October 13, 2011 // 0 Comments

Resident considers DEQ investigation for home Dear Editor, Today as I was walking on North Monroe Street, I thought I saw dust emanating from a house. I’m not sure, but it could have been asbestos dust. I’ve been considering contacting the DEQ to have this investigated. If these people do not have asbestos in the house, they should be made to prove it. Also, this is an older house and should be inspected for lead-based paints. This same house belonged to my dentist 40 years ago and he might have mentioned an oil tank buried between the house and garage. I think this could be dangerous and should also be investigated at the owners’ expense. These issues are similar to the situation at the Wolverine property, so maybe we can get the EPA to investigate this property when they are in town. Robert Winegar Rockford resident   Reader discusses global warming topic, column Dear mom… I know you’re on the fence; you’re not sure what to believe. I want to thank you for listening—most people are so politically polarized, they don’t even listen. I understand that you respect Craig James; I agree that he is an expert meteorologist, but he is wrong about climate change. His facts are incorrect and he misrepresents science… but I won’t elaborate here, the philosophy is a little over your head. No offense, most of the public is scientifically illiterate. I often try explaining science to people and they get lost in semantics and I realize just providing opposing facts won’t induce them to reconsider. Mom, what will? Someone with Mr. James’ credentials shouldn’t get a feature article to espouse his blog-style opinions; it makes you think there is still a debate among scientists, doesn’t it? You think it is a fair question to consider the cost when you hear climate change might not be something to worry about. For example, Mr. James said that the earth has natural thermostats or controls to regulate its own temperature. You and I both agree that God is in control, so James’ comments seem to make sense. But mom, what James described is only half the truth. The traditional checks and balances of nature that keep natural systems in check can be trumped when […]


September 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

Reader reflects on Healing Field Dear Editor, My wife Sherry and I visited the Healing Field at the Cannonsburg ski hill on Sunday and were moved by the display of 3,000 flags representing those lost on 9/11. We returned after dark to see what it looked like under the lights and were moved again, in an entirely different way. Those experiences prompted thoughts that I have since converted into the following poem. I thought perhaps some of your readers might identify with my reflections. Flags On a Ski Hill at Night – September 11, 2011 Three thousand flags displayed on a ski hill, lined up in rows like tall stalks of corn, standing like tombstones, mute in the darkness, full moon above, a harvest forlorn.   Today in the wind they waved with conviction, now in the night they hang limp and damp like sails on a mast when a zephyr has faded, or slack canvas tent flaps when armies encamp.   A pair of young girls darts blithely between them, like skiers who slalom through gates made of poles, unmindful this evening of reasons for mourning, forgetting that these are the shrouds for lost souls.   They are, after all, simply flags on a hillside, metal and cloth in ordered array, but such is the stuff that mitigates heartache, and such is the innocence lost on that day. Steve Trott, Rockford resident


September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

Charities to suffer Dear Editor, This year, 2011, is the LAST year that Charitable Contributions will be deductible on the Michigan state income tax form. Not surprisingly, I have seen nothing about this on our local TV news reports, nor have I seen anything about it in the Grand Rapids Press. There was an article about this in the Grand Rapids Business Journal a few weeks ago. I asked Rep. MacGregor how he voted on this. Here is his reply, quoted from his e-mail response to me: “Unfortunately, the state budget director determined that the state could not afford some of these deductions and chose to eliminate them in the same bill as the MBT (Michigan Business Tax) elimination bill. In voting to eliminate the MBT, unfortunately, these deductions were eliminated as well in an effort to help balance our budget deficit.” So there you have it—we are helping to balance the state budget by working against charitable contributions. I wonder what the long-term effect will be. Paul Jorgensen Lake Bella Vista resident ‘Per capital’ the wrong way to evaluate Dear Editor, The Grand Rapids Press article dated July 28, 2011, “What are they worth” focused on the township supervisor pay treatment based on dollars per capita and statutory responsibilities. Unfortunately, the analysis was based on only half the facts for the following reasons: 1. In many townships, supervisors can be responsible for both statutory duties and non-statutory (permissive) duties. These non-statutory responsibilities include health, safety and welfare services such as fire, rescue, first responder, community sewer system, community water systems and much more. 2. The worth of a township supervisor can not be based on dollars per capita only since each township has a distinct profile based on population size, the size of the commercial development, the size of the industrial development and the number and kind of non-statutory health, welfare and safety services provided. While their study report identified some over- and under-paid salaries, it also did a disservice to elected officials responsible for both statutory and non-statutory services by basing their worth on dollars per capita and statutory duties while virtually disregarding non-statutory duties and individual complexities. Respectfully, William Tetro EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Tetro also included some information from the Grand Rapids Press […]


September 1, 2011 // 0 Comments

Jansen supports much needed reforms Dear Editor, The Legislature recently approved reforms that will provide schools and local governments with the necessary tools to address the rising cost of benefits and keep education dollars in the classroom. Senate Bill 7, which I sponsored, limits the amount a public employer can spend toward health care unless employees increase their contribution. The measure caps public employer contributions to employee health care costs at a fixed dollar amount, or it divides the costs so employees contribute 20 percent of the costs. The legislation will save an estimated $500 million in benefit costs for school district, local government, and community college employees. This change is long overdue. Private-sector employees in the Midwest are responsible for an average of 21 percent of their health care benefits for single coverage and 30 percent for family coverage, while public employees’ share in the Midwest is on average only 10 percent of the cost for single coverage and 15 percent for families. Taxpayers burdened with high unemployment, lower personal income and falling home prices shouldn’t be paying more to maintain public employees’ benefits. This legislation will help us stretch our tax dollars. It is also important to note that the money saved by local units of government stays within that government entity. This could be used to hire more police officers or pay for more local services. The money saved by local school districts remains in that district and could be used to put more teachers in the classroom. This is the best benefit of all.   Mark C. Jansen State Senator 28th District


August 18, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rockford Art Capsule–a real contest or drawing?  Dear Editor, Color me a little confused here. Have the organizers of Art Capsule given any thought to how seriously flawed the contest’s voting procedures and rules are? Done properly a contest should allow only one ballot per voter. Not so Art Capsule. Pads of tear-off ballots are readily available at participating contest venues throughout the downtown area. Ballot boxes are also scattered about at many of the same merchants. What’s to stop someone(s) from picking up multiple ballots to repeatedly vote for a favored contest entrant who just happens to be a close friend or relative? In order to insure the authenticity and validity of the voting totals the contest organizers could have chosen a single manned ballot pick-up and drop off location. The City’s downtown Welcome Center, already staffed by community volunteers, would be a perfect location. As it now stands, contest entrants are being done a disservice. They will be forever left to wonder if their work of art entry won or lost strictly based upon viewer popularity and merit or, sadder still, did they simply win or lose based upon a stuffed ballot box! Sonja Alberti Rockford

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