Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Lakes Bioneers Conference

Features Anne Stanton A Weekend of Inspiration
The Great Lakes Bioneers Conference kicks off on Friday

By Anne Stanton 10/12/09

If you’ve always thought Traverse City has a huge contingent of people who want to do right by the planet, you’d be right.
Traverse City is one of only two cities in the state to host the upcoming national Bioneers Conference. Now in its eighth year, no city in the country has served as a satellite host for as long as Traverse City. Last year, the Great Lakes Bioneers Conference ushered in a record 1,000 people through its doors.
So what is Bioneers and what goes on at the Traverse City conference?
Monday, October 12, 2009

Looking from the outside in

Features Anne Stanton Looking from the
Outside In
Author to talk in TC about growing up different

By Anne Stanton 10/12/09

In the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, Bich Minh Nguyen portrays herself as a shy, but keenly observant little girl, often bewildered by the world around her. Now at age 35, she is an author and associate professor, with speaking engagements across the country. She’ll be here in Traverse City on Wednesday, October 14, at the City Opera House to talk about the struggles of growing up in Grand Rapids with a funny name and a funnier religion--at least to everyone else.
Her story begins in Saigon the night before the city fell in 1975. Amid the rocket fire, her father, grandmother and uncles fled with eight-month-old Bich and her two-year-old sister, Anh. They left without a note for Bich’s mother, who lived apart from her father’s family, and about whom Bich often wondered while growing up.
Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bay Harbor conundrum

Features Anne Stanton The Bay Harbor conundrum?
It all comes down to mercury

By Anne Stanton 9/28/09

Some day, an ambitious reporter will write a story about Bay Harbor, a luxurious resort and golf course that emerged from the detritus of an old cement plant.
The book would no doubt touch on the backdoor intertwining of politics and money, but this week’s chapter in Express will focus on how key players are trying to find a way to locally dispose of water contaminated by the mountains of buried cement kiln dust.
Each day, CMS Energy, an early partner in the resort, collects 200,000 gallons of leachate at Bay Harbor Resort and nearby East Park. (Still under study is exactly how much of the contaminated water still runs into Little Traverse Bay).
The company is now looking in earnest to find a way to get rid of the leachate in Petoskey, rather than trucking it to Traverse City and Johannesburg, a tiny town near Gaylord.
But first, a recap of recent progress. The beach at East Park reopened this summer in a ceremony that drew both protesters and celebrants of the nearly $10 million clean-up effort. In July, there were no pH readings above the level of nine along the entire shoreline. In August, there was just one reading that exceeded the 9.0 level, and that was in an isolated area west of the golf course, said CMS Energy spokesman Tim Petroskey. (When the pH is above 9.0, fish have trouble getting oxygen from water.)
Monday, September 28, 2009

Leelanau County sighting: cougar or housecat?

Features Anne Stanton Leelanau County sighting:
Cougar or housecat?

By Anne Stanton 9/28/09

On Labor Day, Jerome Wiater, a respected orthopedic surgeon, took a picture of what he believed to be a cougar about 75 yards from the edge of his backyard.
Dr. Wiater and his son, Christian, saw the animal in Burdickville sauntering along County Road 675, just before it intersects with County Road 616.
But was it really a cougar?
Both the state Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, an advocacy group for the preservation and protection of cougars, completed their analyses of the photos this week.
Here’s what they said:
Monday, September 28, 2009

Paddle your own canoe

Features Anne Stanton Paddle Your Own Canoe

By Anne Stanton 9/28/09

Dreams can take awhile to make their way to reality, but Stephen Brede, at age 58, decided it was time.
The Petoskey writer had always wanted to make a big canoe trip. So last winter, he planned a summer trip to circumnavigate Lake Huron, and on June 21, he pushed off.
Ruth, his wife, noted that his launch date coincided with their first wedding anniversary. That’s not to say, she wasn’t fully behind the effort and would have joined him, except that she didn’t feel she was a strong enough paddler.
In fact, she had her own worries about Brede, who had spent so much time planning the route, supplies, and equipment that he had little time to paddle or work out. She cautioned him to take it easy the first few weeks, particularly after hearing about a kayaker starting out this spring on a 3,800-mile Great Lakes expedition. The kayaker gave up after three weeks, plagued by tendon problems in his arms.
Monday, September 21, 2009

Hunting down bed bugs

Features Anne Stanton Hunting down Bed Bugs

By Anne Stanton 9/21/09

Not unlike humans, dogs need a purpose driven life. So concludes Jim Rutherford, a Manistee dog trainer and pest inspector, who believes—after five years of working with animals—that dogs and humans have a lot in common.
The life purpose of his dogs? To sniff out pests.
Jack, a.ka. the Chubby Checker, is a certified bed bug canine detector. His beloved dog, Zeus, a yellow lab, is certified to sniff out termites and carpenter ants, but had to take an early retirement due to illness. B.B. King, a chocolate lab, is learning the bed bug business slowly, but with enthusiasm. And Walter the Wonder Dog, is a really quick study. He’s getting trained to help a New York City exterminator stamp out bed bugs.
Rutherford is the president of Action Termite & Pest Control and the Action Canine Institute. His business is situated on a little dirt road south of Manistee, but he’ll soon move to Freesoil a mile away, where he plans to relocate his offices and open a dog park. He envisions it as a place where folks can take their pets for agility training or a walk during winter.
Rutherford, whose first love was golf, came into pests and dog training by accident, or fortune, depending on how you look at it.
Monday, September 14, 2009

Cougar in Leelanau County

Features Anne Stanton Cougar in Leelanau County?
smile and say… growl

By Anne Stanton 9/14/09

Labor Day. Perfect weather. Mid-afternoon. Christian Wiater and his dad, Jerome, a downstate orthopedic surgeon, were in the backyard of their summer home. They were walking to Big Glen Lake where Wiater planned to water ski. Dad had a camera in hand for photos.
Jerome glanced through the sunlit woods and saw a cougar heading north toward the lake along the west shoulder of County Road 675, which dead-ends into a T-intersection with County Road 616. (The little intersection is known as Burdickville).
Monday, September 7, 2009

A sick story

Features Anne Stanton A Sick Story
One man’s perspective from the inside

By Anne Stanton 9/7/09

The tough health decisions get made quietly with little notice. I was in Livingston, Montana, last week, getting together with friends, including a popular river guide who regularly takes people out on the Yellowstone. His clients are rich folks who have health insurance up the wazoo. He turned down our offer for a late dinner, telling me that he can’t eat past 7 p.m., or he gets truly awful acid reflux and stomach pain. He won’t see a doctor because he doesn’t have health insurance.
Then there was my old neighbor, a pretty 38-year-old, who had muscle pain in her legs that sometimes crippled her. But she didn’t go to the doctor either. She feared a diagnosis would count against her as a pre-existing condition and she’d never get an insurance company to sign her on.
Joseph Sloan, a state worker, sees the back end to these stories.
Monday, August 31, 2009

A life with purpose/Andrew Johnston

Features Anne Stanton A life with purpose
Andrew Johnston lends a hand in the world’s most dangerous places

By Anne Stanton 8/31/09
For a guy who has seen the worst of the worst on our planet, Andrew Johnston is an easy-going sort of guy with an endearing quality of saying, “Yeah, yeah” before he responds to a reporter’s questions.
But that calm demeanor has brought him great success in Third World countries, which even the most seasoned of travelers fear to tread. Haiti. Liberia. Pakistan. And now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Johnston returned to the states recently to visit family and friends. He took some time with the Express to describe his work helping out survivors of civil war, disease, and a major earthquake.
His job of assuaging Third World misery was actually a hard one to get, but Johnston said luck and education played into it. For one, he began learning French in third grade at Pathfinder School, and then studied it intensively at Interlochen Arts Academy. French is spoken all over the world owing to French colonization.
As it turned out—and much to his own surprise—Johnston had a good head for management and math, majoring in economics at Columbia University. He worked on Wall Street in mergers and acquisitions at the age of 22, just out of college.
Monday, August 24, 2009

Pot Shot

Features Anne Stanton Pot Shot
Northern Express articles trigger raid on medical marijuana grower

By Anne Stanton 8/24/09

About two weeks after appearing on the cover of Northern Express with his lush marijuana plants, Archie Kiel sat among the plants on his balcony chatting with a Kalkaska County Commissioner.
They noticed a helicopter flying low over the house -- so low that his plants started shaking. Kiel was about to call the police to complain when the police came to him. Police cars filled his driveway and about seven Traverse Narcotics Team officers walked up to his open door.
Kiel, who decided to go public in the Northern Express July 27 issue as a caregiver or supplier to medical marijuana patients, was about to be raided.
“They walked up with their hands on their guns and said they were checking into the fact that I was an illegal caregiver with too many plants,” Kiel said.
But the raid last Thursday was unlike anything anyone could recall in Michigan.
Monday, August 17, 2009

The debate over using weed killer on Lake Michigan reeds

Features Anne Stanton It’s a Jungle Out There...
The debate over using weed-killer on Lake Michigan’s reeds
By Anne Stanton 8/17/09

When you get put on hold at the Watershed Center of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ll hear bits of environmental advice such as avoiding lawn fertilizers near the bay.
But now the environmental group is supporting a plan to put Rodeo—pretty much the chemical equivalent of the weed-killer Roundup — into Lake Michigan in order to kill a reed called phragmites (frag-MIGHT-eez).
You can see patches of the 13-foot reeds swaying in shallow water from Northport to Charlevoix. Unlike the native phragmites that have been here for thousands of years, this European exotic plant arrived in the Atlantic seaports sometime in the early 1800s, according to research by Kristin Saltonsall of Yale University.
Monday, August 3, 2009

Big Kenny has a big heart

Music Anne Stanton Big Kenny has a Big Heart...
...for the children in Darfur

By Anne Stanton 8/3/09

It’s one of those, “Isn’t it a small world” stories. Bart Lewis of Honor was in Nairobi two years ago at a private plane hangar on assignment with the Kenyan tourist bureau to find “good stories.” He noticed a film crew milling around and a guy standing alone with long hair and an oddball top hat.
The celebrity—at least he guessed he was a celebrity—was wearing a vest that said, “Love everybody.” After talking to the camera crew, he learned the man was named Big Kenny, a country western singer who was there to provide supplies to the war weary people in Darfur and set up a new school.
Monday, August 3, 2009

The highs & lows of medical marijuana

Features Anne Stanton The Highs and Lows of Medicinal Marijuana

By Anne Stanton 8/3/09

The conclusion of a two-part series about the impact of the medical
marijuana law.

Last week, Northern Express profiled two pot growers who have a “passion”
for marijuana. They love to grow it, they love to smoke it. They believe
it can make people feel better and even cure them.
Monday, July 27, 2009

Medical Marijuana: A growning industry

Features Anne Stanton A Growing Industry
3,000 registered marijuana patients seek out sources

By Anne Stanton 7/27/09

Now that people have had a couple of months to register as patients under
the new medical marijuana law, it makes you wonder: How does the whole
thing work?  Do you just call up a pot grower and put in an order? 
Monday, July 20, 2009

Bill Pierce

Features Anne Stanton Bill Pierce: The Problem Solver
How a low-tech water filter is saving lives in the Third World

By Anne Stanton 7/20/09

Bill Pierce leads a quietly exciting life. But you might not get that
right away.
He’s pretty much a normal looking middle age guy—short and stocky with
white hair and a ruddy complexion. He’s the head of a small, but thriving
Kalkaska business and a Traverse City restaurant owner. He calls himself a
problem solver.