06-29-2017 Letters and Commentary



 In the June 22, 2017 issue of the Tri-City Record, error was made on page 3 in reporting under the headline “Watervliet Joint Fire Board terms adjusted, Supervisor wants appointment,” that area leaders would like to see the results of a study on the concept of combining all North Berrien departments. The correct information is Bainbridge Township was represented at the meeting but made no decision as to participating in the study.

Also, in the June 22 issue error was made on page 14 in reporting under the headline “Bainbridge continues reviews of township policies,” that the township pay the clerk for 80 hours to cover her extra time that was needed. The board approved paying the 80 hours over the next four weeks. The correct information is the board approved to pay up to 80 hours. No timeline was discussed.

Under the same headline, an error was made in reporting that the clerk and planning commission would address the resident’s question on the length the grass had to be before it was a violation. The correct information is the grass height is established by code.

Another error on page 14 under the headline “Other policies to be looked at; dump pass, burning permit, MTA,” it was reported that the fire departments issue the permits. The correct information is no permits issued.

Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion these errors may have caused.

Fifth Third Bank holds local food drive

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the many guests who come to get food at the North Berrien Food Pantry at the Coloma United Methodist Church, I would like to give our heart-felt appreciation to the employees of the Coloma branch of the Fifth Third Bank for hosting the food drive for us during the month of May. Thank you so much to the Fifth Third customers who donated about 90 pounds of canned food and juice. You are helping us take care of your neighbors in our little corner of the world!

Carole Sternaman, Director

North Berrien Food Pantry

Dog days of summer, hydration tips to stay afloat

 Summer is officially here, and the heat is on. It’s no coincidence that the first day of summer, June 21, and National Hydration Day, June 23, are only a few days apart.

Everyone working, playing or enjoying time outdoors this summer is encouraged to have a plan in place to stay properly hydrated.

It’s also important to make sure any cats or dogs that are outdoors are properly hydrated as well since, similar to humans, they can also suffer from heat related incidents. In fact, they are often more prone to heat exhaustion because they do not perspire like their owners.

“As the heat begins to rise, whether individuals and their pets are working or playing outdoors, proper hydration is key to staying safe and enjoying time outdoors,” said Indiana American Water President Deborah Dewey. “We always make sure our employees and residents are educated on the importance and value of water while encouraging them to pay close attention to their body’s need for water.”

Smart eating can also play a large role in proper hydration during the summer heat. Fruit and vegetables should be included as part of a daily diet as they contain various amounts of water and work as a supplement to normal water intake. Sport enthusiasts who take part in extraneous physical workouts outdoors should follow up their workout with water and a sports drink to help revitalize the body’s loss of water.

Indiana American Water wants everyone outdoors this summer to know and recognize different signs that could indicate dehydration in themselves and others. The Cleveland Clinic has identified some of these signs, including: fatigue, loss of appetite, flushed skin, heat intolerance, light-headedness, dark-colored urine, dry cough.

Dewey added, “In addition to watching for signs of dehydration, proactive ways to stay hydrated include setting reminders to dress light, eating fruits and vegetables as snacks, avoiding caffeinated drinks, and lastly ensuring everyone is consuming water throughout the day.”

When residents are out and about in the heat this summer, Indiana American Water encourages everyone to consider bringing cool water along for themselves and their pets.

I&M to upgrade transmission lines in southwestern Michigan

 Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power, plans to invest about $146 million to improve the electric transmission system in Van Buren, Berrien and Cass counties in southwestern Michigan.  The Valley Area Improvements Program, comprised of the East Valley Upgrades Project and West Valley Upgrades Project, is essential to ensure the continued reliable energy service is available to customers.

East Valley Upgrades include: Rebuilding approximately 17 miles of 69 kilovolt (kV) transmission line; upgrading approximately 5 miles of 34.5kV to 69kV line; and upgrading approximately 12 miles of single circuit 69kV to double circuit 69kV/138kV line.

West Valley Upgrades include: Rebuilding approximately 25 miles of 69kV transmission line; replacing wood poles with new steel monopoles and installing new wire.

PJM Interconnection, the region’s transmission operator, identified the need for enhancements to improve the reliability of the electric grid in the area. The infrastructure has reached an age where it needs to be replaced to better serve area customers. Upgrading the line addresses performance issues, improves the line’s condition and increases reliability. Improvements reduce both the number of outages and the time needed to restore service when they occur. Increasing the voltage reinforces the system to meet customer demands for electricity.

Construction is expected to start in fall 2018 and be completed by spring 2021. Additional information is also available on the project website at www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/ValleyArea.

3 easy steps to becoming a Red Cross summer blood donor

 The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood this summer for hospital patients in need and offers three easy steps people can take to help save lives.

Schedule – Use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment.

Prepare – Get a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious meal and drink extra fluids.

Give – The donation process start to finish takes about an hour. The actual donation only takes about 10 minutes.

Only about 3 percent of the U.S. population gives blood, which means a heavy reliance on repeat donors to maintain a sufficient blood supply. New blood donors are especially needed during the summer months because many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacations.

In June, the Red Cross joins blood collection agencies around the world marking World Blood Donor Day by raising awareness about the need for a readily available blood supply. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can make an even greater impact by inviting others to join them in giving.

An upcoming blood donation opportunity is Thursday, June 29 from noon to 5:45 p.m. at American Red Cross, 3838 Niles Road in St. Joseph.

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

On vacation? Social Security is still here for you

Summer is here and millions of vacationers are packing their bags to visit a new locale and soak up some sunshine.

When you’re going on vacation and want to be sure your Social Security benefits arrive, use my Social Security. When you open a personal and secure my Social Security account, you can access it on your terms. We put you in control of your financial future.

A my Social Security account is important whether you receive benefits from Social Security or not. You can:  Request a replacement Social Security or Medicare card if you meet certain requirements; check the status of your application or appeal; get your Social Security Statement; or get a benefit verification letter stating that: You receive retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare benefits; or you never received Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare; or you received benefits in the past, but do not currently receive them. (The letter will include the date your benefits stopped and how much you received that year.); or you applied for benefits but haven’t received an answer yet.

Whether you’re vacationing or on a staycation, Social Security’s online services are at your fingertips. With an easy-to-access my Social Security account, you can use our multiple online services while barefoot on the beach. How convenient is that? You don’t even have to put your lemonade down at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA… I hope you will be where you want to be to celebrate the Fourth of July. Despite all our flaws, differences, and status, we remain united as Americans, citizens of the greatest nation of all time. We should take that moment of silence on July 4th and say (pray) thanks for living in the land of the free.

EARLY CELEBRATION IN WATERVLIET… given that the 4th of July federal holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, many Independent Day celebrations will be on the preceding weekend.

The community of Watervliet will be no exception… our National Birthday Celebration will begin on Friday, June 30 and run through Sunday, July 2. Read all about it in this week’s issue.

I’ve been involved with the Watervliet Business Association’s celebration of Independence Day for most of the holidays since 1984; I have to say this is truly the biggest and best celebration planned yet. With the cooperation of Mother Nature, it should surpass any in size and excellence.

Plan to enjoy all the fun. Don’t forget to get your duck race tickets for the big race on Sunday.

NOT CORNY OR FUNNY… some person has been throwing dried corn kernels onto the Watervliet Post Office lobby floor almost nightly for the past three months.

The postmaster there notes that not only is the act unsightly and a pain in the neck to clean up every morning, it is also dangerous.

“Someone could slip on the corn and fall, perhaps get injured seriously.”

There is another consequence, she says, the lobby could be locked after hours. That would be a shame, many people who come for their mail after hours won’t be able to.

The postmaster also notes the act is vandalism of Federal Property and the perpetuator could be prosecuted when caught.

She asks that anyone with information on the vandalism to please come forward and notify the Post Office or the Watervliet Police.

“This is not a kid’s prank and someone could be hurt by it,” she said.


You can tell when you’re getting older when more of what you say begins with “I remember when…” Like, “I remember when I could get a Milky Way candy bar for a nickel.” Or, “I remember when you could work on your own car.” Or, “I remember when color TV first came out.” Sometimes we look back with nostalgia, but we must also remember that Milky Way candy bars are still great; vehicles are much better now; and now we have color everything, including texting videos! So why would we desire the past? Maybe we felt safer then, or maybe we thought life was simpler then, or maybe we feel left behind.

We can get older without getting “old.” And we can age without becoming “aged.” It’s a matter of staying connected, and not forgetting to stay creative.

Sometimes that’s hard without learning new things. It’s refusing to grow that makes someone “old” and “aged” – and feeds the feeling of irrelevance.

Older people who ask the question, “Why am I still here?” need to understand that it is their responsibility to answer that question themselves. Ask God that question, and then work with Him on the answer. (See Matthew 6:33)

Jesus healed people of all ages, younger and older alike. He still gives a future. Perhaps until now we have been too focused on our own “kingdom” and not enough on God’s kingdom. Perhaps in God’s grace He has allowed us time to fix that before it’s too late. Now may be the time to take His purposes more seriously, and stop doting on the past.

What can you do now, with the time remaining? What can you do to love and serve God and to love and serve others?

Let God determine when you’re done. Meanwhile – get busy with creative living.


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