Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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Monday, March 23, 2009

Letters 3/23/09

Letters Book store casualty
Thank you for the support and the kind words in your editorial of March 16 as well as in your past issues (“Reinventing the Book Store” Random Thoughts). Our store, Boyne Country Books in Boyne City will be closing as of March 31, just short of 15 years in business. The recent economic downturn made our small business untenable. We really wish to thank all our super customers who have become our friends and supporters over the years.
We are sorry about the Borders situation mentioned in your editorial, and the bookstore business situation in general. The original Borders store in Ann Arbor was our favorite when we lived in that area and helped make us interested in opening a bookstore in the first place. We hope things will rebound for others as the economy improves. You can always be optimistic!

Steve and Kathy Anderson
Owners, Boyne Country Books

Patriotic drivel
Heather Shumaker’s account of her trip to Washington for Obama’s inauguration was interesting and appreciated. Joe Evancho’s eviscerating letter in response was one of the most petty and mean-spirited attacks I’ve seen in your pages.
His letter is just an attack and a blathering outburst of patriotic drivel. We have the highest standard of living in the world? In searching various ranking methods, I could not find a single source where the United States ranks number one. The 2008 statistical update of the United Nations’ Human Development Index ranks the U.S. 15th. The index combines normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment and Gross Domestic Product.
Our per capita income is high but less evenly distributed than in other western countries. In 2006, the poverty rate for minors in the U.S. was the highest of all nations in the industrialized world. There are many people here without full access to medical care. Unlike most European countries, if you lose your job in the United States you’re likely to lose your insurance. And in what other industrialized country does critical illness lead to bankruptcy?
Is patriotism exemplified by ranting slogans and spewing false assertions, then attacking those who take a more critical view of their country in exhorting it to rise to higher standards?
This is a great country, but there’s an adolescent arrogance in flag-waving assertions of being “the greatest nation on the face of the earth.” It’s as if we’re cheering at a football game rather than taking our national interests seriously.
It’s bizarre to claim that we have the backbone to correct our flaws if the government stays out of the way. History shows our government to be an agent of social progress in desegregating society and enforcing equal civil rights.
There are many terrible things in American history, including institutionalized slavery and genocide. What we can be proud of is our demand and expectation that we strive to do better and to live up to the ideals expressed in our founding documents. A tough task to be sure, but can we do it? Yes we can.
People like Heather Shumaker who engage and participate and celebrate our nation at critical moments in her progress are great and true Americans and contribute much more to our patriotic heritage than the petty sloganeers.

Gary Worden • TC
 
Monday, March 16, 2009

Letters 3/16/09

Letters Screening pedophiles
Anne Stanton’s “How a Pedophile Slipped Through the Cracks“ (3/9/09) raises more questions than it answers. First, if the police, the courts and Child Protective Services all knew this pedophile “was trouble,” did they notify the public and especially organizations involved with children?
If so, how was Child Guidance overlooked? If not, are the police, courts and Protective Services negligent? If huge organizations like TCAPS and TBAISD with all their resources could not identify this individual as a potential problem, why is Child Guidance expected to identify that potential?
If a “standard background check” used by “many schools and non-profits” including inquiries to state and national registries, state police and the FBI isn’t fail-proof, then what is the standard?
Attorney Blake Ringsmuth contends filing a FOIA with the Michigan State Police would have provided “reams of information” of “criminal activity” on the pedophile, and alleged Child Guidance failed by not accessing that source, so is a FOIA the standard? If so, why file with just one state’s police? Why not every state’s? And if the FOIA discloses criminal activity, when can a potential employer use that to deny an applicant employment?
Mr. Ringsmuth stated “a pattern of accusations” even without any convictions has to be taken seriously. Has he or the courts defined what a pattern is? One accusation? Two, three, four? And if a potential employer does not hire such an applicant who is legally innocent, will Mr. Ringsmuth or another attorney be taking that employer to court for discrimination?
Clearly a problem screening potential employees exists, and in my opinion the courts and legislature should develop a standard process that would safely, legally, efficiently and comprehensively identify applicants inappropriate for working around children. Mr. Ringsmuth is intelligent, involved and has demonstrated personal concern for human rights; people like him are best suited to spearhead such an effort.

Jan Vlach • TC

Say no to coal
Our elected officials in Lansing need to vote no to any new coal-fueled power plants in Michigan.
Nations around the world and various states are already realizing the enormous health, financial, and environmental risks inherent in coal. We need to speak out to help to stop the construction of dirty coal-fueled power generating plants (along with their toxic emissions) in Michigan.
Coal is dirty to handle and worse to burn. And we know that the industry’s “clean coal” message is more public relation’s spin than anything real. It‘s about as real as “safe healthy cigarettes.”
The coal industry has invested millions in their public relations, advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the myth of “clean coal.” Front groups like American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a downstate P.R. firm are utilizing the momentum of the elections as a platform upon which to spin their message.
Any responsible Energy Bill must drastically curtail carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury, selenium, arsenic, and particulate emissions in order to protect personal health and our Michigan environment. Statistically, we must reduce our dangerous emissions by 80 percent by 2050 if we have any hope of abating global climate change. Coal combustion tools and techniques at this point in their development area are unable to comply with environmental imperatives.
No coal power plant is worth disease, suffering, and global climate change—especially when there are safe, clean, and sensible energy alternatives in Michigan that will create desperately needed jobs.

Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan
 
Monday, March 9, 2009

Letters 3/9/09

Letters Republican pork
The most vocal Republican governors in criticizing the “pork” in President Obama’s stimulus package are Barbour, Jindle, Palin, and Sanford. Ironically, they are also the top four beneficiaries of federal spending; receiving more than any other state.
For each federal tax dollar sent to Washington, these states receive:
• Governor Haley Barbour (R) Mississippi $2.02;
• Governor Bobby Jindal (R) Louisiana $1.85;
• Governor Sarah Palin Alaska (R) $1.83
• Governor Mark Sanford South Carolina (R) $1.35.
Maybe the taxpayers should publicly demand that these hypocrites return any excess earmarks so they too can contribute to the welfare of our nation. I suggest they receive only 75 cents for each dollar they pay to Washington. That way they would be putting a little in, instead of taking a whole lot out. Something they criticize others for.
Also, the Senate Republican leader has twice as many earmarks in this year‘s budget than the Senate Democratic leader. Interesting is it not?
A handy table here: www.nemw.org/taxburd.htm

Tim Wiley • TC

Shop with conscience
If you believe “that whoever feels deeply feels for all that lives,” then it‘s time to let your spending reflect that view.
Today I was horrified to find items for sale at Oryana Food Co-op which originated in Israel. Israel manages to even outdo the U.S. in human rights violations.
Having a family member who has served as a volunteer in Palestine, we are keenly aware of the human rights violations and degradation of Palestinians.
For those not familiar with Israel‘s less-than-human stance regarding the Palestinians, “Palestine Inside Out, An Everyday Occupation“ by Saree Makdisi would be enlightening. The bare existence of an indigenous people started in 1948 as the U.S. and other colonial powers were determined not to let the Jews into their own countries. Instead, they stole the land which was Palestine and handed it over to Israel. It would be very much like Canada deeding over all of Michigan to someone they didn’t want.
Do not spend your money supporting stores which support Israel. Join the boycott of Motorola (HangUpOnMotorola.org) Support the boycott of Caterpillar by businesses. To honor those suffering in other countries, be aware that every purchase of a cell phone, Blackberry, etc. results in personal devastation with mining practices which place little value on human life. Shop with a conscience.

Jerry Young • Bear Lake

Power to the people
With all eyes turned to Washington hoping for an economic fix, are we then as individuals absolved of blame or responsibility? Impotent to affect change with our puny input?
The economy is largely a reflection of consumer spending habits – we vote with our dollars, and we have exactly the economy we’ve supported and deserve. We decry outsourcing and blame corporations for moving overseas, but this is the result of consumers shopping for the lowest price. Low prices require cheap labor.
We live so disconnected from the natural world; most are blissfully ignorant of the cost to the earth in extraction, manufacture, and transport for every shiny object at the mall.
We are now three generations removed from the farm, and much of our agriculture is toxic, inhumane, and unsustainable; but most haven’t a clue how or where their food is grown or processed. By supporting local growers though farm markets we reverse the trend and improve our food and farming.
The imbalance of wealth at the root of so much of what ails us cannot be redistributed by government taxation and regulation, but by informed consumers choosing to support healthy sustainable businesses . . . even at a higher price.
When I shop at my village grocery, I support my neighbors, the store thrives, and money stays in the local economy. If I shop at Sam’s Club, I support the five Walton heirs (worth $18 billion each) and everyone else gets squeezed. What it saved?
Our problems run deeper than a struggling economy – a natural world diminished daily by ignorance, greed driven wars ... we can do better.

Richard Allen • Leland

Vaccine decision
I thoroughly enjoy reading your paper and value the kind of educated insight which surfaces within a number of your articles. However, I was deeply offended and shocked by the recent article, “The Value of Vaccination” by Rebecca Peterson.
It is my understanding that parents have the right to inform themselves and exercise their freedom of conscience in order to protect their children from “bad science.” Peterson believes that “bad science” is being used to dissuade parents from vaccinating their children.
But “bad science” is also being used to coerce parents into following the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that a vast amount of doctors abide by. The truth of the matter is that this particular schedule consents to injecting a child with an overwhelming amount of viruses in one appointment.
I know that many people argue that we should not be “bucking the herd,” but the real problem is that we are treating each child as if they are part of a herd rather than an individual child with a unique immune system. I choose to vaccinate my daughter, but I don’t believe in burying my head in the sand and blindly following a regimented schedule that does not take into account the unique needs of each child.
Peterson questions, “Why is it that occasionally even a vaccinated person contracts one of these diseases?” This is in fact a true occurrence, but it is not an occasional one. What is alarming is the recent statistic revealed in Mothering magazine: “The incidence of measles cases has risen dramatically from 2007 to 2008 and is at its highest level in more than a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63 of the 131 new cases of measles from January to July 2008 were among those unvaccinated. The majority of the cases (68), however were among those vaccinated” (O’Mara p. 10).
I can empathize with Peterson’s concerns regarding unvaccinated children, but I refuse to demonize parents who have the right to decline. So, if it is trendy to be an American who exercises the right to choose what is best for his or her child, then I guess I’m trendy. If it‘s hip to be concerned about the vaccination schedule and the recent epidemic of autism, then I guess I’m hip. And if it’s irresponsible to believe in the tenets of this country, then I’m irresponsible too.
Peterson argues that, “vaccination should be a group decision, not an individual one.” This is a frightening statement. Does she understand what this would mean regarding the role of government in our lives?
A responsible parent is a parent who is willing to dissent if it ensures the safety of his or her child.

Kacey Corcoran • Petoskey


 
Monday, March 2, 2009

Letters 3/2/09

Letters Cougar sightings
Very good article on the cougars in the Bendon area. I also live in the Interlochen /Bendon area and have seen the cougars in my back yard ( black ones with a baby in tow ).
There is several living in the Karlin area currently. The are also three living in Grawn. I have been tracking them down for the past year.
I also have a picture of a cougar that is very clear.
Good article that really tells the truth about the way the DNR handles this issue. The same thing happened to me.

Dale Maupin • Bendon

Hogs pose a threat
Readers of the Northern Express should not be mislead by Robert Downes‘ recent tongue-in-cheek treatment (“Who Let The Hogs Out?”) of Michigan’s growing problem with wild hogs. If our state continues to ignore it, and our citizens joke about it while waiting for the government to save us, the wild hog will likely do damage to the land comparable to that caused in the Great Lakes by zebra mussels, lamprey eels and other exotic pests.
Crop losses (as much as $10,000 worth on a single farm), ruined lawns, a child and adult chased by two hogs near Ann Arbor, and state forest damage have all been documented in Michigan in the last several months. Pseudorabies—a devastating disease in domestic swine—has been found in wild hogs roaming parts of the state. It’s not a movie or a joke, or somebody else’s problem.
The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy is not being alarmist in its assessment of the potential effects of wild hogs. The Conservancy has been conducting research and educating the public about the problem for two years. We brought one of the world’s top experts on hogs to Michigan and consulted with several other out-of-state experts about the lengthy and well-documented record of destruction wherever hogs have become established. Forty-two states and several Canadian provinces have learned the hard-way that the wild hog threat is no laughing matter. The $800 million annual damage caused by wild hogs across America is conservative. That’s why biologists, agricultural experts, and citizen-conservationists are urging Michigan, and I urge Mr. Downes, to take the wild hog threat seriously.
For more information about Michigan’s wild hog problem, readers can contact the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy at 517-641-7677 or email: wildlife@miwildlife.org.

Patrick J. Rusz, Ph.D
Director of Wildlife Programs
Michigan Wildlife Conservancy

The cost of digital TV
Re: Tom Carr‘s story on the upcoming switch to digital TV:
Talk about disconnection: look at this side of the situation. All I seem to hear is the date of changeover.
A government mandate to switch to digital TV. Ever wonder where the convertors are being manufactured?
Stimulus: Government mandates should include “Made-In-the-USA”.
Rebate: Yes, please. We all are eligible for a rebate that subsidizes manufacturing in a foreign country.
Reality: Northern Michigan is stimulated by primarily manufacturing industries, correct?
Who will be accountable for this oversight? Those that are still working are paying the tax to provide the rebates.

R. Tegel • via email


Hookah hazard
I am writing regarding the hookah trend that has recently reached the Traverse City area. The hookah, or waterpipe, is often seen as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. However, research indicates that this is not the case. People should understand the risks that hookah use poses to their health and the health of those around them.
The hookah indirectly heats tobacco, usually with burning embers or charcoal. The smoke is filtered through a bowl of water, and then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. Other common names for hookah include waterpipe, narghile or narghila, shisha or sheesha, and hubbly-bubbly.
Hookah is an ancient form of tobacco use originating in Persia and India. It has emerged as a new trend among young people. Hookah bars and cafes generally target 18-24 year olds.
A typical hookah smoking session lasts 40-45 minutes, during which time the user may inhale as much smoke as consuming 100 cigarettes. The heat sources for the pipe, such as wood or charcoal release additional toxins when burned. Initial research indicates that smoking hookah is at least as toxic as smoking cigarettes. Because the pipe is passed from user to user, there is an increased risk of transmitting infectious diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and herpes. The secondhand smoke generated by a smoking session is dangerous to others.
It is clear that more research is needed related to the health effects of hookah use, but the available research indicates that smoking hookah is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. For more information, please see the following fact sheet from the American Lung Association available at: http://slati.lungusa.org.

Lisa Danto, RN, tobacco addiction specialist coordinator, Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition

Time to evolve
I appreciate Stuart Kunkle’s letter to the editor in your Feb. 2 issue (“Dire predictions“). He brought up an excellent point of view regarding the future of energy and life as we know it.
Listening to the radio every day it seems like we’re just throwing money blindly into the same sinking ship, hoping it will start to float again.
The Transition Handbook, from oil dependency to local resilience by Rob Hopkins states that there are actually several possible scenarios for life beyond the oil peak. Basically they can be described as “Evolve,” “Adapt” or “Collapse.”
“Evolve” suggests that we will use the ideas of earth stewardship and positive transitions to create a new way of life.
“Adapt” assumes that somehow magically a new energy source will be discovered (that we are currently unaware of) that will let civilization as we know it continue forever.
“Collapse” implies that nothing we do will be able to stop the crumbling of civilization (like every other civilization in history). The economy, energy and growth is interconnected in a complex web, similar to an ecosystem in nature. As housing, banking and car industries collapse, initiated by a spike then plateau in energy prices and availability, growth and the civilization based on it struggle to keep from collapsing as well.
Let’s remove our ego (or fear?) from the dialogue and be open to more diverse points of view. Change can be frightening, but please don’t confuse realism with pessimism and dismiss it categorically. Anticipating a future more regionally based (as Stuart Kunkle suggests), actually seems to me an optimistic (and realistic) future, a future where we spend more quality time with people (and our own children), making things by hand and relearning forgotten crafts. Personally, I’m with Stuart. I vote to “Evolve.”

Genevieve Pfisterer • TC
 
Monday, February 23, 2009

Letters 2/23/09

Letters Predator priorities
I read the article “Computer Cop” by Anne Stanton. I commend her on her work. I will state my position on child pornography and child abuse in this manner: I have no patience or tolerance for a person who has harmed a child, I sincerely believe that a man who has been found to have sexually abused a child should suffer public impalement on a fence post. I am NOT joking.
We must be very careful though, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The idea that a person is deemed worse for looking at a disgusting picture is WORSE than the person who actually commits such acts is ABSURD!
The authorities who hunt these predators must not be forced to do their job on a “shoestring” budget either. But, we must be aware of the pitfalls.
One of which is to become a zealot in pursuit of “sin.” We’ve seen this happen before. Recall all of the hysterical probes into the “satanic, child-sacrificial killing cults” that proved nonexistent in the 1980s?
We desperately need dedicated people to pursue these criminals on the Internet, and elsewhere, and I wish Detective Heller success in cornering his quarry; but, I sincerely hope he is not unduly influenced by the sign he has so prominently displayed on the wall behind him in what I assume is his office; to wit: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
No investigator should rely on his/her “imagination” rather than the use of “knowledge” to present facts.
I can “imagine” what my neighbors might be doing in their bedrooms at night; but I certainly have no “knowledge” of those activities.

Jim Parsons • Thompsonville

1st Amendment issue
Anne Stanton’s recent article on Todd Heller, the “computer cop,” raises important questions about the First Amendment which were lost in the glare of the more titillating (and apparently more newsworthy) subjects of internet child pornography and child sexual abuse.
Personally, I find that the idea of law enforcement agents having free rein to examine data on my personal computer smacks of Big Brother. The idea that my privacy is protected by the requirement of a search warrant pales in this day of the Patriot Act, which could be invoked for nothing more than an intercepted email expressing criticism of the government. The oft-used justification that “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear” obliterates the distinction between privacy and secrecy, a distinction I feel is fundamental to our First Amendment protections.
Regarding the article: Ms. Stanton paraphrased comments from myself and Dr. John Ulrich (as experts in the evaluation and treatment of sex offenders) to respond to discrepancies in the law as it applies to internet child pornography and criminal sexual conduct law.
The fact that one can go to jail significantly longer for looking at internet child porn than for actually committing criminal sexual conduct against a child is certainly of legal interest but really speaks more about the trees than it does the forest of our society’s posture on sexual misconduct as well as sexual behavior in general.
I cannot speak for Dr. Ulrich, although I have worked in shared capacities with him on several occasions in the past and know him to be a caring, highly competent and dedicated professional. In the article, I felt that out-of-context quotes attributed to myself might lead the reader to conclude that I might feel the accused are themselves being victimized (by discrepancies in the law). I can say that in my experience, I would never let my professional empathy towards my clients minimize the seriousness of the behaviors of which they may be accused: That is for their attorneys to advocate.
As for so-called “legitimate” Internet pornography in general, while I am a staunch advocate of freedom of expression, I am at the same time a bitter critic of a capitalist economic system that panders to our society’s continuing confusion over sexuality by prostituting it on the Internet solely for monetary gain.

Michael Nunn, LMSW
Interlochen

Bush league
George Bush was right in keeping the nation safe after 9/11. Many times senior Democrats were briefed on interrogations, including then-Senator Clinton, who agreed there would be things done to keep us safe, including in Iran.
Then-Senator Obama voted for the Bush wiretapping program. To this day, more Americans support retaining the Guantanamo prison than oppose it, and many prisoners who have been released by Mr. Bush have come back to oppose the U.S. again in many ways.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers wants to prosecute both Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes, but will not be allowed to do so if Obama demures.

Len Barnes • Mission Peninsula


 
Monday, February 16, 2009

Letters 2/16/09

Letters The need for nudists
On my local NPR station in Ann
Arbor, I heard a report that attendance at the Sleeping Bears Dunes National Lakeshore had been down considerably this past summer. This was blamed on the economy.
Not considered was the effect of the suppression by the park authority of nudism on Otter Creek Beach. I know a lot of naturists (aka nudists) who have given up going to Empire because of the harassment by park authorities on this traditional clothing-optional beach.
A public nude beach is a big tourist attraction. Haulover Beach near Miami (Florida), an official nude beach run by Dade County, is the most used park in the Dade County Parks system and generates major dollars for the parks and the community.
Nude beaches are legal in Michigan if the local community agrees to it. Many people who live in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties enjoy skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing; but they are not
organized. What is needed is a local naturist group to work with the local governments to create an official, clothing-
optional beach. Anyone interested in
doing so can find an article on creating a naturist group on the website,
www.MichiganNudeBeachAdvocates.org.
A nude beach is good for the economy and good for personal freedom!

Matthew Kerwin • Chelsea

Israel‘s infamy
I read January 19-25’s letters with disbelief. I thought that the lack of cheerleading for Israel’s latest collective punishment of civilians in the local letters pages meant that the Israel-first, Israel-at-any-cost folks were feeling conflicted enough to at least keep silent about hundreds of men, women, and children in an open-air prison being blown to bits by some nasty new weaponry being tested in Gaza so Israel can sell that technology to a fearful world. But no. The mythmakers are well here too.
Israel violated the latest cease-fire by assassinating six people on November 4, after blockading the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea so that the people were denied food, medicine, and everything else for almost two years. This was their punishment for democratically electing Hamas, which is not as corrupt and discredited as the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
Israel’s response to Palestinian moderation has been to build the Apartheid Wall, to steal land and water, to build checkpoints and Israeli-only roads that criss-cross the landscape, stealing Palestinians’ time and daily lives, as it has for more than 40 years--all with America’s blessing and billions in our tax dollars. Wouldn’t you resist if you were Palestinian? Wouldn’t anyone?
I am sure Hamas extends its apologies to Israel for not setting up a clearly-marked military installation and then putting its members there for them to more easily identify and bomb. Hamas members live in their communities, with their families, in the most densely populated place on earth. Perhaps the fact that Israel’s smart weapons couldn’t tell the difference between a civilian and a militant meant that Israel, the one with all the power, ought to have found another way.
But Israel isn’t very interested in peace, contrary to its public relations. See what the Israeli peace movement says at www.icahd.org.

Bill Watson • TC
 
Monday, February 9, 2009

Letters 2/9/09

Letters Rush hopes we‘ll fail
After eight years of the Bush Administration, it’s time for those who often blindly marched in lock step behind George W. Bush to look at what his policies got us.
Our country is literally crumbling around us. Bridges and levees are failing; our electrical grid is inadequate; our schools are often decrepit buildings with leaking roofs and plaster falling down; and the No Child Left Behind act is leaving plenty of children behind.
A recent report card of our infrastructure netted almost all ‘D’s‘, which includes our nation’s water, roads, mass transit, rails, and more.
Jobs are being lost at a staggering rate. Last year alone over one million jobs lost; just last week over 145,000 jobs lost; poverty and foreclosures are rising everyday; more people are in need of food stamps than ever before.
We’re spending $10 billion a month on Bush’s war of choice, total cost thus far: $593 billion; our environment has been totally neglected; climate change was ignored; 48 million citizens do not have access to health care; millions have lost their life savings and pensions; the redistribution of wealth from our once-strong middle class to the already obscenely wealthy folks at the top 1%; witness Wall Street handing out $18 billion in bonuses to it’s CEOs in December, despite the taxpayers bailing the companies out in September ‘08.
Our national debt when Bush took office in 2000 was $5 trillion; the amount Obama inherited: over $10.5 trillion. In 2000 Bush inherited a budget surplus of $230 billion, while Obama is inheriting a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2009, all created under Bush’s watch.
Bush’s war and his “let-Wall-Street-go-wild” attitude have bankrupted this country. This crushing debt of $10.5 trillion and expected budget deficit of $ 1.2 trillion is far more a national security risk than any terrorist.
Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson pulled off the greatest heist of all time in September, 2008, with a simple six-page plan to give Paulson over $800 billion to hand out to the failing Wall Street banks and other corporations, with no transparency, restrictions or accountability.
Now, it’s a new day. We have a new President. He’s inheriting the biggest crisis ever handed over from one administration to another. What does the GOP and its talking head Rush Limbaugh do? Good ole‘ patriot Limbaugh is hoping Obama and his plan FAIL.
Like a bunch of zombies, every single Republican congressman voted just as Limbaugh directed. This, after Obama sincerely reached out to Republicans and has been appointing them to posts in his administration. On top of this, some items were removed from the stimulus package, or put in, per Republican requests!
America is in a crisis. We no longer have the luxury of behaving like adolescents via partisanship. Do conservatives want a plan to save America to fail, as GOP spokesman Rush Limbaugh wishes?

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

GOP‘s war on workers
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is meant to stimulate and invest in the economy. Americans voted for green infrastructure jobs, health care, education, tax cuts for the working class, middle class, and small businesses. Those are our values and where our money should be spent.
The Republican war on working Americans has cost three million jobs so far. Bush’s tax cuts did not work for us! Republicans are playing games while thousands of workers are daily losing jobs, homes, and health care. Bill passage is extremely urgent. Please contact your legislators today to vote yes. Use www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

Beverly Christensen
 
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



 
 
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