Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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Monday, February 2, 2009

Letters 2/2/09

Letters More on the Volt
Here is some additional information to “Recharging Michigan” (Editorial, 1/19):The Volt also contains a gasoline engine assist, which generates electricity for the electric motor on longer trips. This extends the driving range to hundreds of miles.
The Volt is considered an electric car, rather than a hybrid, because the car is always being propelled by the electric motor: On short trips, batteries provide electricity to the motor. On long trips, the gasoline engine provides electricity to the motor.
A commuter driving fewer than 40 miles per day will use battery power only, and will not burn a drop of gasoline. If he or she decides to take a long trip, the gas engine assist turns on after 40 miles and generates the electricity.

Ted LeButt • TC

Not a fan
I find it puzzling and offensive that your publication would give space for Texas broadcaster Roy Henderson to suggest that he is a supporter of Traverse City. (re: “WLDR” 1/19)
He even had the nerve to imply that he’s a bigger supporter than Ross Biederman. Because of Ross Biederman, our communities have benefited from the Biederman Cancer Treatment Center and the Emergency Room at Munson Hospital. Ross and his radio stations give their time and resources to support area non-profits. There’s even a Biederman Foundation that contributes large sums of money to area non-profits.
Let’s recall what Roy Henderson has done for this community: Large eye-sore in downtown Traverse City. Sued the city leaders. I’m totally unaware of anything he has done positive for our community.
I think you show incredible blindness to this community when you choose to showcase an individual who has done nothing to deserve it. Why not showcase the real pioneers of this community who actually live here and care about this community, and who show it through “actions,” not a lot of “talk”.

W. Larson • TC
 
Monday, January 26, 2009

Letters 1/26/09

Letters Runaway spending
To young taxpayers: say no to new spending and debt!
Just a few months ago, Treasury Secretary Paulson abandoned his plan for how best to distribute the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. Instead of holding “reverse auctions” intended to eliminate toxic assets from banks’ balance sheets, Paulson switched to plan B. He, along with Fed Chief Bernanke, “offered” nine U.S. banks $125 billion in bailout funds in exchange for government (taxpayer) stakes in the companies.
Despite uneasiness from relatively healthy institutions, such as Wells Fargo, Paulson essentially strong-armed these banks to accept funds in order to restore public confidence in the banking sector. As Paulson put it, “The system needs more money, and all of you will be better off if there’s more capital in the system.”
If there was ever such a thing as inefficient allocation of resources, this has to be it. At a time when businesses and consumers alike are struggling to obtain credit, the central bank and Treasury decided to channel new capital into companies that didn’t necessarily want or need it!
Now, three months and $350 billion dollars later, confidence is still lacking. Citigroup received $25 billion last year, along with Bank of America. Both these companies are posting huge losses, and Bank of America is staged for yet another capital injection from TARP part 2.
As a young taxpayer, who will live with the consequences of these decisions for the next 50 years or so, I am growing increasingly concerned.
Even as budget deficits recently hit a record $485.2 billion in the first quarter alone, it seems no one in Congress or the Treasury is too concerned with the cost of TARP, or other ensuing Obama spending programs.
Why is it assumed that extravagant spending equals economic health? Remember, we are nearly half a trillion dollars in the red after just one fiscal quarter! In other words, in just the past three months, we have already passed last year’s total deficit, on pace for more than $1 trillion for fiscal year 2009.
How long will the rest of the world finance all this deficit spending we Americans love? Or will we simply debase our currency by printing dollars until we run out of ink? At some point, we’ll have no choice but to tighten our belts and bring runaway spending under control. It appears this won’t happen anytime soon. Clearly, the era of big government is not over. Instead, it’s back bigger than ever.

Joe Schoonover • TC

A proud American
I’m a “broken glass” Republican, meaning I will, if necessary, crawl across broken glass to get to the polls. I’m a veteran, a small business owner, I fly the flag, and have a portrait of Ronald Reagan in my office.
When Barack Obama started to gain national attention, I contemplated what it would mean if he were elected president. To say the least, it would be historic. I like living through historic times and this event would certainly make my list.
So here we are, seating the first duly-elected African-American as President of the United States and this Republican is one proud American. My ancestors fought and died in the civil war and their battles are being richly rewarded. For me the best part will be the sight of this beautiful family moving into the White House.
Rest assured on January 21st I renewed my political skepticism. On January 20th, however, I used the day to celebrate what it means to be an American.

Wally Morton • Northport


Different strokes
Rick and Heather Shumaker are the poster children for “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle“ (re: “Less is More,“ 12/22). I find their philosophies and actions commendable regarding budgeting, consumerism, charity and environmentalism. I applaud them and believe the general population can take a lesson from them.
I would, however; like to point out that the Shumakers are fortunate to have the luxury to consciously decide to “only” spend $35,000 of their income. For the many in our area struggling to get by on less it is not a luxury they can choose, it is a necessity.

Marianne Morgan • TC


 
Monday, January 19, 2009

Letters 1/19/09

Letters Offensive & ill-informed
It is with sadness that I write to respond to the letter “Holocaust Parallel” (Letters 1/12). I am dismayed that someone ostensibly devoted to peace implies that we Jews only care about suffering when it is “our own” (“...only when Jews are killed that’s it’s an atrocity”) being harmed. As someone who advocates for peace, human rights and justice for Palestinians and other peoples, and as a Jew, I find this notion that I care only about my people in this situation offensive and ill-informed.
U.S.-based Jewish organizations are working to bring an end to not just the current violence but the ongoing social injustice in Palestine and Israel, vociferously decrying the suffering of not just Israelis, but co-equally the suffering of Palestinians.
True peace makers are those who are capable of advocating not only for their own people but who are called and willing to advocate as strongly for the wellbeing of other groups, even those who are called enemies. We have too few leaders who will reach across the lines to make the “other’s” story as precious as their own.
I do not in the least understand what point was being made with the “going quietly to the gas chamber” reference, but I do feel the sting of a writer invoking our deepest pain to express her or his own rage. Message received.
I am deeply sorry for the suffering of this conflict. I am sorry that there are few real peace makers advocating beyond “us and them,” aiming for the higher ideal of commonality. We need more advocates for peace and nonviolence, capable of moving beyond sides and into a new paradigm of shared humanity. Throughout history there have been situations as dire and painful as the one faced in Palestine and Israel, and in every generation leaders advocating nonviolence, justice and healing have emerged. I pray for the emergence of such leadership speedily and in our own day.

Rabbi Chava Bahle • Suttons Bay

 
Monday, January 12, 2009

Letters 1/112/09

Letters Time to rebuild
It’s time to repower, rebuild, and refuel America! To revitalize our faltering economy we must transform the ways Michigan and the rest of the world produces and uses energy. We need to get our economy moving by building a clean energy future.
We must start cutting global warming pollution now. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have a reasonable chance of meeting this objective if developed countries as a whole cut emissions 25-40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050.
We call on members of Congress to support policies that:

• Move to 100 percent electricity from clean sources such as wind and solar. We need an aggressive national renewable electricity standard, national energy efficiency standard, strong building codes, and strong energy efficiency standards.
• Cut our dependence on oil. We need to significantly increase the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, create new incentives for plug-in electric vehicles, and adopt a federal low-carbon fuel standard that will bolster rural economies and cut global warming emissions.
• Create five million new clean energy jobs. We need to make major new investments in infrastructure and technology to jumpstart our economy and put Americans back to work.
• Reduce global warming pollution by at least 80 percent.
• Safeguard America’s wildlife and natural resources.
You can sign our petition at:
www.nwf.org/first100

Brenda Archambo • National Wildlife Federation • Cheboygan


Offensive to nurses
I have been reading the Northern Express since it first became available in the Petoskey area. I learn much about our area and its people through your reporting. I may not always agree with the subject matter being presented, but I am better informed as a result.
I am sure that you have the ability to censor the content of articles presented, as well as a letter to the editor in response to that content. What I am not understanding is your inability to censor the content of the advertising you accept.
I am referring to the ad on page 3 for Streeters in the December 29 edition. The depiction of a “bimbo nurse” is derogatory, degrading and stereotyping for all nurses - male and female.
We nurses have worked very hard to become the professionals we are. To see this type of ad in a well-respected newspaper in the 21st century makes me angry. I believe we nurses are owed an apology.

Susan Hoshield, RNC, MSN, CPNP • Petoskey

Holocaust parallel
The outrage in Gaza by the Israeli military has me wondering, where is the U.S. Jewish response? Do they care that hundreds of innocent civilians are being massacred by Israel? Or is it only when Jews are being killed that it’s an atrocity?
Having been to Palestine a number of times and getting to know many of them personally, I can say with certainty that the Palestinians will not go quietly to the gas chambers.

Randy Bond • Beulah



Worthy cause
A group of us are putting together a fund raiser for Jeff (a Britten Banners co-worker) and Missy Smith’s daughter, Bernie. If you’ve watched the news or read the paper I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Bernie and her multiple heart surgeries. She has spent most of her first year of life at hospitals in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.
Bernie has been home for the last couple of months getting acquainted with her three older sisters, Izzy, Lucy and Sadie.
A group of guys here at Britten Banners dabble in music (Rick Daigh and Mark Sanders) have decided to put on a show at the InsideOut Gallery to collect some funds for Ms. Bernie’s never-ending medical bills and the equipment she needs.
The Berniepalooza event is from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 18, with a donation of $10 adults and free for kids under 12. Everyone and anyone is invited - kids are welcome!
To learn more about Bernie and her struggles check out her web site: http://www.healthebern.com.

Karla Shiels • TC
 
Monday, January 5, 2009

Letters 1/5/09

Letters A 3,000-mile search
Local Elk Rapids builder Jay Merchant has seen his share of the pressures of the construction industry. But only since the housing markets have burst like a water balloon dropped from the roof has he been forced to travel such great distances to keep working.
Recently, necessity has prompted this local businessman to reach out a bit farther to try and keep the lights on. He has been obliged to travel all the way to the Rocky Mountain ski resort town of Snowmass, Colorado this December.
His 20-plus years of experience brought an opportunity from someone who worked for Jay as an intern, back in the day. By the grace of God, this has provided work at a time of trial and uncertainty. So, on a whim and a prayer he “loaded up the trucks,” said “Colorado is the place we need to be,” and set out across the country.
The task was daunting for Jay and crew. Driving for days, they were mesmerized by cornfields, cows, and tumbleweeds before a harrowing attempt at crossing the mountain passes. Then they set up a rental house on a shoestring budget with a few basic necessities. They worked in fluctuating conditions and temperatures six days a week, while trying to make a good impression on the locals. They also carried lunch items out each day to prevent the bears from showing up at the site and survived a rear-end fender-bender en route to work one morning.
All of these events threatened to dampen the crew’s spirit, but they pressed on and managed to complete most of what they set out to do. Not even the theft of some tools in a hotel parking lot on the return journey managed to rain on their parade. All was taken in stride and everyone was home for Christmas.
An interim jaunt may be necessary to deal with loose ends and minor changes. In a month or two, a return trip is on the agenda to complete the detailed finish work in the three mountainside condos the crew worked on.
These truly are tough times that we face. Yet difficult times can seem to bring out the best in us. These unsung hometown heroes are living proof and exemplify that; when asked to go the extra mile, go 3,000 miles instead.

John Larkins • Elk Rapids

Less is more
Thanks to Anne Stanton for a very uplifting article on Rick and Heather Shumaker for living small instead of large. They are to be greatly commended for leaving a small “footprint.” And I thought I was the only one to live like that! More should do the same.

Charlene Jackson • via email

Good times at Art‘s
Your article about Art’s Tavern was very personal to me as a long time resident who drank, smoked, played pool, danced to the juke-box and partied at Art’s in times prior to Tim Barr making it more food-friendly.
I remember Sunday afternoons where I was the only one in the bar for the whole day playing pool. And now to see it occupied on winter nights is wonderful. If the food, scenery, friendships, toasts, skiing, or whatever attracts you, Tim is always welcoming.
Nothing stays the same and the times I spent at Art‘s are gone, so I give a big Christmas wish to all to find themselves at Tim Barr’s friendly bar. I will only tell the edgy stories to those I know: just don’t peel out in front of the bar, or date one of the bartenders‘ girlfriends!

Brad Krull • Glen Arbor
 
Monday, December 29, 2008

Letters 12/29/08

Letters Buzz Wilson, hero
At the end of each year, Time Magazine n ominates a man or woman of the year.
As a housecleaner and an office assistant, I don’t have that kind of influence, but if I did, I would nominate Buzz Wilson, who passed away this last summer.
You might know of Buzz because of his generous contribution to the State Theater in Traverse City. He was the “angel” who gave a huge gift to renovate the theatre. He just didn’t write a check. He used his many contacts in the construction business to get the job done in record time, and then he (or I) showed up every day to make sure the job was done right.
I know Buzz because he hired me to clean his house in the summer of 2003. I felt immediately that my life had changed for the better. He brought out the best in me. Three years later, he offered me a job as his personal assistant. I told him I had no experience and turned down his job offer. He hired me anyway and told me I could learn the job. It took me a lot longer to believe in myself, but I finally did.
Buzz was my mentor, my inspiration, and my friend. He treated me like family rather than an employee. He helped my husband and myself through the process of buying our first home. Then he stood by my family’s side when we had what seemed—at the time—my husband’s insurmountable legal problems. He had hope and saw the right side of things. My husband never had a good father figure in his life, and Buzz was that person.
The memory of Buzz Wilson will live on in our family and the Traverse City downtown. For Buzz, everything was possible. No project was too small or too big to accomplish. Maybe he’s not “man of the year,” but I would say he’s the angel of my lifetime.

Audrey Roman • Suttons Bay


Bad business
Madam Governor, why have you tied your political future to the worst-run businesses in America? Do you know what happened to the first electric car that was crushed so the technology would remain secret?
The people at the Big Three have ignored the American public for so long that it has become a habit with them. They believed that they could dictate what the public wanted. Can you say Edsel?
I hope that you have other options open for yourself, because these guys deserve to fail. It is the American way in the open market. Someone is always right there, ready to pick up the pieces, and start over. All that they are doing is trying to remain in place so the big men in the Big Three can continue to make big money off us.

Michael H. MacCready • Manton

Say no to cow fart tax
In the 1970s, it was global cooling. Then came global warming. Now it’s just “climate change” for the Al Gore followers. If you haven’t gone outside lately, it’s been renamed clearly for political reasons.
“Man made” climate change is a hoax of the proportions well beyond the recent $50 billion Wall Street Ponzi scheme reported. One only need to look at Mr. Gore’s new mansion, yacht, jet, and millions of eco-friendly company-specific business options to know his motivations.
For what it’s worth, in Great Britain this crowd is now proposing to place a carbon tax on 12 million cows in the fields so as to reduce the herd and the country’s carbon inprint. Seems cows have a high propensity to pass gas. More so than chickens and pigs. This is laughable, if it were not so serious. Should the same thinking hit our own shores, I suggest a individual carbon tax on Mr. Al Gore himself and what he spews. In doing, we might save a good portion of our own herd from what Great Britain’s may be facing shortly. Your wallet is counting on you.

Brian Spencer • TC
 
Monday, December 22, 2008

Letters 12/22/08

Letters Teach them a lesson
First Enron, Xerox, Tyco, etc., then Bear Stearns, Lehman, WaMu, Wachovia, AIG, etc., then the Big 3, now Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
When will the law truly punish corrupt bigwigs? Take their every dollar and possession, and give their whole families nothing but some clothes, Welfare and Section-8! And no gifts from friends either!
Poverty: isn’t this what their former workers and their families get? And by whose fault? Bastards...

J. Andrew Smith • via email

Where‘s the justice?
A local cop chokes on pizza and has an accident -- or vice-versa? Another officer runs a red light and has an accident because he was “blinded by the sun.”
The media is replete with other reports of those in uniform who drive drunk off (and on?) the clock. Often their accidents or other misjudgments result in NO ticket or significant discipline.
Contrast that with a hard worker who gets up early on an ugly morning to deliver a local paper on yet another poorly maintained Grand Traverse County Road Commission road. She has the misfortune of slipping on icy slush and is issued a ticket. Perhaps her insurance costs will increase.
Little wonder that people are losing patience as well as respect for the local “institutions”?
Ethical, dedicated, law-abiding members of the law and Road Commission must be embarrassed.

Joyce Walter • Suttons Bay

Say no to the bail out
As the disgraced Detroit Big Three automakers are asking Congress for tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, we should remember the last several billion that we gave the industry, and its outcome.
In the 1990s, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles worked to make 80+ miles-per-gallon cars and allowed for communications amongst scientists between the big three auto makers to help speed that process along.
The Partnership was a huge success, with three 70+ miles-per-gallon prototypes. General Motors had the Precept, with one version getting 108 miles-per-gallon, equivalent running on hydrogen. Ford had the Prodigy getting 72 miles-per-gallon, and Daimler-Chrysler also had a 72 miles-per-gallon vehicle. Taxpayers were proud that their billions were not wasted, and expected these vehicles on the market.
But none of the automakers put any of these vehicles into production, or anything similar.
Instead, they chose gas-guzzling SUVs, the epitome of stupidity from a climate change and energy conservation perspective. Using slick ads to push their behemoth vehicles, the auto makers are among the biggest culprits in the fast rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
What happened to the efficient vehicles? The failure to incorporate that technology was also a major cause of our economic collapse. With the rise in gas prices this past summer, the values of SUV’s plummeted, and for many, their gas guzzlers are now worth less than the loan they have on them.
Why should we give a bail-out when the automakers are the ones who put themselves into the crisis they are in through their own idiocy? Why don’t they dust off these efficient vehicles and put them into production, something both our wallets and our planet could have used a decade ago?
They say those who forget history are bound to repeat it. After the foolish follies of the auto industries, in pushing gas guzzlers on the American public (along with tax breaks that they manipulated through Congress), why should we bail them out?

Chad Kister • Nelsonville, Ohio

Where was Shelby?
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby has expressed his outrage at the proposed bailout for U. S. automakers. Could it be because of his anti-union animus towards labor unions in general, and the United Auto Workers in particular? It is apparent that Senator Shelby is interested only in protecting the interests of the union-free foreign auto manufacturers in his state.
The $14 billion bailout package proposed for the Big Three U.S. auto manufacturers pales in comparison to the open-ended $700 billion bailout package given to mortgage lenders. At least there are payback provisions attached to any bailout for the automakers.
It’s also obvious that Senator Shelby’s record demonstrates his contempt for collective bargaining, rationalizing that union workers make too much money. Really? Where was Senator Shelby’s outrage when corporate CEO’s were (are) raking in millions of dollars in wages, stock options and bonuses? Where was his outrage when they got paid this outrageous compensation while at the same time leading their corporations into an economic abyss?
Where was Senator Shelby when the mortgage-lending shell game was being played out?

Paul G. Jaehnert • via email

Advent Conspiracy
In the life of the Christian church, the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) is a time of preparation, waiting and hope. Advent is a time to take stock of our values, priorities and goals.
Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope and revolutionary love. Yet how do most people celebrate this? Some trample Wal-Mart employees to death to save 30 bucks on a DVD player (an ironic twist to ‘Black Friday’ if there ever were one). Others spend hours sitting in traffic jams. Some are overwhelmed with stress while others accrue massive amounts of debt. And even when the last trash can of holiday refuse is dumped and out of sight, the earth continues to pay the price.
Enter The Advent Conspiracy. The Potter’s House is joining with other progressive faith communities by encouraging its people to do four simple things this Advent.
Worship Fully: Advent is a time to lay down your burdens and lift your hearts to God. Life is difficult, we know, but Advent reminds us that love triumphs and peace will reign.
Spend Less: Buy one less gift and use the money for something good. You need not be a Scrooge; just be intentional.
Give More: Time is the real gift of Christmas. Go sledding with your kids, bake cookies together, call your mom.
Love All: Do something compassionate for those in need. Jesus loved people in ways that broke down barriers. Jesus loved those who were poor, forgotten, oppressed and hurting. We have the opportunity to do the same.
I recently learned that 1.8 million people die each year from lack of clean water. That figure includes about 3,900 children a day. It’s estimated that it would take about $10 billion to solve this problem. But that’s chump-change when you consider Americans spend an estimated $450 billion on Christmas.
Do something on your own. Partner with our church to dig wells. Support a local non-profit. Just do something dangerous this year. Give ‘presence‘ and join the conspiracy.

Rev. Corey Sanderson • Potter’s House, United Church of Christ


 
Monday, December 15, 2008

Letters 12/15/08

Letters In defense of Israel
I will not attempt to deny any of Ms. Young’s second-hand accounts of incidents described to her in Israel, however I would like to counter her letter with some first-hand evidence (re: Letters, 12/8).
I had the opportunity, honor, and great privelage to work alongside the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and never once witnessed a single incident of unprofessional behavior. In fact, in my 22 years of army service (working with many foreign armies) I never worked with a more professional and disciplined military force than the IDF.
I personally witnessed several incidents where these men actually held their fire at great risk to themselves in order to prevent possible civilian casualties; and I know, if it had been me, a highly trained U.S. soldier, I probably would have reacted differently.
To besmirch the men and women of the IDF based upon heresay (and I suspect a certain level of anti-Semitism) is disgraceful, as the nation of Israel is a true friend and dependable ally in a part of the world where these qualities are rare.

Michael W. Rutledge
• SFC, USA (Ret)

Michigan & Israel
I find it unconscionable that Governor Granholm would consider encouraging companies from Israel to invest in Michigan.
Israel is about the size of Baghdad and a little smaller than New York City, yet it receives one-third of all U.S. foreign aid. Yes, our tax dollars. It has the sixth most destructive military in the world and has nuclear weapons. It has defied hundreds of U.N. resolutions going back to 1948. It is wreaking death and destruction on the people of Palestine with U.S.-made weapons.
Most of the people of Israel abhor what their government is doing. Michigan can help them in their quest and set an example for human rights. The South African government stopped their repression only after the international community used the financial power of divestment and other economic tools. Michigan needs to do the same with Israel.
Economic times are tough in Michigan, but we need to put our morality above our wallets and find better investors.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Memorable story
I was moved by Nancy Vogl’s article, “Breaking the Cycle of Racism.” The Record-Eagle did a responsible job reporting the Hampel story, and the community made a wonderful statement when it rose with one voice to speak against racism. But Vogl’s piece in the Northern Express was something special -- something memorable.
Vogl did something only a neighbor with a big heart in a small community can do -- she went next door and knocked, and the door opened on a larger understanding of a divisive problem. Vogl is an excellent writer with a sense of drama. More important to me, she conveyed a courageous sense of faith in the ultimate rightness of our community. She discovered in a person who was scorned for a mistake a redemptive humanity.
Thanks to Vogl and her neighbor, Rod, and to the Express for this very meaningful article.

Grant Parsons • TC


In memory
I am writing to marvel at the beauty of a memorial service that seemed to embody Lori Hall Steele.
There was a blend of Celtic, Christian, gutsy blues, solo guitar, a touch of rock and roll, precious children -- especially Jackson, Lori’s son -- who directed a
solo concert with one rehearsal in the back of the church right before the service. The entire event was slightly edgy, as passionate people are. In the end, a beautiful woman emphasized the power of love.

Francine Wynkoop
• via email

A better way
My Grand Vision is for anybody to safely cross Division Street in Traverse City.
Ideally, residents on either side of Division should be able to send their kids to Ace Hardware or the Grand Traverse Pie Company and feel good about it. As it is now, there are no totally safe options. There are stop lights on the Parkway, Front Street and Seventh Street, but with the amount of traffic and the vehicles turning right with the light and on red lights, it is still too dangerous.
Step one could be renaming the street. How about Water Street? There are Water streets in Petoskey, Cadillac and Boyne City, so this could in a way be a regional connection. The street takes anybody entering town from from the south straight to the water, the main reason for visiting Traverse City.
Step two would be changing the newly named street from a four-lane road into a three-lane road with a center left turn lane. There are numerous studies that explain how three-lane roads move traffic efficiently and are much safer than four lanes. A four-lane turns into a three-lane as soon as a car has to wait to make a left turn. A three-lane would eliminate getting stuck behind someone making a left turn and all the lane changing that happens from trying to avoid being stuck behind someone making a left turn.
A three-lane road would be much easier for pedestrians and bike riders to cross. It would also help connect the west side to the rest of town. It would in effect make the neighborhood feel of Traverse City expand. As it is now, Division Street is an unattractive river of metal-in-motion.
With the west side more connected to the rest of town (including the Grand Traverse Commons) property values and livibility would improve on that side of town.
To get an idea of how it would work, 14th Street between Division and Union is a three lane and Eighth Street between Rose and Garfield is a three lane. These are still busy streets, but they are safer, calmer and more crossable than Division Street.
Division Street is a busier street, but it would be good thing to slow people down when they come in to Traverse City. Tourists would be more likely to go downtown or the Grand Traverse Commons than to blow through town on their way to Leelanau County. Traverse City would be a more welcoming town with Division/Water Street as a three-lane.
No one likes being stuck in traffic, but for businesses, traffic means prosperity -- something we could currently use more of around here. It is up to us to make our roads safe and comfortable for everybody, including motorists, walkers and bike riders. Maybe a lane change would make it comfortable enough where more people would walk and ride bikes and there would be less traffic.

Patrick Ivory • TC



 
Monday, December 8, 2008

Letters 12/8/08

Letters Wine woes
I work for a wine retailer in Madison Heights. The vast majority of our business consists of us delivering wine directly to our clients.
The first week of December, the Michigan House of Representatives will likely vote on House bill 6644. This bill would make it illegal for my Michigan-licensed wine company, and other Michigan wine retailers, to deliver wine to our Michigan customers.
Advocates of this bill claim that this is the only way to stop minors from purchasing wine for delivery online, in spite of there not being one known instance of a minor successfully purchasing wine from an out of state retail wine shipper in any of the dozens of states that allow the deliveries. To penalize actual local retailers due to a phantom risk posed by out of state retailers seems foolhardy and misguided.
The practical ramifications of House Bill 6644 passing would be catastrophic for my company as well as hundreds of other wine retailers and catering companies. We would be forced to employ less delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and even customer service reps. During this particularly trying holiday season, the Michigan House of Representatives would be better served considering a bill that can create more jobs across Michigan, not one that is certain to take jobs away.

Rick Wolfe • Westland

Israel & injustice
It is hard to think that a sad event will bring a glimmer of hope. Today an email did just that.
My daughter serves as a volunteer each year in Palestine. The stories and information she brings back are heart-breaking. There seems to be a bottomless pit of injustice inflicted on a people who seem to have no options. The excuse is that there are terrorists that need to be controlled. But it isn’t terrorists who are suffering, and ordinary citizens have no influence on Hamas or Fahta.
With U.S.A. support, Israel commits constant human rights violations. They seize land with no recourse for the rightful land owner; they throw Palestinians into jail for something as simple as smiling. They cut off electricity, food, and water. They terrorize international peace volunteers and have kidnapped some from non-Israeli territory.
The email was about an Israeli soldier with his contingent firing bullets into the Palestinian fields where farmers were attempting to work. The soldier put his gun down, crossed the barrier, and joined the farmers in their planting. When he returned he likely disappeared into an Israeli prison. Reading of this selfless act, I cried for him and the people he was supposed to terrorize.
This holocaust could be stopped. Re-read They Dare to Speak Out by former congressman Paul Findley and the more recent The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Mearsheimer and Watt.
You can help. Replace the olive trees ripped out by the Israelis. The East Jerusalem YMCA has a campaign for this. (www.jai-pal.org ) The U.S.A funds Israel at $11 billion annually, no strings attached. To see what they’re buying, go to: www.freegaza.org. It isn’t as hopeless as it sometimes appears.

Barbara Young • Bear Lake
 
Monday, December 1, 2008

Letters 12/1/08

Letters When vets disagree...
On Veterans Day, we, of the Veterans for Peace (VFP), placed at the open space in Traverse City, the symbolic crosses of 168 Michigan Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans that have been killed in action. We did so to honor our fallen brothers and sisters. Placing those crosses was difficult emotionally for all of us. Each cross and photo represented a soldier taken from his loved ones, never to return. And we know countless others are coming home severely wounded, both physically and emotionally.
As president of VFP, I feel obligated to respond to a presentation/panel discussion which was disrupted at the Old Arts Building in Leland on Veterans Day. I am a combat infantry Vietnam veteran. I have been awarded the Silver Star, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and other medals. I have suffered from post traumatic stress for the past 40+ years, due to wars horrifying experiences.
And I remember our presence in Vietnam was senseless.
My brothers of the VFP who were gracious enough to accompany me to Leiand on Veterans Day, and participate on the panel are well educated and thoughtful. We spoke to the themes given to us,, and did so to the best of our ability. I was not allowed the chance to speak of my return home from war because I was interrupted by angry veterans that disrupted our presentation. We were dubbed “not real veterans.” Referred to as “castrati.” We were personally attacked and disrespected as we tried to speak of the negative effects of war.
Our statement of purpose is: “we, having dutifully served out nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.” Therein lies our philosophy.
Armistice day originated as a “day dedicated to peace.” What better way to honor our veterans than to talk about peace.
This I know. All veterans that have fought on the front line, infantry, and have experienced the intensity and anxiety of war, would never want their children to experience the same. Why then do some veterans glorify war when we should be glorifying the veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but each and every day of the year?

Tim Keenan • TC

The forgettable Browns
Your piece on Lion Facts (November 17-23) fifth bullet point is inaccurate. The Cleveland Browns have also never been to the Super Bowl. That’s okay -- everybody always forgets about The Browns.

Jeff Hall • via email
 
Monday, November 24, 2008

Letters 11/24/08

Letters Remembering Lori
Our little town is filled with voices: listen. Ours are the thousand beautiful voices of filmmakers and actors, authors and broadcasters, activists and
office-holders, musicians and painters and sculptors.
We lost one of those beloved voices on Wednesday. Lori Hall Steele was a writer, a journalist and essayist. She wrote about us, both from us and to us. She wrote about the heart and the hearth. She wrote about helping her toddler shovel tricycle trails in the snow. She wrote about the children who joined her “playing in the dirt” to plant flowers. “Bright crazy things were living,” she wrote, “and they helped.” She wrote about Phil Murray’s chocolate. She wrote about the re-birth of the old State Hospital. She wrote about the value of strong neighborhood schools.
Lori lived and worked from the center of this community. She wrote stories that pleased and provoked and moved us because she knew us. She cared about what mattered to us. She promoted the changes that are good for us. On fine days, she and her laptop would sit at a table outside Horizon Books. She must have gotten some writing done there, but it seems that she spent most of her time listening and responding as folks stopped to talk about the big issues, the small issues, and everything in between. Lori dwelled in the center of this community.
When her illness compelled her to ask for help, help arrived in abundance - and no wonder. It wasn’t just that we knew Lori. It wasn’t just that we loved Lori. We cherished Lori. Selfishly, we had to try to make her well, to restore her to the health that gave us those warm thoughts, those sparkling words, those big bright compassionate eyes... and oh, those dimples!
As Lori got sicker, we hoped for a miracle that didn’t come. Now that she’s gone, we’re left to do what her writings always invited us to do. Pay attention to the everyday miracles that do come. Appreciate the snowflakes, and the neighborhood sounds that float in through the windows. See the genie summoned when we polish our grandmother’s silver. Hear the love in our mother’s absent-minded chatter: “Your uncle called and we should take yoga class and how do you make apple crisp?...”
Lori Hall Steele was a vibrant voice, and it’s a sorrowful void of silence she leaves behind.

Bonnie Deigh • TC
Great Lakes cash cow?
If you doubt that Great Lakes water is at risk, see the full-page Morgan
Stanley ad on page 49 of the November 17 New Yorker magazine. Picture a gigantic water bottle superimposed on a gigantic city being built in a desert, and saying:
“WORLD WISE: Demand for water is growing twice as fast as the population. New methods of sourcing, purifying and transporting water will be essential to meet these demands. But what could these innovations mean for you? Speak to your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor about where potential opportunities may lie. To find the smart investments today, you need to be world wise.”
Where else but in the world’s greatest supply of fresh water, the Great Lakes, would investors first look for the “sourcing” of water? We must support the efforts of Bart Stupak and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation to amend the Great Lakes Compact to prevent sales of our water as “products” for investors’ profits.
Anita Abbott • Northport
 
Monday, November 17, 2008

Letters 11/17/08

Letters The truth about Bambi
Re the question: “So what’s next for Bambi and Buck?” in Robert Downes’s column on deer:
Just a point of clarification - Bambi IS a buck. Unfortunately, the original novel, a classic of surpassing strength and lyrical beauty, became ‘Disney-fied” beyond recognition shortly after it was published in 1928.
I was a parent lucky enough to discover the delights of sharing the original adventure with my boys (expect requests for several readings). Its description of the coming of winter is unforgettable.

Bill Smith • Empire

Buy Made in the U.S.A.
Whatever happened to buying “Made in the U.S.A.“? And I don’t just mean “made” in U.SA. I mean “made and the money staying” here.
“Made in U.SA. only implies that an American citizen earned a paycheck, somewhere along the lines of manufacturing it. How many of you drive a Subaru? I have never seen so many Subarus in one city before! Even if it was built in Indiana, the money goes to a Japanese company, making Fuji Heavy Industries richer and driving our country’s own true all-American companies closer to going out of business.
I refuse to drive a foreign vehicle! Always have and always will.
However, I am still at fault too. And so are you. Everyone wants to save a buck nowadays. Maybe this is where we all went wrong?
A few months ago I took at look at the tags in my clothes. What used to be my favorite clothing store, because of good prices, is no longer a store I will ever shop in again. My jeans were made in Hong Kong. My shirts were made in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Pakistan and Malaysia.
From then on, I‘ve always looked for the “Made in U.SA.” labels. Toys, dishes, and home decor... It seems like China is the superpower of the world’s trade market. We’ve made them that way.
Besides the U.SA., why not support our own state? Or city? Before rushing off to your nearest national franchise for groceries or auto parts, why not consider supporting your neighbors? Olsens and Tom’s Food Markets were locally born. Meijer is a Michigan-born company. But Kmart, WalMart, and Sam’s Club probably were not. Our habits as consumers are the main cause of companies having to find ways to cut back on expenses. Sometimes this means cutting jobs, or closing doors.
Next time you need an auto part, why not buy it from a local family-owned store instead of a national franchise store? Why not pay a few extra dollars for the quality part made in the USA, instead of saving a few bucks and buying the cheap part made in China?
Don’t you get tired of hearing your friend complain about the government, & blaming them for the reason why GM laid off his uncle & then his uncle lost his home to foreclosure? Yet your friend and three of their family members all drive Subarus. Excuse me? Who’s at fault?

Cheri Anderson • TC
 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Letters 11/10/08

Letters Racism in TC
I was saddened and dismayed to read about the feelings and actions of the employees of Hampel‘s Key and Lockshop. I was, however, happy to see that the news was recognized as important enough to be reported by the Record-Eagle.
We need to know who our neighbors are. It made me sick to my stomach to know that people with that kind of proud hatred are living in the same community with me.
I can only hope that people with such ignorant racist attitudes are still cognitively able to learn the errors of their thinking. I will place my hope and my heart in the idea that someday, Hampel‘s and their loyal customers will be given the capacity for increased knowledge, understanding, and respect.

Robin Tilwick • TC
Angry veterans
Just a comment and rebuttal to the decision of Hampel‘s gun and and key shop to fly the flag inverted last week. A coworker came in Friday telling me of his father‘s total disgust with the decision of flying the flag this way. He is a WW II vet and fought for peoples‘ rights, but not this blatant disrespect.
I too am a vet and so are my two brothers and my Dad. We served to protect the rights of people like this, but this isn’t a right that Hampel‘s has as stated in the code for the flying the flag.
It usually used as a distress signal or call for help. In this case, the owner is probably not pleased with the current state of affairs: the war, the economy, whatever.
The upside down U.S. flag is an official signal of distress. It is not meant to be, and is not officially recognized as any type of disrespect when so displayed for the right reasons.
If the employee of Hampel‘s would like to be considered a traitor to America, he can continue his actions, but otherwise stop and respect our flag. Your opinion is allowed, but don’t bring our great flag into this. Many men have died to keep that flag flying in the right manner.

Joe Deater • via email
 
Monday, November 3, 2008

Letters 11/3/08

Letters Those awful liberals...
They would actually spend money helping people instead of killing people.
A pundit was predicting what would happen if the Democrats gained control of Congress and the White House. He said they would cut defense spending and increase spending on social programs.
Now, isn’t that the worst thing that could happen? Helping the average citizen and cut defense when the Martians are coming, the Martians are coming?

Richard R Riker • Mackinaw City

Letter to Obama
Let me be candid. After all the campaigning, I still don’t know you very well. You are still coming off as advocating intrusive and paternalistic national government with little faith in free enterprise or belief in personal responsibility and accountability.
I worry that your view of self reliance evolved out of your long-time membership in a Chicago church that embraced Black Liberation Theology which perpetuates a victim mentality long ago abandoned by most black Americans and other minority groups who are doing well. I worry about your belief that the role of government is to redistribute income through personal and corporate taxes.
You have not expressed much faith in or respect for the private sector as the real source of the nation’s wealth. The only incentive you have promised to encourage national corporations to locate or expand here is a threat of punitive tax policies. Read Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat to understand we cannot unilaterally establish the level of competitive wages or total cost in a world market.
No matter how much you despise corporate America, companies always have choices of where to locate. You will not be able to build a wall around the country with artificial constraints to keep jobs in the U.S. We will only keep what we earn and deserve in a world of vicious competition.
Much of what you have said and not said, as well as what you have done and not done, undermines confidence in your being the president we need.

Dick Selvala • Cross Village


End suffering: vote yes
As an 18-year-old first-time voter and a Crohn’s disease patient of six years I am urging all Michigan residents to vote yes on proposals 1 and 2.
Proposal 1 is for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and Proposal 2 is for lifting a Michigan constitutional ban on the research of stem cells or the use of stem cells in Michigan. Both of these proposals would offer relief to patients who have been suffering through diseases such as leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and those affected by Crohn’s disease. Legalizing these methods of treatments would offer patients hope by giving them a new treatment when all other common medicines and treatments have failed them.
The people who want these proposals legalized are not immoral or “pot heads” -- they just want something to make their bodies healthy again so they can aspire to the same health standards of a person not having these diseases.
Michigan has a chance to help end the suffering of these patients by voting yes on proposals 1 and 2. Let‘s end the suffering and give them hope on November 4th.

Matt Tomlinson • Grawn
 
Monday, October 27, 2008

Letters 10/27/08

Letters Teens & sex
I read the beautifully written short article by Jessica Schrader on Kids & the truth about sex ed. This particular subject is especially important to me. I am a child of a teen pregnancy and have a broad understanding of the struggles a teen can have raising a child. I also have witnessed many of my teen friends growing up dealing with STD and abortion issues. This is a personal and very public issue.
To provide some factual insight to Jessica’s point; the Advocates for youth website provides the following profound information:
“Each year, U.S. teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies, and youth under age 25 experience about 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By age 18, 70 percent of U.S. females and 62 percent of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex.
Comprehensive sex education is effective at assisting young people to make healthy decisions about sex and to adopt healthy sexual behaviors.No abstinence-only-until-marriage program has been shown to help teens delay the initiation of sex or to protect themselves when they do initiate sex.Yet, the U.S. government has spent over one billion dollars supporting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Although the U.S. government ignores it, adolescents have a fundamental human right to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information.”
I feel that this subject could use some dedicated coverage for the health of our society. I would encourage the Northern Express to do so.

Jenn Craven • Lake Ann

Teens & responsibility
This is a response to Jessica Schrader’s article favoring teaching junior and senior high school students the how to’s of birth control. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea.
To understand these reasons, you may want to consider something else we tell teens to abstain from with less than ideal results: consuming alcohol. I’m guessing that in their health classes teens are not instructed in how to drink responsibly. If we did teach that, we would be sending the message that we expect them to break the law and drink alcohol before age 21. We would also be wasting our breath because research has shown that due to biological and developmental factors, teens are not generally capable of applying the self-restraint that would allow them to drink responsibly.
In the case of teen sex, the responsible and self-disciplined teens will wait. The less responsible and self-disciplined will have sex, but be the least likely to successfully use birth control even if educated in the greatest of detail.
Every variation on sex education has been tried in different parts of the country and different times, including handing out free condoms to students. There’s no clear evidence that unwed pregnancy or disease rates are lower where sex education has been most explicit.
The people of Michigan have decided through the political process that they want to send an unequivocal message to young people that they are not mature enough for sex. Those who decide otherwise have easy access to birth control information on the internet in the unlikely event they are inclined to be responsible.

Nancy Brimhall, RN • Alden

 
 
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