Letters to the Editor

Up in smoke

Detroit's decision to incinerate its garbage costs too much. Residents are paying for this decision in cash, in air quality, in quality of life, and in jobs. City Council has taken an important step passing the recycling resolution, but what follows is critical. Removing the need to feed the incinerator means big opportunities for taking valuable resources that once went up in smoke and diverting them to recycling.

Detroit is the largest city in the country without comprehensive recycling. Southeast Michigan recycling businesses are salivating over the prospect of accessing the city's raw material stream. Currently, Michigan-based manufacturers can't get enough recyclable raw materials to meet the demand for their products. What's stopping green businesses from investing in Detroit? Lack of feedstock — and that feedstock is in our garbage.

So, do we generate jobs and grow a recycling industry or continue to watch our resources go up in smoke? —Kerrin O'Brien, Michigan Recycling Coalition, Lansing, michiganrecycles.org

Even with organic tobacco?

In "Growing Great" (Metro Times, June 18) farmer Judy Day refers to her crops as organically produced. In her eyes they may be organic, but not from the perspective of the USDA National Organic Program. They do not allow any nicotine products in organic production. So because of this factor — making tobacco leaf (chewing tobacco) tea to deter the insect pests — she is not growing organically according to the USDA rules. Yes, nicotine products are known to be effective but it they are not allowed in organic production. —Vicki Morrone, Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist, Michigan State University, C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems, East Lansing

Comin' like a ghost town

Brian Smith's piece on Flint ("Hard day's night," Metro Times, June 11) jogged memories of a joyful past and a troubled present in that city. As a kid, I had family that lived in Flint, gainfully employed by General Motors. I vaguely remember parades in downtown and barbecues with friends and family. The grown-ups enjoyed each other and such highbrow beverages as Blatz, Pabst and Stroh's. In later and more obscure years, I had the pleasure of playing good old punk rock in those same "old-man bars" such as the Eastsider, now a tattoo parlor.

My most recent experience in Flint was just a couple of months ago while driving through on my way north. I passed the GM Truck Assembly Plant, where there was a smattering of vehicles in the lot waiting while their owners worked in the plant. I hit I-475, right in the middle of this once-vibrant manufacturing town and checked the clock to see the time: 5 p.m. on a Wednesday. I looked ahead and in the mirrors. I saw about four cars as far as my eyes could see. Rush hour? Nobody was rushing anywhere!

Flint, once a staple of American manufacturing power, is now a manufacturing ghost town. I still travel through Flint, and inevitably shake my head. —Kirk Morrison, Livonia

Send letters (250 words or less in length, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; send faxes to 313-961-6598; send letters via e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel. If you have any questions about editorial content in this paper, feel free to call our editor, W. Kim Heron, at 313-202-8011.

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