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Letters 3/23/09

- March 23rd, 2009
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

Offensive cartoon
The “Reagan Love Doll” cartoon on page 32 of the March 16 Northern Express is way below your already low standards for cartoon humor. Do you really believe that readers of your otherwise fine publication appreciate this sophomoric humor? In my opinion this does not reflect Northern Michigan values. What kind of impression does this give our visitors to this region who read your publication? As a native of Traverse City I find this type of humor embarrassing.

Sue Smith • TC

Help for homeless
Regarding Anne Stanton’s comment in “From Homeless to Hopeful” about how there should be a warm place where homeless people can go and use phones and computers to look for work, there IS! Michigan Works! on Garfield Ave. is a non-profit dedicated to providing resources and assistance for people looking for jobs. All people. And its free.

Natasha Hagadone • email

Choose sides
I am very disappointed that State Representative Kevin Elsenheimer voted against a bill that would allow homeowners about to have their homes foreclosed a 90-day period to work out a payment plan with the bank.
With thousands of people in Northern Michigan threatened with foreclosure, this is the kind of common sense legislation we need. Instead of voting for it, Rep. Elsenheimer did the bidding of the banks and voted against it.
Rep. Elsenheimer needs to decide who he works for—us or the special interests in Lansing.

James McKimmy • Rapid City

The hi-def difference
I am writing in regards to a letter in your Feb. 9 issue in which Mark Staycer did some serious bad-mouthing and other verbal diarrhea about Roy Henderson and WLDR. Bear in mind, I am a musician of the hard rock and metal variety. I predominantly listen to WKLT, the Rock Station.
I called WLDR in regard to high-definition (HD) FM and the feature article which ran in the Express. I was surprised to find the owner there on a Sunday. Roy Henderson told me if I could get there, he would give me an HD FM tuner.
Well suffice to say, he not only kept his word, but I plugged it into my 400 watt TVC home stereo and the difference was exponentially noticeable. I would defy Mr. Staycer to come by and hear the difference.
Oh, and by the way, remember what happened to 78s, 45s, eight-tracks, LPs and cassette tapes? Roy Henderson invested $500,000, not for himself, but for your listening pleasure.

Louie R. Rose • TC

Help challenged kids
I concur with the points made in Rick Coates‘ article last week on food events in Northern Michigan and would like to add the following points left out of his piece.
I started Chef’s Challenge a couple of years ago to create a signature fundraising event for Challenge Mountain. It is the nation’s only adaptive outdoor recreational facility exclusively for the developmentally challenged. Their main source of revenue is a resale store in Boyne City & Petoskey. They also get donations and grants.
Several years ago Challenge Mountain had to cancel most of their summer programs for lack of revenue. That should never happen. The work they do on behalf of the physically and mentally challenged provides a quality of life they get nowhere else. The organization is heavily volunteer driven.
Times are tough now, and Challenge Mountain is feeling the pinch. In the near future I expect the Chef’s Challenge to generate enough revenue on an annual basis for Challenge Mt. to expand their programs, which is long overdue. Naturally, everyone can visit the Chef’s Challenge on April 24-26. I guarantee you’ll be rewarded with exciting, unique food samplings and enjoy the sessions/seminars. Spend a few bucks and know you’re helping a lot of kids.
Joe Breidenstein – Walloon Lake

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