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 · Drained ... Brown Bridge Pond
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Drained ... Brown Bridge Pond

Mike Terrell - July 4th, 2011
Drained…It’s our last year to enjoy Brown Bridge Pond
By Mike Terrell
Brown Bridge Pond, the centerpiece for the Brown Bridge Quiet Area, has been with us for nearly a century, enjoyed by thousands of visitors over the years for paddling, fishing, and watching wildlife along its quiet hiking trails bordering the pond.
It was created when the dam was erected in 1921, but the dam is slated for deconstruction beginning next year. That will be the end of this delightful, scenic, wildlife area as we’ve known it. The pond is scheduled for a 13-foot interim drawdown beginning late this summer or early fall, which will expose nearly 100 acres of previously unexposed bottomlands.
I’m of mixed emotion. I will miss this wonderful natural area with its 191-acre pond and all the waterfowl and wildlife it plays host to. But, it will be exciting to see the river again flowing free through this valley both for fishing and paddling. The rapids created at the dam site will rival and may surpass the Beitner Rapids. This site had the greatest river fall of all the dam sites.
Steve Largent, head of Grand Traverse County’s Land Management Services, once said of the pond, “It’s like a little piece of northern Canada tucked away in northern Michigan.”

Other than the dam and landing area on the east side of the dam there aren’t any other signs of civilization, unless you count the three benches and two observation platforms located along the high bluff along the west side of the pond.
Recently I took off from the landing a little after 7 p.m. and spent a couple of hours just slowly paddling around the shoreline. It’s a little over a mile heading north up the pond to the point where the Boardman River enters. I figure the total paddle is around 2.5 miles, but distance isn’t the point anyway.
Taking the time to enjoy the setting is what is should be about. When you paddle the river from Forks Landing down to the dam it’s hard to enjoy what the pond has to offer. At the end of a river run you just want to get through the pond and the normally pesky wind that you have to paddle against.
I just enjoyed paddling around the pond that evening. There were a few other row boats out with fishing couples. Bass, pike, perch and bluegill are popular pursuits for the fishers.
Paddling up the west side of the pond underneath the bluff I could occasionally hear people talking from the two viewing platforms high above. Sound does carry over the water even from that high up.
The bottom disappears very quickly as you watch it plunge into the depths. Largent said this was where the original river ran before the dam was erected. The pond is probably about 30 to 40 feet deep along most of the bluff.

Reaching the northern end of the pond, where the river enters, I spotted a couple of deer coming down to the shoreline for a drink. Spotting me they darted back into the woods a little way, watching as I paddled on by.
An osprey flew over the marshlands along this end of the pond. He flew over the area a couple of times hunting for an evening snack.
At one point a head, which surprised me, something popped up next to one of the many submerged stumps along the bank. It was a large snapping turtle, and he didn’t stay up long. I could hear him sucking in air as he quickly disappeared again.
The nesting loons were on their nest, and had at least one chick in tow. I couldn’t tell if there were more, but the one was following the father around the nest in the water. The mother was setting on the nest. They were delightful to watch, and listening to that eerie, yodel-like call they make is always a treat.
After floating for a while in the vicinity of the nest having my own little private “Animal Planet” show, I paddled on towards the landing and was rewarded with being able to watch a trumpeter swan forage in the shallows with some chicks nearby. These large cream colored birds with their air-horn calls and black beaks are slowly making a comeback in the area, according to Largent.
If you hike north along the bluff trail to the most northern overlook platform you sometimes can spot an eagle’s nest on the opposite side of the pond high in a white pine tree. You need binoculars.
The lake-size pond runs southwest to northeast. The landing is located off Brown Bridge Road just north of the dam. The trails along the bluff are accessed by a couple of parking lots off Hobbs Highway about 12 miles southeast of Traverse City.
It’s a special place. Get out and enjoy it this summer, because by next summer it will likely be much different. Hiking trails won’t change along the bluff, just the scenery. But, you won’t be able to paddle it anymore, and much of the waterfowl will be gone.
It will be interesting observing the change. I wonder if they felt the same 90 years ago.
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