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Fletcher: Busy week with lots to talk about

March 19, 2013
Stephen Fletcher , The Alpena News

A hectic week had resulted in a column of disjointed thoughts, few of which deal with economics.

Two people whom I always admired died this past week, Clair Diamond and Ethel LaHaie. If you would like to pattern your life after someone with values and the grit to stick to those values, then you should study their lives as an example.

As a complete counterpoint to the graciousness of their existence, we have the fact that the three books entitled "Fifty Shades " are finally off the charts and, I hope, headed for the dung heap of the forgotten "how to" sex textbooks. I'm old enough that we didn't have films nor books when I was learning about such things and my generation did just fine, thank you.

I just finished reading the 35-page "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community" that was presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence March 12. It's on the Internet so you can read it too, but it will scare your socks off.

Read Hillary Clinton's statements on the massacre in Libya and talk to me after whether your opinion changed. "What difference does it make" should haunt her forever.

Also, mull over what our response should be to the nuclear threat from North Korea, China, and Iraq's long range missiles. China announced another 10 percent increase in its military budget while we are cutting our own by 7 percent.

Last week I saw an aerial photograph of five U.S. aircraft carriers lined up at docks side by side at Norfolk, Va. It looked to me like a perfect setting for a Pearl Harbor sequel in the ICBM era. I believe we have only 11 aircraft carriers in our whole fleet. You and I diversify our retirement portfolios to spread the risk. Why don't we spread out our navy's ships for the same reason?

I started this column about gracious women, now let me close with mention of an outstanding gentleman. I remember at Jesse Besser's death talking to my father about Jesse's philanthropic philosophy and how his death would impact the community. I knew Jesse as a great benefactor who had helped with community construction projects everywhere around Alpena. I, and most of the community, were grateful for his help. I learned to be respectful of that generosity, and mindful of the impact such a practice could have on a community.

Later, when a local institution started to forget to use my forbearer's name in its publicity, I stopped our annual gift. I hope Jesse's family, via the Park Family Foundation, isn't as petty as I was.

That foundation recently indicated it would no longer manage the Northern Lights Arena when its contract expires in a few months. It seems not all user groups agreed there needed to be more diverse use of the facility, especially with the second ice rink.

I hope the new managers rent enough ice time to cover the cost of a new Zamboni when the need arises. Don Silver, who ran Battle Creek's ice program for years and has a degree in recreation, told me there is no municipality in the state that has run two sheets of ice economically. In other words, long-term philanthropic help often is necessary to keep such arenas afloat. With the Park Family Foundation gone soon, who will fill those philanthropic shoes?

Next week I'm going to talk about why the unemployment statistics really aren't accurate and share with you how to figure "true" unemployment numbers.

 
 

 

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