04-26-2018 Letters and Commentary

Get wise advice first A week at Saranac Lodge in New York’s Adirondacks should have been an exhilarating experience. The beauty, the history, the quiet were all a welcome break from work. It would have been exhilarating except that work brought us there. The time had been set aside for management training purposes, but I almost missed the whole thing. At the opening meeting they told us about things to do on the property, including canoeing on the adjacent lake. That sounded interesting so later that afternoon I wandered down to the piers and untied a canoe to do a little exploring. I hadn’t taken into account the wind direction or strength… mistake. With the wind at my back I set off across the lake. Later, with sunset approaching, I turned around to paddle back to the lodge. The wind had other ideas. No matter how hard I tried to point in the right direction the wind turned the front of the canoe around. I was in trouble; unfamiliar lake, unknown distance back, and a strong headwind in a canoe. After many unsuccessful attempts I finally decided to go to the front of the canoe and J-stroke from the bow. It worked! It was almost dark when I finally made it back by aiming for the lights. Sometimes we learn a little too late that we should have sought wise advice before embarking on a direction. Sometimes, when times get tough we turn to prayer as a last resort. We would have been wiser to ask for God’s help and wise guidance at the beginning of our adventure, whatever it is. I would have been wiser to talk to someone about my canoeing idea before I picked up the oar. We’re told, “Pray about everything…” (Philippians 4:6) We are wiser to talk with God about our plans – from beginning to end.

Receive Social Security benefits? Keep your address up-to-date with “My Social Security” Keeping your address up to date with a my Social Security account helps us mail your important documents to the correct place. If you receive benefits, you can use my Social Security to update your address. If you’ve moved recently, updating your information sooner rather than later will help us deliver important documents to you, including: Social Security Benefit Statement (SSA-1099); important notices; and your Medicare card when you first enroll or if you need a replacement. Even if you get your benefits by direct deposit, Social Security must have your correct address so we can send letters and other important information to you. Another important reason to make sure your address is up to date is because new Medicare cards are coming. Medicare is mailing new cards starting April 2018. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security number. This will help protect your identity. For more information about the new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. If you don’t have a my Social Security account already, you can open one at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This is the easiest way for you to keep your information up to date. Within minutes you’ll have access to your personal information as well as control over important documents like your Benefit Statement (SSA-1099), which can be replaced if you lose it. While you’re there, you can also check to see if your earnings record is correct. Social Security keeps a record of how much you’ve made so that you get the benefits you deserve. We can only pay you your correct benefit if your records are correct. Putting you in control of your future is a key part of securing today and tomorrow, and having your correct mailing address helps us get important documents and payments to you. With my Social Security, we help you receive the information you need, when you need it. Open or access your safe and secure account today 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.

MY FACEBOOK LIVE DEBUT was Tuesday morning drawing the two winning names of a 4-week gift subscription to the Record. More than 20 Facebook followers of the Tri-City Record met the drawing challenge and got their names put in my hat. Erica Brumley and Kathy Kiser were the winners. Congratulations. I watched the video replay and realize I have no future in the movies. I guess I’d better stay were I am in print, as I already burned my bridge on radio many years ago reading the news for Dick Shire.

FIRST DAY OF SPRING? This past Monday could, arguably, be called the first day of spring. Not the meteorological first day or the calendar first day, both of which hardly resembled a spring day. But Monday with blue skies, temperatures in the 70s, with frogs chirping and folks out and about in shorts, sandals and shirtsleeves certainly did. And although the rest of the week struggled but failed to hit Monday’s glorious pinnacle, there are better days ahead. Keep an eye on the coming week’s weather forecast on the front page.

TEENAGERS’ DRIVING MILESTONE WITH GRANDMA… When our kids were growing up much of the rearing fell on Anne’s shoulders. That is most all but the first few turns around the block as a warm up for driver’s education with dad, me. Justin did his driver’s ed in Dryden (in the thumb). The first couple times, I drove him out to the “boondocks” to a gravel road and then would turn over the car to him. The car was a stick shift (manual transmission) and I learned firsthand not to teach a kid to start off on an uphill slope with a stick. It was a challenge for most of us to work the clutch and gas pedals to get the car to start off without stalling on a level road. On an uphill slope most novices just burn up the clutch or stall the car. Amy’s driver’s ed was here in Watervliet. Consequently, she got her first parental instruction on the quiet roads of Pokagon Heights. She got her first traffic stop there as well. Shortly after successfully completing her driver’s education class and getting her license she was pulled over by Watervliet’s finest. Not for speeding or failure to stop… for having an expired license tag. The car was mine. The new tag was on my desk. By the time Gill was ready for the wheel, things had changed a bit. The driver’s ed program was farmed out to private contractors, who in turn hired many of the veteran instructors. Gillian’s first venture was in the high school parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. We had the lot to ourselves, but we were both nervous. Both of us were relieved I think that the exercise went so well. She made a couple turns around the lot with both feet on the brake and then soon ventured a few more trips with a little gas. Then I drove us home. By the time the grand kids came along we were well established and versed in the neighborhood in the northwest corner of the City known as Western Terrace (Lewis Subdivision). Willy, Karli, Ben, Lanie, Zoya, and Eli have all driven around the block with Grandma guiding them. When Sergei came he had never driven a car and had seldom ridden in one. I took him out for a test drive, but we soon discovered we were not a good match. Anne’s innate kindness and patience won out and soon he was driving himself. By the time he and Gill were married he was an accomplished motorist. All this came to mind as I passed the driving course at Watervliet High School the first of this week. The neophyte drivers are going through the paces, with all the anxiety and excitement, every prospective driver goes through. As I shuffled through the pages of memories, I recalled my own first driving experiences. My first time behind the wheel memory was driving my god-father down a dirt road in Southfield. Driver’s ed was at a “regional” driving course in Royal Oak. Kids from the Royal Oak-Berkley area north of Detroit took classes and actual driving lessons there. My session was in late winter and I was in a fender bender from taking a turn too fast and hitting another car on the range. Nothing much came of the “accident” because the instructors who were supposed to be riding with us had ducked out for “coffee.” Things were a little more relaxed then. My mom let me drive her car to the classes on most Saturday mornings. I was her eighth child and there were five more in the wings waiting for their chance at the wheel. By the time I got the keys there was nothing she hadn’t seen, thought of, or was afraid of. I even drove to the Triple A Insurance driver’s orientation class the week before my 16th birthday. I remember it because I stopped at a friend’s house on the way home to show off and ran over his collie’s foot. The big day for my driver’s test came at the first Saturday after my birthday so my dad could drive me to the police station. The police chief, a friend of dad’s, would give me the test himself. The police, the fire department and the public works were all housed in the same building. Man, I still remember the smell of the place, kind of a mix of gas fumes, leather, and burnt rubber. I was nauseous; it could have been from the smell of the place, or the thought of wrecking dad’s car or just nervousness. Dad handed the chief his keys and sat down on the bench in the station. The chief guided me out to my dad’s car, handed me the keys and motioned for me to get in. I got in, adjusted the rear-view mirror and started the car. Finally, the chief spoke, “back out.” When I did he said, “pull back in.” Puzzled, I followed him back into the station, where the chief said to my dad, “your boy passed.” It is funny how a trip past a group of youngsters learning to drive a car will trigger memories of the same, from both sides of the seat.


Speed limit vs. manpower to enforce Dear Editor, Not sure why people are concerned that the speed limit will be raised to 55 mph on Huntoon Avenue in Watervliet Township. I live on a residential street in Coloma Township which is clearly marked 25 mph. Hah, what a joke, 55 tends to be the norm. When the Coloma Township Police are questioned if there isn’t something that can be done to monitor my street and slow the traffic down, I am given the same answer from them that I have gotten the few times I have contacted them with concerns over the past 40 plus years, “We have over 28 sq. miles to cover and not enough manpower to adequately enforce the law over that size of an area.” That answer equates into let’s definitely pass some more laws, maybe on gun control, that won’t be enforced because we don’t have the man power to enforce the current laws on the books. Respectfully, Dennis Bachman, Coloma

Letter to America Dear Editor, Fired FBI Director James B. Comey said, President Trump was “not fit to be president because of his moral values,” and that they did “not reflect the values of this country.” Problem is, America has departed from God and is going against His Moral Values, set forth in His Laws. Through the years America has become morally corrupt! If we apply God’s Moral Values, Trump’s opponent was definitely not fit for that office because of her ungodly values. She strongly supports things that are abomination to God. Things like same-sex marriage, and the mass murder of unborn babies. God directed the death penalty for those two bridges of His Law, on others too, including adultery. America is in great danger of being condemned and destroyed by God because of moral corruption. In the Word of God, the Holy Bible, He left several examples of His judgment of several nations, including his precious chosen people, the nation of Israel. Back then, Israel, like America, abandoned God. They were throwing their children in the fire as sacrifice to idol gods. But now we/America tear our unborn children out of the womb. Both are crimes against God and humanity. Because God considered homosexual acts a “very grievous sin,” he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and two other city-states. Our Creator is a patient, very loving, and forgiving God. BUT HE WILL SAY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, AT SOME POINT! Manuel Ybarra Jr., Coalgate OK

Time to enter the “Best Mom” contest! For the 32nd year, the Tri-City Record is sponsoring its “Best Mom” contest for Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018. On that day, a mother, grandmother, stepmother or best friend will receive a dozen red roses and many gifts from area merchants as the “Best Mom” of 2018. Selection of “Best Mom” is made by the staff of the Tri-City Record, based on the contents of a nominating letter submitted on behalf of the candidate. To enter that special lady in your life in the “Best Mom” competition, simply write a letter to the Editor of the Record. In 200 words or less, tell why she deserves to win the “Best Mom” title. Sign the letter and give your address and telephone number (don’t forget Mom’s name). Send your letter to: Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet, MI 49098 or by email to record@tricityrecord.com. Deadline for the letter entry is Friday, May 11, at 12 noon. The “Best Mom” letter writer will be notified that day and the “Best Mom” will receive her red roses on Sunday, Mother’s Day. Her picture and the nominating letter will appear in the May 17, 2018 edition of the Record. All letters submitted for consideration will appear in the Record, as space allows, up to and after Mother’s Day. Previous letter writers may enter new letters!

U.S. Senate votes to block bill rolling back Great Lakes protections Last week the U.S. Senate blocked the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017 from moving forward because it contained a poison pill for our nation’s waterways. The legislation contains the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) which would weaken rules that protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, putting the lakes at risk. “Today’s vote by the Senate brought a sigh of relief for the Great Lakes region. The U.S. Senate stood up to protect the Great Lakes by blocking the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, which contains a provision that would rollback rules protecting the lakes. This means Clean Water Act protections will continue to apply to ballast water discharges, which are the main pathway for aquatic invasive species introductions into the Great Lakes. “The people of the Great Lakes region have spoken out repeatedly against this legislation and today they have won. Aquatic invasive species have caused irreparable harm to the Great Lakes ecosystem and cost the region billions of dollars since the late 1980s. “We thank Great Lakes region Senators Schumer (NY), Durbin (IL), Stabenow (MI), Baldwin (WI), Peters (MI), Klobuchar (MN), Gillibrand (NY), Brown (OH), and Smith (MN) who voted today to block this bad bill from going forward,” stated in an email from Jennifer J. Caddick, Vice President of Communications and Engagement, Alliance for the Great Lakes.


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