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A roundup of recent Michigan newspaper editorials

November 12, 2018

The Detroit News. November 6, 2018

Post midterm, country must strive for unity

The political tension in Michigan and around the country reached a boiling point with Tuesday’s elections. Neighbors, colleagues, friends and even family have been torn apart over politics. That kind of contempt for our fellow Americans is not healthy. Now that this contentious midterm is over, we urge everyone to embrace civility.

That seems next to impossible when the rhetoric coming from political leaders on both sides of the aisle is so contentious.

President Donald Trump stirs the pot continually, calling out those he dislikes and making fun of his detractors. Yet even Trump, in a recent interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, admitted he regretted not having had a softer tone in his first two years in office.

Democrats are hardly blameless either. During the campaign, leaders rallied their followers with confrontational language.

The constant drumbeat of negativity is having real effects on citizens.

A 2016 Pew Research Center poll found that partisans’ opinions of those in the other party were lower than they’d been in a quarter of a century. We imagine these numbers are even worse now.

Seventy percent of Democrats believed that Republicans are more closed-minded than other Americans. Republicans (52 percent) thought Democrats are closed-minded and nearly half thought Democrats are lazy and dishonest.

Even worse, the poll found that many citizens actually fear members of the opposing party. “More than half of Democrats (55 percent) say the Republican Party makes them ‘afraid,’ while 49 percent of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party,” according to Pew.

Where to go from here? Even though the midterms are over, 2020 will now become the focus, and it’s hard to imagine the coming months will be any less heated.

Sometimes it’s helpful to put things in perspective.

We were touched by the story of Utah mayor and National Guard officer Brent Taylor, who was killed over the weekend while serving in Afghanistan. Major Taylor was only 39, and he leaves behind a wife and seven young children.

But he also left a message that resonates.

Taylor’s last Facebook post (dated Oct. 28) read, “As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”

We should all take that to heart.

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Times Herald (Port Huron). November 7, 2018

Don’t play games with pot voters

As expected, Michigan voters overwhelming approved legalizing marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday. We still think it was a bad idea, but that does not matter anymore because the voters have spoken.

Statewide, Proposal 1 was approved 55 percent to 45 percent. The ratio was similar in St. Clair County. In Port Huron, 62 percent of voters said yes. In Sanilac County, though, 56 percent of voters said no to legalizing marijuana.

State officials say the possession and use of marijuana by adults could be legal by early December. Expect months, if not years, of bureaucratic and political foot-dragging in Lansing before it is possible to actually buy any at retail, though.

Lame-duck Gov. Rick Snyder, in a statement Wednesday, said it shouldn’t be that way.

“Now that the decisions have been made, it’s time to move forward,” he said. “State officials should begin their work in earnest to implement the new state laws and ensure the proper regulatory frameworks are in place.”

It has been a decade since Michigan voters approved marijuana for medical use. Yet there are almost no dispensaries where patients can acquire the drug. And that is despite the state finally erecting a framework — more than a year ago — to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and other facilities.

State regulators say that their experience with that boondoggle means that licensing recreational marijuana businesses will go more smoothly. Perhaps appropriately, this is an editorial about marijuana.

It doesn’t help that the initiative process in Michigan allows the Legislature to get involved. Lawmakers could have passed their own bills to legalize pot but didn’t have the political courage. Those who fear the worst expect the Legislature to make it easier for local governments to negate the will of voters. Instead of requiring cities and townships to say yes or no to marijuana, as they do now with medical facilities, Lansing could make hiding from a decision the same as saying no.

Local officials need to check Tuesday’s vote totals. Their constituents, all adults, chose to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Ignoring voters, a lot of candidates learned Tuesday, is not the path to re-election.

Officials who fear the negative effects of legalizing marijuana should want quick and effective implementation of state controls and regulations. Red tape, foot-dragging and unreasonably high excise taxes can only reinforce and encourage lawlessness and promote the growth and survival of the marijuana black market.

The recreational use of marijuana is the law in Michigan now. State and local officials must make certain it happens with the least risk to all of us.

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The Mining Journal (Marquette). November 7, 2018

Stonehouse most worthy of magazine recognition

“Mr. Maritime” himself, Fred Stonehouse, has received the 2018 Achievement Award from Lake Superior Magazine.

The Duluth, Minnesota-based publication has given the award since 1994 to individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the wellbeing of Lake Superior and its communities.

Stonehouse serves as mayor pro tem of the city of Marquette. However, he has been recognized for other achievements, including the 2006 Association for Great Lakes Maritime History Award for Historic Interpretation. He also was the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s Historian of the Year in 2007.

Stonehouse has taught Great Lakes maritime history at Northern Michigan University and is the author of many books and articles on maritime topics.

“Fred’s balance of recognizing and celebrating our history while strategizing and anticipating the future makes him a true asset to our Big Lake community,” read the announcement on the magazine’s website, lakesuperior.com. “For his vision and passion about his city by the inland sea and for his energy and dedication to preserving our Great Lakes maritime heritage, we are proud to honor Fred Stonehouse with the 2018 Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award.”

Bob O’Donnell, a member of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, praised Stonehouse on the website.

“What kind of distinguishes Fred, he’s not afraid of taking maritime history into a couple of different genres,” O’Donnell said.

His books include “The Last Laker” about finding a wreck lost in a 1913 Great Lakes storm, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” ″Pirates, Crooks and Killers: The Dark Side of The Great Lakes” and “Blood on the Water” about the Great Lakes during the Civil War.

Stonehouse has participated in many videos, and gave a presentation during this year’s Sonderegger Symposium at NMU titled “Sailing into Legend — the Most Baffling Shipwreck(s) in the Great Lakes!”

His Sonderegger talk focused on the Lake Superior shipwreck of two French minesweepers, which disappeared in 1918.

Stonehouse also is president of the Marquette Maritime Museum. Talk about immersed in a passion.

If you want to learn more about Stonehouse, visit frederickstonehouse.com where his future speaking programs are listed.

However, were you to run into him on the street, he likely will be more than happy to share his knowledge of Great Lakes maritime history.

It’s that enthusiasm that we believe makes him a worthy recipient of the 2018 Achievement Award from Lake Superior Magazine.

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Lansing State Journal. November 7, 2018

Voting is a great first step, still work to do.

Way to go, Greater Lansing voters!

You woke up; you showed up and you made sure your voices were heard.

Voter turnout was strong across the region on Tuesday, not surprising after requests for absentee ballots set records in the days leading up to the election.

This increased awareness and engagement bodes well for democracy.

Tuesday’s turnout signals an increasing number of citizens who acknowledge the importance of voting and their individual roles in the process.

The weight and depth of the issues at stake - from health care and immigration to taxes and the quality of our roads - were worthy of our attention at the polls.

And these issues are worthy of our ongoing attention.

To all those who voted: Thank you. However, your work isn’t done.

Citizens must remain engaged in the political and legislative processes.

Are elected officials following through on their promises? Are they spending taxpayers’ money efficiently?

Voting is just one - albeit very important - part of the democratic process.

Your voice has been heard Greater Lansing; voting is a great first step.

There’s still plenty of work to do.

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