Letters

Letters 12-22-2014

Affordable Housing Alternatives In Scott Hardy’s opinion piece in the December 15 edition, he offered six concrete ideas to address the ongoing community discussion about increasing affordable in-town housing in Traverse City.

Powerful Homeless Event Homelessness is far more complex than we thought. “Everyone Has a Story—Sit and Share Our Bench” was a wondrous performance Sunday, December 7, that opened my eyes to a wide range of experiences with homelessness, bridging the gap between “us and them.”

Long-Lasting Effects of Measles I understand several cases of measles have occurred in Traverse City. I also became aware that in Michigan, persons are three times less likely to be immunized.

Changing The Electoral College Republicans are thinking about changing how Michigan allocates Electoral College votes. Michigan, like all but two states, gives all of its electoral votes to the statewide winner of the popular vote.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Letters 4/28/08

Letters History of a disaster
Anyone who has ever canoed, fished or hiked in the Jordan River Valley knows it is one of the last pristine wild areas in Northern Michigan.  The proposed deep-injection wells in Alba could threaten to change that.
Cement kiln dust (CKD), when mixed with water, becomes a toxic,  bleach-like soup, releasing large amounts of mercury, arsenic and other contaminants.  The State, DEQ, and developers have known for over 20 years that ground water was mixing with CKD from the former Penn-Dixie cement plant and leaching its poisons into Little Traverse Bay.  Their solution?  Build luxury homes and a golf course over the piles and hope no one would notice.  CMS Energy was one of the developing partners.
The toxic leachates entered Little Traverse Bay.  East Park was closed.  The EPA, in 2005, ordered CMS to isolate, contain or remove the CKD piles to eliminate groundwater contamination.  Such containment would necessitate digging up the golf course.  CMS says it‘s too expensive.  Their solution?  Allow the groundwater to become contaminated, then collect a small percentage of it (the rest is still flowing into the bay), transport it to Alba, a community with far fewer economic resources, and once again bury the problem.  That‘s 135,000 gallons shipped by tanker trucks on hilly country roads every day for the next 10-20 years -- the potential for transport problems are reason enough to oppose the well.
And what if the leachate doesn‘t stay buried?  These wells have an 8% malfunction rate.  When a deep-injection well in Romulus, MI failed, the company responsible for its maintenance vanished, leaving the community to clean up the mess.
Do we want to risk poisoning the Jordan River or the drinking water of area residents?  Do we want to continue to allow leachate to flow into Little Traverse Bay?  The CKD piles should be removed, not dumped in another community, possibly contaminating another watershed.  Join with Friends of the Jordan and Star Township in opposing the deep-injection wells and protect our water.

          Anne Zukowski • Charlevoix

Rising food costs
How crazy our policy makers have become.  Food costs as well as other commodities across the spectrum have gone through the roof.  Starting in large part with our government‘s effort to appease the global warming crowd and burn corn ethanol in fuel tanks.  
The existence of global warming and certainly that which is man-made is highly debatable, but that’s another topic.  This ludicrous policy, by the law of supply and demand, has raised the cost of  basic food staples this country and others need to survive.  Without such, malnutrition, starvation, and the political unrest that follows shakes the foundation of governments and the world at large. The recent food riots in Egypt and elsewhere have only begun to surface.  We need to reverse this absurd policy immediately.   
Energy is readily available if those who want our country to be back in the Stone Age would allow many of the world’s great companies to go get it and put people back to work.  Those radical elements of our society that have prevented us from doing so dislike nearly all of our realistic options.  They don‘t like oil.  The don‘t like coal.  They don‘t like the incredibly clean nuclear.  They don‘t even like wind farms off the coast of one of their favorite spokesmen, the great senator from Massacheusetts, Mr. Ted Kennedy.  
To those who believe in such grave policy, please stop blaming big oil for rising fuel costs.  Don‘t blame your local grocer for rising food costs.  When the food riots become common and potentially spread throughout much of the world, look into a mirror and reflect as to who is truly to blame.  Seven dollar per pound burger is just around the corner. 

                        Brian Spencer • TC 
 
Monday, April 21, 2008

Letters 4/21/08

Letters Get informed
In their respective letters, Lisa Mai Shoemaker (“So childish,” April 7) and Gary Woodhams (“Cut the crap,” April 14) both show a detrimental level of cynicism toward our political process.
In her letter, Ms. Shoemaker fancies herself an “independent” and labels those who see a difference between Republicans and Democrats as “childish.” She tells readers that “nobody gives a damn” about their opinions.
A week later, Mr. Woodhams follows suit by openly mocking anyone who “swear[s] total allegiance to any political party” and even finds political jokes from coworkers insufferable.
Ms. Shoemaker laments that there are no “perfect” candidates and that no party can claim to have any “brains.” For his part, Mr. Woodhams rejects candidates Obama, Clinton, and McCain as being equally unsatisfactory.
In other words, Mr. Woodhams and Ms. Shoemaker would like us to think that they are somehow above the fray of politics, as if it were a pursuit only for simpletons and knuckle-draggers of the worst kind.
It is precisely this type of cynicism that degrades our political discourse instead of elevating it and, to borrow a phrase from Ms. Shoemaker, “makes me want to ralf.”
Cynicism of this kind is merely a transparent stand-in for doing actual political homework, and it prevents one from making an informed decision come election time.
The truth is our choices in the election booth do matter, and in this election cycle there is a lot at stake. Economic and foreign policy decisions, which profoundly affect us all, don’t just sprout out of the ground; they are made by the people we choose to make them, which means that now is not the time to plug our ears and scream, as Ms. Shoemaker would have us do, solely to dodge our civic responsibilities or to avoid “offensive” political commentary.
The president wields an enormous amount of power and influence. It is our job to pick one that will use it in the right way, and, despite what Mr. Woodhams would have us believe, there are significant ideological differences in the candidates. Furthermore, if Mr. Woodhams is right that lobbyists and special interests control Washington, it is only because we the people collectively sit back, throw up our hands, and let them.
An uninformed, cynical citizenry allows good politicians but bad leaders to seize the reigns of power. In the last few years, we have seen and felt the consequences of electing these types of people. But don’t blame it on them. We put them there.

Chip Corwin • Bellaire
 
Monday, April 14, 2008

Letters 4/14/08

Letters Cut the crap
I enjoyed reading Lisa Mai Shoemaker’s letter in the April 7 Northern Express (“So Childish”) and agree that the “Democrat/Republican crap” should just STOP. The partisanship has reached a ridiculous level.
I’m sick of receiving emails from friends/coworkers with political jokes that are word-for-word the same except for “Bush” appearing as one punch line and “Hillary” appearing as the next. Same joke, different parties/candidates/elected official.
If you honestly swear total allegiance to either political party, I have a bridge to sell you over the Boardman River. Both parties have made a mess of this country and neither party speaks for the average voter. Corporations, the rich, lobbyists and special interest groups have highjacked the political system and the rest of us are getting the shaft.
There may come a day when talk radio hosts, newspaper editorials and columnists and internet bloggers point out the problems with the behavior of both parties in an even-handed manner, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.
To illustrate how broken the system has become, consider how much time, effort and money has been spent to determine the next president, and the best they can come up with are Obama, Clinton and McCain?

Gary Woodhams • TC

McCain‘s poor record
Your article about John McCain left out some important things about his history and thoughts about war. For if he was critical about Vietnam why can he flip-flop about Iraq? I respect the fact that he went to answer his country‘s need as a brave solder, but solders do not make leaders, only followers, and always cheer for their use of military might even when they‘re dead wrong about why it‘s needed.
Further, he is also a flip-flopper about torture, economics, ethics, lobbyist monies, and worse, he has a criminal past in being one of the Keating Five, who cheated the American taxpayer out of $1.4 trillion in the ‘80s. Why isn’t the press covering some of his “bad decisions,” as he put it, past screw-ups?
Where is the honesty in covering the truth about potential presidents? It sure didn’t happen with W; so are we ready for another incompetent, misguided and unethical leader? Look how worse off we all are now by W’s massive screwups; living in fear, over-burdened, everything is on edge, and not enjoying freedoms.
I wish Jesse Ventura was running, if he could. He put it right as to starting war a: “You would only go to war if you were willing to send your own son or daughter.”
Very wise words and where is that in McCain?

Bradford Krull • Glen Arbor
 
Monday, April 7, 2008

Letters 4/7/08

Letters Don‘t overdo it...
As I read your article on training women for the 28th Annual GT Bodybuilding Championship, and now that the competition is over, and as someone who treats those with eating issues, weight and fat phobia, and body hatred, I feel a responsibility to give voice to reason.
At any age, it is dangerous to have six percent body fat. In fact, science shows that anything less than 12 percent for a female can be dangerous. Low body fat can lead to what is called the “female athlete triad” in which there is a decrease in hormones, interruption of the menstrual cycle, and loss of bone mass. Osteoporosis can occur if one’s body fat is too low for too long. The same condition can occur when a woman is anorexic and her body goes into semi-starvation mode.
A certain amount of fat (at least 12 percent) is essential to normal, healthy functioning, as it‘s stored in bone marrow, organs, the central nervous system and muscles. Fat also regulates body temperature and cushions organs and tissues. For those of us who aren’t bodybuilders (and that’s most of us), 25-35 percent of this “essential fat” is normal, depending on your age. Studies show that women at the higher end of this range are healthiest over time and live longer.
To all those that just competed in the 28th GT Bodybuilding Contest, congratulations and now, eat up! Please.

Lisa Franseen, PhD

Bay Harbor syrup
It was pleasant to read Jennifer McKay’s thoughtful column on the proposed Alba well and to know of Tip of the Mitt’s continuing concerns for the health and welfare of the region.
And it is heartening to read Kevin Elsenheimer’s letter to Governor Granholm on the inadequacy of the safety bonding.
But it may also be fitting to remind people that there are 2.5 million tons of hazardous material buried under the Bay Harbor golf course -- material that turns into a burning syrup laden with mercury, lead, and arsenic when wetted by groundwater and by the additional thousands of gallons of irrigation water used on the golf course. And that poisonous syrup leaches into the environment – into the Bay, into upper aquifer layers – where it does, and will continue to do, harm.
An order was issued by the EPA over three years ago to remove, isolate, or contain those toxic materials. It hasn’t happened.
Since then, much attention has been focused on drilling a deep well in Alba to dispose of less than five percent of the toxic burden – a “solution” that risks contaminating the entire Jordan River valley, to boot.
Such an exercise, if carried out, would still leave over 95 percent of the problem untouched, an omission which would shortly involve the affected property owners, developers, the municipality, and the general public in grievous losses in land values, quality of life, health, and liability.
Isn’t it time to tackle the whole problem, as ordered years ago?

Jack Norris • via email
 
Monday, March 31, 2008

Letters 3/31/08

Letters Bring back dam power
I live on Boardman View Terrace within a reserve dedicated in our bicentennial year 1976, protected by public trust, and dedicated to be preserved forever within the Grand Traverse Natural Educational Reserve.
There are two hydroelectric dams within this reserve. The historical dam impoundments on the Boardman River have created high-quality wetland areas unique in the amount and species of fish and wildlife they sustain. Horribly, the entire ecosystem in a five-mile stretch of the river is in danger of being irreversibly damaged.
My constitutional rights are also being challenged by Grand Traverse County. They are attempting the largest land grab in Grand Traverse County history with their claim to the bottomlands exposed by drawing down the dams. There is a clear unclouded chain of title through plat maps titles, deeds and agreements to whom the exposed bottomlands are entitled.
Foreseeing the lack of supply and the demand projections for electricity, it doesn’t take long to realize the need for relicensing these historic dam facilities to generate electricity in the Boardman River Valley.
At a time when nearly every electric power company in Michigan needs a percentage of renewable power in its portfolio, and most are scrambling to meet the requirements, it defies all logic that Grand Traverse County has formed a committee to embark on what it calls the largest dam removal project in the country.
Many believe this issue should be explored and offered to the public as the largest historical dam restoration project in the country, with efficient hydro-electric generation across the state.

Bruce Carpenter • TC

Corrections
Hats off to the Crooked Lake Grill for winning the “Best Breakfast“ category in Emmet County, an honor that was inadvertantly omitted in our Best of Northern Michigan issue.
Also, apologies for the misspellings on the names of Jon Kitna and Jessie Jones.
 
Monday, March 24, 2008

Letter 3/24/08

Letters Predatory lenders
Robert Downes shouldn’t worry too much about punitive treatment of subprime mortgage lenders (“The Foreclosure Blizzard,” 3/17). They don’t deserve his sympathy.
Those lenders are not caring people, working hard to give poor folks a break on home ownership. They are predators, looking to use unwary people for a fast buck. The lenders used schemes like misrepresenting income sources and amounts, asset values, and other facts. They loaned to people who were not likely to be able to repay. Some were simply not “credit worthy,” which is to say, they lacked the debt-to-income figures suggesting successful management of debt. Some lacked steady employment income. Some were conned into buying dwellings at unreasonably high prices. The lenders failed to tell people about interest rate variability, or misrepresented the likelihood of rate increases.
Then they charged high fees, and sold off the mortgages so somebody else would bear the risk of loss. They earned very high incomes doing this, taking advantage of buyers’ lack of knowledge, sophistication, or wariness. They are not friendly local bankers, giving Joe a break because they know he’s a man of probity despite a limited income. As in many other areas of contemporary life, the effects of the Reagan-era (and Bush-era) penchant for deregulation are coming back to haunt us.

Chris Campbell • TC

They flowed
The Holly Wren Spaulding article on the documentary that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, “Flow, For Love of Water,” omitted mentioning two important people who are interviewed in the movie.
One is Terry Swier from Mecosta County, who has doggedly pursued Nestle since the water-bottling giant first entered Michigan and is the founder and President of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC). The other is Traverse City’s Jim Olson, who is the group’s legal counsel, and who has stood up to Nestle for the past six years in the courts.
I certainly hope that “Flow” will be shown in an area theatre and the real stars of this documentary, those who are fighting the water wars daily all over the world, can be recognized.

Judith Bosma • Beulah
 
Monday, March 17, 2008

Letters 3/17/08

Letters Votes must be counted
Michigan and Florida defied the Democratic Party’s rules by moving their primaries to January in an attempt to leap-frog other states’ primaries. As a result, the Democratic National Committee is planning to deny seats to the delegates from these two states at the Democratic National Convention.
In spite of all this, a legally binding primary was held in these two states. It is only a matter of time before someone who voted in these primaries will file a lawsuit because their vote must be honored. Nobody in this country can be told that their legally cast vote does not count because leaders of a state and national party made a mistake.
Before those primaries were held, the DNC and the Michigan/Florida Democratic committees should have realized that you cannot simply disregard a vote just because they could not come to an agreement. And you cannot just “re-do” an election to fix a mistake.
If anything, the Democrats should have learned this from the 2000 presidential election. You must count every vote that is cast on the day, place and time that it is legally cast. Otherwise, we run the risk of putting in jeopardy the very foundation of our nation. Unfortunately, this issue will once again have to be resolved by the courts because the so-called party leaders tried to get cute with the process.

Joe Bialek • Cleveland, OH
 
Monday, March 10, 2008

Letters 3/10/08

Letters In defense of sculpture
I am amazed that a person who enjoys and profits from the process of creative open communication, would attempt to attack the entire field of creative communication that you call “modern sculpture“ (Random Thoughts 2/25).
First of all, I agree with your general views on the faulty process that has been used in an attempt to place this particular piece of art in the Open Space. You have however made a couple of errors. It is my understanding that the $800,000 was an amount that included much more than the original price of the sculpture. Secondly, the advertisement on the Internet listed in 2006, estimates the value of the piece is as low as $50,000. The price is listed as “Make an Offer.”
Apparently nobody made an offer. It would seem that the sculpture has no monetary value. Apparently a decision was made to give it away.
As to your reflections on “modern sculpture,” according to your wording, I would assume that you mean non-representational, or non-objective sculpture. I am of course a sculptor. I have several large outdoor sculptures on display in several regional cities. Most people would say my sculptures look like machine parts. Some people are amazed with my work. Some people have compared it to “ugly junk.” Although I have a price on my sculptures that are reflective of the cost of materials, the hours of labor, and the 40% to 50% that galleries have to charge to cover their expenses, most of my work is worth absolutely nothing, as no one makes monetary offers for it.
Some of my best discussions about my work have been with individuals that are not impressed with “modern sculpture.” I generally ask, what kind of music do you enjoy? Do you enjoy instrumentals? In the discussion that follows, we usually agree that instrumental music is something that is appreciated. But instrumentals are a completely abstract form of communication. Sound patterns with varying pitch, meter and intensity.
If we can appreciate the abstract arrangement of sound, why do we not accept the abstract arrangement of form? We seem to have a need to link sculpture with representational images. Oh! That is what we do with music; an instrumental conjures up images in our minds of memories of our experiences.
As the discussion continues, I can generally have the person generate a narrative of what they think my sculpture is, and how those thoughts relate to their past. I always answer the same way. Yes, you are right. That is exactly what my sculpture represents. It is amazing that you understand what was in my mind. We part after sharing experiences from our past as ignited by observing the sculpture that they thought was valueless.
Of course, if I have the same discussion with 10 different individuals, I usually come up with 10 different scenerios. All are right as they relate to the person observing the sculpture. Many leave thinking that it is all a lot of nonsense. However, each person will have the image of my sculpture, and what it means to them, forever engraved in their mind.
The world would be a very boring place if everyone thought and saw things the same way. “Modern sculpture” allows each viewer to put something of themselvs in the art work that they are observing. Good or bad, it evokes a creative and unique response.
I think that your article may be misguided. It however, caused me to take the time to write this response. I would assume that my response might generate other responses. Just imagine a world of people thinking for themselves. People discussing what is important to them. It seems that we are both in the same business. You accomplish it with the written word. I do it with “modern sculpture.”
By the way, it seems that you give your product away at no charge. Apparently we share something else. Like this sculpture by John Piet, our work seems to have no monetary value.

Doug Gruizenga • Interlochen
 
Monday, March 3, 2008

Letters 3/3/08

Letters Take back the Court
Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of working with a wonderful group of your neighbors from Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse Counties. We share a deep concern for one of the critical institutions necessary for a thriving democracy: fair and impartial courts.
In our state, like many others, Supreme Court election campaigns have become an embarrassment. In the words of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “Judicial elections are becoming political prizefights where partisans and special interests seek to install judges who will answer to them instead of the law and the constitution.”
We believe public financing of Michigan Supreme Court election campaigns would provide a viable alternative to the special interests’ campaign finance tug of war to control the Court. Public financing could remove one cause of the erosion of trust and confidence in our judiciary. The existing State Campaign Fund, which has become insignificant in gubernatorial campaigns, could fund contemporary Supreme Court campaigns very adequately.
In a visit to Lansing on February 19th, your neighbors acquitted themselves beautifully in meetings with their state senators and other legislators.
But, realistically, we are not expecting quick victory for an idea as revolutionary as taking special interest money out of Supreme Court elections. The truth is, we need your help. Go to the web site of the Michigan Independent Supreme Court Campaign, www.miscc.org, and sign the online petition. Sometimes ordinary citizens have to lead the leaders. We’re prepared to do that.

Rich Robinson • Michigan
Campaign Finance
Network • Lansing
Remembering Reggie
I can’t believe it’s 13 years since Reggie Box died -- the world is now a much darker place. I remember Reggie as a true revolutionary who wanted to change the system from within. He used to come over to my brother’s house as an escape from the extraordinary pressures that were put on him -- political, corporate and other.
Every move he made was scrutinized by the owners of the radio station he made great. Reggie didn’t want a “radio powerhouse,” he wanted a radio station free from the dictums of this corporate world. He wanted a WABX-style station that could play music reflective of the times. He was so happy when KLT was number one in its prospective market, but the pressure to keep that status was more than he could bear. He told me once: “If only I had a million dollars... “
Now, I hear the last of his legacy is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder -- I am floored! This will remove the last bit of his presence, won’t it? Everyone can move on with their lives. When he passed away and I remember that day, WKLT played non-stop music to honor his life and impact -- Kinks music! Terry Ray was all busted-up, as were we all because we realized the great person we lost. Then there was the memorial and the first auction of his things. WKLT than launched the “Reggie Box Annual Memorial Music Show,” or something because I only remember one! Now this!

Eric Alandt • TC
 
Monday, February 25, 2008

Letters 2/25/08

Letters Cry for Help
I commend the Northern Express for its article and interview regarding the tragic death of Craig Carlson.
Craig was someone to many people. He was a son, grandson, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. On Nov. 10, a Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s sniper decided that Craig’s life would end. I find it appalling that up to 60 officers were involved with this tragedy, which lasted approximately 12 hours, and nobody was successful in assisting Craig with his cry for help!
Twelve hours to talk him down... to find someone that Craig loved and trusted to help... to find a trained professional to assist.
It’s unacceptable that Craig had to die this way. With all of the sketchy details surrounding Craig’s shooting, many questions are being raised that need to be answered. We, as a society, should not “accept” the fact that it is okay for law enforcement to shoot and kill a suicidal person.
I am hopeful that justice will be served for Craig, his family and his friends.

Christie Niesen • Bear Lake

License to kill
Police actions in Craig Carlson’s case give them a license to kill at will without being held accountable. All they need to say is that he was a threat, or lie to have things in the cops‘ favor.
This is why I would never call a cop for any reason, for they always make a bad situation even worse with their lies, bullying, stealing, torture, and now even murder.
You may think I just have a few bad mishaps with police or that there are just a few bad apples, but I am qualified to say that I have experienced all these abuses personally, and some more than once. I never have any need for police for any reason and consider them far worse than any criminal.
I once was trustful enough to give cops money as charity, support their mission, and believe the constant propaganda on TV.
I now know better than to ever ask for any assistance, protection, or help, for I will be the one going to jail, paying a fine, or getting harassed for asking. This has happened more than once. Even going to the police to ‘police‘ themselves brought about no action in my favor -- instead it brought more harm my way. Yes, they have ruined my life, my faith in American justice, and any reason to trust in this fascist illegal government.

Brad Hargett • via email
 
Monday, February 18, 2008

Letters 2/18/08

Letters A $10 million fiasco
Michigan’s recent accelerated primary election, according to State Senator Michelle McManus, was an exemplar of Lansing’s political strategy and a whopping success which thrust our state into the national limelight, greatly increasing its citizens‘ influence on national politics. What on earth was she thinking?
First of all, those of us of the non-Republican persuasion were effectively cut out of the election altogether, even as we cast our meaningless votes for Senator Clinton or “uncommitted.” Even the Republicans, while at least having a full slate of candidates, should know that the National Republican Party slashed their delegate allocation in half.
McManus goes on to state how the acceleration brought candidates to Michigan.
Again, nothing could be further from the truth. No viable Democrats came to Michigan and only a couple of Republicans. We paid out $10 million for this fiasco.
McManus represents the deepest flaw in our state’s entire political process: The modern day professional politician. They have no clue!
They come to the party, but bring nothing; feeding from the table that we the people fill. It‘s an Orwellian nightmare come true: Less is More, War is Peace and Michigan has again benefitted from the benevolent vision of its professional politicians.

Bill Brown, Maple City

Imagine
Imagine spending $2 trillion not on a brutal, unjust war, but instead reaching out to our poor and oppressed fellow humans... feeding the hungry, providing shelter and access to clean water.
Imagine America the beloved – not feared and hated.
Imagine Al Qaeda unable to find new recruits, and the hatred of terrorism defeated finally in the only way it can be – with love!
Imagine Americans awakening from this nightmare of endless war, waged by greedy fear mongers willing to shed the blood of not only their perceived enemy... but of our own children!
Imagine America leading the world to peace through disarmament, and ceasing the insidious manufacture and dissemination of weaponry.
Imagine our military reinvented, that our youth might serve as stewards and humanitarians and begin the healing and rebuilding of the ruin that a century of reckless destruction has wrought. We are on a bus called global warming and we are headed for a cliff my friends.
We cannot – must not – trust our short-sighted driver!
Imagine a bright and promising future for our grandchildren and for theirs, a future based on love and respect for each other and the natural world.

Richard Allen • Leland
 
Monday, February 11, 2008

Letters 2/11/08

Letters A growing trend?
In the world I grew up in policemen didn’t shoot a man in the head to save him from himself.
There are many different ways to deal with a man in Craig Carlson’s state of mind on the night he died, but I absolutely believe the tactics used by the 60 law enforcement officials on the scene that night, to resolve a crisis initiated by this man’s call for help, are criminal and should be investigated as that.
Even more disturbing is the fact this tactic seems to be a growing trend, as exhibited in the deaths of the “Wolf Man” in the Manistee area a couple of years ago, and again in a another stand-off in the Cheboygan area last year.
I’m sure there is a lot I don’t know about each of these situations, and maybe my distance from these incidents allows me a more rational perspective, but I just can’t believe that the resolution in each case had to lead to the death of the PEOPLE involved. I hope the sympathy I have for the people who had to pull the trigger and end these lives isn’t the naive compassion of someone who still wants to believe in the principle of ‘Protect and Serve’.
What I’m witnessing of police behavior leads me to believe law enforcement sees itself as more separate; a brotherhood apart from the general public, not a part of the general public. I realize this is not a recently developed social phenomenon.
I’m pushing 60 years old and I’ve witnessed some degree of separation throughout my life -- it seems to come with the nature of the position of authority. There appears to be more of an ‘us and them’ mentality lately, combined with an increase in available armaments and an air of being above the law somehow themselves. Taken to the extreme it becomes a case of shooting to kill and walking away without consequence.
These actions cause me great concern, not only for what they represent as an acceptable action within the realm of our rural Northern Michigan society, but also because it can only lead to more separation between law enforcement officials and the people they are sworn to serve.
I am very apprehensive of even questioning the actions of these officers and trying to make this issue part of a more open and public debate. I would regret this letter leading to a misunderstanding between myself and law enforcement officers I am acquainted with, but, I very strongly believe the death of Craig Carlson could have been avoided and would hate to see another incident of a similar nature occur.

Robert A. Wallick, Cross Village

 
Monday, February 4, 2008

Letters 2/4/08

Letters Making the grade
Thank you for exploring and writing about the issues surrounding the fatal shooting of a local citizen by a law enforcement employee (“The Story of Craig Carlson,” 1/21).
I work with head injury victims in accessing benefits and have learned that it is not uncommon for individuals suffering from head injury to have occasional bouts of serious depression and/or disorientation with accompanying symptoms. Some of the symptoms are brought on directly by the head injury, other symptoms are the results of medication that needs adjusting, and/or unanticipated life stressors or other factors.
When an individual with a head injury is experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms, it may be better for family members and individuals to contact physicians, mental health care providers, an ambulance or the local ER (unless a police agency has a protocol in place to work with family and mental health professionals during crisis times).
As mentioned at the end of your article, Third Level Crisis Center is most helpful 24/7 in this region.
Our community should be on the alert for more of these types of situations in the future. As a member of a variety of national health concern list-serves, I am acutely aware that thousands of our Iraq veterans will be returning with repetitive concussive head injuries from exposure to powerful, constant blasting that creates environmental vibration acute and significant enough to damage the brain without visible external injury.
It is my hope that our regional health programs that work with head injury victims will also reach out to police agencies to cooperate in these situations in the future – and that police agencies will reach out to the regional health care programs. There are training programs and instructors that could be called upon to help educate our local service providers.
Cooperation among agencies is critical to avoiding such tragedies in the future. I shudder to think about how many of our young, injured veterans all over the country will be returning home from the traumas of war only to face a sniper in their own living room due to lack of agency foresight, cooperation and preparedness.
Can our community learn from this horrible tragedy and work cooperatively in the future when these crisis situations arise?
I hope and pray so.
I feel for the family who is grieving; and I also feel for the police, health, and non-profit agencies that are overburdened and under-funded during these times of great need.

Sharon Neumann • TC
 
Monday, January 28, 2008

Letters 1/28/08

Letters Dear Climate Confused:
We need the temperature measurements you mentioned to more accurately predict the weather, but we don’t need them to know that our earth is warming (re: Letters 1/21). Many measurements indicate that our earth is warming, such as, the increase in ocean temperature, the lengthening of our growing season, the melting of glaciers, etc. These things cannot happen unless our earth is warming.
We can measure the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our atmosphere very accurately, and the ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica allow us to measure both over long periods of time.
For me the most significate measurement is that of oxygen in our atmosphere: in 1976 it was 20.9476, in ‘88 it was 20.9429, and in ‘99 it was 20.9362.
This is a small decrease in oxygen, but the only way we can lose oxygen is through the burning of fosil fuels, and this decrease proves beyond any doubt that we are changing our world.
If you would like to know more, go to my web site and click on comments and then ‘It’s more than carbon dioxide’ and ‘It’s more than global warming.’ http://my.freeway.net/~rrriker.

Richard R Riker Mackinaw City

Conspiracy theorist?
One evening while I was watching TV, I saw a 15-second announcement stating that sometime in 2009 everyone will need to update their TV set because (digital) TV signals will only be broadcast through a cable box. I thought first, “this doesn’t change anything, I already have cable, and so does most everyone else.” My second thought was, “why does it matter how anyone chooses to receive their TV signal?”
Days later I noticed Public Access channel 2 had a U.S. Army-endorsed show about the great things our Army is up to. It didn’t appear to me to be local access anymore.
Today, I read in “The Eagle” that scheduled local access shows are to be broadcast on “Governmental channel 99.” Suddenly, I remembered hearing somewhere... “The revolution will not be televised...”.
I was always told to ask questions, and this is my question: Is something happening to our public access channel?

Gary Wittig • via email

 
Monday, January 21, 2008

Letters 1/21/08

Letters Hellooo Big Brother
Please join me in scrutinizing the costs and ramifications of the Federal REAL ID rider which was attached to a military spending bill (H.R. 1268) and passed without any debate, and signed into law by President Bush on May 11, 2005.
I encourage you to become informed about this legislation. Folks with web access might consider Googling “REAL ID.” The issue has become more relevant to Michigan taxpayers due to a package of bills recently introduced by the Michigan Secretary of State supposedly intended to bring Michigan into compliance with federal requirements that 33 other states have rejected as too costly, and an invasion of individual privacy.
The unfunded mandates of the federal legislation are projected to cost the nation’s taxpayers $23B, according to the Department of Homeland Security. More troubling are concerns about the “show me your papers” mentality of a defacto National ID Card.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both...”

Thomas P. O‘Rourke • TC

And Next Up On ESPN,
Windshield Scraping
Your recent fitness issue was hugely disappointing in terms of the absence in coverage of seasonal Northern Michigan activities. Especially for newcomers to the area, it’s a disservice not to review fitness pursuits favored by locals. Since this is the winter season, I’ll focus on just one of the best winter activities that was not covered: roof shoveling.
This rigorous former Winter Olympic event, discontinued due to the death of all participants during the Moscow Onion Dome shoveling debacle, is a regional favorite and can be performed in two forms.
The “ladder form” of course involves climbing a ladder, standing on the step labeled “do not stand on this step,” and using an implement to reach up on the roof and drag snow into the body until the ladder is safely buried in snow and unable to be moved until spring. It’s largely an upper body workout and quite helpful in developing rotator cuff problems.
The more avant-garde form is called the “roof mount” and involves freestyle climbing to the roof’s peak, then the use of smaller implements such as shovels and axes until damage is done to the roof. Labeled an extreme sport by Evil Knievel, the roof mount style actually combines a variety of training techniques, including Pilates-like movement for flexibility and reach, skating/skiing/luging techniques while sliding down the roof’s pitch, and upper back strength while hanging from rain gutters or satellite dishes.
I would like to suggest that future fitness issues be produced by season and include other local favorites, such as spring “Sorel Boot Beach Volleyball,” summer “Men Grilling Meat on Boats Near Flammable Outboard Motors,” and a personal favorite of autumn, “Leaf Piling on City Streets Until Oncoming Traffic Can’t be Seen.”

Dave Murphy • TC

Turkey Quiz
Are you going to tell me that the white domestic turkey was not developed by some sort of selective breeding program? That some turkeys are not now so docile the noise of thunder can influence them to look up, and in heavy rain fill their lungs with enough water to cause a condition just like pneumonia? That Ben Franklin was only just kidding around about the wild turkey?
I ask you this. Is there much white meat on a wild turkey? Can Wild turkeys be very aggressive if the need arises? Have you ever seen two toms fight? Do they roost in the trees? Do you really think that Old Ben was just kidding about this magnificent bird?
I would lay my life on the line for the flag topped by the symbol of our country. But, I also know the eagle. I have seen them in a state called rapture. Have you ever seen eagles dance in the sky? Have you ever seen them eating road kill?
I‘ve picked up lifeless bodies of turkeys that were outside during a thunderstorm. Held them head down. Squished them a bit and had them revive. Not all but some.

Michael H. MacCready • Manton


 
 
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