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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. Faxed letters are not accepted.
Benishek No Vet
During the Memorial Day Parade in Petoskey, I noticed that Congressman Dan Benishek was walking with local veterans.
He is not a veteran and I wondered why he was walking in the parade with them. Could it be that it is an election year and he is running against Jerry Cannon, a retired Two Star Major General of the Army National Guard?
Carolyn Bourland, Petoskey
Letters to Jail
A big thank you to Sheriff Ted Schendel of Benzie County for rescinding the “Postcard Only” policy on May 23. This policy was initiated by the sheriff on April 27th. At the urging of Benzie citizens, Schendel reviewed the policy and then made a compassionate and legal decision. Now anyone who corresponds with inmates of the Benzie County jail can send letters. Lord Byron (1788-1824)stated the importance of letters when he said: “Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”
Unfortunately, there are many county jails in Michigan and across the USA that have this policy, despite the fact that research shows that inmates who have contact with the outside world through letters have a lower incidence of recidivism. Besides this, there is legal precedence that demonstrates that this policy is a violation of the inmate’s and the correspondent’s First Amendment right: Freedom of Speech. Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall spoke eloquently on the subject: “When the prison gates slam behind a prisoner, he does not lose his human quality; his mind does not become closed to ideas; his intellect does not cease to feed on a free and open interchange of opinions. . . .It is the role of the First Amendment and this Court to protect those precious personal rights by which we satisfy such basic yearnings of the human spirit. (“Marinez, 416 U.S. at 428(Marshall., J, concurring.)
We, as Americans, must be vigilant about our Constitutional rights. Our forefathers, created The Bill of Rights and the Constitution to protect our people against the power of the government, whether county, state, or national officials.
Kay Bos, Honor
In Defense of Our Climate
So what’s going on in Washington? On May 22, the US House of Representatives passed the McKinley Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (the military budget), which would forbid the Department of Defense to spend any money to implement the recommendations of the National Climate Assessment, the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and two other climate reports when considering the national security impacts of climate change.
As Paul Ferrell of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Research programs ongoing and widely used by the Pentagon in strategic national defense planning for many years could, if the Senate agrees, become illegal to use.” In other words, the majority of the members of the lower House of Congress want to forbid the Pentagon from considering the findings and recommendations of scientists when making plans to keep our nation safe.
Huh? Our congressmen are forbidding the use of science? Are our elected officials working for us or for the wealthy oil and gas companies?
Our representative in Washington, Dr. Dan Benishek, voted with the Republican majority to ban the use of scientific analysis embedded in these reports in making plans about our security. It’s outrageous.
We can have cleaner air, cleaner water, cheaper energy, better health, a booming economy, full employment, and a safer world by embracing a 21st century energy revolution, developing a smart grid that can distribute safe, clean, renewable energy. If we want to continue our idyllic life here in northern Michigan and provide a livable future for our children and grandchildren, we must vote for responsible politicians who are willing to take action based on science and the reality of what is actually happening today.
William Gittlen, M.D., Frankfort
Littering Never Okay
God made this world. He was here first and is still watching.
He loaned the world to us. Educated adults are to teach all others this rule: Littering is not ok. It was never ok. It will never be ok. Throw garbage in an approved container. Educated adults –be responsible. Contribute to the solution.
You know the rules. Anything people throw on the ground that did not grow there or wasn’t there originally is unacceptable. Slum dwellers reached a new low. While cleaning the ravines I was lucky to find a used poopy diaper. What kind of person throws used diapers in ravines?
Any slum dweller you know doesn’t care what they do. Your job is to inform them. If slum dwellers are visitors, they aren’t welcome if they don’t follow the rules. That is why educated, responsible, residents must teach them and set an example.
If the title “slum dwellers” offends you, their actions offend me.
Service to God and community has no expiration date. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.
Terry Witt, Williamsburg