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Letters 5/2/11

- May 2nd, 2011

Good man on the job
A few weeks ago I e-mailed the Express regarding the disappearance of Jacob Cabinaw. In this letter I mentioned the poorly run investigation by the Sheriff‘s Department, namely Detective Gomez. I have since met with him and spoke to him at length about Jake and the investigation and his possible whereabouts.
I must admit that my original opinion was uneducated and based solely on emotion. The amount of information that Detective Gomez had in his possession was staggering to say the least, and I have full faith that he is doing everything in his power to solve this mystery. He does not have the resources (read: money) to spend time flying around the country checking leads and frankly, any police force from any major city would laugh if an officer from some unknown town in Michigan wanted certain information. Tax payers would throw a fit knowing their money was spent like this.
As much as I want Jake to be found, or to come home, I must take a step back and take emotion out of this momentarily. There are several other missing persons from this area and other actual crimes being committed- asking a publicly-funded detective to spend all of his waking moments tracking down one person is ludicrous.... especially if there is no crime associated with his disappearance.
Instead of attacking the investigation I am asking that anyone with any information about Jake please come forward and please keep rumors quiet unless you can prove it to be fact. Please do not be afraid to share any and all knowledge associated with this case with Detective Gomez.

George Nemetz • via email

Troublemaking driver
I was truly amazed at the amount of misleading and wrong information in your article “Slugged by a Student” in your April 18 edition. I have never read such a one-sided article in my life. Your bold headline stating that Bill Schieber was fired is incorrect, and you even state in the article that he walked off the job. You really need to get your facts straight.
Dean Transportation does not set the rules of who gets picked up, or where they sit on the bus. He as the driver has the responsibility to determine where the students should sit, and if it is a problem, do not sit the New Campus kids next to the Special Education students. Simple fix.
The bottom line is that Mr. Schieber wanted to cause trouble, and then he lost his temper. Too bad for him. On the other hand, your author, Anne Stanton, has written an article that was biased and full of lies. You as the publishing paper, should have checked the facts of her story before it was ever printed. Was it a slow news day? Did you just need to fill space, and told her to write until her hand was tired? The article rambles on and on, and certainly was not worthy of three pages.
I am not surprised that your paper is free, because I don’t know anyone who would pay money to read this sort of maligning journalism. I would urge you to print an article containing the truth.

Becky Washburn • via email

(Technically, Bill Schieber was not fired, but felt that he was placed in an intolerable and unsafe situation and was in essence forced out of his job. Since the article ran, two other former bus drivers have contacted the Express with stories similar to that of Schieber‘s. - ed.)

Watch out for bikers
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Michigan, and as a member of the Skilled Motorcyclist Association–Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders (SMARTER, I am writing to remind Northern Michigan motorists to “Look Twice for Motorcycles.”
Roadway users need to remember that motorcycles are more difficult to see in the traffic mix, so specifically looking for them will help drivers avoid pulling out in front of an oncoming motorcycle rider. Motorcyclists need to help by wearing bright clothing and reflective gear.
We support maintaining our current all-rider, mandatory helmet law and are opposed to House Bill 4008 and Senate Bill 291 which will repeal the helmet requirement, except for young riders. Based on analysis conducted by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, if our mandatory motorcycle helmet law is repealed, we can expect to see an increase of at least 30 fatalities, 127 incapacitating injuries and $129 million in economic costs every year.
Help us maintain a comprehensive effort to save lives and dollars by contacting your representative, senator, and the governor’s office to express your opposition to HB 4008 & SB 291 and help us stay safe by looking twice.

Dean W. Ginther • Rapid City

Head trip
This week in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization: 6 concussions, 13 riders either out or questionable due to injury. There were a total of 50 injured riders in the last month‘s injury report, with injuries ranging from strained groins to concussions, broken ribs and other bones.
The following are quotes taken from the PBR website:
1) “The PBR has made many changes to bull riding in the past 15 years, and even with great advancements, it’s still the Toughest Sport on Earth. There have been, and always will be injuries”.
2) “one out of every 15 rides results in injury.“
These are just the statistics and quotes from one of the forms of entertainment, or sports that were available for our viewing pleasure this past weekend. I haven’t even touched on the other activities that cause head injuries or worse, such as the UFC and Boxing. Then there are the so called extreme athletes that risk their lives and those of others by surfing the biggest waves, or climbing the highest mountains. One surfer was quoted as saying “every time I go out there, there is a massive chance I won’t come back.” Hell, there are camps and clubs you can enroll your kids in to learn to compete in these sports.
Taken from the front page of the Franklin Institute Resources for Science learning, Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also known as concussion, can damage your brain at the cellular level. Worse, repetitive head injuries, even minor ones, can have serious repercussions – including permanent brain damage or death. “Do the names Muhammad Ali, or Duk Koo Kim sound familiar”?
Now my question is, if someone can climb on the back of a 2,000 lb. bull, no helmet required, and risk life or limb; or try and surf a 40-foot-high wave, and risk being ground into shark bait on a corral reef, then why can’t I as a responsible adult, consume or possess any amount of cannabis I consider to be reasonable?
I’m not saying we should ban all of these sports, but by all means I say we should ban the prohibition of marijuana. I just don’t understand how these activities can be condoned and even rewarded, yet I can be arrested for relaxing and enjoying a simple seed-bearing herb.

Dan Downing • via email

Attack on public schools
What do you think? The Republicans have consistently said they care about education. But when it comes to action, they weaken public education.
Read some of the bills they have passed or may pass: House Bills 4273, 4275, 4280, 4050, 4172, 4420, 4481, 4268, 4306, 4019, 4241, 4320, 4321, 4365, 4052, 4054, 4059, 4152, 4465, 4466 and Senate Bills 171, 174, 178, 183, 007, 131, 116, 120 and Joint Resolutions B and C. All in this long list have been introduced by Republicans and all take away from the students‘ learning conditions and school employees.
Republicans tax us and give the money to the rich instead of giving it to our schools. This robbing of average citizens has been going on for some time. Engler even spent the health care fund built up for school pensioners. Snyder is more blatantly anti education. His budget cuts to K-12 public schools are horrendous. The wealthy do not care about public education -- private schools are their answer.
We who care about public education need to remember what the Republicans have done and are doing to our schools. And we need to remember long enough to vote them out of office.

Donna Klinefelter • Kewadin

Keep Benzie Bus rolling
Friends of the Benzie Bus urges Benzie County residents to vote “yes” on May 3 to keep the Benzie Bus system rolling for another five years.
Voter approval of 0.50 mills (the same “half mill” as in 2006) would renew and restore operating funds for the Benzie Bus system, which is directed by the Benzie Transportation Authority, and would continue to cost the average homeowner about a dime a day.
Benzie Bus provided nearly 70,000 rides in 2010 to local people going to work, the doctor, the store, school, extra-curricular activities, and beyond. The bus system is a life changer for people who cannot drive, including many seniors and people with disabilities. And it’s a big money saver for people of all ages heading to work or local shops and struggling with $4-per-gallon gasoline.
A “yes” vote will save money for a growing number of local governments, too – including Benzie County Emergency Medical Services and Almira, Benzonia, and Inland Townships – that have contracted with the bus system to maintain their emergency vehicles.
Benzie Bus also helps boost economic activity countywide by bringing back more than $700,000 each year in state and federal matching funds – mostly gasoline taxes – to run the buses. That’s money that otherwise would be lost to the local economy.
Many members of our group know first-hand that Benzie Bus is enhancing lives and the local economy. Please join us in voting “yes” on May 3! To learn more about our campaign, visit”

Kelly Thayer • Co-Chair, Friends of the Benzie Bus • Frankfort

Bus good for Benzie
The Benzie Bus is a great thing for Benzie County.
It has gradually expanded and improved its scope, with door-to-door service for those who need it and regularly scheduled “line routes” for commuters.
It helps our workforce get to jobs. It helps our young people get to and from school, and extracurricular activities. It helps local graduates save money and stay in town while attending NMC.
It continues to help our seniors and people with disabilities lead lives of dignity and inclusion, not isolation. It helps families work their way toward economic freedom from the costs of additional cars.
This is what smart economic development is all about, providing 34 jobs to area residents and utilizing state and federal programs to leverage local tax dollars to invest in infrastructure.
All of this has occurred while staying on budget. The May 3 millage is asking for the same amount that launched the service in 2006 and will keep the bus running for five more years. If the millage fails, the bus will stop running and service will end.
We should all be proud to support a system that is working and vote yes this Tuesday.

Shauna Fite • Michigan Land Use Institute

Time to pay the piper
I did not support our war in Iraq, but what was most troubling was that we were not taxed in order to pay for it.
We needed to share some of the burden of that expense. Bush kicked the cost down the road. We have not shared the burden of conflicts in Afghanistan. Conservatives have been insistent about “no new taxes,” yet the tax rate has been the lowest we have had for decades. At the same time, our many issues have increased, including a recession/depression that has created unemployment. Also we have the discovery that many corporations do not pay for the privilege of doing business in our country. To add to all of that, we continue the tax cut for the richest among us.
We need to increase taxes - for the wealthy and the not so wealthy. I support more taxes, so that all share in the health and welfare of our country.

Robert McQuilkin • Frankfort

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