Letters 10-24-2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Katie Huston

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

So you want to go to Africa

Features Katie Huston “Going to Africa? Are you crazy?”
I’m sure that’s what more than a few people thought when I moved to South Africa for eleven months to study and travel. We associate Africa with poverty, corruption, violence, and AIDS. And I’m not here to argue that everything is fine and dandy on the Mother Continent; these are very real issues.
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Share the Ride

Features Katie Huston So you want to reduce your transportation costs and save the environment, but you’re not about to invest in a new gadget or hybrid car? Consider an alternative that doesn’t require any new gadgets or investments - namely, ride sharing.
The Northwest Michigan Transportation Alliance (NMTA) has set up a website, www.nmride.net, where people can request and offer rides. The website also offers tips, etiquette, and safety information.
Although the program has been around since October 2006, not a lot of people have tapped into it yet. “It’s just in its infancy, and we hope it’s going to grow bigger and catch on,” said Michelle Goetz Grahl, director of NMTA. “Unfortunately, with this kind of thing, you need sort of a critical mass before those matches really happen, and we’re not there yet.”
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Segway spins its wheels

Features Katie Huston “I got hooked on Segways because of the joy of the glide,” Kathleen Russell says. “It’s always fun to share that with others.”
Russell is the owner of Segway by KAR in downtown Traverse City, where she sells and rents the self-balancing, two-wheeled machines. She stands on a Segway and zips around a pole with ease as I wonder, “How does it stay up?”
As though reading my thoughts, she shows me a flashing diamond of green lights on the platform. “That shows that the gyroscopes are reading the platform 100 times a minute,” she explains.
She opened Segway by KAR in August 2006. The dealership serves 15 counties in Michigan and two in Ohio, and offers six models, which range in price from $5,145 to $5,645. Accessories like golf bags and backpacks are also available.
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rhyme Tyme

Features Katie Huston What makes Poets’ Night Out so special, said founder Sandy Robey, is the wide range of people it attracts. “There’s 12-year-olds, there’s people in their 80s and 90s.”
“You have farmers and lawyers. You have adults from all walks of life,” added co-founder Jody Clark.
Starting this week, the annual poetry contest and reading will accept submissions as it gears up for its 11th year. The Poets’ Night Out event of public readings will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the City Opera House in Traverse City.
Thursday, August 23, 2007

Electric Cars

Features Katie Huston When Garth Ward steps on his accelerator, he can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. His 20-mile commute used to cost him $18.75 per trip. Now, he’s paying a mere 37 cents.
Ward, a resident of Garfield Township, is the proud owner of an electric vehicle – a Corbin Sparrow. “People don’t realize I move down the road for a penny a mile, and the only thing I have to do is plug it in and fill the windshield fluid,” he says.
Thursday, August 9, 2007

‘Must-Haves‘ for the college-bound

Features Katie Huston You’ve finally picked a college, enrolled in classes, and chosen your dorm. You know you need a computer, an alarm clock, and a cell phone (so you can call your mom every day, right?). Before you head back to school, here are a few more things you don’t want to forget:
Thursday, August 9, 2007

College: Things I wish I had known

Features Katie Huston When I left for college three years ago, my brain was packed with advice: from parents, from teachers, from older friends. As it turned out, though, there were some things I just had to learn the hard way – for myself. Here’s the advice I wish I could go back in time and give to my college-bound self...
Thursday, July 26, 2007

The art of the latte

Art Katie Huston “Coffee?” Noel Trapp offers before I’ve even pulled out my notepad. He looks like a beatnik poet in a shirt that says “Viva Barrista” over a skull and... crossbones? What are those, I ask?
“Portafilters,” he tells me. Portafilters? I don’t know this lingo; I only began drinking coffee a few months ago. And what is a barrista?
Portafilters hold the coffee grounds in an espresso machine. And a barrista is an expert at preparing espresso-based coffee drinks, I find out, as Trapp pours the frothy milk into my latte in a way that creates a foamy white heart on top.
Thursday, July 19, 2007

Plugging In - E cars

Features Katie Huston Until a year ago, the train station in TC was home to the Grand Traverse dinner train, paying homage to transportation of the past. Now, the station houses ecompany, an electric vehicle rental company and dealership that’s looking to the future.
“We are late getting on board in America,” says Ella Cooper, the vice president of ecompany. “When you go to Japan, an electric vehicle is not an oddity.”
Cooper and president Martin Lagina launched their business on May 15. They’ve got a fleet of nine: six two-seaters, and three that fit a family of four.
The vehicles, which are about half the size of a conventional car, are known as “neighborhood electric vehicles,” or “NVs,” because they’re designed for city driving – they have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and can travel 35-40 miles on a set of fully-charged batteries.
Thursday, July 5, 2007

New rules for anglers/Goodwill exits/Filmaking workshop/Leelanau bus

Region Watch Katie Huston New rules for anglers
A foreign pathogen that causes fish to bleed internally will have a big impact on recreational anglers this summer.
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is not a native disease to Michigan waters, but it was discovered in Lake Huron in 2005. Department of Natural Resources biologists believe the disease has also found its way into Lake Michigan. It has the potential to devastate entire fish populations.
To prevent the spread of VHS, anglers must make sure they do not release fish caught in VHS-infested waters into any waters that are listed as free of the disease. The transport of bait is prohibited, and anglers must make sure bait obtained in a VHS-positive area is only used on other VHS-positive areas.
“The invasion of exotic species is one of the gravest dangers facing the Great Lakes today,” said Jennifer McKay, a policy specialist at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey. More than 180 invasive species have entered the Great Lakes since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Chicago Shipping Canal. Currently, a new invasive species enters the Great Lakes every eight months.