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Love Kayaking/Vote do over/Third Level

Anne Stanton - March 10th, 2008
For the love of kayaking...
...don’t miss the documentary, Pacific Horizons, directed and produced by Traverse City native Bryan Smith.
The action-packed travelogue takes you to some of the world’s coolest sea kayaking destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
You can meet director Bryan Smith, an avid kayaker, at the Traverse City premiere showing on Thursday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Timber Ridge, 4050 Hammond Rd.
Be sure to ask him about his first movie, 49 Megawatts, which just won the award for best environmental film at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. That movie captured how privatization is damaging rivers in British Columbia, where Smith lives with his French-Canadian wife.
The film documents the damage to the Ashlu River after the Canadian government turned it over to private developers.
“The kayakers were on the frontline, the first to see that the river wasn’t flowing like it did. We made the movie to get out the word to people in British Canada, and the world about what’s at stake. These rivers belong to us, not huge multi-national corporations,” Smith said in a phone interview last week.
Smith also did the filming for a documentary called Vacation to Hell Huallaga, which captures a kayaking trip he took to Peru.
Smith and three others were the first to attempt to kayak Rio Huallaga after winning a $15,000 contest put together by a group of kayaking manufacturers. The team got about halfway down Rio Huallaga before deciding to bail.
“We got to the start of a 40-kilometer gorge that was literally 3,000 meters deep with absolutely mind-blowing landscape. There was just too much we didn’t know about the river, and in Peru, you can’t call a helicopter when things go wrong.”
The team had to climb 10,000 feet to get out of the river basin. Eventually some Peruvians and their donkeys trekked down the gorge and retrieved the kayaks (and kept them). And before that trip, Smith did a first descent in a river in Northeast India. You can get the movie at
The Traverse City event is sponsored by the Cherry Capital Paddling America Club, and the public is welcome. A suggested donation of $5 will go to the Boardman River Cleansweep. This film won the Best Sea Kayaking Film at the 2008 Reel Paddling Film Festival and was a finalist in the 2007 Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Voters done wrong
want a do-over
Last week, right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh urged his Republican listeners to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming primaries. That’s because he believes she’s the weaker candidate and he wants to keep the primary race “bloody.” Nothing more time-saving than two enemies ripping each other apart.
Who knew that choosing a Democratic presidential candidate could be so messy?
One can only wonder if Mark Brewer, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, is losing sleep over his decision to hold an early primary in violation of national party rules. Michigan voters got a big fat zero from the decision: the national party decided the state’s delegates couldn’t vote at the national convention and none of the leading candidates campaigned in the state. New York Senator Hillary Clinton was the only leading candidate to put her name on the ballot.
The result: thousands of voters—thinking their vote wouldn’t matter--boycotted the primary.
Clinton won 56% of Michigan’s primary vote on January 15, while 44% went to either “uncommitted” or other candidates.
Ironically, their votes would matter if the primary were held now because the delegate margin between Clinton and Obama is razor thin. The Michigan delegates include 128 regular and 28 super delegates.
Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Hillary Clinton supporter, issued a joint statement last Wednesday with the Republican governor of Florida, demanding that their states’ delegates be seated. Mark Brewer, the head of the Michigan Democratic Party, has told the media he has no interest in a “do-over” caucus, saying it’s logistically impossible.
But then Hillary Clinton said last week that she’d be open to a “do-over.” Pundits wondered if she wants a legitimate win in Michigan and Florida in order to persuade more of the super delegates to vote for her at the national convention. Granholm, in turn, became more open to the idea to a do-over. Brewer was unavailable for comment.
“I think she’s open to finding a way for our delegation to be seated,” said Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd. “The taxpayers funded a $12 million primary, and the only thing the governor has ruled out is a taxpayer funded solution. We are not going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill or anyone else.
“The governor is open to finding a solution and is working with the party leaders. One idea is a firehouse primary, which is more expansive than the caucus you saw in Iowa. ... It’s a privately funded process where people cast a secret ballot and then go on their way.”
And who would be part of that?
“It’s premature to say what it would look like. No decisions have been made and it will take a few days to sort out,” Boyd said.
And how does Illinois Senator Barack Obama stand on all this?
Some of his supporters say he doesn’t support a re-do, yet Obama was quoted as saying on February 7 that he’d support another vote “... if there is a way of organizing something in those states where both Senator Clinton and I can compete, and we have enough time to make our case ...”
Closer to home, the Leelanau County Democratic Party sent a letter to Mark Brewer on February 11, urging him to “conduct a state-wide Democratic Presidential Preference caucus as soon as possible.”
The letter said Leelanau Dems held their own non-binding, countywide Democratic caucus on February 9. Obama received 73 votes (82%). Fourteen people voted for Clinton (16%).

To weigh in on this issue, call Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, at 517-371-5410 and Governor Jennifer Granholm at 517-335-7858.

Third Level wants
your old cell phone
If you have an old cell phone collecting dust, Third Level Crisis Intervention Center would like to talk to you.
Third Level is collecting unwanted cell phones to raise money for the many programs they offer, including 24/7 crisis counseling, a free legal aid clinic, youth and family services, street outreach, Pete’s Place (a youth homeless shelter), and more.
You can drop off your cell phones at 1022 E. Front St., Traverse City.
The donated cell phones are sent to Pace Butler Corporation in Oklahoma, a leader in the cell phone recycling industry. Pace Butler pays for each cell phone they receive, while ensuring that each phone is recycled in a responsible manner and that no phone ever ends up in a landfill.
Some phones are even donated to individuals in need of emergency 911 service, including victims of domestic violence and senior citizens. The money raised benefits a worthy cause while the environment is spared of cell phones’ harmful toxins.
For info, call Sandy Piotrowski at (231) 922-4802 or send an e-mail to
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