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Letters 02-13-2012

- February 13th, 2012  

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Ideas into action

Many of us have received email and comments from our friends about excellent ideas to repair our broken Congress. For example:

• Term limits

• Abide by all laws they impose on the American people

• Participate in the same health care system as the American people

• Participate in Social Security

• Public-funded elections

• No tenure/no pension - purchase their own retirement plan, like the rest of the American people

The problem is nobody in Congress will support these ideas. The solution is to convert these ideas into action by supporting citizen representatives, chosen by the members from their congressional district, who will refuse to accept special-interest money, are independent of a political party, and will serve a limited term. Go to goooh. com to learn more.

Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career.

Billy D. Clifford • Austin, TX 78727

Successful, Small Farming

When I picked up The Express today I was immediately struck by your cover and article regarding “organic” farming. My husband and I have a certified organic farm about 5 miles north of Cedar. We have been running our successful CSA for the past 12 years and are puzzled by your emphasis on what doesn’t work. (By the way, to legally use the word “organic” with regard to the crops one grows, the crops must be certified through the Department of Agriculture to insure the integrity of the claim for the consumer.)

Along with many other small, successful farms in our area, we have created an enterprise that supports many workers and feeds many people. We have found a very strong market for quality, organic produce in the Traverse City area.

Of course, there are many ups and downs in our business. Farming, whether organic or conventional, requires long term planning, education, financial thoughtfulness, long hours and great energy. However, we know that if we persevere and if we grow quality produce, there are few businesses with such boundless rewards.

Judy Reinhardt and Jim Schwantes • Cedar

Farms More than Just Donuts

Mr. Roggensee expressed numerous opinions about various aspects of small scale organic farming in Northern Michigan that were just that, opinions (Organic Farming, Northern Express Feb. 3). As a lifelong organic gardener and organic farmer for the past five years I have a very different view on this subject.

Mr. Roggensee complained that it would cost $25,000 to install a range hood, to make donuts to sell at his roadside stand. That’s an easy choice, forget the deep fried sugar bombs and stick to the healthy stuff.

There is a very vibrant small scale farming community in Northern MI. And there are a large number of individuals and families that are willing to pay more to know where and how their food is grown and who the farmers are that produce it. Yes you might have to pass up the donuts and pies to be able to fit the wonderful, plentiful and scrumptious local produce that is available in our communities into your food budget.

There are many CSA’s in the area that have been around for years and continue to grow their membership numbers. The people that participate in the traditional CSA put there money where there mouth is, literally. They make a commitment to support local agriculture by paying up front for a weekly supply of produce. I give anyone credit for trying to make a go of it in this very labor intensive endeavor.

We have scaled down our farming opperation because of many of the reasons that Mr. Roggensee stated, but make no mistake about it, folks that are concerned about their families health and the health of Mother Earth, will continue to support local small scale farmers. We need to rescue our food production systems from corporate Americas factory farms and bring this most basic need of humankind back to the local level.

Patrick Curley - Elmwood Township Leelanau Cultured Veggies LLC

Vet Parade – Hell No

As a nation we have been “smitten with the madness – blindness – and astonishment of heart” – passionately in love with war.

Rather than hold a ticker tape parade, let’s have President Bush apologize to Americans for starting a war based on lies – apologize to Iraqis for the death of 117,000 innocent civilians killed, for the destruction of its infrastructure, and for leaving a nation at civil war – apologize to veterans and families – apologize to America for squandering its resources.

Let’s have President Obama apologize for the needless escalation of the war in Afghanistan – apologize to Afghan citizens for the reckless death of 66,000 innocent civilians – for fueling corruption –return his Nobel Peace Prize as unearned – and end the war today.

Let’s have Senator Levin (Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee) and Senator McCain (Senior Ranking Member of the Committee) apologize for not requiring an honest accounting of the wars by senior Pentagon officials. Let’s have Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld, Gates, & Panetta, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs and Service Chiefs apologize for misleading Congress and Americans as to the true state of the wars.

Then we will begin to heal. Not by more bravado. Sixty-seven years after WWII – let’s bring home our 115,000 forces in Europe and Japan. Fifty-nine years after the Korean War let’s bring home our 28,000 forces there.

If the nation wants to honor Veterans, rather than build another war memorial or conduct a parade, would it be more fitting to build a peace memorial and to pledge we will not wage wars for political gain? Until then, how many more Afghan mothers will to ask, “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground?”

Dave Lannen • TC, MI Veteran of Iraq & Afghanistan & Member, Veterans For Peace

Tree farms beneficial

From the Northern Express January 16 2012 edition “News of the Weird”. In his oversight report “Wastebook 2011” Senator Tom Coburn M.D. (R-OK) highlights examples of the most egregious ways taxpayer dollars are wasted.

One of his examples is a $75,000 grant to promote the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees & poinsettias. For him to list this grant, meant to help the growers of Northern Michigan’s largest agricultural crops, as a waste of money is just plain Oklahoma ignorant. Northern Michigan takes the production of Christmas trees, an industry which is in decline as many Americans move away from live trees at Christmas, very seriously.

Senator, if you want to point out real waste in Washington, why don’t you go after the real promoters of the truly wasteful use of money in Congress like all of your Republican friends who are constantly enriching themselves or those who don’t need the money?

I hope that all of the folks in Northern Michigan will let you know how they feel about your belief that helping Michigan, especially Northern Michigan farmers, to promote the sale of Christmas trees is equal to the “Bridge to Nowhere.” What is next for you, the Michigan potato growers or the folks that operate the Northern Michigan vineyards?

Michael H. MacCready • Manton

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