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Here, kitty, kitty...
By my count, the picture scorecard of your Annual Tribute to Pets issue was as follows:
Pig - 1
Chicken - 1
Iguana - 1
Dogs - 21
Cats - 0
My Rating: Far from Purrfect.
Bill O. Smith • TC
(Ouch... Thanks Bill -- we’ll be sure to round up some cat stories & photos for next year’s “Pet Project” issue. -- ed.)
Frackdown in Kalkaska
On Saturday, October 19, 25 people gathered in Kalkaska to protest the misuse of Michigan water by fracking companies there. The effort was part of Global Frackdown 2, a world event initiated by Food and Water Watch and 350.org. Protests on Saturday were held in 30 countries and dozens of American cities.
Protesters in Kalkaska held signs along Cedar Street for two hours. Afterwards, they visited the Westerman well in Kalkaska County, seeing first-hand the industrialization of the rural landscape.
One couple, Bernard and Phyllis Senske, live across the street from a fracking operation where local zoning laws have been over-ridden. In recent months, their world has included 24-7 noise from drilling, silica sands drifting in the air, and massive amounts of truck traffic along their quiet road. An artificial berm was deliberately created to block the view of the couple, and over the Thanksgiving holiday, heavy equipment was run around the clock, which spewed fumes and created noise pollution. Their well pump quit when the water level dropped 80 feet in a short time due to water withdrawal by the industry. Kalkaska’s city water had to be used when wells in another part of the county ran dry from fracking operations.
Corporations have arranged for fracking to be exempt from environmental protection laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Drinking Water Act. The Michigan DEQ has granted permits for millions of gallons of locally-drawn water to be mixed with toxic chemicals by Encana and Halliburton, among others. Chemicals include benzene, arsenic and highly acidic compounds. The water that is used in this fashion is never again available for biological use; in Michigan, flowback fluid is stored in injection wells located throughout our state. In an exception, several times it has been spread on roads, where benzene has subsequently tested well above the level for human safety.
Movies on Link TV and others, such as Gasland, Gasland 2 and Promised Land have helped Americans learn about the hazards from fracking, which has escalated in recent years. Fracking is not your grandfather’s gas well practice; It is an effort to recover deep-shale fossil fuels, and is a relatively new technology. For more information, go to savemiwater.org, the website of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, dontfrackmichigan.org or banmichiganfracking.org, or do a search on global frackdown events.
Joy Smith • Manistee Water Guardians
Death in the forest
I agree with most of Steve Tuttle’s premises in “What a Friend Would Do,” but have serious issues with numbers posited for pre-Columbian populations.
Since we know from existing sites that Native Americans practice/practiced inhumation, where are the 24,500,000 grave sites? That is a massive number and with a sudden (100-200 years) die-off there would be physical evidence on a huge scale. None has shown up.
Dale Priester • via email
(The book, 1491, by Charles C. Mann addresses the prevailing theory that foreign diseases killed up to 90% of the Native American population before most colonists arrived. Mann states that mass death from diseases such as smallpox and viral hepatitis was so extreme that the few survivors were unable to bury the dead. He writes that the Mayflower colonists found thousands of corpses and empty villages scattered along the New England coast upon their arrival. English trader Thomas Norton noted at the time that the Indians had “died on heapes, as they lay in their houses.” The book is well worth reading, and many scholars agree with its conclusions. -- ed.)
New voice needed in D.C.
Retired general and former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon released the following statement on Dan Benishek’s 11th hour government shutdown vote:
“I’m relieved that Congress didn’t send our country into default, but we shouldn’t have needed an 11th hour vote to avoid that. Congressman Benishek voted to shut down the government and then took our country to the brink of economic default. He showed us everyday for the past 16, that he will put his party ahead of what is best for this country. That kind of partisanship is exactly why Washington is broken.
“I’m running for Congress because it’s time we had a representative in Washington who knows they are there to serve the families in Northern Michigan, not a political party.
“From veterans facing delays for their benefits to new retirees not being able to sign up for Social Security, and small businesses not getting loans, this political brinksmanship had a real impact on people’s lives. We may have avoided a more catastrophic economic hit, but real damage was done here. We deserve better, we can do better, and I will never let my personal views interfere with what’s best for the people of Michigan’s 1st Congressional District.”
A Vietnam veteran, Cannon served as a major general in the Michigan Army National Guard and was deployed multiple times around the world to keep America safe, including tours in Iraq.
Ed Keenan • via email