Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Guest Column: Electric Skateboard Debate Ramps Up

In Activism, Breaking, Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Politics, Public Safety, Tech, Transportation, WTFF (What the Frankfort) on July 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Please help stop Frankfort City Council’s ongoing effort to create an ordinance banning electric skateboards citywide.

By Carolyn Thayer

July 14, 2017

I’m asking for your help to spread the news about the Frankfort City Council’s ongoing effort to create an ordinance banning electric skateboards citywide based on the potential for a public safety problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Baby’s Breath: Scourge of America

In E Beach, Environment, Open Season, Wildlife on May 18, 2017 at 10:49 am

Baby’s breath: Nice in a wedding bouquet or a prom corsage (maybe), but not so nice when it takes over your whole beach, pushing out native plants that naturally grow almost nowhere else besides our unique shoreline.

You can help work to remove these shrubby masses from our beach by joining forces with the Invasive Species Network on volunteer bee days this summer. Enjoy the beach, work your hockey muscles, and meet cool people. Wear long pants and gloves, because there’s natural poison ivy out there, too. And we like that. —Emily Votruba

 

Hunting in the Village: Let the Game Begin

In Community Alert, Environment, Law & Order, Open Season, Wildlife on September 15, 2016 at 10:39 am

It’s hunting season! But it’s illegal to shoot firearms within Village limits. That includes up in the dunes. So if you hear gunshots here in Elberta, you would be correct to call the Sheriff, who is tasked with enforcing that law, because it’s also a state law. Bowhunting, however, is allowed in EDNA, as long as regulations, including legal distances from structures, are followed. EDNA hikers should be aware that there may be archery going on in the park during their visit. Hey, Blaze Orange looks good on everyone! This notice is posted on the Village website here.

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Lines in the Sand

In Community Alert, Crime, E Beach, Environment, Law & Order, Open Season, Public Safety, Water, Wildlife on May 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm

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By Andy Bolander

Here is an annual reminder of the beautiful frailty our community possesses in the Elberta dunes and beach. It will take persistent and vocal presence for us to protect this resource.

Why is it necessary to protect the dune habitat? Well, something you may feel intuitively is actually true: Elberta Dunes are geologically unique in the world.

“Elberta Dunes lie at a latitudinal transition point between perched dunes to the north and lake-plain dunes to the south. Elberta dunes consist of five parabolic dunes perched on a glacial bluff. Characterized by stabilized dunes with overlapping arms which indicate non-concurrent periods of migration. Elberta Dunes have four distinguishable migration periods.” —Dunes in a Transitional Zone: Using Morphology and Stratigraphy to Determine the Relative Ages of Green Point Dune Complex and Elberta Dunes, Emma Fulop, Davidson College 2014

“Very few dunes in Michigan can be classed as truly migratory.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

“[T]he greatest dunes of the entire region occur along the east coast of Lake Michigan because the prevailing Westerlies gather added energy as they fetch across this unbroken expanse of lake.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Human activity on the beach has the potential to change the shape of the dune. Vehicle tracks and the digging out of vehicles kills and/or displaces grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation that stabilizes the dunes. Removal of plant life exposes the sand to the wind and water erosion.

“Whenever plants on the foredune are injured or destroyed, the wind has access to the raw sand and creates a blowout, a saddle-shaped breach in the ridge, through which the sand commences a march inland. Many blowouts change the foredune into a very irregular feature called a dune ridge.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Dunes along the Lake Michigan coast have vanished before because of human activity. Pigeon Hill in Muskegon was named for the massive number of passenger pigeons that roosted there up until the end of the 19th century. The hill was sold to Nugent Sand and the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1920. By 1936 Sand Products Corporation (owner of about 180 acres of Elberta sand dunes and bluffs) had erected a conveyor system to load the sand onto waiting boats. Excavation of the sand continued until 1967. The site then sat barren until 1992, when there was a change in ownership and Harbour Towne condominiums were built. (http://www.actorscolony.com/) Dune sand mining also destroyed huge dunes that once surrounded Manistee.

But you don’t have to be a large sand mining corporation or a real estate developer to do a lot of damage to these natural areas and to the birds and other creatures who make Elberta Beach their home. The beach and dunes are subject to the everyday threat of human vehicle traffic.

“People are drawn to shorelines for their beauty and recreational opportunities so the remaining shoreline areas with dune habitat are often also public use areas. Hikers and Off Road Vehicles (ORVs) trample Pitcher’s thistle [a protected species] which harms or destroys the plants. ORV traffic in dunes also causes erosion which creates unstable areas where it’s difficult for plants to take hold. Pitcher’s thistle and its dune habitat are also destroyed for the creation and maintenance of public beaches.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Pitcher’s Thistle, updated 5/2001

“Off-road vehicles, which ruin habitat, crush nests and eggs, and directly kill birds by running over them are a key threat. Chicks that move across primary vehicle paths on their way to feed are in particular danger — especially when they get stalled alongside tall tire-track edges or stuck inside ruts. To save piping plovers from vehicle mortality, the Center has been working hard to keep off-road vehicles out of precious habitat through our Off-road Vehicles campaign. We’re also gearing up to petition the Secretary of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service to establish rules that prohibit motorized vehicle use in all designated critical habitat and on all federal, state-owned, and state-managed public lands within piping plover habitat.” — http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/piping_plover/

“The Great Lakes population of the piping plover is at a perilously low level. Since 1983, the number of nesting pairs has ranged from 12 to 32. In 2000, all of the Great Lakes pairs nested in Michigan.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

“Piping plovers are very sensitive to the presence of humans. Too much disturbance causes the parent birds to abandon their nest. People (either on foot or in a vehicle) using the beaches where the birds nest sometimes accidentally crush eggs or young birds. Dogs and cats often harass and kill the birds. Other animals, such as fox, gulls, and crows, prey on the young plovers or eggs.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

The beach and dunes are arguably the greatest asset that Elberta possesses; the village has a handful of businesses and no industry. Most of us who live here have chosen this place, or have stayed here, because we love the beach and the dunes and the forest around them. Allowing the impact of humans to change our unique natural system to a conventional mess would be a great shame. It’s up to the people who live here and the visitors who come to enjoy the beach to treat it with the respect and care it, and we all, deserve. It’s up to locals to demand that visitors behave responsibly and not destroy this amazing place.

We have been given a great responsibility. There is literally nowhere on earth like this beach and dune environment.

Driving and digging out trucks and cars on the beach and dunes not only crushes the nests of piping plovers, hurts the habitat of the Lake Huron locust, wormwood, horsetail, coreopsis, wood lilies, and other native wildlife, but it also hurts the human community. It upsets people who gently walk the beach and live through hard winters here in order to enjoy summer. It upsets people who pay taxes to keep local services running. We don’t have the manpower within local law enforcement or the DNR to deter the destructive activity that goes on down at the beach. So we need to get together as a community and protect this by demonstrating responsible behavior.

In recent years both the Village of Elberta and private citizens have spent money and time posting signs to try to cut down on off-road traffic on the beach. Vandals have removed these signs and in some cases set fire to them. Dollars have been spent and wasted on these selfish individuals, and to no avail.

I don’t have a solution today, but I hope that sharing and refreshing this knowledge of how truly special this environment is will help us keep talking until we do reach a solution.

In the meantime, if you see vehicles driving on the dunes or beach, call the DNR hotline at 800-292-7800, and/or try to get a photograph of the vehicle and its license plate.

2016 Hazardous Waste and Recycling Info

In Community Alert, Environment on April 15, 2016 at 7:11 am

Hazardous Waste and Recycling

Candidate Says Water Management, Passenger Rail, Internet Access Will Help NoMI Folks Stay and Succeed

In E Beach, Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Politics, Transportation, Water on April 1, 2016 at 11:28 am

Meet the Candidate: Lon Johnson

Democrat

1st Congressional District

Image from WIkipedia

Image from WIkipedia

Lon Johnson spoke at the Bayview Grille in Frankfort to a group of potential supporters on March 29 from 6 to 7 pm. Here are selections from his remarks, arranged by topic. Meet the Candidate is nonpartisan and offers any candidate a place for long-form policy presentations. Invite this reporter to your next meet and greet! —Emily Votruba, emilyvotruba@yahoo.com

TRADE POLICY

The American worker stacked up against anyone in the world can win. Our economy is becoming more and more interconnected worldwide, and we have to be able to compete. But I don’t think [the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)] trade agreement hit the right marks on currency manipulation, sovereign banking, labor protections—we have to be on somewhat equal footing with the rest of the world, and when that doesn’t happen, we have what we saw with NAFTA, where our manufacturing went away. I don’t believe in protectionism, but I do believe in fair trade. The fact that, first off, [TPP] was negotiated in secret, I think was wrong.

TAX REFORM

We need real tax reform. Right now we’ve got companies parking their money offshore to avoid paying taxes. We’ve got hedge-fund executives paying a lower tax rate than somebody who works to pay rent. In our country what moves us is capital and labor: capital finances things and labor makes things for a living. For the American economy to work you need a fine balance. One can’t be over the other. When that happens things get off kilter very fast. When you look at the economy today you see the stock market [going up], you see our GDP [going up], you see our worker productivity through the roof. But what’s happening with wages? Stagnant or falling. And that’s a result of tax policies put together by Congress. We have to rethink our tax policy.

FRACKING

We need to keep Northern Michigan and the UP both beautiful and prosperous. We have to strike that balance, and we can strike that balance. Before we do that we have to realize what our greatest assets are here. We’ve been blessed with incredible beauty, beautiful land, beautiful lakes, beautiful rivers. These are our assets. But we have to extract from them in a responsible way. We have to continue mining and logging, but in a responsible way. Fracking is a prime example. I’m opposed to fracking. We really do have gold underneath our feet: natural gas. We need that natural gas. It is a perfect fuel as we move into renewable energy, away from carbon-based; but we’ve got to extract this gas in a way that’s responsible. And pumping thousands of unknown chemicals into the ground, the water displacement, the earthquakes—to me it just doesn’t seem sound. And until they can show us how we can move this gas out of the ground 100 percent safely, then I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.

LINE 5 PIPELINE

It’s a 63-year-old pipeline that’s running through the Straits of Mackinac. It starts in Canada, runs through the UP, cuts across the Mackinac Straits and down through the heart of Michigan to Sarnia. I’m not opposed to pipelines. Pipelines are the safest way to move oil. But there are smart places to put pipelines and not-so-smart places. A 63-year-old pipeline that hasn’t been independently inspected, independently verified to be safe, in the Mackinac Straits with its associated currents is just not a smart place to have a pipeline. So we call for this pipeline to be shut down until it’s independently inspected and proven to be 100 percent safe.

If we were to move to build a new pipeline I would oppose putting a pipeline in the Great Lakes. Enbridge has enough capacity to move oil without Line 5. I was on the phone with an engineer on the way over here who said we could keeping moving propane along Line 5. This pipeline carries three things now: natural gas liquids, synthetic oil, and light crude. We can shut the oil down and still continue to move the propane, which will nullify the argument that Enbridge and the Republicans will use against us, that we’re going to drive up the cost of home heating fuel. A propane leak would do nowhere near the environmental damage that an oil leak would.

At four o’clock today at my office Mary Hess called. She’s a commissioner in Alpena. And we have a resolution right now that we’ve been pushing all around the state opposing Line 5. And it went before the commission today in Alpena and it tied 4 to 4. One person can make a difference. What we’re trying to do is get 50 towns/municipalities/counties in northern Michigan to pass a resolution opposing Line 5 so we’ll have better moral authority to put before the governor. And if you don’t think local people matter at that point, there’s your answer right there.

The fact is, this governor [Snyder], and the people of Michigan, need a clean-water win. Let’s give him one. If we make him a hero on Line 5, fine, let’s do it.

ENBRIDGE…FLINT

There are our Great Lakes. When you don’t show us the results of your testing, if you’re not prepared to operate 100 percent transparently, in my mind you’ve forfeited your right to move in our Great Lakes. It comes down to who do you trust. In this case we’re being told this pipeline is safe by the same people who told us the Flint water was safe. Literally the very same people. And the same people who own Enbridge, this pipeline, were responsible for the largest inland oil pipeline disaster in the history of the United States, right here in Michigan, into the Kalamazoo River. So bottom line is, who do you trust? Corporate and government officials who have very limited, short-term objectives, or the people? I’m going to side with the people all day long and twice on Sunday.

What the Line 5 debate is really about, is what do we believe is the future for Michigan? I believe it’s our credibility with freshwater. Our ability to lead in that marketplace. If we have another Flint, if we have another Kalamazoo, that credibility is gone.

LOCAL RESILIENCE: STAY AND SUCCEED

The last thing I want to do in Congress, and this is the most important, is we have to create a place here in Northern Michigan where our families can stay and succeed. We’re losing too many of our kids and grandkids to downstate for job opportunities, for education opportunities. It doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone should always have the option to travel and leave the state, discover the world, and come back, but it shouldn’t be mandatory that you leave here so you can succeed.

We in Northern Michigan have a long proud history of leading the world. In the 1700s, we led the world in international trade—the fur trade. Why did the French come and settle this area? Fur. Then we led the world in mining. Copper and iron ore: We helped win the Civil War. Then what did we lead the world in? Lumber. Our lumber built the American West. You can track our lumber DNA all the way out to San Francisco. What’s next? We still have the same assets. We still have great people. We still have land, the most beautiful in the world, we still have the Great Lakes. But we need to use them smartly.

PASSENGER RAIL

I want to do three long-term things that I think will start to create that place where people can stay and succeed. One: we need to restore passenger rail service to Northern Michigan. All the consultants downstate say don’t say that, don’t talk about it. We used these lines for decades to export lumber. For decades we used them to export value away from us. Now we need those same lines to bring value to us. As long as they go home on Sunday…[laughter]. Now, think about this: the hard work has already been done. Let’s get these tracks turned on. I’m not talking about billion-dollar bullet trains, but regular old 55-mile-an-hour passenger rail service moving from Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor and Detroit, bringing people to us. It can be done.

HIGH-SPEED INTERNET

The second thing we need is high-speed internet and mobile cell phone service in all our communities. You look around, you have one bar on your phone. My wife and I literally fight over the WiFi. We’re massively moving toward an economy where people can live and work wherever they want. Nearly a third of the workforce is already there. When people can live and work wherever they choose, where are they going to go? Where it’s beautiful. And that’s where Northern Michigan can compete and win. But we’re just not ready. Why not? Because our members of Congress aren’t fighting as hard as our forefathers did when they fought the electric companies. The Rural Electrification Act changed America. What members of Congress did is they went to utility companies and said we’re going to give you a right to exist on our public airwaves and our public land, but in return you have to wire up rural America—because there was no money in that for them. So Congress struck that deal and that’s how we got wired up.

We need members of Congress who will fight just as hard. The template is already there. Internet service, cell phone service is every bit as important as electricity. We need to wire up the north. We need a member of Congress who’s going to work with other rural legislators to get this done—march into the FCC’s office, march into Verizon, AT&T, and compel them to invest in this and get this done.

MICHIGAN SHOULD LEAD THE WORLD IN WATER MANAGEMENT

The last thing I want to do, and this is the most long term: We need to position Northern Michigan as the world’s thought leader on the use and protection of freshwater. We have a competitive advantage over every other state and over every other country: 21 percent of the world’s freshwater is right here. I’m not talking about selling our water. I’m not talking about that. But in our lifetime, water will become the most valuable natural resource in the history of the world. Who better to protect that and show the world how to use it than us?

And you might ask well, how does that help us make money? Let me tell you how. At Stanford University, in the ’60s and the ’70s, some smart people got together and said you know what, computer science, computer engineering, that’s going to be the future. So they increased their curriculum in computer science at Stanford, which produced graduates who stayed in Palo Alto, which created what? Silicon Valley. Which created Google. Amazon. Microsoft. They created a whole new economy. And in our lifetime, water will become the number one natural resource. Right now millions of dollars are being spent on the use and protection of freshwater. Factories are trying to figure out how they can use less water, farmers are trying to figure out how to grow more product using less water. The military is trying to figure out how to move more troops and use less water. Cities are trying to figure out how to better manage their water and wastewater. This is a billion-dollar market, and we are losing to Israel and Saudi Arabia and Arizona and Alabama. We need to create a freshwater institute and show the world how to better use and protect water. And from that, thousands of jobs can be created.

None of this is Buck Rogers/George Jetson stuff. But you need a member of Congress who will sit down and get this done. All these things require cooperation between corporations and local governments, state governments, the federal government and even international governments. Your member of Congress is where that starts.

We have to show people in very simple terms. People are busy. They’re not ignorant, they’re not stupid, but we have to educate people about our water. You create a post on Facebook and show that a barrel of oil and its price, $39 or whatever the latest is, and you show a barrel of freshwater: it’s higher. It’s $45. You have to put it in very simple terms that people can understand. Our water is now more valuable than oil. That’s what a member of Congress does. We have a lot of education to do. We all were taught in 8th grade geography class the value of our water, but sometimes as we go through life here seeing it constantly, we think “We have plenty of water.” We become complacent.

GUNS AND GUN VIOLENCE

The problem we have right now in Congress, and it’s more acute on the campaign trail, is that we can’t even have a conversation. If you mention even the word “guns” there are organizations who will take it as an intrinsic threat to their organization, not just to their issue but their organization. And they come down on these candidates with two and three million dollars in television ads, not necessarily about guns but about anything they can. The question is, how do I get elected and have that conversation both within my district and Washington? It starts with demonstrating to the voters of this district that I believe in the 2nd Amendment, first off. I’m a lifelong hunter. I was in Iraq as a civilian. I’m no stranger to what a weapon can do.

But whether you carry a weapon in war or for self-protection or for hunting, you also carry with you a set of values. And those values are primarily about responsibility, respect for that weapon. The problem is that around the country, others don’t carry those same values. Here in northern Michigan if I see a guy walking down the street with a shotgun on his arm I don’t think twice about it. In other areas of our country that’s a problem.

I’m not opposed to having the conversation. I’m not opposed to background checks. I think we also have to have an underlying discussion about why people are feeling the need to carry so many weapons. What is happening in our country? I’m not here to defend or attack anyone. But because our Congress does not address this issue in a holistic way these shootings are proliferating, and people figure well, if my government can’t protect me, my police force can’t protect me, I’m going to carry a weapon. Which creates a whole other series of problems. I’m willing to have the conversation to solve these problems.

When you cut mental health—and I’m not putting gun violence all on mental health—but when the federal government is cutting the states, the states are cutting the counties, the counties end up warehousing people in jails. Because they don’t know what else to do with them. They’re putting these folks who have serious problems into county facilities, and they’re coming out after three days, a week, after it’s been adjudicated they’re no longer a threat to themselves and others. These are people with serious paranoid delusions, and if they can get access to a weapon it’s like throwing gas on a fire. We have to have a holistic approach to the problems of these mass shootings.

I believe in bringing it local, local, local. We used to have gun boards in the state of Michigan. The county would determine whether somebody had the right to carry a concealed weapon or open carry. Just because a person hasn’t been arrested three times doesn’t mean they should be carrying a weapon. The sheriff knows whether someone’s a threat to the community or not. It’s like the old draft board. The draft board was made up of people from the community who understood who was a conscientious objector and who wasn’t. The solutions to our problems on the gun front will only come from districts like this one. When you elect people from districts with a high percentage of gun ownership. Because I can go to the gun community and say look, I hunt, I fish. No one is going to come to my home and take my gun. And I’m never going to vote for someone to do the same to you. But we have to have a conversation about how do we stop this. Right now, the minute I even mention having a conversation, organizations come in with millions of dollars spreading absolute lies.

What we need to discuss with voters here in the 1st district is what we’re going to do to provide real solutions for our communities. Jobs. Passenger rail. Internet service. Shutting down this pipeline. We need to show what we’re going to do for people specifically. If we just say “we’re going to fight for the middle class” without giving specifics, we will get beaten by these organizations coming in and saying I want to take away your guns. We have to show the voters what they get when they vote for us. And that is: a place to stay and succeed. My biggest complaint about past campaigns in this district is that we’ve listened to consultants who’ve said, just give them poll-driven, nebulous nothing. And that’s how we lose. We have to go out there and show voters precisely who we are and what we’re going to do.

TRUMP

I think Trump is going to be the nominee. And I think it’s going to tear [the Republican] party apart. And I don’t say that gleefully. We need a two-party system for politics to function. The whole party’s going to melt down. And that is a terrific advantage for us. But I don’t say that gleefully. This country is going to pay a price for years to come from Donald Trump being our nominee. I was in Iraq in ’05 as a civilian. I didn’t live in the Green Zone. I didn’t live in an army base, I didn’t live on a FOB or in any government facility. I lived downtown in a city of half a million people, and my neighbors were Muslims. I chose to live next to a mosque because I thought they would help protect me. And they did. When I’d walk out I’d see my neighbor out there playing with his kid, whatever, and I didn’t have to worry, because he knew what I was doing and we had a shared sense of mission. My colleagues right now doing the same job in Muslim countries all over the world, they now have to wonder what did Trump say last night that’s going to get them in trouble or get them killed. What Trump is saying right now is nothing but recruitment for Al Qaeda. This is dangerous stuff that he’s doing. This country will pay a heck of a price for his language for many years to come. I think decades.

OUR DEMOCRACY, HOW WE VOTE, AND YOUR PARTICIPATION

Our campaign finance system needs to be torn down. Citizens United needs to be overturned. That’s going to take a lot of citizens’ involvement. But we have to overcome this. Millions of dollars, probably billions have poured in to our government, to our campaigns—we’re marching toward an oligarchy. I just read that we have about 158 families that are controlling the entire Republican presidential primary process. There’s the Koch brothers and 157 other families. We’re driving toward an oligarchy and we need to do better.

The 1 percent: people who run Wall Street and fund a lot of our political activities. They are looking at the demographics of our country and they’re wondering how they can win. They have been slowly grabbing the reins of power. In the last four years, look what has happened. Repealing parts of the Voting Rights Act. Citizens United. Redrawing the lines. Voting rights violations. Voter ID laws. Emergency managers. Fewer polling places. This is all by design. It’s all designed to tell you: You don’t count. Don’t bother giving $5 to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, because the Koch brothers are going to come in with a billion. Don’t bother running for office because we’re going to throw an emergency manager in there. Don’t bother voting. It’s all compounded to tell you to give up. Don’t participate.

One person can make a difference. The first race I worked on, in 1992, we beat an incumbent Republican member of Congress with $110,000. It was three of us, we were all in our twenties in the back of a house. The other candidate was 35 years old. Then in 1994 we won a race by 113 votes. In 2000 I was in Miami sitting at the recount tables. One person can make a difference. Let me show you how. Throw something up on social media and see how many likes you get. You’ve influenced the opinion of however many people. And that’s how this works. You have an idea, and no matter how crazy you think that idea is, there’s someone else out there who’s had that same idea. And you can then create change.

People don’t see a difference between one party and the next. It’s all corporate-bought politicians and they say forget it, it doesn’t matter. That’s why Bernie Sanders is gaining real traction. We have to show people that the system isn’t broken, and where it is, it’s your responsibility to fix it. [The big-money interests] rely on you saying “Screw it.” They want you to walk away. They win when that happens.

This is the best chance in decades to win this seat. We have an open seat. We have a three-way Republican primary, and they’re all pretty equally matched: We’ve got a three-star general out of Watersmeet, we have a current state senator from the UP, and a former state senator from Traverse City. Which means they’re going to beat the heck out of each other and be broke and banged up come August. And we’re going to have presidential year level turnout. Turnout is always a problem for Democrats, but it’s less so in a presidential year. I think we have one of the best issues of any race in the country, and that’s Line 5. It’s something all voters can care about and both Casperson and Allen are on record saying Line 5 is fine and can stay there. There’s a clear difference between the parties on this.

To win, all of us are going to have to do two and three times more than what we’ve ever done. We cannot afford to lose. If we lose this seat, Casperson or Allen will have it for 20 years. This is our moment right now. A democratic member of Congress helps with other seats. The downstream organizational value to a member of Congress is enormous. We’ve got 32 counties. We’re building an organization in every county. We have 1,500 endorsements. We’re going to ask you to make a contribution, put up a yard sign, make phone calls. We have 396 towns. That’s 4,000 elected officials just at the municipal level that we need to be in touch with.

One enormous advantage we have this year is that there’s no governor’s race and there’s no senate race. So people will vote for president and then next line underneath that is congressional. There’s always dropoff as you move down that ticket, but right now we’re the first after the presidential race.

I go to bed and I wake up with one number in my head: 1,881. That’s what Gary McDowell lost by. We can make up that number of votes. But we have to raise more money, go to more counties, get more endorsements, put up more yard signs. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of work. We hope to have yard signs by June. We have to raise $60,000 for signs. We have a website called LonSigns.com.

We’ve got a real shot. Let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s go win. Ψ

 

 

Benzie Emergency Management Seeks Feedback on Its Natural Hazards Draft Plan

In Agriculture, Community Alert, E Beach, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Green Elbertians, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Public Safety, Transportation, Water, Weather, Wildlife on January 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Get back to Frank Post, our county emergency management coordinator, by email or phone asap! (fpost@benzieco.net, 231-882-0567)

Read and download the draft plan here: 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan

More information is available at the Region 7 website.

Swim for Mitch and His Favorite Places This Labor Day Sunday

In Community Alert, Environment, Fishing, GOOD NEWS, Open Season, Water on August 27, 2014 at 11:09 am

By Ann Sinclair

UPDATE

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 5.01.47 PM

Greetings to All!
In honor of my dear friend Mitch Stevenson, who passed on August 22, 2013, I thought I would go for a swim.  And since I’m still rehabbing my shoulder, I prowled around for a revised route, and have landed on crossing Little Glen Lake, located on the edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. My pal Marilyn and I scouted start and finish points along the lake shore this past weekend, and my Google map tells me my chosen route measures about 1 mile.
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WHAT IF…?
So I’m thinkin’ that perhaps you would like to join in.  You can swim with me (my pal Joanna is getting ready to go), or float alongside in a kayak, canoe, innertube, pontoon, or fishing boat. I will have kayaks accompany us so no other boats run anyone over, but if that isn’t up your alley, you can simply send a tax deductible donation to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) with “Mitch Swim” in the memo line—easy.  I’m throwing a $10 figure out there, but whatever is comfortable for you is the perfect amount. And if a donation isn’t in the cards at the moment, no worries. You can send great thoughts and encouragement this coming Sunday morning, August 31, at approximately 7:30 am EST.  The only things that will reschedule this swim are lightning and/or gale force winds.
 
ABOUT THE DONATION
I’ve chosen GTRLC because this land is Mitch’s home, and the Conservancy works hard to protect these woodlands and coastline. Mitch loved wilderness and the life it supports, and spent as much time as possible in the woods and on the water.  The organization does great work, and every little bit from us helps—even coins found in your sofa. Here’s a link to a list of the nature preserves GTRLC has set up; you may have visited some already, or will plan to once you see the list. http://www.gtrlc.org/preserves/preserves-list/
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If you’re interested, write a check for a tax deductible donation to:
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy—please write “Mitch Swim” in the memo line—for tax purposes and tallying the final amount.
 
And send to:
GTRLC
3860 N. Long Lake Road, Suite D
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
231-929-7911 or 888-929-3866
I will buzz them up mid-September to see how we did and let you know grand total—together we will help preserve more natural habitat—a page out of Mitch’s playbook! Spread the word if you like.
It is with honor and respect that I make this crossing for Mitch; this world is a better place because he was with us. Ψ

Finally the Truth! About Garbage

In Community Alert, Environment, Housekeeping, On and off the Apron on May 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm

By Emily Votruba

Village garbage pickup, provided by Allied Waste (Republic Services) of Manistee, is every Friday morning. Put your trash out by 7 am to be safe. In the event of a Monday holiday, service will occur the next day (so, in our case, pickup will be Saturday).

You must purchase official red Allied Waste garbage bags. For many years, villagers bought these bags at the Village Office from our clerk, Sharyn Bower; most recently the price was $25 for a pack of ten. Because of the Village’s financial crisis, office hours have been drastically reduced, and this service is no longer provided.

You can buy bags at Glen’s in Frankfort or Shop-n-Save in Benzonia for $30 for 10 or $3 each. (“There’s no deal,” said the person who answered the phone at Glen’s.) City Hall in Frankfort sells them for $25/10—and yes, you can use theirs, because they also contract with Allied Waste. The cheapest option (not including gas) is to buy bags at the Village of Beulah office, at $21 for 10. The Beulah office is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm, or you can go there Monday through Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 when treasurer Dawn Olney is there.

It has become customary for Villagers to use their own standard-size trash receptacle, and simply hang an official garbage bag as a “red flag” over the side, secured to the can by its lid or some other means. This is perfectly acceptable. Be aware, though, that if the amount of trash in your container is significantly larger than what would likely fit in an official bag, the waste removal team may pass you by. Perhaps fly two red flags, if you’re not sure.

If you generate a lot of waste, and the whole buying-trash-bags scenario is harshing your mellow, you may choose to rent a container from Allied Waste for approximately $20 per month (that’s $15 plus fees; the Allied rep reached by phone today wasn’t totally sure of the cost). Give ’em a call at (231) 723-4940, or visit their website.

The Allied staffer also noted that yard waste pickup is available in the Village on the second Friday of every month from April through August, and then on the second and fourth Fridays from September through November. Special yard waste bags can be purchased at Glen’s for the same price. In the fall, leaves may be dumped at the swamp end of First Street. Or you can dump your leaves and pesticide-free clippings in Emily Votruba’s yard. If you spray, though, please stay away. Thank you. Note: Per a fairly recent Village ordinance, there is no burning of brush or other yard waste allowed in the Village limits. Some of your near neighbors like to keep their lungs pink, so please be considerate and follow the law.

Unlike Frankfort, the Village has no curbside large-item removal—except by your fellow Villagers, if you put out something cool. Instead, we have an annual cleanup day, where for $25 a pickup load, Village residents can bring their trash to the Village Office and Ken Bonney will help dump it in a rented Dumpster. The next one of those is this Saturday, May 17, from 9 am to 2 pm; details in the flier below. I, for one, am very excited about this.

In your ongoing effort to be a good citizen and member of our ecosystem, you may wish take advantage of Benzie County’s hazardous and electronic-waste collections (see flier below), orchestrated by the fabulous Marlene Wood, and by all means, save yourself some money by bringing your recyclables to the massive recycling bins in the Frankfort industrial park on Parkview Lane, off M-115. Paper products and anything stamped with a triangled number can go in there; glass must be placed the nearby separate glass containers. If you want to help out the local high school, take your cardboard to the trailer in the Frankfort–Elberta High School parking lot. They’ll appreciate it. Ψ

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Road Ends Sign Gone

In Community Alert, E Beach, Environment, Green Elbertians, Open Season, Transportation on May 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

The “Road Ends” sign the Village installed last June has apparently been removed (not by the Village). Jennifer Wilkins sent this photo yesterday, May 3.

Photo by Jennifer Wilkins

Photo by Jennifer Wilkins