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 h