06-15-2017 Letters and Commentary

Dear Editor,

My name is Nicholas Tenter and I’m four. My dad is Matt Tenter and he is the greatest because he’s a super dad.

He is always nice and has surprises for me. When I’m good he buys me toys or takes me for ice cream or the playground or fishing.

I love him a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.


Coloma residents and mail carriers join together in successful food drive

Dear Editor,

In the political climate of the world today, I thought I’d share some wonderful information of some very generous people.

On Saturday, May 13 hundreds of Coloma residents living in the 49038 zip code left approximately 1,500 pounds of canned and packaged food for their mail carriers to collect. This was part of the stampouthungerfooddrive.us happening across the country. This food was collected and delivered in two mail trucks the following Monday to the North Berrien Food Pantry at the Coloma United Methodist Church.

Thank you to the donors and to the mail carriers who helped make this fantastic event happen!

Carole Sternaman

Director, North Berrien Food Pantry

Republican health care plan is a disaster

Dear Editor,

While the public’s attention has been focused on the daily controversies stimulated by the Trump administration, a small group of Republican senators has been conducting secret meetings to generate a bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). Majority leader McConnell has said he hopes to have a vote on this bill before the July 4th recess.

The starting point for the Senate bill is the horrible health care bill passed in the House of Representatives by Fred Upton and his Republican colleagues. From all reports, the Senate bill will include most of the destructive elements of the House bill, causing many millions of people to lose their health insurance and many others to pay much higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

The efforts by congressional Republicans to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act provide a clear illustration of the value differences between the two major political parties.

Democrats believe that our government should make every effort to insure that all Americans have affordable health insurance. Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would deprive more than 20 million Americans of affordable insurance.

Democrats believe that insurance companies should not be able to deny coverage, or charge much higher premiums, to people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans want to allow insurance companies to once again have the right to institute these extremely destructive practices.

Democrats believe that older people, poorer people, and people who live in rural areas, should not have to pay higher insurance premiums. Republicans want to increase insurance costs for each of these groups.

Democrats believe that women should not have to pay higher insurance premiums than men. Republicans want to allow insurance companies to once again discriminate against women.

Democrats believe that the wealthiest among us should pay their fair share of taxes. Republicans want to provide a $600 billion tax cut to the rich.

What the Congressional Republicans are not doing is working to pass common sense legislation to reduce the cost of health care. For example, they are not trying to make a public option (like Medicare) available to people under age 65; they are not trying to reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing safe importation from developed countries like Canada; and they are not trying to pass a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.

We the people need to do everything we can to stop the Republican plan from becoming the law of the land. We also need to elect people who will take positive steps to reduce the cost of health care and insure affordable care for everyone.

Dr. Larry Feldman, Lakeside

Senator Stabenow praises new investments to connect Michigan schools with locally grown food

 U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement to award new funds to support two innovative initiatives that will bring locally grown food to Michigan school cafeterias. The grant funding was made available through USDA’s Farm to School Program, which helps schools source fresh and healthy local foods. The Farm to School Program also educates students about how food grows through school garden programs and farm visits.

“Farm to School projects provide our children with fresh, nutritious food, while also teaching them healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime,” said Stabenow. “Connecting Michigan farms with our classrooms and cafeterias also provides new economic opportunities for local farmers, helping to create jobs and grow our state’s diverse agricultural sector.”

Stabenow has led efforts to ensure children have access to healthy Michigan-grown foods like fruits and vegetables in every school meal.  She authored the 2014 Farm Bill, which connects Michigan farmers to schools, hospitals and local consumers. She has also championed efforts to expand salad bars and Farm to School initiatives into more schools.

USDA’s Farm to School Grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. These grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes across the country.

South Haven Public Schools and the Michigan Department of Education will each receive a Farm to School Grant. South Haven Public Schools will receive $98,264 to launch a collaborative effort to increase locally-grown food at school, expand nutrition education, and two mobile greenhouse buses in the school garden. The Michigan Department of Education will receive $70,280 to connect school food service directors with local food suppliers through the creation of a Farm to School Leadership Institute.

Can I keep this benefit payment?

 Social Security is with you through life’s journey, securing today and tomorrow for millions of people. We know that reliability and dependability is an important part of your financial security. We use the same throughout the month eligibility rules for the first month’s Social Security check through the last month’s check, so it’s easy to know when checks are payable.

If you meet all the requirements to receive benefits, Social Security pays your benefit after you have lived throughout the month. At 62, the first month many people are eligible for benefits may be in the month after their birthday. Social Security follows an English law that says you actually reach your age the day before your birthday. So, if you were born on the first or second day of the month, your first month of eligibility will be your birthday month. If you were born on any other day in the month, the first month you could receive benefits will be the month after your birthday month. When starting benefits after age 62, people are eligible to be paid for the month they file, since they were previously age 62 throughout the month.

An example of this would be: if Michael is born on June 1 or 2 and is age 62, the first month he will receive his benefit payment is July. If Michael’s birthday is any other day in June, the first month he will be eligible for benefits is July and his first benefit will be paid in August. If Michael starts benefits at age 63 and files in June, he can be paid for June in July.

Benefits are always paid the following month for all types of Social Security benefits including retirement, disability and survivors.  This does not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Being eligible throughout the month also applies to the month of death of a Social Security beneficiary. To be eligible for the payment, the person must have lived all month long to receive the payment that comes the following month. That includes throughout the entire last day of the month.  Your survivor may be eligible for a payment for the last month and should contact us at 1-800-772-1213. For information about applying for survivors benefits, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/survivors/howtoapply.html.

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.

SUNDAY IS FATHER’S DAY… If you are blessed to have your dad on this earth, make sure to remember him on Sunday, Father’s Day.

And remember the other dads in your life, those wonderful men that are the role models in your family for all the children that bring you such joy.

I’m especially proud of my son Justin, sons-in-law Bill and Sergei, and grandson Willy for all the love and fine examples of fatherhood they add to our family.

If you’re stumped for a Father’s Day gift idea check out the ads on Page 8. And if you are so inclined, write a top pop letter to enter the contest. See the entry rules on page 8.

VETERANS ROLL CALL… Every year at the Watervliet Memorial Day Service, the names of local veterans who died in the past year are read.

As near as I can tell that tradition dates back many years, certainly before I came on the scene in 1984. At my first Memorial Day Service, VFW Commander Corky Openneer read out the names of all local Veterans that had died the previous year. Then, as I recall, local scouts read all the names or all the deceased Watervliet Veterans that were gleaned from local records and obituaries of many years in the past.

Certainly the names of many pioneers are on the list.

It was my pleasure to type all the names at the time and at the next Memorial Day service (1985?) printed a legal sized sheet with all the names, perhaps 400 names were listed. Now nearly 700; 700 men and women served our country in the armed forces in war and peace.

Each Memorial Day the Record prints 150 sheets of the names, which are handed to any that wants it.

Frequently someone will ask how the names are added to the list and/or ask why a name is not on the list of heroes.

As I understand it, Rollie Hutchins of Hutchins Funeral home writes down the names of any veteran that has a Watervliet tie that appears in an obituary or death notices in the past year. VFW Commander Corky Openneer adds any names of recently deceased veterans he might know of and then passes on the list to me and I add the new names to the sheet for the upcoming Memorial Day service.

If you have the name of a family member or friend that is not on the list but should be, please contact Rollie at Hutchins Funeral Home, 463-3811.

DID YOU GET YOUR AWARD IN? I’ll never forget the comment of a former subscriber many years back, “you publish a fine school newspaper,” as she cancelled her subscription.

She was looking for a condensed version of a better daily newspaper and was sorely disappointed in what she read on these pages, school news and awards, school sports and awards, school board, and city and township meeting reports and achievements, reunions, obituaries, anniversaries and… you know what I’m talking about.

My mom once commented on an issue with some bad news on the front page, “Well Mr. Big Shot, you got murder and mayhem on the front page just like the big papers.”

“Ma,” I pleaded, “we’re lucky we don’t have much violence in our Tri-Cities. But when it happens, we have to print it in the paper.”

So the past week’s issues have been filled with the joyful news of our local students’ yearlong achievements, promotions, and graduations.

If you or your child made a notable milestone and it wasn’t printed, send it along and it will appear on these pages.

Meanwhile enjoy the local news (once again), the ably reported government and school meetings on how your tax dollars are spent (or misspent),  review all the results of the great Hartford Strawberry  Festival this past weekend, look over the complete schedule of the Watervliet Independence weekend celebration and the entire past week of local sports.

Thank our stars we once again avoided the catastrophe and heartbreak that is plaguing so many of our communities.

ZOWIE… it was hot Monday. The digital thermometer on the Record side porch was pegged at 97 at 3 p.m. When I came back up to the shop at 7 p.m., the dash gauge on the Jimmie read 99 degrees.

I don’t doubt there were some records broken somewhere. Even the sparrows and grackles at our “Birdie Bordello” in the flower garden stopped their raucous squabbling and were hunkered down in the shade of the dense cedar hedge. It was so hot the circulating pump in the fountain quit pumping and was just foaming at the “mouth.”

The promised cooling thunderstorms of later in the week hopefully came just in time to save the scorched grass.

Have we forgotten the cold damp spring so soon?

Some things don’t change

I remember Cecil B. DeMille’s movie, “The Ten Commandments,” and the dynamic presentations of the ten plagues God used to show His supremacy over Egypt’s gods and to convince Pharaoh to release the children of Israel from slavery. Not until the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn son did he comply.

Exodus 3 and 4 describe God speaking to Moses by way of the “burning bush.” God gave him three signs to perform to help convince the Israelite elders and Pharaoh that Moses had actually been sent by God. These signs were: the shepherd’s rod turning into a snake, then back again; Moses contracting a serious case of leprosy before their eyes, then being healed just as fast; and making a pitcher of the Nile’s water turn into blood. Moses ultimately used all of them. But there is an interesting statement in the closing words of Exodus 4.

Apparently the signs were effective, but not until they learned that God really cared about them personally did the people really connect with the message. Only then did they worship the LORD who had sent Moses. Exodus 4:29-32 reads: “Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” (NIV)

The signs led to their belief. Realizing God’s care led them to connect directly with God in worship. Facts alone reaching the head were not fully assimilated until love reached the heart. For us it’s the same. We can know the facts, but it’s in realizing God’s love that the door opens to the worship connection.


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