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.