Aug. 25, 2013
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Bikes & self preservation
The recent vitriol against bike riders is short-sighted at best and pathetic at worst.
Talk of getting the police to ticket cyclists more and of licensing and insuring bicycles are solutions looking for a problem.
Bikes are NOT the problem. In fact we should be thanking all those who make our community safer, quieter, cleaner, healthier and just plain more livable when they choose to leave their cars at home.
Sure, I’ve broken a few traffic laws on my bike: rolling stops when there are no cars or pedestrians in sight or riding on sidewalks. Pedestrians often "break the law" in their own ways as well: crossing against a light or jaywalking. BUT when was the last time you read about a cyclist or pedestrian running over and killing a motorist?
Let’s have a little common sense in this discussion. Cyclists and pedestrians are DEFENSELESS, while automobiles and trucks are several thousand pounds of lethal machinery, often operated by careless and distracted drivers, rushing to get to their destinations.
Motor vehicles with their cellphone jabbering, smartphone texting, GPS puttering, makeup applying, stereo fiddling, meal consuming, animal corralling, and endlessly distracted drivers ARE THE REAL PROBLEM. And to top it all off, VIRTUALLY NONE of these drivers obey the local speed limits -- 10 to 15 mph over the limit is the norm.
If there is any cracking down to be done, here is where it will bear the most fruit.
We expect cyclists to obey the same laws as motor vehicles, but in reality they are completely at the mercy of speeding and distracted motorists. Cyclists are, for all practical purposes, just glorified pedestrians, but without the modicum of safety of a sidewalk.
I also have a car and my taxes contribute to the building and maintenance of the roads and sidewalks in this community. Perhaps it’s time we consider giving these forms of transportation more respect and cut the individuals who utilize them a little slack. My minor traffic infractions on my bicycle or on foot are unlikely to harm any precious motorists. In fact I often deviate from the law for a far more compelling reason: SELF PRESERVATION. Sorry, but that trumps the law.
Jan Ealy - TC
I found Sam Porter’s marketing comments about his new "Spectacular Structures" mobile venue being touted for our area perplexing.
On the one hand he comments about how we should celebrate all that is great and good about life in Northern Michigan and laments those events that can "close down our parks and streets." Just how does bringing in crowds of thousands on a regular basis avoid that -- creating huge human traffic patterns that can hardly have a low impact on community infrastructure despite claims to the contrary.
Despite all the talk about revenue to the region, the real goal for such structures is revenue to the promoters with scant regard to the style of our area free of a moveable feast of endless crowds.
It’s time for we taxpayers to seriously consider whether we are remaining a great place to live or moving towards a vast and continual amusement park that dictates overwhelming intrusion into what makes our area great.
M. Coffman - TC
Where’s the love?
So many disagreeable comments appeared in your article about Fridrich Furs: Trapping... fur farms...
Fridrich seems to be comfortable rationalizing the most despicable and inhumane treatment of animals to further his profession. What I can’t get past is the huge disconnect when he says he "loves" animals then in the next breath says it’s okay to trap, kill, and skin them.
For most of us, loving animals includes qualities like caring, empathy and compassion. I doubt the 20 raccoons he slaughtered were feeling the "love."
Bari Dilworth - via email
Our poisoned roads
Once again Team Services has been caught using toxic waste chemicals from oil and gas drilling as dust control on roads.
Team Services reportedly sprayed 300,000 gallons of toxic fluid on 121 miles of roads in Benzie County. Testing showed levels of carcinogenic benzene and toluene 1,000 times higher than the legal limit.
This is a recurring story. One year ago, DEQ documents obtained through FOIA request confirmed that Team Services sprayed thousands of gallons of toxic, carcinogenic fracking fluid waste from gas wells on roads in Cheboygan and Kalkaska counties. Public outrage forced the DEQ to suspend permits for this type of "dust control" disposal for one year.
Now, a year later, they are at it again.
And the penalty for getting caught – a verbal reprimand from the DEQ! How many other roads have been similarly sprayed? How much toluene, benzene and other deadly chemicals have seeped into groundwater from these sprayings? How many animals (including pets) have gotten sick from drinking puddles of toxic fluid after a rain storm? How much vegetation has been destroyed? How will these chemicals affect area farms and homeowner water wells? It’s time for the DEQ to do its job. Stop allowing the poisoning of our environment with oil and gas drilling chemicals.
Anne Zukowski Co-chair, Don’t Frack Michigan
Christians & science
The incessant and unnecessary conflict between science and religion continues, but we can and should learn from history. Beginning in 1534 when Copernicus published "On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies," until at least 1633 with church decrees against Galileo, a battle raged which bore striking similarities to the evolution versus creationism war of today.
Many good and wise men of science were exiled, tortured, and murdered because the best biblical scholars of their time agreed that a new theory, which brazenly suggested that the earth moved in the heavens (around the sun, no less), represented a grave contradiction to divine scripture which clearly stated then (as it still does today) that "The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved." (Psalm 93:1), and "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." (Psalm 104:5).
Current Bible experts have come to grips with the well-established law of heliocentrism through a more flexible biblical interpretation necessitated by the overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth, no longer seen as the center of the universe, does indeed move. This belated accommodation unfortunately provides small comfort to those early and courageous scientists who remain murdered and tortured martyrs due to their strongly held and accurate convictions.
May I suggest a more theistic view of evolution in which God, after creating matter and all of the natural laws which govern its physical and biological deployment, used organic evolution as a final step in His ongoing and miraculous creation. A divine creation whose beauty can be more completely appreciated and whose authenticity can be more clearly validated through the detailed and accurate observations of contemporary science.
If Christian faith could survive a moving earth, it will certainly survive a more detailed understanding of a creation made no less divine, but all the more miraculous by increased scientific knowledge.
Bob Ross - Pellston