I spent a lot of time on Grand Traverse Bay during the late 1970s through
the mid-1980s and still remember the crystal clear waters, searching for
Petoskey stones at the waters edge, sailing in the fresh air and marveling
at the natural beauty of the area. Finally, after 25 years, I have made
the pilgrimage back. The entire drive of almost 1,000 miles from Georgia
with my wife and my 10 year old daughter and my 12 year old son was spent
with me preaching about the superiority of the Great Lakes to anything in
the South and generally bragging about the area.
We arrived at the cottage, the kids immediately changed into swim gear and
charged for the beach. The next thing I heard was a shout for me to come
quick. Imagine my surprise when I saw green sludge lapping up on the
beach, a light scum covering the rocks, and a green zone 3 to 5 feet
wide just under the water only a foot off shore. Initially I was shocked,
then deeply saddened. What could have possibly have happened? The water
was still clear, but there was no doubt that the lake had suffered some
type of serious damage and it was widespread. I got the kids into the
water through an area that was not as covered with the green growth (they
quickly came back out - they are used to Southern water temperatures) and
did a little investigating to see if anyone knew what was happening to the
What I found was shocking and entirely too familiar. I heard it is the
run-off from the farms, over development, invasive species, sewage from
septic tanks, over commercialization, over industrialization, or lower
water levels. I heard it is the politicians refusing to do anything
because of the money lining their pockets from one group or another and
that the Michigan DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality?) is
incompetent. I heard many theories and excuses, but this is what I know.
First, the lake is being damaged and the difference from 25 years ago is
shocking and second, the reasons for the damage can be determined
scientifically and remedies found if the people decide to make it so.
The people and communities which line Lake Michigan and all of the Great
Lakes have been blessed with an amazing lifestyle and an accompanying
great responsibility. You are all stewards of not only one of the worlds
great natural resources, but with one of Gods and Mother Natures
greatest works. A place that not only is beautiful, but that touches
peoples hearts and souls. I have to say that your stewardship appears to
be less than complete.
And while you continue to bicker and not take concrete actions to find and
fix the problem, the lake will continue to deteriorate. In 15 years, give
me a call. We in the South can show you how to build docks and ramps that
can reach 20 to 30 feet out beyond the slime and the muck to reach water
you will be willing to put a boat in. I am sure the middle of the bay will
still be fine.
Terry Hunley Atlanta, GA
As Jim Hightower puts it in his June Lowdown, there is a flock of
right-wing governors who seem to have flown out of the same dark
political hell-hole in the past couple of years. All of them are pushing
vituperative measures designed to gut not only public employees and
unions, but also the entire middle class. Simultaneously they want to give
new tax cuts to corporations and millionaires.
Doesnt anyone find it odd that these governors (and many Republican
state legislators) all seem to have the same play book. Not only are
their agendas alike and the content of their proposals remarkably
similar, but theyre also parroting the same scripted rationale for
So where does this concerted attack on the hard-won rights, protections,
and democratic power of Americas wage earners come from? We certainly
havent had much help from the mainstream mass media in revealing this. It
comes from a relative handful of arrogantly rich, right-wing families and
corporate chieftains who have long been dedicated to destroying organized
labor, repealing the New Deal, and returning America to the glory days
when robber barons ruled.
It comes from corporate front groups such as Michigan located the Mackinac
Center for public policy. Peek under the Mackinac Center rock, and youll
find piles of money from the billionaire Koch brothers, the DeVos (Amway)
and Prince families of Grand Rapids and the Waltons of Walmart.
Thus, behind the look - alike anti-worker, anti-democratic policies lie
these insidious right-wing policy shops that have been set up and richly
financed by the wealthy and by big corporations to prepare and
hand-deliver programs to compliant governors and key legislators.
Terence M. Collins TC
I found the ad the Center for Plastic Surgery placed in the Northern
Express highly offensive. To tell a woman with a small breast size that
her worth is less than that of a AAA battery is so wrong on so many levels
I hardly know where to begin. I will be sharing this ad with my fellow
classmates at Eastern Michigan University where we are currently studying
the degrading messages young girls and women receive on a daily basis in
Mary Meredith via email
Tens of thousands of men and women have fought and died to protect our
democratic way of life. This emergency manager law (PA4) recently passed
by our legislature is an attack from within on that democratic way of
I for one will not stand by and watch our democracy be destroyed. Our
corporation controlled representatives may try and put a happy face on
this undemocratic law, but it doe not change the fact that it is
dictatorial not democratic.
Yes, democracy can be difficult and messy at times, but much preferable to
a dictatorship. So sign the petition for referendum and let the voters
decide. Its the democratic thing to do.
Randy Bond Beulah
From a column by Tom Switzer about a speech 40 years ago by President
Richard Nixon, predicting the end of the American Century.
In 1971, Nixon addressed an audience of media executives in Kansas City
and predicting that Americas dominance as a superpower would be replaced
by a world in which global power would be shared with the Soviet Union,
Western Europe, Japan and China, creating a safer world:
I think of what happened to Greece and Rome, and you see what is left
only the pillars. What has happened, of course, is that the great
civilizations of the past, as they have become wealthy, as they have
lost their will to live, to improve, they then have become subject to
decadence that eventually destroys the civilization. The U.S. is now
reaching that period.