Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Brews, Dogs, and Two-Steppin’ on the Shores of Torch

Dancing on Torch Lake’s shoreline with a Shorts beer and Coney Island dog in hand is certainly one way to have a perfect Northern Michigan day.

Kristi Kates - June 23rd, 2014  

It’s the kind of day dreamed up by the Grass River Natural Area’s new executive director as a fundraiser for the nonprofit preserve and its operating expenses.


Haley Breniser, an MSU grad and Michigan native, took the helm at Grass River last fall.

A mosaic of habitats that lie within the GRNA’s 1,443 acres: Deciduous and mixed forest, upland meadow, cedar swamp, and riverine habitat are all represented.

“The plant and animal species associated with this mosaic play an important role in the integrity of the greater Grand Traverse Bay Watershed,” Breniser said.

In order to keep that special aura, the area’s $200,000 annual budget needed a boost to help pay for “immediate needs” like a new trail and interpretive signage, plus equipment for the preserve’s stewardship practices, like water quality testing, invasive species control, and trail maintenance.

“The GRNA really needs support from both individuals and foundations in order to function at our full potential,” she said.

And that’s where the dance on the shores of Torch Lake comes in.


The concert fundraiser is one of the highlights of GRNA’s summer.

Officially called The Annual Grass River Natural Area Benefit Dance, the event will take place at the Alden Depot Park.

Five-piece Lansing band Steppin’ In It will provide what Breniser called “an awesome mix” of blues, bluegrass, funk, zydeco, and jazz.

“I remember seeing them in concert while going to school,” she said. “They have incredible talent and energy.”

The Up North Brass Quintet will serve as opening act. Coney Island style hotdogs and beverages from Short’s Brewery will also be available.

Just make sure you don’t forget your dancing shoes.

“Events like this give me the opportunity to get to know the people who have made the preserve what it is today,” Breniser said. “This is a very fun way to support the GRNA.”

The GRNA holds other fundraising events throughout the year, too. The Flower Fundraiser, Spring Fling Dinner, and the thoughtful Tribute Stone Fund are the most popular, the latter giving people the opportunity to donate an engraved garden path stone in memory of someone special.


Seven miles of trails in all, including boardwalks, are available to those who want to explore the GRNA’s lands. And a new education center was built in 2011 to help educate visitors about the natural world.

It’s all part of the GRNA’s ultimate goal: to protect those 1,443 acres through land management and education.

“We are essentially guarding an important place for the ecological health of our community,” Breniser said.

The Annual Grass River Natural Area Benefit Dance will take place June 28. Tickets are $15 in advance/$18 at the door, available online at grassriver.org. You can also donate to the preserve any time on their website, or by mailing a donation to their office at Grass River Natural Area, Inc., P.O. Box 231, Bellaire, MI, 49615.

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