01-08-2018 Community residents urged to get flu vaccinations this year; Credit Union holds bottled w

HOWLING SUCCESS… The annual Watervliet Sidewalk Costume Parade saw nearly a 1,000 “trick or treaters” visit businesses downtown on Halloween afternoon. From 3 to 5 p.m. the youngsters, accompanied by parents and guardians, enjoyed the excitement and fun of the traditional event inaugurated by the Watervliet Business Association more than 20 years ago. (TCR photo by Karl Bayer)

Community residents urged to get flu vaccinations this year

Berrien County health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu. Every person six months and older should get the flu vaccine every year, especially certain groups who are considered at highest risk, like young children, pregnant women, and adults who have chronic health conditions or are over the age of sixty-five.

Anyone can get the flu, including healthy children and adults. Receiving a flu vaccine is the most effective method of preventing the flu. If you receive a vaccination and still get the flu, the vaccine may make flu symptoms milder and the length of illness shorter. The vaccine will also prevent you from spreading the flu to others, including those at risk of more serious illness. According to the CDC, during the 2017-2018 flu season the flu caused over 80,000 deaths nationwide, including 180 influenza-related pediatric deaths, and over 900,000 hospitalizations resulting in one of the worst years for flu activity in decades in the United States. Because it takes approximately two weeks for the flu shot to provide full protection against the influenza virus, it is recommended that residents receive their vaccine before the end of October. There are many locations where residents can receive a flu vaccine, including the Berrien County Health Department, area pharmacies, and through their family doctor’s office. Most insurance plans fully cover the cost of the annual flu vaccine. In addition to vaccination, everyone can help prevent flu with frequent handwashing and by covering coughs and sneezes. If you do get sick, it is recommended that you stay home from work, school, or other public gatherings to help reduce the spread of illness. The Berrien County Health Department will offer walk-in flu vaccinations at their office in Benton Harbor every Friday through December. High-dose flu vaccinations and pneumonia vaccinations are also offered for those over age sixty-five. Most insurance plans will cover the cost for these vaccines, but no one will be turned away for an inability to pay. For more information, visit the Berrien County Health Department website at www.bchdmi.org or call (269) 926-7121.

Credit Union holds bottled water drive for Benton Harbor Schools

Honor Credit Union is collecting bottled water to donate to the Benton Harbor Area School District and community after recent tests showed elevated levels of lead in the Benton Harbor water system. The community is encouraged to donate cases of sealed water bottles to area Honor Credit Union locations. The Benton Harbor School District has turned to bottled water while the community’s water supply remains under a state advisory for higher than acceptable levels of lead. Honor’s Benton Harbor Branch Manager, Andrew Cleminshaw, heard about the contaminated water supply and immediately put a plan in action to help. After reaching out to local businesses, Cleminshaw received a donation of $1,000 worth of water, about 300 cases, from Whirlpool Corporation. “The partnership between Honor Credit Union and Whirlpool has been a wonderful undertaking allowing both of our organizations to provide relief to the Benton Harbor Area School District in their time of need,” commented Cleminshaw. “Benton Harbor is deeply important to both Honor Credit Union and Whirlpool, and we look forward to additional partners and members teaming up with us to help our community.” Sealed and packaged bottled water can be dropped off at the following Honor Credit Union branch locations through November: Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Stevensville, and Coloma. All donations will be delivered to Benton Harbor High School by Honor Credit Union team members. Honor Credit Union is proud to serve more than 80,000 members across the State of Michigan. Providing solutions for financial success and giving back to the communities it serves remains the driving forces behind Honor Credit Union. For more information call 800-442-2800, or visit www.honorcu.com.