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, August 25, 2008

Letters 8/25/08

Letters Film Fest too elitist?
Does the Traverse City Film Festival love the people of Traverse City? The festival has demonstrated tremendous potential, but is at risk of losing focus of its mission to “just show great movies.“
There were several moments throughout the 2008 festival -- like ushering the audience out of the theatre before the credits could roll -- that made it seem that maybe good films are no longer behind the excitement of the festival.
Although festivals like this rely on the generous support of the community, the motivation to become a “Friend” or an individual sponsor denotes a certain status that allows special access to the films rather than a desire to donate to the festival.
Rather than reserving tickets for sale to the general public, many movies were sold out prior to the opening of sales, and standby tickets for these films were not available. Failing to make the movies available to the ‘people that love to go to the movies’ – especially those in the community that may not be able to afford a ‘generous donation’ – taints the ‘magic’ of the TC Film Festival.
In their mission, the Traverse City Film Festival pledges to “enrich the human spirit and the art of filmmaking — not the bottom line.” And this mission is fulfilled when audiences are invited to engage in thoughtful discussion with the filmmakers after screening films like Captain Abu Raed and Body of War.
These films inspire and provoke, ask us to look beyond ourselves, and remind us of what success is really about. In these films, success is about giving hope and meaning, especially to those that need it the most. How can our Film Festival give hope and meaning to those that need it the most in our community?
Knowing all the good reasons to go see these films, many people waited in standby lines for hours and failed to receive tickets. This is deplorable.
Catering to the people who can afford the large fee to become a friend of the festival will ostracize many citizens who live in and around Traverse City. This system prevents a substantial population of working-class citizens from even having the hope that they can afford the money or the time in line to attend the festival.
In order to retain support and enthusiasm, tickets must be available to the people and continue to be affordable.
The Traverse City Film Festival was supposed to be a festival for the people; we do not think anyone would want to promote our film festival as one emulating the Sundance Film Festival.
The Traverse City Film Festival is unique because it is not exclusive and it is not about celebrities. Let’s always strive for an egalitarian society where even “just great films” are for everyone, despite their ‘friend’ status. A real friend supports the greater good of the festival and the community, and not by increasing their personal access to films by restricting it to others.

Kathryn & Frank Lepera

Quit knocking Madonna
As a fan of Madonna, I am tired of the ridicule, criticism, and negative attitudes towards her appearing at the film festival.
Michael Moore asked her to attend because he felt her documentary was a worthwhile experience for everyone in Traverse City, whether you were a Madonna fan or not.
The whole reason she was here was to make us more aware of how fortunate we are as a country, and how we can be a part of the big picture in changing the world. In my stance, if anyone can help save us, Madonna can. She does not limit herself to one perspective, but has many. She rarely judges others as we do, or puts people on pedestals.
I think if you have something important to say, say it, but if it is only to bash another celebrity for living their life, or doing their job in ways you find inappropriate, keep it to yourself.

Angela Crandall • via email


The brain drain
I agree with Rick Coates’ articulate article about the youth of this state and the future need to have them stay (“Plugging the Brain Drain“ 8/11).
I must say that I was one of those fleeing the state; albeit decades ago. My reason: Growing up in suburban Detroit, everything was focused on the auto industry. I wanted to pursue an education and career in the arts -- either fine art or commercial. Michigan is not as encouraging to young people either today or yesterday. Yes, there are those that stayed to flourish and succeed. But there are others who just don’t.
A couple of suggestions from someone who eventually came back to Michigan after a 20+ year absence:

- Improve the public school system;
- Offer more scholarships/grants;
- Expand industry sectors (thus creating a wider range of job opportunities);
- Spotlight innovation and “think tanks”;
- Open up small business lending and “angel” investing;
- Focus on quality of work/life balance.

As we pack up my eldest for her first year of college in Chicago, I don’t in the slightest begrudge her the opportunity to attend college in such a vibrant and diverse environment. A city in which she spent the first 10 years of her life; how befitting that she regards it as somewhat of a homecoming.
I’m generalizing here, but Michigan’s leadership in the political and industrial arenas have shunned the “creative class.” I find this contrary to our history. Been to Greenfield Village or Henry Ford Museum lately? Take a look at all the innovation that this great state was built upon.
Yes, Rick, you are right... we need our youth. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, researchers, designers, civic leadership and so much more so our state can start anew.

Joann Sondy • via email

 
Monday, August 18, 2008

Letters 8/18/08

Letters Pass it on?
Hopefully, next year the Film Festival can find a much better representative of the film industry to make an appearance in Traverse City instead of somebody like Madonna, who sexually exploited her way to stardom.
If Rick Coates ever does get to interview Madonna, how about asking her if she passed her “Boy Toy” belt buckle down to her young daughter so she can wear it like her momma did.

Angelina M. Randazzo • TC

Evasive action
Anne Stanton’s article, “Ride ’Em Cowboy!” was a timely and relevant look at the very important issue of bicycling safety, and, for the most part, I agreed with her in just about every respect. However, there were a few omissions that I would like to point out, as well as an issue I disagreed with.
Riding on the right side of the road is considered a primary rule of bicycling, but it’s not always safe or practicable. I ride on M-22 in Leelanau County enroute to work, and I always ride on the left, facing traffic.
Notice in the two biking fatalities mentioned, the riders were killed by drivers who struck them from behind. They never saw the vehicle that hit and killed them. Personally, if I’m going to be run off the road, I prefer to see it coming -- at least this way I have a chance to take evasive action.
Granted, M-22 has a paved, six-foot-wide shoulder to ride on, and it may not always be practicable to ride on the left, but I’ll do it every chance I have.
Also not mentioned was bicycling at night. I get out of work at 2 a.m., and half of my route takes me down M-22. I wear a helmet with a detachable headlamp, as well as two strong LED flashlights that I velcro to the helmet when necessary, along with a small LED light facing backwards. I also have a flashing red tail light on the bike. I get teased a lot about the amount of lights I wear at night, but I’m strongly aware that, at two in the morning, I’m riding a highway that leads directly from the bars in Traverse City to an all-night casino that also has bars. I want these inebriated drivers to see me!
Also, drivers: when you happen upon a bicyclist riding towards you at night, dim your lights! We can’t see the road ahead of us when we’re blinded by your high beams—no one likes to barrel down the road on a bike when he can’t see anything.
Finally, always wear a helmet, no matter how goofy you think they make you look. I’ve only had one crash on my bike, but I was stunned at how fast my “face-plant” occurred. I literally had no time to react before I found myself flat on the pavement with my bike on top of me (I hit a curb that I hadn’t seen). Don’t be an organ donor because you thought helmets were “dumb,” or “unmanly,” or “funny looking.”
Like on a motorcycle, there are no second chances in a bicycle accident. Do everything you can, and wear everything you must, to avoid the accident in the first place.

Howard J. Blodgett • Leelanau


Know the road rules
Thanks for the good article on biking and a touch of safety practices. With the growing numbers of cyclists on the road due to economics more than anything else, it is important that people be reminded of the rules.
A lot of people have taken to riding after many years if not decades of not riding, most haven’t ridden since they were kids, and man how times have changed. The number of cars have gone up considerably and the recognition of cyclists on the road has gone down. Long gone are the days of weaving back and forth across the line like we did as kids. Auto drivers don’t know for sure what to do with a cyclist anymore.
I read Bicycle and Mountain Bike magazine and every month someone comments about the cyclists they have encountered who are not obeying the rules of the road. These are the people that cause drivers to respond like the ones you commented on in the article. There are rules for cyclists and if someone is intending to ride their bike in towns or on rural roads, then they better learn the rules and obey them. This goes for riding our miles of bike trails too.
You would do the public a huge favor by posting articles or comments about riding in Northern Michigan. The Express is respected and read by many, it would be a great medium to get good info out to the growing number of pedal power people, new and old.

Joe Deater • Lake Ann

 
Monday, August 11, 2008

Letters 8/11/08

Letters Legalize & tax pot
Speaking as a former federal law enforcement officer, a retired elementary school counselor, a taxpayer and most importantly, a parent, I would like to respond to a recent Express article, “The end of reefer madness?“
We can argue from now until Doomsday whether marijuana is a deadly gateway drug; a simple plant like any other, neither inherently good or evil; or a great boon to mankind given to us a loving creator. The true debate needs to be, is prohibition the best way to deal with the dangers, real or imagined, of marijuana?
Marijuana is here to stay, deeply ingrained in our society. Thinking we will ever achieve the utopian vision of a “marijuana-free society” is just so much wishful thinking. Seventy years after marijuana prohibition was first enacted and 35 years after President Nixon declared a “War on Drugs,” marijuana is cheaper, more potent, more prevalent and more available than ever before.
Prohibition takes all control over who manufactures and distributes marijuana and who it is sold to away from legitimate government oversight, and hands it over to criminal gangs. Marijuana prohibition means no control whatsoever. Marijuana dealers don’t ask underage children to show ID, just the cash.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the relative dangers of marijuana abuse, one thing we all ought to agree on is that prohibition is the worst scheme possible to control it. When our grandparents wisely abandoned alcohol prohibition, it wasn’t because they decided booze wasn’t so dangerous after all. Rather, they had the integrity to face the truth: prohibition was making the problem worse.
Marijuana prohibition is horribly expensive, costing the taxpayers of Michigan close to $200 million in police, court and jail costs alone. At the same time it deprives the State Treasury of hundreds of millions in potential tax revenues, makes criminals out of tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and opens the door to the steady erosion of our privacy and civil liberties. The only success of marijuana prohibition has been to guarantee life-time employment to those doing the prohibiting, and to make a few very bad people very rich.
Marijuana prohibition has been a dismal failure. A failure made even more glaring when compared to the sensible way we deal with alcohol and tobacco -- the two most deadly drugs in our society today. The solution is obvious. The only question is, do we have the courage to do it? Or are we doomed to another 35 years of failure?
Legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, so that we can finally control marijuana.

Greg Francisco • Paw Paw

End reefer madness
Thank you for your “voice of common sense” in your Random Thoughts article titled, “The end of reefer madness?”
While I may not agree with your statement about potent strains causing psychotic reactions (this study was disproved), I do agree with everything else that you wrote. You nailed it with your very first sentence! My body belongs to me! No one has a right to tell me what I can put into my body as long as I am hurting no one by doing it! The sooner that those who are supposed to represent us, and those that are supposed to ‘protect and serve‘ us get this, then maybe we can move on to more important things.
It might interest you to know that U.S. companies bought 92% of last year‘s Canadian hemp crop. That could have been money in our farmers‘ pockets, and yet, they all seem to be drunk on corn ethanol as the answer to our gas problems. What a shame, but then, it is hard to undo 71 years of reefer madness that seems to be alive and well yet today.
I hope and pray that before I leave this earth, we will finally “get it!” Until then, I will keep fighting, I will keep using cannabis, and I will continue to refuse to be treated like a criminal!
Change is a comin‘!

Rev. Steven B. Thompson, executive director, Michigan NORML

The difference
As a Democrat and a Christian I believe in mutual respect and compassion for all people and the environment. My Republican friends believe in Right to Life that ends at birth, whereas Democrats believe right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is intended for all life’s journey.
Instead of spending $12 billion per month on Bush’s Iraq War, killing people and creating more enemies, Democrats prefer to spend that same amount to provide a preschool through college education for every student insuring good jobs, health care, and a safe world in which to raise our children.
Instead of lobbyists and corporate money buying our president, legislators, and policies, we believe the people should decide and that every vote should count. Republicans use fear, attacks, and smears. Democrats talk about improving lives.

B.J. Christensen • Cedar
 
Monday, August 4, 2008

Letters 8/4/08

Letters Sierra snafu
The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club regrets the decision of the members of the executive committee of the Traverse Group to resign from the Club because they did not agree with an action of the National Sierra Club that allowed the Clorox Corporation to use the Sierra Club logo on their Green Works products.
While the Michigan Chapter has also expressed its concerns about this partnership, we believe that, as in any democracy, we can have disagreements while remaining united by our passion to “explore, protect and enjoy the planet,” the motto of the Sierra Club. Local volunteers, with their deep abiding concern for the earth, are the core of our organization. Even though the Michigan Chapter would not have chosen to engage in a marketing partnership of this nature, we have chosen to continue to work within the organization because we think that other issues that the Sierra Club is involved with are more important.
Here in Michigan we are striving hard to prevent the building of eight new coal-fired electric generating plants. Starting with blowing tops off mountains and despoiling communities in Appalachia to mine the coal to spewing out global-warming CO2 and pollutants like mercury into our air and water to produce electricity, these plants will irreparably harm our beautiful Great Lakes state and its residents. Also, producing energy from coal is very expensive when the cost of pollution is considered. One of the proposed plants is in Manistee and another is in Rogers City.
We have just won a major court victory to protect the pristine Mason Tract along the Au Sable River from gas drilling. We are fighting to protect our forests and waters from pollution by big mining interests and chemical corporations.
We waged a battle to force the corporations that own concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to abide by laws designed to prevent air and water pollution, and recently the Department of Environmental Quality for the first time ever turned down the permit application for a new CAFO. These factory farms keep animals in inhumane conditions and cause human misery in the communities where they are located and cause beach closings many miles away.
The Traverse Group has been involved in beach clean-ups, wetland preservation and dams on the Boardman River as well as other important issues. The group worked to stop the Hartmann-Hammond Bridge.
We are working with members of the Traverse Group to continue the work of the Sierra Club in the Traverse City area, the state and the nation. We will not let a disagreement on one issue interfere with the important job of protecting the planet so all can continue to explore and enjoy its natural beauty.

Jean Gramlich, chair
Michigan Sierra Club

Madonna who?
Question: What would Madonna say?
Answer: Who really cares?!
There’s a large portion of the population in Northern Michigan that doesn’t give a hoot what Madonna says, whether she shows up for the Film Festival, what vineyard her family owns, who her family trusts, what beach she went to or whether she ever sings another song again.
She had a couple good songs back in the 1980s... but hey, it’s over. My kids don’t even know who she is.
What a total waste of space that article was -- with so many other cool things happening around town, and so many cool people in our area to write about --- Come on Rick Coates, apply those writing skills instead of wasting them.

Vita K. Morse • TC


Sea potty at the beach
As an area resident, boat owner and pedestrian beach user, I would like to submit a literal observation of West Bay.
I know there have been pro-mooring boaters at the Traverse City Commission meetings, defending their stewardship of the water. However, on July 23, as my wife and I sat on the beach of West Grand Toilet Bay at the foot of Hall Street, at about 8 p.m. we observed a middle-aged, bikini-clad woman occupant of an older looking white boat (about 20-22 feet in length with a bow cabin large enough to have a sea potty) jump into the bay by the stern of the boat. Sitting by the edge of the boat and submersed to her shoulders, she appeared to be engaged in some activity.
At the same time, the second occupant of the boat, a middle-aged male, walked up the bow and proceeded to stand there urinating into the bay.
Apparently, the craft lacked toilet facilities. So how many times a day and for how many days can we expect this pair to urinate and defecate adjacent to the beach?
The boat is about 200-300 feet east of the swimming area and about 50 or so feet from the shroeline. Unfortunately, there wasn‘t a name on the back of the boat to better identify it.

Bill Hagan • TC

 
Monday, July 28, 2008

Letters 7/28/08

Letters Holy Childhood victims
Thank you for publishing the recent articles about the sexual abuse at Holy Childhood School. I’m a Catholic and a former employee of a Catholic church in our area. I did not know this abuse happened and the two articles disturbed me.
My heart goes out to the victims. I understand why some people would not want the building torn down. I might feel the same if I had not listened to a feature story reported on CBS news concerning a house where several teenagers were killed by an ex-boyfriend at a pizza party. The teenagers were loved and respected by all members of the the small town. Several residents, family and friends raised enough money to buy the house from the owner and tear it down. They were not trying to erase the memory of the kids. They were trying to erase the memory of the unspeakable evil that happened.
I can’t imagine the people from the Diocese of Gaylord would tear down this building just to sweep these memories “under the rug,” but there can be a fine line between sweeping and moving forward. Sometimes to move forward we must be willing to look back.
There is a wonderful Hawaiian word: “ho’o’pono’pono.“ It is kind of an encounter session where people stay in the same room sometimes for days until the evil surfaces and is rooted out. I pray for dialogue between the victims and members of the Catholic community.
I attended a presentation by an Indian in Sedona, Arizona. I say Indian because he does not like to be called Native American. He said the word Indian comes from a word that means “in God.” He said Native American comes from a German map-maker named Amerigo. He would rather be associated with the former. He said the song “one little, two little, three little Indians” was a song about how Indian boys were killed. After his presentation he said white people want to come to him after the presentation and apologize. He said it’s not necessary because the people listening to him didn’t do the wrong. What else can we do if we can’t apologize?
I read “Black Elk Speaks” many years ago. Black Elk said the most stupid thing he ever saw was when the white man built a little white house that God was in from 9 to 10 on Sunday morning. If only the people of my race were more willing to learn from the Indian people.
I hope I can start sleeping at night after getting this off my chest.

Irene Parker • Petoskey

(Part three of the series featuring memories of former students will run next week. - ed.)

Honoring George Bush
The Associated Press recently reported that San Francisco is naming their sewage treatment plant after President Bush. The idea is to commemorate the mess Bush made.
Hey East Bay Township, let’s start a nationwide trend here! Your septage treatment plant already spilled 150,000 gallons of partially treated waste when it collapsed, AND it’s way over budget. Hmmm... spewing poo... shoddy... millions over budget? Sounds like Bush to me! Let’s get this name change on the ballot! Who’s with me?

Scott Jones • Kalkaska

Soldiers & freedom
WOW is the only word that came to mind reading some responses to the poem about the soldier at the Blue Angels airshow (Letters 7/21).
One writer actually must be entertaining the thought that our current soldiers are not honorable, or similar, in that he only discussed soldiers who served in WWII. Obviously the writers must not think highly of those that have served, and DIED, in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, and our current conflicts.
For those that forgot, the Constitution did NOT give us our freedoms. The minutemen of the Revolutionary War won our freedom. It was the musket and the brave fighters that gave us the freedom to create the Constitution. It is the soldier who protects those freedoms.
God bless the soldiers who have served and died protecting those freedoms. I will take a soldier over a poet, a lawyer, or a protestor any day. They are our best, they are our bravest, and they deserve EVERY recognition they get.
I never served, but respect all that have. We have far too many in our community who seemingly forget what our military gives us. “Culture of death” indeed. It is obvious the ‘60s mindset is still alive and kicking. The same culture that felt it necessary to spit at our soldiers after Vietnam and called them baby killers, acting like Genghis Khan. Well, there are those that respect and honor what the brave men and women of our military provide us, and all too often, we aren’t heard from. Go Army, Go Marines, Go Navy, Go Air Force, Go Coast Guard, and GO BLUE ANGELS!!!!

Chris Brown • Interlochen


Murder trial balloon
“Still time to impeach,” was a commendable article that appeared in the July 7th issue of the Express. It mentioned the valiant efforts of Congressmen Kucinich to initiate impeachment hearings in an effort to reestablish constitutional rule to this country.
While all efforts to hold this criminal administration are to be applauded, Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney who prosecuted Charles Manson, has just published a book intended as a guide for holding George W. Bush accountable by prosecuting him for murder -- “The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder.”
Bugliosi, in his book, outlines how Bush, by initiating the Iraq War -- based on lies -- is culpable for the deaths of Iraqis and Americans killed from this disaster. Bugliosi, in numerous recent TV and radio interviews, stresses that there is no statute of limitation for the crime of murder, but more importantly, that Bush can be charged with murder by any state attorney general or prosecutor. The attorney general or a local prosecutor from any state can bring such charges against Bush provided that that state has suffered a causality in the Iraq War.
Estimates of Iraq casualties from our invasion and continued occupation vary now between 100,000 and one million. Thousands more are certain die before this debacle is finally over. Many will die as part of the four million desperately poor Iraqis refugees that have either fled abroad or have been internally displaced.
As of July 10, our own reported casualties are 4,116. George W. Bush bears responsibility for every one of these Iraqi and American deaths. He elected to begin this bloodshed based on fabricated falsehoods, which has created the anarchy of present-day Iraq.
At the Nuremberg trials, the primary crime of which the Nazis were accused and convicted was of course the crime against peace. A crime of planning and executing a war of aggression. And this is the central juridicial fact of the Nuremberg trials. George W. Bush, and much of his administration, have committed not merely impeachable offences, but war crimes.
Throughout Bush’s public career he has demonstrated an affection for a decidedly Old Testament view of justice. George W. Bush during his six years as governor of Texas presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. More than that, as the result of FOIA documents made available because of the embarrassing tenure of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, we know that Bush only occasionally even read the clemency requests made by death row prisoners in Texas.
There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee, probably the whole country: “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Buy a copy of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder” and mail it to our Michigan attorney general, Mike Cox. Ask for the prosecution of George W. Bush for murder.

Matt Malpass • East Jordan
 
Monday, July 21, 2008

Letters 7/21/08

Letters Poem was a downer
The following words were broadcast to the crowd during the air show at the Cherry Festival:
“It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech,
It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press,
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us the freedom to demonstrate,
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped in the flag,
It is the soldier that has given the protester the right to burn the flag.“
THIS IS A LIE.
The United States Constitution has given us these freedoms; our soldiers have been deployed to make the world safe for ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Amoco, so the CEOs can continue receiving their unconscionably obscene salaries, bonuses, health insurance for life.
So far, we have lost over 4,100 of our young people to this purpose in Iraq, and the projected suicide rate of returning veterans is due to exceed this number. Over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed and thousands more are homeless refugees, due to this administration’s adolescent cowboy, macho mentality.
Our military has been ordered to and has succeeded in trashing the Cradle of Civilization, for this administration’s lies, supported by the mindless, unquestioning, corporate-dominated, cheer-leader media.
The TC SkarryFest is complicit in the deaths of our soldiers and the innocent Iraqi civilians by their very sanctioning of this show of killer war machines -- a military recruiting tool disguised as ‘family entertainment’.
I wonder how it feels to live in a country where cluster bomb explosions follow the scream of these aircraft. Can you imagine the horror?

Sally MacFarlane-Neal
Northport

Wrong message
I strongly disagree with the remarks broadcast at the end of the Blue Angels demonstration.
Soldiers do NOT give citizens of a democracy the freedoms of speech, press and demonstration. These rights are created by the people themselves and then enforced by brave and honest politicians and judges.
In America, our citizen-written Constitution gave us these freedoms, which were then protected by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Soldiers do protect our freedoms when they obey just orders of an honest president and Congress, as in World War II. I am so grateful for the courageous World War II veterans still in our community. They indeed protected the rights our Constitution gave to us.
In short, soldiers protect but do not create democracy. And soldiers actually threaten our freedoms when they unquestioningly obey illegal orders of dishonest politicians, as in Vietnam and now the Iraq War.

Matthew Posner • Suttons Bay

Culture of death
Thanks a lot to the National Cherry Festival for sponsoring the “Virtual Baghdad Airshow!!”
You went back on your word and promoted war with your fake patriotism speech. Instruments of war, death and destruction are nothing to be celebrated--and is definitely NOT patriotism. Next year, let’s celebrate -- or at least hope for and promote -- peace, not this air show that celebrates the culture of death.

Laura Garvock • via email

Let‘s hear it for lawyers!
The announcer at the Blue Angels at the Cherry Festival said poets, reporters, campus organizers and protesters have nothing to do with securing our constitutional rights.
As a lawyer, I am not sure if I feel honored or slighted that my profession was not included in that class of “ne’r do wells”. Let’s hear it for the lawyers in the ACLU, the American Bar Association, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and our own Progressive Lawyers group here in Traverse City!
These groups have taken on the mighty to protect the rights of the weak. They deserve some credit for upholding the rights now embodied in the U.S. Constitution, rights some have died protecting and some have died trying to merely achieve right here at home.
The birth of democracy and its vitality depends foremost on vigorous debate in the press, freedom songs/prose, and a citizenry often addressing their grievances in the street. A country that inverts those resources and places the military at the top of the pinnacle is known as totalitarian or fascist. A path, I trust we do not want to travel.

Marian Kromkowski
Suttons Bay


Bad idea...
I often agree with Bob Downes’ opinion pieces and always admire his writing, but this week I have to say no (re: “Are We Missing the Boat on Festivals?“ 7/14,
Random Thoughts). No more concerts-festivals at the Open Space.
We already have jazz fests, blues fests, pow-wows and other wonderful happenings in our area. If we can think regionally, we should celebrate regionally. Not everything needs to be in Traverse City which already has enough congestion and noise. What we all need is not more entertainment but more open spaces. Especially the Open Space which has a bay happening all the time. It is enough.

Karen Anderson • TC

... Good idea
I live in Traverse City and vacation in Ft. Myers, Florida during the winter. The Cherry Festival and the Film Festival are great events but I agree 100% with Robert Downes‘ Random Thoughts that we are limiting ourselves with only two major events in the open space.
The Ft. Myers area has jazz festivals, shrimp festivals etc., in areas near water, but nothing like what Traverse City has to offer with the beauty of the bay.
Can you imagine a jazz festival or a classical music festival in the Open Space? It would be a enormous success! The artists would love to perform in this type of environment.
It is time for the Traverse City Commission to open their eyes to these possibilities and change the limiting festival policy for more diversity. It would increase revenue for TC, plus bring entertainment for the residents that‘s currently unavailable.

Chuck Shreve • TC



 
Monday, July 14, 2008

Letters 7/14/08

Letters No oil guarantee
Do the people who are jumping on the bandwagon and promoting drilling for oil off the coasts of Florida, California, ANWR in Alaska, and other unpopular areas, realize there is no guarantee that oil drilled here will end up heating our homes and fueling our cars in the United States?
It may just end up on the world oil market and we will end up seeing no relief in prices! It is quite feasible that Saudi Arabia will then respond by cutting their production creating a shortage followed by still higher prices. You know the story! Just ask your congressman if what I am saying is true.
What we need is to get away from fossil fuels and our dependence on foreign countries for our energy. We should be looking at all kinds of clean, renewable, safe alternatives.
But we need to be smart about our choices this time around. That means before we start thinking that nuclear power is the logical choice; we need to ask ourselves if we have solved the problem of safety. We have not solved the issue of what to do with the spent fuel rods and dangerous radioactive waste that we would be leaving for our children’s children to deal with.
We don’t want to leap out of the frying pan and into the fire with no thought of the future!

Barbara Bernier • Manistee

Good memories
Thank you for the article that appeared last week on my new deli cafe at the old railroad station in Traverse City.
I just wanted to follow up with this note. The article indicated that I spent “16 long years” at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, and while 16 years is a long time, they weren’t long in any other sense.
My job at the Record-Eagle actually dovetailed with my years as a parent of school-age children. Early on, working at the Record-Eagle afforded me the flexibility to work part-time and as a result, have more time with my kids while they were growing up. As they got older, I went full-time and was given the opportunity to become the paper’s features editor while continuing as a weekly lifestyle columnist.
It truly was a great job, focusing on what interests me most and continues to -- people and their stories. Oh, and food. That, too. But I have many great memories of the staff, of readers, of columns, and stories, all packed into 16 years that, looking back, went by in a flash.

Kathy Gibbons
• EuroStop, TC

Our toxic air show
Did everyone notice the clouds and clouds of jet exhaust and perhaps unburned jet fuel wafting down over our homes, farms, and bay every time a fighter jet passed overhead at Traverse City‘s air show? The sky turning white with pollution as they practiced? (According to) an article for service men and women about military jet fuel exhaust, “There is no safe level of exposure.”
Isn’t is foolish to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on entertainment that in the end is celebrating killing machines anyway? Entertainment that spreads toxins in our bays, then wonder why they are so messed up?
Hopefully our local media can inform our citizens on what is raining down from the sky in the name of bringing tourists in that might be ruining our children’s health and living on in our drinking water for years to come.

Jeff Gibbs • TC



 
Monday, July 7, 2008

Letters 7/7/08

Letters Mining disaster
Over a dozen mines for copper, nickel, gold, zinc, and possibly uranium are currently on the drawing boards for the Upper Peninsula, home to some of the most pristine rivers and aquifers in the world.
Acid sulfide mining has the potential to pollute both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This type of mining is not like that of the old days. It has the potential to pollute for hundreds of years.
This type of mining has already caused irreparable harm near the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin. The mine there closed in 1997; however, 10 years later, there are still toxic levels of iron, copper, and manganese in the region. Very harmful to fish, manganese is also known to cause Parkinson-like tremors in humans. In fact, the state of Wisconsin will no longer allow such type of mining unless or until a company can show that a mine has operated and been closed for 10 years without causing such mess.
This type of mining is being explored less than 25 miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. Sulfide mining also has the potential to permanently eradicate the last known spawning grounds of the rare coaster brook trout along the south shore of Lake Superior.
The demand for raw materials to feed China’s industrial machine could turn Michigan into a “colony.” All so we here in the U.S. can consume more “stuff” and China and other developing nations can have items like cars, refrigerators, and cell phones. The chickens (vultures?) have finally come home to roost.
It is a really dumb idea to pollute pristine rivers that feed our Great Lakes -- our only source of fresh water. As the issues of “not enough clean water” rise to the forefront here in the U.S., we will be left with a nightmare if these types of mines are allowed to take foot anywhere near the Great Lakes.
Join mine protesters as we walk from the Yellow Dog Plains (western Marquette County) to the Mackinac Bridge during the last two weeks in August – just in time to walk The Bridge on Labor Day. You can walk for a few hours, a weekend, or do the entire trip.
Contact us at www.yellowdogwatershed.org, www.savethewildup.org, www.northwoodswild.org for more details.

Margaret Comfort
• Bourbonnais, IL

The coming crisis
Fuel pricing has a more deliberate and insidious aspect than what has been reported. It is not simply true that oil has become more valuable; the dollar has been devalued to a point where it takes more of them to buy a gallon of gas.
Think of it this way. An ounce of gold would buy a decent men‘s suit in Dante’s day. The same amount of gold will buy one of equal value today. The suit only seems more expensive because there are more dollars involved.
The main culprit is the Federal Reserve Bank, which has been politicized by an oil-baron president. This president is also obsessed with his “legacy.” The cost of energy has risen to record levels, and yet, our Republican administration thinks inflation is low. The Federal Reserve takes this cue and lowers the interest rates. This devalues the dollar, which causes the price of gas to spike.
The European Central Bank (ECB) recently raised interest rates due to its perception that inflation is being “imported” from America. The mere suggestion that the ECB is contemplating another interest rate hike is enough to send the price of oil skyrocketing.
This is due to a global lack of confidence in this Republican administration, and its perceived influence on the Fed. How can two major financial institutions look at the same thing and come to such different conclusions?
Like other branches of our government, the Fed has been politicized by a rogue faction of politicians known as the neo-conservatives. It was the neocons who were the architects in the war for petroleum wealth. The bulk of the powerful Washington neocons involved in the Iraq war strategy are oil barons.
A low interest rate has helped to keep the lid on their huge war deficit. The totally irresponsible parties somehow appear a little bit more responsible in a delusional sort of way.
The passing of the presidential gas this November will make it appear that the new administration is to blame as the old one scoots out the door just in time. George Bush will bask in the illusion of his legacy while sticking his “lingering” consequences to someone else. Old pot-hole Engler, and his misguided choir of fiscal irresponsible Republicans did the same thing to our current governor.
The real Bush legacy is best described as a poisoned well.

Timothy Wiley • via email
 
Monday, June 30, 2008

Letters 6/30/08

Letters Christians & torture
What happened to us? How have we turned into a nation that invades and totally destroys a country, causing the death of up to a million innocent civilians? Is it not immoral to kill? Is it not immoral to seek the treasures of another country for our own gain (i.e, oil)? Isn’t there a commandment about coveting thy neighbors’ things?
As if all of this were not enough, the U.S. government now condones torture. The evil ones have given the word torture new names, such as “abuse“ and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Water boarding made the news for weeks, as it was debated as a form of torture or not. Did you know we tried the Japanese in WWII for using water boarding? Water tortures have been considered torture for centuries, but under the Bush regime, it’s acceptable.
The election of George W. Bush and the religious right is a strong connection. I still ponder how any Christian is okay with the death and suffering of innocent people in Iraq. I ponder how any Christian can support a regime that legitimized and legalized torture.
Did you know that five cases of detainee deaths as a result of abuse (i.e. torture) by U.S. personnel have occurred? In addition, 23 other cases of detainee deaths are still under investigation. (The Schlesinger Report, cited in “Torture and Truth“ by Mark Danner). These detainees were not charged, tried, nor convicted for any crime to my knowledge.
From everything I’ve read on torture, IT’S UNRELIABLE. Innocent people will say anything they think is required to end torture. Even those who are guilty may still give false information, thus leading investigators on wild goose chases.
How can anyone be okay with torturing a human being? These detainee victims were someone’s brother, son, or father. These victims may have been guilty of nothing more than lacking the ability to speak English as they were picked up off the streets. Even if guilty of something, does that justify torture? I say to you, who would Jesus torture? Would Jesus prefer the water boarding technique or perhaps a stress position for hours? Or perhaps exposure to extreme temperatures for long time periods?
In recognition of National Torture Awareness Month in June, please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that we Americans do not support torture.
Torture is absolutely immoral, it is an aberrant behavior, it is opposite of everything the America I knew once represented.

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

 
Monday, June 23, 2008

Letters 6/23/08

Letters Swan song
Over the last seven years, I’ve devoted myself and a great deal of my time and dedication to the music scene here in Northern Michigan.
I‘ve been involved with organizing the food drive for the Tom Wright Project at the Dennos Museum. I‘ve created the M.E.P. program for Grand Traverse probationary youths at Northstar productions.
I helped create a successful battle of the bands, have formed several bands, and played for such charitable causes as the motorcycle rodeo for disabled veterans, for the Betsie River Labor Day disabled veterans party. I‘ve hosted several open mic shows and opened a studio where local musicians can come to practice for little or no money at all. It’s not about the money, it’s about the music, it’s about the people.
On June 4 I received several phone calls informing me of an attack on my character and my name. The callers wondered if this was a stage bit for the audience by Steve Normandin on the radio. Who is Steve Normandin? He’s better known as Omelette of WKLT’s Omelette and Finster morning show. I was called a liar, a backstabber and manipulative, and in past weeks received calls regarding comments they made on the air, stating my band, The Mob, had broken up.
You wonder why? I’ll tell you. I supported Omelette and Finster from the moment they hit the air, thinking here’s a couple of guys that are all about the people. I donated my time to record a demo CD for the show featuring Finster singing “I’ve been everywhere, man.” I even helped create the Twisted Finster band out of my studio, holding auditions for the project as well as rehearsals. Bet you readers and listeners didn’t know that.
Hell, I even got Mister Windy a job! All because I believed they were for the people. But they’re not... they’re about the ratings!
Here’s where it all goes wrong: earlier this year I held auditions for a female vocalist for my band, The Mob. Many came, many tried, but we chose the best. This woman is a single mother with a heart of gold and a voice to match. Her name is Crystal Wilcox. You readers and listeners might know her as 95.5 The Zone‘s very own Mizz Crystal.
We chose her for her talents, not her radio connection, all in the name of creating a more entertaining aspect to our fans.
But Omelette and Finster seem to think I’ve betrayed them and have taken it upon themselves to ridicule me ON THE AIR over this!
Now I know radio stations are competitive, but I never knew they could be so childish. Isn’t there enough anger and hatred in this world? Isn’t life just a little too short for such pettiness? Does Traverse City have to tune in and hear one of their very own being torn apart by a Northern Michigan wanna-be with a radio show? As far as the Godfather is concerned, Steve Normandin is no more than a fudgie with a microphone and a sidekick.

Don Swan • TC

Take Lyme seriously
I am enraged at the number of people that have written letters to the editor of this publication, critical of the doctors that diagnose and treat lyme disease.
As one who has experienced some improvement from such treatment after years of debilitating symptoms, I am very grateful my doctor stuck her neck out to do so.
Interestingly there was a recent WebMD article that reports new research indicating that not only is Lyme disease a reality, the particular strain found here in the U.S. is the same virulent strain found in Europe. Those criticizing doctors that diagnose and treat patients with Lyme, or bash folks that have Lyme disease are in for a very rude awakening. As time goes by, few will be left that won’t have personal experience -- either themselves or someone close to them - with Lyme disease and co-infections. Count on it.

Diane Bailey • SE Michigan
 
Monday, June 16, 2008

Letters 6/16/08

Letters Letter to Meijer:
I am writing about my credit card account with your company. Please close it immediately. You will find the cut pieces of the card enclosed.
Two reasons I am closing the account. The first is rather minor - 20.45% INTEREST!? Who do you people think you are?
Here’s another problem with Meijer:
Acme Township! I do not live near enough to where you attempted to put that store to have ever shopped there, however if I did, just on principle I would have boycotted it.
I remember going to Meijer as a small child. I was born in Grand Rapids, as were my parents. They moved to Kalamazoo shortly after my birth, however we were in Grand Rapids almost every weekend with family and friends. The store on the corner of Kalamazoo and 28th Street was where Grandma, Aunt Debbie and I would go on Saturday mornings. I remember getting ice cream and treats from the bakery. I remember riding the Sandy ponies for a penny.
That Meijer is gone. In its place is a corporate giant that might as well be Walmart for all its warmth. I’m sure Hendrik is rolling in his grave.
My family and I have chosen to boycott any and all Meijer facilities. We will not buy two-day-old donuts from your bakery when we can buy baked-this-morning ones from our local Oleson’s Food Store. We will not buy gas from your station. We will not wash our cars at your car wash. Nor will I ever again buy plants for my yard and garden from your garden center.
At one time, I did almost all my shopping at your store. When we travelled around the state we would seek out a Meijer because we knew we could find everything we needed. No more.
I’m sure my little letter will not change anything. In fact, I doubt a human being will even process this envelope, but I know the copies of this letter will be read, and with any luck, published.

Kimberly Dittmar
• Kingsley

Hands off vet benefits
I read your most recent article; “Vet must share disability with ex-wife“ in the June 9 issue.
I find it most unconscionable that a judge would do such a thing and garnish a veteran’s benefit that is solely his. What the judge fails to see is that if veteran Calvin Murphy is not retired, under federal law described by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), his disability “benefit” is his and not for alimony.
In a ruling on the law cited by the DFAS, one sees that disabled veterans are not mentioned at any time. I understand the judge is trying to be equitable, but to violate a disabled veteran’s disability benefit is just wrong, unless she was with him in Vietnam.
Alimony is not mentioned once in the U.S. Code which applies to such benefits. Why? Because Congress understood the disabled veterans are a vulnerable group and need help acquiring services due to not being able to stay gainfully employed.
When I read this article it reminds me of a bully picking on someone who cannot fight back. Reading this is certainly a sad day for justice and veterans across America.

Capt. Steven Schaffhouser,
USAF Aux • via email
A veteran‘s pain
In your story about the veteran who must share his benefits with his ex-wife, you forgot to mention that Judge Batzer also ordered Calvin Murphy to pay his ex-wife’s attorney $3,000. I will bet you a dollar to a donut that some of that money will wind up in Judge Batzer’s reelection fund. And don’t forget the state gets funds out of him for taking his money and posting a check to his ex-wife.
I have over half of my Social Security disability taken and given to my ex-wife, yet she is getting 100% of her Social Security benefits.

Gordon Sutton • Schoolcraft
 
Monday, June 9, 2008

Letters 6/9/08

Letters Problems flying via TC
Last November as I settled into my ($94 one way) seat on the plane from Flint to Sarasota, FL, just before the door closed, in rushed the occupant of the seat next to me. He flopped down exclaiming: “Wow, didn’t think I’d make it. I’ve just driven four hours from a little town in the tip of the Leelanau peninsula, Northport.“
Not recognizing him, I asked who he was visiting there as I too had just driven from Northport (in a $37, plus gas, rental car). Each time I make this frequent flight the plane has many people on it going to or from the Grand Traverse area. Why is Flint’s Bishop International Airport, a four-hour drive from here, getting our business?
Sarasota, where my wife and I travel several times a year for business, is very similar to Traverse City. Like TC, a few years ago they built a beautiful new airport. However, compared to Tampa International, an hour drive away, prices were high and flight availability poor. For several years the new airport sat embarrassingly idle.
Finally, after community complaints, a grass roots campaign, and a new director, the authority finally negotiated to bring in AirTran, followed by ATA. The airport and its carriers (except for ATA) today are flourishing to everyone’s delight.
For a city and outlying communities that practically depend on tourism, what’s wrong with Traverse City? Why are there no budget air carriers available for this region at Cherry County Airport? Isn’t it a necessity whose time has come? Why isn’t the business community in Traverse City involved with this issue? Isn’t it time to shut down the FNT connection, do some negotiation, and finally get TVC at Cherry Capitol Airport, onto AirTran’s landing charts?

Craig Brigham • Northport


Legal predator
There was a movie about 20 years ago called Predator. It was about an alien that came to Earth to hunt human beings for sport. The nearly invisible predator would tirelessly stalk it’s human prey, skin them alive, and make prized trophies out of their skulls.
This movie comes to mind whenever I think about the fear and terror experienced by my family and our friends who have endured a barrage of SLAPP suits (strategic lawsuits against public participation) filed by Timothy Stoepker, an attorney from the downstate law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC.
The sinister purpose of these SLAPP suits was to intimidate Acme Township officials into abrogating their local zoning laws. I am pleased to report that the Acme officials were firm in protecting the democratic process in the face of these egregious attacks that threatened their family’s hearth, home, and their modest assets. We stood to lose everything, but instead of cowering, we resoundingly said: “NO!”
And now, to my horror, I read that Mr. Stoepker has turned his predatory gaze on the officials of rural Bear Creek Township (Northern Express, “Lawsuits Bleed Townships,“ 5-26-08). Deeply sympathetic with their plight, I am sure that they too will serve their community well, but they will need the support of their neighbors. It will not be easy.
Thankfully, we do have an Arnold Schwarzenegger type hero to save the day. Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer of the 105th House District is in the process of drafting some very important legislation that will prevent this kind of abuse of our democratic process in the future. Mr. Elsenheimer, along with all the besieged township officials and their families, and the community members who bravely spoke up... they are all my heroes.
In that movie, I believe the predator, wounded and realizing his failure, self-destructs. Hopefully, Mr. Stoepker will simply discover a new sport with which to amuse himself that is not so cruel and inhumane. May I suggest badminton?

Amy Kerr Hardin • Acme Township

Different view of Lyme
Mr Ruble’s insightful and eloquent letter in the May 26 Northern Express Weekly deserves commendation as one of the best brief accounts of the Lyme disease topic that I have read.
As a medical director for a downstate local health department (Saginaw County), I have seen firsthand the consequences of an overzealous affinity to the diagnosis of “chronic” lyme disease. I have also predicted that a grass-roots attempt by well-intentioned individuals to alter the current case definition of Lyme disease will be forthcoming by those so convinced of its under diagnosis and reporting.
Letters like his help portray a balanced view of a controversial topic, as do the articles he has suggested.

Neill D, Varner, DO, MPH


Unsustainable economy
The success of the consumer economy in the U.S., which the developing world is attempting to emulate, depends on more and more people buying more and more things.
This economy depends on three elements which doom it to failure: a growing population, a growing debt, and diminishing resources. The economic theory which guides our economy seems to offer no other way to share the wealth of the planet than by this process in which we just use it up.
Yet the health of the environment cannot stand more huge, populous nations with consumer economies similar to the U.S.
Overpopulation, the end of cheap energy, and the poisoning of our atmosphere are either upon us or in sight. Al Gore has done more than almost anyone else to call our attention to the fact that our way of life is not sustainable.
On the other hand, many leaders dare not speak anything less than hopefully about the future. That the world is already overpopulated is one of the most forbidden of all topics.
People have faith that things will go on pretty much as they have; putting their faith in the goverment, the free market, private enterprise, human ingenuity, science and technology, and finally, in God.
There have been economists and ecologists who have warned about the unsustainability of our lifestyle. We have rarely known who our prophets are, believing them usually to be without honor in their own time and place.

R.E. Reinert • Northport

 
Monday, June 2, 2008

Letters 6/2/08

Letters Tax cuts cost jobs
Our politicians are using their kidneys instead of their brains. Look at the latest example.
A large number of our politicians want to eliminate our state taxes on gasoline during the summer to promote tourism.
What! Do tourists come only in the summer? Now do you call that a solution? I call it “They are using their kidneys again.“
If they keep cutting taxes, how will we repair our roads so the tourists can drive to Northern Michigan? Who will pay to keep our roads free of snow so the tourists can come during the winter? Who will pay for the police and deputies to enforce the laws to keep us safe?
TAX CUTS COST JOBS
And to top it off, not too long ago these same politicians were extolling the wonderful power of the free market to solve all our problems.
What’s wrong? Don’t they like the free market’s solution to our energy problem?

Richard R. Riker • Mackinaw City

Lyme racket?
Anne Stanton’s recent piece on Lyme disease was welcome for the fact that it warns us of a potential danger as we venture outdoors this spring. But I am surprised at her entirely uncritical treatment of the “Lyme-literate” physicians and of the whole idea of chronic Lyme disease.
Just last year Forbes magazine ran a fairly interesting article on this matter of which Stanton seems entirely unaware.
Chronic Lyme disease may exist, but it’s far from clear that it does. And patients are not the final word on whether it does: patients know they have symptoms; they don’t know whether they are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.
And vaguely described “test results” don’t help the reader much. There are a lot of questionable lab practices out there -- the CDC in fact warned against the possible prevalence of false positive results for Lyme in 2005. When Stanton tells us someone has tested positive for Lyme, what test are we talking about? Is it one that actually works? Is it an approved test? If not, how do we know it works?
And anyone using colloidal silver for Lyme has to be treated with a bit of skepticism, no? What next? Crystals? Magnets? Mild electric shock?
And the prolonged use of antibiotics this article describes has already been subject to fraud judgments in Michigan and elsewhere, has it not?
I can’t speak to all the cases described in Stanton’s article, but I can’t help but wonder: Wasn’t any research done for this piece? Don’t you think that the legitimate science on this disease--there is a fair deal out there -- deserves a bit of notice?

Oran Kelley • TC



Sewer blues
The article by Anne Stanton titled “Northport’s Sewer Blues” was the best I have read -- well balanced and informative.
The initial push for a Northport sewer was predicated on false environmental information that stated the septic tanks in Northport were 85% failed or failing. The “factual” environmental issues remain on the court table after Judge Thomas Power stated the case has merit. All concerned environmentalists need to study the issues as presented by members of the Northport FORUM through our legal counsel. The issues are not over until they‘re over.
The original group of responsible citizens who extensively and exhaustively researched the Northport issues remain as one with the assistance of the FORUM members. The original group, comprised of one engineer, one economic expert, and several environmental experts, have consistently approached the Northport Council since the sewer‘s inception in an attempt to communicate concerns. Those concerns were never addressed by the council. Those concerns will remain before Judge Power as part of the FORUM‘s merit case.
Our Constitution was written with the intent of protecting the rights of every human being. One right is the right to have issues heard, discussed, understood, and to arrive at balanced solutions. Since the Northport Council set aside our constitutional process, it now becomes the responsibility of the FORUM members to uphold that process.
Judge Power realized that the case has merit and will be heard -- costly as it will be for both sides. The time has come for every Northport citizen to be heard now and in the next election. Join the FORUM and protect your rights!

Ronald J. Schobel • Suttons Bay
 
Monday, May 26, 2008

Letters 5/26/08

Letters Lyme & journalism
For those of us watching as the pablum of corporate journalism leaves readers in the dark about government, society and everyday life, Anne Stanton’s story on Lyme disease was a brilliant and hopeful study on not only the disease and its ramifications, but also a sign that there are still real journalists writing about subjects that matter.
Anne’s story clearly explained the issues involved in a complex topic and broke new ground by establishing the fact that the disease is a problem in Northern Michigan. Describing the difficulties faced by the victims and the medical community was insightful and fair reporting.
It’s an especially sad story because it involves people we know; and it’s an especially heartening story because it shed some light in the darkness by giving new hope to people who found themselves in especially difficult circumstances.

Joe Mielke • Kingsley

Pets also affected
I was not surprised to see the faces of several of my clients on the cover of this last issue (May 12-18). I have heard their stories and that of many others living with Lyme disease.
I care for their pets who are at an even greater risk of contracting Lyme disease. When I first moved here, 10 years ago from Florida, I was told by several area veterinarians that we don’t have Lyme disease in this area. I asked them how many dogs they had tested for the disease, and the answer was always none.
Obviously, if you are not looking for and testing for a disease, you will not find it. Lyme disease carrying ticks are here in Northern Michigan and a real threat to the people and pets who live here.
The heartworm test we use at our hospital also tests for Lyme disease. We routinely find dogs with antibodies to Lyme disease, some with symptoms and some without.
Thank you for your article; it is my hope it will increase the awareness to this disease, and to its prevention, which is by far the better choice than treatment.
I encourage pet parents to have their dogs vaccinated for Lyme disease; the vaccine is safe and very effective. Monthly flea and tick preventive is also very useful to protect pets and the people they live with. I often hear that my dog is not at risk because of this or that. The people you interviewed probably thought they were not at much of a risk either. Ticks can transmit many nasty and fatal diseases.
Thanks to Northern Express for transmitting knowledge and information to our community.

R. Craig Brakeman, DVM • TC
 
Monday, May 19, 2008

Letters 5/19/08

Letters Life with Lyme disease
This is to express my appreciation for the wonderful informative article on the frustration of individuals living with Lyme’s disease (May 12 by Anne Stanton).
In 1995 I came down with Lyme Disease and had a terrible time getting it diagnosed. It started with a very painful rash affecting first my ankles, then quickly spread up to my knees and was followed the next morning with flu-like symptoms.
I had to have my daughter drive me to Urgent Care where the doctor treated me with cortisone drugs. The rash and fever went away but joint pain increased and spread. I also witnessed episodes of dizziness and loss of hearing.
My doctor’s office tested me for rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc., and gave me drugs that did nothing.
Finally, I was lucky to have a carpool member with family out East suggest I might have Lyme’s disease. Because I was a library media specialist, I did some research and found I had 20 some symptoms out of 60 or so listed. My doctor didn’t agree with the diagnosis, but after having negative results on all the tests, he was willing to prescribe 21 days of tetracycline and my symptoms went away. This was done within 30 days of the onslaught of the disease and so I have completely recovered. But, it was just luck.
I wasn’t tested for Lyme because my doctor felt the tests were inconclusive.
Since then, I have tried to raise awareness that Lyme does exist in this area but most medical personnel remain skeptical. When discussing the vaccine for my dog with the vet, she even said it didn’t exist in this area until I told her of my experience. Your article was so well researched and written, I am sure that it will be helpful in raising awareness for all in this community. Again, thank you.

Barb Berry • via email

A disaster for
Michigan‘s water future
The Great Lakes Compact adoption has passed the Michigan House and Senate, but it remains tie-barred to enactment of water legislation to implement it and set standards for Michigan’s future.
The Senate version, Substitute SB 860a and SB 212, is a disaster for Michigan’s water future, legalizing 25% of the flow of streams to be diminished by groundwater withdrawals from Michigan; a massive amount of water. It also continues to legalize “fish reductions” when fish, like water, are property of the state, a public resource held in public trust to be protected and managed for benefit of citizens.
The House version is a little better, but still not satisfactory, because of these two primary issues, and because there is little public notice, opportunity for hearings, or comment on water withdrawals in Michigan.
It is URGENT that everyone who can contact Senator Birkholz and Rep. Rebekah Warren, telling them to not compromise these principles and to not adopt legislation until these principles have been addressed.
Neither the Senate or House version should be adopted until this occurs.
Please oppose Senate and demand additions that strengthen the House version before it passes.
-- Rep. Rebekah Warren, 517-373-2577
-- Sen. Patricia Birkholz,
517-373-3447
-- Sen. Michelle McManus,
517-373-1725
-- Sen. Jason Allen, 517-373-2413
-- Rep. Howard Walker, 517-373-1766
--Rep. David Palsrok, 517-373-0825

Jim Olson • TC
(Jim Olson is an attorney specializing in the defense of environmental resources.)

Who‘s to blame?
 
 
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