Thank you to all my new friends or your help. I am blessed.
Thank you to all my new friends or your help. I am blessed.
My Visit to Cuba
To Family and Friends
Please do not ask me about the beaches or sunsets – The goal was to stare Communism in the face, to see and learn about a country and its people who have lived with government mandated “equality” in exchange of liberty for 55 years. Actually, before his death, even Fidel Castro finally acknowledged that his centrally planned and controlled economy (Communism), is unsustainable. His mission of creating equality, resulted in a country where everyone is poor, with the exception of those directly connected to his corrupt regime. Ironically, his estate when he died was estimated to be worth almost a billion dollars – it’s hard to avoid human nature. Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother and successor), no longer uses the word Communism. Several free market reforms are now taking hold by necessity. For the 1st time in more than 55 years, Cubans have a very controlled and limited ability to work on their own behalf – Capitalism.
Meanwhile millions of American college students are attending Bernie Sander’s rally’s protesting the very freedom Cubans yearn for, and in many cases have died in search of.
Our friend and guide, we will call him Ernesto, had an acute knowledge of Cuban history, including its relationship with the United States.
In this city of about 3 million people, every beautiful building, engineering marvel, or landmark we saw was completed prior to Castro’s communist takeover in 1959. Since then, Cuba has been pretty much frozen in time, less the accumulated depreciation of a once thriving city.
U.S. influence – I returned disappointed that despite U.S. television not being allowed in Cuba, the Cubans we met seemed more knowledgeable about our current events and politics than most of our own citizens. Many Cubans receive a thing called the “Cuban Package.” That is a black market service where someone downloads several U.S. news broadcasts, political programs, and current movies, puts them on a “thumb drive,” and exchanges them weekly. Though delayed, they pay close attention to us, especially our politics.
8% of Cuban households own a car – and most who do are connected to the government. Since 2011 Cubans no longer need permission from the government to purchase a car newer than 1959. The bad news – a $20,000 Peugeot costs about $100,000. With an average salary in Cuba of less than $30 per month, unless you have family in the United States sending money back to you, or are politically connected, your opportunity to own a car is remote.
Healthcare – is free. Ernesto’s wife is going back to school to become a pharmacist which pays about $25 per month, so their family can be more connected to the healthcare system. It is a great benefit. The best way to have a procedure authorized, or an appointment set, is to be connected to the system. Doctor salaries are about $40 per month – but hey, their education is free.
Education – free. The difference is the government decides if you qualify for the education you are seeking. With education too it is very beneficial to be connected to the government that gets to make the decisions ruling your life.
Homelessness – We did not witness a lot of homelessness. Why, because you are not allowed to live on the streets of Havana. You will be brought to your family and they will be told they will lose their home unless they keep you there
Drugs – not a visible drug problem. When drug dealers are imprisoned for life, or killed in the public square, the problem is minimized. I guess in Cuba the punishment acts as a deterrent.
Food – each member of your family receives government food rations each month. If you bring your certificate in early enough to the government store, you will receive; ½ chicken, 5-eggs, 2lbs. of rice, a pound of beans, 1-cup of cooking oil, etc. Cubans are fortunate if they are able to eat meat more than a couple times per month.
Enterprise – the best paying jobs outside of Cuban government are jobs where you receive tips or cash from tourists. You need a government permit for jobs, and they are not easy to get. Ernesto is technically a photographer. He must walk around with a camera, and not get caught discussing Cuban history, landmarks, or especially the oppression caused by equality. His brother spent time in jail for selling wood carvings on the street, without the proper permit. Just about everyone in Cuba who is motivated works Por la izquierda, which means under the table, in addition to their government salary.
Banking – enterprising Cubans prefer mattresses and coffee cans in the backyard to banks. Ernesto said he keeps less than 5 Dollars in his bank account. He saves his money in Euros, Canadian Dollars and U.S. Dollars. Amazingly, he was already aware of Donald Trump’s intention to devalue the American Dollar, and was acting accordingly. Cuban’s level of sophistication was inspiring.
To my Cuban friends that would prefer no one travel to Cuba and support this oppressive regime, I say this; We did not stay in a government hotel, rather a small 6 room hotel where I am confident the government will never see our money. Ernesto received cash and does not employ Cuban banks. The restaurants were small, local restaurants that pay a monthly fee to the government, per seat. We were sure to tip them well in CUK (Cuban Exchange Currency). I believe that our time in Cuba helped the Cuban citizens directly and intentionally. There is a large, underground economy in Cuba that is empowering its citizens. I welcome the discussion and want to learn.
I am hopeful that as the citizens gain wealth, they will have the resources to rise up and fight for the freedoms we as Americans take for granted.
Michigan’s historic places drive economic development, attract businesses, draw tourists and new residents, create a sense of place, and enhance our quality of life. Keeping these historic places is so important that historic preservation has been upheld as a public purpose under the U. S. Constitution—preserving historic resources is a valid governmental goal and local historic district ordinances have been upheld as an appropriate means to secure that goal. Local historic districts are the only way for communities to manage and protect their historic assets, and 78 communities to date have chosen to enact ordinances to protect their historic assets at the local level, under current state law. The bill to amend 1970 Public Act 169 jeopardizes the efficient and fair process for establishing local historic districts already in place under PA 169, reduces protection given to resources in local historic districts, and diminishes the authority of local historic district commissions and local legislative bodies.
Weakens Protection for Historic Resources
• This bill would dispose of the current process for dissolving historic districts, allowing local legislative bodies to eliminate local historic districts without guidelines or justification, and without community input.
• This bill would reduce reliance on accepted, best-practice Standards used nationwide for commission decision-making, introducing uncertainty into the process.
• This bill would change the appeals process for an aggrieved property owner within a district. Instead of appealing to a neutral state board, which has appellate jurisdiction because of its expertise, appeals would be heard at the local level where political and development pressures could affect the outcome.
Reduces Local Control
• This bill would make it impossible for local legislative bodies to act quickly to head off a sudden development threat to a community landmark. Currently, in municipalities with a historic district ordinance, a local legislative body can place a threatened resource under study for local designation and delay development in that area for up to 6 months. This bill proposes to petition local property owners and acquire a 2/3 majority in support before a historic district study committee could even be appointed, wiping out the local body’s ability to act quickly under threat.
• This bill would mandate that after a local legislative body decides to establish a local historic district, the public in that unit of government must vote in support of the district in a general election to make it official. Further, the electorate will have to vote on its local historic districts every 10 years, even in communities with long-standing historic districts, imposing unnecessary and substantial costs upon municipalities in staff time and community education. These inefficient processes undermine local representative democracy. Why would the State impose a sunset clause on local decisions?
Political Commentary, etc. by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Max Riekse, United State Army – 32 years; and Vietnam War & Iraq War Veteran
• Max’s book of the ‘day’ recommendation: “The War Against Putin – What the Government-Media Complex Isn’t Telling You About Russia” by Marcus S. King. King is a private investigative journalist and researcher and Rutgers University graduate.
• “Nowhere is mass mind control more evident than in the West’s dishonest effort to vilify Russia and its dynamic leader, Vladimir Putin.” Chapters include: “The Rape of Russia”; NATO’s Encirclement of Russia”; “Obama’s Dirty War Against Russia and the World”; “The Anti-Putin Propaganda Blitz”; “A Violent Coup in Ukraine”; and “The Russian ‘Invasion’ of Crimea”. Order the book from the American Free Press online.
• ‘U.S. television news shows and newspapers continue to lie to Americans about ‘Putin’s invasion’ of Crimea. The fact is, Russia has owned Crimea for centuries. Check the date of the Crimean War (1853-56) when Britain and France sent armies to invade Crimea. Less than a century ago, all American high school students had to memorize the “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which took place during the Crimean War. Our press keeps lying to us about Crimea and it’s quite obvious that they just hate Russia. That, with Common Core, and dummying down of Americans, is what the neo-cons are using to drive us into another Cold War; a neo-con war for the wealthy, military, industrial and intelligence complex. And part of ‘their’ plan is for us to have war with Iran. And remember, the neo-cons have their base as Russian Trotskyite Communists who were directly responsible in the blood thirsty death of over 65 million Russians, mostly Christians – whom all good communists hate and want to see dead. Vietnam Veterans have a word for the national network news CBS – Communist Broadcasting System; and remember, the lying news media cannot be trusted; Fox News is unfair and unbalanced; and that is why all the news media hate Donald Trump. He is not one of them nor does he dance to their tune. He is his own man; he made his money on his own, and can and does thumb his nose, etc. at the rotten, corrupt, anti-Constitution, anti-Bill of Rights, anti-Second Amendment, anti-American flag, anti-American and anti-Christian Jesus haters. The same people who facilitate the death of over 65 million Russian Christians want to trash the – our/your constitutional rights and especially the / our Second Amendment and disarm Americans so ‘they’ can eliminate all God-fearing American Christians.
• Presidential candidate Donald Trump recently put out a position paper echoing NRA talking points, and declaring unwavering support for the Second Amendment. This is a position shift for ‘the Donald’ who during his 2000 foray into presidential politics, declared support for a ban on so-called assault weapons and called for a three-day waiting period for firearms purchases. Trump has expressed strong support for Second Amendment rights in 2015; while United States Senator Rand Paul, another Republican presidential candidate, has been a solid Second Amendment supporter for many years. I like Trump!
A new poll conducted by Gallup has found that almost half of Americans, or 49%, believe the Federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.” (American Free Press; Sep – Oct 2015 – Vol. 39 & 40). Enough said!
The recent Islamic Terrorist attack in California brought out the usual reaction from American politicians and others. Some immediately blamed guns and suggested more gun laws, ignoring the fact that it is ungodly humans who pull the trigger.
When the perpetrators turned out to be Islamic, the question they wanted answered was, how did they get radicalized? Like if they didn’t know!
Historians tell us that Prophet Mohammed respected both the Jewish and the Christians and that he told his followers to leave them alone (don’t try to convert them), because they already knew God. So obviously, He believed in the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).
However, later things changed, so that now, The Koran (Qur’an), contains such things as, “Kill them [the infidels, namely Christians and Jews] wherever you may come upon them, and seize them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place.”-Sura 9:5
So the Prophet’s love of the Living God has now been turned into hatred against God’s Chosen People, the Jews and Christians, and the rest of the world. Now the Muslim Brotherhood says, “Our mission: world domination.” Some Muslim slogans are, “Death to America,” “Kill the Jews,” “Kill the Unbelievers.”
Yes America. Islam is serious when they say, “death to America.” To them it is death to everyone who doesn’t follow their God. That is not exactly what the Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob commanded. His commandments were, “Thou shall not kill,” and “Love thy neighbor.”
Sadly, God’s plan for salvation, through the forgiveness of Man’s sin, by the shedding of His precious Son’s blood, has been rejected by Islam. Instead, they tell their followers the path to Heaven is by killing those who do not believe in Allah, and that by doing so, 70 family members will win entrance to Heaven too. And some ask for a motive!!
Lest we forget, America too has rejected God and His Word (Jesus Christ our Lord).
Manuel Ybarra, Jr. Coalgate, OK
Is your life like a lifetime movie? What if Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser had been teachers instead of the political business for careers? Would they have lost their jobs and lots more? Doubtful – and a lot of we women would know who got tired of middle-aged former husbands, lovers and current husbands who suffer from the Peter Pan disease of liking guys in costumes beating the stuffing out of other guys in costumes, than discussing football with more old guys better than being with us.
At least the males get out of the house long enough for some of us to be appreciated by grown men instead of well over-aged boys who never grew up.
Soon there will be 40 football bowl games on TV. It isn’t about the pageantry. It’s about the money and always will be. There should be a retirement home for Peter Pan types but there isn’t and that includes the Disney complexes, also very popular with millions of people with money to blow. Guys often wonder why their marriages fall apart, or why things just don’t seem magical anymore. It all started when football became the main religion in America and along the way, some ardent former cheerleaders opted for new game plans.
Sincerely, 65% of women in America with college degrees
(Some wives enjoy the game sitting next to their man. They may not be the 65% of the smart college women you refer to, but are probably the real winners, I wonder if being a sports fan is a healthier escape for those whose marriages have fallen apart and no longer magical, then the outlet you suggest for the unhappy women. – I’m looking forward to a response, but how about sharing your name to make the exchange more meaningful?– The Editor)
As a Michigan business leader, I see the direct effect of illiteracy in the workplace and our talent pool and it is a roadblock to Michigan becoming a leading state economy.
I was a member of the Governor’s bi-partisan 3rd grade reading workgroup this spring. The workgroup proposed a series of recommendations to improve literacy and the report was widely hailed for its recommendations.
The solutions proposed in House Bill 4822 have been carefully selected from best practices through extensive 3rd grade literacy research. And, I believe this bill will improve literacy in Michigan.
This summer, Grand Rapids Public Schools piloted a 5-week program in three of their lowest performing elementary schools. The program put into practice the bill’s intervention proposals that reflect our workgroup’s findings.
The pilot program attacked two key success influencers: curriculum and teacher training. The students all scored one grade level or more behind reading proficiency on Michigan’s standardized test. Curriculum today assumes students obtain some basic literacy skills at home, but in many cases they haven’t. The pilot curriculum measured each child’s literacy through diagnostic instruments and performed targeted, individualized interventions to master the five basic building blocks of reading (phonics, phonemics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension).
Elementary teachers today are not prepared to teach diagnostically-informed interventions. We provided teacher training and reading specialists to coach teachers throughout the 5-weeks on how to use diagnostic instruments and how to perform individualized interventions for teachers to take back into their classrooms in the same schools this year.
68% of the pilot program students who attended all five weeks showed progress on the NWEA MAP assessment test. In contrast, 53% of a control group of like-performing students who did not participate in the program declined over the summer. The teacher feedback has been extremely positive. It’s not a question of intelligence or capability. When children have the basic building blocks of reading, the information necessary to move forward in learning, they can achieve like anyone else.
If we pass this bill, GRPS’s success can be scaled across the state.
(Submitted by Kristine Babiarz)
According to this information, a group of rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim, and here are some interesting facts:
The first thing rapists look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
The second thing rapists look for is clothing. They look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.
They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off–guard and can be easily overpowered.
Rapists are most likely to attack and rape in the early morning between 5 and 8:30 a.m.
The number one place women are abducted from or attacked is grocery store parking lots. The number two: office parking lots/garages. Number three is public restrooms.
The thing about these rapists is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don‘t have to worry about getting caught.
Only two percent said they carried weapons because rape carries a three to five year sentence, but rape with a weapon is 15 to 20 years.
If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn‘t worth it because it will be time consuming.
They said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.
Several defense mechanisms are: if someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or is with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like “What time is it?” Or make general small talk: “I can‘t believe it is so cold out here.” “We’re in for a bad winter.“ Now you‘ve seen his face and could identify him in a lineup. You lose your appeal as a target.
If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell “STOP“ or “STAY BACK!“ Most of the rapists said they‘d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an easy target.
If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yell, “I have pepper spray,” and holding it out will be a deterrent.
Millions of God Loving American citizens were stunned and disappointed to see their cherished White House used to promote what God calls “wicked” and “evil.” And guess what,” Ignorance of God’s Law is no excuse.” One can say the same to those judges in the Supreme Court who apparently don’t know those laws either.
And I hate to correct you, but I did hear you say, “it’s my House,“ referring to the White House. That crown jewel belongs to “we the people.” We do not appreciate it (the White House) being used to promote abomination.
Of course, that is exactly what your staff did when they celebrated the High Court’s decision on gay marriage, by lighting up “our house.” They disgraced us before the world, but most important, before our “Creator, God Almighty, the Supreme Judge.”
That Supreme Judge left plenty of examples in the Holy Bible to keep future generations from making the same mistake and ending up being destroyed, like Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. Those cities/nations incurred God’s wrath because of same-sex. In 2 Peter 2:6 you will find that these cities were made “an example, unto those that after should live ungodly.” Now the USA has taken it even further, by saying to same-sex partners, “you have the right to get married.” Instead of listening to the Word of God you elected to come out in favor of moral perversion.
We know, from God’s Word, that those who practice same-sex, God will give “them over to a reprobate mind.” That, after death, means eternal damnation, first in “Hell” and later “the lake of fire” forever and ever. So ask yourself, “why would a well-meaning and loving person want anyone to pursue such a life-style? And you are promoting this life-style from our White House!!!!
We need to correct a misconception: God Loves Us, and we who have been saved by God’s grace, love Him and all mankind in the world. There is only one race, the human race. However, rejecting The Word of God, which was made flesh in the person Jesus Christ our Savior, will lead to Hell, because by doing so, one rejects God’s last chance to Mankind for forgiveness for our sins. The Holy Bible states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6) as he said.
Manuel Ybarra, Jr. RR 5 Box 1550 Coalgate, OK 74538
To the Editor:
I am writing to applaud Ron Cooper’s May 2015 editorial on the “elephant in the room:” the role of drugs in promoting crime and the decimation of drug users and their families. He argues cogently for decriminalization of “natural” drugs, that is, drugs that are manufactured from herbs and other flora: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and opium. I am a public defender in New Jersey, and many of my clients are fundamentally no different from you and me. When they are prosecuted, and usually over-prosecuted, for possession with intent to distribute or distribution of these drugs, they serve very high sentences. If they live in urban communities, where it is impossible to walk outside a 1000-foot distance from school property, they receive extended terms. But, at least in Newark New Jersey, none of the people who are arrested for drug crimes have ever been arrested while selling to children. Moreover, if a police officer sees them even walk through the school zone, but arrests them for selling outside the school zone, they receive the extended terms. Young men and women spend most of their lives in prison for nonviolent crimes.
In New Jersey, the State government is promulgating diversionary programs into drug courts, which certain people charged with drug crimes, if they are found to suffer from addictions, can choose a rigorous drug treatment program as a form of probation, rather than serving a prison term. The program works! Michigan has such a program as well. Drug court is a beginning in a movement to remove the horror of prison terms for nonviolent drug crimes.
But it is only a beginning. Ron is entirely correct to hold that decriminalization or legalization would reduce the violent crimes that are committed when people with drug addictions become entangled in the underground economy of drug manufacture and distribution. An additional benefit is that the “new jim crow,” the segregation of people of color by putting them in prison, would no longer be a cause of the alienation and rage that black and Hispanic Americans feel toward the criminal justice system.
In the interest of full disclosure, Ron is my cousin and I am only, by virtue of my family ties, an honorary Michigander, but I carry that label with great pride. I cannot vote for Michigan legislators, but I can, as here, applaud the conversation that Ron will undoubtedly cause. He an I do not always agree on politics, but we share a concern for the increasing violents caused by mass incarceration due to our draconian drug laws.
John Douard, Esq.
2 Fairfield Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
Choose Life License Plates could be on their way to Michigan
On March 5, the Michigan Senate Transportation Committee reported SB 84 out of committee by a vote of 4‑1. If passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor, SB 84 would authorize a Choose Life fundraising license plate. The license plate would raise funds for organizations that submit grant proposals for specific abortion prevention projects. The bill stipulates that the funds will be used to promote alternatives to abortion, including adoption, provide practical support to pregnant women, and conduct outreach to at‑risk populations regarding positive pregnancy options.
Choose Life license plates are a common way states allow charities to help women experiencing an unplanned pregnancies. More than 25 states have passed Choose Life license plate legislation including Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Michigan has allowed a wide variety of special causes to raise funds using specialty plates including Michigan’s 15 state-supported universities, the Boy Scouts of America, breast cancer awareness, lighthouse preservation, veterans’ memorial, water quality, wildlife habitat, and disaster relief through the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
If the legislation passes, the money would be used to support pregnant women and promote alternatives to abortion. The legislation directs that “money disbursed to the Choose Life Michigan Fund under this section shall be distributed to eligible nonprofit organizations that expend money on projects that promote alternatives to abortion.” Eligible non-profits include “crisis pregnancy centers, homes for pregnant women, and other organizations that provide practical support to pregnant women, provide practical outreach to at‑risk populations, and promote life‑saving programs and projects as alternatives to abortion.”
Unfortunately, pro-abortion groups are already lying about this legislation. Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the United States, opposes this legislation and in an e-mail to supporters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan falsely claimed “tax dollars” would be used to administer the funds from the Choose Life license plates. This claim is false. The proceeds from the sale of specialty license plates (they cost an additional $35 per year) fund the administration costs and the grants to eligible non-profits.
On the other hand, Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million a year in government funding.
Those in favor of legal abortion often claim they are not in favor of abortion but the choice to have an abortion. Only organizations that are pro-abortion would be opposed to prolife people using their own money to buy license plates which help fund efforts to help women in unplanned pregnancies choose life. None of the funds or distribution of funds can legally prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion.
The constitution of the United States, contains a clause that protects the citizens of this nation from unjust or wrongful laws or decisions by the Congress, the Executive Branch, or the Judicial Branch of our government.
This clause is referred to as our Checks and Balance system.
The U.S. Supreme courts decisions by a 5 to 4 vote, declared the Protection of Marriage act unconstitutional.
This decision is one of the most immoral, absurd illogical decisions ever rendered by the U.S. Supreme court, with the only exception being the decision to legalize abortion on demand.
There is nothing unconstitutional about limiting marriage to one man and one women. The Supreme court is clearly exceeding their authority. We as citizens must contact our Legislators to reverse this decision. In the event this decision is not reversed this court will legalize same sex marriage in June.
Same sex marriage is an abomination to our creator, and will cause an economic drain on Social Security. Same sex marriages, will enable a same sex spouse to draw on their spouses Social Security, also these same sex spouses will be entitled to be covered by their spouses insurance. In other words they will be entitled to every benefit that traditional couples receive. Write or call your Senator, your Representative or the Supreme court judges themselves, Their addresses and phone numbers can be obtained off the internet.
Don’t let this happen.
Richard L. Lang
Ravenna, MI 49451
Many of us have fought Common Core in our schools, the slow takeover of the Federal Government. Our Constitution gives this right to each state, not the Federal Government. I understand that money was held back, not given to “Smart Balance,” then the M.D.A. gave 4.9 million to them for a membership to use “Smart Balance” and calls it “INSTEP,” only the name change.
Parents, do you know what your children are being taught, tested for or the questions asked them? Have you checked the books for reading recommended by Common Core? I feel our schools are being dumbed down.
Think of the changes that have taken. It isn’t Christmas Break or Christmas Play, etc. It is Winter Break. Not Easter Break – it’s Spring Break. The history of how our forefathers gave and died to give us our freedom and Constitution is being taught less and less. Now, we have a war on Christianity in most countries, yes, even in America!
March 24th at 6:30 p.m. will be an informational meeting at Central Assembly of God, 896 Home Street, Muskegon. Enter at door #2. Our speaker, Melonie Kunds, is a math teacher and has many other qualifications. Come, listen, and ask questions.
–Billie G. Picklesimer, Ravenna
To the Editor:
In regard to the Muskegon County Road Millage, voting February 24, 2015. Four times within 6 – 7 months, asking for tax increases. This will be 5 by the State Sales Tax increase this May. Millions of taxpayer money is spent for these voting days. Why not combine some of these voting days? If money is so tight, why pay $230,000 to remodel a house on Leahy Street, then sell it for $75,000? Who pays the $160,000? We do!
The new MATS bus center, $2.356 million. Officials have plans for recreation – does not include city or townships. This county tax is at market value, not taxable value, a huge increase in our property taxes. There is a discussion about taxing how many miles we drive our cars. Our state and federal are talking about adding more tax at the gas pump. Isn’t it time to stand firm, let politicians know we have had enough of their taking from the people they work for?
Perhaps it is time we clean house. Where is the accountability for all these monies? I haven’t found that money tree they think we grow! Read the fine print. Ask questions.
*What about the war on Christianity? Who is fighting to stop this?
In reflecting on this sad fact I googled the term, “The silence is deafening”, and came across some good definitions:
1. A silence or lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm. In other words, not saying something can reveal something so shocking that you feel like you can’t hear anything else above the silence.
2. Deafening silence in simple terms is silence that tells you something no one wanted to say. For example, say you thought your spouse cheated on you, so you asked about it. you: “Did you cheat on me?” spouse: says nothing . You automatically know there is a reason for the silence, and you can conclude the answer yourself. Many times this is because a person may think not saying anything will prevent hurting the other person, when in actuality it says just as much, maybe more.
From where I stand, these two definitions sums up what I see has been happening in our fair State for far too long, namely, most citizens are silent when it comes to the incompetence and corruption that is very prevalent among those in public office. This issue crosses party lines and should no longer be tolerated.
If the majority of Michigan’s citizens would come together and say with one voice, “We will no longer be silent; we will not go quietly into the night”, our collective voices will shatter the silence, and bring about a second American Revolution. Only this time not with bombs and bullets, but with hearts and minds united in a just and noble cause. I propose that this just and noble cause be to restore the greatness of the Great Lake State. (I really miss that slogan). One person, which is each and every one us can make a difference, many of united in a just and noble cause, will make a miracle.
We must also not allow our collective voices to be weakened by the voices that choose to overly focus on socially divisive issues, while important to many, such as abortion and same sex marriage. The sad truth is that many politicians use these and other divisive social issues to drown out the voices from being heard on such issues as transparency in government, which will lead to accountability for the corruption and incompetence in government, as well as the disenfranchisement of many people in the Democratic process.
It is also a sad truth that too many citizens do not demand better from candidates for public office, and from those currently serving in public office. As the old saying goes, “We get the kind of government we want by the choices that we make, or fail to make”.
As Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it in his “Time for choosing speech”:
“You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism”.
It is my well thought out conclusion that we are losing our individual freedoms at an ever increasing pace due to those in public office hearing the deafening silence from the majority of the citizens of Michigan.
2636 Bernice St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
One Dynamic: Clinic Law Increases Accountability
Data released by the Michigan Department of Community Health showed a 12.4 percent increase in the number of reported abortions performed in 2013. The total number of abortions performed rose from 23,230, to 26,120. While the increased numbers are tragic, they are not unexpected and have predicted explanations. A law passed in 2012 requiring abortion clinics to be licensed caused 5 abortion clinics to close in the early months of 2013. The location of those closed clinics corresponds with the four counties (Muskegon, Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland) that showed substantial increases in abortions, accounting for the increase in the number of reported abortions.
Those closed abortion businesses were suspected of violating the state reporting law. As those abortion businesses closed, their clients went to other abortion businesses; previously unreported abortions may be reported now. There was also a shocking 44.4 percent increase in late-term abortions (after 20 weeks), which may be attributed to better reporting and an influx of women from Ohio after abortion businesses in Toledo closed.
In Muskegon, Right to Life of Michigan identified anomalies in past abortion data. The sole abortion business in Muskegon was not reporting abortions for two years prior to being shut down for dangerous conditions. It is suspected that women from Muskegon County are now traveling to other abortion businesses that follow state reporting laws. Metro Detroit may be experiencing something similar, four clinics from that area closed in 2013 following passage of the Prolife Omnibus Act (PA 499).
The numbers could reflect an actual increase in abortions, possibly due to the especially difficult economic times Detroit is facing as the city undergoes bankruptcy. About 29 percent of the 2013 increase was reported in Detroit, despite the city having only 7 percent of the state’s population. Abortion continues to disproportionately devastate the black community, with more than 50 percent of all abortions being performed on black women, even though they are only 16 percent of the female population. Recent media coverage showing Detroit’s maternal death rate at triple the national rate proves that abortion fails to improve women’s health.
The trend of declining abortions committed on girls under the age of 18 continued. That number dropped to under 1,000 for the first time ever. In 2012, 1,035 minor abortions were reported. The reported figure of 971 in 2013 represents another 6 percent decrease. Since 1990, abortions among minors has fallen 75 percent.
Whether it is real increases or better tracking, we are deeply saddened by the loss of those additional 2,900 precious lives. While the overall trend of decreasing abortions is encouraging, this year’s increase and the annual overall numbers serves as a reminder that our prolife efforts must continue, because lives depend on us.
Your help is needed. Learn how you can be part of saving lives by visiting Right to Life of Michigan at www.RTL.org.
As a resident of Fruitport Village, plus a graduate from Fruitport School, I would like to say this is a wonderful place to live and have raised my four kids here. What a great community we have, for I personally need to thank many persons whom have helped me through difficult times, as well as, my utmost two traumatic accidents.
September 2012, I accepted a ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, regrettably a car pulled in front of the bike, causing the driver to crash the motorcycle. I suffered a shattered ankle – on the left side – requiring two surgeries. More severely, I hit my head so many times causing an open head injury on the right side (32 staples) a closed head injury on the left side, and much swelling, numbness, along with pressure so severe that my skull continue to crack. I will live the rest of my life with ongoing vertigo, head pain, and memory problems. Oh yeah, I was not wearing a helmet!
One of my major concerns I had just before impact was re-injuring some old injuries (which I did) that I endured 28 years earlier during a horrific automobile accident. A truck had broadsided me, totaling my car. I sustained many broken bones, along with major internal injuries. More severe, I suffered a shattered pelvis – on the left side – requiring surgery with plates and screws holding me together for life. Oh yeah, I was not wearing a seat belt!
From both of these accidents; neither one was the fault of mine. More disturbing, neither driver who caused these horrific accidents: had their vehicles insured! Subsequently, in both accidents I had to rely on (PLPD) what my policy covered for the uninsured motor vehicle coverage. Thank God my policy covered all my medical costs, but as for my pain and suffering? Let’s just say that the uninsured liability I had in both accidents will never change the quality of my life! I will continue to live in pain, physically, psychologically, and financially “the rest of my life”.
I can only hope my story will help people become aware how injuries affect your outcome of life do to auto accidents; then to comprehend how truly the no-fault insurance system works! How nice it would be if those commercials on television will explain thoroughly the reason the severely injured in automobile accidents are able to receive millions, is, because the negligent driver stands properly insured. Otherwise, the significance of your injuries in now on your own policy for the uninsured and/or under-insured motorist coverage! But those commercials do not tell us – that if we do not recommend to our insurance agent the maximum uninsured/ under-insured motorists’ coverage on our PLPD policy it will be the bare minimum, therefore, the injuries you sustain from someone else’s negligence will forever hinder the rest of your life. Please take caution, motorcyclists; just because your bike is fully insured, it’s likely you don’t even carry medical coverage let alone any protection from an uninsured automobile.
In closing, please wear your seat belt and a helmet at all times, like I mentioned I hit my head 28 years ago and severely hit my head 2 years ago: sporadically I will remember every detail of both accidents like they happened yesterday. Sadly, I can’t recall much that has happened in between, therefore, my sincere apologies to anyone that I may have acted out too. Believe me when I say – being in constant pain can make a person very irritable, then when you add consistent head pressure, dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and memory problems. Need I say more?
Oh yeah, my two daughters were also in the first accident and suffered injury, trauma, anxiety, as well as, being separated from me during recovery. My two boys have had to take care of me, along with putting up with me throughout this second accident. These misfortunes have affected me and my children far deeper from what it appears. There are extremely more vehicles on the road today that are not properly protected let alone carry any insurance at all. I have always been under the impression that insurance is intended to help the devastating injured person continue on an adequate quality of life? Honestly, I am so very fortunate that my children and I have survived these shocking events. For at first glance you would never know how physically injured and mentally wounded, I myself, has sustained. Injuries are hard enough to deal with, let alone financial hardship! What’s in your insurance policy?
Special thank you Mom, (Jean Livingston) in spite of all you have tolerated you still continued to work and managed to help me and my kids as much as you could.
Utmost, this is dedicated to my four amazing children: Amanda (Swanson) Osterhart, Shannah Swanson, Robert Swanson, and Thomas Swanson. I could never have had the strength to endure our many hard times if not for you kids. I am so proud of each one of you! Blessed my beautiful grandchildren, family, friends, and neighbors who helped me along the way, you know who you are, Nancy Rizzo, and many more.
3578 Pontaluna Rd.
Fruitport MI 49415
Understanding Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
After the Supreme Court of the United States’ June 30 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby there has been a tremendous amount of rancor and misinformation from individuals and organizations which do not believe in or understand conscience rights and religious freedom of employers. With so much misinformation, it is important to understand the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.
The U.S. Supreme court 5 to 4 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties was a critical victory in protecting the right of conscience and religious liberty against government overreach. This case was much more about the proper role of government than about contraception and abortion-causing drugs. No one should be fined for following their faith; and employees should not be unwillingly complicit in participating in health insurance which destroys members of the human family.
Sarah Torre is a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Torre explains the results of the Hobby Lobby decision:
Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama Administration failed to meet under this mandate.
[The Hobby Lobby] decision is a strong rejection of the Obama’s administration’s faulty argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business. The government cannot unreasonably force Americans to set aside their beliefs simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees…
To be clear, the decision applies only to the coercive Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely-held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.
While the ruling applies only to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, some individuals seem to think this ruling is part of the “War on Women.”
The Hobby Lobby decision protects the rights of Americans to run a family business consistent with their faith. Thankfully, it was faith, conscience and commonsense which won the day when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
Director of Public Information
With our bloated governments non-stop engagement of over-reach into everyone’s lives, the self evident truth of the unalienable rights that we have been endowed with by our Creator, we find ourselves facing the nightmare of government usurping the Creator, and are slowly but surely taking those rights from us.
That word “unalienable” is a most interesting word. The dictionary defines unalienable as something that cannot be given away, but does not say that it cannot be taken away. It is a sad truth that too many citizens either turn a blind eye to it, too afraid to confront it, or too apathetic to be outraged, and take lawful active steps to take back the rights that have been given to us by our Creator.
In my book, this amounts to spitting on the graves of our fellow citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend those rights, and sends a terrible message to the countless Americans who continue to make sacrifices that support and defend them.
Far too many citizens have forgotten or no longer believe in the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and “Liberty and Justice for all”. Far too many citizens do not participate in the Democratic process, with many more who do not participate intelligently.
Plato said that one of the penalties for those who refuse to participate in the Democratic process is that they end up being governed by their inferiors. I would go further to say that many of our inferiors, who end up being elected to public office, treat citizens as their inferiors, by actively participating in institutionalized corruption, which tramples on the rights of most citizens.
If citizens continue to turn a blind eye, lack courage, or give up on the Democratic process, we may as well make a Declaration of the loss of our Independence. I will close with some quotes that should be a chilling warning to most critical thinking citizens.
Ronald Reagan said that history will record that those who had the most to lose, did the least to prevent it from happening, and, Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Thanks in advance,
2636 Bernice St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
After being on the air for over 24 years, WMKG TV is still not on the Fruitport, Spring Lake, Grand Haven and Whitehall cable system.
WMKG TV started broadcasting 24 years ago from a location just a few miles from Fruitport at 4237 Airline Road. It started out as W40AK, a low power television station with 100 watts and a 65 foot tower. Soon they switched from channel 40 to channel 38 and the call letters changed to WMKG. After being approved by the FCC, WMKG was changed to WMKG-CA. The CA stands for Class A, which is the highest class for a low power station. Now, changing from analog to digital and broadcasting from a 200 foot tower with 15,000 watts erp. WMKG-CA is on channel 49 and broadcasts over 45 miles with 3 additional channels. Broadcasting on channels 49, 49.2, 49.3 and 49.4. Channel 49 has the original AMGTV Network, 49.2 is broadcasting the Launch Network, 49.3 is an advertisement for 49 with local and children’s programming coming from 49. Also channel 49.4 broadcasts local and children’s as well as a stationary weather program. The additional channels will become more local in the near future with one of them hopefully being local music.
Comcast cable did put WMKG on it’s cable lineup and although the channel has changed from channel 4 to channel 16 to channel 295 to it’s present channel of 397, it has been on the lineup for over 20 years. The Charter cable that is servicing Fruitport, Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Whitehall has never offered any channel regardless of the many inquires.
We are the only real, over the air broadcast television station in the Muskegon area. The other over the air broadcast stations are 40 miles away in Grand Rapids, and we here at WMKG don’t consider them local Muskegon broadcasting.
The switch over to digital was a very big move for the station. We have plans in the future to expand our localism with more local churches, local sports and local talents such as music. We have been broadcasting the Fruitport Memorial Day Parade for over 20 years and plan to continue, along with plans for more holiday events.
We get very little national advertising and have relied on local businesses to support us. We are always looking for more local programming such as talk shows, sports, music, church/school events, and are thinking of starting another news program. We are your “hometown” local television station and hope to continue to be.
A response by the Muskegon County Drain Commissioner, Brenda M. Moore
We have had numerous calls from throughout the county from people with water in their basements. Unfortunately, many of them are outside a formal drainage district, so this office is unable to provide immediate assistance. Even so, because groundwater can span over miles, there is only so much that can be done to address it seeping into basements.
This was a high water year in the county– we had a large amount of snowfall coupled with heavy spring rains. Muskegon County received over 131 inches in snowfall this winter— nearly 11 feet. That is about 39 inches above average. Average rainfall for the area March-May was over 11 inches—much of that was record rainfall in April. Granted, the facts don’t offer much comfort to the homeowner with water in their basement, but it does put things in perspective. Although there is very little we can do to control groundwater, we can share how people from across the county have protected their basements in different ways:
Regardless of your situation, it may help to speak with reputable engineers, contractors, house movers, or your local building inspector to choose the option best for your situation. It may be best to speak with a few people so you can feel comfortable you are getting consistent information.
The Senate Majority PAC has produced an ad which misrepresents Michigan’s U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land by deceitfully citing Right to Life of Michigan. The ad falsely states that Terri Lynn Land wants to outlaw common forms of birth control.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “I want to set the record straight. Right to Life of Michigan does not have a position on contraception. It is reprehensible to cite Right to Life of Michigan in a deceptive political ad as the source of Terri Lynn Land’s position on an issue in which we are not involved.”
Right to Life of Michigan was never contacted by the Senate Majority PAC regarding our endorsement criteria or our policies as an organization.
The Right to Life of Michigan PAC, which has endorsed Terri Lynn Land for the U.S. Senate, does not consider the issue of birth control when making endorsements of candidates. Right to Life of Michigan is focused on abortion, infanticide and assisted suicide.
Terri Lynn Land’s opponent, Rep. Gary Peters and his allies, cannot defend Peters’ radical pro-abortion position which includes support for partial-birth abortion, sex-selection abortions and tax funded abortions. Because of Gary Peters’ extreme position in support of abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, he has tried to attack Terri Lynn Land by misrepresenting her.
Listing said, “For those looking for the truth about candidates, consider the source. It is clear the Senate Majority PAC cannot be trusted.”
(Forwarded by Reverend R.A. Shackles)
Next time you have to fill up at $3.49 a gallon, think of this!!
Unemployment in North Dakota is the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent last I checked. See anything in the national news about how the oil industry is fueling North Dakota’s economy?
Here’s an astounding read. Important and verifiable information:
The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10 percent of the oil is recoverable (5 billion barrels), At $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.
“When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..,” says Terry Johnson, the Montana legislature’s financial analyst.
However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves, and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 per barrel. That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight.
And if that didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should, because it’s from 2006: “U.S. Oil Discovery –– Largest Reserve in the World.” Stansberry Report Online 4/20/2006. Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than two trillion barrels. On August 8, 2005, President Bush mandated its extraction.”
In three and a half years of high oil prices, none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling? We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.
Here are the official estimates:
8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
18 times as much oil as Iraq
21 times as much oil as Kuwait
22 times as much oil as Iran
500 times as much oil as Yemen, and it’s all right here in the Western United States!
How can this be? How can we not be extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy. Why?
James Bartis, lead researcher with the study, says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East, more than two trillion barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports the Denver Post.
Don’t think “OPEC” will drop its price even with this find? Think again. It’s all about the competitive marketplace. It has to.
Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists? Got your attention yet? Now, while you’re thinking about it, do this: Pass this along.
By the way, this can be verified. Check it out at
by Robert Williams, publisher, Wall Street Daily
I have a troubling situation to discuss. Whispers are swirling around Capitol Hill that Fort Knox is empty….That all the gold is gone….That the U.S. government has been shipping gold to nations like China (as collateral for a weak dollar). Scary, isn’t it?
Without any gold in Fort Knox, the United States has nothing backing the dollar but faith.
Here’s what Wall Street Daily analysts have confirmed: The U.S. government has not done a public audit of the gold in Fort Knox since 1974. Policymakers have ignored all requests for a new audit, too.
Worse yet, $982 million worth of gold has left JFK International Airport in New York since the year began. The destination? Somewhere in South Africa. The gold shipment was confirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau’s foreign trade division.
That begs the following question:
Do you think Fort Knox is empty?•
The biggest reason for the moral downfall that exists in the U.S.A. is the so-called Supreme Court of the United States of America. I am referring to two major decisions.
The 1973 decision that allowed the murder of millions of unborn babies – Roe verses Wade. Does anyone believe the authors of our constitution would allow the murder of babies? Or same sex marriage? At conception babies are persons. The baby is an individual carrying both the mother’s and father’s DNA. Why is it that the father has no say whether or not to end an unborn baby’s life?
As for same sex marriage is concerned, I believe the so-called Supreme Court does not have the authority to render such outrageous decisions.
The Defense of Marriage was passed by the people of California. The Congress of the United States passed The Defense of Marriage Act. How can five members of the so-called Supreme Court override Federal and State laws?
Our country has no right to preach morals to other countries as long as evil decisions exist. Wake up people, these decisions must be struck down!
I have recently seen on television and in the newspaper, that our government is considering keeping troops in Afghanistan until 2024. I strenuously object to this insanity. We don’t need any more of our troops killed or wounded.
And why do we have such a large National debt? As ex-President Clinton stated during a campaign, it’s the economy, stupid. In this instance it’s the cost of Mideast wars that’s stupid. It is one of the biggest reasons for the national debt. Pull the troops out of Afghanistan now instead of cutting Social Security, Medicare and other programs that benefit average people.
Contractors have made billions off these Mid-East wars, and million dollar vehicles are being burned because it is too expensive to ship them back to the U.S. What a deception! There are government officials listed periodically in the Muskegon Chronicle, many with toll-free numbers. Call them or write them. It may help them decide to get all troops and contractors out of Afghanistan now. If the President signs an agreement to keep troops in Afghanistan, I will lose all respect for him.
Richard L. Lang, Ravenna
My name is Steve Keglovitz and I am a member of the Fruitport Community School Board and a long-time resident. I want to let the public know about what is going on in the struggling schools’ system funding. First, I need to explain some things. Only 6.7% of the state lottery dollars go toward funding of education dollars (not the state commercial selling point).
Some schools are sitting on very healthy funds due to Homestead property taxes, which hurts the poor areas and poorer districts and benefits the more wealthy, affluent neighborhoods and their schools. We also send taxpayer dollars (which used to be earmarked for public education) to the state charter schools and academies, because they can’t get Homestead dollars, so we supplement them, although they are not forced to exist and be run under the same rules and guidelines as public education.