01-23-2020 Letters and Commentary

Community colleges are an effective, affordable option for many For many, it is common to attend a four-year college or university after high school to obtain a degree in preparation for a career or advanced education. But for many others, attending a community college is a more practical, affordable option and is a better route to achieving career goals. In Southwest Michigan, we are fortunate to have three community colleges in our back yard — Glen Oaks Community College, Lake Michigan College, and Southwestern Michigan College. Attending community college is increasingly becoming a more popular decision. As our economy evolves for the 21st century, so too do the needs of businesses throughout our state. This evolution is resulting in a deep need for skilled trades workers, with thousands of jobs going unfilled for lack of qualified people. From electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists to police, fire, aviation workers and so much more, community colleges are serving to train and prepare a new generation of workers for roles that in many ways are the backbone of our society. Additionally, many community colleges have developed apprenticeship-style programs, partnering with local businesses to educate and train students who, in some cases, have a job waiting for them upon graduation. This approach has been of great benefit to students and job providers alike. As your state senator, I have seen first-hand the importance of the education that is offered at our state’s 28 public community colleges to more than 365,000 students statewide, as well as a better understanding of the benefits of investing in these institutions of learning. As chairperson of the Senate’s Universities and Community Colleges Appropriations Subcommittee, I have fought to increase state funding for our state’s community colleges because of the great work they are doing to support our people and, in turn, the economy. I will continue to be a strong advocate for community colleges and I encourage students and job providers to look to them to fill their needs and help achieve success. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.

Freshwater Church project denied in Watervliet

Dear Editor, I was very disappointed in the Watervliet City Commission’s decision to deny Freshwater Church’s petition to purchase the property on Main Street which was the former Bob’s Hobby Shop. The church was willing to assume the cost of renovating the building and future plans to construct a community center where people would be welcomed. I do not see a problem with parking since most businesses are closed on Sunday and the ones that are open may bring them more business. This purchase would be a plus for the city and bring more people into the community. Our prayer for Freshwater Church is that God will provide another location for them. Dawn Consolino, Coloma

Enter the Be My Valentine Love Letter contest and win prizes for your sweetie!

The Tri-City Record is sponsoring a “Be My Valentine Love Letter” contest for Valentine’s Day, February 14. On that day a special someone will win dinner for two at Easy Street Inn in downtown Coloma, roses and chocolates along with other possible gifts from the Tri-City Record advertisers. Selection of the “Be My Valentine Love Letter” winner is made by the staff of Tri-City Record, based on the contents of a nominating letter submitted on behalf of the candidate. To enter that special someone in your life in the “Be My Valentine Love Letter” contest, simply write a letter to the Editor of the Tri-City Record. In 200 words or less, tell why this person deserves the “Be My Valentine Love Letter” title. Sign the letter and give your name, address and telephone number (do not forget that special someone’s name). Letters exceeding the 200 word limit will not be judged. Letter writer or nominee does not have to be a subscriber. Deadline for the letter entry is Thursday, February 6. The winning “Be My Valentine Love Letter” writer and their special someone mentioned in the letter will be notified by the Tri-City Record. Winning letter and picture of winner will appear in the February 13 edition of the Tri-City Record. All letters submitted for consideration will appear in the Tri-City Record, as space allows, up to the Feb. 20 issue. Tri-City Record reserves the right to not publish any letter for inappropriate contents.


Community colleges are an effective, affordable

option for many

For many, it is common to attend a four-year college or university after high school to obtain a degree in preparation for a career or advanced education. But for many others, attending a community college is a more practical, affordable option and is a better route to achieving career goals. In Southwest Michigan, we are fortunate to have three community colleges in our back yard — Glen Oaks Community College, Lake Michigan College, and Southwestern Michigan College. Attending community college is increasingly becoming a more popular decision. As our economy evolves for the 21st century, so too do the needs of businesses throughout our state. This evolution is resulting in a deep need for skilled trades workers, with thousands of jobs going unfilled for lack of qualified people. From electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists to police, fire, aviation workers and so much more, community colleges are serving to train and prepare a new generation of workers for roles that in many ways are the backbone of our society. Additionally, many community colleges have developed apprenticeship-style programs, partnering with local businesses to educate and train students who, in some cases, have a job waiting for them upon graduation. This approach has been of great benefit to students and job providers alike. As your state senator, I have seen first-hand the importance of the education that is offered at our state’s 28 public community colleges to more than 365,000 students statewide, as well as a better understanding of the benefits of investing in these institutions of learning. As chairperson of the Senate’s Universities and Community Colleges Appropriations Subcommittee, I have fought to increase state funding for our state’s community colleges because of the great work they are doing to support our people and, in turn, the economy. I will continue to be a strong advocate for community colleges and I encourage students and job providers to look to them to fill their needs and help achieve success. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.

Critical type O blood shortage

The American Red Cross has extended its urgent call for donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets. With influenza escalating across the country and preventing some donors from giving, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors to restock the shelves. Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of type O blood available for patient emergencies and medical treatments. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. While just 7% of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reaches for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Donors of all blood types – especially types O positive and O negative – are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Locally, there is an opportunity for donating on Friday, Jan. 24 from noon to 5:45 p.m. at Hartford Bible Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy.

AG Nessel joins lawsuit to stop fed. government from eliminating food assistance for nearly 700,000 struggling Americans (Press Release) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined a group of 13 Attorneys General and New York City in a lawsuit to stop the federal government from eliminating food assistance for nearly 700,000 Americans. The lawsuit challenges a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule that would limit states’ ability to extend benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, beyond a three-month period for certain adults. Nessel and her colleagues assert that the rule directly undermines Congress’ intent for the food-stamp program, and that the USDA violated the federal rulemaking process. Furthermore, they argue that the rule would impose significant regulatory burdens on the states and harm states’ residents and economies. The coalition is urging the court to declare the rule unlawful and issue an injunction to prevent it from taking effect. “This proposed rule is entirely unacceptable and exhibits a blatant disregard for more than 10 percent of SNAP recipients in Michigan,” said Nessel. “I am horrified that the federal government feels comfortable not only in depriving adults of the essential assistance needed to put food on their tables, but also denying 58,743 Michigan children from eating lunch at school and consequently impacting their ability to learn.”

David’s mighty men

David was pretty young when he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be King of Israel, and his family was surprised about the idea. They didn’t have high expectations for their youngest brother. The account is in 1 Samuel 16 in the Bible. Samuel thought that David’s oldest brother, Eliab, would be the one God directed him to anoint. But no. He was tall and strong, but God said that He had “rejected” him. In the next chapter (1 Samuel 17) we have the Goliath account. We find Eliab again. This time he is disrespecting David, mocking him for coming out to the battlefront and not being with the “few sheep” he was responsible to watch back home. Of course Eliab was not willing to challenge the giant himself. David was, he thought, easy prey for his verbal bullying. “Water off a duck’s back” as the saying goes. David ignored him and turned to others to confirm the reward promised to the one who had the guts to face this huge Philistine and defeat him in front of both on looking armies. Eliab may have been jealous. We don’t know, but later, as king, David would become his commander. Go forward a few years. In 1 Chronicles 11 and 12 we see that the tide has turned. We meet “David’s mighty men” a group of 30 committed warriors that were like the “heroes of the universe” of the day. Adding up the warriors listed in chapter 12 that “defected” to David, the number comes to over 340,000! They were intent on making David king. David didn’t let the negative attitudes of a few around him steal his vision and destroy his commitment to his mission. God had chosen him; no one could un-choose him. What roles has God directed for each of us to fill? We can’t let our personal Eliabs stop us.

Tackling the challenge of PFAS

PFAS is an incredibly serious issue, one that our part of the state knows all too well. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of hundreds of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States, since the 1940s. Right in our backyard, the city of Parchment, Michigan became ground zero for PFAS contamination. In July 2018, Parchment was found to have levels of PFAS at more than 20 times the EPA-recommended level and state enforceable standard. Earlier this month, the U.S. House took bipartisan action to help better protect communities in southwest Michigan and across the nation from the negative effects of PFAS. H.R. 535, the PFAS Action, which passed with bipartisan support, would designate certain PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances and will also allow the EPA to clean up contaminated sites in Michigan and across the country. What Parchment proved was that we need an all-hands-on deck to protect our families, drinking water, and environment. I was proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation, and now I hope to see it advance in the U.S. Senate. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. 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).

NOW WHAT… I’m disappointed the Watervliet City Commission couldn’t find a way to allow the Freshwater Church to locate downtown. Evident by the close vote, 4-3, there is a difference of opinion whether to allow the proposal to go forward or not. The commission was (is) divided on the iss