02-28-2019 Letters and Commentary

Thank God for our local heroes Dear Editor, Our brave men and women of the North Berrien Fire and Rescue Department plunged headway into a burning, smoke-filled building without any concern for their own welfare and safety. They did not know what to expect; the roof could collapse on them, the floor could give way, and every time they answer any call, they are putting their lives at stake. We recently experienced a devastating fire at our family restaurant. Without the quick action of the First Responders, the building could have been a complete loss. As it is, we suffered extensive damage to the interior. We will rebuild and open as soon as humanly possible. Our hearts go out first to our very dedicated, long time employees for this loss of employment during this period. And secondly, to our very loyal and wonderful customers who have supported us thru the 62 years in business at the same location, our local residents that support us all year, and of course our seasonal customers with over three generations of families that have graced us with their support, they are all our extended family. A sincere thank you goes to Fire Chief Mike Mattix and the outstanding men and women of the North Berrien Fire and Rescue. Also, a very special thank you to the mutual aid from the Benton Charter Township and Covert Fire Departments who were immediately on the scene to offer assistance if needed, such a comforting site. And finally, huge thanks to the citizen who saw the smoke and called 911 which saved precious time. We will rebuild with the same family atmosphere that we have provided for the past 62 years. Next time you see a firefighter, a police officer, a paramedic, military personnel active or veteran, tell them thanks, and GOD BLESS them for they are our real HEROES. The DiMaggio Family, Hagar Township

Tree trimmers helped Coloma Twp. not lose power Dear Editor, KUDOS to the tree trimmers who worked through I&M during all the winter months, we never lost our power during the recent windstorm. This should alleviate all the power outages we had last year in Coloma Twp. Thanks again for all your hard work! Dawn Consolino, Coloma

Where’s Travis? Dear Editor, A few years ago you carried an article about a young Watervliet HS graduate, Travis Bolin, who was then a member of the Texas Rangers minor league farm system. Since my wife is from Watervliet and we volunteer at Surprise Stadium where the Texas Rangers conduct Spring Training, we decided to see if we could meet him face to face. The Texas Rangers arraigned our meeting. I’m writing now because we have lost touch with him and wonder if he was traded to another team or perhaps gave up on baseball and is back in Watervliet. Whatever help you might provide would be greatly appreciated. I should mention that we look forward to receiving the Tri-City Record each week and reading the many articles. Keep up the fine journalism. Pam and Jerry Wojtas, Surprise AZ

Seeking applicants for Lioness Club scholarships The Coloma Lioness Club is seeking applicants for two $1,000.00 scholarships that will be awarded to two Coloma High School seniors this spring. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled as a full-time college student in the fall of 2019 and have a minimum grade point average of 2.75. The application must be completed and returned to the Coloma High School Guidance Counselor or a Lioness Club member no later than April 10, 2019. Applications and instructions are available at the High School Counselor’s office or can be located on the Coloma Lioness Facebook page: cdn.fbsbx.com. A dehumanized USA Dear Editor, Vice President Pence’s recent visit to honor Jewish Holocaust victims at Auschwitz reminded me about America’s still ongoing inhumanity and disrespect for human life. We are shocked about how Nazi Germany, under Hitler, became so inhumane that they murdered millions of God’s elect-Jewish people, trying to exterminate them. They displayed total disregard for human life in this horrific crime against God and humanity. And we should also be alarmed that Iranian leaders want to “kill all Jews and annihilate Israel.” They have been fed hate toward God’s chosen nation for so long that they say it is “legal and acceptable” to exterminate them. They sure do not know that God said He would bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel. With such hate they only curse themselves. A society which believes in killing innocent human beings is a morally sick society. God’s just Commandments were edged in stone by God’s fiery finger, and given to Moses, to create a just and orderly nation/world, and so that Israel would be a blessing to the world. After more than 400 years in captivity in Egypt, God kept His promise to Abraham, and gave the land of Canaan as inheritance to Jacob/Israel, one of Abraham descendants. The people in that land had become morally corrupt and God passed judgment upon them to cleanse the land. Parents were spilling their children’s blood by throwing them into the fire in worship of idols. In the last several decades America has gone so far away from God that it is now even more corrupt than Nazi Germany and Canaan. Respect for God, and for His God-given-human life, is sorely missing. Individual and national judgment is coming. Time to Repent! Manuel Ybarra, Jr. Coalgate, OK United Way “Win A Car” winner takes the prize at Tyler Auto Seven finalists faced off in the United Way of Southwest Michigan Car Challenge on Tuesday, February 19 at Tyler Automotive in Stevensville. The finalists were given a random key; one of those keys started the car. John Taylor, a GIS specialist at Whirlpool, was the lucky winner of a two-year lease on a sub-compact vehicle from Tyler Automotive. “That was pretty wild!” Taylor said when the car started. “Believe it or not, I’ve never won anything before,” he exclaimed to the crowd at the dealership. To help incentivize last year’s campaign, United Way of Southwest Michigan partnered with Tyler Automotive to provide a Car Challenge. Donors who gave $156 (or $3 per week) were automatically entered into a drawing to be eligible. The finalist names were drawn and announced on February 7 on a Facebook Livestream. Chris Tyler, who owns Tyler Automotive, said, “We love partnering with United Way on this fun incentive for their campaign. We hope it raises awareness of what United Way does for this area and that each person can make quite an impact with their donation.” A gift of $3 a week for a year has big impact! It provides: 34 meals for someone dealing with food insecurity; two months of support to help a young child learn to read; one free book for a child every month for five years; school supplies for eight kids to start the school year; support for two individuals to address their mental health; one year of a physical activity/nutrition program for a school-age youth. United Way of Southwest Michigan is thankful to all who donated last year for helping to make the campaign a big success and to Tyler Automotive for its generous support. Restricted Use Pesticide Review Workshop and RUP Exam offered A Restricted Use Pesticide Review Workshop for private and commercial applicators will be held Wednesday, March 13, at the Berrien County MSU Extension office, 1737 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor. Registration, along with refreshments begins at 8:30 a.m. The pest management review will be held from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The Pesticide Applicator Core Manual is available on-line for purchase for $30.00 plus tax at the MSU Extension Bookstore at http://shop.msu.edu/category_s 345.htm. A fee of $25.00 covers the review session given by Michigan State University Extension staff. Fee can be paid in advance by cash or by check payable to MSU. To register, call the Berrien County MSU Extension office at 269-927-5674 by March 8. An open exam period is scheduled in which all private and commercial exams will be administered by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) staff at 12:30 p.m. MDARD procedures requires that applicants pay a separate exam fee ($50.00 private; $75.00 commercial) by check or money order – NO CASH — at the exam site. Identification and renewal notices (for recertification exams) are also needed in order to take the test. No exams will be given after 2:00 p.m. Michigan State University prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status. For registration information, disability accommodations or questions, please contact the Berrien County Michigan State University Extension office at (269) 927-5674.

“Oh, George!” Being patient with other people can be challenging when what they do interferes somehow with what I want to do. For example, waiting for a red light to change, it changes and the driver in front of me just sits there, still waiting. For what? I have no idea! Drive it or park it! That would be reason for my dad in years past back in Philly to manually role down the window and yell something unpleasant to the other driver. Always embarrassing to my mom, she would invariably protest, “Oh, George!” Looking back now, I smile, but maybe I’m kind of like my dad. And maybe that’s good reason to be more patient with others. They may be just like their dads too. What I mean is this. We are influenced by our experiences, and we need to understand that’s also true for others. For example, when I was a little kid, living in Oklahoma on the Fort Sill Army Air Corps Base (before it split into Army and Air Force) I would take afternoon naps. That was in the days of the big bombers, the ones with huge, powerful radial engines. We lived close enough to final approach that when I took a nap I could hear those droning, humming engines as I slept. I learned to love it, and to this day when I hear a radial engine like the ones on a B-17, it gives me a very calming, restful feeling – like it’s nap time! Our histories influence us. I don’t know that other driver’s history. Jesus said, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” (Luke 6:31, NASB) Patience and kindness go a long way and help keep us from unnecessary “Oh, George” experiences. Who knows, it may also help keep us from getting “T-boned” someday at an intersection.

Understanding Social Security Survivors Benefits Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without any warning. The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for workers and their families. The value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security may even be more than the value of your individual life insurance. When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children, and dependent parents. Here are the people who can get survivors benefits based on your work: Your widow or widower may be able to get full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956, with the full retirement age gradually increasing to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Your widow or widower can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. Your widow or widower can get benefits at any age if they take care of your child younger than age 16 or disabled, who is receiving Social Security benefits. Your unmarried children, younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they’re attending elementary or secondary school full time), can also get benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22. Under certain circumstances, we can also pay benefits to your stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or adopted children. Your dependent parents can get benefits if they’re age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you must have provided at least half of their support.) How much your family can get from Social Security depends on your average lifetime earnings. The more you earned, the more their benefits will be. For more information on widows, widowers, and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/survivors. 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.

SEA OF PLASTIC GROWING… you don’t have to charter a cruise to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to see a floating dump of garbage. Just take a walk along any body of water, lake, creek, pond or river, you will see trash floating on it. To be sure, there are many waterways that are reasonably clear of trash, but there is no such thing as a pristine waterway. Everywhere that mankind goes, he leaves trash behind. That trash is plastic trash, unlike paper products and other products from natural fibers that decompose somewhat rapidly, plastic trash will last for thousands of years. Plastic foam cups and plates, straws and plastic eating utensils and disposable diapers will outlast humankind. And if we are not careful, plastic trash will be the downfall of mankind. Plastic takes up space, and does not decompose (readily). Ultimately, when its use is left unchecked, plastic products will fill the landfills, choke waterways and poison the air with fumes from its disposal. I have been on a few waterways, and I have seen large “rafts” of plastic bobbing on the waves. A few years ago, while canoeing the Paw Paw River from Watervliet to Coloma there was a large raft of yellow softballs caught in the limbs of a downed tree. Spotted here and there were also plastic straw and foam cups. Probably the most common trash found in our waters is the ubiquitous plastic water bottle. Such bottles are found in the most remote areas from mountains to the desert and are easily left behind when the explorers move on. You don’t have to go to waters’ edge to see trash, so called “disposable” diapers litter the roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and parks. Why they are called disposable is beyond me, such diapers last as long as any other plastic product. I think the best solution to the plastic trash overwhelming our landfills and snarling up our waterways is to ban throwaway plastic products like disposable diapers, straws, and water bottles. There are more environmentally friendly replacements for them, such as paper straws, cups and plates; and cloth diapers.

IN LIKE A LION, out like a lamb goes the old adage to mark the month of March. The March winds got a jump on the calendar; they came roaring in the last weekend of February. While there wasn’t any major damage there was plenty of tree limbs down and some shingles loosened and some power lines down in the area. Hopefully you dodged any high wind damage the first part of the week as 50 mph gusts tore across west Michigan. If there was any silver lining it was the warm winds and rain first melted most of the snow and ice left from the previous winter blasts of the past three weeks. Now with seasonal March weather on the horizon maybe we can segue into spring in time for Easter. If you are a fan of Irish style celebrations then Coloma has a plan for your entertainment in Mid-March. That’s when the Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Chana Kniebes, Chamber director and her team of leprechauns are busy lining up last minute details for the events, scheduled for Saturday, March 16.

THANKS JOHN… you’ll notice there is no cartoon on this page that’s because John Martin is no longer providing one. John, an Ohio resident and cartoonist, draws several cartoons for newspapers including his strip “Beeswax”. When he emailed me in early fall of 2015 offering his services my immediate response was no thank you, you are too far away to be current on all the news in the Tri-Cities. After continuing discussions, we decided to give it a try. John’s first cartoon appeared in early November of 2015. I have to say he gave it a good shot. When I went to the back issues, I was surprised to see he had been drawing for us since November 2015, more than three years ago! I have to say he gave it a valiant effort, but time and distance took its toll, and I had to tell him last week would be last “toon” for the Record. Thanks, John, for the great effort to provide an editorial cartoon for the paper. Meanwhile, the Tri-City Record will be looking for a hometown, homegrown, cartoonist. If you like to “toon”, give me a call at 463-6397.

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