Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Letters

Letters Overwired hipsters
After reading your article, “The Great Beagle Chase,” I was struck with a
much deeper understanding of why so many people in the rest of the world
have come to hate and fear us and why we in fact have come to feel the
same way about each other.
It is not so much that they hate our freedom as much as what we do with
it. It’s true, we face many issues greater than one more over-wired,
self-absorbed urban hipster but, I do not think it was “ironic” that Lima
was found by the one person paying attention and not spending time
‘tweeting’ on their iPhone, updating Facebook and writing a blog.
While it may be that I fall on the side of Mr. Howe in matters of politics
and culture in this very divided country, let me make one thing perfectly
clear - if you have a Facebook page for your dog you are part of the
problem.

James Carpenter • via email
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Pinewood Derby

Features Racers: Rev up for the Pintwood Derby
Remember those happy days of youth, competing in the Cub Scout’s Pinewood
Derby with a homemade, gravity-powered race car?
No? Well, now is your chance to get a taste of what you missed with the
Pintwood Derby racing series at the Right Brain Brewery in TC’s Warehouse
District between Jan. 27-April 14.
 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Letters

Letters Name cleared
My son and I again want to thank The Northern Express and Anne Stanton for
telling our story (“Branded For Life,” March 23, 2009) detailing our
experience with the juvenile justice system and the Michigan Sex Offender
Registry (SOR). So many positive things have happened since then.
We were successful in finally finding an attorney who understood the
nature of our situation. We only had three years from “Jim’s” release from
state custody to petition the court for removal from the SOR. We filed in
June with only days to spare. The judge saw reason and granted our
petition, but my son still has a felony conviction on his record.
Since then “Jim” has thrived. He has stopped hiding behind his hair. One
of his teachers commented that it was so good to see his face and eyes. He
is getting excellent grades and scored a 92 on his ASVAB. His enthusiasm
about his future is awesome. Last year at this time he was laying around
in his room thinking that his life was over because of a mistake that he
made when he was 10 years old.
It was bad enough that his childhood and innocence were taken away from
him by being exposed to a bunch of sexual deviants in treatment. Finding
out that he had to register quarterly as a sex offender for at least 25
years was unbearable.
More than once I left the jail in tears over the humiliation of having to
drag my child in to register as a sex offender - it was also a horrible
ordeal for my son. Every three months we were reminded of what happened.
Having the police at my door on more than one occasion has also been
embarassing for us. We are so grateful that it is over.
I am still being billed by the court for Jim’s “treatment” and I am paying
what little I can afford. As a single mom with two children there isn’t
any extra money in our budget for the $12,000 plus owed by me to the
court. I hope to address this issue in the future.
Thanks again for telling stories like ours that the mainstream media
ignore. You provide a valuable public service and we are forever grateful.

“Sandy” and “Jim”

(“Branded for Life” involved the case of “Jim,” a 10-year-old boy who
inappropriately touched his 11-year-old cousin on the outside of her
underwear and was branded a sex offender. - ed.)
 
Monday, January 4, 2010

Letters

Letters Don‘t change term limits
I once had a professor tell me that no politician should be elected to office more than once.
His reasoning was if they aren’t smart enough to line their pockets in one term we sure don’t want them around for two terms.
If you give a politician two drinks at the well he will want three and so forth. They will never be happy with the limits we need to put on them.
Our federal government is a prime example of what you get when you give anyone power and no end to its use. I have heard the word trust used in the argument to remove term limits. If you know a politician you trust, please write a letter to the editor and tell us why. Also, tell me why they can’t get the job done in one term. We limit the highest office in our government to two terms.

Norbert Tutlis • TC
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

Letters

Letters Seek Medicare for all
The United States, the wealthiest country on earth, is the only
industrialized nation that has not accepted the moral imperative to
provide health care for all of its citizens.
Because we haven’t, tens of thousands of Americans die each year, our
infant mortality rate is double that of the other industrialized
nations, thousands of uninsured people rely on hospital emergency
departments for care which could be delivered better in an office
setting at lower cost, and overwhelming health care costs are the
leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
We have experience with various plans; private health insurance with
overhead costs exceeding 25%, HMOs and PPOs with designated care
providers, tax-supported government run systems such as military and
veterans clinics and hospitals, and Medicare. Medicare is a
single-payer government insurance plan, not a government run
(socialized) health care system. It relies on a separate private
health care delivery system, allows free choice of physicians and
hospitals, has no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and has
overhead costs of less than 5%.
There is no free lunch and no free health care. We pay twice as much
as other industrialized nations for health care and receive less in
return. But if Medicare was available to all citizens (a single-payer
option), the purchasing power could dramatically decrease drug and
medical provider costs. And if individuals or employers paid their
premiums or taxes (different names; same money) to a system such as
Medicare rather than for private insurance, savings from lower
overhead costs alone would be enormous. We could have high quality
care and add nothing to the national debt.
If you like your present insurance coverage, keep it. But if you want
good care for all of our citizens at lower cost, encourage your
congressmen to insist on a single-payer option.

William R. Olsen M.D. • Northwest Michigan Cares
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

National Writers Series

Features National Writers Series offers 2010 lineup
When author Doug Stanton was growing up in Traverse City, he wondered
if it would be possible to bring nationally-known writers to his
hometown to talk about what they knew. This year, he’ll make that
dream happen, bringing some of the brightest celebrities of the
literary world to downtown Traverse City.
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 20 Michigan notable books

Books Top 20: Michigan Notable Books
Each year, the Library of Michigan compiles its list of 20 Notable Books highlighting Michigan people, places, and events.
Short stories of people living on the rough side of life in Detroit; a biography of the state’s first geologist; and a children’s book that tells the story of a slave family’s flight to freedom are among this year’s most notable Michigan books.
“This year’s Michigan Notable Books bring to life the Michigan experience through vivid storytelling that creates portraits of the people and places that make Michigan great,” said State Librarian Nancy Robertson. “These books celebrate Michigan as a place and a people that even in the most trying of times find transformation.”
Michigan Notable Books is a statewide program that began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, geared to pay tribute and draw attention to the people, places and things that make Michigan life unique.
The 2009 Michigan Notable Books are:
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Letters

Letters No lack of concerts
In response to Rick Coates’ article “Where Are All the Concerts?” (12/14).
Here is a list of music performances from international touring
musicians and bands that have performed at InsideOut Gallery in just
the last two of the four years we have been presenting concerts. Many
of these artists have returned two and three times. A very large
number of these acts were booked and performed during the winter
months. Sorry Mr. Coates missed them.
Many of these shows were co-produced by Seamus Shinners of Connemara
Concerts, who has been sponsoring great music in this region for
decades. Seamus produces many great music performances at many
different venues every month. If anyone should be included in a round
table discussion about the concert promoters and venue managers in
this area, it’s him.
You want to truly find out how the live music biz works? Look no
further than Traverse City’s very own Rick Shimmel. You could do a
whole separate magazine on what Rick has accomplished in the live
concert promotion world.
Coates and the Northern Express need to get off the Applebees Music
Circuit and start paying greater attention to the “truly innovative”
music that is being presented in Northern Michigan on a regular basis.
Sorry if it sounds like sour grapes on my part, but good God -- lame
classic rock and the casinos? See you at the next Chubby Checker show!
(Included was a list of more than 60 performers.)

Michael Curths • InsideOut, TC

 
Monday, December 14, 2009

Letters

Letters Riveting Read...
Anne Stanton’s articles on U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak should be reprinted
in the Washington Post and New York Times. Her Stupak interview about
the world of the C Street “Family” (12/7) is riveting.
As a Grand Traverse Democrat, I supported Mr. Stupak for years, but no
more. The Stupak Amendment to the health care bill is a pointed,
political attack on women’s health insurance rights and reproductive
rights. His association with the “Family” (a secret religious group in
Washington DC) – is very surprising news.

Grant W. Parsons • TC
 
Monday, December 7, 2009

Letters

Letters Rooster Ruckus
I would like to thank Noah Fowle and the Express for the article on
our pet bird, Beaker. A clarification on a couple things, however
-- Jim Tamlyn stated Beaker is outside crowing and the neighbors are
complaining, not noting it is only a small number of neighbors
complaining.
According to Emmet County’s own investigators, who have been on
site several times -- they never heard the rooster. Beaker lives
indoors, has his own kennel (cleaned daily) in our basement. In
limited increments, Beaker does go outside after 12 noon, and is
brought inside if he crows excessively, just as one would do with a
barking dog (like the ones owned by our complaining neighbors).
The same zoning ordinance also prohibits planting flowers,
vegetables or trees on less than two acres. Yet, while Emmet County
chooses not to enforce this obviously ridiculous part of the
ordinance, it is heavy-handedly executing orders in another part of
the same ordinance.
This is a case of discrimination and unfair application of the law.
We have tried to place Beaker on three separate farms and each time
were requested to come and get him as the people feared he would not
survive because he was so stressed. He is deathly afraid of other
chickens. He has bonded to his human and animal family and would
likely suffer from separation.
If Beaker were a special needs child, I am fairly certain our
neighbors would not object. But, he is a ‘special needs’ animal and
our neighbors simply cannot wrap their limited imaginations around the
concept that a bird is a bird.
Keeping Beaker is no different from keeping a parrot or a cockatoo
for a pet, yet these are allowed and he is NOT. Where is the so-called
‘compassion‘ in that reasoning?

Andy & Sharon Peters • Petoskey
 
Monday, November 30, 2009

Letters

Letters Escape from Afghanistan
The best way to get rid of a good idea is to give it to a committee that never meets.
Some people are growing impatient with President Obama for not making a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan. What he’s doing is waiting for the whole idea of having troops there to die on the vine, and for good reason.
There is no definition of victory in Afghanistan. We are not going to convert Afghans to Christianity or turn them into Republicans and Democrats. An authority on what it would take for Karzai to equip and maintain a militia to hold onto power in the country estimates it would cost four billion a year, while the entire gross national product of the country is only one billion. It is not going to happen.
The Taliban are not the enemy of the
United States, though we are converting them fast to hate us. Our enemy is al Qaeda, an invisible, international group of fanatic terrorists with no borders and no uniforms. The Soviets had 300,000 troops in Afghanistan and lost. The country has been the death of empires that tried to subdue those fighting folks. You don’t go to bed with rattlesnakes.
So what’s the exist strategy? Simple: convene a conference of all countries that have their troops there and admit that the Taliban versus Karzai’s government is an internal conflict and none of our business. The U.S. cannot simply back out unilaterally without looking like a bunch of quitters and wimps, but if the consensus of the countries contributing troops is that there is no definition of victory, shutting down the effort is smart.
Sure, it will leave Karzai twisting in the wind, which he surely will at the end of a rope when the Taliban retake control of their country but remember: it is their country. We are interlopers, invaders, even crusaders if you will. We can offer Mr. Karzai asylum to save his hide, but that’s just a small factor in the end game.
With half of our own children dependent on food stamps and millions unemployed we have no business pumping money into a corrupt government where everyone steals and we stand to gain nothing but enemies whose culture believes in revenge, not reconciliation.
Keep on waiting, President Obama. Let the committee decide.

Harley Sachs • Houghton, MI
 
Monday, November 23, 2009

Letters

Letters Stupak & women
In response to the article on the Stupak amendment by Anne Stanton in the November 16 Northern Express Weekly:
Congressman Stupak, you claim in the article that National Public Radio says some groups that oppose your amendment are misrepresenting the facts. I, too, listened to the NPR analysis of your abortion ban amendment, and clearly we heard two different things.
Whereas you heard, “Keeps the law the same,” I heard, “Makes permanent a law that currently has to be renewed every year,” and, “Abortion rights could be curtailed if this bill becomes law.”
I think we both heard, “Women still have the option to buy an extra rider to cover abortion services.” Although being a woman, I think my interpretation was a little different than yours. Mr. Stupak.
I have likely never been as insulted by anyone as you at that moment in my life. I actually yelled at the nice NPR anchor. “Women do not plan unplanned pregnancies! We plan the births of our children. We plan on providing for them. We plan every last penny in our lives in order to do so! What a ridiculous notion that we will be without coverage because we didn’t plan to have an abortion.”
Hide behind the “we’ve got to get this thing passed” rhetoric all you want. But what I just heard was, “Women be damned.”
If we are poor, federal employees, members of the military, receiving Indian Health Insurance, on Medicaid, on disability, hoping for a public option, likely to receive federal subsidies on a public option – if we are in fact the women who already pay more for our medical costs than men because we pay for years of reproductive health coverage like birth control – then what I just heard was, “You are my Political Pawn.”
I would encourage men and women alike to contact their representatives and ask them to oppose this amendment.
Maybe then what I will hear from you, Congressman Stupak, is an apology.

Jennifer Kirkpatrick Johnson
• Kingsley
 
Monday, November 16, 2009

Letters

Letters No guns on campus
I live in Leelanau county, the same beautiful county where State Senator Michelle McManus resides. It is very important that I voice my opposition to having her legislation introduced to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.
I spent 25 years working with students on a college campus. Our security did not even carry guns. A college campus consists of a community of students between the ages of (approximately) 17-23 years of age. These students reside in a wonderful environment, for a few years in their lives.
I am so appalled at the concept of carrying concealed weapons on campus that I find myself searching for words to express my dismay on this issue.
Students do not want to sit in classes, go to events, or walk to parking lots knowing that the person near them is carrying a concealed weapon. Faculty and staff do not want students to have weapons. When weapons, of any dangerous kind, are found on students or in residence halls, they are confiscated, to protect themselves and the other members on campus. I sincerely hope that
Sen. McManus examines the concept of students being allowed to carry concealed weapons. I shudder at the thought.

Dorothy Mudget • Leelanau County

Heartbroken
On October 26 the Express ran an article called the “High Price of Toking.” Imagine my heartbreak as I read the article about my son, Trevor Coddington. I was not consulted about this ‘story’ and had I been, I would have reminded the writer and participants that this child is no longer with us, and disgracing his memory for monetary gain, as is mentioned in the story, is unconscionable.
Whether the court system was 100 percent correct in its treatment of my son or not, the decisions were made, years ago. As a responsible parent, I will pay for what is required by the court.
Trevor was a good and loving son. Unfortunately he will not get a chance to prove that, or what a great adult he would have been.
Might I suggest a good story called “The High Price of Grief?” Perhaps the word compassion will come up in that particular story.
Sandy Zoulek • via email

(The Express attempted to contact Sandy Zoulek for the story, but was unable to obtain her address or phone number. - ed.)
 
Monday, November 9, 2009

Letters

Letters Letters 11/09/09
Parents & responsibility
Is this article about the high costs parents pay for their children’s crimes or is it a sob story about a teen drug addict? (Re: “The High Price of Toking,” 10/26.) The fact is that teens with parents that take responsibility for their children’s actions make
better parents.
This article shows that the father, Dan, was trying to get out of paying his son’s fines rather than simply having his son, Trevor, assume some of the responsibility. The saddest part of this story is that Dan did not seem to be able to control Trevor. Even after months in rehab Trevor continued to ‘hang with the wrong crowd’ and use drugs and alcohol. Why did Dan allow this? Considering the lack of parental control in young Trevor’s life, I agree that the parents should be responsible for the fines and costs.
I feel sorry for Trevor’s mother; she seems to have had no say in what discipline Trevor received and yet she paid the fines and costs without complaint.
I am the non-custodial parent of a teenage boy (he lives with his grandmother due to the poor choices I made in the past). I have already had to pay some court costs for the choices he has made. Yet, whenever I try to suggest a different way to discipline, or voice an opinion as to the unacceptable behavior of his friends, I am reminded that I do not have custody and therefore (in their opinion) I have no say in his upbringing.
I understand how Trevor’s mother must feel, and I am sorry for her loss.

Elizabeth Fox • via email


Advice for journalists
In his column Robert Downes reflected about which stories to pursue in the Nov.
3-10 Northern Express. In that issue you carried a long story by Anne Stanton about a woman who could be brought up on a murder charge. You went through her history in painstaking detail in a manner reminiscent of Jerry Springer.
I would argue that such a story should not be featured in your newspaper. Why? Because it does not relate to larger issues that affect the public. By contrast, your piece on Dan Coddington (“The High Price of Toking”) and the justice of courts inflicting large monetary obligations upon youth and parents is totally appropriate because it lays bare state laws and law enforcement practices that could be changed.
While the difficulty in getting all the facts frequently provides a barrier to writing a story (as Downes indicates), some stories are not worth investigating simply because they have no significance outside the people directly involved. Reject the stories for which evidence cannot be found. Reject the stories that have no significance. Following those rules you should be able to do a terrific job on the rest!

Richard Fidler • TC
 
Monday, November 2, 2009

Letters

Letters Letters 11/2/09
Laughing stock legislators
If anyone needs more evidence as to why Lansing does not take our Northern Michigan legislators seriously, one need look no further than the story regarding our representatives pushing for handguns being allowed on college campuses.
Michelle McManus and Wayne Schmidt have become the laughing stock of legislators, along with Alan Cropsey (R-Dewitt), who is pushing hard for guns to be allowed in Michigan high schools.
The voters of Grand Traverse keep sending these right-wingers to Lansing even though they are obviously out of touch with the majority and are very ineffective when it comes to representing our real interests. From school financing to return on tax investment to amount spent on roads, Northern Michigan has been getting the short end of it for years. We are not taken seriously in Lansing!
Allowing kids to have guns on a college campus, or arming public school teachers with weapons designed only to kill fellow human beings is antithetical to the education purpose and process. (Duh!) It also is against the majority’s wishes and flies in the face of common sense and human dignity.
No wonder Lansing laughs at us - look no further than McManus and Schmidt.

Gary S. Powell • TC

Sound the alarm
“Choice and competition.” That’s the new catch phrase to sell healthcare reform in Washington. I recall Obama himself saying you can keep your own plan, keep your own doctor. Do you remember? The “facts’ say otherwise.
Congressman Paul Ryan who sits on the committee writing the bills, says under “all four bills” being considered, plans like my own high deductible/HSA will be “illegal.” So much for the rhetoric!
If you oppose Obama’s plans, protest in Washington, listen to talk radio, or watch Fox News, you‘re labeled an “angry white male.” To the contrary, those who oppose the plan are a diversified group from all ethnicities. I myself am simply worried about the country’s survival.
In closing, like Social Security those writing the plan are exempting themselves and many of their supporters from its repercussions. That fact, and the fact that they’re rushing its passage without us seeing it first, is further reason to sound the alarm and enough alone for its rejection.

Brian Spencer • TC
What‘s in your heart
I had to agree: an old timer and I were discussing family matters when the bombing of the Middle East and Baghdad came up. He said: “What can we expect when our own families can’t get along?”
How true. It really starts in the heart. It‘s time to take the log out of our own personal eye before we can help our brother or sister. It all starts with self; then onward towards family, town, state, country, world.

Steve Rozanski • TC

Cheers for Dan Scripps
In the term limit-caused wreckage of the State Legislature, one bright spot can be found – Representative Dan Scripps. Since taking office, Scripps has worked to protect the Great Lakes and improve school funding equity. His efforts may deserve some of the credit for Governor Granholm’s recent decision to reduce the school funding gap. During the ongoing budget crisis, Scripps fought successfully, on behalf of his fellow sportsmen, to save wetland protections. Additionally, he and like-minded legislators were able to reduce the size of cuts to education.
Scripps keeps in touch with his constituents. During the height of the budget crisis, he sent nearly daily updates to those on his email list. And he makes himself available each month to gather input from citizens in all four counties he serves.
So while Senate Majority Leader Bishop plays his silly and dangerous games, House Speaker Dillon demonstrates that he has no idea what it means to be a leader, and Senator McManus shows more interest in toeing the insane party line than meeting the needs of her constituents, we can count on Dan Scripps to do what’s best for the people of Michigan. We need more politicians just like him.

Fred A. Cepela • TC

 
 
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