01-30-2020 Columns; Firefighter of the Year

ANNUAL HONORS… On January 18, 2020 Watervliet Fire Department held its annual Awards Banquet. Three firefighters were honored for their service in 2019, (from the left): Most Improved Firefighter 2019 – Cole Hunt; Leadership Award 2019 – George Smith; Firefighter of the Year 2019 – Quinton Childs; presenter of the three awards – Chief Dan Jones.


Adult vaccinations

Vaccinations are not just for children – did you know that adults need vaccines too? Many adults in the U.S. are not aware of vaccines recommended for them – and that means they are not taking advantage of the best protection available against a number of serious diseases. There are many reasons to get vaccinated. Here are just a few: You may be at risk for serious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, like influenza, pertussis, and shingles. You can reduce the chance that you’ll pass on a serious and contagious disease to your loved ones. You can’t afford to miss work! Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you have less chance of missing work days because of illness. You don’t want to pay the price of getting sick. The financial cost of medical visits or hospitalization is far greater than the cost of the vaccine. You don’t want to miss what’s important to you. Vaccines can help you stay healthy and enjoy the things you like to do. You want the peace of mind that comes with protecting your health. It’s important to stay up-to-date on your immunizations because no one can predict when disease will appear. You don’t want to feel crummy if you can prevent it! No one wants to feel sick. There are more than a dozen diseases that you can protect against simply by getting vaccinated. Vaccines are available at your health care provider, the Berrien County Health Department, and some pharmacies. Take the next steps to protect your health and get vaccinated today.

Are you a mindful investor?

Recently, we’ve seen an increased interest in mindfulness, although the concept itself is thousands of years old. Essentially, being mindful means you are living very much in the present, highly conscious of your thoughts and feelings. However, being mindful doesn’t mean acting on those thoughts and feelings – it’s just the opposite. With mindfulness, your decision-making is based on cognitive skills and a rational perspective, rather than emotions. As such, mindfulness can be quite valuable as you make investment decisions. Two of the most common emotions or tendencies associated with investing are fear and greed. Let’s see how they can affect investors’ behavior. When investors are fearful… Investors’ biggest fear is losing money. So, how did many of them respond during the steep market decline from late 2007 through early 2009? They began selling off their stocks and stock-based mutual funds and fled for “safer” investments, such as Treasury bills and certificates of deposit. But mindful investors witnessed the same situation and saw something else: a great buying opportunity. By looking past the fear of losing money, they recognized the chance to buy quality investments at bargain prices. And they were rewarded for their patience, long-term perspective and refusal to let fear govern their decisions, because 10 years after the market bottomed out in March 2009 (as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average), it had risen about 300 percent. When investors are greedy… We only have to go back a few years before the 2007-09 bear market to see a classic example of greed in the investment world. From 1995 to early 2000, investors chased after almost any company that had “dot com” in its name, even companies with no business plans, no assets and, in some cases, no products. Yet, the rising stock prices of these companies led more and more investors to buy shares in them, causing a greed-driven vicious circle – more demand led to higher prices, which led to more demand. But the bubble burst in March 2000, and by October 2002, the technology-dominated Nasdaq stock index had fallen more than 75%. And since some of these companies not only lost value, but went out of business, many investors never recouped their investments. To avoid the dangers of fear and greed, take these steps: Know your investments – Make sure you understand what you’re investing in. Know the fundamentals, such as the quality of the product or service, the skill of the management team, the state of the industry, whether the stock is priced fairly or overvalued, and so on. The better informed you are, the less likely you’ll be to chase after “hot” investments or to bail out on good ones. Rebalance when necessary – If you’ve decided your portfolio should contain certain percentages of stocks, bonds and other vehicles, stick to those percentages and rebalance when necessary. Keep investing – Ups and downs are a normal feature of the investment landscape. By continuing to invest over time, rather than stopping and starting, you can reduce the effects of volatility on your portfolio. It’s not always easy to be a mindful investor and to avoid letting emotions drive your decisions – but its well worth the effort. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Woodpeckers are fascinating birds. They can hear beetle larvae feeding and moving about under the bark of trees. They have long, sticky, barbed tongues to snag those larvae. Their brain can survive 1200Gs of force (pilots average a tolerance of 10Gs) each time they drum into a tree. When that force is directed at trees, it is amazing. When it is directed at houses, it is not so amazing. When a woodpecker searches for food or potential nesting or roosting sites, any wood becomes a potential source. Small holes in straight lines usually indicate where a bird has been looking for insects. Larger, shallow holes in clusters are evidence of territorial drumming. Large and deep holes are left from attempts to excavate a cavity for spring nesting or winter roosting. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (www.birds.cornell.edu) lists many safe and humane suggestions to convince woodpeckers that a real tree is better than the square tree. Enjoy a toast on Groundhog’s Day, Feb. 2, 2020, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Nature Center! Every adult (21 and over) will receive a ticket, with their purchase of admission ($3), good for one free glass of mulled wine on behalf of 12 Corners Vineyards! Go for a walk or ski if there is snow on our trails then come back in and enjoy the warm glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate.

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.

Visitor restrictions in place at Lakeland Hospitals due to flu

As in many parts of the United States, residents of Southwest Michigan are experiencing an increase in the flu. To help protect the health of our patients, team members, and visitors, Spectrum Health Lakeland is instituting a revised visitation policy for its hospitals. Visitors who have not had a flu shot will be asked to wear a mask while in the facility. Community members are asked to stay home and not visit loved ones at the hospital if they: Are currently sick and/or contagious; have a fever, runny nose, cough, body aches; are not an immediate family member of a hospitalized patient; are less than 18 years old. There is no cure for the flu. The flu shot may prevent the flu or reduce symptoms. Medications can reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. Most people with flu will have a mild illness and can treat symptoms by: Staying home; getting plenty of sleep; drinking plenty of fluids; taking over-the-counter medicine to reduce fever and body aches. Go to the emergency department if you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty breathing, dizziness, pain or pressure in the chest/ abdomen, severe or persistent vomiting, or other severe symptoms.

Need to change your name on your Social Security card?

If you’re changing your name, it’s important to let Social Security know so we can update the information we maintain, send you an updated Social Security card, and ultimately ensure we pay you accurate benefits when you retire or become disabled. To get a corrected Social Security card, you will need to provide documents proving your legal name change and identity. Sometimes, you may need to prove U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ ssnumber to learn what documents you will need. To prove your legal name change, you must show one of the following documents: Marriage document, divorce decree, certificate of naturalization showing a new name, court order for a name change. To prove your identity, you must show an unexpired document showing your name, identifying information, and photograph, such as one of the following: U.S. driver’s license, state-issued non-driver’s identification card; U.S. passport. If you don’t have one of those documents available, we may be able to accept your: Employer identification card, school identification card, health insurance card, U.S. military identification card. In the event you need to replace a lost Social Security card to get a job or obtain government services, but you don’t need to change your name, in Michigan you can request your replacement card online using your “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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