05-18-2017 Letters and Commentary

My mother is my hero

Dear Editor,

My dad worked long hours seven days a week. My mother did the majority of the work at home and raised three children. She also took care of her mother’s needs.

She woke up early and stayed up late. Without her selfless dedication to her family and her organizational skills, she couldn’t have consistently accomplished so much for so long.

She once told me she didn’t like to say “I love you” because you need to show your love by how you treat people. I was amazed she never said those words. Her love has always surrounded me.

She can’t do everything she once did, but the same love and devotion shines out of her eyes whenever she looks at one of her children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren. My mother’s legacy is what she leaves her family: wisdom and advice.

We are all very blessed to have Sophia Watkins in our lives.

Sue Stewart, Coloma

Upton’s vote for American Horrible Care Act was immoral

Dear Editor,

How can anyone still vote for Fred CorrUpton? It’s remarkable that this guy still gets votes! I mean, I can understand his family members voting for him, but anyone else? Even in light of his legislative favors to corporations (in direct opposition to his tens of thousands of constituents), and his backing of vouchers which removes vital funds from public schools, and his completely unethical objection to Campaign Finance Reform; it’s a mystery to me how his votes manage to get above single digits.

But now, I challenge anyone (especially CorrUpton) to adequately justify flipping his vote from being against the Republican’s American Horrible Care Act (AHCA) to supporting it! If Robin Hood wrote legislation, this would be the exact opposite of what he’d write. It’s painfully obvious how immoral this Republican plan is.

It not only takes $1 Trillion from patients and gives it to millionaires, but if it were to pass, more than 20 million people would lose their health insurance. A 2009 Harvard study found that 45,000 people die every year when they lack health coverage. That’s 123 preventable deaths every day! In terms of deaths, it’s worse than a 9/11 happening every month! There’s a reason why nearly all major medical associations are disgusted with this plan – it is immoral.

CorrUpton totally lied to us, claiming he’d protect people with pre-existing conditions (a quarter of the non-elderly population). But his measly $8 billion amendment won’t come close; his bill will undoubtedly physically, mentally and financially stress such unfortunate people; including aging people. Does he expect everyone to be young and healthy forever?

For over five years now, Fred CorrUpton has refused to discuss healthcare and other issues directly with his constituents in a proper town-hall setting. Instead, he resorts to answering pre-selected questions on the phone to avoid his answers being challenged. Apparently, he’d rather challenge his constituents to survive.

Damon Wolf, Benton Harbor

No wake zone

Growing up in Philadelphia, I would sometimes visit the Jersey shore. Spending a day with friends at the Ocean City beach and boardwalk was a blast. I particularly enjoyed fishing with relatives who invited me to their house at Barnegat Bay. We would go out on their boat and get black bass, blow fish, crabs and whatever else was out there in the bay guarded by Barnegat Light. I loved it. I appreciated Uncle Harry and Aunt Marie taking time to take me along. Back at the house we would cook up our fresh catch. It was great.

Boating involves wakes, waves caused by the boat’s motion through water. Wakes are fun when water skiing. But sometimes smaller wakes are better. No use rocking other boaters unnecessarily. Returning from fishing to the lagoon, with its numerous docked boats, we would see the “No Wake Zone” sign. We would slow down until there was virtually no wave following our boat.

That’s OK for Barnegat Bay, but we shouldn’t live our lives that way. We shouldn’t live a no-wake-zone life, undetected in our passing, making no waves, having no effect.

Speaking to His followers, Jesus once said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

We should make a difference. We should not lead a no-wake-zone life. I appreciated fishing with Uncle Harry and Aunt Marie, and I thank God for their good deed of kindly including me.

Social Security helps small businesses

Social Security is one of the cornerstones of financial security for the nation. So are small businesses. Millions of Americans own and operate small businesses, making the “mom and pop” shop — from retailers to restaurants — one of the nation’s most valuable resources.

Small businesses can take advantage of our Business Services Online suite of services. These services allow organizations, businesses, individuals, employers, attorneys, non-attorneys representing Social Security claimants, and third-parties to exchange information with Social Security securely over the internet. For small business owners, we’ve made it especially easy to file W-2s online to help ensure the privacy of their employees’ personal information.  You can register and create your own password to access Business Services Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso.

Social Security’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was established in October 1979 pursuant to Public Law 95-507. The law assigned the office the task of fostering the use of small and disadvantaged businesses as federal contractors. To accomplish this, the OSDBU develops and implements appropriate outreach programs aimed at heightening the awareness of the small business community to the contracting opportunities available within Social Security.

Outreach efforts include activities such as sponsoring small business fairs and procurement conferences, as well as participating in trade group seminars, conventions, and other forums that promote the utilization of small and disadvantaged businesses as contractors.

The OSDBU encourages buyers and program officials to consider small businesses, and to support all the socio-economic contracting programs in place under the Federal Acquisition Regulations. You can learn more about the OSDBU at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/osdbu.

Business is booming in America, and you might be a part of the job-creating machine that we call small businesses. You’re strengthening everybody’s future, for today and tomorrow.

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.

COURAGEOUS MESSAGE… My intent Monday morning was to slip into Watervliet High School and grab a couple quick pictures of Elisabeth Fellows before she began her presentation to the students there.

Instead, I stayed for the entire program. I was captivated by the view of a courageous young women, just out of high school a few years herself, talking to a class of juniors about her rape. She wasn’t telling them “what to do” but not do what she did.

Elisabeth did everything wrong; she didn’t resist, she didn’t seek help, and didn’t report it.

Read the story and make sure your kids and grandkids do as well.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE… with our exclusive weekly updates by our local legislative representative, Congressman Fred Upton, State Senator John Proos and State Representatives Kim LaSata and Beth Griffin, I figure my regular Record readers are better informed than most.

Even so, there’s nothing better than an occasional firsthand review from the folks on the front lines.

That’s what many local government and community leaders got last Friday at the annual Municipal Legislative Luncheon hosted by the North Berrien Community Development.

Congressman Fred Upton and Representative Kim LaSata were on hand to bring those gathered up to speed on state and national issues. Others representing Senator John Proos and Sheriff Bailey ably reported on issues in their stead.

A salute to Chana Kniebes, North Berrien Community Development Director, for originating the event and the Coloma Charter Township for hosting it.

DON’T FORGET OUR BONUS ISSUE NEXT WEEK… Every postal patron in the Tri-Cities school districts will get a copy of the Record for the May 25 issue. Our “Welcome to summer in the Tri-Cities” comes out just in time for Memorial Day Weekend and will have features on local festivals and activities this summer.

Contact me immediately if you have an advertisement or story you would like in the issue… call me at 463-6397.

STATE CHRISTMAS TREE FROM THE TRI-CITIES? I know no one wants to start thinking about Christmas; but some folks are thinking right now about locating the state tree for the holidays.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a state Christmas tree from the Tri-Cities? I got one in the front yard that could be a candidate in 10 years or so. Here’s the scoop.

On Monday, Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget officially kicked off hunting season for the tree that will reign over downtown Lansing’s holiday festivities.

“This is the perfect time to start searching for Michigan’s Christmas tree,” announced DTMB Director David Behen. “Families driving to vacations at the lake or in the woods can spend their travel time looking for the perfect tree. Not just any tree can grow up to represent Michigan.”

To be considered, the tree needs to meet several criteria. Nominees must be: A spruce or fir, at least 55 feet tall with a maximum crown of 24 feet and maximum trunk diameter of 30 inches, within easy access of a road with no interference from wires, and available at no cost.

DTMB works with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to bring the tree to Lansing. In the last 30 years, trees have come from locations across the state – from the yards of Michiganders to public land near highways and forests. Last year’s tree was harvested in Sault Ste. Marie about two miles from the St. Mary’s River and the Soo Locks.

Nominations are requested by July 30, 2017. Individuals who wish to nominate a tree are asked to send their name, telephone number, a photograph of the tree and information about its size and location to ChristmasTree@michigan.gov, or by mail to: Christmas Tree Search Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget Building Operations Division, P.O. Box30026 Lansing, MI  48909.

Let me know if you have a tree selected to represent our great state for the holidays.

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