06-17-2018 Letter and Commentary

Correction In the June 7, 2018 issue of the Tri-City Record, an error was made on Page 3 in the caption for the sign being installed at the new Watervliet Pharmacy. The spelling of the pharmacist’s name, Burramuldu, is incorrect. The correct spelling is Burramukka. Tri-City Record apologizes to Dr. Rama and is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

TOP POP LETTERS

Dad takes care of  family and helps other kids too Dear Tri-City Record, I think my daddy Dennis Thomas should be Top Pop. My dad spends a lot of time with me, he takes me fishing, hunting, and he practices softball with me. When I am in pageants my dad is always there to cheer me on. Even if I don’t win my dad says I am his princess. My dad helps other kids too. He helped the Hartford boys team for baseball since they didn’t have a coach. He buys stuff for my family. And he takes care of us and makes sure we have what we need. That is why I think my daddy should be Top Pop. Love, Ava Thomas, age 8

Nominates husband Jerry Teeters for “Top Pop” Dear Editor, We were married when he was seventeen years old; he was working a full forty hour a week job. We had our first son when he was twenty. By the age of twenty-five he had two sons and two daughters; he always helped with the children. When he was about thirty he was injured at work and for several years was not able to work. He was a stay at home dad, he did all the house work, laundry, fixing of the kids meals, and the discipline. When he had to discipline one of the kids he always sat them down and told them why they were being punished and how much he loved them and how much it hurt him because, he loves them. His daughter who is now in her fifties says that “speech was punishment enough.” When he was able to return to work he always worked at extra jobs to support his family. He always took the kids to Sunday school and church. We now have four GREAT kids that all have good educations and jobs; he always encouraged his kids to get good educations. We now have five WONDERFUL grandchildren who he helped in any way he could. We also have seven BEAUTIFUL great-grandbabies and are helping raise two of them. He always says he would not have it any other way; that is how much he loves his children. His four children call him Dad, his grandchildren call him Papa, and also his great-grandchildren call him Papa. I call him my best friend, my help mate and husband of almost sixty years. Sharon Teeters, Lawrence

ENTER YOUR DAD IN THE TOP POP CONTEST… SEE PAGE 7

Thank you for article in May 24 bonus issue Dear Editor, A special thank you… It’s sometimes easy to forget that there are nice people out there doing nice things for others. Thanks for being such a special reminder. God bless. The Ladies Auxiliary 362, Coloma

VFW Post 1137 extends thank you Dear Editor, On behalf of the members of Watervliet VFW Post 1137, I would like to extend a big thank you to all those who participated or attended this year’s Memorial Day parade and service. Thank you to Miss Watervliet Ellie Troyer and her court, our speaker Ellie Troyer, Duane and Kim Cobb, all the Scouts who help us every year, the Watervliet High School marching band and of course, the Public Works Department and Watervliet Police and Fire departments. I would also like to give a special thanks to the North Berrien Military Rites Team. This group assisted in four separate Memorial Day services, beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding at 2 p.m. They are truly a dedicated group of individuals. Again, thanks to all. Glen Openneer, Commander

Elect Kim LaSata for Senator of 21st District Dear Editor, Primary election season is just around the corner and we will soon be seeing signs decorating yards everywhere. Please join me in voting for my friend Kim LaSata who is running to be the first woman elected to the Michigan State Senate from the 21st District. I have known Representative LaSata for more than 30 years. She has the energy, integrity, and common sense to continue representing us proudly in Lansing. Prior to being elected as our State Rep she taught 5th grade for more than a decade. She wants to improve education in Southwest Michigan not only for her four children and the hundreds of 5th graders she has taught, but for all students in the district. March is reading month in Michigan schools. I was so impressed with Kim’s energy when she read to more than 52 classes all across her district impacting several thousand students. The 21st Senate District has a strong history of responsible conservative leadership. Kim will be a conservative voice in Lansing. While a member of the House of Representatives she has voted to reduce our income taxes, reform and reduce auto insurance rates and repair our roads without increasing taxes. She serves on the Appropriations Committee and chairs Higher Education which has one of the largest general fund budgets. She has worked closely with our 15 public universities to keep tuition rates in check and make our students safer. Kim LaSata continues to be well rounded with experience in business, community service, education and knowledge of the legislative process. Join me in helping to elect her for our next State Senator for the 21st District! Mary Tatter, Watervliet A’s, B’s and O’s are missing – Red Cross campaign calls for new blood donors to fill the Missing Types As part of an international movement, the American Red Cross is launching the Missing Types campaign to recruit blood donors. During the Missing Types campaign, the letters A, B and O – the main blood groups – will disappear from brands, social media pages, signs and websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted. Don’t wait until the letters A, B and O go missing from hospital shelves. Join the #MissingType movement. An upcoming blood donation opportunity is on Wed., June 20, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. at Caretel Inns of Lakeland, 3905 Lorraine Path, St. Joseph.

Our good father Do you know the difference between a “whatchamacallit” and a “thingamajig”? Or, how about a “thingamabob”? What’s that? Well, I’m here to rescue you from confusion today. I will explain those words. A whatchamacallit is something that fulfills some common function that is intuitive to most people. A thingamajig could be on a whatchamacallit, but a whatchamacallit could not be on a thingamajig. Thingamajigs sometimes help adjust whatchamacallits. They are therefore usually smaller than whatchamacallits. Now thingamabobs are smaller still. They help clarify thingamajig functions and are usually attached to something. Also called “doohickies”. So there it is. Doesn’t that help? Here’s another one. If my dad called me a “nincompoop” and he weren’t smiling, it meant that I was at least momentarily, less than bright. If he was smiling when he used the term, then it meant that I was at least momentarily, amusing. Dads have ways of saying things. My dad is no longer alive, but I think I’m still a nincompoop each way sometimes. Whatever all those words really mean, many people understand the word “father” differently. Usually because fathers are so different, and the only definition we have that makes sense to us is the model we saw in our own father. “Father” doesn’t need definition, it needs demonstration. For some that model was not positive, and for others that model was totally missing. It’s sad when that happens, because more is lost than just a relationship. Fatherhood itself can stop with the generation that has no father role model. We don’t know how to do it unless we are shown. Those who miss their father, for whatever reason, need to remember that our good Heavenly Father will never leave or forsake us, and if we ask Him for insight as to how to be a good father ourselves, He will help us learn.

Social Security helps you care for seniors World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. This is an opportunity for everyone, all over the world, to voice their opposition to abuses inflicted on some of the most vulnerable members of our society. For more than 80 years, Social Security has provided for the elderly as part of our everyday mission. Sometimes a family member is incapable of representing themselves due to health reasons. Generally, we look for family or friends to serve as representative payees. Social Security’s Representative Payment Program helps our beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. You can read more about the program at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee. Family members and caregivers can protect the older people they love with help from the Representative Payee Interdisciplinary Training series. The training was developed in partnership with the Administration on Aging within the Administration for Community Living and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It educates people and organizations about the roles and responsibilities of serving as a representative payee, elder abuse and financial exploitation, and effective ways to monitor and safely conduct business with the banking community. It also teaches ways to recognize the changes in an adult or senior’s ability to make sound financial decisions. You can view our series of videos about this training at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee. Protecting the ones you love is part of securing today and tomorrow. You can always access our website and online services at www.socialsecurity.gov. 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.

LAST CHANCE… this is your last chance to enter your dad in this year’s “Top Pop” contest… see the contest details on Page 7. There are also some great gift ideas on the page for your top pop as well. At the very least make sure to tell your dad you love him. For many of us that opportunity has passed and we all wish we had just one more opportunity to tell him we love him.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT… work is progressing on the new Paw Paw River County Park in downtown Watervliet. While it won’t be done in time for this year’s Watervliet Independence Weekend Celebration, it will be done by the end of summer (or early fall). While I’m excited for all the improvements, more public access, parking and fishing sites, I’m most excited by the pedestrian bridge over the river to the island. From what can be gleaned from early maps, an island in the river was created when the river was dammed and a channel was dug to divert water to a spillway to provide water to the proposed paper mill that was just downriver. When all was said and done, the channel that directed water to the mill by way of giant pipes became the main waterway. Water was stored by lowering big boards on the spillway that backed up water into the millpond that extended all the way to the railroad tracks. In the mid-1980s the Watervliet Downtown Development Authority obtained a DNR grant to create the Mill Creek Park which was shortly thereafter named Flaherty Park in honor of long-time Mayor Bob Flaherty. Meanwhile the original river bed as it cut through Hays Park became silted up and declined into a swampy, mosquito infested, backwater. The dam that diverted water away from the riverbed ultimately became dangerous, with flood waters flowing over it, around it and under it. Following inspections in the 1990s, the DNR decreed the County repair the dam or remove it. The County had gained ownership of the diversion dam and the spillway dam as part of the process to demolish the defunct paper mill and clear the site in the late 1990s. The clearing process included closing and capping numerous water wells and piping on the island that was used to provide water for paper production and to carry waste produced by paper making process to the spray fields upriver. At the same time state and federal grant funds were available for dam removal. The county, through its Brownfield Development Authority, obtained grant funds to remove the dams and to return the river to its original channel. The channel dug at the turn of the 20th century to divert water to the paper mill was also left intact, thus leaving the island in the river with fresh water flowing by it. Whew, now I’m back to my original point. The island is a unique, original, natural, wildlife preserve. Even with the odd paper mill structure left behind, the island is a natural area teaming with small animals, wildflowers and berries, and wonderful trees, including several giants, one an oak that is older than the United States. Numerous animal trails lead to the river’s edge, providing natural access to prime fishing sites. Up to now the only way to access the island was to wade the river, easy when the water was low, dangerous when it is high (like now). Fishermen are not the only ones to visit the island. It has long been a great place for youngsters to explore and to build camps and “forts”. Just a couple years ago I came upon a tent camp made by canoeists. I quietly crept around it and soon discovered its absent occupants must have paddled/walked to breakfast uptown. Up to the time the spillway had a driveway over it, small cars and trucks would drive onto the island. Just before it was removed I came across a small pickup truck parked at the far end of the island on a sunny Sunday morning. As some articles of clothing were hanging out the cab’s rear window, I beat a hasty retreat. When both dams were somewhat intact for hikers to cross, there was a dandy trail that led from the back of the airport to Hays Park via the island. I routinely met hikers along the path, including dog walkers and families pushing baby strollers enjoying the “nature walk”. Perhaps, someday, a pedestrian bridge might be installed at the upper end of the island to make that natural trail complete once again. Then walkers could hike from the township hall on M-140 around the airport, along the river, across to the island and out to M-140 and back. At the very least the new park is a welcome addition to the Hays Park complex just across the river. With both parks providing bountiful opportunities for outdoor recreation along the Paw Paw River, the spot will be a major attraction year-round.

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