Thursday, March 27, 2008

April 17 Film: A Crude Awakening

Watch the trailer for this award-winning documentary:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Women in Black Reach Six-Year Milestone

The Charlevoix Courier this week featured the women who have stood on Bridge Street every Friday at noon for nearly 6 years, protesting the war in Iraq, and war in general. To read the article:

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Watershed Maps

Jo Anne has provided these maps to help us better understand the Bay Harbor CKD leachate issue. First up is the ad created by the Jordan River Watershed.

Watershed Ad


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's Speech

Tell us what you think about Obama's speech and the race situation. If you haven't heard it, here it is:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Corporations: the end of American democracy

"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
--- Abraham Lincoln, 1864

When the U.S. Supreme Court in 1886 [County of Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific R.R., 118 U.S. 394] held that corporations are "persons," entitled to the legal protections of persons under the U.S. Constitution, the events predicted by Lincoln were set in motion. As a result, the U.S. has elections that President Jimmy Carter has stated would not today meet international requirements for "free and fair."

See tonight's film, Unprecedented, to find out what happened in the 2000 election, and what you can do to take back your democracy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jordan River Watershed

jordan river watershed

According to Jo Anne, ground water from the Alba area could make its way to the Jordan River, and then to Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, the Pine River Channel, and Lake Michigan.  This map helps show why.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ken Allen's Summary of Jeff Cohen's talk 3/11

See the article on Jeff's presentation at NCMC on the Common Dreams blogsite:

Ken's summary:

U. S. public media controlled by large corporate interests, particularly General Electric, through outright ownership or financial sponsorship, i.e., advertising.

Only "corporation-friendly" programs are supported, and unfriendly news is suppressed. One example Cohen cites is a policy to not report on GE's outsourcing of jobs to China. Rupert Murdoch's agreement ensures preservation of Murdoch's Chinese media interests.

Liberal pundits on today's conservative-liberal debate programs, e.g., Hannity & Combs and Larry King Live, are weak and retained when non-threatening to corporate or Bush administration interests. For example, Phil Donahue and Cohen were axed for presenting anti-rush-to-war opinions, while Combs is retained because "his job is to make Hannity look good."

U. S. Elections are so fouled with tampering that "they wouldn't come close to passing the Carter (free and fair, Democratic) election smell test."

European news is comprehensive and provided freely for all, regardless of economic status. Europeans have a much better understanding of U.S. social, political, economic, health, and education conditions than we do.

The weakest (most non-threatening) journalists are selected for top media management positions today.

Mainstream news goes all out to report lurid stories because: a) it's cheap; b) It's non-threatening to political or corporate power; and c)The public swallows it for distraction.

The high standards of Journalistic ethics adopted by all credible schools are routinely abandoned or ignored by today's half-dozen media conglomerates.

MOST PROMISING ALTERNATIVES are BLOGS which have the power to debunk false claims by the Limbaughists, and are especially effective when providing direct links to factual sources, e.g., (for the liberal perspectives) and (for conservative frames).

Cohen says maintaining NET NEUTRALITY is crucial. Visit

For important discussions of Journalism issues, see FAIR is the organization that Cohen co-founded about twenty years ago.

NOTE: Michael Moore attended but declined to speak or mingle. Jeff lauded SIKKO, Fahrenheit 9-1-1, MM's Roger & Me as important, mobilizing efforts.

Said he's been greatly impressed by the Obama Movement for its catalytic effects for youth. He claims it's more powerful, and potentially much more productive than anything JFK could do because of campaign ties to the Southern Dixicrats.

They got the gold mine, we got the shaft

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) plans to permit CMS Energy to dispose of Bay Harbor's highly-toxic cement kiln dust (CKD) leachate, in a deep injection well in Alba. We need to take immediate action to:

  1. Insist that Governor Granholm petition the EPA to designate CKD leachate a hazardous waste per U.S.C. Title 42, Chapter 82, Subchapter III, Sec. 6921(c); and
  2. Prohibit the creation of a deep injection well for Bay Harbor's hazardous waste at Alba or any other site in Michigan; instead insist that dry CKD be removed and contained.

Alba and Mancelona are the headwaters of the great rivers of Michigan:
the Black, Jordan, Boyne, Manistee, Sturgeon, Cedar, and Au Sable. These rivers flow into the Great Lakes, which supply 20% of the fresh water of the world. The DEQ plans to permit CMS to dispose of CKD leachate, a liquid waste laced with heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, chromium, zinc, and mercury, into a deep injection well in Alba. In spite of recent scientific studies that show fractures in the containment layer, the DEQ has given the green light to CMS.

CKD leachate has a pH of 13, about the same as lye or bleach. Not only is it highly toxic to humans, but it will kill fish and destroy spawning beds. However, although it contains very high levels of mercury and lead, dry CKD is inert. Like a tea bag, it makes a brew only when water is added. The EPA does not distinguish dry CKD from CKD leachate, and neither is currently designated hazardous.

DEQ previously allowed CMS to deposit tons of dry CKD in unlined pits, which were topped off with a golf course. When it rains, or the golf course is watered, the highly-toxic leachate is created, and it drains toward the lake. It is this leachate which CMS intends to capture and inject into deep wells in Alba. Unfortunately, less than 1% of the leachate will be captured; the rest will make its way into Little Traverse Bay.

So what is the right solution? Legal action is limited by a covenant not to sue, which then Governor Engler and Bay Harbor's developers signed in 1994, paving the way for the development. In return, CMS Energy, which had acquired the abandoned property for $3 million and was one of the original Bay Harbor partners, was to begin remediation measures on the site. Although extensive and expensive, the measures have proven to be inadequate.

The right thing to do is to protect the dry CKD, to prevent it from being converted to CKD leachate through exposure to water. About 50% of the CKD is close to the surface and could be removed and contained per the EPA's order of February 22, 2005, which instructed CMS to "remove, isolate, and contain" the CKD. Medusa / St. Mary's, the cement plant just a few miles away in Charlevoix, moved its CKD piles to lined pits, capped them, and installed French drains. So why is CMS not taking this approach?

The answer is in part that the Bay Harbor Golf Course was built over the CKD. Removing the CKD means digging up the golf course. Most of us think protecting a golf course at the expense of Lake Michigan and the rivers of Michigan doesn't make much sense.

See also:

"Alba residents are right to distrust injection well" in the Traverse City Record Eagle, 07/03/2007, online at

The Jordan River Watershed, online at

The text of the EPA's response to concerns about the injection well:

Posted by Raechel Wright for Jo Anne Beemon

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Our economy is a mess. We're approaching the fifth anniversary of a useless three trillion dollar war. We have more people in prison than any other country in the world, including China. Our education system is failing. Our people are the most ignorant in the developed world. Millions of people have no access to medical care. And what are we worried about? Eliot Spitzer's $1000 an hour call girl. Yeah, it was dumb. Find me a person who hasn't done something dumb. I think we can find something more important to spend our time on.

Watch Derrick Ashong on YouTube

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Al Qaeda in Iraq

There has been much debate among the presidential candidates lately regarding what might happen if the U.S. pulls its troops out of Iraq. Heres an interesting article from the Opinion page of the International Herald Tribune called "Iraq will not be a Qaedistan" by Oliver Roy

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mediation training May 8-9-10

Northern Community Mediation Offers Mediation Training
Northern Community Mediation is the Community Dispute Resolution Programs Center for northwest, lower Michigan. It has had an active and well-received mediation training program for many years. Its 40-hour, general civil mediator training is now State Court Administrative Office approved. The next 40-hour mediator training is scheduled for the following dates at the City Hall in Charlevoix:

Thursday, May 8 5:00pm - 9:00pm Thursday, May 15 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Friday, May 9 8:00am - 5:00pm Friday, May 16 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday, May 10 8:00am - 5:00pm Saturday, May 17 8:00am - 5:00pm

The mediation process has great applicability to dispute resolution in the workplace. Human Resources professionals and customer/client relations staff find the skill learned in these programs to be highly valuable. The facilitative process learned in this training empowers participants and results in agreements that are more viable and valued than those imposed by outsiders. This is one of the key benefits this approach provides for employee relations. We hope you or a staff member can attend. For more information, call Jane at 231-487-1771 or e-mail