water supplies. Why not make Michigan the world supplier of
bottled water like Milwaukee was the nation‘s supplier of beer? Water is a
renewable resource. As long as people are willing to pay a dollar for the
convenience of a pint of water in a bottle, I say let that wealth flow into
The “Anti Ice Mountain“ movement is attempting to equate Ice Mountain and a
bad privatization of municipal water in Cochabomba, Bolivia, where local
people were forced to pay exorbitant prices for water. However, no one in
Mecosta County, nearby cities, or anywhere in the state is forced to pay Ice
Mountain for water; no one was cut off from their water. I don‘t see the
relation between Cochabomba and Ice Mountain.
I also disagree that access to free drinking water is a “right.“ If you
have municipal water, you have to pay for it. Many homes out west have no
water available, and must pay for water to be trucked in to fill their water
tanks. If there is no water where people live, then they are going to have
to pay to have it imported. Luckily, Michigan has plenty of water for
everybody, and I don‘t see that changing the Ice Mountain plant, or with a
thousand more water bottling plants just like it.
Andrew Geffert Boyne City
Chef Coates is top notch
RE: Chef Coates
While visiting your beautiful area this week for a conference I was pleasantly surprised to see the article “Chef to the Stars“ written by Rick Coates. While the article was nice it would have been better if someone else wrote it. It was obvious that Mr. Coates was not in a position to write about what people think about his cooking abilities and certainly I realize the article is part of a series about the music business but it would have been nice to have had some one else write the article so Mr. Coates‘ talents as a chef might have been better highlighted.
I first came in contact with Mr. Coates when he was 16 and came to our monthly Democratic Party meeting. We had solicited high school age students to attend our meetings to give them an opportunity to learn about political campaigning. At our meeting we discussed the dilemma we were faced with and that was feeding then First Lady Roselyn Carter a southern-style dinner in a private home after she appeared for a fundraising speech.
From the back of the room Mr. Coates raised his hand and said he could prepare southern fried chicken, corn bread and other southern style dishes for 60 people. We were all intrigued by this young man and his confidence and the fact that he seemed to not have any fear about the task at hand.
Well not only did Mr. Coates prepare a perfect meal, we were all blown away, including the First Lady who was sure that Mr. Coates must have been from the south. To this day it was the best fried chicken I have ever had. When I inquired about the recipe Mr. Coates was evasive and my mother who helped in the kitchen was also amazed and was never sure exactly what he mixed in the batter.
I ran into Mr. Coates five years later at an environmental fundraising dinner that was attended by Robert Redford. Again the meal was beyond description and Mr. Redford had seconds and asked for Mr. Coates‘ scallop recipe and again Rick was evasive and said he kind of makes it up as he goes along and never prepares anything with a recipe or the exact same way twice.
Eight years ago I came across Mr. Coates on Mackinac Island. He was preparing a meal for a private reception for Hilary Clinton. The First Lady asked that he forward his shrimp scampi and bbq rib recipe to the White House chef and Mr. Coates said he would try. I am sure that he never did. I watched him prepare the scampi, took notes and to this day still cannot duplicate what he did. I agree with Willie Nelson Mr. Coates makes the best ribs and he should market his homemade bbq sauce.
I have had a lot of meals in my travels and every so often when I get a really good one, I wonder if Rick Coates is in the kitchen.
Rob Schultz Warren, MI
(We too can attest to the fact that Rick makes an incredible shrimp scampi which defies duplication. And you are correct, Rick says he never did send that recipe to Bill Clinton. -- ed.)
The drums of war
From William Shakespeare. As usual, he said it all before:
“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind...
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so.
How do I know?
For this is what I have done.
And I am Caesar.“
Valerie Lucznikowska via email
That cherry tree
Does young George want to pick a fight
To get revenge for daddy‘s Gulf War slight?
Is his flexing the want of a man
Who can‘t seem to get our economy in hand?
As midterm elections approach fast
Our president seeks to avert a crash.
Of the right, his Repulican Guard
By seeking vengeance in Saddam‘s back yard.
Whatever happened to Middle East peace
Torn asunder by anti-terrorism‘s lease
Of fear-mongering the American flag
Driving patriotic fervor out of hand.
Most of our allies want no war,
Mandela, Chirac, Schroder and more
Appalled as America flaunts rule of law
Which the president used to win election, after all.
Afghan nation building must not cease
Until Karzai and his country secure relief
After two decades of tyrants‘ hands,
Soviets, al-Qaida and Taliban.
Will a Cold War be hastened back
From Russia‘s trade pact with Iraq?
Will George retool his pre-emptive position
Or destroy the anti-terrorism coalition?
That Bay of Pigs, America‘s will be done
Only strengthened the evil one.
Castro remains four decades later
And to his people he‘s no trader.
When America‘s founding father
Downed that cherry tree,
He still led this land
How will young George show command
Armed with battle ax in hand?
Will he cut down another cherry tree
To secure his place in history?
Johnston M. Mitchell Leland