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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Northern Michigan‘s top adventures

Robert Downes - June 13th, 2011
Northern Michigan’s Top Adventures
When most people think of “adventure” in Northern Michigan, they tend to
imagine a weekend with the kids at the beach or an afternoon at one of our
water parks.
A pity, because mile-for-mile, Northern Michigan packs more outdoor
adventures than almost any similar-sized region on earth. Only a few
standouts such as Costa Rica, New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands come
close, and we dare say that the cultural and dining offerings in our many
beach towns help to even that score.
If adventure in Northern Michigan has a down side, it is ironically in
June when summer is coming into bloom. Reason? From mid-May through the
end of June the woods are teeming with mosquitoes (aka: Michigan’s ‘state
bird’) and the beaches all too often play host to biting flies. It’s not
the time of year to take on -- oh -- say the marshy stretches of the
75-mile High Country Trail through the Pigeon River State Forest.
So if biting insects really bug you, consider July-September--particularly
August--when skeeter spawn-ing spots tend to dry up and the nights are
balmy and starry-skied.
Here are a few favorites for the Indiana Jones’s and Jonesettes out there:

• Kayaking the Gold Coast: Three rivers, including the Platte, the Betsie
and the Crystal wend their way to Lake Michigan in the stretch between
Frankfort and Glen Arbor and most put-ins are an easy bike ride back to
your car. All three rivers brim with wildlife, including a chance to see
beaver, otters, cranes, deer and trout.
If sea kayaking is your thing, the coast from Arcadia to Leland passes the
grandeur of the Elberta Bluffs, the Empire Bluffs, the Pierce Stocking
Overlook and Pyramid Point -- huge dunes which rise 300 feet or more. Just
off Pyramid Point in Leelanau County, you can glide over a couple of
Bonus: your kayaking adventure ends in proximity to Frankfort or Glen
Arbor, both of which have excellent restaurants and bars for a fitting

• Biking Nirvana: Northern Michigan offers some of the best off-road
cycling in the nation and our back roads ain’t bad either if you don’t
mind near-misses from hostile redneck drivers. Some top choices:
-- The Gaylord-Mackinaw City Trail runs 65 miles out of a parking lot at
the north end of Gaylord, all the way through Indian River, Topinabee,
Mullett Lake and Cheboygan to your well-deserved rest in Mackinaw City.
Pack extra tubes, tires and tools for this one though, because if you
break down, the nearest bike shop is 30 miles or more.
-- The TART/Leelanau Trail makes for a fun day trip, running anywhere from
12-18 miles from Traverse City to Suttons Bay (depending on where you pick
it up). Every Friday, a “Muffin Run” of several dozen mountain bikers
hits the trail at 9 a.m. for a round-trip ride to a bakery and coffeehouse
in SB.
-- The Charlevoix-Petoskey-Harbor Springs Trail: Another fine day trip,
this takes you from the north end of Charlevoix through Bay Harbor and
Petoskey’s Bayfront Park all the way to Harbor Springs. Ride as little or
as long as you like, with plenty of restaurant options along the route.

• The Manitous: The ultimate weekend backpack getaway, you catch the
Manitou Island Transit out of Leland’s Fishtown for either South or North
Manitou Island. The south island is the one most-visited, and with a
5-mile loop of trails, abandoned farmsteads, a lighthouse, shipwreck and
more, is arguably the most interesting and accessible. Indian legend has
it that these islands are inhabited by spirits (ie. manitous), and you’re
likely to agree that they are indeed enchanting.

• Beaver Island: pack a mountain bike along on the boat out of Charlevoix
and enjoy the trip back in time in Michigan’s history as you make the
30-mile transit to the island which was home to Mormon “King” Jesse
Strang. The roads can be dusty on the 13-mile-long island, but a bike is
a good way to get around. And if you need your dose of Vitamin Quaint,
then the B&Bs and pubs around St. James Harbor are the place to get it.
Camp on the beach halfway down the island and enjoy the lights of the
Mighty Mac twinkling in the night.

• Epic Trails: We’ve got some wonders in the region, most of which
rarely make the pages of Outside or Backpacking magazines. The
following are 2-3 day trips:
-- Manistee River Trail: Starting at M 131 north of Cadillac, this trail
follows the river for 30 miles or so, ending at a parking lot on M 37
south of Buckley. A highlight is the High Rollaway Bluffs south of
Kingsley; lowlights include avoiding yahoos on 4x4’s partying near your
campsite at night, along with a 5-mile hike along a road around a stretch
of private property.
-- Jordan Valley Trail: You can do this 18-mile trail in a day (and many
do), but for a more leisurely experience, consider spending the night at
the campground above the river which is 9 miles from the trailhead at Dead
Man’s Hill.
-- Pictured Rocks Trail: Hike 42 miles all the way from Grand Marais to
Munising or take a shorter 30-mile route from Twelve Mile Beach. Either
way, you’ve got a breathtaking experience, traversing the 200-foot cliffs
and beaches along Lake Superior.

• Best of the Rest:
-- The Sturgeon River: the fastest river in Northern Michigan drops 17
feet per mile from Wolverine to Indian River for a rocket ride in your
kayak or canoe.
-- Chain of Lakes: Legendary boat passage links Torch Lake to the far
-- Shore to Shore Trail: Got a horse? Saddle up for a ride across the
state from Empire on this equine-designated trail.
-- The Mackinac Straits: Family fun zoo with colonial forts on the island
as well as the mainland, a gazillion tourist shops. Budget lodgings in
Mackinaw City, romantic getaway hotels on the island. Don’t neglect the
waterfront in St. Ignace which serves up some of the freshest whitefish
and walleye you’ll find anywhere.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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