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Letters 6/22/09

- June 22nd, 2009
Attack on Michigan voters
Michigan residents should be aware that seven Republican state senators
led by Sen. Wayne Kuipers have introduced Senate bills 616, 617, & 618
which if any one of them were to pass, would kill what almost 64 percent
of the voters in all 83 counties approved last November: protection for
medical marijuana patients.
While I see this as nothing more than grandstanding on Sen. Kuipers‘ part
(he is running for U.S. House next year and Pharm is one of his biggest
contributors), it‘s a slap in the face to everyone of us that voted yes.
What an insult and what a bunch of sore losers!
I am also getting horror stories out of the U.P. from legit patients who
have been busted by a swat team called UPSET (Upper Peninsula Straits
Enforcement Team). Guns put to the head of a 61-year-old mom and a
17-year-old daughter by men dressed in black with ski-masks on, a
16-year-old daughter felt-up by a male officer putting his hands under her
bra, and a statement made by an officer while shoving his knee into the
back of a patient who had back surgery: ”Bet you need your medical
marijuana now motherf#%ker.” When contacted about these atrocities, the
gentleman on the phone stated: “We don’t give a f#%k what kind of laws are
made below the bridge cause we live by a different set of laws up here!”
Even if these weren’t legit patients, is this how we want nonviolent
human-beings to be treated? These are swat teams gone wild and it’s time
to pull the plug on them!
In California, AB 390 has been introduced to completely legalize and tax
cannabis there and the governor has stated that he will sign it if it
crosses his desk.
Yet as long as we have political leaders like these seven state senators
who only represent themselves and their largest donors, it won’t happen in
Michigan. Remember this when you cast your votes next year. Let your reps
know now how you feel about this.

Rev. Steven B. Thompson, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

Safety saves boater lives
The boating season on Mullet Lake had a tragic beginning. A young couple
lost their lives and for three young children, their parents. A person
heard voices on the lake but thought they came from some people having
fun. But could she have done something? Would a neighbor in his boat have
gotten there in time? We will never know, nor will we know what happened.
I have rowed and kayaked our lakes for years and can well understand the
lure of floating far from shore, alone, and immersed in the serenity of
the beauty around me. Yes, I took my chances but I also took some
I had learned self-rescue and practiced it repeatedly. I carried a paddle
float. It is surprising how high the freeboard even of a small boat
appears when you are swimming in the water. If you try to pull yourself up
you have nothing to stand on and the boat tilts toward you.
A paddle float is an inflatable sleeve you put over the end of your
paddle in the water, blow it up, and it provides you with a resistance
against which you can push with your feet to help throw yourself over or
into your small boat.
I carried a whistle. Its shrill sound will carry across the water better
than your voice and no one will mistake it for fun. I also think we
should re-introduce the old distress signal of SOS, three short, three
long, and three short in Morse code. During the Second World War the
distress signal of “Mayday” was introduced. Well, you cannot blow this on
a whistle.
Essential, particularly at the beginning and the end of the season, is a
wetsuit, at least as long as the water temperature is in the 50s. It not
only prolongs your time in the water before the onset of hypothermia, it
also helps to float. Also, even a little alcohol becomes a problem as it
opens the blood vessels of your skin and accelerates heat loss and with it
I would be interested in a comment by our water sheriff and by the Coast
Guard. Should there be safety classes for small boaters? By volunteer
groups? What about re-introducing SOS? Many people are not familiar with
it any longer.

Klaus Hergt, MD • Cheboygan

The green burial option
A topic getting more press these days is “green” funerals, as evidenced by
a recent article entitled “Going Out Green.”
Yes, green is available at our funeral home and you can even preplan for
it. It is a fact no one really likes to think about, but pre-planning
this eventuality makes a lot of sense.
There are at least 125 decisions that must be made upon death. The
majority of these decisions can be made by pre-planning one‘s wishes,
thereby creating an invaluable guide for survivors. There are many
possible choices, such as the traditional body-present funeral service
available with green embalming, memorial ceremonies, immediate burial,
donation to medical school, green burial, green caskets and urns to
mention a few.
I encourage you to educate yourself about the many funeral service options
and make the choice that is right for you or your loved ones. Visit our
funeral home’s website, or attend the History of
Funeral Service exhibit at the Grand Traverse Heritage Center on October
1-3. There will be a variety of educational displays such as green
burials, replica of President Abraham Lincoln’s casket, funerals of famous
people -- both locally and of the world -- and even Funeral School 101.

Dan Jonkhoff • TC

Stamp out ciggies
This is in regard to the letter sent in by Kristina Moen from T.C. That
was the most ridiculous letter with regards to smoking you have published
Businesses don’t suffer because of smoking bans. If they did, restaurants
and bars would be closed down from New York to California and everywhere
in between.
But the best remark she made was announcing that she was a smoker and, “I
don’t even smoke in my own house.“ Why? If it’s such a good idea to smoke
in restaurants and bars, why not in your own home? Crazy.
Hey here’s an idea: why not stop manufacturing cigarettes all together?
Make it a non-issue. Everybody wins. Health costs go down and, hey
Kristina, you might actually start enjoying a longer healthier life!

Debra Tootla • Beulah

No Obama, please
Re: Robert Downes‘ article of June 15, “Michigan Still Looking for a Leader.“
What Michigan does not need is someone like Obama, Michigan is already
broke and the state can’t print money like the Feds. Obama has put this
country so far in debt it will never get out. Just imagine what someone
like him would do to this state I think the word is bankruptcy.
Let Obama finish off the country, he is well on his way, but spare
Michigan the same fate.

J Hommel • via email

Health care reality
I wish to bring forward again the true realities of healthcare. Seventy
to 80 percent of everyday hospitalizations and surgeries are directly due
to the result of heavy bodily abuse.
You think the only danger of smoking is lung cancer? If so, you have not
a clue. What do you think all those scooter, nebulizer, oxygen TV ads are
all about? Or all those vascular bypass surgeries are all about? Ask any
physician, the list goes on....
We want to blame the high healthcare costs on malpractice issues,
pharmaceutical companies, physicians, etc... but, the hard truth is that
it is US.
We smoke, eat, drink and drug ourselves way too much. The occasional
smoke, drink, excessive food, fun is okay. It’s the every day and more
pack of cigarettes, six pack, whole bag of Doritos and illegally obtained
prescription drugs, that are getting us. I am talking about your brother,
sister, spouse, neighbor.
Why are we abusing ourselves? Probably because we have either a physical
or mental illness that needs addressing. Regardless, the reality is that
we are self-medicating ourselves. Grabbing stuff off the shelves of
corner stores and others’ medicine cabinets, instead of seeing the doctor,
nurse, therapist. Why? Because it is cheaper and easier, particularly
for those who do not have health insurance.
As families and as a society, we need to start getting real and talking
about this. The less toxic route of seeing a healthcare professional,
is the way we need to go. We can’t keep expecting the government and
our fellow man to continue paying healthcare dollars over and over
again for our abuse.
Get to the doctor, ask your family to take you there. You will feel
better and live a longer life. It’s okay, just do it. We cannot keep
acting entitled. It is not American. Don’t be surprised that one day,
the people paying your repetitive, huge hospital bills will rightly say
“Nope, not this time”.

Jill Rahrig Bronkema • via email

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