Regarding the issue of a possible land swap between the Homestead and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, I feel strongly that the land swap proposal would set a bad national precedent. The parkland originally came from private parties, and it would be grossly unfair (if not illegal) to return this property from the public trust back into private hands.
As things now stand, the public faces two unsatisfactory choices. The Crystal River property clearly is worthy of preservation for its pristine quality and “globally rare“ characteristics. Should the Homestead choose to develop this land in lieu of the land swap, I feel certain that we will all be launched into the types of controversies that have previously taken place. So I propose another approach.
The Homestead‘s Crystal River property should be incorporated into the National Lakeshore. Short of that, they should pursue whatever types of conservation easements, possible gifting of property, potential tax shelters, sales to conservation buyers - whatever they might work out with the local land conservancies, the Michigan Land Use Institute, or the national Nature Conservancy. Having done this, they could tout the Homestead conservation land as a model for other resorts and launch the Homestead into a new, successful marketing arena of ecotourism. I believe the local public would support and applaud such a move.
My surmise is that, rather than facing untold costs of legal battles, along with the ire of the local public, a conservation decision would bring Homestead owners wealth in ways beyond anything they might have imagined. It would be a way they would be proud to be remembered by future generations.
Alison Heins Traverse City
As you know, there has been a long debate about the use of land along the Crystal River that we own. During it, hundreds of articles about that debate have appeared in the print and broadcast media including The New York Times and the Today Show. In my opinion, none was as well balanced as the article that appeared in a recent edition of the Northern Express (Sept. 5).
I commend you for researching both sides of this debate, organizing your questions on it, asking those questions fairly and presenting your work in an unbiased way that was highly beneficial to your readers.
Robert A. Kuras President, The Homestead
We come to the Traverse Area sbout every two weeks in the summer and always look forward to reading your publication. However, in your edition of Aug. 29, there was an article written by Ramsey Clark that I was most offended by (“Why War With Iraq Is A Bad Idea“). There were many inaccuracies and some outright lies that should have been checked. In my mind some of his remarks were at best treasonous. I am a World War II vet and when printings are made that make my country out to be the bad guy when they are mostly not true makes me very angry.
I think it would be nice if he were deported along with Molly Ivins who writes for a Texas based syndicate.
Thank you for letting me spout off.
Larry Rolfe Vicksburg
(Ramsey Clark is the former U.S. Attorney General under Lyndon Johnson. - ed.)
A lie repeated
From “Encounter With a Nazi“ by Irwin Edmon, 1938: “The grandchildren of this generation of Americans will not be grateful to their grandparents, let me assure you.“ My, was he off the mark. G.W. Bush is very grateful to his grandfather, Prescott. The Union Banking Corp., Holland American Trading Corp., Seamless Steel Equipment Corp., and Silesian American Corp., all managed by Prescott, were seized by the U.S. government in 1942 under the Trading With the Enemy Act. Prescott‘s business dealings with the Nazi Party helped enrich the family fortune. The lessons taught by Hitler help G.W. to this day.
One lesson being a lie repeated often enough becomes truth. “Saddam may have weapons of mass destruction,“ but which country has the world‘s largest stockpile of such weapons? “The U.S. is fighting a wor on terror,“ but the killing and wounding of dozens of innocent humons at a wedding on 7/3/02 was not a terrorist act but merely collateral damage. “Iraq is a threat to the region,“ but why is the region begging the U.S. not to start a war? One would think that if Saddam was such a threat his neighbors - and the world - would welcome military intervention. Instead, global opinion is strongly against U.S. involvement. And where does the Constitution authorize regime changes by a lawfully elected president?
Many people are finding frightening parallels between Orwell‘s “1984“ and Bush‘s 2002. Bush is merely following in the footsteps of his father, the former head of the CIA. George I had a “war“ and George II seems determined to be better than his father at something.
Like Bushs‘ Clean Air Act, which will actually increase air pollution, the Patriot Act has a misleading name and seeks to severely limit liberty. Only one senator had the moral courage to vote against it, and she has been vilified for her moral stand. Of the thousands of relatives of those killed in the Trade Center, only a few have said “not in my son‘s name should we cause death for death.“ Where are the calm voices of reason, and why are they so quiet?
“It Can‘t Happen Here“ by Sinclair Lewis should be read by everyone to see how fast things can go from bad to worse, and a quote seems appropriate. “I tell you, an honest man gets sick when he hears the word ‘liberty‘ today, after what the Republicans did to itl“
Bob Vanderlewn Manistee
I am writing to thank Emily Groves for her mention of my Open Mic. Night at the Mackinaw Brewing Company. I have long held the opinion that Open Mic.‘s are the best bang for your entertainment dollar. Free Music? What could be better??!!
I‘ve played most of our local Open Mic. scene and the problems I‘ve run into center around time and air quality. With the exception of the monthly outing at Borders Bookstore, Open Mic.‘s are all held in SMOKY bars. Many of the performers at Open Mic.‘s are vocalists and smoke and vocal cords don‘t generally mix well. Since putting down the cigarettes four years ago, I can‘t stand to come home smelling like an ashtray. I try not to proselytize about smoking too much, I did it for 10 years, I know what fun it is, but a smoke free performance space is always a treat. (BLATANT PLUG: Mackinaw Brewing Company allows smoking in it‘s bar area next door to the Open Mic.) Regarding the time issue, I have a regular job during the day and staying out until 2:00 a.m. tends to slow down productivity the following day. When the Open Mic. doesn‘t start until 9:00 and visiting performers don‘t get to the stage until 9:30 or 10:00, it doesn‘t make for an early night. It‘s nice to be able to get out, play your set, hear some other musicians, shoot the breeze and make it home in time to get 40 winks before work the next day. (BLATANT PLUG #2: Mackinaw Brewing Company‘s Open Mic starts at 8:00 p.m. SHARP and we only run until 11:00. The restaurant closes at 12:00 so we have to break down and go home, but if there are people that want to play, we‘ll run a little later.)
The best thing about the Open Mic. format is the freedom that it offers. If you are enjoying a performer and they start up a song that you know the harmony to, most often they‘ll appreciate a little help. If you can join in and augment someone‘s performance at an Open Mic you should. If you don‘t know the tune, or aren‘t sure you can make the song any better, just enjoy it from where you are. It‘s a great way to get out and meet people with similar interests and, who knows, maybe even play some music with them. I encourage every player of every skill level to get out and play in front of an Open Mic. crowd. I always tell newcomers to rip it up when they get behind the mic, no-one is listening anyway. I don‘t mean to say that these folks are unappreciative, quite the opposite in most cases, but they are not too judgemental when it comes to a dropped chord or a squeaky high note. Open Mic. is a great place to hone your skills and see what it‘s like to play in front of someone other than your dog.
Thanks for the article, I think it will help bring performers into the Open Mic.‘s. The more music the better ESPECIALLY AT THE MACKINAW BREWING COMPANY, Wednesday nights from 8-11) [FINAL BLATANT PLUG]
Open Mic Host
Mackinaw Brewing Company