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- February 14th, 2011
Library uproar
I am writing as a retired librarian from the NMC Library, and as a tax-paying citizen for 30 years of Traverse City. I am so glad, and usually proud, to be a resident of this town with so many assets and so many fine people.
What makes an effective library? The answer is pretty simple: a good staff with skills to cooperatively build the collection and serve the patrons. Technology and even the building itself are tools created by the staff.
There is a reason why the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has become one of several cherished gathering places in Traverse City. We are comfortable and find our friends and neighbors at TADL, as we do at Horizon Books and the State Theatre. Building that sense of community takes a long time and is extremely hard to ‘create’, making that place all the more valuable.
There is a reason why many of us show visiting friends the beautiful building housing the library that we cherish.
There is a reason why we all recognize that TADL has had a superlative staff. And this is a reason that we usually find the materials we need when we use the collection.
Such a library doesn’t just happen. It grows gradually through the cooperative efforts of skilled, hard working and dedicated people.
I am concerned about a governance system that has no resource for an appeal for a professional librarian and general staff. Remember, a librarian has usually earned a Master’s degree. As a librarian, if I had a concern about the library, I had the option of going to my director’s boss, the president or dean of the colleges I served. I used that option on one occasion in 22 years as a librarian. At TADL, apparently, the librarians and other staff have only their director. They are apparently not allowed any “higher” authority. When that director may be the problem there is no recourse. That seems like a very poor governance model to me.

June Thaden • TC

The cuts in Congress
It should be no surprise that our nation has a serious financial crisis.
Never before has this country gone to war without raising taxes to pay for it. The cost, in monetary terms alone, is currently over $3 trillion. It is being funded by debt. Yet, Congress only sees “cuts” as the way to pay for the war debt. As everyone knows, you can’t cut your way to financial solvency. You also have to increase revenue. The top 25 hedge fund managers each made over $1 billion last year. Yet they paid little, if any, income tax. During the Eisenhower years these people would have paid 90%. Even at that rate, they’d still have $100 million left. Most of us could make it on that.
It’s a myth that the richest create jobs. The richest typically send their money overseas for investments, or to hide it. Yet, the richest apparently control our government because they’ve convinced the politicians that they can’t survive on $100 million.
If our politicians were truly for WE THE PEOPLE, they would listen to the 98% of us who aren’t the richest. They’d not only roll back the Bush tax cuts for the richest, they’d roll back the Reagan tax cuts as well. They’d close tax loop holes, and stop giving tax incentives for moving jobs off shore. They’d look at the nation’s income statement before going to war.
A country run on debt will soon be bankrupt, and like war, the people at the bottom will suffer the most.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Autism fraud revealed
Recently, the British Medical Journal accused a doctor of fraud. Dr. Wakefield (an anti-vaccine hero who was stripped of his medical license) faked data in his attempt to link vaccines with autism. In publishing this report, the Journal has endorsed the findings of investigative reporter Brian Deer. The article suggests that this false autism/MMR link has been a distraction -- which diverted funds and energy from true autism research. Additional societal costs include: reformulating vaccines, outbreaks, and deaths.
For more: (“Autism Fraud”) (“Vaccine’s link to autism is discredited again” and “Wakefield tried to capitalize on autism-vaccine link”)

Rebecca Peterson
Elk Rapids

Road to nowhere
I have read with dismay several articles on Wings of Wonder (WOW), a raptor education, rehabilitation and research center just off Gilbert Road in south Leelanau County, which is just emerging from a horrendous battering by the Leelanau County Road Commission, chaired by Lee A Bowen.
The autonomous commission, accountable to no one, suddenly, and without any apparent interest for 20 years, decided that the private easement that ran through the WOW property should now be made public. This would seriously disturb the recovering raptors.
The bullying began and continued nonstop throughout the commission’s law suit against the non-profit center. The outcome of the litigation stated among other things, that the Don and Rebecca Lessard family would get to keep the two-track through their sanctuary; but to add insult to injury, would be required to pay the commission $8,000 toward a new replacement road.
WOW has had overwhelming public support, which apparently was of no concern to the commission. So now the taxpayers will have a brand spankin‘ new road to nowhere, with the attendant permanent loss of habitat and a ton of legal fees. I wonder who the next victim will be.
The unanswered question in this whole taxpayer funded fiasco is WHY? Why do they suddenly want this new road? Who has an interest?

Sally MacFarlane-Neal • via email

A recent article on Palette Bistro in Petoskey listed the wrong builder. JR Construction Building and Design deserved credit for remodeling the restaurant.

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