Thanks for your excellent cover story in Metro Times ("Courting controversy," Nov. 7). I've been following the juror issue closely and find that all too many in my community complain about the perceived lack of peers on juries. Yet in reality, until residents step up to the plate, respond to jury summonses and become part of the solution, there isn't going to be a lot of change. I don't believe any court system should be run on race. If so, though, why not bring religion into the equation? —Robert P. Thibodeau, Detroit
Column offers hope
I'm writing regarding Larry Gabriel's recent column, "Growing green" (Stir It Up, Metro Times, Nov. 7). I really enjoyed reading this article about Detroit. It's been a while since I have read something with promising optimism about our city. It gives us hope for economic growth and prosperity, at a time when both are lacking. It's wonderful to know there is green brainpower living in Detroit. I don't think I'm alone when I ask, "What can I do to help this movement?" —Stephanie Selvaggio, Grosse Pointe Farms
I read with interest Larry Gabriel's article, "Growing green." Having worked as an environmental engineer for 34 years, I happen to know a little about "green" issues. It's laudable that the city of Detroit is jumping on the "green bandwagon." Recycling plastics is obviously a great idea, however, it may not work until we do what we did in the case of bottles and that is to have people pay up-front for the plastic bottles, for which they can get reimbursed upon returning them. People need an incentive to recycle plastic bottles; most people, unfortunately, are not environmentally conscious.
We also have to acknowledge that many people in Detroit don't have access to cars or public transportation and that's another reason recycling, in general, may not be as successful in Detroit as it is in the suburbs. The locations of recycling centers should be advertised on local TV and circulated to residents through the water and sewerage bills.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) that use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer but cost a lot more should be distributed free of charge to people who are on welfare and should be sold at a discounted price to people who can afford to buy them. This will lower electricity consumption and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, which contribute to global warming.
Information on how to buy energy efficient lights, appliances and heating and cooling equipment is freely available at www.energystar.gov, and should be circulated to residents along with their water and sewer bills.
We should also look into the possibility of having suburban businesses provide shuttle services to Detroit residents to help them commute to jobs that cannot be filled locally. There are number of service jobs that are available in suburbs for which they cannot find people to fill locally and since many Detroit residents don't have cars, they cannot take those jobs.
We should also work with our educational institutions, like Wayne Community College and Wayne State University to see if they can develop courses in "green technology" and "green awareness" to help people prepare for jobs in the "green industry" and foster environmental awareness among the Detroit citizens. —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit
Band on the run
I just wanted to write about Leah Warshaw's recent article "Acts of State" (Metro Times, Oct. 31). I am in a "local" band based out of Saginaw (the Banana Convention). We travel not only all over the state, from Saginaw to Traverse City to Grand Rapids to St. Joseph and Detroit, but out of state as well, from Chicago to Cincinnati to Boston to New Jersey and New York City.
It's nice to know there are others out there like us — and others who support local touring bands. It's very hard breaking into new markets, especially when most touring bands just breaking in are playing for less money than they spend on gas to get to a gig.
On the road, we have met so many great bands from across the state, all so good and so diverse, and have made many great "band friends." Show swapping is a requirement to break in to new areas, and most every band we come in contact with are always so friendly and supportive and open to hooking up for shows in our area and us coming back to theirs, etc.
We've been at this for coming up on four years now, and are still struggling to get our name out there, but we keep plugging away and playing shows and coming down to Detroit because we love the scene and love the camaraderie amongst fellow musicians. Let's keep it going! —Monte Nothelfer, Saginaw
I find it galling that Metro Times would reward tasteless and destructive graffiti as the best of anything in Detroit (Best of Detroit issue, "Community Chest," Best New Tag, "It don't exist," Metro Times, Oct. 17). Admittedly, the first time I saw the tag, "telepathy, it don't exist," I giggled — for about five seconds, until I saw it repeated all the way up the block and back again on the other side.
It spread like maggots across the buildings on Michigan Avenue, and trees, underpasses and sidewalks of West Grand Boulevard. Surely you could have come up with a better "best of" than the defacing of our neighborhoods and hopeful areas. For example, why not a Best Garden? —Naomi Ruth, Detroit
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