01-25-2018 Letters and Commentary

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 a Shawn Mead Photography free spring portrait session and 8×10 print. The winner will also receive a gift certificate to Easy Street Inn in downtown Coloma along with many more gifts from the Tri-City Record advertisers. Selection of the “Be My Valentine Love Letter” winner is made by the staff of the 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 address and telephone number (do not forget that special someone’s name). Letters exceeding the 200 word limit will not be judged. Deadline for the letter entry is Friday, February 9, at 12:00 noon. The “Be My Valentine Love Letter” writer will be notified that day and the special someone mentioned in the letter will also be notified by the Tri-City Record. Winning letter and picture of winner will appear in the February 15 edition of the Tri-City Record. All letters submitted for consideration will appear in the Tri-City Record, as space allows, up to and after Valentine’s Day. The Tri-City Record reserves the right to not publish any letter for inappropriate contents.

W.H.S. Post Prom Event in need

Dear Editor, Before we know it, the 31st annual Post Prom Event for Watervliet High School students will be upon us. The event will be held immediately following the prom from 12:30 – 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, 2018. As in the past, all Watervliet juniors and seniors are invited to attend this SAFE, chaperoned event, regardless of their prom attendance. Last year we entertained approximately 130 students. This year we are planning to have this event at Airway Lanes in Kalamazoo, which is more costly than in the past. We will also be providing transportation to and from this event. The activities for the night will include bowling, laser tag, video games, rope courses, and a late night snack and a light breakfast before returning. While the cost to put on an event of this nature is high, it is worth it to keep our students safe and we can do that with everyone’s help. We depend on businesses both large and small, and on members of the community, anything you can do is appreciated. If you would like to make a monetary donation, it may be done in the form of a check written to Watervliet High School. Those donations can be mailed to the address below: Watervliet High School Attn: Post Prom 450 E. Red Arrow Hwy Watervliet, Ml 49098 If you decide to donate and need our tax exempt number, it is E 38-6000690. If we need to fill out a specific form and apply for a donation another way, please let us know. Thank you for your time and consideration in assisting our efforts with this event. Sincerely, Karla Liles, 269-506-3692 kliles@watervlietps.org Tara Matthews, 269-930-0201 josephmatthews9@aol.com Nikki Priebe, 269-208-6875 priebenikki@gmail.com

Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet Tree of Love angels available for pick up

Dear Editor, Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary wants to remind those who purchased angels for the Tree of Love may pick them up at Park Bench gift shop located on the first floor of Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet. The hours they are available in the gift shop are Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. We wish to thank all who remembered their loved ones in this way. Kathleen Blatchford Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary Governor Rick Snyder issues proclamation recognizing Jan. 21-27 as Michigan School Choice Week 877 events and activities in Michigan to raise awareness about school choice; Great Lakes State parents encouraged to look into education options for children during National School Choice Week School Choice Week began in Michigan and across America on Sunday, with the goal of raising awareness about the options that parents have for their children’s education. The week features 877 events and activities across the Great Lakes State, including open house events at schools, school fairs, homeschool information sessions, and other celebrations. In addition, a celebration was held on Tuesday, January 23 at the State Capitol Chamber Rotunda. Nationwide, 32,240 events and activities are organized to raise awareness during National School Choice Week (Jan. 21-27, 2018), and nearly 7 million Americans are expected to participate. It will be the largest series of education-related events and activities in U.S. history. The week brings attention to the different education environments that are available for Michigan’s 2.2 million children. For example, families in Michigan can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. The state also offers tuition-free, public online schooling. Governor Rick Snyder issued an official proclamation recognizing Jan. 21-27 as Michigan School Choice Week. In addition, the counties of Kalkaska, Losco, and Luce and the cities of Byron, Carrollton, Charter Township of Kinross, Charter Township of Royal Oak, Cadillac, Dearborn, Lapeer, New Buffalo, Rockwood, Sylvan Lake, Columbus, Dearborn Heights, Howard, Kalamazoo, Parma, Peninsula, Roscommon, Republic, Ishpeming, Wakeshma, Vienna, Utica, and Zeeland Charter have issued proclamations recognizing School Choice Week in their community. “National School Choice Week is perfectly in line with the work we do, who we serve, and our strategies,” said Randy Speck, superintendent of Madison District Public Schools. “We obviously have our traditional schools, but we have a homeschool population of about 850 students that we provide services for. We also authorize a charter school, have online components that all students can use, and started our own advanced manufacturing training facility for secondary students along with a workforce development program. My entire career before my six years in Madison was in the private school world so I am glad to say I have checked almost every box and love bringing that experience to our work and mission.” Celebrated since 2011, National School Choice Week is an independent public awareness effort. The week is nonpartisan and nonpolitical, and it is not related to any legislative advocacy campaign. “With so many events and activities across Michigan, National School Choice Week provides an ideal time for Michigan families to evaluate the education options available for their children,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week.

45 years of failure, a new year of hope

Monday, January 22, 2018 marked 45 years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing abortion in all 50 states through all nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, more than 58 million innocent lives have been lost to abortion. Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Abortion is failing women, it’s failing children, and it’s failing America. Abortions continue to decline slowly, but we have hope 2018 will be a pivotal year for restoring legal protection for unborn children.” Right to Life of Michigan is beginning 2018 with a new advertising campaign featuring adoption. Two advertisements are running on statewide television throughout January. Listing said, “The positive impact adoption can have on people is something always worth highlighting. Adoption is one important solution as we move forward to a country where abortion is both illegal and unthinkable.” On January 19, hundreds of thousands of prolifers headed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual March for Life. President Donald Trump addressed the crowd via a live video stream. Right to Life of Michigan affiliates also hosted local events to mark the memorial. Listing said, “As we prepare to reflect back on these years and the loss of so many lives, it is important to remember the momentum the prolife movement has been able to build this past year.” In his first year in office, President Donald Trump has fulfilled his campaign promises of protecting the unborn. One of his first acts was reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, cutting off funding for promoting abortion overseas. His most notable promise involved appointing new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Listing said, “With another fair justice like Neil Gorsuch on the court, we could be as close as one vacancy from Roe v. Wade being overturned.” Abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy remains highly unpopular in America. The annual Marist-Knights of Columbus abortion poll was released on January 17 and found only 12 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal throughout pregnancy. Listing said, “The more we can educate people about the tragedy of abortion, the more successful we’ll be. Most Americans do not know that abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.”

Stabenow, Peters lead push to fund critical strategy to protect Great Lakes coast

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, recently led a bipartisan push to provide funding for the Great Lakes Coastline Resiliency Study, a critical strategy to protect coastlines across the state, in the fiscal year 2019 budget. Following recent hurricanes that have caused massive flooding across the country, this study would help Great Lakes states to better assess potential vulnerabilities to coastal communities and evaluate measures to improve coastal resilience. Stabenow and Peters made the funding request in a letter to Trump Administration officials. “The Great Lakes coastline faces numerous threats, such as lake level fluctuations, erosion, flooding, nutrient runoff, and aging infrastructure. It is important to ensure that the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline is protected, as 4.2 million people live within two miles of a Great Lakes coastline,” wrote the Senators. “The coastline is also imperative to a robust economy and tourism industry in the Great Lakes, as it includes 60 commercial harbors moving over 123 million tons of cargo annually, a maritime economy valued at $17.3 billion and generating 293,000 jobs, a $14 billion Great Lakes recreation and tourism economy, and a diverse ecosystem of features such as wetlands, bluffs, dunes and beaches and species that are either threatened or endangered. “The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study… proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in consultation with the Great Lakes states, would be the first of its kind to coordinate a strategy across the Great Lakes states to most efficiently and effectively manage and protect the Great Lakes coastline,” the Senators continued. “We fully intend for this study to be used to implement projects that will result in a more resilient coastline throughout the Great Lakes and a more strategic expenditure of funds.”

Don’t lose heart One Bible passage that has puzzled me is in The New Testament in the book of Hebrews. It goes like this: “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8, NKJV) How is it that the perfect Son of God had to learn anything about obedience? He was sinless, spending His life doing His Father’s will. What was there to “learn”? Exploring translations and paraphrases was not particularly helpful, but looking at the context I think there may be something significant for you and me in this passage. Some aspects of obedience cannot be learned except through suffering. This passage reveals this to be true even of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. No one enjoys suffering. We would rather avoid sickness, troubles, loss of loved ones. But when we suffer we have new opportunities for surrender. Jesus would rather have skipped the cross if that were possible, but as He told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, “…the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” Later in Hebrews (12:2,3) we find: “…for the joy set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame…” The joy? Yes, after the suffering – but not without the suffering. By His willingness to suffer the shameful and undeserved death of crucifixion Jesus showed us how suffering and faith plays out. He experienced suffering and death so that He (and we) could experience resurrection. Without death there can be no resurrection. That’s one reason why Jesus’ physical death on the cross is so critical to true Christianity. Without His death He could not be resurrected. Without His resurrection we are still in our sins, and our future is hopeless. (See 1 Corinthians 15) Suffering can lead to hope when we remember that God honors the surrender of faith.

Easily access your SSA-1099 for 2017 Social Security puts you in control of your finances and future. We have made requesting or replacing your annual Benefit Statement even easier. The Benefit Statement, also known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S, is available for 2017 after February 1. Now that you have the ability to download it anytime and anywhere using our online services, there’s no need to visit a field office. An SSA-1099 is a tax form Social Security mails each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on your tax return. If you currently live in the United States and you need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, simply go online and request an instant, printable replacement form with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. If you already have a personal my Social Security account, you can access your online account to view and print your SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can save the document on your computer or laptop and email it. If you don’t have a my Social Security account, creating a secure account is very easy to do and usually takes less than 15 minutes. If you’re a noncitizen who lives outside of the United States and you received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we will send you form SSA-1042S instead. The forms SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). When you have access to your benefit information, you can make knowledgeable decisions about your financial future. With you in control, you can secure today and tomorrow for yourself and your loved ones. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov to find out more. 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.

DO-NOTHING CONGRESS IS NON-ESSENTIAL… By the time you had breakfast Tuesday Congress had taken the action necessary to fund the government for the next three weeks (at least). Late last week the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives deadlocked over passing a bill to keep the government doors open. Essentially the Republicans blamed the Democrats for blocking the funding bill along party lines. Democrats insisted the DACA issue (allowing children of undocumented aliens to stay in the U.S.) had to be part of it. They blamed the Republicans voting along party lines to block the DACA portion of the bill. Both political groups hit the weekend news shows blaming the “other party.” What’s crazy is that this is not new. To my mind, every administration since George “I” has grappled with government funding bills and had some sort of government shutdown, from a few hours to several days. Republican or Democrat, all have used the same clichés to blame the “other party” for “causing pain and suffering” to “hard working Americans” while other party “kicks the can down the road.” The only new cliché “drain the swamp” doesn’t come into play as President Trump has yet to deliver on his campaign promise. I’m incensed (again) that our legislators blame the other guy, do nothing, close down non-essential government services and still take a pay check. Maybe the next candidate will campaign by promising no paychecks for Congress when other government employees go unpaid. When the dust cleared, the government had been shut down for three days; another 3-day weekend without pay for the non-essentials. The fat cats were paid again for not working. The agreement made to get the Republicans and Democrats to vote for the good of the country, was to include the child health care improvement act for six years (already on the table) and a PROMISE by the Republicans to put DACA up for a vote in early February. Come early March the temporary government-funding bill expires and we go through the whole shutdown again. What OUR Congress is hoping is we forget about this past weekend.

IS THAT CENTER LANE A PASSING ZONE… correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the center lane in downtown Watervliet a left turn lane? Twice in the past couple weeks I’ve had cars pass me in the center lane. Maybe I was just going too slow (35mph). Then this Monday afternoon I was standing in the window watching the world go by and a driver drove down the center lane all the way from Red Arrow to the Hardware (where I lost sight of her). Earlier Monday morning I was on the freeway heading to Lakeland during the rain. The 2-lane I-94 stretch from the 4-lane FU Porkway in Kalamazoo to the 3-lane FU I-196 Dead End has got to be the worse 50 miles of road in Michigan. Three lanes of truck traffic out of Chicago or Detroit hits this 2-lane pothole path and has nowhere to go but over the top of a few 4-wheelers nearly daily. Add heavy snow or rain and the pothole pathway is a “deathtrap highway” as a local police officer called it recently. Monday wasn’t any different. Most trucks were doing the mandatory 65 mph in both lanes. The 18-wheelers doing a faster 65 tend to stay in the left lane where the smoother roadway is. The 4-wheelers were squeezed between the trucks, front and back, and sideways. I was hanging on at 70 in the so-called passing lane when a mini-car climbed on my bumper and flashed its headlights. Resisting the urge to tap my brakes and make her smear her lipstick, I sped up and squeezed back in the single traveling lane between two trucks. Meanwhile the light-flasher had slowed down to answer her phone and had two other cars on her bumper encouraging her to speed up. Not much later, still in my “cradle” (old time CB talk for being stuck between two trucks), the 18-wheeler behind me swung out to pass and the one in front hit the exit on the right. All I had ahead was an endless row of truckers and passenger cars vying for position and opportunity on a 2-lane pothole path heading somewhere I wasn’t. I was glad to get off with the GMC intact.

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