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February 2, 2002

Letters to the Editor

False sensationalism
      My son, Jash Lardie, is one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. His love of people, no matter what their grievances that may be against him, is genuine. He is "too" nice - why else would 70 kids crash an invitation only, private party? (Four kids were invited who helped build the house and pop was furnished for them.) The kids who died were nice, too. I know, because out of the crowd, I personally met the three who died.
      Reporters are the ones who create a false bitterness that doesn't exist. You don't have any idea as to what happened that night on what my relatives/friends did or did not see. For one thing, most of the beer taken was pukey warm and thrown on the ground or taken off of the property as far as I know. As for me, by the time a few friends did make me aware that there were a lot of kids "I" made the decision (since it was "my" house) not to call the police for several reasons: I didn't have a phone; the crowd was not rowdy; and they were leaving peacefully, on their own, which was good enough for me - but not for the courts. Therefore, anything written or spoken about or against my friends/relatives is just false sensationalism.
      For the courts to say my son is a threat to society is ludicrous. He was nice, is nice now, and hopefully will be wiser when he gets out. He wants to promote "peace" when he gets out and I hope he does.
      Barb Lardie
      Traverse City
      Courage and vision
      Less than two years ago, there was discussion by the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corp. of whether it would ever be feasible to renovate Building 88, the two-story white house located diagonally across from the former All Faith's Chapel. The building, one of the oldest on the Commons and the original Munson Hospital, had been unoccupied for many years and was contaminated with loose asbestos. With the high cost of the environmental cleanup, combined with that of rehabilitation, it seemed impossible that the building could be economically saved.
      At that point, Ken Richmond, a local architect, stepped up to the plate to save Building 88. Persevering against a complex approval process and economic challenges, Ken continued forward.
      On Jan. 24, I had the distinct pleasure to attend the open house at the newly renovated "Old Munson Hall." It was wonderful to see the new life that had been breathed into the building, as well as the spectacular turnout from the public. The building not only looks wonderful in its preserved state, but has been fully rented out.
      This is the second open house on the Commons in as many months. Ray Minervini unveiled the Village Center (formerly Building 50A) in December, and has since given that building a well-needed facelift. His efforts have been rewarded, and that building has filled quickly as well. The response these two projects have received, despite the difficult real estate market, speaks well for redevelopment prospects on the Commons. In addition to the three Pavilions cottages and Munson Manor, this is truly an exciting time for a site that has endured its share of setbacks.
      A hearty congratulations to Ken, as well as the entire staffs of the Minervini Group, Pavilions, and Munson Manor for their courage, vision, and hard work. "
      Michael. Groleau
      Traverse City
      Michael Groleau is a new member of the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corp. Board of Directors
      Teen smoking wanes
      As director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, I am proud to share with you great news on the decline in teen smoking in Michigan. Smoking among Michigan teens has dropped by 28 percent over the past four years and this figure, reported in Michigan's Youth Tobacco Survey, demonstrates the second consecutive drop in teen smoking throughout the state. Teen smoking rates have not only dropped 28 percent since 1997, but have also dropped 19 percent since 1999. This drastic decline in teen smoking is a clear indication that Michigan is on the right track in tobacco reduction.
      We are very proud of the programs that we offer for smoking prevention. Programs such as the Michigan Comprehensive School Health Education program and our funding of local tobacco control coalition projects focus on smoking prevention education for students of all ages. In the last school year more than 100 middle and high schools implemented a teen smoking cessation program developed through the American Lung Association, and more schools plan to offer the program this year.
      We know that the more education a person has, the less likely they are to smoke, which is why the Michigan Merit Award is such an important program. The Michigan Merit Award Scholarship program provides students who reach academic goals with funding for post-secondary education. The response to this program has been incredible. Only 11 percent of college graduates smoke, compared with 30 percent of high school graduates who do not continue their education.
      We are very excited about the outstanding results of our programs and this dramatic decline in the number of teen-age smokers is proof that our strategy is working. Our emphasis on education is paying off and as a result, teens are living much healthier lifestyles.
      James Haveman Jr.
      James Haveman Jr. is director of the Department of Community Health
      Cartoon cast a pall
      This is regarding your editorial cartoon on the Jan. 25 opinion page.
      It was very saddening, casting a pall over the many dedicated men who serve the many people in Traverse City and the surrounding areas. I do understand your motives and agenda. It is just that they do not belong in a newspaper, a tool which is supposed to inform and educate.
      Robert D. Gliwa
      Traverse City
      Standoff or anarchy?
      The National Rifle Association promotes the concept that bad guys will behave themselves if they believe that most people are armed.
      The United States sent $2 billion worth of arms to Afghanistan when they fought Soviet soldiers. After that war most Afghanistan males were armed. Did that result in a peaceful mutual standoff, or did it result in anarchy?
      Ray E. Peltz
      Ponder this thought
      CNN Headline News did a short news listing regarding Ford and GM's contributions to the relief and recovery efforts in New York and Washington. The findings are as follows.
      Ford - $1 million to American Red Cross matching employee contributions of the same number plus 10 Excursions to New York Fire Dept. The company also offered ER response team services and office space to displaced government employees.
      GM - $1 million to American Red Cross matching employee contributions of the same number and a fleet of vans, SUVs, and trucks.
      Daimler Chrysler - $10 million to support of the children and victims of the Sept. 11 attack.
      Harley Davidson motorcycles - $1 million and 30 new motorcycles to the New York Police Dept.
      Volkswagen - Employees and management created a Sept. 11 Foundation, funded initially with $2 million, for the assistance of the children and victims of the World Trade Center.
      Hyundai - $300,000 to the American Red Cross.
      Audi - Nothing, BMW - Nothing, Daewoo - Nothing, Fiat - Nothing, Honda - Nothing (despite boasting of second-best sales month ever in August 2001), Isuzu - Nothing, Mitsubishi - Nothing, Nissan - Nothing, Porsche - Nothing (Press release with condolences via the Porsche Web site,) Subaru - Nothing, Suzuki - Nothing, Toyota - Nothing (despite claims of high sales in July and August 2001, Condolences posted on the Web site.
      Apart from Hyundai and Volkswagen, the foreign car companies contributed nothing at all to the citizens of the United States. It's OK for these companies to take money out of this country but it is apparently not acceptable to return some in a time of crisis. We as a nation should not forget things like this. Ponder this while you shop for your next auto, OK?
      Lawrence Smith
      Traverse City
      Lack of good taste
      In the past, some of the political "cartoons" which you have chosen to publish have demonstrated bigotry, ignorance and a lack of good taste. The "cartoon" in your Jan. 25 edition was an incredible example of the worst I've seen on any opinion page. The cartoonist's "opinion" of the Catholic church has no basis in fact and does not belong in any newspaper. Shame on you.
      Tom Hankard
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