Dec. 29, 2013
Say no to the racetrack
As the "baby" cousin of the fabulous, extended Willman family, I am expressing our collective, resounding NO to the prospect of a racetrack facility on Griswold Mountain in Indian River.
We gather regularly at the family cottage on Grandview Beach (which was built around 1927) and enjoy kayaking, swimming, sailing, golfing and other activities, none of which disturb the natural beauty of the local environment. We want to continue to gather together as a family without the traffic, noise, and pollution that would accompany the development of a racetrack within approximately a mile of our beloved cottage.
We descend from my maternal grandparents, E.J. and Lovina Willman of Owosso, where E.J. was the superintendent of schools. He loved children and supported educational opportunities for all; all five of his daughters obtained their college degrees, despite the economic hardships during the Depression. The high school football field was named after my grandfather, who was known for his integrity and courage; he endured intimidation from the local KKK when he hired Catholic teachers at a time when there was some anti-Catholic sentiment in Shiawassee County.
While we support the concept blessed in this country to pursue one’s dream, this pursuit should not come at the expense of many others who quietly engage in honorable careers and lifestyles that contribute to the collective "good" of society. We hope that the Cheboygan County officials feel the same when they consider the zoning changes sought for a motorcycle racetrack on Griswold Mountain. This divisive issue has the potential to disrupt the quality of life for many people that also share a story as unique and special as that of our family.
Sue Devick - Mullett Lake
About 80 years ago my grandfather built a cottage near Indian River that he named North Haven. He, my grandmother, and their five daughters spent every summer with the woods and waters. Those daughters in turn faithfully brought their nine children back to the cottage for long visits. We nine children brought our children to stay at a place undisturbed by noisy crowds. And our children now bring our grandchildren.
We continue to come because North Haven keeps its promise of a quiet natural setting where we can focus on family. The proposed location for a motor sports facility would greatly impair that.
None of us oppose the concept of a motocross facility - it would bring welcome revenue and tourists. But the location on Griswold mountain would be destructive. There is a viable proposal for an alternate site on state land south of Indian River, and I encourage that this alternative be seriously considered. It would provide equal benefits for much less harm, and let North Haven and other homes and cottages like it continue to be a refuge for future generations.
Edward W. Ahern - Fairfield, CN
I read with amusement the Detroit Free Press article on "The Elf On The Shelf" named Michael who watched children’s every move before heading to the North Pole each evening to report directly to Santa on each child’s misadventures. A co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop stores in Illinois, although selling the elf for $29.95, does not recommend it because she finds to be "a little creepy."
Her creepy verdict brought back memories of the Southern Baptist pastor of my childhood, who described a God who watched our every move, and then made a sort of demerit list based on our behavior which could result in eternal hell-fire. He also convinced me that partaking of one sip of communion wine with sin in my heart (a common condition of young boys going through puberty) would also result in everlasting hell-fire.
The choice between displaying my sinful nature to the entire congregation by refusing communion, or drinking the communion wine at the risk of eternal damnation was such an onerous one, that I often skipped the once-a-month communion Sunday altogether, rather than having to make that impossible choice.
If some form of being creeped-out is mandatory, I would choose Michael, the elfin enforcer, as my creepy disciplinarian, since Michael’s bad report to Santa would only serve to diminish the quality of my Christmas gifts, whereas, the disciplinarian God favored by my pastor would allow me to suffer eternal punishment for even the bad thoughts I might have had during communion. Now that is creepy!
Bob Ross - Pellston
Special interest scandal
I’d like to thank Michigan law enforcement for putting the brakes on the Republicans' attempt to make AT&T more profitable at the expense of constituents by discontinuing land line service. Since this legislature has demonstrated repeatedly that the concerns of their constituents are secondary to the whims of special interests, I have no doubt without blow back from law enforcement our Republican ALEC lackeys would have made this bill law.
There is another scandal here that the lazy media will never tell you. It perfectly illustrates how government and corporations screw Americans.
As you know, our leaders have abandoned free market competition in favor of too big to fail, too big to regulate monopolies. One of those is the telecommunications industry. In 2006, Congress agreed to allow an AT&T merger on the condition that AT&T provide broadband Internet to every customer in 22 states by the end of 2007.
Seven years and six telecommunications mergers later, all made with the same broken promises, my cell phone and internet service is a step above carrier pigeon. Just like free trades deals, corporate bailouts and tax incentives to lure corporations to these states, corporations know they’ll never be held accountable by bought off politicians.
Before Republicans considered this bill, they should have held AT&T’s feet to the fire in hearings and demanded follow through on their word to first provide broad band to Michigan’s huge rural population (their constituents). They should have held impact studies.
You see, it’s not profitable for AT&T to bring broad band to rural areas and it’s not profitable for them to maintain landlines. Republicans legislators just attempted to let AT&T have their cake and eat it too, bamboozling constituents in the process.
This AT&T Landline Bill is exhibit A in how legislators help corporations screw the public.
Julie A Racine - Marion
A taxing subject
In Michigan we have huge income from various sin taxes. We have a tax on alcohol, on nicotine addiction (tobacco), and income from gambling on the lottery and video poker machines. When marijuana is legalized here, as it is in the state of Washington, we will have a tax on that. What we don’t have is a tax on sex.
Not all sex is a sin, of course, but prostitution is. It’s time the state intervened and acknowledged sex workers, both male and female. If the state made sex workers state employees, and provided clean and safe places to work, aka bordellos, with a pension plan and health benefits we would take the amateurs off the street and put the pimps out of business.
We would also protect the health of sex workers and reduce the risk of what is clearly a sometimes dangerous profession. But if sex workers were licensed, like many professions, they would benefit. And if there were a tax on their services, the state would take in a ton of money we could spend on health care, schools, and public housing.
A tax on sex would be an all around winner.
Harley Sachs - via email