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- June 14th, 2010
A dam alternative
I am writing to address the problems brought up in “Why the Dam
Hurry?” (5/31). Your article makes the idea of a natural flowing
Boardman River and one that can produce power mutually exclusive,
which is wrong.
I think we can all agree that a natural Boardman would be nice for
recreation and is environmentally sound; we could also agree that
power being produced from moving water is also a good idea.
Damming a river is however arguable; it may create habitat for
pond-dwelling animals, but the positive aspect of damming stops there.
Contrary to popular belief, dams are not always carbon neutral. Dams
installed in wooded areas where the trees are not cut make an
anaerobic environment for this wood to break down, meaning that it is
often turned to methane that seeps out of the water. Methane is a much
worse gas than carbon dioxide in terms of global climate change.
Dammed areas often also fill up with silt which is a nutrient that a
lot of plant life downriver could use. Finally, as covered in your
article, dams make rivers warmer and flow slower then their usual
Luckily for us, dams are not the only way to provide energy from
water. Blue Energy, a Canadian company, makes a device that resembles
a vertical access wind turbine that is placed in water with a current.
These devices could be put in banks of five on the river in places
where current is the strongest and would not disrupt the flow of the
river or stop us from making clean renewable energy. In using small
banks of these devices, people could still get around and the river
could also be used for recreational purposes. I urge your magazine,
the local utilities, and populace of Northern Michigan to look into
this idea instead of carrying on archaic arguments.

Matt Tomlinson  • Grawn

Save the dams
I can’t believe I live in a world that would even consider this option
(removing the dams on the Boardman River).  Grand Traverse County and
Traverse City commissioners are willing to destroy the county‘s
Educational Nature Reserve, all of which encompasses the Boardman and
Sabin dams, along with the Buck Williams Nature Preserve, that which
encompasses the Brown Bridge Dam.
The reasoning behind this?
1.) So a few fly fishermen can fish for Steelhead trout? (A
biologically engineered fish, unnatural to the streams and rivers.)
2.) So a few kayakers can paddle down a faster flowing river?  Also unnatural.
I possess and have shared with the County and City governments survey
notes completed before the logging of the Boardman River valley and
they show successive 200 foot wide fresh water marshes and emergent
wetlands through the valley. Why? Beaver dams. A free-flowing river
did not exist and this ideal or dream of a presettlement situation on
the Boardman is another misleading statement designed to manipulate
the uneducated.
Please write, call or talk to your state
representative/county commissioner and let them know how you feel.
Help us stop this catastrophe.

 Bruce Carpenter, co-founder, Boardman Valley Preservation
Society • TC

Beware of ticks
Just wanted to share my recent experience with Northern Michigan residents.
The mystery started this spring when my spouse and I discovered the
first tick I have ever seen crawling on my neck. Two days later we
found two more, and next we found two on our dog. One of them we
bagged and took to the Michigan State Extension for verification and
identification.   A few days later we were called back and told they
were typical dog ticks that would attach themselves to any mammal.
One night after work we found a bump on Scout’s chest, so we contacted
the vet and went in for an exam. We were told it was the site where
the tick had been attached and no problem -- all looked normal. We
began the frontline treatment for fleas and ticks and all should be
fine. We have been doing daily checks of our dog and ourselves.
On a Tuesday night our dog woke from a nap and could not walk, she had
urinated in her sleep and was shaking with terrible tremors.   I
called our vet and left a message that we needed to be seen for tests
in the morning. Once again she urinated in the night and vomited.
Blood tests came back positive with parasites from the tick. They were
attacking her neural system and intestine, causing the wobbly walking
and urination. Pain was huge for her. No one is calling this Lyme
disease. Everything we have read and learned says this tick shouldn’t
have Lyme disease. Thankfully she is on medication to kill the
parasite and should recover just fine.
We have owned dogs for 20 years. We have lived in our home for 18
years. Never have we seen a tick or flea. The change in our
environment was simply that the farm behind us was clear-cut one year
ago. Apparently, the optimal tick environment is in open fields
leading up to hardwoods. Ticks use field mice as their first hosts and
then cling to the tips of grass blades, ferns and low growth and wait
for a new, larger host. They can smell a well-used trail such as deer
trail, or in our case, the trail to our daily woodland walk. They can
live up to three years without a host and through the winter.
Watch out Northern Michigan, this is a new territory for all pet
owners and it is obvious we are all learning together.

S. T. Potts • TC

  (See Anne Stanton’s article on a State investigation into deer
ticks on page 16.)

A lesson in power
Many of your readers don’t have a clue when it comes to electric power
generation and use.
Power demand on a typical day peaks in the morning around 8 a.m. and
around 7 p.m. in the evening.
It is typical in Michigan for the sun to be just coming up at 8 a.m.
and going down at 7 p.m.  It is also typical for the wind to be quite
calm at 8 a.m. and dying down at 7 p.m.
Yes, you can generate power from the wind and sun, but how do you
generate power when there is no sun nor any wind?
There is no way that I know of to store huge amounts of electric
power, so with wind and solar the power has to be used as generated.
The power company has to provide power for you and I in the quantity
we demand, so the base power grid has to be large enough without
supplements from wind and solar.
There is talk of electric cars that can be charged at night (when
there is no solar and no dependable wind.)
Has anyone given any thought to highway maintenance with electric
cars? There is a tax on gasoline and diesel fuels for that purpose.
If you want to promote clean dependable power then bring back the dams.
Where is Michigan headed as far as power generation? You read all too
often about power plants being shut down in Alpena, Traverse City,
Charlevoix. The proposed Rogers City plant was turned down and maybe
the Bay City plant also.
We cannot keep relying on buying power from Ohio and Indiana because
as their needs grow they will supply their needs first.

Tom Kuchnicki • Alanson

Rev it up
A reply to the letter, “In Harley Hell,“ by Norbert Tutlis.
I ride motorcycle and and I say loud pipes,  bring it on. Loud pipes
save lives.
When an ambulance, fire truck or police car have the sirens on they
are heard before they are seen.  These days drivers in automobiles are
so distracted with cell phones and whatever, they don’t see
Look twice and save a life.  Why, just today, a car pulled out, cut me
off, and didn’t even see me. I have loud pipes on my cycle to boot. It
wasn’t until I laid on the horn a (train air-horn) that I was noticed.
The driver acknowledged me and said sorry, but that don’t cut it when
you‘re dead. So if loud pipes bother you, Mr. Tutlis, put your
earplugs in and stay on the porch.
Corrie Lambert • TC

Exchange student Po-Chen Wu‘s name was mispelled in last week‘s
MyStyle feature. The feature will be re-run in next week‘s Express
with the correct spelling so that he can share it with his family back
home. Apologies to
Po-Chen Wu.

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