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02-20-2020 Letters and Commentary

An Edinborough in Edinburgh Dear Karl, You often write about your experiences overseas during the war. These reminded me of the time one of my neighbors was sent to Britain. While there he had a leave during which he went to Scotland. My neighbor’s surname was Edinborough. On a visit to Edinburgh he wanted to cash some American traveler’s checks. The financial places he asked to cash them couldn’t quite understand how a “Scotsman” could be in an American uniform and wanted to cash American traveler’s checks. It took several discussions for Warren Edinborough to convince the financial places that he was an American citizen in the proper uniform and could be in their city quite honestly wanting to cash American traveler’s checks in Edinburgh, Scotland. He finally convinced them. Olive Grady, Watervliet

Scammers posing as health officials (Press Release) Telephone scammers are posing as human services officials and attempting to steal personal information from unsuspecting Michigan residents, warns Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon and the Michigan State Police. Officials have received multiple complaints from residents who have been contacted by scammers pretending to be MDHHS employees in Kalamazoo County who then ask for personal information that could be used to steal identities. The scammers often use a practice known as spoofing, which allows phone calls to appear as if they are coming from real department phone numbers. Anyone who receives one of those calls should hang up the phone. No one should give out personal information to an unsolicited caller. “If you are ever asked by an unsolicited caller to give out personal information, don’t do it,” Nessel said. “Hang up the phone immediately and report anything that you suspect might be a scam to our office.” In the past several months, multiple local health departments have also received reports of scammers posing as public health officials from residents in Bay, Jackson, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties. “MDHHS does not call clients and ask for detailed personal information over the phone,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “At most a department caseworker would ask for a date of birth or the last four digits of your Social Security number. The Michigan State Police offers tips on how to avoid becoming a scam victim: Never give personal information to an unknown caller; do not respond to unsolicited emails from an unknown sender; confirm the identity of a contact by independently speaking with the identified source (your bank, credit card company, government agency, etc.); use a reliable source to confirm the contact’s phone number or email; and report any suspicious contacts to police. Those who wish to make a report about scam calls can do so by contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. A complaint can be filed online or by calling 877-765-8388.

Rare Disease Day an opportunity to spread awareness Most families have been affected in some way by disease — conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer are common throughout our state and nation, and treatments for them are effective and well established. Less common, however, is the collection of some 6,000 rare diseases. Some, like Lou Gehrig’s disease, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease, are more known to the public. But thousands and thousands more are known only to those who are affected by them and the health care professionals who go to work every day trying to find cures. Individually, rare diseases affect a small fraction of the population, but together they impact over 30 million lives. To put it another way — one out of 10 people will live with a rare disease. Despite the relatively large number of people with a rare disease, many of these diseases have no known treatment or are incurable and, what’s more, they often go undiagnosed. Too many families affected by rare diseases struggle through the health care system, fighting with insurance companies, making costly trips to medical specialists, and enduring multiple tests — all in search of answers and hope. That’s why we observe Rare Disease Day on the last day of February — to help raise the public’s awareness of rare diseases and to help bring attention, increase knowledge and highlight the incredible work that is being done by medical researchers and physicians to develop treatments and find cures. Much of that work is being done right here in Michigan. The organizers of Rare Disease Day cite its growth — now observed in over 100 countries — as an example of the progress that continues to be made in the fight against these diseases. If you would like to find out more about Rare Disease Day and how you can participate, visit For more information on rare diseases, check out the National Institutes of Health Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center at As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing

High time According to some people’s understanding, the book of Revelation presents a prophetic account of “last times”. Much of the language is figurative, but much of it is not obscure at all. When, for example there is predicted, “war in heaven” in one passage, it is plainly talking about a real conflict of battling angels, some of whom win while others lose. “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” (Revelation 12:7-12, NASB) Things will not go according to Satan’s plans, and note, his time is limited. So is ours. How close are we to those events? Jesus gave warnings about the troubles of the last times in Matthew 24. No telling exactly when, but things are heating up. It’s high time to get ready. 1-800-NEED-HIM.

Calling all student artists in SW Michigan High school students in Southwest Michigan have an opportunity to showcase their skills and creativity by submitting an art piece in the annual Congressional Art Competition here in the Sixth District. Each year, my office is proud to partner with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts to name the winning student artist. The winner will have their art piece hang in the U.S. Capitol for an entire year along with the winners of the award from districts across the United States. The winner and a guest will also be invited to attend a reception in Washington, D.C. We have received countless submissions over the years and, while only one art piece can be the winner, seeing the artistic genius of our high school students reminds me how talented Southwest Michigan is. We welcome anyone with a knack for art and creativity to submit their art piece. Students will need to submit their entry by March 8, and entry forms can be found on my website If you know a student who would love to participate, be sure to mention the Sixth District Congressional Art Competition to them! My office cannot wait to review the submissions. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or sign up for my weekly newsletter by visiting 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).

STUFFED… There was a call on the answering machine Monday morning informing me the Tri-City Record newsstand machine at Coloma Harding’s needed attention. The caller said the coin slot was jammed and the door on the machine was stuck open. It sure was jammed, the culprit was a nickel coin stuck alongside a quarter in the coin slot. Once the coin slot was filled, the overflow quarters dropped down the coin return. Once the overflow was full, the weight of the quarters was enough to bend the overflow so the coins couldn’t come out the return and fell back into the machine. It appears, without me doing any math, those buying a Record also put three quarters in the slot, jammed up or not. Thanks to all the honest folk who faithfully pick up a TCR and pay for it. Many thanks to all the honest citizens that report a problem with any of our newspaper machines.

STRANDED ON AN ICEBERG… One of my favorite winter events as a child was the annual trip “up north” to the cottage. This was no simple weekend jaunt. Before I-75 was opened in the 60s, the 200-mile trip was navigated over 2-lane highways, through tiny towns like Omar (Michigan’s smallest city) and behind logging trucks, school busses and the like. The trip probably took five hours, even though it seemed longer. Not only was the station wagon packed with 6-8 kids and parents, there was food and water, winter clothes and such to haul as well. I don’t ever remember packing clothes, but I do recall carrying into the cottage a seemingly endless stream of paper bags and cardboard boxes. None of which were to be used as starters to light the fireplace fire. A cottage rule was there had to be wood in the wood box and firewood stacked in the fireplace left by the last visitors. Even with a stacked wood fire, it usually took Dad to get it just right in the time it took us kids to carry in the weekend’s supplies for mom to put away. When everything was ship shape and dinner served, and dishes done there was a little time for a card game or two and then it was off to bed. The youngest went to bed first in the “kids’ room”. As an older kid, I got to sleep on the rollaway opposite the fireplace. My plan was always to feign sleep to listen in on my parent’s conversation as they played a little cribbage at the kitchen table at the other end of the room. Evidently the feigning was the real thing. I can remember the crackling and snapping of the fire and the dancing shadows it caused on the steepled ceiling and then nothing until morning. There’s nothing like a winter’s Saturday morning in a snug cabin, with a smoldering fire on the fireplace grate and the bacon frying. For a few moments I could just lie quietly, thinking about getting my chores done and heading for the beach. Once I rolled over causing the rollaway to squeak, the quiet was dispelled. You awake mom would call out, not too quietly. Put away the rollaway and then get your brothers and sisters up, it’s time for breakfast. And tell your dad to come in and eat. He was already outside, shoveling snow, picking up branches for kindling and emptying the ashes from the bottom of the chimney from the night’s fire. As a 9- or 10-year-old, I had some set chores, mostly involving taking out the garbage, burning the trash, helping with dishes and such. It also entailed watching over my younger brothers and sisters outside, a chore usually shared with my sister Babette. Barely a year separates us in age and those happy days at the cottage were usually shared by us. Winter meant the little kids couldn’t go outside, and certainly not to the beach on Lake Huron. The same beach and lake were the great attraction to Ba and me. The stretch of U.S. 23 near Oscoda hugs the shoreline and on the trip up north the day before we had seen the giant mounds of ice piled up along the waters’ edge. Water in any form is an attraction to

all humans. Water turned to ice and piled high is like bees to honey to us kids. Babette and I had the beach to ourselves. The crisp cold kept everything still. The sand dunes were nearly drifted over with snow. The jack pines behind us were “flocked” with snow, and occasionally there would be a soft thump as a pine limb let go its burden of pure white snow. To the north and south the scene was the same, the beach all in white slightly curved out of sight. The scene before us was no tableau of beauty. It was a mountain range of ice, glistening in the bright yellow sunlight edged in blue reflections of the water. On the land side before us was an expanse of white sloping upward to the pinnacles of ice ahead. In the spots where the slopes were smoothed by wind and water made for great sliding back down on our shovels. As the sliding down drew us farther up for the ever-increasing challenge, we soon crested the slope. The ice mountain lakeside dropped straight down to the water, ice blue with sandy bottom only inches away. I proposed to find a spot and climb down to the water and perhaps explore an ice cave that had been hewed by water and wind action. Cooler and cautious sister Babette enjoined me to forgo the challenge and headed for the cottage. When I insisted to continue with the climb, she did all that she could do… I’m going back and tell Dad. That got me going in the right direction. But not soon enough, as I could hear her yelling she was leaving so I took my time. By the time I got to the real shoreline, the beach ice I was on had cracked away from the rest and was bobbing with the waves underneath. The crack was ever widening and I was getting to be nervous and added a yell of my own. Babette go back and tell dad I’m floating away! I was soon questioning my plan to scale down the precipice when I spied a small group of would be rescuers, one of which was Dad carrying his homemade ladder. Soon they were at the open water and with family watching I jumped across to land and safety. Which was not the end of it, “You left Dad’s shovel behind,” she pointed out. There was no arguing that one, I jumped back on the ice flow, got the shovel and returned to land.

Go Red for Women Day This past Wednesday I introduced a resolution declaring the month of February, American Heart Month, and February 19, 2020 as Go Red for Women Day in the State of Michigan. The resolution will promote education and awareness for women cardiovascular health. The Go Red for Women movement was created by the American Heart Association to motivate women to learn more about their family medical history and to encourage women to have conversations with their healthcare providers regarding cardiovascular health. Eighty percent of cardiovascular diseases are preventable, and yet, cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer of women in the United States. This is unacceptable. Our hope is this resolution will help save lives by encouraging more women to learn about their own cardiovascular health and the potential threats they might face. The AHA encourages women to take control of their heart health by knowing five key numbers: total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index. I was honored to speak on the behalf of this resolution on the House Floor, and it was very encouraging to see so many of my colleagues join me in wearing red to work yesterday to help spread awareness for women’s heart health. It is my hope that we continue this non-partisan effort to increase awareness and empower women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. If this resolution or wearing red motivates even one woman to take steps to living a healthier life, it is well worth it. To learn more regarding cardiovascular health or the Go Red for Women movement, please visit As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. You can reach me toll free at 1-800-577-6212, via email at and on Facebook at


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