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Beline Obeid

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Public television

To the Editor:

We all know the inner workings of government are complicated and often inaccessible.

Thankfully, for more than three decades, cable companies have been providing the monies for public, educational and government television channels to be broadcast within local communities.

These PEG channels allow cable viewers a connection to their local government workings from their own living rooms, thus making their local governments more transparent and therefore accountable to its citizens.

For the last 30 years, the Grosse Pointe War Memorial's WMTV5 along with our other local PEG channels 12, 20 and 22 have been your PEG providers, able to televise candidate forums; local, state and federal representatives; school board meetings; forums about the Great Lakes; and many other topics about people and issues of local interest to residents of the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.

In 2006, the Michigan Legislature passed the Video Franchising Legislation, PA 480. The legislative intent of this bill was to ensure municipalities would receive 2 percent of gross cable revenues to fund operations of local PEG channels.

While this agreement was on the table, no cable companies voiced opposition to this deal.

Now, just more than two years later, while cable rates continue to go up, cable companies are demonstrating their irreverence to PEG channels by refusing to pay the 2 percent. Cable companies claim the 2 percent directive was not in the PA 480 agreement.

Without these funds PEG channels would cease to exist.

In response to this problem, bills have been introduced that would fix the loophole being utilized by cable companies ensuring that communities receive enough money for their PEG channels to survive. Passage of HB 4576 (Barnett, D-Farmington Hills) and SB 397 (Thomas, D-Detroit) will guarantee communities are able to save PEG channels.

PEG channels are a vital service citizens use to stay connected to government. Municipalities aren't asking for anything other than for legislators to make good on the PA 480 promise.

Our communities through WMTV5 are counting on the 2 percent of gross cable revenues to keep our studios open and to upgrade our equipment to keep up with the digital television transition.

At WMTV5, we are counting on the 2 percent to keep government transparent and accessible to everyone.

Please contact state Rep. Tim Bledsoe at timbledsoe@house.mi.gov or (517) 373-0154 to voice your concern about this important topic.

Kermit Potter
Grosse Pointe
April 06, 2009

G.P. North coaches

To the Editor:

As a Grosse Pointe South High School parent, I had the pleasure of watching the Grosse Pointe North High School boys varsity basketball team play a couple of playoff games recently.

I was struck by the cohesiveness of the team. With 10 seniors on a team it indicates to me the desire of these young men to represent their school in a program they all support and have supported since their freshman year.

With five starters, the other five seniors were willing to be in a supporting role who would play during games at the discretion of their coaches.

These five reserve seniors could have played neighborhood club basketball, but obviously they saw a reason to come practice on a daily basis, even during school vacations, in order to be a part of their school team.

This reflects directly on the coaching staff they admire and respect. The coaching staff is apparently viewed by players as being willing to get the best out of all of the players and therefore keeping them interested in the program. They have been able to instill team spirit, hard work, and respect for each other with the goal of winning for their school program.

Congratulations to the coaches for keeping the best players at North interested and involved with the school team.

The Grosse Pointe North students should be thankful for the solid and very impressive boys basketball program the coaching staff has built using the talent at the school. It is a program that deserves admiration.

Mike Naber
Grosse Pointe Park
April 06, 2009

2009 Winterfest on The Hill

To the Editor:

I wrote this "on the fly" as I visited the Winterfest this year. Hope you enjoy it.

Noon — Arrived a bit late — face painting in National City Bank and lovely frosted red noel cookies. Happy snowman ice sculpture outside the bank.

12:05 p.m. — EMS with screaming siren heads down Fisher. I hope everyone is OK.

12:07 — Winnie the Pooh ice sculpture in progress at library. I ask if this is a good temperature. Sculptor says "yes, the 20s are great." I ask what about colder temps. He says "no good because then he would be cold!"

12:10 — I hear the song, "Good Lovin'" billowing out of a tent in the Richard parking lot.

12:11 — Nice teddy bear sculpture in front of Raymond James. Decided to put gloves on. Fingers getting cold while writing.

12:15 — Close to tent now. Pretty good crowd. "Mustang Sally" playing. Sounds like live music! Christmas lights still on. Dolphin sculpture in progress next to the gazebo.

12:17 — Approach big tent. "No dogs allowed in tent or food area."

12:18 — Holy cow! Lotta action in here. Nice tight band, people all over with kids and weatherproof strollers. Free hot dogs!

12:26 — Boy am I happy now. The name of the band is "Passages." They all look my age and they're playing the Doobie Brothers while I wolf down a chili dog and hot chocolate. Now they're playing "I Gotta Line on You Babe" by Spirit. The lead guitarist nails the appropriate riff, the keyboardist screams, "Yeooow" and its déja vu college days.

12:30 — Still snowing. Why am I leaving the tent?

12:31 — On the way out, find a list of Winterfest on the Hill donors and sponsors. Very kind in these economic times. Grabbed a schedule of activities.

12:32 — I meet a lady outside of the tent and her beautiful husky, "Zena." They were waiting for the kids to bring Zena a hot dog.

12:34 — At a fenced off area at the other end of the Richard school parking lot, I spot five beautiful huskies and a handcrafted sled. They were getting ready for a demo and what a day for a dogsled demo! Probably five fresh inches of snow. Four more huskies show up on leashes. Thunderfeet Kennels is the name of the outfit. The dogs are Seppala Siberians.

12:40 — Chatted with dog trainer inside the trailer. He said the dogs sleep in the nicely constructed and stacked wooden bunk-boxes and that the insulation in the ceiling was there for when the trainers used to sleep in the trailer with the dogs. Now the humans have their own trailer. It probably doesn't smell like a pet shop like the dogs' trailer.

1:00 — Many nice ice sculptures. Stepped into Higbie-Maxon-Agney agency to warm up. Realtors were very friendly and said they had many nice homes to sell.

1:15 — Went inside Something Special. Big sale, shelves empty. Very sad. A nice store with nice people.

1:17 — Classy lady inside of Dirty Dog Jazz Café supervising people filling out little forms for the prize drawings.

1:30 — Inside of 131 Kercheval Center. Folk group playing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." Four ladies and a couple guys. All acoustic guitars and a violin.

1:40 — More music. There is a tent on the Cottage Hospital corner with two speakers and nice music blaring.

1:50 — Big ice sculpture in front of Cottage Hospital. Sculptor's got the electric iron out to do some smoothing. The sculpture is of a fireman saving a dog from a burning building.

1:55 — Inside Cottage now — smell of popcorn. Yelp, there's the popcorn machine. It's run by a nice lady who told me her name is Marilyn. A s'mores station is on the other side of the hall. Kids are lined up and melting marshmallows on little burners. Farther down the line on the other side is a long line of children waiting to decorate sugar cookies.

2:00 — Met Mrs. Norton in Cottage gift shop. She knew my mom from the Farms Pier about 50 years ago. Her husband is Shep Norton, a Grosse Pointe gentleman-legend.

2:10 — Back outside. The house fire and dog sculpture are nearly finished. It took him three hours to craft the entire project.

2:12 — Crossing Kercheval and following a mom with her young daughter facedown in a plastic sled holding a stuffed animal and her chin about two inches from the pavement — what a cool ride!

2:14 — Heading back down Kercheval now on the other side of the street.

2:15 — Two Jump N' Joy inflatable party rentals are parked in a vacant lot across from Bank of America. The kids are having a riot jumping around with their snowsuits on.

2:16 — More beautiful ice sculptures along the street.

2:17 — Eleven-week-old rescued German shepherd found on the Internet. I met him and his owner in front of the Grosse Pointe News. Free cider and doughnuts inside. I'm hungry again.

2:18 — Al is playing harmonica inside the Grosse Pointe News. He's sitting on a chair and playing patriotic Army-Navy songs. Great cider but, darn it, out of doughnuts. A testament to the incredible turnout of people on such a snowy day.

2:20 — Al is still playing the harmonica and drawing prize tickets at the same time.

2:22 — Pointe Pedlar — empty shelves, 70 percent off. Really sad, but everyone in the store is smiling. Hope springs eternal.

2:30 — More ice sculptures at the South girls softball field. Can hear music from the tent at Richard. Boy are they good.

2:32 — Couldn't resist. Ran across the street to watch drum solo from James Gang tune. Glad I did because they played the last one for the afternoon. The band suddenly stops and the fans scream for one more. The band plays, "Riding the Storm Out." How appropriate.

Bob Gorski
City of Grosse Pointe
January 13, 2009

SOC gives many thanks

To the Editor:

What an amazing holiday season we had at Services for Older Citizens.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for all its help in making sure area seniors were remembered.

Through generous donations of food, household supplies, games, puzzles, etc., children and adults were able to gather together on Dec. 17 to assemble more than 350 gift baskets that were later distributed to local senior citizens.

School-age children, scout troops and church groups helped make hundreds of beautiful cards and treat bags.

Gifts poured in thanks to the help of Brendan and Marian Battersby of Home Instead Senior Care. And as the gifts arrived, the girls basketball team, Lady Blue Devils, at Grosse Pointe South High School made sure each package was beautifully wrapped. Ahmed Ismail and his son, Alex, played Santa Claus and delivered presents to seniors in the midst of a full-blown snow storm.

Grosse Pointe Sunrise Rotary Club organized the Meals on Wheels delivery for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Volunteers helped deliver 130 hot holiday meals to homebound seniors on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was a great community effort with spectacular results that will be remembered by young and old alike for years to come.

Thank you to all of the following: Sara Barba's, third-grade class at Maire Elementary School; Grosse Pointe Academy; Fraternal Order of Police, Grosse Pointe No. 102, Sgt. Steven Johnson; Sister Lucy's Secret Santas; Stefek's LTD; Grosse Pointe Farms Garden Club; Grosse Pointe North High School Qwatet; Trombley Elementary School; Kerby Elementary School; Mason Elementary School; Parcells Middle School, Lend a Hand; Richard Elementary School; Ferry Elementary School; Monteith Elementary School; Defer Elementary School; St. Clare of Montefalco School; Monteith Troop 2908; Girl Scout Troop 686; Brownie Troop 742; St. Paul Religious Education; Ferry Daisy Troop 1180; Pierce Middle School; University Liggett School; and all of Santa's elves who assembled baskets.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy New Year!

Mary Rose Nelson
Director of Volunteer Services, Services for Older Citizens
January 13, 2009

G.P. Woman’s Club gives thanks

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Grosse Pointe Woman's Club, I would like to thank the business owners, merchants and individuals who so generously contributed either gifts or gift certificates to our annual scholarship luncheon/fashion show held Nov. 19 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

Our sincere thanks to Coldwater Creek of Grosse Pointe and to Maria Silva, manager, and Martha Kurtz for presenting the lovely fashion show.

We greatly appreciate the generous donation of edmund t. AHEE Jewelers; George Kouetier and Sons Jewelers; La Londe Jewelers and Gemologists; Maloof Jewelers; Mancuso Florist of St. Clair Shores; Moehring Woods Florist; Trader Joe's; The Hill Seafood and Chop House; Joseph DiMaggio Jewelers; Tiffany Place Salon; Beverly Zimmerman Mary Kay Cosmetics; Jan and Jim's Hallmark Store of St. Clair Shores; Woods Wholesale Wine; Pete Waldmeir; Mr. C's Deli and Car Wash; Ronald and Anna Salon of St. Clair Shores; Athenian Shish Kebob; A.H. Peters Funeral Home for printing the tickets; Lancome Cosmetics, Macy's Eastland for favors; Carol Oster; Beverly Pack; Marilyn Richardson; Doris Strek; and the staff and management of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

The College Scholarship Awards are given each year in May to two recipients, one each from Grosse Pointe North and South high schools. Those awards are sent to the college of their choice upon meeting the scholastic goals set forth by the Grosse Pointe Woman's Club.

A special thanks to Marilyn Richardson, president; Fran Ahee, co-chair; and the committee for their help and support.

We sincerely thank each donor for their contribution and we speak for future recipients as well.

Jean L. Azar
Chairwoman, Ways and Means Committee Grosse Pointe Woman’s Club
January 07, 2009


To the Editor:

With the disgraced "Detroit Three" automakers getting $17.4 billion of our taxpayer dollars in loans, thanks to George Bush, we should remember the last several billion that we gave the industry, and the outcome of it.

In the 1990s, the Partnership for a "New Generation of Vehicles" worked to make 80-plus miles per gallon cars and allowed for communications amongst scientists between the Big Three automakers to help speed that process along.

The partnership was a huge success, with three 70-plus mpg prototypes. General Motors had the Precept, a five-seat sedan with ample trunk space. One version gained a 108 mpg equivalent running on hydrogen. Ford had the Prodigy getting 72 mpg, and Daimler-Chrysler also had a 72 mpg vehicle. Taxpayers were proud that their billions were not wasted, and expected these vehicles on the market.

But none of the automakers put any of these vehicles into production, or anything similar. Instead, they chose gas-guzzling SUVs, the epitome of stupidity from a climate change and energy conservation perspective.

Using slick ads to push their behemoth vehicles, the automakers are among the biggest culprits in the fast rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. 

What happened to the efficient vehicles? The failure to incorporate that technology was also a major cause of our economic collapse. With the rise in gas prices this past summer, the values of SUVs plummeted. And for many, their gas guzzlers are now worth less than the loan they have on them.

Why should we give a bail-out now when the automakers put themselves into this crisis. Why don't they dust off these efficient vehicles and put them into production, something both our wallets and our planet could have used a decade ago.

They say those who forget history are bound to repeat it.

After the foolish follies of the auto industries, in pushing gas guzzlers on the American public, along with tax breaks that they manipulated through Congress, why should we bail them out?

What we need is massive investment in mass transit and high speed passenger rail: A much better way to travel with exponential fuel savings compared to the most efficient vehicles.

Chad Kister
Nelsonville, Ohio
January 07, 2009

Point of Relevance

To the Editor:

Christmas is a great season to thank God for all he has done, is doing and will do through his people.

The Point of Relevance team rejoices that we are able to freely lift up our Lord Jesus Christ. We are thankful and grateful that we do not stand alone but have the continued support of many people in the community who join us in faith and obedience to do his work and promote our vision: To illuminate Jesus Christ in the marketplace.

It is a refreshing privilege to work together as a community — people and leaders from different churches and denominations, believers and nonbelievers, coming from different occupations and different stages of life. We praise God for the fellowship and the relationships which have been formed.

We praise him for all who have been moved and blessed at the seminars and for the guest speakers who have openly shared God's principles with us.

Again and again God's might is demonstrated by his working in and through so many people.

We thank you for your participation — attending seminars, volunteering, extending invitations, distributing fliers and contributing monetarily.

We appreciate all your generosity and look forward to your continued support in furthering God's plan:

"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

— Matthew 28:19-20a.

Thank God for the ultimate gift his Son Jesus Christ who shed his blood so that we could have eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

— John 3:16.

May you and those you love be blessed and enjoy all that God has for you. May you be comforted by his amazing love as expressed through the gift of his son.

We look forward to seeing you in 2009 at our next Point of Relevance event.

Point of Relevance Team
Grosse Pointe
December 29, 2008

Cheney’s memoirs

To the Editor:

Throughout history, retired public figures have published autobiographical versions of their lives and accomplishments.

From Benjamin Franklin's "Autobiography" to Bill Clinton's "My Life," these works have characterized the author in favorable terms and have ignored inconvenient details.

Now we're told that Vice President Dick Cheney will prepare his memoirs. If his recent comments as a "lame duck" are any barometer, he should have the good sense and good taste not to do so.

For example, Cheney recently told one friendly audience — at the Hudson Institute, Heritage Foundation or a similar venue which caters to neoconservative extremists — that Donald Rumsfeld should not have been fired as defense secretary, because "he did a great job for us."

Later, and in contrast to the civility with which President Bush has treated Barack Obama in the presidential transition, Cheney told Fox News that incoming Vice President Joseph Biden would be prepared to weaken the vice presidency which Cheney had so heroically bolstered through obfuscation, his theory of the "unitary" executive, etc., etc.

And who could forget that Cheney single-handedly neutered the Environmental Protection Agency, and spearheaded the charge to war in Iraq by falsifying intelligence?

I've been watching politics for 55 years, and I've never encountered a worse or more dangerous public servant than Dick Cheney.

The closest competitor was Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin. His career started to unravel when a courageous lawyer, Joseph Welsh, accused him of unjustly impugning a young lawyer with the memorable question, "Have you no shame, sir?"

It would indeed be a shame if anyone read Cheney's memoirs.

William Hodgman
Grosse Pointe Park
December 29, 2008

Thanks for prompt urgent care

To the Editor:

Christmas came early for our family this year.

Zena, our 1 1/2-year-old puppy, has a clean bill of health after ingesting deadly anti-freeze on Dec. 4.

Thanks to accurate observations and tests done by Dr. Patricia Fitzpatrick at Animal Urgent & Critical Care Center in Harper Woods late that evening, treatment was under way in less than 12 hours after exposure — and that is critical to a successful recovery.

I would like our neighbors to know the most obvious symptoms to anti-freeze ingestion might be a little tummy upset and wobbly state of "drunkenness."

Late at night one could decide to wait until morning before going to the veterinarian and that could have a tragic outcome. Zena's behavior was a little too weird, even for a goofy puppy, and we were uneasy.

We were also in complete denial when asked about the possibility of anti-freeze exposure. It is not in our fenced yard or garage, and she never goes out without one of us on the other end of a leash.

The treatment to counteract ethylene glycol in the system is, simply stated, an intravenous vodka drip.

Warm-hearted jokes from friends and family aside, it is no fun to observe your dog in an alcoholic stupor for several days. We waited through the "life threatening" phases until we were allowed to hope that not only will she be saved but recover without any residual damage to her kidneys.

When she came home Dec. 7, Zena had an incredible hangover, but she was alive.

It is frightening to think that one of our neighbors might have improperly disposed of anti-freeze.

On our walk that afternoon, within 6 to 8 feet of me, I observed Zena take a sip from a birdbath that was not completely frozen. She also hopped into someone's pachysandra and grabbed a mushy apple.

I did not see her lick anyone's driveway and she is not allowed in the street unless we're crossing together.

I spoke with Lillian Rogers at the Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Works and she said residents can dispose of anti-freeze in April and October on designated hazardous waste disposal days.

Our deepest gratitude goes to Fitzpatrick and the critical care center staff. And also to our veterinarian, Dr. David Balaj, and the Harper Woods Veterinary Hospital staff for attending to our puppy with such care and compassion.

Merry Christmas!

Judith Vander Weg
Grosse Pointe Woods
December 22, 2008

Representative gives thanks

To the Editor: 

Midnight Dec. 31, marks the end of my tenure in office. 

I will be forever grateful to the people of District 1 for electing me to the state House of Representatives three times before term limits prevented me from being a candidate again. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your state representative for the last six years. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods and Detroit for three two-year terms. 

These are not easy times to be a public servant. The challenges to the state of Michigan are well-known.

I believe the character and creative energy of the people of this state will prevail, and our current economic and social woes will be overcome. 

I wish my successor, Tim Bledsoe, the best of fortune in seeking solutions to Michigan's problems. 

Merry Christmas and happy New Year! 

Ed Gaffney
State Representative District 1
December 22, 2008

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