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05-23-2019 Letters and Commentary

Correction In the May 16, 2019 issue of Tri-City Record, an error was made on the front page in the cutline under the photo of Best Mom Maxine Mock. It should have read that daughter Valeri is on the left in the photo and daughter Cheryl on the right. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

County museum happenings

Dear Readers, Welcome to our 2019 season at the Van Buren County Historical Museum, 58471 Red Arrow, Hartford (in front of Fair Grounds). First up is our wonderful Soup Supper on May 24 from 4:30-7 p.m., with all homemade soups, salads, desserts. All for a free will donation. You will also get to be one of the first to see our new exhibits, our display elves have been very busy. Come and bring a friend or neighbor, renew friendships and just plain have fun. Not a member of the Historical Society, you can sign up on the 24th. Come one come all. Roylinda Rumbaugh, Board Member

Watervliet Post Prom thank you

Dear Editor, I would like to thank the following for donating to the Watervliet High School post prom event which was held May 12 at Strikes and Spares: Advantage Installation, Arclight, Arnt’s Asphalt, Ken & Bonnie Bannen, Berrien Parks, Best Way, Mr. & Mrs. Brigham, Celebration Cinema, Coloma FOP, Coloma Harding’s, Coloma Motor Sports, Cool Tan, DiMaggios, Don Young Insurance, Duffield and Pastrick Funeral Home, Easy Street, Escape Day Spa, Frosty Boy, Great Lakes Truck and Auto Repair, Honor Credit Union, Knights of Columbus Watervliet, Lane Automotive, Watervliet Lions Club, Millie Wendzel, Orchard Hill Landfill, Paw Paw Lake Rotary, Pepsi, Sidetrack, Silver Beach Pizza, TJ’s Sports Bar and Grill, WalMart, Watervliet Township, Wesco, Whirlpool – Melissa Hanks, Wightman’s, Wilbur Ellis, John Withrow Excavating, H&R Block, Tri-City Record, Soulards, and Side Door Salon. A special “thank you” to our drivers and chaperones, Don Higginbottom, Deanna Eisen, Rhonda Mannino, Tina Tucker, Wendy Stainbrook, Susie Burkhardt, Nikki Priebe and Tara Matthews! Thank you all for helping our kids have a fun and safe time! Karla Liles, Post Prom Chairman

HOPE Resources raising funds to relocate

HOPE Resources in Coloma will be sponsoring a raffle June through August to assist with raising money for their building fund. HOPE Resources is a non-profit resource for those in need. They have been active at the Coloma Methodist Church for several years, working out of 300 square feet and two closets providing a food pantry for their clients. They serve 150 families or over 300 people in this area. Currently they are raising money to expand their services beyond the food pantry. The services they are looking to add are a clothing closet, classes such as budgeting and sewing, and providing space for other agencies with no local site to offer their services. All of which would benefit residents of Watervliet, Coloma, Hagar and Riverside areas. They have obtained two grants, one from the Heart of Cook and one from Berrien Community Foundation, that have helped with much needed baby items and adult personal hygiene products in the last 18 months. HOPE Resources would like to find a building to buy or rent, or land to build on that is within the Coloma Watervliet area preferable on or near Red Arrow Highway to accommodate the space and parking that they will need to provide their services. They currently are at one fourth of their goal for the building fund. Anyone with space that would be a good fit for this non-profit service, please give a call to 269-208-2415, Chair Pam Quinn, or Executive Manager Carole Sternaman at 269-468-6062 on Tuesdays thru Thursdays from 9-11:30 a.m.

Mueller report does not exonerate Trump or his campaign

Editor, The Mueller report contains a great deal of important information about the Russian attacks on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s reactions to those attacks, and Donald Trump’s many efforts to obstruct justice. The report begins by stating that: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and that the purpose of the Russian interference was to help elect Donald Trump. The Trump campaign was quite open to receiving help from the Russian government. Instead of notifying the FBI that a hostile foreign government was illegally interfering in our election, Trump and his campaign welcomed their help. Mueller also reported that multiple high level Trump campaign officials lied to the FBI and to Congress about their Russian contacts. These individuals included Trump’s first National Security Advisor, his Campaign Chairman, and his personal lawyer. Also, Donald Trump Jr., assisted by his father, lied to the public about the nature of a meeting he set up with a Russian lawyer who promised help for the Trump campaign from the Russian government. The second part of the Mueller report documents the many ways that Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation into the Russian attacks. The report states that: “…if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.” Trump’s claim that the Mueller report “completely exonerates” him is clearly a lie. The report contains much evidence of criminal behavior and urges that this evidence be further investigated by the Congress. The Democrats in Congress, along with a few Republicans, are making every effort to do just that. Donald Trump is making every effort to obstruct their investigations. Larry Feldman, Lakeside

Trump’s tariff wars endanger our economy

Editor, Donald Trump repeatedly claims that the escalating tariffs he is imposing on China will be “mostly” paid for by China. As is so often the case, Trump’s claim is a lie. Tariffs are taxes that businesses and individuals pay on goods imported from another country. The country that is exporting the goods, like China, does not pay the tariff. Many studies have documented the fact that Trump’s tariffs are being paid for by U.S. businesses and consumers. A recent study by the New York Federal Reserve Bank found that in 2018 “U.S. tariffs were almost completely passed through into U.S. domestic prices…” The study also found that “U.S. producers responded to reduced import competition by raising their prices.” During 2018, Trump’s tariffs cost U.S. consumers “at least $6.9 billion.” Farmers have been particularly hard hit by Trump’s trade war. In Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin bankruptcies have risen to the highest level in a decade. Trump has not only imposed new tariffs on China, he has also imposed them on Canada and the European Union. These tariffs have strained our relationships with our closest allies. Many of those countries are now moving away from the U.S. and forming trade deals with other nations. Historically, trade wars have done great harm. They depress economic growth, increase inflation, and cost jobs. In 1930, the trade war triggered by the Smoot-Hawley act turned a recession into a depression. The U.S. Constitution says that Congress has complete authority to set tariffs and regulate commerce with foreign nations. Unfortunately, over the years Congress has relinquished more and more of this authority to the Executive branch. As the current trade crisis makes clear, when an impulsive, self-centered demagogue becomes president, trade authority can do great damage. Trump is a dangerous charlatan. Congress and the American people need to rein him in and then show him the door. Tim Walls, Saint Joseph

WELCOME TO OUR “BONUS EDITION” Once a year the USPS allows weekly paid subscription newspapers the opportunity to deliver to all the postal customers in a certain area. That area for the Tri-City Record is to all the postal patrons in Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet. That’s a good way to remind folks that there is a quality weekly newspaper (us) that serves them by providing news, features, photos and ads mailed to them by the U.S. Postal Service. So, to those that may have never seen the paper and like what they see, go to page 4 for subscription information. To our regular readers, through a subscription, newsstand or online, thanks for your friendship and support. As always you may call me directly at 876-1327 or email me at

REMEMBER OUR HEROES… This Monday is Memorial Day, the day all Americans stop what they are doing and recall the sacrifices of all our war dead to keep our country safe and free. See our Memorial Day page which lists the location and times of local Memorial Day Services. You are invited to join the memorial service.

THIS DOOR… I don’t know how many doors the Tri-City Record building has had since it relocated here in 1862. The current door has been on duty since a snow storm ripped off the canopy and siding in early 1989. The old, rickety, wooden door went with it. Larry McClanahan repaired the edifice with redwood siding, a bright red awning and a new steel door. The building had served as a grocery and business offices before the Record located here. Wanda Lavely, who began working as a “printers devil” in her early teens told me there had been a pool hall downstairs at the front of the building with its own entrance. The print shop would be accessed from the street level at the front, and by a rear door in the back of the building. Talking to me when she was in her eighties, she told me a lot about the building and inhabitants from before there was “city water”. One of her chores on her way to school was to get a bucket of water for the print shop from the village well just over the railroad tracks. She remembered when the front door was in the center of the building, and the front windows were set in small panes on either side of it. She thought the change was to accommodate having a front access upstairs of the pool hall and print shop and a separate access for the business office of Mr. Woodruff, School Superintendent, Village President and Publisher of the Watervliet Record. At the right of the door, at eye level is a sign of copper zinc alloy that contains a thumbnail history of the building site since 1862. The sign plaque reads…

At this site in 1862 stood the first schoolhouse in the village of Watervliet. It was at the rear of the lot. Following the removal of the schoolhouse, a Mr. Sterner had a store on this site, 138 N. Main Street, until about 1895. In October 1896, E.F. Case moved the Watervliet Record and Record Job Printing to this building. This building, with some minor renovations, has for more than 100 years served in that capacity through Record owners Eugene Case, brothers Leon and Francis Case, Gordon and Joan Banasik, and current owners Karl and Anne Bayer. The name of the Watervliet Record was changed to the Tri-City Record shortly after the Bayers purchased the newspaper in 1984. December 2000

Researched and written by local historians Bill Beverly Jr. and Carole Kiernan just prior to the Millennium, a history of every building on Watervliet’s Main Street was compiled and delivered to its present owner. The histories were on parchment and most businesses had them displayed in a window or on a wall. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of one on an office wall or taped to the glass on a counter. I believe the project was started, but not completed for business buildings in Coloma. As the historical sketches of the buildings are now nearly 20 years out of date, perhaps they could be refreshed. Meanwhile I will continue my musings on the history of the Record building and the people who have come through its doors. The first person I met at the office (other than owners Gordon and Joan Banasik) was Herald Palladium reporter Cliff Stevens who had stopped in to pay his subscription. Watervliet Schools superintendent Bill Penny and Assistant Supt. Monte Anderson were our first visitors when Anne and I opened up the office on Feb. 1, 1984, as the new publishers. I wish I had kept a log of the visitors to the office since we came. Many of them point out, “I used to go down stairs to see the printing presses running when Francis Case (or Gordon Banasik or Dale Pallas or George Johnson) was here”. Please contact me with a story of those days gone by, especially now that the Historical Museum is planning an open house to the Watervliet Record Print Shop sometime this summer.

When will war be done? Years ago while in the Philippines I visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It is a huge sprawl of 17,206 military grave markers including fallen from the Philippines and from other Allied nations. Of those 17,206, there are over 3,700 that are unknown. The marble crosses and Stars of David, neatly arranged in huge circular patterns around the central memorial, silently witness to the unfathomable cost of war. It’s hard to imagine the personal loss that the thousands of individuals and families represented here experienced. When will wars stop? Will wars ever stop? Sadly, if we look for Biblical answers to those questions, the answer is disappointing. No, wars will never stop. At least not voluntarily. And the pain and grief that wars bring will continue until there is active intervention. That intervention that will terminate wars will have to be from strong leadership, with immense power, that can impose worldwide peace by force. Enter the One who will rule with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15) – the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus Christ. Finally there will be peace. When the “Lamb of God” returns it will be as the “Lion of Judah”. But will that peace be enduring? Not totally, because at the end of a thousand years, there will be a resurgence of sinful rebellion on the part of large portions of mankind. There will be an uprising, and the last battle, if it can be called a battle at all, will be fought. It won’t last long. It will be a slaughter. There will be great loss of life on the side opposing God. There will be no Memorial Day services for those fallen at the Battle of Armageddon (Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 20). Soon after will come the New Heaven and the New Earth and war will finally be done (Revelation 21).

Social Security honors and supports military members

Every year, on Memorial Day, the nation honors service members who have given their lives for our freedom. Social Security acknowledges the sacrifice of our military’s service members, and we honor these heroes and their families who may need help through the benefits we provide. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about those benefits at It’s also important to recognize those service members who have been wounded. Social Security offers benefits to protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work. Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. For example, Social Security will expedite disability claims filed by veterans who have a 100 percent Permanent & Total compensation rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Both the VA and Social Security have disability programs. You may find that you qualify for disability benefits through one program but not the other, or that you qualify for both. Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children, and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at www.socialsecu- Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit generally does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits at retirement. You may also want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at retire/veterans.html. Please share this information with a military family who may not know about these benefits. In acknowledgment of those heroes who died for our country, those who served, and those who serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you. 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


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