06-22-2017 Letters an Commentary


Inspiring Dad

Dear Editor,

My name is Ethan Whitney and my dad is Bill Whitney. I think my dad should win top pop because he is very inspiring to me. He is a very hard worker and he is the best fire fighter I know. He is very cool because he rides dirt bikes, four wheelers and motorcycles. He has taught me how to ride dirt bikes and drive race cars. He works very hard every day to get me things that I like and to take our family on vacations. He is the best dad ever.

Ethan Whitney

Use current point of reference

Dear Editor and residents of Watervliet,

Please stop using the “Old High School” as a location for events. (Example: July 4th Grand Parade staging.) As a new resident of this area I have no idea where the old school was. As a result, I have no clue where this event and many others since arriving here, is going to occur and so I don’t bother to put it on my calendar.

No, I do not need to be told where the school was, it does not matter anymore. I need a street and or current point of reference. By using an iconic and beloved building from the past, you exclude newcomers and give the impression we are not wanted as attendees.

Please figure out a welcoming way to include those who do not know where things used to be.

Danielle Veenstra

Open letter to Hartford City and Township Board

 I was in attendance at your joint meeting on discussion of Medic 1. At the open meeting it was asked if the public had any comments at the beginning of the meeting. It is hard to comment until you heard the discussion of the board’s issues. At the end of the meeting it was adjourned without public input regarding the discussion.

It has taken me a while to write this letter because I’m from Watervliet Township and I am very disappointed in how Medic 1 blames everyone else for their problems. I do not sit on any township board, but I have been involved in Emergency Medical Service for over 30 years and I am now retired from that field.

It is a shame that if one or two persons complained about Medic 1, they are labeled as “they have an agenda against them.” These people probably have the best interest and knowledge of what is going on. I also, have been complaining to our Watervliet Township Board and it just goes through as me having an agenda. I am glad that someone else is having the guts to stand up and tell their side and what they have seen.

You have two fire chiefs that are working out in the field and know what is going on, LISTEN TO THEM. It is a shame that the boards basically attacked the Covert Fire Chief for writing a letter expressing his issues of what he needs to do to protect his area when they have to assist Medic 1 for Medic l’s lack of coverage.

The boards said they will set up a small committee from each side to discuss improvements. It seems like you have been working for over a year on this and nothing is improving, the issue just keeps passing around and now with Medic 1 blaming Van Buren Dispatch and Berrien County Dispatch for THIER problem.

I hope you will listen to the person or persons whom have knowledge on what is going on in the field and not excuses.

Suggestions for your committee: Have a person with medical knowledge that has been in the field, but not working for either company; Have the two fire chiefs at the meeting, listen to what they have to say.

Questions to ask:

Times of responding-getting to the scene, get copy from both county dispatches, along with Medic l’s own dispatch.

Who is working in ambulance and type of licensure on each call each month? On the run sheets, is it a paramedic and EMT or a paramedic-paramedic team and on how many calls.

Check with medical control director and see if any ambulance service is having issues. Also, how many issues have been addressed with each ambulance service that services your area?

How many times does Medic 1 put another ambulance on standby and which services?

How many ambulances of a service company, are on the road at any given time?

What do you do for training? (Such as; I was asked to participate at Lakeland in St Joe last fall. Medic 1 was asked to participate in the training and they did not show. This was their area!)

If your committee would like to talk to me regarding this, my phone number is in the phone book.

In closing, I would like to say that I have a friend’s family member that fell down in a store parking lot, in the township of Benton Harbor. This happened in January during the winter time. It was an elderly person that had fractured their hip and arm. Medic 1 was called several times by store members, security personal. Family members from Watervliet and Marcellus where also called after the initial phone call to Medic 1, they arrived there at the store before Medic 1 arrived. This is their central area; you tell me what is wrong with this. Also in Herald Palladium and at the meeting that Mr. Hale for Medic 1 stated there is no required time to respond in Van Buren County! Really isn’t there a STATE mandate? There is a whole lot wrong with both above issues.


Rich Quinn

Thank you!

Dear Editor,

It is time for me to pass on my title of Little Miss Firecracker and I would like to say thank you for making this the best year! I was able to attend many events this year, meet new people, and make lasting memories. Thank you to Karlee Liles Miss Watervliet 2016 & her court (Aliea, Brittney & Brody). It was great to experience the Watervliet 4th of July Festival, Glad-Peach Festival, Watervliet Trick-or-Treating, Anna & Elsa event at Lake Michigan Hills Golf Course, and Watervliet’s Christmas events with all of you.

Also thank you to the 2017 Miss Watervliet Kaylee Chapin & her court (Katie, Mercedes, Maggie, Hayden & Brent). Kaylee, it was so much fun watching you be crowned Miss Blossomtime 2017. I loved having all of you read at my school, participating in the Easter egg hunt, throwing out the first pitch at the boys and girls games, Blessing the Blossoms, Watervliet South School Tour Week stop, participating in the Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade and Hartford Strawberry Festival. It was all fun!

Thank you to the 2016 & 2017 Watervliet float committees. Both floats looked awesome!

Thank you to Mr. Firecracker Brayden Collins, my 1st Runner-up Lilyahna Collins, my chairmen Elizabeth Eggert & Kassie Thomas and WPO Chairman Angela Widdis. Thank you to those that have given gifts or donations. Most importantly, thank you to everyone that has taken the time to make this year very special.

To the new Little Miss Firecracker 2017; enjoy every moment, take lots of pictures and don’t forget a princess always says “Please & Thank You.”

Thank You,

Caroline Weber

Little Miss Firecracker 2016

Your Social Security tax supports millions

You are making America stronger through Social Security. Chances are, people you know and love benefit in some way from this social safety net. Retirees, Wounded Warriors, the disabled, and people who are chronically ill rely on Social Security for monthly benefits. The Social Security taxes you pay are helping millions of Americans — and financially securing your today and tomorrow.

By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from workers’ paychecks. While usually referred to as “Social Security taxes” on an employee’s pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as “FICA.” This stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. In some cases, you will see “OASDI,” which stands for Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance, the official name for the Social Security Insurance program.

The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection — for a comfortable retirement in your senior years or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well.

Social Security is fully funded through 2033. At that point, we’ll be able to fund retirement benefits at 79-percent unless changes are made to the law. Social Security has evolved to meet the needs of a changing population — and you can count on Social Security in the future.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you’re earning for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10072.html.

You can also learn more 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.

There must be another rainbow

I had a lot of respect for Mr. Goldfarb. He was Science Department Head at George Washington High School in Philadelphia for many years, and he taught our Physics classes. He made Physics interesting and fun. We did conservation of momentum experiments, light table interference projections and other neat stuff. But the session that I remember best was the one on optics when we studied the rainbow. That was a watershed day for me. I made a discovery that would influence the rest of my life.

We were using the blackboard to illustrate how a rainbow is formed by a number of total internal reflections of sunlight within a water droplet. The prismatic effect enhances as the light finally exits, refracting at specific angles. The different colors, having been separated after internal reflections, come out in specific order at slightly different angles. Get enough of these droplets together (rain), and the sun in the right place relative to where you stand, and you get a rainbow. OK. That makes sense.

But then it hit me! “Mr. Goldfarb, then there must be another rainbow made by a different number of total internal reflections?” “Yes, David, there are.” I was elated! As we further discussed the secondary and tertiary rainbows with the explanation of their reversed color orders, I was the happiest kid in that school that day. Why? Because I had learned firsthand that applying proven scientific principles opens the door to new discoveries. I had made a new personal discovery, and that was huge fun!

It’s also fun to make new personal spiritual discoveries by applying proven spiritual principles. God’s love and faithfulness, already learned, can build more faith for new experiences if properly applied. We can discover new spiritual rainbows when we choose to remember the beauty of God’s past sufficiency.

FOUR WAY STOP NEEDED… another serious crash last week at County Line and Red Arrow is an indication of the need for a 4-way stop at the dangerous corner.

I’ve seen many instances of near misses as cars traveling on County Line hardly slow to make a turn onto Red Arrow. One time I was nearly “T-boned” coming from Hartford as a car traveling north on County Line skidded around the corner and crossed the centerline?

Perhaps unfairly, I judged the driver was in a rush to make the slot machine happy hour at the Hartford casino. In truth, they could have just been speeding and couldn’t comply with the stop sign.

Even so, the intersection is a “bad one.” Traffic on both roads has increased with the additional development in the area.

Without a four way stop and increased enforcement along both roads, the next serious accident is just a matter of time.

It took many years and lives before the county was moved to add a four way stop and flashing lights to the Napier and M-140 crash zone, which reduced the carnage considerably.

With Van Buren County and Berrien County both sharing the responsibility for the hazard, perhaps action will be appreciably speeded up. There are already plans to re-engineer the intersection to increase the sight distance obviously needed at the four corners.

TOP POP… Congratulations to Lou Brule, selected as this year’s Top Pop. See the story in this week’s issue.

Thanks to the advertisers that donated gifts for this year’s contest and to the prize nominators (letter writers) for participating.

I hope you enjoyed a Father’s Day visit with your own top pop and your family. Mine was all the sweeter with a Sunday luncheon with my family. There was an addition made to the Bayer domicile in the form of a “Bayer Bear” carved from a log; a Father’s Day gift from Anne and all the kids and grandkids.

With a name like Bayer, it was only natural (I guess) to collect bear representations as home decorations. At least that was the case with my parents. Lamps, ashtrays, paintings, and such were liberally decorated with bears, especially at the cottage in the woods north of Oscoda on Lake Huron. The decorating was spurred on by Dad’s naming of the place “Bayer’s Den.” He and his buddy Gene even built a sign that proclaimed the site along US-23. The sign had a charmed existence of sorts, although the corner of US-23 and Interlake Road was the scene of several gruesome hi-speed accidents, it escaped any real damage. When Mother Nature exerted her toll, dad would renovate it faithfully.

So with the sign suggesting Bayer’s Den was synonymous with the Michigan Black Bear roaming the nearby woods, it was only natural the cottage became a collection point for all sorts of bear gifts. Add on there was a burgeoning family of 13 siblings all clamoring to present Dad (and Mom) with any and all sort of bear representation.

Surprisingly, with all that bear history, our home in Watervliet had no Bayer bruin representation. All that has changed with the addition of the woodcarving which now stands proudly on the front porch.

OUR HAPPY ANNIVERSARY… Anne and I will note our 50th wedding anniversary this Saturday with a “fancy” dinner somewhere “nice.”

Plans are a bit ethereal because we will be celebrating the occasion with a special dinner in early August when all our children and their families will attend.

The day June 24 will always be special, as it was in 1967 at the Shrine of the Little Flower, where we exchanged our vows to begin the best years of our lives.

Happy Anniversary Anne, I love you. Bugalu.

ASSUME NOTHING… As a youngster, I figured a dodge for some misbehavior was to “assume” it was okay.

Applying the yardstick to my seat of learning, my mother admonished, “Never assume anything, it just makes an A-S-S out of U and ME.”

As an editor for the past 42 years, I used mom’s words of wisdom to remind writers to fully explain details in stories. Assume nothing but that the reader always knows less than you.

Even so, incomplete information will invariably creep in. As a letter writer this week confirms, locals should not assume everyone knows the location of an event by the former name of a long-gone institution.  She gives the example that not everyone will know the location of an event planned for the site of the old high school. She explains that as a relative newcomer she doesn’t know that it is as the corner of Red Arrow and Main Street in Watervliet. She requests planners and publicist use complete and current addresses when promoting events.

Speaking of that, WBA (Watervliet Business Association) planners of the Independence Weekend Celebration are dismayed that the Southwest Michigan Family Fun & Festival guide of 2017 does not mention the giant 3-day celebration at   all. I guess they assumed everyone knew of it since the event has been a community mainstay for more than 30 years.

Freshman State Representative Kim LaSata has to be mortified by the omission. She and husband Judge Charlie LaSata have been regulars in the parade for many years and her name and picture are on the flyer’s cover as the sponsor.


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