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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RECYCLING: It’s All in the Details

Recycling used to be so black and white … literally.

Kristi Kates - July 21st, 2014  

Going green just meant recycling newspapers, with glass and aluminum a close second and third.

With practically everything recyclable now, being a responsible recycler can be a bit of a buzz kill on your Up North getaway.

To help clarify, a few of Northern Michigan’s biggest recyclers gave us the lowdown on what to throw down those bins.


Paper, metal, glass … so easy to sort, most of us recycle these automatically.

Plastic, on the other hand, throws a wrench in what’s obvious and what’s not.

Different recycling facilities take various types of plastics, numbers 1-7 plastics being the most common.

Grocery bags? Bread wrappers? Egg cartons? Drink boxes? Shrink wrap? It’s all up to the recycler.

And that’s only the beginning.

If there’s an item in question, the easiest way to find out what to do is to call the local facility and ask. Some of them even have hotlines.


Jayna Steffel works at the Emmet County Recycling Center in Harbor Springs, which also serves Petoskey and the surrounding area.

Those without curbside recycling service can still recycle, she said.

“We and other companies have what’s called ‘roll-offs’ - they’re like an enclosed dumpster - at lots of locations that are open to the public,” she said. “In Harbor Springs, ours are by the IGA; in Petoskey, they’re by D&W Market north, and Bed Bath and Beyond south. These are more than okay for the public to bring their recycling to.”

The most recycled item at the facility is corrugated cardboard.

“So many people are getting things shipped directly to their homes now,” Steffel said.

Electronics, though not obvious, can also be recycled. “Computers, old cell phones, appliances, and TVs … these are all recyclable, too,” she said.


Styrofoam, which often arrives right along with that overload of corrugated cardboard boxes, is another tricky material as far as recycling goes.

“Styrofoam is a raw form of plastic called polystyrene, and to truly recycle it, it has to be melted down into plastic beads,” said Steffel. “We don’t have the capabilities to do that, and we don’t accept Styrofoam because the place we would have to send it away to incinerates it, and that’s not recycling.”

The best thing to do with Styrofoam, Steffel said, is to contact a shipping company to see if they will take if off of your hands.

“From what I understand, Styrofoam packing peanuts are expensive, so it makes sense to see if they can be reused,” she said.

Before doing anything, check to see if the packing peanuts are made out of cornstarch, a biodegradable substance, Steffel said.

“[Run] a few of the peanuts under water,” Steffel said. “If they’re cornstarch, they should dissolve immediately, and you can just run them down your drain.”


Traverse City’s American Waste takes care of recycling needs in the Grand Traverse region, east to Gaylord, north to the Charlevoix area, and west to Suttons Bay.

American Waste’s general manager, Mark Bevelhymer, said that he thinks better recycling awareness has to start with better recycling education.

“With all of our customers, we always send them a marketing piece that outlines recycling procedures,” he said. “People just need to be really aware of what they can and cannot do as far as recycling.”

That, he said, will enable them to be more efficient recyclers.

Once the “dos” are figured out, though, potential recyclers are left with the “don’ts,” of which there’s yet another lengthy list.

Bevelhymer said there are some major don’ts as far as American Waste is concerned.

“We can’t recycle rubber products such as tires, any household paints, or light bulbs,” he said. “These are considered hazardous, and must be recycled at a household hazardous materials center.”


In addition to local recycling centers, Goodwill locations are another great place to bring computers, as they offer free recycling.

Goodwill is also well known as the perfect destination for unused clothing, furnishings, and kitchen items.

But if it’s a bicycle you’re not sure what to do with, Traverse City’s Don Cunkle can help.

Cunkle is the director of TC’s Recyclea-Bicycle, which, in cooperation with the Traverse Area Recreational Trails program, saves bikes and helps people in the process.

Recycle-a-Bicycle will take “any bicycle that’s brought through the door,” Cunkle said.

If they can’t fix the bicycle back to working order, they’ll use parts from it to repair other bikes.

“It can take anywhere from one to 10 hours to refurbish a bicycle,” Cunkle said. “If it’s unfixable, we’ll take anything good from it – the chain, seat, pedals – and use it for parts, sending the leftover metals, such as steel or aluminum, to a metals recycler.”

The effort’s worth it, he said, because Recycle-a-Bicycle’s work can actually change lives. The organization give away 150 bikes or more each year, for free, to the homeless or financially disadvantaged.

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