Local roots

As members of our community pass away, sublime beauty springs from their roots. Margaret (Peg) Kauffman hailed from rural Arkansas farmland. She came up with the women of her era, who possessed an amazing grace utterly rooted in the practical, able to pilot a social faux pas, peccadillo, family spat, even political conflict to cordial resolution to preserve the bond, buoy us all up, without ever disturbing the moral compass: Helen Milliken, Peta Williams, Shirley Okerstrom, LuAnn Taylor, Rita Kropp, Betty Ewing, Eleanor Stocking, Betty Parker, Old Mrs. Titus and her bookstore down on Front.

Today, on a mundane Tuesday, a root Peg Kauffman put down at Horizon Books 60 years ago blossomed into a beatific smile from another amazingly graceful woman: She was ringing up my crossword puzzle and I asked her to update their records. The software slowly unwound my mother from their archives — a wonderful moment to hark back and chit-chat. I will stop in more often — look for books, put down roots.

Peg Kauffman put down roots here with environmental concerns, community planning, public health issues and citizen participation in government.

She bought books; I am sure, from the same woman who smiled at me.

Ann Kauffman

Traverse City

Teacher tests

Terms abound regarding a hurried pace: “Haste makes waste.” “Slow and steady wins the race.” Time constraints trigger a sympathetic/stress response and our memories suffer. Why do credentialing companies like the National Evaluation Series encourage timed teacher tests?

Someone I know recently completed coursework to become a teacher. She is intelligent, gregarious and great with children. But the credentialing test has timed segments. Like many, my friend has test anxiety, exacerbated by clock-watching. Taking your time produces quality work.

Would you want an engineer to rush calculations on a pedestrian bridge stretching across a highway? What ingredients go into hospitals’ sentinel events? Clockwatching + stress + cotton swab left in chest cavity = infection and death! What if an aviation engineer rushed calculations for an airplane fuselage’s strength or software that lands a plane?

When we place unreasonable expectations on ourselves, (expediency versus quality) bad things happen. What priorities are we encouraging? Do competent teachers need timed tests? How do timed tests simulate lifelike experiences for prospective teachers? Is test timing motivated by expected failure and greenbacks, as middle income Americans pay hundreds of dollars to retake the exam? I welcome an explanation from the testing companies.

Chad Bousamra

Buckley

Michigan’s 104th

Michigan State Rep. Larry Inman is awaiting trial on federal charges of extortion, solicitation of a bribe and lying to the FBI. Although he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, our house Republican leadership has seen fit to strip him of all his responsibilities and his own republican caucus has ousted him. In addition, he recently revealed that because of his current opioid use, he is starting treatment, which is known to be a difficult and time consuming process.

Rep. Inman has missed 78 votes in the House, including two bills on the much needed auto insurance reform. He also missed many appropriation bills, including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the State Police Budget and the Department of Corrections — among others. We, his constituents in Michigan’s 104th District, are not getting the representation we voted for and need.

Like any responsible elected official, he must put the needs of his constituents first and resign so that we, the people in the 104th District, can have proper representation in our state government.

Brenda Earl

Traverse City

New parking confusing

My husband and I recently dined at Patisserie Amie. Access to the restaurant was impeded by detours. The formerly parallel parking had a new configuration requiring us to park at an angle and pay using a confusing and easily misunderstood machine. Being in our 70s, we struggled with the machine but finally charged $3.

When we returned, our car as well as several other cars parked nearby had tickets. We visited the parking office and learned that the new vertical spaces required us to back in rather than park front-first. If parking signs stating this requirement existed, they were inadequate. The number of cars with tickets supports this. We appealed our ticket, were denied and paid $15, added to the $3 previously paid.

It is imperative that the city educate drivers about new parking expectations. Backing into a slanted space on a busy street seems dangerous. We had never seen this unique arrangement; there was no signage easily visible. Obviously other, front-facing parkers were also confused.

Is this another source of potential revenue from confused tourists, resulting in $15 parking fines becoming a norm? This parking situation won’t encourage patrons to visit nearby establishments. Once ticketed, they’re less likely to return and that’s a shame.

Susan Doneson

Okemos

Surprise medical bills

It’s encouraging to see the recent congressional effort to protect patients from surprise medical bills, and we’re supportive of the recent work of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to convene a hearing around this issue. Air medical providers never want to see patients financially burdened with large medical bills. Unfortunately, they occur as a result of an outdated reimbursement system, where air ambulances are squeezed by both government reimbursements and private insurers. Medicare reimbursement rates haven’t been updated in 20 years and only cover a small portion of the actual costs of care — despite 70 percent of air medical patients being covered by Medicare, Medicaid or having no coverage. Further, some private insurers — who cover the remaining 30 percent of patients — refuse to go in-network with air medical companies or arbitrarily deny coverage, leaving patients stuck in the middle and air ambulances struggling to continue operating.

We’re hopeful that the recent hearing encourages Congress to continue working toward addressing the root causes of the balance billing problem while also ensuring that emergency health care providers, such as air medical services, can continue to provide life-saving care and transport to patients across the country.

Carter Johnson

Washington D.C.

Line 5 integrity

This writer was born in 1938 in Escanaba, the only taconite port in the lower lakes. A few years ago, an ore carrier transported a record load of 76,000 tons from Escanaba to Burns Harbor, Indiana. This weight is approximately 152 million pounds (69 million kg)

On May 28, I called the executive office of the Wisconsin shipyard that built the carrier to make inquiry of the thickness of the hull plates at the bottom of the ship. As built, the plate thicknesses ranged from 0.625 to 0.75 inches. The thickness of the Bechtel dual pipelines is 0.812 inches (30 percent more than that of the smaller plates). The clear message of this reality is that Line 5 (the thickest of all Enbridge pipelines) is safe and tough.

We all can be less anxious than most observers of Line 5 as its future is debated.

Mort Mattson

Eaton Rapids, Michigan