Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Letters

Letters Snyder delivers promise
For years Michigan politicians have played the coward’s role by deferring
difficult financial and taxation issues to future generations. Fearful for
their re-elections, legislators shelved problems and used band-aids and
gimmicks to muddle through annual budgets while continually failing their
elected responsibilities.
]Governor-elect Snyder campaigned on a promise to address the difficult
issues with shared burdens, to rectify tax inequities and to spur
employment opportunities for our young people by softening business taxes
and mitigating onerous regulations. Governor Snyder’s proposed budget is a
campaign promise fulfilled.
Now it’s time for our spineless Legislature, whose souls are owned by
every special interest except the average citizen, to cease their endless
nit-picking and pass the Snyder budget as proposed.
Michigan’s citizens deserve better of our elected Legislature than
grand-standing and critiquing without providing alternatives.

Michael Estes • TC
 
Monday, March 7, 2011

Letters

Letters Scapegoating migrants
Here in Northern Michigan some of our most important neighbors are our
migrant workers. We need them desperately to help our farmers who depend
on them.
Now a group of anti-immigrant legislators (including our Representative
Ray Franz) have proposed House Bill 4305, which is similar to the Arizona
bill that profiles Hispanics.
I often see our hardworking neighbors, migrant workers shopping at NJ’s in
Lake Leelanau with their families. They don’t look like the Wall Street
crowd who ripped off the American people or the Haliburton people who
profited from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are obviously Hispanic
and look like they have done some pretty intense physical labor (the kind
no one else wants to do and cannot do well). Now I’m trying to imagine
what it would be like if one of our sheriffs checked them for papers and
how humilating that would be.
Have our immigrants become the scapegoat for our troubled society? It
seems to me that our country is losing its humanity and empathy for one
another. We need to educate ourselves regarding immigration policies in
this country and remind ourselves that most of us are from immigrant
families. We should not close the door to those who follow behind us.

Susan Wheadon • Cedar

 
Monday, February 28, 2011

Letters

Letters Snyder’s tax increase
Governor Snyder’s budget sent to the State Legislature would balance the state’s budget by imposing massive tax increases on the most vulnerable people, the elderly and the poor.
Taxing pensions at 4.5% is a tax increase. Eliminating or reducing the Homestead Property Tax Exemption for seniors is a tax increase. Eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor is a tax increase. Each of these proposed tax increases will hit the populations of our state least able to bear the brunt of the change.
As an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, I see first-hand how little many of our seniors make and scrape by on. They can ill afford to suddenly have their pension income reduced by 4.5%, giving them less spending money to pay for necessary medical costs and living expenses.
The worth of a society is measured in how it takes care of the least of its citizens. If these tax increases are enacted, our society isn’t worth much.

Charles N Godbout • Empire
 
Monday, February 28, 2011

Sara Brokaw

Features Feeling 40 & Beyond: Author Sarah Brokaw comes to TC
Following in the footsteps of her eloquent father, therapist Sarah Brokaw
will appear at the Traverse City Opera House this Thursday, March 3 to
talk about her new book, Fortytude: Making the Next Decades the Best Years
of Your Life—through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond.
 In her newly released book, Brokaw gives the reader a revealing glimpse
of feeling like the not  “good enough” daughter of Tom Brokaw, the
legendary news anchor who appeared in Traverse last summer. Her mother,
Meredith Brokaw, a lovely woman who sets the standard for aging
gracefully, is a success in her own right as a former author, teacher,
equestrian, and businesswoman.
 
Monday, February 21, 2011

Letters

Letters Other options for migrants
In the early 1970s I was living in Nebraska, where immigrants worked in the sugar beet fields. They were hunched over at their jobs often for 12 to 14 hours a day, and I marveled that they did not break under the strain. The workers’ ages ranged from their 50s down to young children who came after school to help - if their parents were able to get them to school.
At that point in our history, it was hard to know if these people were considered “legal” or “illegal.” Judging by the reticence of some of the adults (and having recently read of the capricious nature of the immigration system), I assume they knew that they were in danger of deportation at any time, for very little reason and with no legal recourse.
They, and the farmers who hire them, have always been caught in the crossfire between our consumer society which insists on low food prices, and a society in need of a scapegoat for its problems. The push-pull economic factors that drive immigration are matched by the idiosyncratic push-pull American mentality. We want the immigrants here working for low wages to ensure that our food is some of the cheapest in the world, but we don’t want them here for a host of other reasons, many of them bogus.
It is said that our society enjoys its comfortable lifestyle on the backs of these “disposable people.” Please come to the Charlevoix Library on February 27 (2:30 to 5:30 p.m.) to discuss more humane solutions to the problems of immigration with Father Wayne Dziekan.

Jean Engstrand • via email
 
Monday, February 14, 2011

Letters

Letters Library uproar
I am writing as a retired librarian from the NMC Library, and as a tax-paying citizen for 30 years of Traverse City. I am so glad, and usually proud, to be a resident of this town with so many assets and so many fine people.
What makes an effective library? The answer is pretty simple: a good staff with skills to cooperatively build the collection and serve the patrons. Technology and even the building itself are tools created by the staff.
There is a reason why the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has become one of several cherished gathering places in Traverse City. We are comfortable and find our friends and neighbors at TADL, as we do at Horizon Books and the State Theatre. Building that sense of community takes a long time and is extremely hard to ‘create’, making that place all the more valuable.
There is a reason why many of us show visiting friends the beautiful building housing the library that we cherish.
There is a reason why we all recognize that TADL has had a superlative staff. And this is a reason that we usually find the materials we need when we use the collection.
Such a library doesn’t just happen. It grows gradually through the cooperative efforts of skilled, hard working and dedicated people.
I am concerned about a governance system that has no resource for an appeal for a professional librarian and general staff. Remember, a librarian has usually earned a Master’s degree. As a librarian, if I had a concern about the library, I had the option of going to my director’s boss, the president or dean of the colleges I served. I used that option on one occasion in 22 years as a librarian. At TADL, apparently, the librarians and other staff have only their director. They are apparently not allowed any “higher” authority. When that director may be the problem there is no recourse. That seems like a very poor governance model to me.

June Thaden • TC
 
Monday, February 7, 2011

Letters

Letters WNMC No Exclusive Club
In a recent letter to Northern Express, a community member expressed
dissatisfaction with WNMC, especially the Friday morning show. During
these particular broadcasts, an astronomer/ NMC alum explains what’s
new in the world of science and how these discoveries interface with
society. I love to hear these compelling stories, it’s my favorite
morning show! The dissatisfied listener cited some conflicting data
and claims that WNMC “provides no mechanism for argument, rebuttal, or
opposing expert opinion.”
1. Sir, I think you’ve successfully found a venue to express your
contrary opinion.  You can also call or email WNMC to connect with the
source.
2. Nobody at WNMC claims that everyone should think like them. In my
observation, they spend half of the time making fun of themselves.
3. WNMC celebrates diverse opinions and styles.  The morning staff and
all of the dj’s are volunteers. They have a passion they’d like to
share, so they craft shows of music or commentaries. All are welcome
to volunteer their time and ideas. It is not an exclusive club.
Here’s the kicker...these diverse ideas, thoughts, and styles are
debated, meshed, mingled, intertwined harmoniously. No “arguing,
rebutting”. “Contrary opinions” are welcome, all the same.

Angela Poneta Dedenbach submitted via email
 
Monday, January 31, 2011

Letters

Letters America’s Accomplishment
The civic role of religion has resulted in large part, from the unique
constitutional status afforded religion. The first Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution states that Congress will not endorse, or
“establish” a religion. In the immediate wake of the nation’s
founding, this clause did not preclude states from supporting
particular denominations by, for example, allowing clergy to be paid
out of the public purse. By the early 1800’s, all such public
subsidies for religion ended and the no establishment was taken to
mean that all levels of government are precluded from providing
financial support to any particular religion. Likewise, the U.S.
Constitution also prohibits religious tests for public office.  At the
time of founding, it was a significant issue, given that England had
employed the Test Acts to limit public office to members of the Church
of England.
No founding father is more closely associated with religious liberty
than Thomas Jefferson who summarized the way many Americans think
about religious differences: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to
say there are twenty gods, or no gods.” Americans today hold to
Jefferson‘s philosophy. 85% agree,” that morality is a personal matter
and society should not force anyone to follow one standard”.
Americans have gone beyond the Jeffersonian conception of religion as
personal and private. Americans endorse religious diversity for its
own sake. 84% of Americans agree, “Religious diversity has been good
for more America”. Even among the most religious, 74% see the good in
religious diversity.
Unfortunately, when one listens to the media one does not get the
impression that there is religious acceptance of others, but rather
one of religious intolerance.  This view of religious intolerance only
describes 11% of all adults. Our country has come a long way in
overcoming religious intolerance. Perhaps our media needs to reflect
the American endorsement of religious diversity as our redeeming
quality.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey
 
Monday, January 24, 2011

letters

Letters Under attack
My friends, family, and every Traverse City resident who are
respectfully requesting their “right to vote” are paying a terrible
price while asking for one of our country‘s most valued gifts, a vote.
In response to our opposition, we are called haters, homophobes, and
worst of all; we are being associated with Fred Phelps Jr., one of the
most despised human beings in the country.
Traverse City citizens are not paid elected officials, we simply pay
the bills. I think it is time for those in government who know your
fellow citizens are no threat to our public officials (and) are not
haters. They should realize by now that we have a constitutional right
to disagree with a city ordinance without being attacked by the very
people we elected to protect us.

Paul James Nepote • TC
 
Monday, January 17, 2011

Letters

Letters Mental illness & Arizona
Let’s stop being afraid of the subject matter of mental health.
Just because a mental disease can show itself in an overt, scary way –
as recently shown in Arizona – it does not mean we should run. It is
a disease. Like all of the hundreds of diseases that human beings
suffer, it has a biological, physical and emotional cause. We just
need to do a lot more work to really identity mental illnesses. It is
one of the major medical areas still not fully explored.
What can each of us do? First, if you or a family member seem to
be mentally suffering, just go to your doctor and talk. Keep asking
questions, read up on it as much as possible. Don’t be afraid, don’t
ignore the situation and don’t let it fester. Second, try very hard to
keep it in a balanced state. Balance is the key for diabetes,
hypertension, etc. Third, philanthropic people, gear up. City,
state and national telethons like Jerry Lewis’s MD drive are needed to
garner huge funding for mental health research - more activated brain
scans, post-autopsy brain pathology and sociological studies.
We all have suffered from disease. Mental disease sufferers have
suffered longer. Let’s put our American wherewithal into it.
Remember, truth will always give light to the darkness.

Jill Rahrig Bourdon • via email
 
Monday, January 10, 2011

Letters

Letters Reaching out to farmers
Kudos to Anne Stanton for the recent features on farming. It was nice to
read both sides of the CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) debate.
Consumers can support what they believe in with their purchasing dollars.
Without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables at every roadside
stand, it gets too easy to just go to the mega-grocery stores for
everything this time of year. But great local products are available at
many stores, the indoor farmers markets and directly from the farmers.
Our website, www.MichiganFamilyFarm.com is working to help connect farmers
and consumers. Thank you for keeping this great movement in front of your
readers.

Jena Van Wagner • Executive Director, Michigan Family Farms

 
Monday, January 3, 2011

Letters

Letters Pay up and move on
Choosing war is a knee jerk reaction to a foreign problem. In
Afghanistan, after fruitless war, the British decided to simply pay
off the tribal leaders to keep the Russians out so the battered
British troops could go home. The British finally understood the
nature of that country: mostly illiterates who know little more than
fighting among themselves and against all foreign invaders.
Now, we have been sacrificing blood and treasure in Afghanistan for
nine years with no definition of victory.
Bribery is a way of life there. Instead of fighting, we should have
simply paid off the Afghans in exchange for their keeping al Qaeda out
of the country.
It is not cost effective to wage war in Afghanistan. Consider these
simple numbers: each “troop” (soldier, airman, marine) we put in
Afghanistan costs us $1 million a year. A thousand troops cost us $1
billion a year and that doesn’t dent the opium trade. But the value of
the Afghan opium crop is only $100 million. We should do the old A&P
thing: buy up the entire crop of opium and destroy it. Dealing
directly with the farmers will corner the market and put the smugglers
and middlemen out of business.
The opium trade may be immoral, but so are tobacco subsidies for
American farmers. More Americans die every year from tobacco than from
heroin.
Once trained, what is to prevent the Afghan police and army from
joining the Taliban and turning against the American foreign invaders?
Are we nuts, stupid, or what?

Harley Sachs • Houghton, U.P.
 
Monday, January 3, 2011

Treadrite 1//3/11

Features Treadrite: Benzie entrepreneurs manufacture snowshoes from old tires
For years people have been trying to come up with ways to recycle old car tires. No longer acceptable in landfills, old tires have become an environmental nightmare. Now, two Benzie County entrepreneurs have developed one solution: making snowshoes from old tires.
“Well actually, someone else developed the concept -- he had a tire business here in Northern Michigan,” said Steve Herkner. “My partner Scott Griner and myself have a maple syrup business and we were looking for ways to get through the deep snow in February and March. The snowshoes out there today are really for groomed trails and not deep snow. Through a friend we came across these snowshoes made from old tires and they worked great.”
A few years back the partners left their snowshoes in a shed and over the summer mice chewed through the straps, so they set out to either have them repaired or purchase new ones.
“We called the guy we bought them from and he told us he quit making them. He was never really in business. he owned a tire shop and came up with the idea about 20 years ago,” said Scott Griner. “He just made them for family and friends and told us he wanted no part of making them so we asked him if we could buy his idea and equipment and he agreed.”
 
Monday, December 27, 2010

Letters

Letters Inhumane treatment
I am responding to George Barnette’s comment on Don Strzynski’s letter
to the editor about the deportation of Liz Larios (Letters 12/20).
Mr. Barnette misses the point entirely; it is in regard to the
egregious treatment that the involved individuals received. Whether or
not they were citizens, they deserved humane treatment. Yes the Jews
in Germany were citizens, and yes they were stripped of their
citizenship and possessions but they were also “deported” to camps
like Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland.
The subjects of the illegal immigrant article were also deported to
border towns that may as well have been Auschwitz. I believe that Mr.
Strzynski being a Polish American probably has a little better
understanding of Nazi Germany than the “average” American. We live in
a country that promotes freedom and democracy, yet we tolerate these
practices and many more atrocities like water boarding.
We are a land of immigrants, a country that is a melting pot. Mr.
Barnette could have also have been the product of illegals or even
have a trace of Latino blood.
America has developed an elitist attitude that we are the land of the
chosen people and that people from other countries are not worthy to
live in the U.S. The problem is not illegals, the problem is our
country’s restrictive immigration policy. Why do people from all over
the world want to live here? It’s because America is supposed to be
the land of opportunity and freedom, but is it really?
Perhaps Mr. Barnette would be surprised if he knew the number of
illegals from Eastern Europe who left to escape the violation of their
human rights. Are they okay, just because they are not Latino?
Whether or not we want to admit it, we are a country of bigots. We
hated black America and it took years upon years for them to gain the
human rights that we stole from them. Now we have a black American for
a president and we have to find another group to hate, and presto,
it’s Latinos. It’s kind of like the Jews of Nazi Germany. We disguise
our bigotry in dollars and cents and how it could affect our standard
of living.
By the way, I do know Mr. Strzynski and he has lived in the west,
California to be exact.

Claire Ahearne • TC
 
Monday, December 20, 2010

Letters

Letters Illegal immigrant problem
In response to Don Strzynski’s letter to the editor regarding “Gestapo
tactics“ (12/6), I would like to respond with actual facts.
First, in reference to Nazi Germany, the Jews weren’t in Germany
illegally. They were citizens that were stripped of their rights,
property and lives by a totalitarian regime. Comparing this country to
that time is a personal affront to me.
Second, until Mr. Strzynski actually lives with the over 12 million
illegal aliens in this country, he will not be able to clearly
recognize the problem for what it is.
I have recently retired to the great state of Michigan from southern
Nevada. I spent most of my life out West, with the southwestern culture
and the problems associated with illegal aliens inundating this country
affecting my daily life at every turn.
The act of being here illegally is in itself a crime. How could one
reasonably expect me to welcome a criminal to my country? It IS a crime
to enter just about any country illegally.
They overwhelm social services, including hospital ERs (In Nevada,
American citizens were waiting behind illegals for life saving
treatments, such as dialysis.), the school systems, which the illegals
insist accommodate them by requiring everyone speak Spanish, the
welfare and housing systems, and other government services. They drive
without drivers’ licenses, insurance, registration, or knowledge of
U.S. traffic laws, and when involved in an accident, run from the
scene. They don’t pay taxes or file taxes, but are quick to suck up
taxpayer dollars while they’re making money. And most of their money is
sent back South.
Perhaps I might agree the solution is not profiling, but in reality
this country must take this issue in hand, and soon. The last thing
this issue needs to become is a political one, but that is exactly
what is happening because of the potential of over 12 million votes.
Incentive should be given to illegals (and those that employ them) to
return to their own country and use the system to emigrate legally.
Perhaps the process can be streamlined or refined to speed things up.
In conclusion, why would this country even let anyone in to work when
we are in such a deep recession with rampant unemployment? We need to
get Americans back to work, and if that means harsh laws regarding
illegal criminals, then so be it.
Mr. Strzynski, after you’ve lived 40+ years out there with them, and
all of the aforementioned problems, get back to me.

George Barnette • Sault Ste. Marie
 
 
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