March 30 2011 12:00 AM

In Memory of Karen J. Hartwig

I wonder: If you ask the universe for Grace, Beauty, Laughter and Joy, does it come true?

It does if you know Karen Hartwig. Karen Jeanne Hartwig was born March 4, 1963, and left this earth way too suddenly on March 18, 2011.

Twig had these gifts. Grace. Beauty. Laughter. Joy. She gave them away freely, to anyone that happened by. Well, not freely. There was a price. You had to laugh with her. You had to find beauty in a sometimes ugly world, or create it if you couldn’t. You had to find joy by giving it to someone else. And, you had to bear your burdens, and your own clumsy self, with grace.

She never asked this of course, you just did it.

Twig had so many, many gifts, she was compelled to give them away.

Twig worked tirelessly in the early years of Michigan Pride to make sure that that day wasn’t just a good idea in someone’s head, but an extraordinary event for thousands of people. Later, when some of us got old and tired, Twig went back.

She did the same thing for Suits in the City. She recruited women to join and made the event a fun, safe place for LGBT people to network. To laugh. She helped bring the “L” to an LGBT event.

And Zonta. And the Capital Area Humane Society. And the Women’s Center. And her neighborhood.

Those to whom much is given, much is asked. Twig answered. Fiercely.

And Twig could be fierce. A force to be reckoned with. But she generally reserved her contempt for bad drivers and anyone who played against Michigan State.

Twig left behind a loving family – Joan, Bill, Susan, Emma, her partner, Sarah – but she left another family, hundreds of us.

And she touched thousands of people she never even knew.

— Stephanie McLean, Lansing

On the governor’s budget

Ballard, I have reviewed your response to Mr. Schwartz regarding my
comments on your article in the March 16 issue of City Pulse. While it
is true that the paragraph in question is written in the present tense,
your reference in that paragraph to the Homestead Property Tax Credit is
the only one in your article, which purports to cover the major changes
proposed by Governor Snyder in his budget. I believe the fact that his
proposal would eliminate the credit for approximately 70,000 Michigan
households and severely reduce the benefits under the credit for another
85,000 households should have been mentioned, particularly when you
refer to the present credit as "enhanced." I believe this omission
severely undermines your conclusion that the Governor’s proposal is
"courageous." Had you included the gutting of the credit in your piece,
it would have strengthened another one of your conclusions, that the
plight of low-income seniors is bleak under the Governor’s proposal.
With the evisceration of the Homestead Property Tax credit, it is even

— Robert Nelson, East Lansing

Keep the pool open

am very concerned about the current proposal to close LCC’s swimming
pool. I understand some believe the pool is in need of repairs that
would be too costly for the school to meet in these hard economic times.
As a regular user of the facility, I cannot believe it is on the brink
of break down and in need of rehab at the cost I’ve heard quoted. MSU
made major repairs to its varsity swimming pool a couple of years ago at
a fraction of the cost for a pool much larger and twenty years older
than LCC’s.

been a regular at the LCC pool since the day it opened in 1976. My son
was a water baby there and learned to swim, not as a competitive
swimmer, but to acquire a healthy life time activity, as well as a
potentially life saving skill. I’ve taken classes and taught classes in
this pool and continue to visit it 3-5 times a week in an effort to stay
healthy and avoid using that Medicare card I’m going to be eligible for
next year. My fellow swimmers range in age from 18 to 80 (all ages on
the weekends when open to the public for family swim) and I’m always
inspired by their dedication. A few are there to hone their skills for
competitive swimming events, but the vast majority are simply there in
an effort to regain, or maintain, good health.

am utterly amazed that, at a time when obesity with all its associated
risks has hit epidemic proportions in this state and across the nation,
the LCC Board of Trustees would consider closing this facility. The
Governor has stated that Michigan needs to get physically healthy in
order for us to become economically healthy. That is why I am strongly
urging the Board to heed the Governor’s advice. We need to keep LCC’s
pool open as the great community resource it has been for the past 35
years. We will all be the healthier for it.

— Mark Manrique, Lansing