Letters

Letters 09-01-2014

Hamas Shares Some Blame

Even when I disagree with Mr. Tuttle, I always credit him with a degree of fairness. Unfortunately, in his piece regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict he falls well short of offering any insights that might advance his readers’ understanding of the conflict...

The True Northport

I was disappointed by your piece on Northport. While I agree that the sewer system had a big impact on the village, I don’t agree with your “power of retirees” position. I see that I am thrown in with the group of new businesses started by “well-off retirees” and I feel that I have been thoroughly misrepresented, as has the village...

Conservatives and Obamacare

What is it about Obamacare that sends conservatives over the edge? There are some obvious answers...

Republican Times

I read the letter from Don Turner of Beulah and it seems he lives in that magical part of the Fox News Universe where no matter how many offices the Republican Party controls they are not responsible for anything bad that happens...

Home · Articles · By

 
Top Articles from
No articles in this section
Monday, May 11, 2009

Letters 5/11/09

Letters Tests show clean bill
of health at Bay Harbor
I read the recent story concerning claims of historical waste dumping at the former Penn Dixie Cement Plant site that has been reclaimed and turned into the Bay Harbor resort and two public parks.
Below is another perspective on the claims made in the article and the facts as we know them.
It does appear that a meeting and follow up interviews were conducted with local individuals by the U.S. Coast Guard. CMS Land was not invited to the meeting and any information gathered from the meeting and interviews was not shared with CMS.
CMS Land has however, seen parts of the report that was obtained by the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed Council. Despite the numerous claims made in the article of barrels of waste being buried at the site, the sections of the Coast Guard report that we were able to view concluded, “No additional investigative action to be pursued in this matter. This preliminary investigation is closed.”
The cement plant and quarry that once occupied the site were in operation for more than 100 years. CMS Land simply does not know all actions that may have been taken on this site over the past 100 plus years.
What we know for sure is that CMS Land has taken more than 1,300 soil, groundwater and surface water samples, has installed 340 groundwater monitoring wells, and completed an extensive geophysical investigation of the site. Despite this extensive scientific study, barrels containing toxic waste have not been discovered.
Another fact is that despite tests conducted over the course of several years that never demonstrated any contamination from cement dust in Bay Harbor Lake, several organizations, including individuals critical of the remediation project, conducted another test of the lake in 2006.
The test included water samples and EPA divers surveying the lake below the water surface. The lake once again was given a clean bill of health.
The story stated that CMS Land has blocked the efforts of plaintiffs in a lawsuit to take samples from the site. Regulatory agencies and judges presiding over the disposal well lawsuit have heard numerous legal pleadings, requests and desires and have determined what is appropriate and established specific requirements concerning the lawsuit. CMS is fully honoring those requirements and expects others to do the same. In fact, plaintiffs in that suit have been on site to take water samples within the past month.
Environmental and reclamation plans were developed, reviewed and approved by state regulators and the Bay Harbor development and two public parks were reclaimed from an abandoned brownfield site that had been described as a “moonscape.” Today, this once unproductive land – where contamination was open to the elements and escaped unabated – has been transformed into a world class resort that draws visitors from around the world and is an important economic contributor to Northwest Michigan.
We believe there is much to be proud of at the project. In addition to the important economic impact of the site, the original development significantly improved the environment and CMS Land is now improving upon that protection. CMS Land has worked for more than three years and spent more than $80 million addressing environmental issues at the site.
CMS remains committed to completing remediation work and achieving results that safeguard the public and environment.

Timothy Petrosky • Area Manager • CMS Land Company

Dog responsibility
In response to Michele Lonoconus’ letter regarding Obama’s choice to obtain a dog from a breeder as opposed to adopting, I agree we should be looking in our own backyard and focusing on adopting dogs. However, we need to eliminate the reasons many dogs are in need of rescue in the first place!
If everyone bought from a responsible breeder, or adopted a dog (whose temperament matched the prospective owner), there wouldn’t be thousands of dogs in shelters.
Unfortunately, we have many “backyard breeders” and accidental breedings. The problems with obtaining dogs from these kinds of situations are: 1. Lack of genetic screening; 2. Sellers don’t take back the puppy/dog if the owner can’t keep it; 3. Buyers are not screened or advised on responsible dog care; 4. Sellers don’t require spaying/neutering.
Improper breeding often leads to hyper, hard-to-train, and possibly genetically-unsound dogs. Only knowledgeable, experienced people should be breeders to prevent over-population and unwanted litters of puppies.
I cannot stress enough the importance of prospective buyers understanding that acquiring a dog is a lifetime commitment. It is critical that the buyer understands the temperament of the breed to ensure that it matches the owner’s lifestyle. A sedentary type person shouldn’t have an active breed, or someone with small children shouldn’t have a feisty terrier.
Owners need to understand the importance of early socialization and training (critical periods are prior to age 16 weeks). However, training at any age is important to ensure a well-behaved dog.
Reputable breeders understand these critical points and guide prospective owners. They CARE about the well being of the puppy... they ask YOU questions. They specify the type of care needed and will take the puppy back at any time if the buyer cannot keep it.

Diane Russell • via email
 
Monday, May 4, 2009

Letters 5/4/09

Letters Outsourcing local jobs
As a resident of Traverse City, and a proponent for supporting our great state of Michigan, I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the fact that local government boards are allowing the outsourcing of jobs that belong in Michigan.
Recently, the company where my daughter is employed lost a long-standing contract to a large business in Atlanta, Georgia for the processing of the light and power bills from the City of Traverse City. Her business had been producing these for many years without ever an increase in cost for the city.
Now, by accident, she has found out that they will no longer be doing these mailings – they are going to be sent to Georgia.
In Governor Jennifer M. Granholm’s State of the State Address on February 3, she issued an order creating a preference for Michigan firms and will be requiring other units of government in Michigan, including cities, townships, counties and school districts to adopt a “Buy Michigan First” policy. She said, “Support Michigan. Select Michigan. Buy Michigan. Everything from Ford to Faygo... our first love is businesses that have long called Michigan home.”
When will our government practice what they preach? I am a father who would not be a good father if I didn’t follow through on my words. But I am a good father, and am worried about not only my child’s employment but of the rest of Michigan, the rest of America.
I believe in supporting Michigan, selecting Michigan, buying Michigan and think it is time that everyone who lives and works here, including our local government bodies believes and act it too.

Vince Rice • TC

Clueless Camp
Congressman Camp sent an e-mail recently stating that “Americans are feeling the pinch in their own budgets,“ and the President and Congress are spending “your tax dollars in unprecedented amounts.“
Absurdly, Congressman Camp doesn’t mention the trillions President Bush spent on a trumped-up Iraq War. Nor does he hint that the mortgage debacle resulted from a laissez-faire Bush Administration that looked the other way when big banks played blackjack with investors’ dollars, that taxed the middle class unfairly while the upper half-percent paid little, and that broke the back of our economy.
Now he’s worried the government’s spending too much? Please. Congressman Camp consistently supported President Bush, and the Republican Congress that got us into this mess. Let’s give President Obama credit. His Recovery Act has created or saved more than 109,000 Michigan jobs. Michigan workers have received $3,726,000 under the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. And the American Opportunity Tax Credit has aided more than 121,000 Michigan students.
It took eight years to dig Bush’s money pit. President Obama has been in office less than four months. Let’s think about how we vote in the future and put an able person in Congress. Leave Dave Camp where he’s been all along -- in Congruous.

Mary Eliowitz • Maple City


GM vs. foreign car makers
As Michigan’s unemployment numbers go up and our economy sinks farther and farther, it’s important to look at some hard facts that are contributing to it. The Level Field Institute (levelfieldinstitute.org) compares the U.S. auto industry with foreign manufacturers and has come up with the following facts and figures.
• Direct employment: GM: 92,000 employees vs. foreign automakers: 95,000. Each one of these jobs supports more than nine other jobs in the surrounding community.
• U.S. Assembly plants: GM: 19 vs. foreign automakers: 17. Each plant employs about 2,000 workers, requires $1 billion or more in capital investment, and encourages suppliers to build their factories nearby. Question: how many foreign auto plants are there in Michigan? Answer-none!
• Model year domestic Content: GM: 75 percent. Foreign automakers: 33 percent. Auto parts suppliers are the largest employer in five states, and the top five employers in 11 other states.
• Buying one GM vehicle supports 78 jobs per car, including U.S. supplier based jobs, vs. 34 jobs per car that are supported by foreign car makers.
The above numbers, sobering as they are, don’t even take into account the 660,000 vehicles South Korea is allowed to export to the U.S. These vehicles offer not one manufacturing job or dollar to our economy, and in fact, cost the U.S. roughly 55,000 jobs.
So, the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle, consider this: would you rather purchase a home-grown company’s vehicle which directly supports Michigan? Or a foreign vehicle -- even one built in the U.S. -- that supports a foreign country, and/or a southern state?

Ben Lillie, GM retiree • Cheboygan

Religious scam
Turning on TV, I chanced to click on Franklin Graham’s broadcast. He is the son of Billy Graham and now CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
I was shocked to see on the screen in huge print the words “Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?” Then Franklin said ‘This year’s theme for the broadcast is ‘Jesus is coming soon.‘” He continued, of course, to emphasize that he must have financial support so he can preach to the whole world, save souls and prepare his listeners to be ready to meet
Jesus in the air at the Rapture.
Does Franklin really believe this myth? I suppose so; millions of Christians do.
Nevertheless, he and other TV evangelists use it to create fear of going to hell, and giving false hope of going to heaven. They are taking full advantage of their listeners’ trust, to rake in the money for their religious show, and support for their own luxurious life style.
It all smacks of a scam.
What a pity that congregations are not taught to separate myth from historical facts in the Bible. How tragic that educated clergy do not make clear the difference, and help them to understand the value of symbols.
As a Christian liberal, I am not required to believe that the Bible is literally true in every word and sentence. I don’t have to teach such fundamentalist nonsense.

Rev. Harold R. Hodgson • Cadillac


 
Monday, April 27, 2009

Rock to the top

Music Rock to the Top
8 bands battle for the best at Leelanau Sands
4/27/09
The wait is over for dozens of rock bands that have competed for the title of “the best” over the past four months: This Saturday, May 2, eight finalists will duke it out at the Leelanau Sands Casino Showroom.
In addition to the scrutiny of a full house of fans, the contestants will face a panel of judges culled from the top of the music industry, including players from some of America’s superstar bands.
Competing bands have entered from all over the state, battling it out in a series of competitions since January, says Joey Callahan of Radius Recording in Traverse City, who organized the event. The winning band will take home $2,000 cash, as well as a recording deal at Callahan’s studio valued at $8,000. The winner will also open for Puddle of Mudd at the Leelanau Sands Showroom on June 27.
A former guitarist with the industrial metal group 13MG, Callahan has extensive ties to the music industry from his days touring and recording with the band, and also as a result of a music services and web design business he owned in Chicago, which had clients on par with John Mayer and Smashing Pumpkins.
Rock to the Top will include a set by David “Shred Demon” Shankle, one of metal’s’ top shredders, who vows to “rip your face off.” WKLT will sponsor and emcee the event, which runs form 8 p.m. to 1 am. Additionally, there will be a 3 p.m. seminar for musicians by Martin Atkins focusing on the fine points of touring, based on his bestselling book, “Tour Smart.” For details, check out http://www.myspace.com/rockyourwaytothetop.
 
Monday, April 27, 2009

Letters 4/27/09

Letters Organized crime in
the financial industry
Organized crime is nothing new but where it comes from is. This crime gang affects us all.
I am referring to the financial industry, lobbyists, and our own Congress in the fleecing of the citizens of this country. Not only have they gathered together to make rules and laws for their own benefit, they are also discriminating against the working class and poor of this country.
Their weapon is our credit scores and hidden fees. Once you fall into their trap they do their best to keep you there, stopping you from purchasing items that you need or would like, such as new or used cars. Or, if they grant you a loan, they punish you with an interest rate that keeps you down, which is discriminating as the value of your purchase is the same for someone with better credit.
Congress approved an interest ceiling last year of 30 percent, which is a crime in itself. If nothing is done by Congress to correct these travesties our only choice, other than an armed uprising, is to vote in third party candidates to break up the frat clubs in the next election.

James C. Williams • Kalkaska

Green gimmick
I read with interest the feature in Gear Box on eco-packaging. I love the idea of the carry strap on the shoe boxes.
The use of cloth bags at grocery stores? Great! At least that’s how I felt before I read the little sewn-in label on my “green“ bags: “Made In China.“
Now my bags are not so green anymore. The cost to the environment to manufacture and ship is not worth it. Why can’t they be made locally? Now that would be “green.”

Debra Tootla • TC

We need single payer
Universal single payer health care is the best way to get out of this devastating economic crisis. It would relieve the burden faced by big business, small business owners, self-employed, unemployed and under-employed individuals, families, children, and seniors.
We should cut costs and errors with electronic health records, cover pre-existing conditions, lower the cost of drugs, and bring down health care costs by encouraging wellness and prevention programs.
I believe Canada has the best model. Opponents talk about waiting lines, rationing, and the government making health decisions. U.S. insurance companies already ration health care based on how much you pay in premiums. They refuse treatment. They make you use their doctors. If you can‘t afford to pay, you die, plain and simple.
That is not health care, that is insurance company care. Universal health care opponents say the cost is too high. I don’t see anyone returning their Social Security checks or turning in their Medicare cards. Those programs work for the millions of Americans. I would rather pay higher taxes for the neighbor to be treated for that brain tumor, than spend the same amount to bomb innocent women and children in some far-away country creating generations of American enemies.
My biggest fear is private insurance companies will be subsidized for their already inadequate and overpriced policies, which would be an even bigger disaster. We need a government plan to provide affordable, high-quality health care for everyone!

Beverly Christensen
• Cedar

 
Monday, April 20, 2009

Interlochen announces

Music The Steve Miller Band, Willie Nelson and Styx top a lineup of more than 30 major performances planned at the Interlochen Center for the Arts this summer.  Interlochen’s season kicks off with Willie Nelson on June 7 and runs through Aug. 22, ending with a three-day guitar festival. In between, the season will feature everything from the arena rock of Styx to the violin and cello-infused indie sounds of Ra Ra Riot; from folk icon Joan Baez to the four-part country harmonies of Little Big Town.
The spoken word also gets its due with an appearance by comedienne Paula Poundstone. Look also for one of Shakespeare’s greatest hits with “The Taming of the Shrew.”
 
Here’s a peek at the season ahead:
 
JUNE
 
WILLIE NELSON (June 7): The creative genius behind such recordings as “Crazy” and “Stardust,” Nelson’s career has spanned six decades and more than 200 albums
INDIGO GIRLS (June 23): offer two decades of roots-inspired music and infectious harmonies in hits such as “Closer to Fine,” “Hammer and Nail” and “Galileo.”  
“THE TAMING OF THE SHREW” (June 25-28 and July 2-5): Director William Church places this battle of the sexes in an early 1900s circus, with fiery-tongued Kate as a knife-thrower and Petruchio as a lion tamer. Interlochen faculty and alumni fill the roles of cast and crew.
CHERRYHOLMES (June 27): stormed to the top of the bluegrass world by winning the 2005 International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award.
PARSONS DANCE COMPANY (June 29): is renowned for its sexy athleticism, exuberant personality and joyous movement.
THE WALLFLOWERS (June 30), led by Jacob Dylan is on t
 
Monday, April 20, 2009

Letters 4/20/09

Letters Crisis management
If you have some extra money, it may be time to sidle up to the table and get yourself some assets. President Obama and others have said that the “profit ratios are now such that it may be time to invest.”
Hmmm! Back down that road again?
There are millions of properties that are now owned by banks, the government, and other lenders that can be snatched up at bargain basement prices. Stock values of financially sound companies are available at half the price of two years ago! Lay down the cash and walk away with some great homes, companies, and stocks. Or, if you can leverage one of your hedged futures, please do so. Now! You may not have to part with any of your cash or other assets and still pick up a whale of a deal on a foreclosed home or two!
Hmmmm! Have we so quickly forgotten where that road will lead us?
The sparkle can be seen in the eyes of those who will weather this “downturn” with excess cash left in their wallets or sufficient assets remaining to leverage credit. They know the game and are waiting patiently just outside the circle of light as the foreclosures, lost retirement funds, and folding small businesses burn down to ashes. If allowed to, the cyclical dynamo that propels additional wealth into the coffers of those who are already the most well-to-do, will work its magic once again, and again, and again.
Here is an outline that can help us to “make the best of this crisis” while at the same time heading down a road that may help us avoid such crises in the future:
• Create a single-payer universal health care system.
• Get rid of the health insurance industry.
• Re-employ insurance workers in a publicly run health care administration.
• Determine the present cost of health care without the insurance industry profits.
• Project the cost of health care for all people who live in the US of A.
• Re-work the pay structure for health care workers including doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., with negotiations resulting in a more equitable distribution of pay.
• Focus on achieving a healthy population through preventative care and education.
• Fund universal health care with a graduated monthly fee structure based roughly upon the asset ownership of individuals.
• Place banking services under public ownership.
• No longer charge interest on home mortgages or small business loans. Rather, add a fee to the loan principal at closing.
• No longer charge interest on credit card debt. Rather, add a surcharge to the principal at the time of each purchase.
Of course, there are many more ways that we could reduce the greed-driven functions of our economy while increasing the uplifting aspects of our “post crisis” existence. The way that we handle transportation, utilities, communications, energy, and natural resources are all areas that need re-evaluation along similar lines.

Dale S. Scott • Harbor Springs

All quiet on the left in TC
With a week in time passing since the serving of papers to the mayor of Traverse City and select commissioners, the local left has been very quiet on the subject.
I just checked out some of the local lefties haunts online and there was not one mention (excluding the Record-Eagle) of the lawsuit. Could it be the T.C. lefties don’t dare come out against George Galic at this point? Maybe because they know something? Or at the least have good reason to suspect he’s correct?
What if George Galic prevails and it is shown without a doubt that government business was conducted in the backroom? Would they defend conducting business behind the scene as the right way to operate government? No, they’ll remain quiet on this one. For now anyway. But that’s okay because “no (leftie) news is good news” as an indicator of George Galic‘s chances of prevailing.

Alex Peterson • TC
 
Monday, April 20, 2009

Letters 4/20/09

Letters Crisis management
If you have some extra money, it may be time to sidle up to the table and get yourself some assets. President Obama and others have said that the “profit ratios are now such that it may be time to invest.”
Hmmm! Back down that road again?
There are millions of properties that are now owned by banks, the government, and other lenders that can be snatched up at bargain basement prices. Stock values of financially sound companies are available at half the price of two years ago! Lay down the cash and walk away with some great homes, companies, and stocks. Or, if you can leverage one of your hedged futures, please do so. Now! You may not have to part with any of your cash or other assets and still pick up a whale of a deal on a foreclosed home or two!
Hmmmm! Have we so quickly forgotten where that road will lead us?
The sparkle can be seen in the eyes of those who will weather this “downturn” with excess cash left in their wallets or sufficient assets remaining to leverage credit. They know the game and are waiting patiently just outside the circle of light as the foreclosures, lost retirement funds, and folding small businesses burn down to ashes. If allowed to, the cyclical dynamo that propels additional wealth into the coffers of those who are already the most well-to-do, will work its magic once again, and again, and again.
Here is an outline that can help us to “make the best of this crisis” while at the same time heading down a road that may help us avoid such crises in the future:
• Create a single-payer universal health care system.
• Get rid of the health insurance industry.
• Re-employ insurance workers in a publicly run health care administration.
• Determine the present cost of health care without the insurance industry profits.
• Project the cost of health care for all people who live in the US of A.
• Re-work the pay structure for health care workers including doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., with negotiations resulting in a more equitable distribution of pay.
• Focus on achieving a healthy population through preventative care and education.
• Fund universal health care with a graduated monthly fee structure based roughly upon the asset ownership of individuals.
• Place banking services under public ownership.
• No longer charge interest on home mortgages or small business loans. Rather, add a fee to the loan principal at closing.
• No longer charge interest on credit card debt. Rather, add a surcharge to the principal at the time of each purchase.
Of course, there are many more ways that we could reduce the greed-driven functions of our economy while increasing the uplifting aspects of our “post crisis” existence. The way that we handle transportation, utilities, communications, energy, and natural resources are all areas that need re-evaluation along similar lines.

Dale S. Scott • Harbor Springs

All quiet on the left in TC
With a week in time passing since the serving of papers to the mayor of Traverse City and select commissioners, the local left has been very quiet on the subject.
I just checked out some of the local lefties haunts online and there was not one mention (excluding the Record-Eagle) of the lawsuit. Could it be the T.C. lefties don’t dare come out against George Galic at this point? Maybe because they know something? Or at the least have good reason to suspect he’s correct?
What if George Galic prevails and it is shown without a doubt that government business was conducted in the backroom? Would they defend conducting business behind the scene as the right way to operate government? No, they’ll remain quiet on this one. For now anyway. But that’s okay because “no (leftie) news is good news” as an indicator of George Galic‘s chances of prevailing.

Alex Peterson • TC
 
Monday, April 13, 2009

Region Watch: Hollywood shines on Doug Stanton & The Horse Soldiers‘/ New parklands/ Better drug disposal

Region Watch Best-selling author Doug Stanton of Traverse City was in Hollywood’s spotlight last week.
Variety Magazine, a trade magazine of the entertainment industry, announced in a front-page story that Disney and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer acquired the screen rights for his soon-to-be-published book, Horse Soldiers.
There was more good news.
An exclusive excerpt of his book will run in the upcoming May issue of Men’s Journal, which boasts a 3.5 million national circulation. Stanton is a contributing editor for the magazine.
Bruckheimer, who will produce the movie, is famous for high-action films such as Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Horse Soldiers gives him a lot of material to work with. The nearly 400-page book chronicles the journey of a handful of Special Forces, from the time they first hear about 9/11 on their living room TV sets to riding horses along skinny mountain trails in Afghanistan, The Americans gaze down black precipices as they ride side-by-side with three warlords and their troops (the Northern Alliance) to defeat the Taliban.
 
Monday, April 13, 2009

Letters 4/13/09

Letters Holding the line
Homeowners, neighborhoods and communities are best served when people are able to remain in their homes. Families across our state are struggling to do just that, and I want to make sure they have a fighting chance. That’s why I am working on measures to protect homeowners from property tax increases that are out of step with their home’s actual value.
Legislation I sponsored would make sure that a property’s taxable value doesn’t increase any faster than its assessed value. I also co-sponsored legislation to prevent homeowners from seeing their property taxes go up if the assessed value of their home goes down. In addition, homeowners whose tax assessments fall below the taxable value of their home would see the taxable value of their home also reduced. Both measures would need approval from voters in November.
It’s true these proposals will result in less revenue for government. But just like our hardworking families, government at every level must learn to tighten its belt and live within its means. Common sense and fairness says that if home values are falling, property taxes should not continue to rise. With families leaving our state in droves and those who remain struggling to stay in their homes, how can we justify collecting property taxes that are out of step with home values?
When I came to the Legislature in 1992, Michigan was hurting – property taxes were out of control and families were losing their homes. Today we find ourselves in similar distress, and I will not let government continue to rob our hardworking families. Bringing property taxes back in line with home values is a common sense approach that will help struggling families and communities throughout Michigan. Homeowners shouldn’t have to watch their property taxes climb while their home values drop. I am fighting to change that. I urge our House colleagues to join us in protecting Michigan families during these tough economic times.

Michelle A. McManus • State Senator, 35th District
Stop sexual assault
The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRC) joins the rest of the country in recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The WRC helps hundreds of individuals and families each year that have experienced this devastating crime of sexual violence at some point in their lives.
We now have an additional mission of primary prevention. This is taking action before any violence occurs to prevent an assault or victimization. Primary prevention seeks to change root causes of sexual violence; such as societal norms, attitudes and behaviors.
The responsibility for sexual violence prevention lies within each of us. Educate yourself and start conversations about the problem of sexual violence. Challenge those who use degrading language or actions. Intervene or get help if you see a friend or stranger grab or insult a woman. Do not support companies that use commercials or ads exploiting women, and explain to children, nieces, nephews, and others that this is not okay.
Help re-define what healthy masculinity looks like to end dangerous stereotypes. Mentor youth by modeling equality in relationships. Primary prevention helps create communities where we all have the right to feel safe in our relationships, homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.
The WRC is a non-profit agency serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information, call the WRC 24-hour crisis and information line at (231) 347-0082 or
(800) 275-1995.

Carrie Sundstrom • Community Prevention Coordinator

 
Monday, April 6, 2009

Letters 4/6/09

Letters Stop the spending
Until the U.S. government can balance its checkbook it is time to stop the frivolous, wasteful, and seemingly endless spending.
What is the point of creating a budget if you cannot or do not plan to adhere to it? According to the 2006 U.S. census, the payroll of the U.S. government alone is a staggering $13,896,346,626 per month. There is a lot of fat that could be cut from that payroll which continues to grow with every new problem the country encounters. The attacks of 9/11 gave birth to a new branch of payroll in formation of the Homeland Security Office. Didn’t we already have homeland security through the National Guard?
I do not believe that the problem was not enough security, but instead a false sense of security that we allowed ourselves to be lulled into. Even if Homeland Security is a viable need for our national safety, there are plenty of other programs not necessary to the survival of the nation that should be terminated or put on hiatus, until such a day that we are once again in the black as a country.
One program that should be looked upon as fluff and should be discontinued, until we actually have the cash in hand to fund it, is the space program, which according to the 2006 census demands $150,593,571 per month just in payroll alone. This may not be a popular opinion, but our future is not in space, it is here on Earth, and even though I am interested in what is out there as much as anyone, we should concentrate on our current homeland.
Programs like the Blue Angels should be looked at for their entertainment value, and not as a necessity for national morale and recruiting. How about cancelling the Army, Navy football programs? That is what would happen if it was a public school that could not make the ends meet. It is time for the government to be more responsible and accountable with its spending, and if said government proposes a budget, approves the budget, then damn it, balance the budget!

Donald Robinson • Frankfort

Spending spree
It is becoming more clear every day that the President’s budget and stimulus package includes enormous spending for programs that while worthy of debate in their own right are masquerading as keys to reducing structural costs and providing the essential elements for economic recovery and prosperity. The country is in a serious economic recession and financial system crisis and the president is trying to smooth talk the people into believing that borrowing to spend unprecedented billions on health care, the environment, green energy , education and adding enormous cost to entitlement programs are indispensable components of a financial recovery plan. Items that are important but not urgent should not escape exhaustive debate and not be immune to the process of purging based on affordability.
Sorry Mr. President, but your strategy of throwing every pet social program onto the recovery wagon and calling it essential baggage is not selling to thoughtful Americans who know that spending beyond our means has consequences. When news pundits struggle to explain the enormity of the increase in national debt you advocate and when economists are forecasting dramatic damage to the dollar as the world’s standard for currency, and forecasting upward pressure on interest rates and inflation, the credibility of your assertions of future financial health is undermined beyond repair. Your spending spree is looking more and more like a cure that could end up being worse than the illness.

Dick Selvala • Cross Village
‘Best of’ feedback
It seems your fact checker, or the compiler of lists, is asleep at the wheel when it comes to servers and bartenders.
Kim has not been a server at Hanna for over a year. She currently manages at Siren Hall.
The bartender at Hanna (yours truly) was not even listed, and many of his regulars believe that he is the best in Traverse City.
So it goes.

Tony Berry • TC

Loved the “Best of” issue. But I suggest another category: Best Cop. I nominate State Trooper Blair DuVall of the Honor post. He lost his life to cancer last July. He was a gentleman and a gentle man.


Nutty ACORN scheme
ACORN was and continues to be contentious in regard to their roles in registering voters this just past election. I seem to recall individuals registering the same potential voters dozens and dozens of times in some cases, and investigations of this corruption being discussed in the many states in which it occurred. With that in mind, I’ve been expecting some announcements as to accountability of these illegal activities from the Justice Department and as to those who lead this organization.
With the latest stimulus package that President Obama has just announced and signed, I think I’ll stop holding my breath as to any in this organization being held accountable. Rather than that occurring as most might expect, just the opposite has been announced that carries a large price tag that will “benefit” this group. For those who might have missed being informed, ACORN is now receiving $5 billion of your hard earned tax payer dollars as part of this “stimulus” package for all the good deeds they do for us.
Can anybody explain the stimulus involved with rewarding those attempting to dismantle and destroy our one-man, one-vote democracy? Further, just what is it that our new President is attempting to stimulate? Seems like a reasonable question that all might ponder thinking about.

Brian Spencer • TC

Slow down
To the ignorant drivers that use our roads daily. I am sick and tired of you running “up my butt” when I have my turn signal on, which means I am turning either right or left! Got it? That means BACK OFF, SLOW DOWN, BE PREPARED TO STOP, use some common sense!
Homestead Road in Benzie County seems to be one of the worst! Evidently, drivers are not worried about the school zone. Maybe they have no kids attending Benzie Central. Maybe they don’t care that more and more kids are walking, or that the track team trains along this road.
I assume that those who drive this road don’t care about those who live on it because of how fast they go in front of the houses and because of the countless animals that have been hit year after year, both domestic pets and wildlife.
Oh well, I guess nothing will change until a person gets hit and dies. Then maybe someone will care, someone will slow down, someone will stop acting so uncaring.
I will tell you this: if any of our kids, grandchildren, animals/pets get hit by you, you will be sued for the maximum amount allowed. This is simply avoidable ignorance. Maybe you will care when you are the one affected by, or the cause of, an accident

Lisa Mai Shoemaker • Empire


 
Monday, April 6, 2009

Run for shelter/ Zoo-de-Mack/Get paddlin‘

Features Run for Shelter
Local runners can combine their love of racing with a good cause on Saturday, April 18 at 9 a.m., with the Run for Shelter to benefit the Goodwill Inn Homeless Shelter.
 
Monday, March 30, 2009

Letters 3/30/09

Letters Letters 3/30/09

Branded for life
I just want to thank the Northern Express for telling my son’s story (re: “Branded for Life,” 3/23). Countless lives are forever destroyed by these laws. It has been a crazy few years and I had nearly given up hope of anyone caring.
Special thanks to Anne Stanton for telling the real story. Her article will help the cause, and people have already contacted me with their stories. She went above and beyond for us and we are forever grateful to finally have our concerns validated.

Name withheld

Train to nowhere?
Great article on the proposed mag-lev train (re: Random Thoughts, 3.23). How do these proposals gain traction when there is no science to support them?
At Old Dominion University a demonstration project for two miles has failed after four years of trying a mag-lev train. The same company failed in Florida in a project that was supported by state and federal taxpayers. Is there any evidence of a successful mag-lev project in the U.S.? No.

D. Aussicker • via email


Stop this train wreck
We are at a crossroads. For the first time, the plan to haul toxic wastewater from Bay Harbor Resort and East Park to an underground well in Alba is off the table. We sincerely hope CMS Energy will stop this train wreck and spare themselves a great deal of grief and money.
The cleanup methods that CMS has so far installed do not solve the problem. They merely transfer them to a distant pristine location and pass responsibility for them along to future generations.
Before I get to a saner proposal, consider this question: How long does it take for the substance of a mountain to be washed to sea?
In this case the mountain represents the huge piles of cement kiln dust, 2.5 million cubic yards of hazardous waste, improperly buried and hidden underground at Bay Harbor and East Park. This toxic leachate is so potent it can kill or maim on contact.
The current cleanup plan intercepts the leachate before it enters Lake Michigan, neutralizes its highly caustic pH with sulfuric acid and trucks it off-site for disposal.
Our calculations show that it would take thousands of years to clean up the mountain. That’s one million gallons of toxic leachate per week, collected, neutralized, transported and pumped down the Alba well. Now factor in trace amounts of toxic heavy metals. These “traces” become tons when the variables of time and volume are factored in.
It is immoral to pass these toxic problems on to future generations and to risk polluting our rivers and Little Traverse Bay.
In contrast, our cleanup plan is simple. Entomb the cement kiln dust (CKD) in impervious cells at Bay Harbor. “Isolate and contain...” the CKD, just like the 2005 EPA Order says (and to which CMS agreed).
The process of entombment is widely used and not much different from building a standard hazardous waste landfill. A hole is excavated next to one end of a CKD pile. The hole is then lined with a material that is impervious to water and CKD, which will last forever. Next, excavate a portion of the adjacent CKD pile and place it into the lined hole or cell. Once the cell is full, cap it with the same material as the liner and proceed to line the new hole in the same manner as the first. Repeat until all CKD is contained.
This simple process halts the ebb and flow of water through the CKD piles. Once complete, there will be no need to truck leachate anywhere. The CKD would only need to be moved short distances and the work requires just simple excavating equipment.
The costs of our plan, when factored over time, are a mere fraction of what CMS currently proposes and there is almost no risk of contaminating other places.

Dr. John W. Richter • President, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed
 
Monday, March 23, 2009

Letters 3/23/09

Letters Book store casualty
Thank you for the support and the kind words in your editorial of March 16 as well as in your past issues (“Reinventing the Book Store” Random Thoughts). Our store, Boyne Country Books in Boyne City will be closing as of March 31, just short of 15 years in business. The recent economic downturn made our small business untenable. We really wish to thank all our super customers who have become our friends and supporters over the years.
We are sorry about the Borders situation mentioned in your editorial, and the bookstore business situation in general. The original Borders store in Ann Arbor was our favorite when we lived in that area and helped make us interested in opening a bookstore in the first place. We hope things will rebound for others as the economy improves. You can always be optimistic!

Steve and Kathy Anderson
Owners, Boyne Country Books

Patriotic drivel
Heather Shumaker’s account of her trip to Washington for Obama’s inauguration was interesting and appreciated. Joe Evancho’s eviscerating letter in response was one of the most petty and mean-spirited attacks I’ve seen in your pages.
His letter is just an attack and a blathering outburst of patriotic drivel. We have the highest standard of living in the world? In searching various ranking methods, I could not find a single source where the United States ranks number one. The 2008 statistical update of the United Nations’ Human Development Index ranks the U.S. 15th. The index combines normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment and Gross Domestic Product.
Our per capita income is high but less evenly distributed than in other western countries. In 2006, the poverty rate for minors in the U.S. was the highest of all nations in the industrialized world. There are many people here without full access to medical care. Unlike most European countries, if you lose your job in the United States you’re likely to lose your insurance. And in what other industrialized country does critical illness lead to bankruptcy?
Is patriotism exemplified by ranting slogans and spewing false assertions, then attacking those who take a more critical view of their country in exhorting it to rise to higher standards?
This is a great country, but there’s an adolescent arrogance in flag-waving assertions of being “the greatest nation on the face of the earth.” It’s as if we’re cheering at a football game rather than taking our national interests seriously.
It’s bizarre to claim that we have the backbone to correct our flaws if the government stays out of the way. History shows our government to be an agent of social progress in desegregating society and enforcing equal civil rights.
There are many terrible things in American history, including institutionalized slavery and genocide. What we can be proud of is our demand and expectation that we strive to do better and to live up to the ideals expressed in our founding documents. A tough task to be sure, but can we do it? Yes we can.
People like Heather Shumaker who engage and participate and celebrate our nation at critical moments in her progress are great and true Americans and contribute much more to our patriotic heritage than the petty sloganeers.

Gary Worden • TC
 
Monday, March 16, 2009

Letters 3/16/09

Letters Screening pedophiles
Anne Stanton’s “How a Pedophile Slipped Through the Cracks“ (3/9/09) raises more questions than it answers. First, if the police, the courts and Child Protective Services all knew this pedophile “was trouble,” did they notify the public and especially organizations involved with children?
If so, how was Child Guidance overlooked? If not, are the police, courts and Protective Services negligent? If huge organizations like TCAPS and TBAISD with all their resources could not identify this individual as a potential problem, why is Child Guidance expected to identify that potential?
If a “standard background check” used by “many schools and non-profits” including inquiries to state and national registries, state police and the FBI isn’t fail-proof, then what is the standard?
Attorney Blake Ringsmuth contends filing a FOIA with the Michigan State Police would have provided “reams of information” of “criminal activity” on the pedophile, and alleged Child Guidance failed by not accessing that source, so is a FOIA the standard? If so, why file with just one state’s police? Why not every state’s? And if the FOIA discloses criminal activity, when can a potential employer use that to deny an applicant employment?
Mr. Ringsmuth stated “a pattern of accusations” even without any convictions has to be taken seriously. Has he or the courts defined what a pattern is? One accusation? Two, three, four? And if a potential employer does not hire such an applicant who is legally innocent, will Mr. Ringsmuth or another attorney be taking that employer to court for discrimination?
Clearly a problem screening potential employees exists, and in my opinion the courts and legislature should develop a standard process that would safely, legally, efficiently and comprehensively identify applicants inappropriate for working around children. Mr. Ringsmuth is intelligent, involved and has demonstrated personal concern for human rights; people like him are best suited to spearhead such an effort.

Jan Vlach • TC

Say no to coal
Our elected officials in Lansing need to vote no to any new coal-fueled power plants in Michigan.
Nations around the world and various states are already realizing the enormous health, financial, and environmental risks inherent in coal. We need to speak out to help to stop the construction of dirty coal-fueled power generating plants (along with their toxic emissions) in Michigan.
Coal is dirty to handle and worse to burn. And we know that the industry’s “clean coal” message is more public relation’s spin than anything real. It‘s about as real as “safe healthy cigarettes.”
The coal industry has invested millions in their public relations, advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the myth of “clean coal.” Front groups like American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a downstate P.R. firm are utilizing the momentum of the elections as a platform upon which to spin their message.
Any responsible Energy Bill must drastically curtail carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury, selenium, arsenic, and particulate emissions in order to protect personal health and our Michigan environment. Statistically, we must reduce our dangerous emissions by 80 percent by 2050 if we have any hope of abating global climate change. Coal combustion tools and techniques at this point in their development area are unable to comply with environmental imperatives.
No coal power plant is worth disease, suffering, and global climate change—especially when there are safe, clean, and sensible energy alternatives in Michigan that will create desperately needed jobs.

Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan
 
Monday, March 9, 2009

Take a hike/Electrifying news/restoring the Great Lakes/your name here

Region Watch Hiking 350 miles through northern Spain is the goal of three local men who will walk in the ancient footprints of pilgrims.
From March 11 to April 10, Gray Hoensheid of Suttons Bay, Greg Wright, of Frankfort, and Pat Nestor, of the Traverse City area will trek across the Camino de Santiago Ancient Pilgrim Trail. The three friends will be joined by Joe Bottenhorn of Lake Leelanau for the final two weeks of their hike.
“El Camino de Santiago” is Spanish for The Road of St. James. The trail spans 500 miles from the border of France and heads west across Northern Spain, ending near the Atlantic Ocean at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the burial place of the apostle St. James. It‘s said that St. James established the trail during his missionary work following the death of Jesus Christ.
“The Pilgrim Trail for me, at 57, represents an opportunity for reflection and spiritual renewal,“ says Hoensheid. “The tradition on a pilgrimage is to carry a rock, representing your transgressions in life. I will carry my rock throughout my trek and I will throw my rock in the Ocean at the end of the trail and begin with a fresh start,”
The hikers will pick up the trail at Burgo, Spain and walk the remaining 350 miles to the trail’s end at the Atlantic Ocean.
 
 
Close
Close
Close