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Letters 10-14-13

- October 14th, 2013  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

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.

Dr. Dan’s prescription

Last month, after attending Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek’s town hall meeting in Traverse City, I came away thinking “what a waste of time!” Upon entering I was asked to register, write any questions, and leave my email address in case the doctor could not get to my question from the floor. I was assured questions could be asked from the floor. The first 20 minutes of the hour were used up by a slide show which included misinformation about the Affordable Care Act. No questions were accepted from the floor; rather, his aide pulled written (pre-scanned?) questions from a hat.

The hall was bustling with Tea Partiers; you could imagine the loaded questions and slow pitches offered by many of the misinformed audience.

My questions to him would have included the 300,000 cancer patients who have no health insurance. Why would you be against those folks being insured under the Affordable Care Act? Why would you not want young adults to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26? Why would you not want pre-existing conditions to be eliminated so that people can receive good health care? Why would you not want insurance companies to pay 85% of their premium intake on actual health care?

Imagine the aforementioned cancer patients and how miserable their lives must be, sitting at their kitchen tables wondering how they are going to pay tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Dr. Benishek is ranked 55th in wealth, out of 435 house members, and he is purported to be worth $3 million-plus, with practically no liabilities. (Opensecrets.org). He received $86,000 in the last election from medical contributors. It begs the question: why would a doctor who became a millionaire want to change the system in which he thrived? Hippocratic Oath? “First Do No Harm.”

W.D. Bushey • TC

Complainers take note

I’m writing in response to a couple letters complaining about improvements along the waterfront. I grew up in this town and also moved away to do blahblahblah and then came back.

I love how this town has evolved. The giant blue outhouse and vacant buildings are long gone and now so is the criminally cruel zoo. I love movies and I love the way neon looks against a night sky, so a theater marquee encompassing this suits me fine. I like the little café at Clinch Park and the cool fact that I can kayak there for coffee on summer mornings. And yeah, it is unfortunate that the water splashpad thing spewed toxic waste or whatever early on, but when I bike past it now I see people with their kids having fun.

It’s a fact we do have far too many beerwinedumbfoodbadmusic festivals, but I’m glad to live in a place that makes people feel good to visit. Defining the shoreline doesn’t diminish the natural beauty of the bay, it hi-lites it.

Mike Morey • TC

Value what we have

I have lived in the Grand Traverse Region since 1984, and I have seen continued improvements in the vitality of the region from the restaurants, boutiques, waterfronts, salons -- and, yes, to the festivals in the last almost 30 years.

The festivals, which equate to tourism, bring people and money to this service economy.

It would be incredibly sad if the tourism dried up, and people with money decided that this region did not provide the interest, beauty, and variety of activities necessary for their vacations, because service workers cannot afford to eat at the expensive restaurants, buy clothes from the charming boutiques, or purchase the high-end styling services from the upscale salons.

Do the denizens of this region, specifically Traverse City, want boarded-up stores and restaurants like the sister cities in Northern Michigan?

The naysayers should look at the festivals from a regional economic point of view rather than a selfish and personal point of view to understand the positive impact of the festivals.

Furthermore, they are adults, and they should just kick back and enjoy the festivals that spark their interests. If they cannot find an interesting festival to attend, they should ride their bicycles and learn how to enjoy life.

Michelle Heppler Johnston, Ph.D. • TC

A musical thank you

A love letter to Traverse City on behalf of my family and me. I want to give a huge thanks to the Traverse City community, and the musicians who helped with the benefit for my family. I wish I could hug you all.

The “Jammin’ Down for David Chown” benefit helped raise around $15,000, which helped with our medical expenses and loss of income during my time recovering from prostate surgery in August.

Despite the fact that we do have a catastrophic medical insurance plan, the fact that I am a self-employed musician with no disability insurance left us in a precarious financial position. Thanks to our wonderful community of Traverse City, we can breathe easier now. We are able to pay our bills, and have a cushion for the medical bills that continue to come in. I am so grateful, and plan to “pay it forward” by helping to establish a non-profit coalition to help musicians and artists who go through similar potentially catastrophic events, get some immediate financial assistance.

We have a great group of musicians and artists in this community, and it takes people like you to complete the circle, to make what we do rewarding and complete.

David Chown and family (Janet, Dawson, and Kaysen) • TC

False claim

I spoke with Blue Cross/Blue Shield this morning concerning this statement made by Tom North in the Oct 7, 2013 issue of the Northern Express that “Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, through their customer service department, told me in August that ALL - 100% - of their current insurance plans are being terminated by March 31, 2014.” This is not a true statement!

According to BC/BS of Michigan in a conversation I had this morning, my Medicare Supplemental Policy provided by BC/BS as a secondary coverage would not change as long a I received medical coverage with Medicare as a primary provider.

I feel that this is important for Northern Express to make this clear to readers as there are many Medicare recipients in their readership area.

Richard Gielow • TC

Misguided state rep

Representative Greg MacMaster, (R) 105th District, voted NO on Common Core for Michigan. These standards define expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade.

Opposing his vote are these facts: The federal government was NOT involved in the development of the educational standards. Local teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core.

Teachers have been a critical voice in the development of the standards. The Common Core State Standards drafting process relied on teachers and standards experts from across the country. The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), among other organizations were instrumental in bringing together teachers to provide specific, constructive feedback on the standards.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was and will remain a state-led effort. This process is state-led, and has support from across the country.

There are no data collection requirements of states adopting the CCSS. Assessing students and the data that results are up to the discretion of each state.

See http://www.corestandards.org/ resources/frequently-asked-questions

Kathy Borey • Elk Rapids

 
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