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..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Standing atop the Third Level
. . . .

Standing atop the Third Level

Erin Crowell - May 16th, 2011
Standing Atop the Third Level
By Erin Crowell
You lost your job and now you’re behind on rent. Your girlfriend left
when the money did, along with your self-respect. Alcohol only does so
much until the pain returns like a flood, drowning any confidence and
motivation you once had. Darkness replaces light as the days blur
Just as the whispering hurt becomes a deafening scream, you turn to pick
up the phone, only to realize it’s 3 a.m. and your best friend is asleep.
I don’t want to burden him anyway, you think and quietly replace the phone
on the nightstand.
At Third Level Crisis Center, someone is always there to answer the phone
– even at 3 a.m. They will answer if you’ve lost your job, can no longer
function without drugs or alcohol, if you are sleeping beneath a city
bridge or thinking of leaping from it.
Someone will always be there to answer. Twenty four hours a day, seven
days a week.

Based in Traverse City, Third Level offers confidential crisis services
and counseling to people across 20 counties of Northern Michigan. The
non-profit is celebrating 40 years of providing residents, both young and
old, a way to find answers when it comes to life’s troubles – which can
range anywhere from homelessness, substance abuse and legal/economic
troubles to depression and suicide.
“We make about 26,000 contacts over the crisis line each year,” says
Mickie Jannazzo, Third Level clinical services director, in reference to
the 24-hour telephone hotline. “There aren’t too many places where you can
just walk in or call and boom! Counselor. Right then and there.”
Jannazzo, who has been with Third Level for 26 years, notes it’s not
unusual for a caller to pause after dialing the line, surprised that an
actual person—versus a recorded prompt—has answered and is ready to talk.
Crisis counselors are both paid staff and volunteers who have completed
over 40 hours of training.
Katy Karas volunteers around 20 hours a week in the Crisis Center,
answering phones and helping anyone who drops by the center.
“I’ve helped people deal with issues of loneliness, anxiety… family
issues,” she says. “Because we have so many community resources, I think
it makes it easier to direct them to where exactly they need to go.”

Prompted by a youth-driven movement of the 1960s, Third Level began as a
small group called North Country Salt in 1971 in which several young
people proposed a crisis center that would meet the emotional and physical
needs of their peers experimenting with drugs.
More than just a meeting place to discuss drug issues, the new
organization (which evolved into the Northwest Michigan Council on Drug
and Alcohol Abuse and then Third Level Crisis Center) expanded to include
on-site medical and legal assistance – services that still exist today.
“Early on, those young people said that free medical services really needs
to be part of a crisis center,” says Jannazzo. “When (Third Level) opened
in May of ’72, that free medical clinic was part of it and is now known as
the Traverse Health Clinic.”
Today, the Traverse Health Clinic serves the uninsured and underinsured
residents of Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties through donated
medical services – worth $5.6 million.
With the establishment of the Free Legal Aid Clinic in 1975, area
attorneys now offer free weekly services to anyone seeking legal advice,
but who can’t afford it.
The organization continued to expand, outgrowing several locations in the
Traverse City area before settling at its current space on East Front
Street – a three-story converted house that “is even now starting to get a
bit tight,” notes Ken Homa, Third Level’s executive director.
Nearly 37 staff members and 15 volunteers make up the Third Level team,
and offer assistance in other areas such as youth and family services,
street outreach, community education, transitional living programs and—one
of its latest additions—a youth homeless shelter for runaway and homeless
ages 14 to 17.
“Since opening Pete’s Place five years ago, we have served over 162
youth,” says Norvilla Bennett, director of youth services. “We serve—in
regards to non-residential services—probably 200 plus youth a year that
are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. In our street
outreach department, we work to go out and engage youth in the community.”

Third Level has partnered with several area organizations and volunteers
alike to provide survival essentials such as hygiene kits, non perishable
food items, water, socks and warm clothing.
Since the last fiscal year, over 10,000 items have been donated; thanks in
large part to state and federal grants, but with a considerable amount
coming from the community.
“We’ve put more energy into our donation efforts and the community’s
responded as well as expected,” says Homa. “This community is a great,
giving community and without them, I think we would have had a much more
difficult time getting where we are today.”
In terms of youth services, the dollars that have been allocated from
typical government contracts have declined over 10% in the last year,
Bennett says, which is an overall reflection of where Michigan is

This, in turn, reflects the increased use of Third Level’s services, adds
“We do know there is a correlation in unemployment and an uptick in the
suicide rate,” she adds.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adults ages 45 to
59 represented the highest rate of suicide in 2007, although suicide is
the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.
Problems with housing and access to health services have also increased as
the economy falls.
“That, and more people not knowing where to turn because they’ve never
been in this situation before,” adds Homa. “For them, the crisis seems
bigger because they’re not used to not having a roof over their head or
something of that nature.”
For those facing new challenges and unsure of where to even begin, Third
Level has become that answer.
“I think my kid is using drugs. What do I do? I think my friend’s
depressed and is thinking of killing himself. What do I do? I just got a
shut off notice. What do I do?” Jannazzo says these are the questions that
are asked. “We help them with anything. Anything; and direct them to where
they need to go.”

It’s that immediate help which keeps the staff and volunteers at Third
Level Crisis Center motivated.
“For us, I think what keeps us going is there is a more immediate sense of
gratification of that we did our service and we did it well,” says Homa.
For Jamie Vanduinen, who runs the Transitional Living Program, it’s the
follow-up call she gets after helping someone get back on their feet.
“A lot of them will come back and tell me their successes,” she says,
“like, they’ve bought a house, got a job or bought a car…it’s hearing the
good news from some of my past clients.”
Jannazzo agrees, pointing to the center’s mission to help youth,
individuals and families grow, change and thrive.
“We are honored by these people who are calling Third Level months later
and saying, ‘Well I tried this and tried that’; and it’s like ‘Wow, man.
You are out there, doing the best you can,’” she reflects. “The stuff we
do, we don’t do it at people or for them. We do it with them. It’s
honoring the human spirit in everybody we serve.”

Let’s Party…

Third Level Crisis Center is celebrating 40 years of service to the
community. As the only non-profit crisis center in Northern Michigan (the
closest are located in Houghton and Mt. Pleasant), Third Level is inviting
community members to “Remember Us When, See Us Now & Create Our Future.”

When: Thursday, May 19, 6-9 p.m.
Where: The Art Van Furniture Store, Traverse City
Suggested $40 donation per person

Program highlights slideshow begins at 7 p.m., along with appetizers,
libations, silent auction and live music by New Third Coast. Silent
auction items include an original Denny Dent painting of John Lennon
(valued at $3,000) along with a $1,000 Shane Inman Design gift certificate
and more.

Third Level is also celebrating with a community mural project. For more
information on both events and on
Third Level Crisis Center, visit their website at www.thirdlevel.org.
Third Level is located at 1022 E. Front St., just west of Garfield Road.
Find answers
to life’s challenges by calling them at 1-800-442-7315.

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