04-30-2020 Letters and Commentary

In response to coronavirus symptoms article from April 16 Dear Karl, I hope everyone at Tri-City Record is staying safe and well! Thank you for including my perspective in your recent article about local COVID-19 cases. There was one clarification that I feel important to mention: It was my primary care physician, a woman I very much trust and respect, who initially sent me to be evaluated for covid at Bronson’s Paw Paw facility. She later had me tested for any type of general infection (the only type of test she was able to offer under CDC guidelines, given the lack of available covid tests). This test came back normal, which is partially why she doesn’t believe I had covid, but likely have had another type of virus. I think covid is still very much a mystery in probably most presentations. If I did have it, I’m extremely grateful to have had such a mild – if intense – version.

Thank you, again, for being such a great community resource! Take care, Watervliet! Sharon Crotser-Toy Director, Watervliet District Library

Good to see true races for August Primary Hello Karl, I was glad to see in this week’s [April 23] Tri-City Record the listing of the candidates for the various local races in the August Primary. I was especially heartened to see that several offices in Coloma Township are true races with multiple candidates running. Choice is always good! I know that it will be an interesting election cycle. I hope the voters in Coloma follow the campaigns and turn out and decide which candidate they feel will represent them the best. Win or lose, candidates are showing more interest in local politics than it seems they have exhibited in the past. Good luck to all. Matt Moser, Coloma

National Day of Prayer Prayer is an integral part of life for people of faith throughout the world. For Catholics, like myself, to pray is to talk to God, to thank Him for our life’s blessings, to ask for help and forgiveness, and for health and safety, among other things. It is an important ritual recited throughout our lives, but especially in times of need, suffering or illness. And this year’s National Day of Prayer, on May 7, comes at a particularly relevant time for us, as so many of our families, friends, coworkers and fellow citizens battle COVID-19. The country’s first day of prayer also came during a time of national struggle. In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln designated the day, requesting that all people unite in “the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to the solemn occasion”. Lincoln closed his proclamation with an eloquence that he was so known for: “All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.” As tough as the past two months have been for all of us, I have been heartened by the unity of our communities in their coming together to support one another. Our unsung heroes in the health care field, who are working endless hours at great personal risk to care for the infected, have been truly remarkable. Our teachers are overcoming challenges of time and distance to find new ways to connect with students. Our churches and other community leaders are collecting and distributing food and other necessities to help make sure the medically frail or unemployed do not go without. These stories, and so many more like them, are in themselves answers to prayer. What a joy that we are blessed to live in the greatest country the world has ever known, free to pray and to seek God for his wisdom and guidance. If you are a person of faith, I encourage you to join me and fellow believers as we pray for our country on May 7. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.

Cures 2.0: Offering hope for patients In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, my colleague Diana DeGette (D-CO) and I on Monday unveiled the next steps for our bipartisan Cures 2.0 effort that seeks to modernize how we treat the world’s deadliest diseases and deliver more life-saving cures to Michigan families and folks across the country. Cures 2.0 offers hope for patients during today’s public health crisis and for tomorrow’s challenges, while building on the many successes of our landmark 21st Century Cures legislation signed into law by President Obama in 2016. Based on the feedback we have received from nearly 500 stakeholders, we will focus our Cures 2.0 efforts on six key areas of interest to health care providers, patients, and many others. These categories include public health and pandemic preparedness, caregiver integration, patient engagement in health care decision-making, diversity in clinical trials, and both FDA and CMS modernization. While there is still much work to be done, we’re excited to get the ball rolling on this crucial legislation. We are living through one of the worst public health crises in more than 100 years, and we can’t afford to wait a second longer to develop solutions to help us protect the health and wellbeing of the American people. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or by visiting my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph / Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Small Business Survey and Tele-Townhall As I continue to be your voice in Lansing during this stressful time, I encourage you to reach out and share your concerns and opinions with me. Moving forward, our businesses will have to take added precautions to ensure public safety. It would be helpful if you would fill out my small business survey, which you can find on my website or Facebook page. I will use this feedback to help us all stay safe and support our local economy. The data we receive from this survey will help our local businesses gain key insights into what safety precautions are most important to members of our community.

This Friday I will be hosting another COVID-19 Tele-Townhall. Joining me will be representatives from Unemployment, local business organizations, other local officials, and more. The Tele-Townhall will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will last about an hour. To call in, dial (855) 756-7520 and enter 59957#. During the Townhall, I will also be sharing the results of our small business survey. To take this anonymous survey and help our local businesses, follow this link: https://gophouse.org/ representatives/central/griffin/re-opening-survey/.

As always, I encourage you to contact my office with any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 or any other issue. My office can be reached at (517) 373-0839 or BethGriffin@house.mi.gov.

When things seem unfair That’s when to be grateful. It could end there, but if we apply common wisdom to our daily situations we might find that we are a little too short-sighted when it comes to life’s “injustices”. I was encouraged by someone that I recently spoke with who had learned to be grateful for the simple things that we commonly take for granted. He wasn’t being “Pollyanna” about it. He was being honest about it. And the current crisis was not the reason for his perspective. He rather brought this perspective to the current crisis. He’s grateful to be able to wake up in the morning and “swing his legs out of bed” remembering there are those without legs, for example. We forget to appreciate the good when we feel entitled to the excellent. We are being inconvenienced by the COVID-19 situation, but in some other places in the world people can’t get food or even water in their COVID-19 fiasco. We have food. We have water. We can be grateful for that. Some things are undeniably serious losses however. A person in the Bible I sometimes think of when the “unfairness” of life strikes home, especially in the death of a loved one, is Josiah. He became king of Judah at 8-years old, and he did a good job, until he died in battle when he was just 39. It seemed so unfair. His story is in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. It’s one of the times when God revealed the “why” of a death in Scriptures. It was so Josiah would not have to witness what God was going to do to Judah because of Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh’s, sins against God. (2 Kings 22:19, 20) When things seem “unfair” we can still be thankful, and we must allow God to be sovereign even in the hardest of times. He will work it out.

Nutritious food for families during COVID-19 There are many in our community who have lost their jobs, had hours reduced, and are handling a loss in income. For pregnant women and children under the age of 5, there is a program to help provide healthy foods. The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program serves income eligible pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five. It provides a combination of nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care. WIC foods are selected to meet nutrient needs such as calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamins A and C. Food benefits are loaded on an Electronic Benefits Card that can be used at WIC approved stores. In Berrien County, an average of 4,000 women, infants and children are enrolled in WIC each month and it provides $30-$112 or more per month for each participant. The WIC Program strongly encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. For babies who are not fully breastfed, iron-fortified infant formula is available for the first year of life. Infants may also receive infant cereal and fruit juices at age six months. Pregnant and postpartum women and children under 5 receive financial assistance to buy foods like milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, peanut butter or dried beans or peas, and fruit and vegetable juices. Women who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies receive extra food, including carrots and canned tuna. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, WIC in Berrien County is still providing food assistance benefits, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support for families in the area. If you’ve had a loss in income or are looking for support in providing healthy foods for your family, contact the Berrien County Health Department to see if you qualify for this program at (269) 926-7121 or visit us online at www.bchdmi.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bchdmi.

How to change your name on your S.S. card A Social Security number is important because you need it to work, collect Social Security benefits, and receive certain government services. The information on your Social Security card must always be up-to-date and correct. If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order, or any other reason, you must tell us right away so you can get a corrected card. You cannot apply to change your name online. To update your Social Security card, you need to: Show the required documents, including proof of your identity. Sometimes you may also need to prove your current U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status. See what documents you need at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/ ss5doc.htm. Under the heading, “Type of Card,” select “Corrected” for a list of the documents you need. Fill out and print the Application for a Social Security Card at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf. Take or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office. You can use our field office locator at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator. For complete instructions, visit our webpage at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. You can also read the publication “Your Social Security Number and Card” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10002.pdf. Remember, never keep your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place to avoid identity theft. 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.

BEST MOM… Don’t forget your mom this coming Mother’s Day, May 10. And if you like, nominate your mom to be the Record’s Best Mom. See the details on the back page.

THE NEW VIRTUAL WORLD… as the song goes, I think, “the times they are achanging”. The social distancing mandate to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus will have some long range and lasting impacts on our society worldwide. The virtual world has replaced many human endeavors and activities from the school room, to the kitchen, to the family room that may not ever be the same again. Our kids are going to school (and phys ed) on their computers. Mom and Dad are grocery shopping online. Bank lobbies have been closed for a month… banking is done via cell phones and computers; money is transferred electronically. If you need to touch your money, you go through a drive thru lane. Many folks, those with jobs at least, are working from home offices. The family goes to church on computer and TV screens. Government functions, from the city council to the state house, are interactive. Citizens tune in to computer programs that broadcast live meetings and allow them to connect and participate. The list could be endless, but you get the idea. If we weren’t computer “literate” before, we are now. It will take time before we realize what works, when we get back to normal. Or this virtual world will be the new normal. STAY AT HOME… this is the 5th week Anne and I have been self-isolated to help halt the spread of COVID-19, at least within our family, neighborhood and work. Anne has stayed home the entire time, except for a couple trips to the DQ. My experience has been different; I’ve made appearances at the Record office, local groceries, pharmacies and hardware stores.

SOME RELIEF… Record subscriber Rod Krieger sent this note last week… “You probably get all of these Executive Orders, but just in case you don’t here’s the latest. Section 7 should be good news for the protesters up in Lansing.” A portion of section 7 of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order reads… “Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary: (1) To engage in outdoor recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household. Outdoor recreational activity includes walking, hiking, running, cycling, boating, golfing, or other similar activity, as well as any comparable activity for those with limited mobility.” Rod is referring to the protesters who demonstrated the week before in Lansing, in disregard of the social distancing orders enacted to protect them from disease. Some of which were just removed from the proscribed list.

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