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05-07-2020 Letters and Commentary

WBA cancels Watervliet

Independence Day Celebration 2020

Dear Editor,

During this unprecedented time in the State of Michigan, the WBA/Watervliet Independence Day Celebration Committee regretfully has canceled the 2020 July 4th Festival.

Our committee made of up of business owners and Watervliet residents, take this event very serious and truly love putting this together each year for our community. With all that being said, we plan to be back next year with a bigger and better event!

Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy.

Amy Loshbough

Watervliet Independence Committee member

Tip from a nurse for wearing face masks

Hi Karl,

Just wanted to pass along a tip I got last week from one of the staff at our local hospital.

I was complaining about wearing a protective mask because breathing caused my glasses to steam up. Her suggestion is to wash your glasses with shaving cream. They come out sparkling and won’t steam up when you are wearing a mask. Such a simple thing – but it works!

Thanks to all the wonderful medical staff at Watervliet Community Hospital for the work they are doing to help us all be safe!

Julie Smith, Coloma

Thanks from the Blossomtime Festival

Dear Business Partner,

You are an integral part of the success of the Blossomtime Festival and we cannot thank you enough for the support you have given us for so many years, especially now during these uncertain times.

Our Festival has survived for the past 116 years because of partners like you who, each year, go above and beyond the call of the duty for the Blossomtime Festival. Saying thank you just doesn’t seem enough, but thank you.

We at the Blossomtime Festival Board of Directors hope you are healthy and safe in these uncertain times. We again just wanted you to know how much we appreciate you and your support. The path for the Festival this year has taken a different turn than expected, but we assure you the Festival will be back in the future as we closely monitor the situation and act in accordance with the State mandated guidelines. We promise we will continue to communicate with you as things change.

On behalf of the Blossomtime Board of Directors, thank you for always believing in us and supporting us and please know we are thinking of you and your families and hoping you are all staying safe.

With appreciation and warmest regards,

Anna M. Abdelnour, President

Blossomtime Festival Inc.

What’s next in the fight against the coronavirus

As we enter the third month of this pandemic, Congress is in early talks about another relief package for American families, local governments, and small businesses. One area in particular that I am focused on, among many, is the Paycheck Protection Program. I am working with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) to secure full, continuous funding for the Paycheck Protection Program so that small businesses have access to the funding they need to protect jobs and keep their doors open. They are the backbone of our communities. While we are still negotiating what this Phase 4 relief bill will look like, I have made it very clear that the only way to pass legislation is for it to be bipartisan. Any partisan bill is merely a waste of time, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense, bipartisan legislation that the Senate will support and the President will actually sign. Additionally, we’re still waiting on the green light from Speaker Pelosi as to when the U.S. House will return to Washington. I am ready to go back when it’s time. In the meantime, I have been working remotely from my kitchen table and continue to get things done here in Southwest Michigan. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or by visiting my website: 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).

Helping with unemployment claims

In the weeks following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency declaration and ensuing stay-home and other executive orders, well over one million Michigan workers found themselves without a job, through no fault of their own, because of her actions. Like them, I have been frustrated by the administration’s relatively flat-footed response to the overwhelming number of new jobless claims that have been filed with the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) as a result. It is disappointing that the governor’s team did not adequately anticipate that taking away so many people’s jobs would mean the UIA would need more resources and staff to handle the onslaught of claims in what has become a terribly difficult situation for a tenth of our state’s population. While her administration has taken some steps to improve the problems at UIA, I continue to hear stories of people’s difficulties getting unemployment insurance payments, let alone getting their claims filed. More should and must be done. For what it is worth, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity published a COVID-19 Employee Frequently Asked Questions page that may be able to answer some questions. It can be read here:,5863,7-336-78421_97241_98585—-,00.html. Many constituents have understandably reached out to my office for assistance. My staff and I are more than happy to do what we can to help and have been forwarding inquiries to the agency to help escalate people’s claims. If people are having continued problems and need my help, please send an email to with the following information: Full name; Claim number or Letter ID number (not required, but it will help find your case faster); Phone number; Address; A brief description of your problem. While I cannot guarantee that the UIA will contact those who email my office, it is the best way that we currently can help. I remain hopeful that the governor will engage with the Legislature to work together on a plan to reopen the state and get people back to work safely as we continue to battle COVID-19. In the meantime, I will continue to push the UIA to improve their systems — it is the least they can do.

Defending democracy

The health and safety of Berrien County residents continues to be my number one priority. By no means is this crisis over, but it’s time for our state to return to the democratic process that has governed Michigan for hundreds of years. In good times and bad, the Legislature has served as a way for the people of our state to have a voice in the decisions made by their government through their elected representatives. Our system was never designed for one person, regardless of party, to make unilateral, life-altering, and unchecked decisions indefinitely. That’s why we didn’t take action to extend the state of emergency. Throughout the entirety of this pandemic, my office has received thousands of phone calls and emails from our friends and neighbors who are frustrated, confused, and desperate. Desperate for unemployment checks to put food on the table, desperate to find out when they can go back to work, and desperate to know when things will get back to some semblance of normalcy. While states like Indiana and our Legislature have set goals and created plans of action, there has been no such plan from our governor which has created uncertainty and a sense of hopelessness. It’s time for concrete benchmarks to move Michigan forward. Your voices are the ones that need to be heard in this process. People don’t care about petty partisan politics and republican or democratic talking points; people expect the branches of their state government to work together — especially during emergencies. I will continue to fight for the constitution, my state, and my community. Please continue reaching out to my office by email at PaulineWendzel@ or by phone at 517-373-1403. We’re stronger together and we will get through this.

Some things about Mom I remember

I was not the ideal, loving son, but Mom was pretty patient with that. Mom was very spunky, and very perseverant. That personality quality showed with how tenaciously she dealt with polio when she got it, I think. We were quarantined when they took her to the hospital, and we didn’t see her for about six months. Life became very different. With Dad working nights, we kids were sometimes divided up, going to live with relatives in Philly and in New Jersey, coming home occasionally. But Mom was determined. Polio would not be allowed to win. Much prayer later, and with mobility severely limited, she made it home again to continue to “raise us boys”. She was spunky. That’s how I remember it. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve come to realize that it was hardest for her, and for Dad. Ways that demonstrated her undefeatable spirit included driving a car again, taking care of such chores as needed to be done at home, including cooking, and continuing her tradition of baking a new batch of cookies every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas every year. We ate very well. She also volunteered at the elementary school where we attended. It was a new school at the end of our street. She would hike down the street carefully walking with her crutches to the Aloysius L. Fitzpatrick Elementary School whenever her services were scheduled. She also sang in a church choir for many years after contracting polio. Mom and Dad stuck together, which as I look back was commendable for both of them. Later they would even relocate to Colorado Springs for retirement. The struggles of the dreaded polio did not destroy them, but instead made them stronger. She lived to be 88, still perseverant. I have good memories of Mom. Her struggles brought out her strengths – a good quality to emulate.

Skin Cancer Awareness

May, National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, is a good time to remember that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable, but can be disfiguring and costly. Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous and causes the most deaths. The majority of these three types of skin cancer are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk, like having: A history of sunburns; exposure to the sun through work and play; a lighter natural skin color; skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun; a personal or family history of skin cancer. When you’re having fun outdoors, it’s easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes. Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection; clouds do not block UV rays. Take precautions against sun exposure every day of the year, especially during midday hours (10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.), when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. While you enjoy being outdoors this spring and summer, be sure to protect yourself from skin cancer by seeking shade, wearing sunglasses, a hat, and sun-protective clothing, and using sunscreen. For more information about skin cancer and how to protect yourself, visit Find information on this and other health topics at the Berrien County Health Department’s website at and Facebook page

Social Security to announce top ten baby names

Each May, Social Security releases the top 10 baby names of the previous year. Along with a name, almost every newborn receives a Social Security number at birth. Your name is what makes you, you! Your name is linked to your Social Security number, and it connects you to important national programs, such as disability, retirement, and survivors benefits. Are you thinking about having children or already expecting a newborn? If so, at the top of your new parent or guardian to-do list should be “get my child a Social Security number”. It’s one of the first steps that you can take to protect their bright future. To learn more about this topic, read our Social Security Numbers for Children publication at and explore our Parents and Guardians page at Are you curious where your own name appears in the baby names list? See how your name ranks, as far back as 1879 at Be sure to view the latest top 10 baby names when we release them in time for Mother’s Day. Vonda Van Til 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

DON’T FORGET MOM this Mother’s Day, Sunday May 7. There’s still time to get her flowers and a card. Also, there is an opportunity to send a “Best Mom” letter to us extolling what makes your mom the best to you. Your letter will appear in next week’s issue. If your letter arrives before 12 noon this Friday it will be considered entered in the Best Mom contest. See the back page for entry rules. To all the moms, may you have a blessed Mother’s Day surrounded by all that love you.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR NEWS AND PHOTOS with the readers of the Tri-City Record. As we are all on some sort of restriction to help keep the Coronavirus-19 from spreading any further, how about sharing your good news with the readers of the TCR. Good news includes student awards, school photos, sports photos, and etc. Email your goods news to or mail to Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet MI, 49098.

WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN?… As the President and Governors struggle to get the nation up and running after months battling the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus-19). Those tactics including social distancing and business closures have worked somewhat, enough for the relaxing of mandatory closures. At the same time, social distancing guidelines are more crucial than ever. As more businesses open up, it is critical that social distancing (six feet apart) and wearing a safe mask guidelines are consistently observed and enforced. Monday I picked up some groceries at some stores; at each there was a mix of customers and employees wearing face masks, and others without. Without 100% of all wearing face masks, there will be no way to successfully control the spread of the virus, except for more drastic measures like closing all the businesses.


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