Thursday, March 31, 2005


see the critter full-sized with just a click of the mouseJust one of the many treasures that come floating past us as the river takes over backyards and bean fields. Today was a slow day for the rising river but it's still flowing rapidly. It will all end up in somebody's yard. This one, fortunately will not end up in mine. For critics wondering why I didn't fish out the garbage... This pic was taken in macro mode with zoom so I was not close to it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Without the floods, would environutz be whining about the dioxin around here?

The ditch behind our house yesterday..
Click it. It looks better bigger!Yesterday... 2:30 pm..... as we observed the county ditch out behind our property was pretty full. I casually commented that the river must be rising, since it looked like the water was flowing inward instead of out toward the river. Ice and snow still covered the field beyond our property, residual from the previous flood in January this year.
This morning we shot more photos.
Click for a bigger picture

The ditch is just past the first tree line... Since our little boat is stored at the cottage up north, we couldn't go out to the same spot to photograph the ditch. You can see it though... out by the first bank of trees... with a mound of soil still exposed. Beyond that you can see the river bank just in front of the furthest line of trees. The river is still rising.

While on the subject of floods, if you have or know somebody who has photos of the 1986 flood, could you drop me an email and let me know. The only photos I've been able to find on the internet look like our backyard will probably look by tomorrow afternoon. During the 1986 Tittabawassee River flood we had no film in our camera and were unable to get out to buy some so we have no photos. I recently received an email request from a fellow in the U.S. Navy who was looking for photos of the 1986 Tittabawassee River flood. Since he was able to find Howard Vasold's photos he was hoping we might have pics from 1986 as well. He's been telling his buddies about the big flood and would love to show them photos.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What? Dioxins Come From Other Sources?

Bay City, GM share blame for dioxins in river, bay, DEQ suspects, By Jeff Kart, The Bay City Times, Sunday, March 27, 2005 points out a bit of information that undoubtedly never entered minds of the enviromental extremists. Golly, do you suppose? Dioxins may actually have been created by entities other than Dow! Thank you Jeff, for pointing this out to us. Thanks Ed and Bill for telling me about it.
Click the picture to enlarge it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Meetings... and more meetings

After a necessary long silence while MDEQ and Dow Chemical worked on the framework for fixing the dioxin mess in our backyards, we have an influx of public meetings. First, Dow & MDEQ have announced their schedule for the rest of their meetings by invitation. See my March 19 blog entry.
  • MDEQ & Dow - Wednesday, April 6 - 6:30 pm - Midland Holiday Inn
  • MDEQ & Dow - Thursday, April 7 - 6:30 pm - Saginaw's Horizons Conference Center
  • MDEQ & Dow - Thursday, April 14 - 6:30 pm - Bay City's Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center
Even though these meetings are by invitation, the public is invited to observe... and will have an opportunity to submit questions in writing to the facilitators. Midland Daily News Not to be outdone, local environmental extremists are launching a series of speakers beginning with
  • Dr. Linda Birnbaum - Wednesday, April 13 - Swan Valley High School, Saginaw
    Note: This meeting series is sponsored by some of the most notoriously anti-science extremists in the nation. The fact that they are lurking in our backyards is frightening. It may be my backyard today... but yours could be their next target.
Along with all these meetings, the infamous lawsuit is back in the news... Two years later, dioxin suit in limbo This was the first time that yours truly realized the environutz wanted to drag all of us along the Tittabawassee River floodplain into their latest endeavor! Did you know that this couple wants Dow to pay for their medical examinations the rest of their lives... just in case they might happen to develop any health problems associated with dioxin in the area? Not only that but if they convince Judge Borrello to give them class action status, the 85% of residents along the TR floodplain who are NOT suing would be included in the lawsuit automatically. We, each and all of the remaining 2,000+ residents would have to sign a document taking us out of the suit! Do you realize who will win in such a situation... if they should win? Not the Henrys... not the other people who joined them... not you or me.... it would be the tort lawyers! What a scam, eh?

By the way, I observed one of the suers (sp?) at the first public meeting by Dow and MDEQ leave the room to have a smoke! How do I know that person had a smoke? Because that person came back in and walked directly behind me to the snack and beverage table... reeking of cigarette smoke! Does she not realize chances of developing heart disease, cancer, and any number of health problems are more likely from that disgustingly smelly habit than any dioxin in her backyard?

Meanwhile, further downstream..... in the Saginaw River
Citizens group files protest to stop Saginaw River dredging
Thursday, March 17, 2005, By Jeff Kart, Bay City Times
Oh yes... the econutz are active... and they are headed your way!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The First MDEQ & Dow Meeting for invited guests...

... driving into the Horizons parking lot, the first thing we saw was a ragtag group holding up signs. Prominently in front of this group was Ms. Rhetoric looking angry as usual.
  • As we seated ourselves, it became obvious who the environmentalists were. They were the ones whose names were spelled correctly.
  • During the meeting, one of the many complaints vented by invited environmentalists was 'the news media was not allowed to attend the meeting' indicating a lack of 'transparency.' At least five members of the local news media were there.

    WJRT ABC News was there. I saw the truck. I briefly saw Matt Franklin and his crew but was worried about finding the correct meeting room and I didn't acknowledge him at that time. Sorry Matt, I didn't know your cameras would not be allowed inside.

    Rob from WSGW News Radio 790 was in the audience. Jeremiah, representing The Saginaw News, was there. Read his article: Some confused over DEQ's approach and Kathy Marchlewski, representing Midland Daily News provided the most accurate account citing both sides of the issue in her article: Dow, DEQ talk dioxin: Town hall meeting...

    I guess the real enviro-complaint had to do with a lack of cameras! The enviros do their best work with cameras and microphones where they can spread their version of 'truth' and sometimes just plain lies through the television media which is most likely to be seen by our vulnerable public. How many times have you heard, 'I seen it on TV so it must be true!'
  • Yes, all of the invited guests were allowed to speak. The moderator called upon quieter members to get their viewpoints but it was difficult for even the most vocal (that would be me) to be heard against the negativity of Lone Tree's members, representatives, and supporters.
  • It became really obvious Lone Tree and friends do NOT want this problem to be resolved. They want to expand it. One of their supporters indicated he thinks we should spend more time on the definition of a stakeholder. For starters, he would like that term to include everybody living in the Saginaw Bay watershed, which would include everybody along all the tributaries leading to and including the Saginaw Bay. Of course, if we gave them that, they would want to expand the definition to include Lake Huron!

    The real stakeholders in this current issue... the issue being addressed jointly by Dow Chemical and Michigan Deptartment of Environmental Quality..... are those of us whose property is already called a 'facility' and those in Midland, whose property is currently threatened. We need this thing to be resolved now. We do not need to be dragged into other alleged watershed problems around Michigan.

    I'm not sure what their ultimate goal is but this I know for sure. The environmental extremists do not care about the Michigan economy. They do not care about the residents. They do not care about any of us who enjoy and appreciate our beautiful water wonderland. They would love to have our backyards (now known as 'facilities') become swamps. Do you think they care if you and I die from mosquito-borne encephalitis? Hah! Just wait until our local mosquito control program begins the new season.
  • I have gained a new respect for Director of MDEQ Steve Chester as I observed the interaction between him and the people who thought they had an inside track on 'advising' him and his employees. When Lone Tree became involved in the CAP (Community Advisory Panel), they honestly thought it was their chance to advise MDEQ.

    Director Chester and Dow's Larry Washington really got things moving when they turned our local dioxin problem over to Jim Sygo and Susan Carrington without interference from the so-called advisory panel. Without the appointed representatives in the dioxin CAP continually slowing down the process with their continual changes and expansions of involvement, Dow/MDEQ are finally producing results. (Who appointed those people to the CAP, anyway?)

    As a 'priority one' resident stakeholder in this dioxin sandwich (MDEQ & Dow are the bread, residents in the middle), I am relieved to know Dow Chemical will remediate any dioxin-related problem areas in my home or yard. Yes, my property is priority one and I am not suing anybody. I am not worried about dioxin killing me or my family who lived here throughout their entire childhoods. I am only sick and tired of the enviromentalists getting me and my neighbors tangled up in this mess.
I almost forgot. The purpose of this meeting was to give ideas to MDEQ and Dow on what we the resident stakeholders feel is the best way to get word out to the community. I think it was generally agreed that smaller groups (without cameras, etc.) are good... with different times of day to accommodate the various time schedules of residents. Of course, the environmentalists would have the cameras included, but we feel, as Director Chester does, that many people are more apt to participate if they know they remain anonymous.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What's up, Doc?

Kudos to Kathy Hoekstra of WEYI NBC channel 25 for her Tuesday morning newscasts reporting the 'memory lapse' admitted by Dr. Brasseur that he had during the dioxin meeting on March 13 in Freeland. 'He said he simply forgot having several vials of blood drawn.' said Kathy.

With a memory like that I sure wouldn't want Dr. Brasseur for MY family physician!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Salas letter to MDN editor

Just noticed MDN published my letter to them originally sent in January...Dioxin reporting and resident involvement may sound slightly out of sync but it was way too long and they had to shorten it somewhat. Thanks MDN; I'll try to keep it shorter in future. ;-)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Doctor apologizes when reminded of where his blood was drawn...

Apology Offered The following words are exact quote from the Midland Daily News.
"This mind lapse was a serious error on my part, and I apologize to those of us involved in the dioxin question but more of an apology is due to Dr. Garabrant, his crew and the university," he wrote. "Once again, I apologize and hope this letter will reinforce the credibility of Dr. Garabrant and his study."
Let us hope the rest of the news media is as attentive to this information as they were to the original statement.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

...oops! almost forgot...mdn

Here is the Midland Daily News accounting of the meeting.Dioxin study blood results back - and confusing

The March 10 U/M study update meeting; what I saw

Unfortunately the environutz regrouped faster than expected. Here's what I saw at the meeting Thursday evening:
  • The Luddites were out enmasse. They seem desperate now. Along with fear tactics they now attempt to spread doubt on the whole program. Please, when you see these people on TV or quoted in newspapers just remember the words my momma always said... 'Consider the source.'
  • Lots of media people... looking for a story... true or not, something to get the readers or tv watchers coming back for more!
  • The story... a big man practically in tears, having 'a bad day' with his disease, looking for answers. I suggest Mr. Dalton's MS is more likely caused by breathing in the fumes behind a fast stinky power boat, since one of the recognized possible causes, along with genetics is ingestion of heavy metals in the environment. Read What is multiple sclerosis?
  • There was a man who received his test results even though he did not participate in the study... or so he said. I suggest any 'error' was actually sabotage; possibly an environut was hired for one of the local positions, either drawing blood or gathering information. I've heard the job postings were actually listed on one of the environmental websites... or maybe he was just plain ol' lying?
  • The environmental extemists were all gathered tightly around Ms. Heard Rhetoric. Even her mentor, Terry Miller, was there. Do you suppose they might have had a rehearsal for this meeting?
  • I saw the news media converge on the environmental extremists for more... more... more!
  • I saw nothing in neither television reports nor newspaper articles about Dr. Neill Varner's explanation that the likelihood of Dalton's disease being caused by dioxin is slim to none. Nobody cared. They had their story.
For a good description of what Jeremiah from the Saginaw News saw, read Blood results a puzzle

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mark Your Calendar...

If you have questions about the U of M now that some of the data has been mailed to participants, attend the informational meeting Thursday, March 10, 6 p.m. at Freeland Elementary School, 710 Powley Drive, Freeland.

Fish Bits and Fishy Pieces

Could you imagine this big fella swimming upstream on the Tittabawassee River for spawning? Maybe back when this picture was taken (over by East Tawas somewhere) but that was probably before the dams were built above the Tittabawassee. Have you ever looked down at the river when crossing on the Tittabawassee Road bridge... say in July, or August? If those big fish want to go upstream it will have to be during the springtime floods, unless we get lots of summertime rain... then perhaps they could go during the autumn flood. For that matter most anytime of the year you wouldn't be able to canoe the river at that point without portaging past this area. Despite that I'm delighted to read rehabilitation of this species in our area has begun. Read Sturgeon hunted in Saginaw River, a February 23 2005 AP article published in the Detroit News.

How misconceptions become facts... Cleanup called 'Band-Aid' says Jeremiah at Saginaw News, along with a 'fact' that 'The state has deemed Jacob's home on West Michigan one of those "Priority 1" properties, meaning it contains dioxin levels exceeding 1,000 parts per trillion.' After reading this assumption in the Saginaw News I heard it repeated by Sam Merrill on WNEM TV5 on the 6:00pm news. It sounded like Sam read the Saginaw News and repeated what Jeremiah wrote. When I phoned TV5 to point out the error I mentioned that I have no evidence of dioxin in my backyard, which is a priority 1 area.

I quote here the IRA Framework definition of Priority 1:
The Priority 1 IRA Areas are depicted in the attached maps (Attachments 1 and 2) and identified as follows:
a. City of Midland
i. Corning Lane
ii. Neighborhood North of Dow Facility
iii. Neighborhood East of Corning Lane
b. Tittabawassee River Properties: Residential properties where the home or yard close to the home was inundated during the March 2004 flood (a 7-10 year flood event)

Although there would be a presumption of dioxin based on propoganda from environmental extremists, I do not see the word anywhere in this description. Here's the framework... Go for it! Prove me wrong!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A TRVoice Commentary…

I heard the econutz were whining about an apparent dissolution of the MDEQ’s CAP… (that would be the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Community Action Program)… so I went to their website where I found the following entry:

"Note: the CAP described below is dead and gone. The state has capitulated to Dow and has not held a meeting in over 240 days (as of 1/21/05). The open and transparent process promised by Governor Granholm has evaporated." copied from:

Since I thought a Citizen’s Advisory Panel (or is it ‘Community‘?), conducted by MDEQ was a group of DEQ folks advising citizens of current events between that agency and Dow, I was astounded to find the following explanation from Ms. Hurd-Rhetoric’s gang of river-watchers. (red highlights are mine.)

copied from:

"What is the Citizen Advisory Panel?

The Community Advisory Panel was formed to provide input to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues related to corrective action activities for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil contamination. The CAP is intended to be an advisory group to the WHMD*** on corrective action activities for contamination beyond the facility boundary of The Dow Chemical Company, Michigan Operations, Midland Plant under the hazardous waste facility operating license that was issued on June 12, 2003, and related issues.

Mr. Bruchmann indicated that this expanded corrective action public involvement effort is strongly supported by DEQ Director Steve Chester. Since this is the WHMD’s first effort of this type, he asked for everyone’s patience through the process. The initial work of the CAP will be to provide input to the DEQ on the Scopes of Work (SOWs) for Remedial Investigation for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee River sediment and flood plain soil contamination that Dow is scheduled to submit on August 11, 2003. Mr. Bruchmann mentioned that the operation of the CAP could be affected if Dow contests the operating license [Note: Dow did not contest the operating license. The deadline for filing a petition for contested case hearing on the operating license is also August 11, 2003. Cheryl Howe, the WHMD’s project manager for the Dow operating license, will moderate the CAP and provide staff support, along with several other agency technical staff.
It is expected that the group will control the topics that are of interest to the CAP and topics will emerge as meetings progress. "

Boiled down to it’s basics, it would appear the MDEQ CAP was created by Lone Tree so Lone Tree could tell MDEQ what to do about ‘all that dioxin’ in my backyard… in the process falsely claiming to represent the majority of citizens living along the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

WHMD*** ‘Waste and Hazardous Materials Department’ of the DEQ.

A note to TRVoice members: When this 'facility in my backyard' thing is over and done, my job here is done. My blogging, however, will not stop. Why? Because I believe now, more than ever, that a blog, written by a responsible individual, can be a powerful tool.

A note to property owners everywhere, but especially if you live near or frequently enjoy the beauty and benefits of a river, stream or lake. Like creatures lurking in the night, when exposed to the light of truth the extremists and fear mongers will scurry about... then they will regroup.Their semantics will change but their mission will not. Your property is still in their vision. Watch for words like wetlands and watershed.

In my last post I mentioned Love Canal because it was used as a reference in a letter to the editor, Saginaw News, in criticism of my guest editorial. We cannot stress enough the fact that even as families are moving back to Love Canal there has been no scientific evidence of pockets of illness in former residents. Oh by the way, here in our own Tittabawassee River floodplain, where are all the sick people?