02-01-2018 Letters and Commentary

Thanks for your service Dear Editor, Thank you for your service. My family is all gone now from Coloma. It’s still nice to get news from your paper. Thanks again, Dale Michele McIntosh

Thank you notes from 2018 Hartford royalty Dear Editor, Thank you so much for covering our pageant. Also for all the other events throughout the year! A big thank you for the one year subscription. Angela Saldana, Miss Hartford 2018

Oh my! I always love reading the Tri-City Record every Friday and it was so special to see my picture on the front page! I just thank you so much for the coverage of the pageant. You do so much for all the communities and put so much time and effort to put out the perfect paper every Friday. Your hard work never goes unnoticed. Thank you for everything. Olivia Ziemer Miss Hartford 2018 First Runner-up & Miss Spirit 2018

I would like to say thank you to everyone at the Tri-City Record who helped cover our pageant as well as our events this year. We appreciate that you always keep the community updated. Kaylynn Owens Miss Hartford 2018 Second Runner-up

Thank you for the coverage leading up to our pageant. I love reading your paper whenever I get the chance. You guys do a great job! Arianna Dolge Miss Congeniality 2018 Hartford

Thank you for taking your time and being a part of pageant experience this year, and I hope you guys are as excited about this year as I am! Garrett Brandt, Mr. Hartford 2018

Thank you for your coverage of our pageant and all events throughout the year. Thanks for making us high schoolers feel like celebrities! Adam Wheeler Mr. Hartford 1st Runner-up & Mr. Nice Guy 2018

Thank you so much for spreading the word of our new court! You always make sure we look great! Thank you so much again! Bobby Johnson Mr. Hartford 2018 2nd Runner-up

Coloma After-Prom needs your support Dear Editor, The 2018 Coloma After-Prom Committee is hard at work raising funds to provide a safe and entertaining event for all Coloma High School’s junior and senior students, and their guests. This event hosted 120 students last year, providing a fun and active atmosphere, in a drug-free, alcohol-free, and safe environment. We are asking for the community’s help in support of this year’s After-Prom event. Anyone wishing to donate, monetarily or with a raffle prize, please send a check made out to Coloma Schools, c/o Cindy VanderMolen at 311 Tannery Dr. Coloma, MI 49038. Cindy VanderMolen 269-202-4800

Just asking… Questions are always welcome when you’re teaching some subject, whether it is a formal classroom or working with a grandchild on some project. Questions show that the learner is thinking, trying to “connect the dots.” But have you ever gotten annoyed by someone asking too many questions? A two-year-old’s unrelenting “Why?” question can be like that (but only if we fail to appreciate the intrinsic value of the moment). Jesus sometimes used questions to teach and to probe. They often weren’t “why” questions, but “how come” questions – challenging questions. Like when He asked Nicodemus how come he was a spiritual leader in his community and yet had no understanding of the spiritual concept of “Born again” or “Born from above?” (John 3) Jesus used questioning to help those He was teaching become more aware of themselves and of their real needs. John 2:23-25 says He knew well the hearts of man. His teaching helped them realize their own hearts themselves. When some of His religious/political opponents (the “Pharisees” of His day) challenged who He was, He responded with a question they could not safely answer without revealing their hypocrisy. They wanted to know by whose authority Jesus did miracles. He shot back by whose authority did John baptize, by authority of heaven or by authority of man? Either way they answered would get them in trouble. They didn’t answer. (Matthew 24:23-27) Jesus asked Peter just before His crucifixion, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given to Me?” We have no recorded answer. Here’s a question the Bible poses to all of us, “How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3) The only answer to that one is that we won’t escape if we choose to ignore Jesus Christ’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life. A question worth considering.

Social Security celebrates Black History Month In February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. African American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over 90 years. Honoring our shared history is one way we remember that we believe in freedom and democracy for all. Another shared belief is that we all deserve a comfortable retirement, free of economic hardship. Social Security has the tools to help you plan for your retirement and to apply for benefits online. We also pay disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working for more than 12 months or that result in death. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they may also be eligible to receive payments. We pay disability through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program, for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to be eligible, and the Supplemental Security Income program, which pays benefits based on financial need. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more about retirement, survivors, and disability benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits. Social Security is with you throughout life’s journey, helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family. Visit us today at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/africanamericans. 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.

MY MENTORS MADE IT HAPPEN… 34 years ago today, Feb. 1, 1984, Anne and I took ownership of the Watervliet Record. Thanks to the support and graciousness of former owners Gordon and Joan Banasik, the transition was nearly flawless and unremarkable. Unremarkable but for the nearly four feet of snow on the ground and the howling blizzard that swept across SW Michigan the last weekend of January as we struggled to move into our new house on Shady Lane. As Anne will attest, buying a weekly newspaper was my dream, not hers. That dream was barely nine years old… two of our kids were older! I had already served four and half years in the Air Force and finished nearly four years of college when a creative writing professor suggested some of my work should be a newspaper column for a local newspaper. Not knowing any better, I took a folder of my journal writing samples and offered them to the publisher of our local paper, the Almont Times Herald. Publisher-editor Tom Sadler was gracious and with barely a look inside, said I should come back in a couple weeks. Punctually two weeks later, I was back. Mr. Sadler said my work was interesting but not anything he could use in his newspaper. That was not anything new I had heard. I had a few rejection slips from magazines, Reader’s Digest, and a cherished note from Hugh Hefner. He thanked me for my science fiction short story of a couple astronauts marooned on an asteroid who are threatened by a god worn out from creating the universe. But, “it is not something Playboy can use at this time.” I went back to my day job working at the Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Dryden and wrapping up my classes at Oakland University in Rochester. I was near qualifying for graduation and a teaching certificate but for the required semester of student teaching. My GI Bill allotment had run out and Anne and I were trying to figure out how to feed our three kids and pay the bills while I took a 3-month sabbatical from a paying job. About that time, while I was slicing slabs of beef at the “Round Up Buffet” at the Chuck Wagon on a Saturday night Tom Sadler stepped up. “Are you still interested in writing a column,” he said, “if you are, come by the office Monday morning.” Sunday morning I told my dad, co-owner of the Chuck Wagon with my brother John, that I had a job at the newspaper and that I was starting Monday morning. Monday morning I showed up at the Almont Times Herald, told Mr. Sadler I had quit my job at the restaurant, and was ready to go to work. He told me the job was at another newspaper he owned, the Capac Journal and that I should go there and he would meet me there later in the day as he had a few things to do. (One of which, I later learned, was explaining to his wife he had hired me while they struggling to make a payroll that included three of their own children.) Well I went to Capac, about 14 miles from Almont and every day I returned to Tom’s office and he would go over my copy, make corrections, and suggestions. He required I write a weekly editorial. When I soon balked at writing an editorial about community issues I knew little about, Tom compromised and allowed me to write a column “From the Editor’s Desk” with little direction from him about content. Even that chafed and after just a few weeks the format for Karl’s Kolumn was worked out. I had complete license to write about anything as long as there was a reason for it. I was encouraged to write intelligently about local issues, and Tom as publisher had final say to publish it. While nothing, that I recall, was entirely cut, there were some spirited discussions on some columns. Meanwhile, Tom began publishing a third newspaper, the Imlay City Times. While the papers had their own editorial staff, all three were printed in the same newspaper. Each paper had its own banner on the front page and a lead story. The cumbersome and awkward product didn’t exist long before I suggested merging the three papers into one with its own unique name. Tom liked the idea so much, as did most of the staffs, that he adopted the new name and redesigned the new paper to serve a Tri-City Community that could support a quality newspaper. (Sound familiar?) Then he named me Managing Editor of the new Tri-City Times. I learned a lot from him and not always easily, but what I did has lasted all these 40 some years. His example was to treat all fairly and with a smile, to admit your mistakes immediately and don’t repeat them, to be objective and fair in the news and to correct errors of fact as soon as they become known. I don’t think the new Tri-City Times was much more than a year old when Tom asked me to stay in my office after closing one night. “What for,” I asked. Tom replied, “To meet the new owner. He wants to meet you.” The new owner, Marty Heim, showed up with a few sheets of paper in his hand. After a few pleasantries, he got right to business. I didn’t plan to keep you on when I bought the paper. Then Tom showed me this plan you prepared for him on how you would manage the Tri-City Times. With a minor change or two, it is how I would want it done, he said. With a shake of my hand, he said he would try me and left me to lock up. He never asked me if I wanted the job, and at that moment I wasn’t sure if I did. After several meetings, I was sure I wanted to stay on. Not only was I to continue with my own writing and news gathering I was to have more to say in the layout and design of the paper. Where Tom was “newsman” and taught me much, Marty was an ad man and taught me much on that side of the newspaper business. The only clash I ever had, and that was frequently, was over the number of pages. “You’ll learn some day when you own your own paper,” he would say, to keep costs down without cutting the news back and to make a profit with advertising sales.” “You’re not making any friends or doing any employee a favor if you go out of business by not taking care of the details today,” he would add. He would grade a copy of the paper and leave it on my desk when I was out. For the first few months, I got many Cs, and a few Bs. Thinking back, I now realize he couldn’t give me a D or an F; he would have to fire me. There was never a comment, just a giant letter grade in orange marker on the front page. I would ask a day or so later, usually on a Friday at lunch what the problem was. He never dwelled on the issue, just didn’t want to see it again. If he didn’t have the solution, he would tell me to look at the other papers for it. He really only cared about the looks of the front page, explaining it was the showcase of the paper and stimulated newsstand sales and readership. Our subscribers have already decided they want the paper and will forgive a minor slip occasionally; it is the excellent and interesting front page that stimulates the occasional reader to subscribe, “he commented. Then one day, on my desk was that week’s issue with a big A and written below the note “this is a fine paper, my friend.” I never got a graded paper again and shortly thereafter received a pay raise and a gift certificate for new tires on my car. We lived in Dryden and the Tri-City Times newspaper had three offices, the Almont Times-Herald, the Capac Journal, and the Tri-City Times in downtown Imlay City, plus a nearby production office. From home and to all the offices was a round trip of 32 miles. Some days I made two or three round trips for meetings, news events, and production. Our 1974 Impala Station Wagon had more than 150,000 miles, a rusted quarter panel that exposed the gas tank, and a rear door that would pop open without warning. In the days before seatbelts, this could be dangerous. Baby Gilly once slid out the door one day when Anne had slowed down to turn a corner. When Marty heard that, he delivered a brand new Olds Omega; small, four doors, stick shift, good gas mileage and with my name on the title. He demanded excellence, loyalty, and hard work and showed me how to do it. Part of my duties was to train his own children in the business, especially on the production side. When they mastered their duties, Marty started talking about starting a new newspaper that would be independent of the Times and that I would be his publisher. Adding that I would never be publisher of the Tri-City Times, which was reserved for his family. That got me to thinking that I could own my own paper someday and when I mentioned the thought to Marty (and Tom) both encouraged me to do so. Tom and Marty bo

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