03-15-2018 Letters and Commentary

Correction In the March 8, 2018 issue of the Tri-City Record, an error was made on Page 3 under Hartford Township board meeting reporting the fire department air packs’ grant was turned down. The correct report should say the grant is in process. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

Speaker series to discuss impact of racism, trauma

Professionals in medicine, allied health fields, and social work, as well as government leaders and community members are invited to attend the first speaker series as part of a three-year event titled Community Grand Rounds: Healing the Trauma of Racism. The free program, “Moving Our Community toward Health Equity: Overcoming the Impact of Trauma and Racism” will take place on Wednesday, April 11 beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the Hanson Theatre at Lake Michigan College, located at 2755 E. Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor. During the event, Lakeland’s Program Director for Trauma-Informed Initiatives, Tasha Turner, MA, LLPC, along with internal medicine physician, Pat Rush, MD, MBA, will discuss the impact of psychological trauma on the brain and the impact of trauma on chronic disease and health inequities. They will also provide scientific evidence-based strategies for overcoming the effects of trauma. Dr. Rush has worked with underserved populations for over 40 years. She retired as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Rush graduated from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed her internal medicine residency at Cook County Hospital where she also served as Director of Cook County’s Emergency Room for six years. She received a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Chicago with a concentration in strategic management. “Through the care of over 500 patients in a private practice in Chicago I identified a distinct group of high-risk patients with serious chronic illness,” said Dr. Rush. “These patients had a consistent pattern of trauma at a young age, profound sleep disorders, and emotional distress. Although not previously reported in the medical literature, this pattern represents a common pathway for many chronic illnesses and is a major contributor to health disparity.”

Upton, Faso, Dingell, & Esty lead bipartisan push for more mental health funding

U.S. Representatives Fred Upton, R-Michigan; John Faso, R-New York; Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan; and Elizabeth Esty, D-Connecticut; led a bipartisan letter, signed by 28 Members of Congress, to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee pushing for more funding and resources to address mental health issues. “Important reforms in the 21st Century Cures Act made mental health services more affordable, provided new funding authorizations for research programs to develop best practices in mental health treatment that are backed by science, and established new federal grants to increase the number of mental health providers nationwide. In addition, the legislation pushed states to develop early intervention for psychosis and serious mental illness, which is needed for the best hopes of recovery. However, patients and families have yet to benefit from many of these programs due to our government operating on continuing resolutions resulting in the inability to provide funding without completion of the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation bills,” the lawmakers’ letter reads. “As such, we respectfully request that as you are completing the FY 2018 appropriations package, you include necessary funding to ensure that the programs established in the 21st Century Cures Act achieve the success that was intended by Congress… As our nation faces many challenges, we remain committed to ensuring better identification, treatment and care for those facing mental health issues,” the letter concludes.

Planned Parenthood: a non-political political organization

Dear Editor, As Planned Parenthood’s health services and client figures continue to decline every year, their involvement in the political system continues to expand. And that’s not all. On February 27 it was reported by Buzzfeed News that Planned Parenthood was getting involved in the gun control debate. Planned Parenthood has pledged their support to the March for our Lives event on March 24. CNN reported on March 1 that Planned Parenthood is planning on spending $20 million in eight battleground states as part of their 2018 election plan, including Michigan. And then on March 8, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to Congress showing that the abortion industry received more than $1.5 billion in federal tax funding and federal-state matching funding from 2013 to 2015. That includes Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Marie Stopes International. Can you imagine the outcry if the National Rifle Association received $500 million taxpayer dollars a year for hosting gun safety trainings? Would that fact not be reported on a near-constant basis? What about National Right to Life? The howling would be deafening and unending. Here’s a question that’s not been properly discussed lately: what does a women’s healthcare provider have to do with gun control? If Planned Parenthood’s mission is simply to provide healthcare to women, why get involved in other political issues? Their mission creep goes beyond gun control. In the last year Planned Parenthood has involved itself in nearly every major public policy issue. They’ve been lobbying and making public statements on immigration laws, tax laws, and even telecommunication regulatory policy. Planned Parenthood is a de facto political party now; they have a platform that extends to every major policy issue. It’s perverse to see a major political player receive an incredible chunk of their budget from the taxpayers. Without your tax dollars, Planned Parenthood would have to drastically rethink their business model. Your money affords Planned Parenthood the opportunity to spend $20 million on elections you vote in and lobby your legislators about what Planned Parenthood thinks your tax rates should be. Planned Parenthood is treating the U.S. Treasury as a political slush fund to help them flex their muscles into every aspect of your life. Even people who don’t necessarily object to taxpayer funding of the abortion industry should be concerned about the terrible precedent continued tax funding creates for our national politics. Chris Gast Director of Communication/Education Right to Life of Michigan

Please, no more air balls!

Another “air ball” right over the net! If we could have scored on all those over-enthusiastic power misses our season would have been much better. Coach Hughes didn’t see those embarrassing and disappointing soccer shots as a matter of “over enthusiasm.” He saw them as poor performance of the “basics.” Basics like ball control and foot angle and focus. So the team knew what was next; lots of practice of “back to basics” before the next game. John Hughes was a good coach. I don’t know how long he presided over Washington High’s varsity soccer program, but he was an effective teacher and a ruthless soccer player. He was also a great encourager. Getting back to basics doesn’t only improve a sports team’s performance, but our performance in life as well. Life can get very complicated. If we maintain our focus we will perform better under the pressure of the game. But the basics have to be second nature and that happens only with extensive intentional practice. In soccer, its “drills,” and Coach Hughes was a master of drills. In life, its “tests,” and God is the master of tests. The drills were meant to develop specific motor skills. The tests are meant to develop specific discipleship skills. Coach Hughes was interested in our soccer success. God is interested in our life success. And it’s all about back to basics. How did people “grow in grace” before innumerable blogs, books, seminars, and “programs”? There are two basics to life skill growth for those who want to develop better faith performance necessary to meet the challenges of the game. These basics haven’t changed for two thousand years. They are prayer for performance (our performance, not God’s) and Bible reading for understanding and for obedience. Skill in basics is always revealed when its game on.

Five facts you might not know about Social Security

Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security. Social Security pays benefits to children. Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf for the specific requirements. Social Security can pay benefits to parents. Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10036.pdf, for the details. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60. Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, you will never receive more in benefits than the spouse received. If the deceased worker started receiving retirement benefits before their full retirement age, the maximum survivors benefit is limited to what the worker would receive if they were still alive. See www.socialsecurity.gov/ planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html for a chart. Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions. 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.

BE IRISH THIS WEEKEND… you can be Irish this Saturday just by coming to downtown Coloma and joining in the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration fun. See the details on the feature page in this week’s Record.

ANOTHER REVERSE… I really thought our President took over leadership of the gun debate last week. President Trump said he advocated raising the age to buy an automatic rifle to 21. He said at a meeting, that it didn’t make sense that a person needed to be 21 years old to buy a handgun and only 18 years old to buy a rifle. Over this weekend he reversed his stance by dropping his support for changing the age to 21 for people to by rifles, the same as required for handguns. He did continue his support for increased background checks and mental health screening. Sadly, he dropped a great opportunity to be the leader he should be and stepped back to allow the radical fringe to keep the populace at risk.

SPRUNG… For some reason I wasn’t up to springing forward with the time change last Sunday morning. I did go around to all the clocks and set the time ahead an hour at bedtime but my heart wasn’t in to it. Perhaps it was the bitter cold of the recent winter or the biblical deluge of recent weeks, but the upcoming sprint to Daylight Saving Time and the promised longer evenings just didn’t get me fired up. I did get by boat out of storage (in Willy’s barn) but I just rolled it into my garage and closed the door. Perhaps it was the promised (and delivered) snowfall the first part of the week. Hopefully the better days ahead of warming and sunlight days predicted by the weather forecast on the front page will perk me up.

TO THE RESCUE… “You have to stop shutting down your computer every time it locks up,” Chris at Tri-County Computer Services told me innumerable times the past year or so. “Every time you do that, you lose some memory that makes the problem worse. There will be a time that it won’t run at all,” he warned. Evidently there were one or two aged programs buried on my PC that didn’t agree with some newer ones. The result was, on occasion, my computer would freeze; and the more I would push buttons, the deeper the freeze would get. Ultimately there would be no movement on the screen, blinking lights were unblinking and my mouse would be deader than the one in last year’s mouse trap. On my own, I devised a last-ditch maneuver that comprised me holding the power button down until the entire computer would go silent and lights out. Sure as St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, the day came last week that there was barely enough memory on my computer to send the pages to the printer. My call to Tri-County Computer brought a quick response from Chris. All that remained by the computer was a dust ring on my desk where it had sat since the last great crash perhaps five years ago. By the weekend, the dust ring was covered up by a new computer, with new programs and no old ones. But for a couple glitches where the new programs had to be taught how to talk to the other computers here in the office, the new “baby” took right off. Thanks to Chris and Tom at Tri-County Computer the whole exercise was nearly painless, but for the day I wandered around the office with no buttons to push or machine to “crash.” Tom and Chris both reminded me, don’t shut the computer down by killing its power. If it won’t shut down, call us. Seems to me, I’ve heard that before.

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