Feb. 24 2010 12:00 AM

Boost school readiness

In her state-of-the-state speech, Gov. Jennifer Granholm missed a golden opportunity to push a proven means to improving the state’s economy: maintaining our investment in school readiness efforts.

A new study by economists at Wilder Research showed that Michigan’s school readiness efforts saved the state $1.15 billion last year by lowering social costs (welfare, dropouts, prison, special education and so on). We’ll get similar savings each and every year – provided we don’t cut these valuable efforts.

Michigan has taken steps in the right direction with programs like “Great Start.” We must maintain the progress. The results will be dynamic for Michigan’s children and for Michigan’s economy.

— MC Rothhorn Lansing

Who’s afraid of Virg?

Derek Melot thinks that all of the recent happenings in the Democratic gubernatorial primary contest related to Virg Bernero are just dumb luck. Did Melot ever consider the idea that Denise Illitch and Robert Bowman dropped out because there is a consensus building within traditional Democratic groups that Bernero is their guy, and that Illitch and Bowman couldn’t garner enough support to mount a campaign against him in the primary? Why does it have to be luck that’s behind it?

From the way I see it, Illitch and Bowman wanted nothing to do with the Bernero buzzsaw.

Virg said it best. To all those who stand as obstacles to progress in Michigan: Get out of the way, or get run over.

— Aaron L. Roberts Lansing

Enjoys Alkon

I am just writing to say how much I enjoy your advice columnist, Amy Alkon.

It’s nice to see a columnist with a fair and balanced viewpoint. Rather than pander to her readers she gives genuine, honest advice that I feel helps both the parties involved. I’m referring specifically to her most recent article, “Thick and Tired of It.” I enjoyed her response and her bravery in writing this article as it does not give a cookie-cutter response you see from most advice columnists. Instead, she tried to approach the situation from both points of view, i.e. the women asking the question as well as her boyfriend, who otherwise would not have a voice. She presents her opinions thoughtfully, intelligently and with hard-handed respect. Her column is one of my favorites in your paper.

— Aaron Tomak Lansing

Local dining deep

Joe Torok’s "Decade in Dining" article in the Dec. 30 issue could have been better researched. He downplayed the Mexican cuisine as "disappointingly homogenous.” He must not have eaten at Mangos, Cancun, Fiesta Charra’s, Pablo’s Bakery, or the mobile El Oasis truck on Michigan Avenue (also found inside the party store at the intersection Miller Road and S. Cedar Street — very much L.A.-style). They all offer something different from what he described as "tacos, burritos and the like ... are the norm.” And Jamaican is not a Latin variation: it is Caribbean, and more specifically a confluence of West African, European (primarily Spanish and Portuguese), East Indian and Chinese cooking styles.

He did get it right about the surge of Sushi and Korean restaurants in the last decade, and a little bit of fusion. It would have helped to name a few though, like Akagi (the only Japanese Sushi restaurant), and AI Fusion, both of which are in Okemos and are excellent. I thought Altu’s, the Ethiopian restaurant, deserved a mention too, as it has survived the decade as the only African restaurant in town.

It might make a good story in future issues to compare all the Korean, or all the Sushi, or the Thai, the Indian, or the Mexican restaurants. The Lansing area is really fortunate to have the diversity and quality of ethnic restaurants available that most other metropolitan areas of similar size lack. This is mainly due to the large amount of immigrants that settle here. Last time I checked, Lansing had one of the highest numbers of separate ethnic cultures in the country.

None of these ethnic restaurants were around (except a few Mexican restaurants) when Travelers Club opened in 1982, which is one of the reasons we came up with our "traveling" menu.

Not to mention, Joe completely missed the fact that Travelers Club has been serving local food (and natural/organic when possible) since we opened.

Just thought I would pass along my review for your edification.

— Will White Okemos