04-18-2019 Letters and Commentary

Life restored It was a hopeless scene. As far as you could see there were dead bones covering the ground. Dry, unattached skulls and bones scattered everywhere. The prophet Ezekiel had been brought here so God could ask him a question and then give him a surprising answer. A recent documentary about the Pharaohs of Egypt showed an ancient cave being opened. It had been used as a warriors’ tomb. Their body parts were everywhere. The archeologist couldn’t help walking on them. At one gruesome point she managed to match up a couple of feet that seemed to go together. There was no matching up of anything in Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones! God asked Ezekiel the question, “Can these bones live again?” The obvious answer was, “Not a chance,” but Ezekiel was more careful. He replied, “O Lord God, you know.” (Ezekiel 37:4 NKJV) Humanly speaking there could be no hope, but perhaps Ezekiel was remembering that with God (as Moses had learned years before) nothing is impossible. God told Ezekiel to “prophecy” or “declare,” to these dead bones first that they would hear the word of the Lord and then that they would live again, with new life (“breath” restored), and with sinews and skin renewed. The bones began to rattle against each other as all over the valley they scooted and twisted on their own to reconnect. Sinews grew on each body and new skin appeared! Finally the winds came at Ezekiel’s bidding. God’s breath reentered the reconstructed bodies, and they came to life (“a mighty army”)! Ezekiel’s vision gave assurance for Israel’s national resurrection by God’s power and by His Spirit. He would do this! Our personal resurrection will also be by God’s power and by His Spirit. Jesus’ resurrection that first Easter morning gives assurance that those who believe in Him will also rise. He will do this! (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

See what you can do online during National Social Security Month – part two In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month by letting you know what you can do online with a “my Social Security” account. Last month we featured how you can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, get a copy of your 1099 (SSA-1099), and check the status of your Social Security benefit application or claim. This month we share three more advantages. If you already receive Social Security benefits (retirement, survivors or disability) and you have a bank account, you can start or update your direct deposit information online by using the My Profile Tab in your personal “my Social Security” account. In most cases, you are required to receive federal benefits electronically, so when you choose direct deposit, we will electronically deposit your funds directly into a bank account. Do you receive Social Security benefits (retirement, survivors, or disability) or are you enrolled in Medicare and getting ready to move? If yes, you can easily change your address online in your personal “my Social Security” account. Finally, if you need a benefit verification letter – often called a budget letter, a benefits letter, a proof of income letter or a proof of award letter – you can instantly access this letter online in your personal “my Social Security” account. If you do not already have an account, the first thing you need to do is create one at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Please know that securing your identity and personal information is important to us. We protect your information by using strict identity verification and security features. The application process has built-in features to detect fraud and confirm your identity. Share with friends and family what you can do online with a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov. 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.

HAPPY EASTER… May the Easter message of rebirth of peace and love be in your hearts this Holy Day and always.

RE-OPENING THE RECORD PRINT SHOP… I went over to the print shop last week. There I met up with Jack Greve, director of the North Berrien Historical Society Museum in Coloma. Museum staff and Historical Society members are working to get the print shop in shape for a summer/ fall opening. The Historical Society got a grant to put up a building to house the printing equipment that the Tri-City Record donated. I asked Jack to pin down the dates of those events… he wrote back, “The Museum received funding from the Leonard family and the City of Coloma in February 2003. The Print Shop was constructed by September 2003. The Print Shop exhibit opened on May 15, 2004. It appears that the equipment was at the Museum, most likely in the Beverly Building, in 1999.” I remember Fred Munchow, Bill Beverly and Wendall Smith showing up at the Tri-City Record print shop door to begin the momentous job of removing the 19th century printing equipment. I don’t recall exactly how many hours, actually days, it took for them to load pickup trucks with cast iron and wood equipment for a dozen trips or more to Coloma and back to Watervliet. When it came time to move the big pieces, the 1914 Linotype, a Challenger press that was run to hand power before there was electricity, a cast iron casting pot to melt lead, and literally tons of lead and wood handset type, they realized they needed a larger flatbed truck. The ready lads at Judd Lumber came over with their forklift to get the heavy items on the truck. Elmer Richardson, Eric Richardson and manager Lester Mundt helped to manhandle the historic equipment. As they slowly pulled the huge, heavy Linotype across the basement on steel rollers, it crunched through the 4-inch concrete floor. Once it got close to the back doors, Eric drove the lift truck nearly into the basement and snagged the Linotype with the forks. The machine, chained to the lift truck, was moved outside and then Eric maneuvered the heavy load onto the truck bed. Only when it was apparent the 4 to 5-ton machine would not topple over, were the chains loosed to free it from the forklift. Then the process was repeated two or three times more as each heavy machine was trucked over. Getting the equipment and pieces and furniture and so on out of the Record basement and onto trucks was just half the work. The other half was to get it safely to Coloma and into the museum building where it would be housed. The challenge there was getting the big pieces into the building where a forklift would fit. Fred Munchow cut a hole in the back wall of the building opposite the door. Then the museum crew hooked a chain to the Linotype, across the floor to the hole in the wall and then attached it to a truck… on rollers, the Linotype (and all the other big heavy pieces) were pulled into the building. I wasn’t around when the equipment was moved from its temporary location to the brand-new Print Shop. Although the Print Shop was opened to the public in 2004, other projects took precedence over making it a full-fledged historical display. Now that dream to have it set up as it was in the heyday of letterpress printing is expected to occur sometime this summer. Jack is asking that any printers (or former printers) with an interest in sharing their expertise on the art of printing to contact him at the museum, 468-3330. Or call me here at the Record, 463-6397. It is amazing to me that in just a few short years the concept of print printing for the most part went from the handset method of putting copy to paper to the digital age where most of the design and pre-press work is all done on computer. Then the computer-generated copy is linked to a printing press for the final product. When I came on the newspaper scene in 1975, the Almont Times Herald and Print Shop was prepared for printing by photo typesetting. At the same time most of the printing jobs were setup in handset type and Linotype. Those jobs were then printed on presses that would be recognized by Ben Franklin, with the only difference being hand powered then and now run by electricity. Here in Watervliet, Leon and Francis Case bridged the gap of hand labor and electricity in the early twentieth century. When I bought the paper in 1984 I got to know Wanda Lavely who worked for the Cases. She started out as a printer’s devil, cleaning handset type and returning it to the type cases. Wanda told me she was 14 years old at the time and would get water from the village well for the print shop on her way to school. For me it was always an honor to meet folks and hear of their memories.


In the April 11, 2019 issue of Tri-City Record, an error was made on the front page in reporting the Coloma City Council meeting of April 8. The Randall Park Work Day for volunteers is Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and not April 25-26 as stated in the article.

Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

Hagar Fire Board


In reference to proposed vacancies of the Hagar Township seats of the North Berrien Joint Fire Board; only one actual vacancy is planned as a result of Hagar Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio’s intention to step down from the board as soon as a suitable replacement can be found.

Fire Board Treasurer Deb Frank wishes to resign her current position as treasurer, but has every intention to continue as a member of the board for the balance of her 2-year term.

Hagar residents may forward a letter of interest to DiMaggio or any member of the Hagar Board of Trustees.

Tri-City Record apologizes for any confusion that may have occurred as a result of reporting the recent Hagar Township Board meeting in the April 11 issue on Page 11.

MADD, Rep. Hammoud call for .05 BAC Law, ignition interlocks for all offenders

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined Michigan Representative Abdullah Hammoud and traffic safety partners in calling for a state law that lowers the threshold for impaired driving in Michigan to .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). MADD also strongly supports Representative Hammoud’s legislation that would require ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers, which would make Michigan the 34th state with an all-offender ignition interlock law.

This announcement marks the first time MADD has advocated for lowering a state’s BAC law.

“Today, we are proud to stand with Michigan to support this proposal that research shows will save lives,” said MADD National President Helen Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by a drunk and marijuana-impaired driver while rollerblading on a bike path. “Research shows that critical driving skills are impaired at .05 BAC, significantly increasing the risk of a horrible, 100 percent preventable crash. We want to do anything we can to support states that are trying to stop these tragedies and keep drunk drivers off the road.”

Representative Hammoud has filed legislation that would set Michigan’s impairment level at .05 BAC. If passed, Michigan would become the second state to lower the legal threshold for drunk driving.

“We must address drunk driving, which is a completely avoidable epidemic,” said Representative Hammoud. “As a former public health professional, I am motivated by facts and statistics, and as a legislator I know our current policies in place to prevent drunk driving are not working, which is why we must do more. The loss of the Abbas family, a beautiful family of five, due to a drunk driver, has further motivated a community of advocates to step up and propose real solutions backed up by the scientific community. These critical proposals will do more to prevent drinking and driving, and ultimately save lives.”

Health department brings awareness to alcohol addiction during April

The Berrien County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Services announces that April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Founded in 1987 and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) along with Facing Addiction, this year’s theme is: “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”.

The 2019 theme is designed to draw attention to the pervasive impact that alcohol, alcoholism and alcohol-related problems have on young people, their friends, families and communities—and to highlight the reality that help is available and recovery is possible.

In the United States, excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year. More than 1.5 million young people reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. Despite the legal drinking age of 21, people aged 12-20 years drink 13% of all alcohol consumed. Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.

“These statistics are staggering,” says Lisa Peeples-Hurst, Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist at the Berrien County Health Department, “but there are some things that families can do. It is important to help your child make smart decisions about refraining from alcohol. Kids who have a supportive family environment show lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents. Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use than those who do not have such conversations.”

Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment and recovery. It is an opportunity to increase early education about alcoholism, to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus, make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.

Local activities include: Highlighting local resources that provide treatment and recovery options; working with area alcohol retailers to post signs proclaiming the “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most” message near their alcohol inventory to remind parents not to social host drinking parties; information for parents via emails, school newsletters, TalkSooner.org and VoiceChangeHope.org; information for students via school events (i.e. prom, graduation) to promote them as alcohol-free activities; information for college students about binge drinking via campus housing programs; continue to offer responsible alcohol vendor/server training.

For more information about the Alcohol Awareness Month activities in Berrien County, contact Lisa Peeples-Hurst at 269-927-5690 or lpeepleshurst@bchdmi.org.

State measles cases reduced to 39 following additional testing

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reducing the statewide count of measles for 2019 as of April 8 to 39 following further testing of two of the cases.

One child in Washtenaw County had been potentially exposed to measles and that child, along with an Oakland County child, had both been recently vaccinated. Their symptoms and initial test results classified them as measles cases. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol, additional genotype testing was conducted and determined they were not measles cases. The other 39 cases have been genotyped and confirmed to be measles cases.

Initial testing by MDHHS was positive for measles. The MMR vaccine contains a weakened live virus that cannot cause measles but can result in positive lab tests. The MMR vaccine has the potential to cause a mild rash and fever. This is a vaccine reaction, not measles, and the individual is not infectious.

Due to the evolving measles outbreak in Southeast Michigan, the local health departments took appropriate steps to limit further spread of measles and responded to protect the public’s health by: Promptly alerting the public about potential exposure sites; identifying potential contacts; offering post-exposure protection with either MMR vaccine or immune globulin (IG).

IG is safe and well-tolerated and provides effective short-term protection to recipients by giving them antibodies needed to fight off measles. This protection goes away after a few months, so recipients are urged to follow standard vaccination schedules.

The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. A single dose of measles vaccine protects about 95 percent of children, but after two doses, almost 100 percent are immune. The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine doses is given at 12-15 months of age. A second vaccine dose is given before the start of kindergarten, between ages 4 and 6 years.

MDHHS follows CDC guidance and does not recommend routine measles vaccinations for children less than 12 months of age unless there is a suspected measles exposure; there is thought to be an imminent measles exposure such as being in areas of known measles; or international travel planned.

For international travel, infants as young as 6 months should be vaccinated against measles. Measles vaccine, or other acceptable documentation of immunity to measles, is recommended for all persons travelling internationally.

Michiganders are urged to contact their healthcare provider or local health department about getting vaccinated for measles if they have not been vaccinated. A complete listing of local health departments is available at Malph.org/resources/directory.

This is the highest number of measles in the state since 1991 when 65 cases were reported. So far this year in the U.S., there have been 465 cases of measles confirmed in 19 states. Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread by direct person-to-person contact, and through the air. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person was present.

Symptoms of measles usually begin 7-14 days after exposure, but can appear up to 21 days after exposure and may include: High fever (may spike to over 104-degrees F); cough; runny nose; red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis); tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth (Koplik Spots) 2-3 days after symptoms begin. A rash that is red, raised, blotchy; usually starts on face, spreads to trunk, arms, and legs 3-5 days after symptoms begin.

If symptoms develop, residents are urged to call their doctor or emergency room before arriving so they can take precautions to prevent exposure to other individuals.

For more information about measles, visit CDC.gov/measles. For more information about Michigan’s current measles outbreak, visit Michigan.gov/MeaslesOutbreak.

Senator Stabenow introduces bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for health care services for children in schools

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently introduced the bipartisan School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act which would reauthorize funding for school-based health centers through 2023. In Michigan, there are more than 120 school-based health centers that play a major role in providing basic health services for thousands of students who have limited access to medical care outside of school. Typically, a school-based health center provides a combination of primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education and health promotion activities.

“Too many children across our state do not have access to a family doctor and depend on school-based health centers for basic care,” said Senator Stabenow. “This is an important step toward making sure children across Michigan continue to receive the care they need throughout the school day.”

“The reauthorization of school-based health centers is a step forward to ensuring that all children and youth thrive. At the heart of the SBHC model is the incontestable fact that healthy students are better learners. SBHCs deliver high-quality primary and mental health care services in a location that’s safe, convenient, and accessible,” said John Schlitt, president of the School-Based Health Alliance. “Our communities need powerful, evidence-based interventions like SBHCs to address the root causes of chronic absenteeism, academic failure, conduct disorder, and civic disengagement.”

“On behalf of Michigan’s school based health centers and its children and adolescents, we are excited that Senator Stabenow is introducing the school based health center reauthorization bill which will help to ensure that all of Michigan’s children and adolescents have access to and receive high quality primary care and other services including mental health and substance abuse services,” said Deb Brinson, Executive Director of the School Community Health Alliance of Michigan. “Michigan is a leader in the SBHC movement and has long worked collaboratively with schools to ensure its students are healthy and ready to learn. We thank Senator Stabenow for her leadership on this bill.”

Senator Stabenow is a longtime champion for School-Based Health Centers, creating the School-Based Health Center Capital Program as part of the Affordable Care Act to help centers access critical funding for construction, renovation and equipment needs. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the School-Based Health Center Capital Program.


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