03-02-2017 Letters and Commentary

Correction

3 errors is careless

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the front page picture and write-up of my son, Matthew M-E-L-V-I-N!!

Do you proof read? Three times the name Marvin was used. I know the Marvin boys are all good guys. I had three of their kids in my day care!

But, come on, three times is carelessness!

Mary Anne Melvin

Watervliet

EDITOR’S NOTE: in the February 23, 2017 issue of the Tri-City Record on the front page Matthew Melvin’s name was inadvertently listed as Matthew Marvin. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

Watervliet High School Post Prom Event, April 29 – April 30, 2017

Dear Editor,

Before we know it, the thirty-first annual Post Prom Event for Watervliet High School students will be upon us. The event will be held immediately following the prom from 11:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. on April 29 – April 30, 2017.

As in the past, all Watervliet juniors and seniors are invited to attend this safe, chaperoned event, regardless of their prom attendance. Last year we entertained approximately 175 students. Again this year we are holding the event at the YMCA in St. Joseph. The event will include many activities like swimming, basketball, bean bags, a DJ, a bounce house, the popular hypnotist show and new this year a caricaturist. In addition, all juniors and seniors have an opportunity to take home a nice prize.

First and foremost, we would like to thank you again for your support of this event last year and for your continued support of our community and the surrounding communities. While the cost to put on an event of this nature is high, it is worth it to keep our students safe and we can do that with your help. We depend on businesses both large and small, and anything you can do is appreciated.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, it may be done in the form of a check made out to Watervliet High School. Other items are gift cards or items for our drawing which make it possible for every junior and senior to receive a prize. Donations can be mailed to Watervliet High School Attn: Post Prom Event, 450 E. Red Arrow Hwy., Watervliet, MI 49098 or can be picked up by calling 269-506-3692.

If you decide to donate and need our tax exempt number, it is E 38-6000690. If we need to fill out a specific form and apply for a donation another way, please let us know. Thank you for your time and consideration in assisting our efforts with this event.

Sincerely,

Karla Liles

WHS Parent/Post Prom Chairperson

Phone: (269) 506-3692 cell

            Phone: (269)208-9654

Email: kliles@watervlietps.org

Deanna Shafer

WHS Parent/Post Prom Chairperson

Email: dshafer1989@yahoo.com

Time to call your legislators

Dear Editor,

With legislative sessions in full swing, it is vital for rural constituents to contact legislators regarding issues that affect our communities. Here are some simple tips for calling your legislators.

Before contacting your legislator, take five minutes to visit their website and learn about their party affiliation, their background, and their stances on your priority issues. This research will help you craft a message that appeals to shared values.

Next, prepare two or three talking points that outline why your legislator should support your stance. If you want to talk about renewable energy, for example, legislators might be interested in economic benefits, environmental benefits or public health benefits. It is helpful to write out your talking points ahead of time.

When you call your legislator’s office, you will likely get a staff person. It is still worthwhile to speak with staffers. Introduce yourself and tell the legislator or staffer why you are calling. Start with a personal story or value statement, and then use the talking points you prepared. End with a request for your legislator to support a bill or take a stance on an issue.

Finally, remember to be confident, courteous, brief and passionate. Even if you disagree with a legislator’s position, do not resort to name-calling, swearing or threats. End by thanking your legislator so you can continue to build your relationship.

Stephanie Enloe

Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons, Nebraska

10th annual forum offers hope to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions

Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program announces its 10th annual Mental Health Forum will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the Kalamazoo Public Library, Van Deusen Room, 315 S. Rose Street.

“There is a great need to spread the word that mental illness occurs among men and women of all ages, that it crosses all racial, ethnic and religious lines, and that it occurs at all economic levels of society,” said Curtis L. Robinson Sr., Program Co-director of Emerging HOPE.

“We also know that the general public needs to be more aware of the facts about suicide and mental illness,” said Co-director of Emerging HOPE Pamela Robinson. “The stigma surrounding them must be erased so that individuals and families are comfortable seeking help just as they would for a physical illness.”

The Mental Health Forum provides a place where individuals, groups and organizations can come together to share information and ideas with each other, with interested professionals, the public and the media on the importance of spreading the word that mental illness is an epidemic and that we must do whatever we can to eradicate the stigma associated with it.

Keynote speaker Mona Lisa Watson, owner and senior consultant at Anom Diversity Consultants LLC, will give the address, “When My Father Left and a Stranger Returned Home: Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a Military Daughter’s Perspective.”

Following the keynote, participants can attend one of three educational workshops:

Can you see me? A Clergy’s Response to Mental Health in the African American Church – Facilitator: Karika A. Parker, MA, Ph.D. candidate, Educational Leadership: Higher Education and Organizational Analysis, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

“It’s a White Thing”: An Exploration of Beliefs about Suicide in the African-American Community – Facilitator: Pamela R. Robinson, BSW, LLMSW, MDiv., Doctorate of Ministry Degree candidate, Apex School of Theology, Durham, North Carolina

African American Males and Mental Illness – Facilitator: Curtis Robinson, Sr., CRC, PSS, A.C.E. B.Th. Candidate,  Apex School of Theology, Durham, North Carolina

The forum will also feature presentations by those who live with mental illness or have loved ones who do — Brandi Bonner and Gail Urso, Founder and Co-director of Kevin’s Song, a charitable organization dedicated to generating public awareness about the causes of suicide, its prevalence in our society and possible preventive measures.  Visit kevinssong.org.

Mental Health agency booths will be set up allowing participants to view the agency display booths, talk with mental health providers and gather information.

State Continuing Education Clock Hours and WMU Continuing Education Units will be offered for all workshops and the keynote address. There is a fee for both SCECHs and WMU CEUs of $15 per participant. Registration is $25 with limited scholarships available. To register, visit surveymonkey.com/s/XQ9LPK7 or emerginghopefsp.org.

The Robinsons encourage the public to “Join with us to accomplish our mission of inspiring others with a message of hope and as we walk alongside them in their struggle with mental illness.”

For more information, contact Pamela or Curtis Robinson Sr. at (269) 205-3356 or visit the Emerging HOPE website at www.emerginghopefsp.org.

Receiving housing benefits? A trip to Social Security may not be necessary

Social Security is constantly evolving to make your life easier. If you are currently receiving benefits from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and are reapplying for benefits, or are assisting someone with their application, a trip to the Social Security office is probably not necessary even if verification of Social Security benefits is needed.

Because of a data exchange established between Social Security and HUD, most people do not need to contact Social Security for a benefit verification letter. HUD administrators processing a Recertification Application for Housing Assistance can use their Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System to verify Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Public housing agencies, private owners, and management agents administering HUD rental assistance programs may get registration information about EIV by logging onto the hud.gov website and searching EIV System.

If you are a new applicant for housing assistance, you can provide your HUD administrator with your Social Security award letter, Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) notice, SSA-1099, or other SSA benefit document you should have received at the beginning of the calendar year or when you began receiving benefits, whichever is later.

We created these data exchange agreements to help you get the support you need at the first point of contact, even if that’s not with Social Security.  If you do need to provide proof of Social Security benefits yourself, we have another way to save you a trip to Social Security.  You can get an instant benefit verification letter with a personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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.

“PERSONS OF COLOR” DON’T BELONG IN AMERICA… Five persons of color won Academy awards, a television newsreader intoned Monday morning.

Say what?

As a country we have successfully dropped the “n-word” to describe Americans of African descent. Except for a handful of vintage movies, the use of the words “darky” and “colored” have thankfully faded from our language.

Except for a few sports team, we have dropped “Indian” and “Redskin” from our conversations to identify a person as a Native American.

Persons of other ethnic roots with distinctive racial characteristic skin colors are not set aside by special words such as Chinese or Japanese American.

Just recently an actor said, “I am not an African American, I am an American.” He is right.

Except for the few radical racists still among us, Americans are just that, American.

We need to drop all ethnic words that define and set people apart. We are Americans, together.

MENTAL MIDGET… Some enlightened soul used a rock, hammer, or his head to punch a hole in the Plexiglas window of a Tri-City Record news rack.

The news rack, at the Family Dollar in Coloma, was vandalized sometime over the weekend, probably when the store was closed but the bars nearby were open.

The bonehead probably thought he could get rich quick by smashing the window out and stealing the thousands of dollars in cash stored in the machine. What his pea-sized brain could not compute was the $4.50 stored in the box bolted on top could not be accessed by punching a hole in the plastic.

ANOTHER PAW PAW LAKE… former longtime Paw Paw Lake resident Norm Wilhelmsen is now living near Kalamazoo. He dropped a note last week reporting he found another Paw Paw Lake, this one in Texas Township, south of I-94 and west of U.S. 131.

It appears Norm has been doing some exploring a little farther afield. He has just returned from Mexico City and visited a mountain that is home to the migrating Monarch butterflies.

BUTTERFLY BATTLE… Speaking of Monarch butterflies. While in physical therapy last week a fellow patient told Anne the milkweed she hates in our yard is not the one Monarch prefer to lay their eggs. Anne says the “correct” milkweed is the kind that has pretty flowers.

Since ours are ugly, warty, and flowerless, it is alight to pull them up, she says. It looks like the battle I won a couple summers ago to let the tall, ugly plants grow to attract the butterflies will have to be refought.

Lemonade

When we eat a lemon we get a twang sensation in our jaws. Let’s try an experiment to test our imagination. Imagine going to the refrigerator and opening the door. There on a shelf sits a bright yellow lemon. Take that chilled lemon and cut it in half. Lemon juice leaks out on the plate. Now put one of the halves to your mouth and suck out some juice. Did you get that twang in your jaws? Imagination can play tricks on us, can’t it?

Just as we can anticipate a lemon’s taste and our body responds as if it really happened, so we can anticipate failure, or trouble, disease, or rejection, or any other possible negative experience and have our body and emotions respond as if it has really happened. We can lose sleep worrying about losing sleep!

A cardiologist once told me that there is no disease’s symptom that the body cannot duplicate!

But what if we were to anticipate good instead of bad – joyful times instead of negative in our lives? That’s not being “Pollyanna,” it’s just refusing to be “Chicken Little.”

There are some keys to turning life around. One important principle of happiness, in marriage, in friendship, in family relations, even in memories, is forgiveness. Those who refuse to forgive often end up wearing ugly inner attitudes on ugly faces. They can’t avoid it.

David, in the Bible, had tough times, yet he decided to focus on God’s blessings. Psalm 103 expresses his anticipation of God’s continued faithfulness. It resulted in the joy of living instead of worry and despair. We all need that.

Getting right with God can do wonders in giving a new foundation for getting right with the world around us. If you sense that you need more of His input, try 1-800-NEED HIM.

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