0-07-2019 Letters and Commentary

Correction In the February 28, 2019 issue of Tri-City Record, an error was made on Page 6 in the continuation of the Coloma City Commission meeting story from the front page. In the subheading “Local issues” it made reference to a survey regarding proposal for city-wide bus service. It should have read county-wide bus service. Also, in that same paragraph it should have reported that the south end of the county is interested in bus service, not south end of the city. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion these errors may have caused.

George Darling family grateful for acts of kindness Dear Editor, The family of George Darling would like to thank everyone for the many acts of kindness during our recent bereavement. The thoughts, prayers, many cards sent, flowers, memorials, monetary donations, food, the kind words spoken, and for being there for us is very much appreciated and will always be remembered. Thank you to the Coloma Township Police Department, Pride Care Ambulance EMTs, and Lakeland Hospital of Watervliet – Laura Grant and the rest of the Emergency Room staff. Also, the Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph Intensive Care Unit staff for the loving care that was taken of George and our family, Rev. Brian Hall, Gary Jewell and his employees at the Hot Spot, Pastor Jay Hartmann for the wonderful service, and the Ladies of Faith of the Faith Lutheran Church for preparing and serving the meal after the funeral. God has truly blessed us with a loving family and friends. Sincerely, Martha Darling & family, Coloma

In regards to trash everywhere Dear Karl, I just finished reading your comments on trash is everywhere and you couldn’t be more right. We need to develop new packaging for many of our food items and items that are referred to as disposable. I have to ask (I don’t know the answer) but, if we switch to cloth diapers then we have huge amounts of detergent and bleach soaking into our ground water, is that better? Eventually too, the cloth diapers will end up in the landfill. You would think with all the technology we could invent these and other items from a material that would decompose. Respectfully as always, Dennis Bachman, Benton Harbor

Great job! Coloma Lioness hosts Community Soup Supper Dear Editor, We had a packed house for our March 1st Community Soup Supper! 106 people were served some delicious homemade soup, salad, bread and oh, so delicious homemade desserts! Over $500 in donations were received to help the HOPE Resources Food Pantry at the Coloma United Methodist Church. Helping our community… that’s what we do! Julie Mayuiers 11-B2 2nd Vice District Governor

Watervliet Library assessing children’s programs, public survey underway The Watervliet District Library is undertaking an extensive review of their children’s programming, and community input is requested. In an effort to better assess the needs of Watervliet families, the library has created a survey to share opinions, ideas or suggestions for future children’s events. The survey can be accessed through the library’s website at watervlietlibrary.net or Facebook page. Direct online access to the survey can be reached through the following web address: https://www.surveymon- key.com/r/3XBY7VJ. Paper copies are available at the library, as well. All survey responses are anonymous. The survey itself is limited to eight questions and should take less than five minutes to complete. Answers will be used to guide the staff towards next fall’s programming. The library currently offers story hours, LEGO Club, Sensory Bin Blast, and Make-It Monday programs, all designed for the youngest members of the community. To find out more about the survey or any of the library’s programs, contact the library at 269-463-6382, info@wdlib.org, or stop by to pick up the latest copy of the newsletter.

Nesbitt introduces legislation to provide better access to internet State Sen. Aric Nesbitt on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 introduced legislation that seeks to improve access to reliable broadband internet by increasing incentives for expanding broadband infrastructure in underserved and unserved areas. “So many modern services rely on the ability to connect to the internet,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “Many jobs and educational opportunities are becoming increasingly mobile. This is an issue that has plagued communities in my district for far too long. I am happy to have taken the first step in getting this issue resolved.” Senate Bill 163 would promote investment in broadband equipment, with the desired result being more high-speed internet service to underserved and rural areas of the state. The legislation hopes to prompt investors to upgrade their equipment and expand services to areas that currently cannot receive high-speed internet. “Many of those underserved areas are rural and farming communities,” Nesbitt said. “Ensuring high-speed service reaches these areas will not only help families at home but will attract the job creators we need to invest in local economies. “Reliable internet service is also a property value issue,” Nesbitt said. “Homes without access to good internet are less desirable and harder to sell, which in turn lowers their value. I think we owe it to residents in rural areas to get this done. It is 2019, and good reliable broadband service should not be such a rare commodity.” The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance for further consideration.

“Spring Into Reading” in March with book drive United Way of Southwest Michigan aims to collect 5,000 books at 40 drop-off locations in Berrien and Cass counties. United Way of Southwest Michigan presents the “Spring Into Reading” book drive this March 2019 in celebration of National Reading Month. In partnership with Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and Cass County Great Start Collaborative, United Way of Southwest Michigan seeks to collect 5,000 new and gently used books from March 1-21 for area children and young adults. There are nearly 40 drop-off locations throughout Berrien and Cass counties. They are listed at uwsm.org/bookdrive. Books will be distributed through area home-visiting programs, tri-county Head Start programs, area shelters, strategic businesses, area food pantries and targeted agencies to get books in kid’s hands during summer months. “We are fortunate to have such a great outpouring from the community for this event,” said Julee Laurent, Volunteer Engagement Manager at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “Last year we had a goal of 5,000 books and collected 10,000. This enabled us to put books in the hands of kids all summer long. We were able to distribute them everywhere from area ‘Meet Up, Eat Up’ summer meal sites, to area home-visiting programs, to supplementing summer rec sites and little free libraries.” Any company or business that would like to collect books to add to the drive should email julee.laurent@uwsm.org. The Great Start Collaborative is an early childhood community initiative that brings community leaders, business owners, charitable and faith-based organizations, health and human service agencies, educators and parents together to focus on families with children prenatal to age 8. Together, these groups work to provide a network of resources that help families obtain services that will allow their children to succeed in every facet of their lives. “Studies show that exposing children to books at a young age, and having books to read at home, is one of the best ways to develop children’s literacy skills,” said Kristen Chism, Director of Berrien County Great Start Collaborative. “However, many children living in poverty in the U.S. do not have access to books at their homes. This book drive will get books in the hands of kids who may not have had access before and open a whole new world of words to them.” The Collaborative works to expand and enhance early childhood systems in Berrien and Cass counties and make progress toward early childhood outcomes including overall health, early academic development and school preparedness for children from birth to 3rd grade.

Counselors to discuss non-drug approaches to chronic pain Community members are invited to join counselors, Rich Watson, LPC, LLP, and Kris Petlick, LLP, for a free educational seminar titled, “Understanding Chronic Pain Signals and How to Cope.” The seminar will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 in the Conference Center at Lakeland at Meadowbrook, located at 2550 Meadowbrook Road in Benton Harbor. During the seminar, counselors will discuss non-drug approaches to managing chronic pain and how a change in mindset can help people experience renewed life and improved mobility. “If your pain has lasted longer than three months or isn’t healing as expected, you may be experiencing chronic pain,” said Petlick. “Caused by an injury, or as the result of a number of disorders, chronic pain can be challenging to control and has serious effects on a person’s quality of life. Medication alone does not always provide the relief we seek.” Preregistration is encouraged; walk-ins are welcome. For more information, or to register, call (269) 927-5361 or visit www.swmc.org/chronicpain.

FIX THE DAMN ROADS… got a lot of attention when Michigan gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer made it part of her campaign this past fall. What she didn’t tell voters then was she planned to “fix the damn roads” by adding a 45-cent tax on a gallon of gasoline. What a great idea, make the voters pay for voting her into office. The tax hike is added on to the 26 cents a gallon state tax on gasoline. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised another candidate for office soon forgot the voters that got her there in the first place. It was just a short matter of time that the politicians in Lansing decided it was a good idea to add a “sin” tax to the taxpayers’ burden. I seem to recall a strategy 12 years ago or so, to let the road repairs go in exchange for lower taxes. Now the roads are so bad it will take a massive effort to get them repaired. That’s like the windfall of the casino profits financing the schools in exchange for lower property taxes to year-round residents and increasing the taxes on business some 30 years ago. Now as those businesses have closed or moved out of state; the school districts are having a difficult time to pay their bills with ever decreasing state revenues. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a state proposal to increase the 50% property tax cut on residences just to make up for those losses.

IN LIKE A LION… out like a lamb as the saying goes for the month of March. We sure got the lion down pat with howling winds followed by arctic cold in just the first week. The 40s projected for this weekend are what the weatherman calls seasonal. We all probably missed the meteorological first day of spring which was Monday. The real astrological first day arrives on March 20. Called the vernal equinox, it is the spring day that has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Then don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour at bedtime Saturday night for the arrival of daylight-saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday. I still rely on the mnemonic “spring forward, fall back” to keep track of which way to move the clock hands.

Social Security resources for women March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time when we reflect on the achievements and contributions of our nation’s remarkable women. Many of these heroes might be people close to you: mothers and daughters, aunts, and grandmothers. Each of them plays a special role in our lives as they provide love and support. Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women. Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Women face greater economic challenges in retirement. First, women tend to live longer than men. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84. Second, women often have lower lifetime earnings than men. And, third, women may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men. Today, women have challenging choices to make. Some may spend their entire adulthood in a career or job outside the home. Some may work for a few years, leave the labor force to raise children, and eventually return to work. Others may choose not to work outside the home. Whether they work, have worked, or have never worked outside the home, women should understand how Social Security can help them and their families. If you’ve worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years and have earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you may be eligible for your own benefits. Once you reach age 62, you may be eligible for your own Social Security benefit whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or not. If you’re eligible and apply for benefits on more than one work record you generally receive the higher benefit amount. We have specific information for women at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women that you can easily share with friends and family. Giving this gift of knowledge can change the life of a woman you care about. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

Doing our part There are a lot of “no-names” in the Bible… people who play important roles in the unfolding stories, but whose names aren’t specifically mentioned. An example could include the unnamed man who found Joseph “wandering in the field” looking for his brothers who were grazing their father’s sheep. The man gave him directions; Joseph found his brothers; they tied him up, put him in a pit and sold him to some passing traders on their way to Egypt. That “chance meeting” with the unnamed person started the ball rolling for the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian captivity many years later. (Genesis 37) The “woman at the well” is another example of an important, but unnamed person. (John 4) Amram and Jochebed are two named, but obscure, Bible characters. They are Moses’ parents. They lived in Egypt when Moses was born. The pharaoh at the time had become nervous about all the Israelites that were in Egypt. He didn’t want them to become so numerous that they might become a military threat, but he didn’t want them to leave either. Their slave labor was good for the state. So Pharaoh decreed that all the Israelites’ baby boys were to be killed as soon as they were born. Amram and Jochebed understood the risks, but they feared God more than they feared the king. They acted on the basis of their faith in God and in His purposes, and they hid Moses for three months instead of killing him. Their story is in Exodus 1 and 2, and their faith is commemorated in Hebrews 11:23. Amram and Jochebed are obscure names in the story, yet what they by faith accomplished was very critical to the success of God’s plan. We may not be great, but we can grow great in faith and fulfill our part in God’s plan too.

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