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Letters 06-18-2012

- June 18th, 2012  

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Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed letters are not accepted.

Helmets & organs

I am one of those guys that thought it would be great to ride without a helmet, so in 2007 I rode from St Augustine FL to Daytona Beach with nothing but a dew rag on my bald paté.

On the way home we came upon a three-motorcycle collision at an intersection. We stopped to help, but found two of the bikers were DOA from head injuries, and the third biker had a serious head injury. I have never ridden without a helmet since.

The safety protection of helmets is well documented and the likelihood of a serious head injury is tenfold higher for those without a helmet. The costs of caring for helmetless rider injuries are huge, driving up the costs of motorcycle insurance. And the costs of the long term care for traumatic head injured bikers are insane.

So, I have an idea! If you want to ride without head protection go ahead, but you must have your full organ donation on record with the Secretary of State along with a “Do Not Resuscitate” order for death from a head injury. Think of it, we could become the go-to state for organ transplant operations and bring in millions of dollars each year to our state.

Blair Robb • Suttons Bay

Cheers for 'Slowpoke'

It didn’t take me long to become as big a fan of “Slowpoke” as I am of “This Modern World,” the editorial comics published in the Northern Express Weekly.

I’m mystified by the pair of complaints published recently in the “letters” section. One seems to refer to a comic labeled “A Taxing Day at the Polls” (5/14). It used satire to protest the current trend in our country to discourage voting by countless methods, including requiring photo IDs, reducing the impact of votes through redistricting, changing polling places, and a host of other methods. When did our English classes quit teaching the meaning of the word “satire”?

The other complaint referred to “Take and Give” (4/28). The complainant objected to the implication “that people that run large companies spend their careers trashing the earth, buying politicians, mistreating and insulting their employees and then retiring to a life of philanthropy.”

While the complainant may be correct in asserting that a minority of people may be “this kind of person,” this minority is powerful enough to reduce our quality of life and the quality of our planet’s life. I believe this comic’s panels individually and collectively are reality-based. This comic is an accurate depiction of some of the ways we’ve been “blessed” by big business.

Daniel Robbins • Mackinaw City

Lesson in no fault

I have been uncomfortably enlightened as to the no-fault auto insurance situation in Michigan.

I am a safe driver, and had never caused an accident, therefore I had PLPD only on my vehicle, thinking that the other driver's insurance would pay, being the sole cause of the accident.

This is not the case. I was not informed by my agent or my insurance company, that all I can get is $500 for damages to my car, and that is granted through a mini-tort system. The medical protection was not needed in this case, but I am sure it has a few surprises that are not discussed with clients.

I have talked with friends, and many of us are not aware of this. I wonder why I did not get safe driver discounts for 40 years of safe driving. All I get from my insurance company is “You're getting an education on policy.”

To get any protection at all, it seems we have to pay a premium amount, and add all the bells and whistles. Call your insurance agent and talk this over, or just get an honest agent.

Marty Hopkins • via email

Be kind to BATA

I would like to ask every driver in TC to please take time to stop-look-respect the BATA buses when you see them on the road. Many people depend on this service for transportation; the drivers work very hard and have a lot of responsibility and need words of encourgement and polite drivers on the roads with them.

If you ride BATA take time to say thank you to your drivers and show your appreciation.

Rhonda Kolarik • TC

It's Trashy City now

Dear Traverse City, After spending some sunny days at the Open Space and around the beaches I noticed (and picked up) quite a bit of trash lying around. I was thoroughly disgusted with the complete disregard for respecting our beautiful scenery. How lazy are we? There are trash cans all over the place, yet I found trash literally two feet away from a trash can.

During this summer season we need to remember that trash that's not in garbage cans will end up polluting the water we get to enjoy every day. Be conscious of it when you leave the beach, pick up after yourself (and maybe those who didn't pick up after themselves), don't throw trash out of your car and be mindful of what you put down the street drains. And RECYCLE! We want our future to continue to be able to enjoy the great resources Michigan has!

Kira Denison • via email

Beware the summer slide

I’m certain that, by the time this letter is published, our children will be happily enjoying their summer vacations and rightfully so. Unfortunately, beneath this enjoyment lies the sad statistics of what has come to be known as “summer slide.”

Summer slide is one name given to the fact that children who do not read or apply and/or practice math at all during the summer months may “backslide” anywhere from two to six months in grade level equivalency. And, sadly, this effect adds up over time and a child may be hopelessly behind by the time that she/he enters middle school with dreams of going to college or even finishing high school fading from that student’s horizons.

Contrary to popular belief, the same research also demonstrates that children from all socio-economic levels make pretty good progress during the school year, yet more than half of the achievement gap between lower income and higher income youth can be explained by the lack of access to summer learning opportunities.

The good news is that it does not take much effort to remedy this problem. A modest amount of reading and math activity at grade level can prevent this tragedy from occurring and the infrastructure, in most cases, is already in place!

Nearly all of our area libraries offer summer programs to meet that need to read as well as providing story times, crafts and other special events to stimulate young minds. These are offered for free or at a modest cost to their patrons. Our libraries also have books and materials that can provide “math opportunities” and they serve as “information gateways” to other programs that can help “prevent the slide.”

What our libraries cannot do is to make certain that children get regular visits to their library. There is no "magic bullet" that will take care of all of our nation’s educational woes, but this is something that we do have control over and our libraries stand ready to partner with parents and teachers to keep our children off of the “summer slide.”

Ron Fowler Youth Services Librarian Petoskey District Library


Regarding an item in last week's Hot Dates section: LEGO Summer Brickation is not affiliated with the History Center and the mosaic onsite is Traverse City-specific and not related to a Myrtle Beach design.

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