07-05-2018 Letters and Commentary

Volunteer spruce up Dear Editor, Wednesday evening, June 27 a group of Watervliet volunteers, business owners and friends pulled weeds, prepared the tree bases and laid down protective mulch around the trees downtown. The mulch has given downtown a new refreshing look just in time for the Fourth of July Festival. Watervliet’s new city manager Tyler Dotson suggested at the Downtown Development Authority meeting on Thursday, June 21 that perhaps a volunteer group could do that with minimal cost to the city. Public Works Manager Jeff Allen volunteered his time. Tim and Karen Freeburn and Mike and Kristy Noack did much of the preliminary work on June 26 with Andy Craig from Something’s Different and District Librarian Sharon Crotser-Toy. Michelle Edmonds from the Side Track, florist Krista Krogel and Tyler Dotson all pitched in to make downtown look fresh and inviting. Please thank Jeff and Tyler. Please frequent the businesses the volunteers represent and as you leave, thank them! Bob Becker

Fourth of July The FOURTH OF JULY is a special time It is Independence Day, The fireworks that light up the sky May be seen from far away. Be proud of our veterans They are proud of what they do, Their lives are on the line for us To keep freedom for me and you!! July Hauch, Watervliet

Mr. Meachum asks  necessary questions Dear Editor, I am writing in regards to the article, “Hartford School Board approves contracts” written by Jon Bisnett that appeared in the June 14, 2018 edition of your newspaper. I would like to commend Mr. Jason Meachum for being a responsible school board member and asking questions that so many of us in the school district feel are necessary to be asked. Furthermore, it states in the article that Mr. Meachum asked questions, and discussion followed. Therefore, it seems that by asking questions, discussion then follows. How does board business take place without people asking questions? I challenge the other board members to step up and start asking the difficult questions, like Mr. Meachum, so that they can make informed decisions regarding our school system. After all, you are elected members and you should be representing your community responsibly. Kudos, to you Jason Meachum! You have the support of many. Cindy Booth

Judge Sabraw weighs in on the separation  of children from illegal immigrants

Dear Editor, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction on June 26, enjoining the Trump Administration from separating children from parents at the Mexican border. He further ordered that those families who were currently separated be re-united. Details of the ruling include: reuniting all children under 5 with parents in 14 days and those over 5 within 30 days and forbids further separate detaining unless it can be established that parents pose a threat to the children. Given the haste and absolute lack of planning afforded the implementation of the “zero tolerance” program, fulfilling the requirements of the order could be quite a challenge! Judge Sabraw delivered quite a rebuke to the administration. He characterized the program as a departure from “measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution,” and, “The unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.” Thank the U.S. Constitution for providing judicial review of egregious Executive programs in the presence of a feckless Congress. Oh, by the way Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell, Judge Sabraw was appointed to his position by George W. Bush! Eric “Rick” Wild, Lawrence

Senate approves auto insurance reforms State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker applauds Senate passage of several reforms to the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. “Residents are tired of high premiums,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Michigan drivers pay the highest premiums in the country, and that is a direct result of the current system. While some promote the program’s success, it is clear that something needs to be done to address the exorbitant costs.” Michigan is one of 12 states that currently operate under a no-fault system of automobile insurance. Under the current system, a driver’s own insurance company covers all accident-related medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. Because of this, all motorists in the state are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for an individual’s medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an auto accident. “The legislation approved by the Senate includes a $400,000 cap for personal injury protection for people who have never paid into Michigan’s no-fault system,” Schuitmaker said. “This would reduce costs and bring Michigan more in line with neighboring states. There is no reason for Michiganders to be covering unlimited PIP claims for out-of-state residents.” There are, however, many reasons for Michigan’s high rates. Michigan’s unique uncapped benefits, fraud and increasing health care costs are just a few examples. Senate Bill 1014 would address the rampant fraudulent activity within the system by creating the Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority within the attorney general’s office. The authority’s primary operation would be investigating insurance fraud, which according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan is estimated to be about $400 million per year. The bill would also make changes to attendant care, setting limits on the amount that could be paid to family and household members to help protect against inflated costs. Coverage for the first 56 hours of attendant care provided in a week would be limited to a reasonable and customary amount, and coverage of care in excess of 56 hours would be limited to $15 an hour. Included in the package is legislation that would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. SB 787 would set the cap at $50,000 and personal insurance or Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses from an automobile accident after the $50,000 limit is reached. Seniors who opted for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced. Seniors would also have the option to remain in the current no-fault system. “Michigan has the highest average annual premium in the nation at $2,394, while the national average is $1,318,” Schuitmaker said. “We need to work to close that gap and do better for hardworking Michigan taxpayers.” SBs 787 and 1014 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Giants? No problem When David nailed Goliath with that rock, more lessons were learned than just not to mess with Israeli teens armed with stones. We learn from I Samuel 16-18 in the Bible that lessons were learned all the way around. David’s three older brothers, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah, got the surprise of their lives when they saw little brother David charging across the valley directly at the giant that they were afraid to confront themselves. Saul got a big surprise when this kid out of nowhere shows up to save the day. Goliath got a surprise when he realized he was about to hit the dust face first. The Philistine army learned that their hero was no more. They couldn’t rely on the Giants of Gath to intimidate their enemies anymore. But what about David? Was he surprised? Nope. Not at all. This was the expected outcome. This day Goliath would lose his head. David had already learned from his shepherd experience with fighting wild animals that this Philistine was not different. As David told King Saul, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37, NASB) David’s remembering of God’s faithfulness in the past gave him confidence for new challenges. His attitude – “With God’s help I can do this”. That’s our take away from this contest. Remember God’s past faithfulness when we encounter new challenges. The confidence to proceed builds on God’s previous proven presence. A couple of other things about David. He didn’t let the nay-sayers stop him. He kept his eye on the prize. He fought with God’s glory in mind, not just his own. David wasn’t perfect, but he got a few things right. With God’s help, giants fall. Thank you, David.

Social Security a source of independence for millions On July 4, people in communities everywhere celebrated our nation’s independence with neighbors, family, and friends. A strong community promotes independence by helping each other lead full and productive lives. Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. Over those decades, we’ve made it even easier for you to access the programs and benefits you might need. Now, applying online is the fastest way to get those crucial benefits. Here are some the types of benefits you can apply for: Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old and want your benefits to start no more than four months in the future. Apply at www.socialsecuri- ty.gov/retireonline. Disability – You can apply online for disability benefits or continue an application you already started. Apply for Disability at www.socialsecu- rity.gov/disabilityonline. Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – Many people need assistance with the cost of medications. Apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020. Medicare – Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the U.S. federal government that began in 1966. You can apply online or continue an application you already started at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – SSI is a federal income program funded by general tax revenues designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income. You may be able to apply online if you meet certain requirements. See if you can apply online for SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ssi. Social Security provides benefits for millions of people including wounded warriors and children, the chronically ill and the disabled who cannot work. Find the help you or your family need at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits. Don’t forget, our many online services can provide you and the ones you love with lifelong independence. From replacing a lost Social Security card to estimating your benefits, you can access these powerful tools at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. 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.

HOW HOT WAS IT? It’s hard to say with all the digital temperature readings. There was a time the gauge on my car’s dash read 102. The weather station at the TCR read 101 in the shade of the old side porch. The folks on TV channel 22 always add a heat index (whatever that is). They projected the heat index temperature Saturday afternoon would top 110. At 1 p.m. (parade time) in downtown Watervliet the hundreds of folks along Main Street gathered where ever a bit of shade offered respite from the sweltering heat. I quit paying attention when it was too hot to go fishing. Friday morning it was a cool 65 when I came to the office at 8 a.m. at 11 a.m. I dashed across the street for a bag of pretzels at the B&B and the blast of radiation hit my pate like a blow torch. Had I hair, it may have actually sizzled. I don’t want to spark (no pun intended) any repartee over global warming, but the weather extremes have to be more than happenstance. Copy editor Laurie Kibler chimed in when I was musing out loud, “don’t forget all the volcano eruptions, there’s a new one in Bali.” Invariably, whenever a discussion of the heat erupts there’s the comment… “we didn’t have air (air conditioning) when I was a kid and it didn’t bother me.” Well I remember growing up without AC and believe me, it bothered me. It’s just there was no alternative to sweating it out. Our house was big, three bedrooms upstairs and two down (and one bathroom). The rooms upstairs were where all us big kids stayed. For many years I shared a room (and bed) with my brothers and believe me that room was hot and smelly. There were two large windows that were hardly ever closed, even in winter. The girls had it a bit better, usually the front room and the small third room were reserved for them. Their rooms might have smelled a bit better but it was just as hot from June through August. We just accepted the arrangement, hot in the summer, cool in the winter. There was never any complaining about the weather to our parents, they shared the discomfort with their kids. We dressed cooler in summer and warmer in the winter. My dad was an executive chef in a Detroit restaurant/nightclub. He come home at midday (year-round) and would head straight for the shower, then he’d nap in his underwear in his living room chair till dinnertime. Mom had her own daily heat wave, preparing three meals a day for 13 kids, visitors and relatives. Believe me that kitchen got warm as well. We kids got daily KP, depending on age, chores ranged from taking out the garbage, to setting the table, to clearing the table, to doing the dishes. (When on the washing chore, I always put a slightly dirty dish on the rack. My sister Babette would loudly complain and mom would put her to washing and put me on drying. Mom always admonished me, “Don’t let me catch you putting any away wet.” Kids nowadays really have it easier than we did, air conditioning even in school, dishwashers, the internet, color TV, better toys, fast food and etc. Yet I wouldn’t trade my days as a youngster in a large family, even with my favorite grandkid.

GREAT FOURTH IN WATERVLIET… Once again, the Watervliet Business Association rose to the occasion and delivered a stupendous Independence Weekend Celebration, replete with family fun for all over three days. I’m still partial to the parade and the fireworks, but watching the excitement and happiness of the young ones, both as participants and spectators is a delight. I hope you enjoy the photos and recap by Kristy Noack in this week’s issue.


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