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01-09-2019 Letters and Commentary

Tensions with Iran

This past week, President Trump made the decision to take out Qassem Soleimani, a terrorist who was responsible for hundreds of American deaths over the past several years. Afterwards, I issued a statement expressing my support for the President’s actions, and I called for a briefing before Congress so we could learn more moving forward.

This is a complex situation. But we should be clear about something. Soleimani has been recognized as a leader of terrorism for a generation. We had an opportunity to remove him from the battlefield, and that’s what the President did.

Furthermore, after the September 11, 2001 attacks, I made a promise to never be in a position to say ‘I’m sorry’ for something we did not do. It became known that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack, so the President did what he needed to do to defend American interests.

As I said in my statement, Iran has been poking the bear, and the United States responded to their provocations.

As we move forward, discussions about Iran should be substantive, not political. This is a serious situation, there is no question about that. And I know this issue is concerning to many of you and your families, and I encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions with my team and me.

To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

January is Mentoring Month

Some of our state’s and country’s most successful people were helped in getting to where they are because of a mentor. Mentoring is an excellent opportunity to help prepare younger generations to reach their full potential by building relationships and through sharing knowledge, skills and values.

Each January we celebrate mentoring and the positive impact it has on our society during National Mentoring Month, a campaign to promote youth mentoring throughout the nation.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership organization, mentoring benefits our young people, and especially those who may be considered at-risk, because it virtually guarantees that they have someone who cares about them, who makes them feel valued and who is interested in their success.

The National Mentoring Partnership cites research that indicates mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on our young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. For example, the organization says at-risk youth who have a mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, 90% are interested in becoming a mentor and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

There is no doubt that mentoring makes our state a better place and provides lasting positive effects on both mentees and mentors alike. If you are among those looking for ways to help others, especially our youth, I encourage you to consider becoming a mentor. Mentor Michigan, which is a service through the Michigan Community Service Commission, partners with hundreds of mentoring organizations throughout our state and helps match caring adults with young people in need of role models.

If you are interested or would like more information, please visit You can also find more information on mentoring at

HOMETOWN HEROES… There was some Facebook chatter last week concerning the TCR’s Front Page story of Holly Gay’s retirement from the military.

Most of them were salutes to Holly for her service to our country.

Among the threads (of the topic) was commentary by a recent retiree noting there was no story of his retirement. He’s right. There would have been had he stopped by or contacted us about his career and service.

As I’ve written countless times, please share your news and photos with the readers of the Tri-City Record. On other occasions I’ve asked readers to share their “Hometown Heroes” stories with us.

Please do so… share your Hometown Hero story with us. Email me to or call me at 269-463-6397.

EXPIRATION DATE… Please check your mailing label for the expiration date of your Tri-City Record subscription. Amy does mail out subscription reminders a month before expiration. If the expiration date on your mailing label doesn’t match up with your own records, has an address error, or a name error… please call us immediately at 269-463-6397.

SMALLER, TIGHTER… Hardly a week goes by without a report of another newspaper shutting down its printing presses. Some of those newspapers, and magazines, continue to publish an online publication with the expectation that the huge savings generated by shutting down the printing presses and firing pressmen will keep the publication solvent.

That’s the conundrum for all the printed publications. By shutting down the press rooms, also means loss of jobs for many people and the loss of readership for the many that do not read online publications. It follows that ultimately the savings of shutting down the printing presses to save revenue also costs the paper a loss of readership and subscriptions.

That being said, many businesses such as car dealerships, medical facilities, realtors, and so on have cut their advertising budgets for hometown papers in exchange for the “free” access to the endless stream of digital “news”.

Last week’s Tri-City Record issue was the smallest we have ever published since coming on board in February, 1984. Small doesn’t mean any reduction in news or its quality. It does mean fewer pages (space) for press releases that are generated by the larger businesses that do not advertise in hometown newspapers (us included).

Ironically, the blossoming of the Social Media online which is causing so much concern for its lack of fact checking and restraint is also sparking new interest in the Tri-City Record.

Business Manager Amy and Web Manager Teresa are reporting increases in E-edition subscriptions and Facebook looks that are beyond my expectations. I suspect the online interest in the Tri-City Record is driven by its stellar reputation for objectivity and truthfulness in delivering the local news.

Looking Forward to Year #4

As we begin the final year of the 100th Michigan Legislature, I am thankful and eager to continue my work as your State Representative in 2020. I look forward to working with our state senate and governor to continue to pass legislation that will benefit Southwest Michigan families.

Last year, one of our biggest accomplishments was cutting the cost of auto insurance by reforming Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance and slashing the cost of the MCCA by more than 50%. The reforms will go into effect on July 1 of this year, and if you have any questions or concerns I urge you to contact my office or attend one of my local office hours in the coming months. I’m committed to ensuring this rollout will be as smooth as possible and plan to hold an event specifically geared towards preparing everyone for the coming changes.

I will also continue to hold monthly coffee hours throughout the district. In order to be more accessible to everyone, locations will vary from month to month. To start the year off, coffee hours will be on Monday, January 27. This month I will be in Paw Paw, South Haven, Bangor, and Cooper Twp. Times and locations are being finalized and will be posted and available later this week.

As always, please continue to reach out to me whenever I can be of assistance to you. I am always interested in hearing what you have to say and am happy to assist with problems you may be having with state government. You can contact my office toll free at 1-800-577-6212 or via email at

Keep on keeping on

I never thought it would be relevant. Or maybe I just never thought at all – about aging. They say that even if you don’t believe it, your body will convince you that some things are different now. We can only live one day at a time, but after a while those days sure pile up! I have noticed how those around me seem to be aging. And, amazingly enough, some people around me even seem to consider me old.

Coworkers in their 20s insistent on calling me “sir”, instead of just “David”, for example. Or, friends in their 30s actually listening to what I have to say about some issue. Or others saying, “Good for you” when they find out I’m as old as I am and can still move around under my own power. Oh well.

David in the Bible mentions growing old. Psalm 71 mentions some concerns of aging and a conclusion for those who experience old age. Verse 9 reads: “Do not cast me off in time of old age, and do not forsake me when my strength fails.” As with many Psalms, the writer speaks not from despair, but from strength founded in an unshakeable confidence in God.

In verses 5 and 6 the psalmist reminds himself that God had been with him from birth and throughout his youth. Other verses honestly admit that he still has enemies, but verses 14 through the end victoriously commit to the God who is still strong to save, the wonderful God he has gotten to know and appreciate over the years.

An uncle once said, “Having birthdays isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” His wife, who lived years past him, said, “Growing old is for the birds!” Whatever number of years we are given, God is faithful throughout all of them. Focusing on Him lets us still hear the birds singing.

Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship applications

Dear Editor,

The Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary will present two $2,000 scholarships to two graduating seniors who are residents of Coloma, Hartford, or Watervliet school districts.

The senior must have a 3.0 or better GPA, live in one of the three districts and plan to pursue a career in a medical field.

Scholarship applications may be obtained from each high school’s counselor or from the Information Desk at the hospital in Watervliet. Deadline to submit an application is March 15.

Thank you,

Marie Sineni, Scholarship Chair

Park Bench Poetry

Dear Editor,

I am sending by “snail mail” a Letter to the Editor about a time many decades ago when Gretchen Hall and Tri-City people submitted poetry that many back then call “Park Bench Poetry”.

Seated upon a park bench and by Mother Nature, urges of creativity arose.

I submitted my “Ode to a Park Bench” that I wrote in high school in 1957, a lot of years earlier… sort of a time line in the life of a park bench in the big city (Chicago) where I was born and raised. I had a number of “farm folk” relatives around Bangor.

I hope this brings a New Year smile.

Jack Johns MD, Chicago IL

(Editor’s Note: The following is Dr. John’s poem which he said brought smiles to his high school peers and a crabby retort from his instructor.)


Hail to Thee. O Park Bench; Protector of tired feet; Shining, sparkling, green in the sun; A place where seat meets seat.

Perch for crows, cradle for snows; a cot for a vagrant drunk; gale-scoured, bug-devoured; in slush and mud deep-sunk.

To give support, to get behind, such is thy service to human kind.

But thou art gone and we are left, standing up, and quite bereft.

In summer heat, and cold cruel winters; no new bench, no old splinters.

Jack Johns – 1957

Red Cross Blood Drives

Red Cross & NFL team up to offer donors a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl

(Press Release) The American Red Cross currently has a critical need for blood donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors to make an appointment now to give and help replenish the blood supply after the holiday weeks. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of type O blood. To help tackle the critical need, the Red Cross and NFL are working together to offer one lucky winner a trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 500 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs. Many groups postpone blood drives during the winter holidays when travel and holiday activities may make it challenging for many donors to give.

“Lifesaving medical treatments and emergencies never take a holiday,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Declines in donations can affect patient care. That’s why the Red Cross is encouraging eligible donors to make an appointment to give now and help those sidelined by illness and trauma.”

Donors are urged to make an appointment to give now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a special thank-you, those who come to give blood or platelets Jan. 1-19, 2020, will automatically be entered for a chance to experience the Super Bowl live. The Red Cross and NFL have teamed up to offer one winner two tickets to Super Bowl LIV, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center, round-trip airfare to Miami, three-night hotel accommodations at The Alexander – All Suite Oceanfront Resort (Jan. 31 to Feb. 3), and a $500 gift card for expenses. Additional details are available at

Upcoming blood donation opportunities

In Berrien County, a Blood Drive is taking place on Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Caretel Inns of Lakeland, 3905 Lorraine Path, St. Joseph.

Blood Drives in Van Buren County are scheduled as follows:

South Haven – Tuesday, Jan. 14, 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Moose Lodge 697, 1025 Wells St. and Wednesday, Jan. 22, 12:30 – 5:15 p.m., Bethel Baptist Church, 6701 Blue Star Highway South

Hartford – Friday, Jan. 24, 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Federated Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy.

How to donate blood

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.


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