07-12-2018 Letters and Commentary

Thank you Dear Editor, Thank you for donating to our 42nd annual picnic. Without the continued generosity of local businesses like yours, our picnic would not be a success year after year! Sincerely, North Berrien Senior Center

Support for David Benac for U.S. Congress Dear Editor, My name is Therese Simanton. I support David Benac as Michigan’s 6th District Candidate for U.S. Congress. I started volunteering for David in May, 2017. David came out from the beginning with a clearly defined platform. David has written and continues to write and make available policy statements to thoroughly explain his stance on the issues. David has built a swell of excitement in the party throughout Congressional District 6 that has allowed him to be able to hold 20 Town Halls in CD6 during this primary!!!! David has worked tirelessly to win. I firmly believe David does all of this because he truly cares about all of us. I have probably spent as much time as anyone at Democratic Picnics and forums where I have listened to all of the candidates speak over the last 14 months. David Benac has my vote, my husband’s and my family’s. Thank you Therese Simanton, Benton Harbor

I&M cautions customers about  recurring scam Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) has again received reports of a scam involving calls claiming an I&M customer faces immediate disconnection due to an overdue bill. I&M reminds the public that our employees never call customers demanding immediate payment. Nor does I&M disconnect service without prior written warning. The scam generally involves a call from someone falsely claiming to be from I&M. The callers demand immediate payment for a bill that is supposedly overdue and threaten disconnection within a short time frame. The scam callers often instruct the customer to buy a debit card and call a specified number to provide the debit card number. Scammers sometimes seek personal credit card or banking information from customers. Anyone receiving such calls should hang up and call I&M’s Customer Operations Center at 800-311-4634 to report the scam. These scams have targeted customers of a number of utility companies throughout the United States. Customers can learn the status of their bill by calling the Customer Operations Center or by using I&M’s mobile application, available for download from iTunes for Apple devices or Google for Android devices.

Blood supply dwindles after donations lagged during Fourth of July holiday week An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to give now and help save lives. The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in. “Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.” This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first to be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Promote the Vote campaign off to strong start with signatures from every county in Michigan At the Secretary of State’s Richard Austin Building, dozens of volunteers unload over one hundred and fifty boxes of signatures from more than 420,000 Michiganders to place a Constitutional amendment on the November ballot that will make voting more accessible for all Michigan voters. These signatures were collected from Michiganders from every county who support the Promote the Vote campaign. “We need a voting system that works for everyone and today we are that much closer to making that happen,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director, ACLU of Michigan, a strategic partner in the Promote the Vote coalition. “With this amendment, Michigan will be a state where the vote will be easily accessible and accurately counted.” The Promote the Vote amendment offers a common-sense approach to removing voting barriers for working families. The amendment will ensure that citizens who face challenges such as long voting lines, inconvenient polling locations, inflexible work schedules, and those serving in the military have their votes counted. “All across our great state, from the upper reaches of the UP to the bustling cities of southeastern Michigan, Michiganders are standing strong for this effort to expand access to the vote,” said Todd Cook, Campaign Director for Promote the Vote. The proposed amendment will also: Protect the right to vote a secret ballot; ensure military service members and overseas voters get their ballots in on time; provide voters with the option to vote straight party; automatically register citizens to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines; allow a citizen to register to vote by mail or in person until 15 days before an election (after that, citizens may register to vote in person with proof of residency up to and on Election Day); provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason; ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results.

Lakeland Health acquires new  cardiac practice Lakeland Health is expanding cardiac services in Michiana with the addition of Lakeland Cardiothoracic, formerly known as Lakeshore Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery. Current providers, Kourosh Baghelai, MD, and Ryan Bowen, PA, will continue to care for patients diagnosed with an array of conditions that affect the heart and vascular system with locations in Coloma, Niles, and St. Joseph. Cardiothoracic surgeon, Stephen Dickson Jr., MD, will join the practice in July. “With chest pain being the second-most common complaint at Lakeland Emergency Departments, we are pleased to expand access to cardiac services in our community with the addition of Lakeland Cardiothoracic,” said Warren White, Vice President of Physician Practices, Lakeland Health. “As a Lakeland Medical Practice, Lakeland Cardiothoracic has the support of a reputable 15 Top U.S. health system including access to two certified Chest Pain Centers at both the Niles and St. Joseph hospitals.”

Finding happiness We lurched along the dirt road, bound for a northern Philippine town still many hours away. Sometimes we nervously looked straight down the side of a mountain as the bus made precarious turns around narrow switchbacks. A young man on the open “Dangwa Tranco” vehicle said he was traveling to this remote part of Luzon to “find himself”. Talking with him, it seemed that he was really searching for something “more than himself”. His experience of himself so far hadn’t adequately satisfied his longing for a deeper purpose. He was looking for a more enduring happiness. Marketers tell us that we “deserve” the happiness that only their wonderful product supplies (at a cost, of course), but deep down we know, as Solomon expressed in Ecclesiastes in the Bible, that no “thing” can really satisfy. It may provide some diversion or temporary relief from purposelessness, but it isn’t the real thing. It’s only a numbing drug; we will never “find ourselves” in stuff. To find the foundation for happiness that transcends life’s twists and turns and gives purpose in whatever we do, we have to go back to our beginnings. All the way back to how the Bible described Eden. It was a fruitful garden, and Adam had work assigned to keep it up. But the real joy in living was more associated with his regular, in person, talks with God. We are happiest doing what we were designed to do. We were originally designed to enjoy God and to know Him on a personal level. We feel “at home” with ourselves when we are at home with God. But sin separated us from that happiness and broke off the closeness we had enjoyed. Isn’t it amazing that God then went to such great lengths to help us find ourselves again in Him through His Son Jesus Christ? When we rediscover walking with God, we rediscover happiness.

10 powerful ways to use Social Security online Chances are good that you use the internet or a cell phone app every day. Social Security has you covered. We’ve created online tools to make the lives of millions of people easier. We’ve put together a top ten list of easy-to-use resources for you. Want access to our latest news, retirement planning tips, and helpful information? Social Security Matters is our blog at blog.socialsecurity.gov. There, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where you can watch our popular videos. Our online calculators, such as the Retirement Estimator, the Life Expectancy Calculator, and the Early or Late Retirement Calculator, can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/ planners/calculators. Apply for Social Security benefits online. This is the fastest, most convenient way to apply for retirement, spouses, disability, or Medicare benefits without visiting a local office or calling to speak to a representative; we can be found online at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits. Lost or missing your Social Security card? Find out how to get a new, replacement, or corrected card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. In fact, you may be able to quickly request a replacement card online with a “my Social Security” account, if you meet certain qualifications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Verify your annual earnings and review estimates of your future Social Security benefits when you access your Social Security Statement, one of the many services available with a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits? How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits? What is your full retirement age? Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq. Have you dreamed of moving abroad? Learn how Social Security makes international payments and how you can do business with us from around the world at www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign. Are you a veteran? Are you at mid-career? Maybe you’re new to the workforce. Find out how we fulfill your needs through life’s journey on our People Like Me page at www.socialsecurity.gov/people. If you like to read and prefer to know all the details, our publications webpage is a library of helpful information. Access it at www.socialsecu- rity.gov/pubs. We make things simple, easy to use, and beneficial. And we’re always here to help you secure today and tomorrow, 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.

UNSAFE SPEED… According to the story in last week’s Record certain roads in the township will have their 55 mph speed limits reduced based on average safe speeds. Based on a change in state law a few years ago, roads without posted speed limits had speed limits of 55 mph. Watervliet Twp. Supervisor Dan Hutchins told me a couple weeks ago it was up to the county (Berrien) to regulate the speed limits on Huntoon and Forest Beach roads and the county had removed the speed limit signs thus allowing drivers to do 55 mph through the neighborhoods. Sounds good, unless that road is narrow, has some sharp curves, no shoulder to speak of, and has locals regularly backing out of their driveways. And for Forest Beach, there have been two fatalities in recent memory, including a toddler on a tricycle. According to the story, with traffic surveys completed, the speed limit on Huntoon could be set at 35 mph and the speed limit on Forest Beach, 40 mph. Based on comments heard and the numerous hand-painted signs along Forest Beach, locals would be happier with 25 mph overall.

MIRACULOUS… just when you think the news is getting worse, there’s the story of 12 young boys and their soccer coach trapped underground in Thailand for several weeks. They were rescued safely this week by a remarkable team of emergency crews and volunteers to swim the youngsters through nearly three miles of flooded cave to safety. Sadly, one of the hero divers died after placing equipment along the escape route needed to complete the rescue.

FREEDOMS VICTORY… charges recently were dropped for more than 200 citizens, including journalists, who were arrested for participating in a protest at the Donald Trump Presidential Inauguration. It is worrisome that the rights of speech and assembly are frequently assailed by governments, all in the name of protecting the public. For Americans there is nothing more precious and integral to their rights than the freedoms guaranteed by our constitution, especially the freedom of speech and to assemble.

NEWLYWEDS… Congratulations to Willy and Brook Loshbough on your wedding last weekend. You have made our families proud, much love and all the best of luck to you both.


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