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Government supports farmers
We want to take a moment to express how deeply disappointed we are in your negligent journalism (re: ‘From Farm to Table…to Poor House’). It is irresponsible of you to have printed an ill-informed article on small-scale, local farming. We are the taco stand up the street from the “farm” you highlighted in your recent issue. We are an established farm/business and try to provide our community with clean, fresh produce, as do many hardworking, mindful farmers in this area.
Local government is set up to represent the community it serves; as do zoning ordinances, health codes, building permits, etc. This particular county is supportive of its local farmers. In fact, it is a community made up of farmers, some who have been growing food for generations.
The taco stand was approved for operation by the township because we farm. One stipulation relating to the taco stand requires that a portion of our product come from our farm. In addition, the tacos encourage people to stop and purchase produce from our roadside market and U-pick.
When pursuing auxiliary endeavors – such as doughnut shops, B&B’s, middle-man produce distributors, etc. – the county can be arduous in its thoroughness, however these ordinances and rules are designed so that if a business fails, the community is not left to clean it up.
The Cedar Sol Taco Stand is not “out of a garage.” It is in a township-approved, community-supported, health-departmentinspected Roadside Produce Market. It is a Northern Michigan summer hot-spot and is frequented by both locals and tourists. There is good music, an amazing chef, authentic tacos, farm-fresh produce, as well as one of the most beautiful views in Leelanau County.
We invite you to come on out! Come see for yourself the farms and businesses that are thriving.
Michael McHugh • Cedar
Thanks to Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), Michiganders are extending their lives and putting more money in their pockets. Nearly 556,000 MI children under the age of 19 with a pre-existing medical condition can no longer be denied insurance coverage, giving their parents peace of mind.
Nearly 1.5 million Medicare MI beneficiaries can now receive free preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies as well as free annual wellness visits with their doctor, enhancing their care. Additionally, MI Medicare beneficiaries who fell into the drug gap known as the “donut hole” received an overall out-of-pocket savings of $559 per person this past year.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act is actively protecting MI consumers by cracking down on insurance companies’ ridiculous rate hikes, and requiring them to spend health care premiums on health care services.
A specific provision in the ACA requires large insurance companies to spend at least 85% of their premium dollars on the actual delivery of health services to their customers, rather than overhead costs such as mega-salaries to their CEO’s, and big cash dividends to their stockholders.
Governor Snyder recently stated that his # 1 priority was to provide a more customer service government, yet, this fall the governor requested that MI insurance companies be exempted from meeting the 85% health premium rule predicting it would be too burdensome and costly for the insurance companies.
Late December 2011, Health and Human Services denied the exemption request and ordered insurance companies to rebate Michigan consumers up to $89 million over the next 3 years. Now that is what I call customer service! So the next time you hear sound bites about Obama Care, know this: provisions within the Affordable Care Act clearly show—our President does care!
Catherine Hunter • Boyne City
Organic farming fastgrowing
Thanks for the article on Organic Farming. I will not paint quite as bleak a picture as Patrick Sullivan has.
Organic is tough, no doubt. It is usually based on what is known as bio-intensive farming; you make up for big chemical additions with a lot of literally hands-on work, plus monitoring your soil for the right nutrient balances and correcting it with non-chemical adjustments. The results outproduce typical chemical farming by 50%.
For home use it is wonderful.
Commercially what you really need is a high volume local outlet for your product. This is where the booming world of Farmers Markets come in. Michigan has seen 150% growth in Farmers Markets in only the last few years. In Northern Michigan the summer tourist crop is a real shot in the arm to local farmers. Try to hook up with the biggest market you can, or several smaller ones on assorted days. Traverse City has several, and Boyne City has over 70 vendors mid-summer, to just name two towns.
Finally, like any new product, organic is going to cost more until sales increase as more people come over from regular commercial production. But as last weekend’s Small Farms Conference in Grayling demonstrated, organic is growing fast – over 800 attendees, seminars all day, many vendors and industry representatives.
Mark Contrucci • Mark C s Trees Boyne City Farmers Market
Fracking dangerous alternative
Fresh water contaminated and forever removed from the hydrologic cycle; poisoned air, rivers and streams; gas well leaks and explosions; debilitating health problems including asthma, neurological disease and cancer; dead wildlife and livestock; earthquakes; toxic gas plumes causing families to evacuate their homes; poisoned and exploding water wells; loss of property value and ruined roads from 24-hour truck traffic … These events have occurred in every state permitting horizontal fracking for natural gas extraction.
What do we get in return for allowing gas companies to exploit and destroy our health and environment?
NOT fuel independence: Gas is sold on the international market. Most goes overseas to China and India. Many companies drilling in the U.S. including in Michigan are foreignowned.
NOT an improved economy: Gas drilling is a boom/bust industry. A few may get rich but many more lose as home values plummet and health care costs rise due to pollution from drilling. The industrialization of large swaths of forested state land destroys tourism-based business and the environment.
Horizontal fracking poses the biggest threat yet to Michigan’s environment, economy and public health. Tax subsidies and exemptions from environmental laws enjoyed by gas companies make it impossible for green energy technologies to develop and compete.
It has already been banned in France, South Africa and Quebec. Detroit and Wayne County, and over 100 municipalities across the country, have passed resolutions calling for a ban. Over 3,000 people in northern Michigan have signed a petition to ban horizontal fracking.
Horizontal fracking is a short-sighted industrialization of rural landscapes which benefits only a privileged few. Its total carbon footprint is dirtier than coal. Its continued use simply delays the conversion to clean, green energy and exacts a huge permanent toll on our lives, health and the environment. We must ban its use.
Anne Zukowski • Charlevoix
CORRECTION: The article “SPACE AGE SNURFING” should have said the Safety Leash goes around the wrist, not the ankle.