03-01-2018 Letters and Commentary

GUN CONTROL… Happily (if there can be such a thing) in the wake of the slaughter of 17 innocents at the school in Florida on Valentine’s Day, there appears to be a sustained national debate on the need for gun control. Just days ago Florida legislators proposed a bill to raise the legal age limit to buy an automatic rifle from 18 to 21. President trump is talking about national legislation to increase the required checks for the purchase of guns, and is talking about the need for increased mental health care on the state and federal level. He is also suggesting that legislators take a stronger stand for gun control despite intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association to the contrary. As a fan of the second amendment and gun rights (we can keep our freedom and regulate the ownership of automatic weapons), I would dearly love to the see the NRA take the lead in the debate instead of continuing to deny any connection gun accessibly might have to gun ownership and use. If the NRA continues to ignore the issue, it may find more unwelcome restraints sought by the groundswell of public opinion against any type of gun ownership. Ultimately, the NRA might become irrelevant and inconsequential through loss of public support and membership.

RIP DALE… I was saddened to see the obituary for Dale Pallas in the paper this past week. Dale was a printer here at the Record in our early years. He had worked with Gordon Banasik on and off for a while. When Gordon sold the Record and moved on, Dale took over for several years, running the presses downstairs and taking care of Record customers. He was also a friendly guy and introduced me to many folks in the local community and in that special band of printers. There is a dwindling number left and in a little time, there will be none that took care of all the hometown printing needs of invitations, business cards, letterheads, and such. As in many things, the printers of yesteryear, with ink in their veins and more smudged on their fingers and faces, will be but a memory. Replaced as so much has, by robotic machines and thoughtless computers. Another of those hometown printers has left us. Rest in peace, Dale Pallas.

A SURE SIGN OF SPRING… Grandson Benny said recently that spring was definitely coming because the Coloma Dairy Queen was opening soon. Not that I was looking forward to it too much! DQ owner Amber Kelly must have been reading Ben’s mind. She sent a note to the Record… “It’s always a sign of spring when the DQ opens. We will open Thursday, March 1.” So if your get your Record Thursday, trot on over and be first in line! For those that choose to wait a bit, Watervliet’s Frosty Boy will be open on St. Pat’s Day, March 17.

COPY EDITOR… I’m pleased to announce Laurie Kibler has been promoted to the title Copy Editor. Laurie, a lifetime Watervliet native, joined the Record nearly two years ago as our proof reader. Since that time, she has surpassed her proof reader status repeatedly by accepting new responsibilities and readily aiding Amy, Maryann and myself in preparing a new issue each week and serving our readers. Her main “job” continues as “proofing” these pages for errors of spelling and grammar. At the same time, she has performed ably at working with us journalists (writers) in editing our copy for errors of fact, context, and structure.

Women’s history and Social Security March is Women’s History Month. This is a time to focus not just on women’s achievements, but on the challenges women continue to face. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Knowing this, you can take control of your own rich and independent history, with knowledge you can get from Social Security. Social Security has served a vital role in the lives of women for over 80 years. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. With the national average life expectancy for women in the United States rising, many women may have decades to enjoy retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a female born today can expect to live more than 80 years. As a result, experts generally agree that if women want to ensure that their retirement years are comfortable, they need to plan early and wisely. A great place to start is with Social Security’s Retirement Estimator. It gives you a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits. Plug in different retirement ages and projected earnings to get an idea of how such things might change your future benefit amounts. You can use this valuable tool at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. You should also visit Social Security’s financial planning website at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. It provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect your Social Security. Your benefits are based on your earnings, so create your personal my Social Security account to verify that your earnings were reported correctly. Your account also provides estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. You can access my Social Security at