01-03-2018 Letters and Commentary

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I truly hope your Christmas Holiday has been the best ever and that this New Year finds you in good health and with great expectations for a happy 2019! Wow, what a year 2018 was! I’m thinking it might have been one of those “watershed” ones where momentous events changed the course of history. There will be a lot of changes in 2019 because of those events of the past year. Our President Trump leads the way in his second year of office, seeking to administer our country in an apolitical style that leaves the professional politicians and national media in a quandary of mistrust and fascination. President Trump closed out the year at loggerheads with his legislature over paying for the border wall with Mexico with 25 billion dollars out of the national budget. He says he’s sticking to his campaign promise to build the wall to protect America from illegal immigrants. At the same time, it seems he forgot his promise to “make Mexico pay for it”. Here it is the New Year and the 700,000 or so “non-essential federal employees have been out of work since before Christmas because 25% of the government has been shut down because there is no budget. With the Democrats now controlling Congress in 2019 there’s little hope of the President getting his wall paid for (in full) by American taxpayers. Perhaps some Democrat in Washington could reach out to Mexico to help out with the cost of the wall and get the government going again. A coup such as that would be a great feather in the cap of a potential candidate for POTUS. Our state has a new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, democrat elected in November with a republican legislature. The last “divided” Michigan government was led by Democrat Jennifer Granholm. Those years were marked by bilateral consensus with the republican legislature with mixed results. This year Michigan legislators will have their work cut out for them with the approval of recreational marijuana use this past November. Lawmakers now have to craft laws to protect the public from any problems that appear when pot smokers share their happy habit in plain view and the freedom put all at risk. Typically budgeted issues across the board are always on the horizon, less revenue is followed by less service as increased cost of operations and a staggering pension debt puts the squeeze on all taxpayers. Culturally the ME TOO movement brought to the fore the long buried and simmering abuse of women by men of power in the entertainment and media industry and soon spilled over to all institutions where men and women interact. Women in all walks came forward and disclosed they had been sexually abused by “bosses” and their complaints largely went ignored at best and at worst the victims were forced out of their position to protect their attackers. The disclosure of widespread sexual abuse in the American Catholic Church and in Olympic sports slapped Americans in the face with horrendous details of children and teens at the mercy of monsters in positions of faith and honor. 2019 may be the year women and children are truly safe in America as the institutions that were a threat to them continues to clear out the dirt in their closets. At the same, those institutions that harbored sexual predators must take public steps to reassure us all that our sons and daughters are safe. On the home front, communities in 2018 said yea or nay to allowing marijuana businesses on their own streets. Those opposed are concerned marijuana sale and use will cause further decline in the community. Those in favor, see marijuana sale and use as a retail opportunity to save Main Street. Marijuana sales may not be the medium to save Main Street… just like what happened when national restaurant chains were courted by Small Town America only to destroy the local eateries. All too late most towns discovered the bright neon lights of the new hamburger stand never replaced the lost tax base of the mom and pop stores. At the same time demographics of school populations mirrored the local census of declining populations and businesses putting further strain on the taxpayers. Local government and schools may help stem some of the tide of decline in 2019 by supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones that are able to open and operate without tax incentives. Tax incentives granted to new businesses most times just spread additional burden to the existing enterprises. Then the new business moves on when the incentives expire, leaving the local landlords with vacant buildings.

WELCOME NEW SUBSCRIBERS… meanwhile the Tri-City family of readers continues to grow. Nearly two dozen folks received holiday gift subscriptions this year, more folks are reading the paper online at www.tricityrecord.com and despite inclement weather seasonal newsstand sales remain constant. For those new to the Tri-City Record (and those that forgot)… the deadline for news and ads for each issue is noon on Tuesdays and the paper comes out Thursday morning and is delivered to the Watervliet Post Office and local newsstands in all the Tri-City Area. The phone number is 269-463-NEWS (6397); please leave a message of any concerns with our news or ad content, and any subscription issues. Managing editor Amy Loshbough will answer your message as soon as is possible (and me too). I can always be reached at 269-876-1327 (phone or text). The Tri-City Record always welcomes your local news and photos… email them to record@tricityrecord.com or drop them off at the Record office at 138 N. Main St., Watervliet. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 7, Watervliet, MI 49098. You may email your want ads and public notices to publicnotices.tricityrecord@gmail.com. The basic rate is $13 for 25 words. The Tri-City Record welcomes letters to the editor… no anonymous letters will be printed although the name of the author may be withheld by the editor on the request of the author. See the complete letter policy on the Letters and Commentary page. We hope you continue to enjoy the contents of the Tri-City Record and contact us at any time with any concerns about what you read on these pages.

Social Security and small businesses Running a small business isn’t just a fulltime job — it can be a 24-7 endeavor. Managing employees, inventory, scheduling, and services, not to mention marketing, can be exhausting. Social Security can make your life easier with our suite of services that allows you to file W-2/W-2Cs online and verify your employees’ names and Social Security numbers against our records. If you run a business, make us your first stop for information on W-2s, electronic filing and verifying Social Security numbers at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer to save time. This service offers fast, free, and secure online W-2 filing options to CPAs, accountants, enrolled agents, and individuals who process W-2s (the Wage and Tax Statement) and W-2Cs (Statement of Corrected Income and Tax Amounts). Small business owners can also take advantage of our Business Services Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm. Let Social Security help you achieve these business goals. 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.

Repurposing 2019 Some people can look at pieces of weathered barnwood and see a coffee table. Others can “see” a renovated kitchen when all that’s left are the studs. The finished results can be stunning. Repurposing is at the heart of such creativity. Just because it’s been thrown out or torn up doesn’t mean its life is done. There is hope for the future. For some of us 2019 will be a repurposing year, a renovation year; a year for finding new function while being creatively “modified” towards a new future. For some it will involve training; for others it will involve having parts of our lives torn down to the studs so that we can be rebuilt. The barnwood feels no pain in the process of cutting, shaping, sanding, and refinishing. New kitchens are totally passive in the renovation process. Not so for us. But the end results can be beautiful beyond what we could imagine for ourselves. In Isaiah 55, the last few verses, we find God’s repurposing goals for Israel, containing principles we can apply to ourselves. And since He is the original designer, His goals for us are definitely attainable. He’s the Master repurposer: “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55:12-13, NASB) As Jesus said in John 10:10, “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB) So our hope for 2019 and beyond is found in God’s beautiful purposes for us. Let’s discover them!

Christmas treats enjoyed greatly

Dear Amy & Tri-City Record crew,

Thank you very much for the Christmas treats. Everyone thanks you, they enjoyed them greatly.

Happy New Year!

Watervliet Post Office

Tammy & crew

Support for hospital’s Tree of Love appreciated

Dear Editor,

We would like to thank everyone who supported our Tree of Love by remembering or honoring a loved one with an angel or an ornament this Christmas season.

Angels and ornaments may be picked up at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet Park Bench Gift Shop located in the Hospital Lobby.  Once again thank you to all.

Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet Auxiliary

Tina Johnson

Chairperson Tree of Love

Michigan Republicans are undermining our democracy

Editor,

I am outraged that Michigan’s Republican politicians used the lame-duck session to undermine the will of the people. In their final weeks of shame, they sabotaged the ballot box for their own gain!

They voted to severely weaken the minimum wage and paid sick leave initiative; make ballot initiatives more difficult; impinge on the authority of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, after the people of Michigan expressed a clear preference for Democratic leadership.

Michigan allows citizens to initiate legislation in the form of ballot proposals. Voters sent a clear message that we want democratic principles ruling over partisan politics. Sixty-one percent voted yes on #2 to end gerrymandering and 67% on #3 to make voting easier for its citizens.

Our country used to be a model democracy sought by and fought for by others. How disgraceful that it is being stripped away by sleazy and deceptive practices that bleed downward into state and local politics. Subverting the will of the voters and growing dirty, dark money for partisan, political gain has become an epidemic in Michigan and throughout the country.

Politicians, you have a choice to make: Serve all of your constituents or just serve your party in hopes of advancing your own political careers. But take heed: the power of the people is rising up in this sea of deception, and soon will unravel, break open, and expose your disgusting plots to undermine democracy.

Pamela V. Sten, Buchanan

Positive political change is coming in the new year

Editor,

In 2018, important changes took place in the political landscape of our state and our country.

In Michigan, voters elected excellent Democratic candidates to be our governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Three of these newly elected officials are women – Gretchen Whitmer, Dana Nessel, and Jocelyn Benson. The fourth, Garlin Gilchrist, is an African-American man.

Michigan voters chose these candidates because they were highly qualified, dynamic individuals with strong ideas for moving our state forward. In addition, the voters wanted the diversity of our government to reflect the diversity of our state.

Democrats also gained seats in both houses of the Michigan legislature. Because of gerrymandering, however, Republicans were able to maintain their majorities, even though they received a minority of the total votes.

The anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative passed by a wide margin. From now on, the people will be in charge of creating legislative districts, not partisan politicians.

Michigan voters also passed a ballot initiative designed to make voting easier. The message to legislators was clear – “We want as many people as possible to participate in our democracy.”

At the national level, a strong “blue wave” brought back Democratic control of the House of Representatives. This will allow congress to provide much-needed oversight on the incompetent and corrupt administration of Donald Trump. It will also allow the House to pass much-needed legislation in the areas of health care, infrastructure, immigration, gun violence prevention, climate change, and many others.

The Mueller investigation of the Russian attacks on our democracy brought forth new charges, new guilty pleas, and new jail sentences. In the year ahead, every effort must be made to protect this investigation from partisan political interference, especially interference by the president.

Many Democrats, and perhaps some Republicans, are likely to enter the presidential primary elections that will take place in 2020. A large number of primary debates will be held, starting in the summer of 2019. Hopefully these debates will clarify the positions of the candidates on the important issues and illuminate their qualifications for the highest office in the land.

The current president has demonstrated, over and over again, that he is not qualified for the office he holds. In 2020, we the people need to make sure that this time we elect someone who is worthy of being our president.

Larry Feldman, Lakeside

Life-changing conference for men

This energizing event hosted at The Chapel in St. Joseph, Michigan will give men the tools they need to get real, get moving, and go beyond surface level faith.

The Chapel in St. Joseph, Michigan, one of more than 100 host sites around North America, will broadcast the No Regrets Men’s Conference—the country’s premier Christian men’s conference—LIVE in high-definition on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

Conference attendees will hear from nationally recognized speakers via simulcast and attend live presentations from local speakers including: Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee (featured on CBS Sunday Morning); Lyndon Azcuna, executive director of LifePlan; Rich Watson, professional counselor for Southwestern Medical Clinic of Lakeland; Aaron Krause, evangelist with Word for Life; Jay Pyatt, a certified sexual integrity mentor; and Lori Pyatt, a BraveHearts Certified Mentor.

“This is a day for every man to circle on their calendar each year,” said Corey Kugle, Associate Pastor of Evangelism and Discipleship at The Chapel. “It’s so encouraging to learn together with men of different backgrounds, churches, ages, and races from all over Southwest Michigan. It’s a great time for men to get refocused on what really matters in life; and their families and our community is better because of it.”

More than 12,000 men are expected to watch the conference featuring Bryan Loritts, an award-winning author; Rod Hairston, former chaplain and life coach to the Baltimore Ravens; Dan Seaborn, founder of Winning at Home, Inc.; Gordon MacDonald, chancellor of Denver Seminary; and Steve Sonderman, president and founder of No Regrets Men’s Ministries.

Cost is $20 including lunch (after January 27, cost is $30). Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Conference starts at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. Register at YourPlaceToBelong.com/No-Regrets.

The Chapel is located at 4250 Washington Ave. in St. Joseph, Michigan.

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