Letters

Letters 07-28-14

Worry About Legals

I can’t figure out what perplexes me more, the misinformation everywhere in the media or those who believe it to be true. Take the Hobby Lobby case; as a company that is primarily owned by a religious family, they felt their First Amendment rights were infringed upon by the “Affordable” Care Act...

Stop Labeling and Enjoy

I have been struggling to find a simple way of understanding for myself the concepts of conservative, liberal, and moderation as it relates to our social interactions with each other...

Proposal One & The Public Good

Are you kidding me? Another corporate giveaway with loopholes for large corporations who rule us? Hasn’t our corrupt and worthless governor done enough to raise taxes, provide corporate welfare, unjustly tax pensions, and shut down elected officials with his emergency manager racket...

The Truth About Road Workers

Apparently Mr. Kachadurian did not catch on to the fact that the MDOT Employee Memorial in Clare is a tribute to highway workers who lost their lives building our transportation systems. It was paid for by current and former MDOT employees who likely knew some of these people personally...

Idiotic and Misguided

As a seasonal resident, I always look forward to reading your paper, if only because of the idiotic letters to the editor and off the wall columns...


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Letters 12/13/07

Letters Unhappy Trails
Have you heard the latest news from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources? They recently announced that they will not be grooming any of their cross-country ski trails this winter, and also that there are no plans to plow any of the parking lots! This includes such popular local trail systems like Muncie Lakes, Lake Ann Pathway, Lost Lake Pathway (Lake Dubonnet) and Sand Lakes Quiet Area. It also affects numerous trail systems throughout the state that are used for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
It was bad enough when they closed the toilets at the trailheads last summer, but now it will be almost impossible for any of us to use the trail systems themselves. They say that they will not allow others to plow the lots due to “insurance issues,” although in the past there were a few people who did it anyway.
At the present time, it seems like the DNR is solely interested in timber harvesting, because they certainly aren’t looking out for the recreation interests of the
citizens. This ruling affects not only those of us who live here, but also visitors to our area. Tourism will suffer once people show up and find that they can’t access the trail systems that they drove north to use. This ruling even has an effect on the health of our populace, since it will make it that much more difficult to get outdoors and enjoy the winter activities that keep us in shape in colder months.
It is not too late to do something. Feel free to send a note to anyone you think can help out. We have telephoned our legislators in Lansing, as well as Governor Jennifer Granholm. Perhaps people who are concerned with our well-being and health, or with the tourism industry, might like to exert some pressure too. It can’t hurt.

Lois Goldstein - Williamsburg

Dense Is As Dense Does?
How dense is the American population that our president thinks he can pull a repeat of the WMD scare? Today our President, when faced with the release of the facts re: Iran’s nuclear research, continued, as he had with Iraq, to try and drum up support with the pitch that IF Iran had the capability of an Atom Bomb, they would be dangerous to the world.
In the same vein, IF cows could fly, we’d all need to be under umbrellas. We can’t let him get away with this deceit and fearmongering again. We can’t allow another rush to action on a false premise by this Administration.
Speak out now or your objection may become moot. It is our right as well as our responsibility to let this Administration know that we are not going to be manipulated into another war due to his faulty reasoning and personal agenda.

Margaret Forgione - TC

Not This Time, Buddy
It was interesting to hear Rockefeller’s spin on when Bush must have had the information on Iran, since that would have meant he received the intel the same day as the Senate committee. How Bush can stand in front of the country and spew these transparent lies is beyond me.
This all sounds like a stuck record! This time around we will have no followers into the pit!

Krys Lyle - Beaver Island

Go Go Granholm
Kudos to the Gov. for trying to lead us into a economic and environmentally-friendly future in realizing that changes are needed in our thirst for energy. I am so sick of the broken Federal level still making proper uses of limited resources a political issue, and states should ignore our corrupt Federal losers who only support their fat cat lobbies who control the information and uses of energy. Many examples are available, just like “Kenny Boy” (Ken Ley), Bush’s highest contributer at Enron for his reelection; we all know where that led with relaxing government controls and leadership.
You who fall along party lines without realizing the fate of being the possible last generation of humans, should be ashamed of your destruction of life, liberty, and freedom by being blind followers of such a corrupt, controlling, and sinister liar as our President. Is obvious evidence as Iran enough for you? When will we realize the potential in what we can all do, like our Governor who embraces a good change?
Thank you, Ms. Granholm, for being a smart governor in a very corrupt world! All those blaming her for Michigan’s economy, please refrain now!

Bradford Krull - TC



Defending Inequality
Marriage has been a hot button topic in America. There are those who feel the need to defend it against “the insurgent forces of homosexuals”. The arguments that are usually bandied about have been that marriage has been and always should be defined by one cardinal rule: “One man and one woman.” Michigan has twice entered into its constitution clarifications to the institution of marriage; first in 1996 by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and second in 2004 with the Marriage Amendment Act. In doing so, Michigan has also clarified that it is defending inequality. Marriage exists as a dual entity in the United States. There is the religious ceremony that most are familiar with. There is also the state and federally sanctioned unions, the paperwork side of marriage. One can be had without the other, as is required by law for separation of church and state. However, laws written to exclude certain groups from partaking in the benefits given to those who marry, sets the stage for state sanctioned inequality reinforced by religious dogma. It also reinforces majority rule. If over 76% of Americans claim to be of a Christian faith, then it is almost guaranteed that this issue has been “religiousized” (as opposed to politicized).
What we are seeing is the majority oppressing the minority because of the way they (the majority) feel about same-sex marriage. There have not been any conclusive studies that prove that same-sex marriage is detrimental to the participants, children (any), the family structure, the community, the institution of marriage, or the nation. It is someone’s right to disagree with lesbian and gay couples right to marry, or to exist as lesbians or gays for that matter. It is not their right to block their rights or their happiness under the guise of Christian compassion or the protection of families/family values. One of my teachers years ago told me “Your rights end where another person’s begins”. Her lesson was about how to interpret the Constitution. I often wonder where the Constitution is when discussing same-sex marriage. People do not seem concerned for the rights of others, only in protecting their own state of being at the expense of others.

Chad Vander Henst - Brethren


 
Monday, December 3, 2007

Letters 12/3/07

Letters Do The Right Thing
Whatever happened to doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do?
Just because our world leaders are suspect in the department of truly caring about the common person is it any reason to jump over to their seemingly thoughtless “It’s all about Me” program?
Just because our economic leaders in corporations have jumped ship and gone to outsourcing so they can supply their ever apparent constant hunger and
worship to greed, is it in our best interests to follow their simplistic, ignominious lead?
I suggest that we, as a people, are better than the folks who purport to lead and attempt to shepherd us. I believe that simple acts of kindnesses, opening a door for someone, allowing someone else to go first in traffic, helping someone cross a street, these simple acts really speak the loudest about our character as a society.
When you see someone in need, you help them; hasn’t that always been the way? I’ve adventured all over the U.S. and Canada and much of the World, and it seems these simple acts speak the loudest in every corner. I have been a stranger in a strange land, and someone’s act of kindness helped me travel safely.
I suggest we all try to do more of the right thing, especially when our world and economic leaders, our politicians, and our governments seem particularly incapable of doing it themselves.
Wouldn’t the simple act of doing
the right thing make everything better right now?
I believe it does.

Chris Convissor • Lake Ann

Usher‘s Intrigue
This letter is in regard to the incorrect and lacking information used in the “My Style” column of last week’s Northern Express (Vol. 17 No. 48 Nov 29-Dec 5.)
Mrs. Stanton writes “...someone found an old usher uniform tucked away when the dormant theatre was first
explored three years ago.” This is not true. Three years ago when Michael Moore enlisted the help of Tim Hall to renovate the State Theatre for the first Traverse City Film Festival, he embraced Mr. Hall’s idea to dress the volunteer ushers in the original red and gold uniform along with the pill box hat and concession trays that would be worn around the neck.
I know this because with two usher costumes donated graciously by the Old Towne Playhouse, I created three more just like them to be used on opening night. My time and money went into making those costumes that have once again been reinvented by the skillful
Diane Budzynowski, Pinkie Hoffman, Rebecca Davis, Nancy Monteith, and Jean Barrett.
Why is it necessary to recreate history when the original story is full of enough intrigue? Sorry, no dusty fossil of an usher uniform had any part in this segment of the State’s past, only an idea and a lot of talent. Let’s give credit where credit is due.
Breanne Russell • TC


 
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Letters 11/29/07

Letters No Place For a Mine
The Department of Environmental Quaity comment period on Kennecott’s petition to open a metallic sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains is now closed. However, I would like to share my concerns with you about this project.
First, this is no place for a mine. The headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, a pristine tributary of Lake Superior and home to endangered coaster brook trout is one of the worst places in Michigan, if not the world, to put a mine. Any mine. And to even consider a metallic sulfide mine operated by an EPA listed polluting foreign company is more than crazy. It’s criminal.
Second, while Michigan’s new mining law looks good on paper, it’s a facade. Deficiencies include: No siting criteria or water setbacks making any fragile environment a potential mine site. There is no monitoring along the transportation route. Local zoning control was taken away from governments and the people most affected. The rules are confusing, making the law difficult to enforce.
Third, the Kennecott application is flawed. Essential information on groundwater, surface water, discharge rate, transportation, and safety is missing from the application.
Fourth, this is our state land, not Kennecott’s. You don’t have to let them use it, so “takings” isn’t an issue. The payoff to the state of Michigan doesn’t add up. They get billions. We get few short term jobs, toxic waste dumps, polluted air and water, lower property values, health issues for citizens, and a trashed landscape no one wants to visit, ruining our vital tourism economy. Michigan is being treated like a third world country with state leaders looking on in assent.
In summary, Michigan, Water Wonderland of the U.S., has lost its way and you are leading us down the wrong path. No mine should be sited here, the mining law has no teeth, the application is flawed, and the people of Michigan lose.
We need state leaders to oppose this flawed project. If this mine is permitted on your watch our children and grandchildren will ask: What were you thinking? Think again, because it’s our land and our water.

Mattea Wellnitz • Rapid City
 
Thursday, November 22, 2007

Letters 11/22/07

Letters He Says Yes To Foie
I have followed with interest the Foie Gras “debate” that has raged in the letters to the editor section for weeks now.
I have resisted weighing in on the subject until now, but after reading the most recent anti foie gras opinions, I feel compelled to offer a less hysterical viewpoint.
Foie Gras is a unique food that has achieved both notoriety and high esteem among people of all social standings which has slowly made its way from the banquets of the Egyptian pharaohs to the white tablecloth establishments of today.
Spurred by some of my customer’s aversion to Foie Gras several years ago, and my own interest in agriculture and farming I visited six different duck farms in Sonoma County and the Central Valley of California. I came away from trip reassured that the animals were clean, healthy and treated with respect.
Alderman Joe Moore, who introduced the resolution to ban Foie Gras in Chicago ( called “silly” by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ) acknowledges that he has never visited a Foie Gras farm and isn’t sure if he has ever eaten the food.
The methods used to produce Foie Gras have concerned people since ancient times, and so farmers have constantly refined their techniques. In doing so, they have discovered that the way to decrease goose and duck mortality and increase the average weight of the livers is to treat the birds delicately.
Foie Gras farms operate in a tiny niche of the enormous poultry industry. From a strategic standpoint they provide an easy target for animal rights activists: they are small and lack expensive lobbyists. Their main product is perceived as a luxury good, like fur, and many believe that, after extracting the liver, the rest of the bird is left unused. In reality, a greater portion of the Foie Gras duck is used than any other bird raised for human consumption. The breasts become magrets; the legs and wings are used in confits and to make rillettes; the fat is an excellent cooking medium; chefs use the carcasses to prepare stocks; and the tongues, feet, testicles and intestines are sold to Asian markets. Feathers are sold for down.
The second issue that animal rights groups focus on is the method of feeding and the effect it has on the bird’s liver. Waterfowl are not humans, however, and a practice that could cause us grave harm or death has little effect on a goose or duck. The bird’s anatomy is fundamentally different from ours and reflects their natural environment and their twice annual long distance migration. While preparing for their migrations, the birds must gorge, to amass the energy reserves of fat needed for the long flight. Ducks and geese possess livers that have specially evolved to become the main repository for this fat. If food is abundant, they will eat as much of it as possible as quickly as possible. This may include small fish, plants, and insects, some of them with spines and sharp legs. In the Foie Gras duck feeding process, farmers are merely taking advantage of the birds’ natural eating habits and physiology.
The imagery of inserting a tube into the bird’s esophagus can be perceived as cruel. A waterfowl throat, however, is not like the throat of a human. The lining of the duck and goose esophagus is composed of fibrous protein cells that resemble fingernails, allowing large pieces of food to pass safely. Because of this anatomical feature, the tube creates no discomfort for the birds. Feeding is also aided by the fact that the birds’ esophagi are extremely flexible. Near the bottom, their throats widen into a simple crop where the food is stored before being passed on to the stomach. During feeding, the smooth tube of the funnel is pushed down to the crop. The feed ends up here, and the bird is immediately released so that it can waddle off to drink.
A resolution to oppose force feeding by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates (initiated in part by propaganda about how inhumane the process was) was unanimously defeated in July 2005 after visits to Foie Gras farms by a group of their members.
The mortality rate of Foie Gras ducks is 3-3.5 % compared to 5-20% for poultry overall.
There also needs to be some perspective on where foie gras lies on the spectrum of meat and poultry production in the United States. The vast majority of the meat and poultry we eat comes from animals which have been raised in what have been called “factory farms”, under conditions that are far less humane than those of the conditions at a Foie Gras farm. Perhaps those who are concerned about the treatment of animals should focus more on the meat and poultry that sustain most of our population, instead of Foie Gras, which is an infinitesimal portion of our food supply.
You’ll notice that I dismiss out of hand the notion offered by the reader from California that we abstain from killing and eating animals entirely.
As a professional cook for almost 30 years and the son and grandson of butchers, I know where I stand in the food chain.
I for one will continue to enjoy Foie Gras (occasionally) while it is still my choice to do so.

Ted Cizma • Williamsburg
 
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Letters 11/15/07

Letters Misery on a Plate
In a recent letter, Charli Henry attempts to defend the indefensible practice of foie gras production, in which ducks and geese are artificially force fed until their livers become purposefully diseased and swollen many times their normal size.
In order to produce this “gourmet delicacy”, the terrified birds are restrained several times a day, a long metal pipe is shoved down their throats, and meal is force fed, typically by pneumatic pump, into their esophagi. Throats are often bruised or punctured and many birds die in the process. The rest live in overcrowded cages and pens and endure a cycle of misery and pain until they are slaughtered, never having experienced anything resembling a normal life.
Why take my word for it? I urge readers to take a moment research foie gras production on the web. There are many good resources including the Humane Society of the United States.
We enjoy the privilege of dominion over the animals this planet, who are totally at our mercy. Does this mean we should continually to heap horrific abuse on sentient beings in order to satisfy our palates?
As the light of day begins to shine on another of the cruelest practices in factory farming, the public is responding with compassion. Pope Benedict XVI has decried force feeding and the degradation of living creatures. Whom, sir, did you say is on shaky moral ground? Let’s call foie gras what it is - misery on a plate.

Pamela Montry • Suttons Bay

Foie Gras: Not Humane
I read Rick Coates’ article on foie gras and appreciate his attempt to work out the “controversy,” but there was a fundamental problem with his desire to seem unbiased: he eats animals. He looks through a particular lens that enables him to eat animals (and their organs, as he attests to), which renders him unable to really truly offer an unbiased picture of animal cruelty. The truth is, all of us are biased, but some of us need our biases more than others when we want to justify our behavior.
The scales that weigh the opinions of people who kill and serve animals for a living against those who seek to protect animals are inherently tipped to begin with. Animal advocates have nothing to gain by opposing cruelty, and citing a few large national organizations does not a “gain” make. Animal advocates don’t get into this work for the money. But supplies, processors, butchers, sellers of “delicacies” such as foie gras have everything to gain. Even the journalists from the NY Times who saw nothing wrong with the practice HAVE to see nothing wrong if they don’t want their entire world rocked.
As a meat-eater, to admit there is something unethical about breeding and killing animals for human consumption is to question the very foundation of people’s comfort zones. Tradition and culture are just excuses, as we now oppose many things today that we once thought were acceptable - slavery, child labor, women viewed as property as their husbands and fathers.
The highest expression of human beings is that which compels us to remain open, willing to learn, willing to do better once we know better. There is no justification for breeding, force-feeding, and then killing another living creature just so we can enjoy a delicacy. We have no nutritional requirement for animal flesh, and certainly you would agree we have no need to consume the fattened livers of ducks and geese. To do so is to close our eyes to that which makes US uncomfortable but which continues to desensitize us to the needless suffering of living, feeling beings who, if they had a choice, would never put themselves in such a predicament.
In many ways, we have advanced as a species, but in many ways we have grown very little since people watched lions tear Christians to pieces and families gathered to watch criminals drawn and quartered. We should take “human” out of the word humane, because we have little claim to it.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau • Oakland, CA

 
Thursday, November 8, 2007

Letters 11/8/07

Letters Football Fans
The NFL is far and away America’s most popular sport and the NFL Network covers football 24/7. But too many football fans like me have Comcast, Time Warner, Charter or Cablevision. We are facing another season when we won’t be able to see the great programming on NFL Network, including eight NFL games, or we will have to pay more for it compared to those fans lucky enough to have DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS or
AT&T U-Verse. The big cable companies have moved NFL Network to a “sports tier” or aren’t carrying it altogether – preventing fans from seeing the quality programming including 200 games annually presented on this network.
Despite the fact that cable rates have increased by more than 40% in the last few years, big cable companies are still looking to squeeze even more from NFL fans by refusing to carry NFL Network in their affordable packages. At the same time, they use a double standard and include channels they own, like Versus and the Golf Channel, in their basic lineups.
I urge other frustrated fans to join me in writing to our government officials and tell them the cable companies should add NFL Network to their lineup alongside the channels they own. For more information on this issue, you should visit www.IWantMyNFLNetwork.com.

Nick Zlojutro • Traverse City
 
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Letters 11/1/07

Letters Foie Gras: Natural?
Thanks for providing a relatively unbiased look at the controversy surrounding foie gras (“Foie Gras,” Rick Coates).
Foie gras is simply an extension of a naturally occurring process. Those who believe gavage to be cruel are anthropomorphizing. Duck physiology is not at all human. As one chef mentioned in the article, ducks do lack a gag reflex. Their esophagi have an insensitive lining, allowing them to swallow large fish and other prey in the wild, and allowing for pain-free hand-feeding.
Additionally, in nature, ducks fatten their livers for energy prior to migration. This effect, in nature and in foie gras farming, is reversible, indicating that that foie gras production does not result in diseased livers.
Independent veterinarians and scientists have studied the process and found it to be humane.
Those who support animal rights rather than animal welfare are dangerously close to shaky moral ground. For animal rights activists, a human life is the same as a duck’s life. This equates the eating of meat with genocide, as evidenced in a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called “Holocaust on Your Plate.” The belief that humans are unique is essential to promoting universal human rights. How can eating foie gras be compared the death of millions of innocent humans?
For activists, foie gras is easy to attack, as there are only three small foie gras farms in the United States. But even those of us who do not eat it must keep in mind: animal rights is a slippery slope. These are people who do not even respect the sanctity of human life and will not stop at foie gras.
They’ll have us all eating legumes soon enough.

Charli Henley • Cambridge, MA

Rebel Farmer Praise
Praise beyond measure for Anne Stanton’s article about Charlevoix County’s rebel farmer. Greg’s fight is a fight for the continued existence of small farms in the USA, and I do not exaggerate.
Those of us who have criticized the USDA, MDA, Cooperative Extension and the Land Grant Colleges for their role in the industrialization of American agriculture have been told repeatedly “our work is scale neutral”. The National Animal Identification System shows this clearly to be a lie. To charge $2.50 per bird for the back-yard poultry flock while the big boys pay $2.50 per building creates barriers to competition that we will not over come, and it does so by design.
If this program (NAIS) is not defeated there will be no choice but the kind of industrial agriculture that has brought us E. coli O-157, antibiotic resistant bacteria and the other ills that are the result of a triumph of unethical profits over sound biology and a love for Our Mother Who is the Earth.
Educate yourself and fight back!

Jim Moses • Maple City
Fair Rebel Farmer
Regarding Rebel Cow Farmer - that was the first piece written that was objective and fair. I have followed this issue and personally know everyone in the article. Keep up the good objective work.

Dr. Rich Olree • Hillman
Rebel Farmer Education
The feature article in Northern Express, The Rebel Cow Farmer, was comprehensive and should help educate a lot of people that are having difficulty understanding why it has been so hard to eliminate bovine TB from Michigan when other states are successful whenever they have an incident.
The state will NEVER eradicate bovine TB from the domestic herds (thus returning to USDA accredited free status) until it treats the wild animals with the same vigor that it treats the domestic herds.
The current actions of the Michigan Bovine Eradication Project insures that local small family farms in the affected areas will keep losing money and will be pushed out of business. That is a real tragedy for the farm families. It is an economic problem for the communities, and bad for families that are increasingly moving towards locally produced foods. The state officially wants to encourage local food, wants to promote the resurgences of a local economically viable agriculture, and says that they support small family farms. Their actions with bovine TB speak louder than their words.

Ted Beals, MD • Grass Lake
Lawn Sign Theft
I am thoroughly disheartened to learn of the theft and vandalism of Cadillac mayoral hopeful Bill Barnett’s candidacy signs. Not only are these acts a blatant disregard for the law, they are a slap in the faceof our right to free speech. Particularly in this day and age when our constitutional rights are at great risk, it is important that we respect the right of others to display their opinions and voice their support for whom they choose.
Lawn signs are easily the most visible element of a municipal campaign.They give prominence to a hopeful’s name and offer a visible indication of support to that candidate and his or her platform. Lawn signs are avital part of campaigns, and unfortunately for the candidates, they do not come cheaply.
Unfortunately, there are those that deliberately steal a candidate’s signs because they believe they are helping “their candidate” get elected.
In an age where politics has turned malicious, if a candidate can only get elected through dirty play and illegal activity, he/she certainly is not worth electing in the first place.

Karla A. Smith • Cadillac
 
Thursday, October 25, 2007

Letters 10/25/07

Letters No More Foie
Kudos to Beth Bechtel for writing a letter to the editor regarding Foie Gras (10/11/07). I had the same reaction of disgust to the restaurant article that she did, but she did me one better by actually writing - my protest was simply to make a note to self never to patronize that restaurant. So in one sense, I was glad you mentioned the Foie Gras to save me the trouble of walking out of the Andante when I saw it on the menu.
I am looking forward to Rick Coates‘ upcoming article on the issue. (Note: Rick’s article appeared in last week’s issue of the Express - Ed.) I don’t know if any of the restaurants in Traverse City currently serve Foie Gras, but I did email 310 Restaurant a few months ago that I would not return to their restaurant until they took it off their menu.
The most recent menu listing online no longer features the cruel dish, and I wonder if I was the lone voice of protest and their menu is simply changing with the seasons, or if others complained about the inclusion of such a dish on their menu.

Bari Dilworth • TC

No More Foie Part Deux
Thanks to Rick Coates for his detailed feature on foie gras. People who care about animals should be aware that foie gras is banned in over a dozen countries because of the inherent animal cruelty involved in its production (“Foie Gras,” October 16).
Foie gras producers force-feed ducks vast amounts of grain by shoving pipes down their throats, which can cause painful lacerations and even organ rupture. This can cause the birds’ livers to become diseased and enlarged up to more than ten times their normal size, making it difficult for the birds to walk, breathe and sometimes even survive.
Caring consumers can take a stand against this factory farming abuse by asking restaurants to remove foie gras from their menus. For more information, readers can visit www.humanesociety.org



Alyson Bodai • Washington DC


Perturbed With Pelosi
On Thursday, October 10, 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged the House of Representatives to support her resolution condemning the 1917 genocide perpetrated by Turkey against the Armenian population. In defending her ardor, Pelosi declared: “This isn’t about Turkey, it’s about the Ottoman Empire.”
Said empire is history. It fell as a consequence of the War to End All Wars. That was eighty-five years ago!
So why is Popette Pelosi pontificating about a defunct government? Is this why American voters, Republican or Democrat, send representatives to Washington? The correct answer is, “No. We send them there to stay out of our way and do no harm.”
Why can’t Pelosi and her sidekicks just be satisfied with criticizing the U.S. Government? Or perhaps The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
And speaking of pontificating against genocide, why does not the Catholic Speaker of the House pass a resolution condemning the deliberate deaths of over forty-million American citizens, infants aborted as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade?
Here lies a contemporary tragedy that affects us all and cries out for Pelosi’s maternal instincts.

Joseph Pasulka • Southport, NC

 
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Letters 10/18/07

Letters Go, Bioneers!
The sixth Great Lakes Bioneers Conference, coming up this weekend, Oct. 19 - 21, covers an unusual variety of topics and a diversity of activities. Highlights of this year’s conference include plenary speakers, broadcast via satellite live from the main conference in California who will be covering topics such as the latest advances in green chemistry: traditional knowledge from an Alaskan indigenous leader and how it can heal and transform humanity: Eve Ensler speaking about women’s issues; healing spiritually and environmentally from the effects of war; and much more!
Our local programming includes instructions on how to construct a green roof, building social justice for Michigan’s immigrant/migrant population, how the local food movement is reaching out to folks across the economic spectrum; Native American efforts to inventory and monitor the Emerald Ash Borer; and more.
Our keynote speaker for Sunday morning is especially interesting. She is Laurie White, a filmmaker from Ann Arbor, who has produced a film called Refusing to be Enemies which will be shown in the Milliken Auditorium following her address. The film follows a group of women that call themselves Zeitouna; 6 Arab and 6 Jewish, who undertake a dialogue process over a four year period, culminating in a trip to the Middle East together. Laurie has worked with Michael Moore in the past; she was the co-producer of Roger and Me. To see more about the film, and Laurie’s work, you could check out her web site at : www.zeitounamovie.org
The Bioneers movement is all-encompassing, embracing the philosophy that it’s all connected: the issues and problems as well as the solutions. This is a terrific opportunity to build networks to continue the fight against despair with a focus on practical solutions. The food’s great too! For more information, go to
www.glbconference.org.

Sally Van Vleck• TC
 
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Letters 10/11/07

Letters Foie Gras Controversy
I read the article about the Andante Restaurant in Petoskey, Michigan the last week in September while vacationing in Traverse City. I was shocked with the article promoting Foie Gras at the Andante Restaurant.
Foie Gras is banned in the state of California, the city of Chicago, and more than a dozen countries in Europe based on the grounds of animal cruelty.
For a progressive publication like the Northern Express, I was also disappointed that your paper and Andante restaurant promote Foie Gras. It is a deeply disturbing animal cruelty practice to obtain this food delicacy.
I hope Traverse City is the next city along with surrounding northern Michigan cities to ban Foie Gras.
For more information, here is a weblink about other Foie Gras bans: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/27/national/main1550028.shtml

Beth Bechtel • Haslett

(Northern Express doesn‘t promote any restaurant items in particular; we are merely reporting on what those restaurants have to offer. Express of course does not support nor condone any means of animal cruelty. Keep an eye out for Rick Coates‘ extensive report on the Foie Gras controversy in an upcoming issue. --Ed.)


 
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Letters 10/03/07

Letters Slow Down, Would‘ja?
During the day I love to take my dog for a walk around Traverse City to get some exercise, sunlight and fresh air. But there is a big problem in our town with cyclists endangering pedestrians on the city sidewalks. I am getting very tired of going for a nice stroll and nearly being hit by a speeding cyclist several times during my walk. This is happening even when I stay off the TART trail and stick to sidewalks only.
I’d like to remind cyclists that the proper place for you to ride is either the TART trail or the street. The sidewalks are for pedestrians only. If you absolutely MUST ride your bike on the sidewalk, I’d like to ask you to please SLOW DOWN and ring a bell, yell, or make some kind of noise when you come up behind someone walking so that they have an opportunity to move out of the way. Most of you are whizzing by so fast and so close that if a pedestrian makes any arm movement or steps over just a bit they will be hit!
Max Wolf • TC

High Cost of Imports
Last week Mattel apologized to China for sending substandard and dangerous toys to American markets.
Why? The truth is, they had no choice. There is no other source for the toys they import. And Mattel is just the tip of the iceberg; we buy things too numerous to discuss from China. Everything from T-shirts to computer parts are made there and shipped to the US.
My wife and I tried in vain to avoid Chinese products for the first couple of years that we were parents, not wanting to support prison labor or the sweat shop practices that are well known to occur in China. We managed to find some items of clothing made in Indonesia, Pakistan and some South American countries. American goods were few and far between.
At this point I would like to introduce some additional information about our relationship with our “Most Favored Trading Partners”: the trade deficit with China in 2006 was, according to US government, $232.5 Billion dollars. That is how many more dollars we sent to them than we received.
At the end of 2005 the Chinese government held some 300 billion dollars in Treasury Bonds. Treasury bonds are, in simple terms, paper sold to cover debt incurred by our government. (Any appearance that we are buying the Chinese government our debt is a coincidence.)
Somewhere in the vicinity of 7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the US since 1980. “Real” income has dropped, depending on whose stats one uses, by between zero and 40%.
Now the other shoe falls!
Last week, while listening to the BBC News on IPR, I heard a story about the economic situation in the UK. They were discussing interest rates, inflation and the general state of things relative to the US sub-prime mortgage troubles. It seems that the only dim spot in the economy there is a very focused inflation. Much to the dismay of the economists, the only inflationary pressures were coming from Chinese imports! (Hear it?)
Whether it’s an epiphany or a conspiracy it would appear the Chinese have figured something out.
They have a monopoly on the manufacture of a lot of the things the world depends on. When you have a monopoly, there are no price controls imposed by pesky things like “competition,“ so it would appear that price increases are in our near future. And, if we make China angry, they may stop floating our national debt.
So, next time you are at the store wondering how they can make and sell toys, shirts, shoes, TVs, computers, etc.. so cheaply, remember, the truth is:
They can’t!
J. Grant • Mesick

The Scoop on the Pointe
Anne Stanton did a great job on the Petoskey Pointe story in the Sep. 27 issue of the Northern Express. It was the best background information about the project I have read yet!
During the early controversial public hearings, no mention of any dissent was reported by the local newspaper. The reporter only interviewed the project developers and the City Manager, and the public was given a biased account of what was taking place. My husband even called the reporter and asked if he was at the same meeting that we were at. No quotes were given in the stories by anyone who was not in favor of the project. Not until a group of citizens provided over 900 signatures for a ballot referendum.
The referendum lost by as many Bay Harbor absentee votes as those who received absentee voter applications from the developer and his supporters. Many of the Petoskey residents believed the project to be all that was promised, including a two year completion date. The referendum did not hold up the project. The financing and the purchase of the bank property had not been completed at that time and still is not totally secured, even though we were told they were “ready to start.” The firm is still “arranging financing from New York City lenders who are getting the funds from Europe and Hong Kong.”
The development will not be a “hotel with condo options,” but condos with rental options and no hotel amenities. A “public open area” will also be controlled by the owners.
Tourists enjoy idly browsing the windows of the shops in the “Gaslight District” and will not come to Petoskey to shop in an indoor shopping mall that shadows the downtown area and blocks the beautiful view of Little Traverse Bay for the entire city. They can shop at an indoor mall anywhere else downstate.
Ms. Stanton quotes the city manager stating the project will provide “badly needed parking.” Actually, it will provide fewer parking spaces than before and will be underground for local shoppers. The project will be seven stories when nothing in Petoskey is higher than three stories and will be visible for miles away, similar to the Grand Traverse Resort in TC and the monster development in Destin, FL that the locals in the small “fishing village” despise.
The mayor and city manager have given “every indication” the project is still “a go”, even though they “haven’t seen anything in writing”. We have heard this for more than two years now. The mayor may “not care what the dates are” but the locals do. I don’t think the hole in the ground is any better than what was there and it is definitely more dangerous.
Project supporters want the citizens to “be patient while it works out” while the new Odawa Casino was started and completed in much less time than it took to dig the hole in the center of town.
The citizens of Petoskey are paying for the upgrading of utilities near the project. Downstate, cities have the developers pay for utility and road upgrades for their private projects. “The city gave the developer its parking lot for which it originally paid $20,000 and is now worth $970,000” doesn’t sound like a wise investment to me!
There are still too many problems and unanswered questions for me to be “confident people will be happy,” like the mayor of Petoskey.

Carolyn Bourland • Petoskey


Correction: In Rick Coates‘ RestauranTour article on Casino Cuisine, the correct name of the tribe is “The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,” and the wine tastings in Odawa Casino‘s Sage restaurant are on Saturdays from 3-5 pm.


 
Thursday, September 27, 2007

Letters 9/27/07

Letters Keep Space For Peace
I’m writing this letter to make people aware that October 4-13, 2007 is the international Keep Space For Peace Week. We need to educate ourselves about a deadly program our government has been involved in ever since the Reagan years - namely, Star Wars. The Bush administration sells this Star Wars mission as “defensive.“ But this is only a way to get public support for the deployment of offensive systems in space. Our government is spending billions of dollars so they can attack anywhere on earth. These weapons in space will most likely be nuclear powered. NASA is planning for nuclear powered bases on the moon and sending nuclear powered rockets to Mars. It will only take one nuclear accident in space to contaminate the entire planet.
Peggy Fry • TC

A Fool And His...
Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice - shame on me. We were to believe Colin Powell and now we are to believe General Petraeus.
Never mind about the funny math. I can do the math myself and it doesn’t compute.
Margaret Forgione • TC
 
Thursday, September 20, 2007

Letters 9/20/07

Letters I Want My Farmers Market
I arrived at the Traverse City Farmer’s Market shortly after noon on Saturday, and I was turned away from some of the booths because the city is enforcing the market’s scheduled hours, which end at noon.
How unfortunate. Our local farmers maintain open space around our city, decrease our carbon footprint, and provide us with healthy, locally grown produce that is the backbone of a healthy diet.
The city should support our esteemed farmers by expanding the hours of the markets, not by adopting a monochronic philosophy.
I hope the city can strive for flexibility as they consider the health of their citizens and the value of their farmers. Meanwhile, I will strive to get my chores done in time to make the noon deadline.

Mary R. Clifton, MD • TC
 
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Letters 9/13/07

Letters Peaceful Local Heroes
Local heroes Tom & Darlene Shea are embarking on a cross country adventure. They’re relocating.
Please show your support by wishing them well and offering to continue their good work here in Traverse City.
The Sheas are leaders in the peace & social justice movement. Tom was a facilitator for the TC TALUS group, which stands for Traverse City Transportation and Land Use Study. Tom’s experience with using consensus, conflict resolution, and mediation was vital in helping the group succeed.
The Sheas are heroes for many reasons...these two have given selflessly, they give more than they take.
Support the Sheas by keeping the movement strong. Please continue on with the Peace Group meetings at Mabel’s and the Free Speech Soapbox outside the Chamber of Commerce. Peace.

Tom Mair • TC

Sidewalks, Not Segwalks
Picture this: a typical fine day in downtown Traverse City (or any other town), sidewalks filled with residents and tourists alike - young children, strollers with babies, elderly people, an occasional dog on a leash - all leisurely enjoying not only downtown, but adjoining neighborhoods. Pedestrians, if you will.
Sidewalks are defined as: a paved path beside a street for use by pedestrians.
Pedestrians are defined as: a person who is walking.
Now add a few motorized vehicles called Segways to those sidewalks, maybe 2-3 abreast, all traveling 12.5 mph (3-4 times faster than the speed of a pedestrian). As with all motorized vehicles, a race to the next intersection is a given, even more so after stopping off at a local “watering hole.”
However one wishes to rationalize it, Segways are mechanical motorized vehicles, just like motorcycles, snowmobiles, and golf carts. Luxuries, not necessities. And they DON’T belong on pedestrian sidewalks!

Thomas M. Paradis • TC
Labor Day, Inc.
Labor Day, instituted in 1882 by the American labor movement to focus on the efforts of men and women to build this nation and be productive, is quaint.
We the people have done and are doing magnificent work - longer hours and more productivity. Yet we are going backward. The reasons are many. We are told that corporations are people and have the rights of people, but they don‘t have our rules. A separate tax code insures that many pay no taxes. Many executives make 200 to 1,000 times what we make, and pay less taxes. Laws are passed giving corporations tax incentives to move jobs off shore. We are told that competition is good, yet corporations promote mergers and acquisitions and eliminate competition.
The American labor movement was founded to give us a voice in our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The investment class and its cabal sees this as a threat to their power. They are doing all they can to focus our attention on issues of their choice. They are doing all they can to make Labor Day quaint.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake



 
Thursday, September 6, 2007

Letters 9/6/2007

Letters Where‘s the Beach?
A good question posed by residents and visitors alike in the small, picturesque Village of Lake Ann is “where’s the beach?” The answer is not so good. There is no public beach in the Village of Lake Ann. If the self-appointed “Concerned Citizens,” AKA “concerned lakefront property owners” have their way, there will NEVER be a public beach anywhere in Lake Ann.
According to a statement issued by the “Concerned Citizen,” property owners with direct frontage on Lake Ann pay a significant premium for that privilege. This (the beachfront park) would allow anyone access to Lake Ann “without regard to best interest.” In this case, “anyone” means the general public. This statement is elitism, no, it is more like discrimination. Whose best interest is this “Concerned Citizens” group concerned about?
Oh, this “Concerned” group says it is all for a public beach, but not at a location in the Village of Lake Ann - NIMBY (not in my back yard.) These “Concerned” want the public to just go away, say, across the lake to the state boat launch. What a fine mix this is: children vying for space with boats with motors, cars backing into the water to either launch or take out a boat.
There are folks who have lived their entire lives in Lake Ann and hve not been able or privileged to enjoy the view of Lake Ann from the shoreline. Folks who do not own property on Lake Ann have only their backyard and a garden hose.
The Village Council is attempting to provide an “Open Space” for the public. This “Open Space” is smack dab in the center of the village at 19511 Maple! This property, without question, is the best location on Lake Ann for this “Open Space Beach.” There will be no boat launch or boat dock. The park will be completely handicapped accessible.
The “Concerned citizens” tout the DNR boat launch across the lake as a beach site. This is just another way to say NIMBY. The “Concerned Citizens” want NO PUBLIC BEACH. The DNR has stated publically that a beach will not be considered. There is no Plan B. Michigan law states that it is unlawful to swim at a boat launch. In contrast, the village beach site is lawful and is only a couple of blocks from anywhere in the village, including the new senior housing center proposed by the Lake Ann United Methodist Church.
A balanced poll of only Lake Ann Village residents indicated 60% support for the village beach. A September 11, 2007 election will impact the future of Lake Ann. Voters will not be voting on a beach site. There is NO millage on the ballot. The issue is simply raw politics. The “Concerned Citizens” have a slate of candidates hoping to oust the current non-partisan elected officials of Lake Ann and kill the beach project.
It is the position of the Lake Ann Village Council that every person regardless of
station in life has the basic right to have access to THEIR public lands and to THEIR
public waters.

Daniel F. “Dutch” Herringa
Lake Ann

One Bag at a Time
Thanks to Noah for the eye-opening article on “Those Nasty Plastic Bags.”
After our own frustrations in seeking a re-usable alternative, with most tote bag styles that don’t stand up on their own, we discovered 1BagAtaTime.com. These well-designed foldable flat-bottom bags work just like paper bags but can be used over and over and are more eco-friendly.
People are always asking us, “Where did you get those?” so clearly a reusable bag concept makes sense and has the attention of the consumer – but if everyone took part, the people of Northern Michigan could soon be known as an example of one of the communities making a significant difference - 1 bag at a time?

Stosh & Janese Horton • TC

Calling On Truman?
President Truman believed that historians were one of our greatest natural assets. However, that belief could only be true if two conditions were met; there had to be world-class historians and powerful Washington politicians who were willing to be guided by their wise counsel.
Since President Truman‘s times, those two conditions have only come together to benefit the nation in the Johnson presidency.
In March of 1968, President Johnson sought the wise counsel of a group of older men, who could be considered informal world class historians. He asked them if the requested troop increase of 200,000 more men for his Vietnam War would guarantee success. That group said no.
As a result, President Johnson made two wise moves. He refused the request and removed the war commander making the request.
Relatedly, both Presidents Johnson and Bush chose to start their wars. And after several years of unsuccessful fighting, both presidents sought the wise counsel of older men. Now, though, President Bush has both rejected their wise counsel and removed the war commander opposing his new war escalation tactics.
However, President Truman‘s historical guidance idea is still good for wise future use.

Louis Burford • Petoskey

Sewer Stress
At last, the Northport real sewer story is told. The Northport/Leelanau Township sewer project from the start had the option, and still has the option, to be an environmentally sound, Smart Growth, affordable, EPA approved alternative system.
Determination of need, based on onsite testing of septics at a reasonable cost, is germane to the project. Failure to do the testing has resulted in a mega sewer encompassing functional permitted septics and, who knows why, possibly some impaired septics being excluded.
Even Judge Thomas Power, hearing the Leelanau Forum’s challenge to the gerrymandered Special Assessment District, questioned the exclusion and inclusion of properties.
Perhaps, most telling is Northport Village’s Board member, Ms. Barbara vonVoightlander’s quote to Anne Stanton. When queried why the village did not explore an optional, alternative system, as presented by Gourdie Fraser engineers, she responded ‘We had already picked an engineer”.
Reports by citizens in attendance at the presentation, have described the rudeness of the board towards the presenter. Von Voightlander acknowledged it was a rough meeting. Citizens called it a done deal. The board was not going to explore any design system, if it did not come from Fleis and Vandenbrink.
Kudos to Anne Stanton for researching and writing the real Northport Politics of Poop story. The politics are costly. About $146 a month per household. That is the real Northport sewer story.

Barbara Gilmore Weber
Northport



 
 
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