07-25-2019 Letters and Commentary

Backpacks give away for school children

Dear Editor, As the Program Manager for Berrien Community Foundation, I am able to serve Berrien County by helping the resources in our county meet the needs. I do this by administering grants, helping award scholarships, and coordinating volunteer events, to name just a few things. I love what I do because every day I get to help our donors make life better for families all over Berrien County. My work is a never-ending stream of feel good projects from summer camps in Niles to supporting youth sports in Eau Claire and everything in between. But lately, I have been working on a project that really hits close to my home and my heart. As a proud graduate of the Watervliet Class of 1993 and a current resident of the City of Coloma, I am thrilled to be working on “Backpacks for Good”, a back to school readiness event for Coloma, Watervliet and Hagar #6 schools. At this event, which will be held Saturday, August 10 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Midway Baptist Church we will give away 750 backpacks filled with school supplies, offer free vaccinations from the Berrien County Health Department, host a mobile food pantry and much more! The best part of working on “Backpacks for Good” so far has been the resounding support from my hometowns. When we first started talking about the event, we had no trouble at all securing our sponsors. I would like to thank the DeGroot Family Foundation, Regal Finishing, Coloma Lioness Club, John Withrow Excavating and Dr. Darlene Getz for their generous support. A project this big cannot be done without help from the whole community and I would like to invite folks to sign up to volunteer for the day of the event. We will need lots of help!!! If anyone would like to volunteer, they can go here: www.berriencommunity.org/backpacksforgood or they can call me at 269-983-3304 x2. Thank you to everyone in the Coloma and Watervliet area for helping us help our students have a great start to the new school year!

Susie (Withrow) Matheny Watervliet, Class of 1993

Hartford Public Library planning trip to Air Zoo

Dear Children and Parents, As part of our Summer Reading Program, the Hartford Public Library is offering a field trip to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo on Thursday, August 1. The field trip is available for free through a grant from The Pokagon Fund. Participants must register at the library for the trip. The bus will depart the Hartford Public Library at 9:30 a.m. and return to the library by 2 p.m. Admission and bus transportation is free. Lunch and snacks are on your own. The Air Zoo trip is part of the Summer Reading theme of “Blast Into Reading” and Space Travel. For more information, call the Hartford Library at (269)621-3408.

Keep reading this summer, Stephanie Daniels, Director Hartford Public Library

Members of WHS Class of 1945 gather

Dear Editor, Seventy-four years ago our excitement was so great. Many had graduated and some were off to war. We waited five years to get together and have lunch as a group. We have done our best and kept it going for as long as we can. On July 10, 2019, five of us got together and we sang the Watervliet Fight Song. We were at Eddie’s Drive-In in Coloma and everyone laughed and all had a good time. Those who came are Barbara Zvonar (Smith), Bette Anderson (Costa), Bernice Rudell (Matrau), Joyce Kolenko (Larsen) and Willis Bouma (he had left us for a time at war). Jack Paul lives in Cupertino, California. He sent some great things for us to read at the lunch. We all enjoyed our time together. We are all waiting happily for next year, God willing. Love. Joyce Kolenko

August and Mary Mundt

Mundt family to hold 100th reunion August 4; inviting all descendants to attend

In 1918, August (Gustave) Sr. and Mary Mundt’s family started the tradition of a yearly family gathering. Along with a couple of Gustave Mundt’s siblings, the event included their 11 children August Jr., William, Herbert, Otto, Edward, Freida Broadhurst, Emma Danneffel, Fred, Nelson, Augusta Broadhurst, and Louise Oakley. In 1919 they incorporated the yearly family gathering as a Reunion appointing president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer roles. This year the Mundt Reunion will celebrate their 100th Reunion at the Watervliet VFW located at 8777 Red Arrow Hwy, Watervliet, Michigan on Sunday, August 4 at 12:30 p.m. With this being the 100th Reunion it is extra special, so the organizers would like all Mundts, Broadhursts, Oakleys, Platts, and Danneffels just to name a few who are descendants of the family members listed above to join them. Please bring a dish to pass and come enjoy pictures from past reunions, games for the kids, and many other great experiences for all to enjoy. They are also selling commemorative t-shirts for those interested. While they will have some on hand, pre-order is available until Friday, July 26. Please contact nicfox13@gmail.com for information on ordering shirts.

Rep. Paquette town hall draws nearly 100 residents to discuss road funding

State Rep. Brad Paquette hosted over 90 community members for a town hall meeting to discuss road funding in Michigan. He was joined by State Representative Jack O’Malley, chair of the House Transportation Committee, and Senator Kim LaSata, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “It was fantastic to see so many engaged citizens attend to learn more about road funding,” Rep. Paquette said. “I appreciate that Chair O’Malley and Senator LaSata were able to join us and add valuable insight to the discussions.” Rep. O’Malley is traveling to different regions of the state discussing road funding directly with local residents. “My goal is to make sure the House Transportation Committee is asking the questions you, the citizens of Michigan, want answered,” Rep. O’Malley said. “I appreciated Rep. Paquette’s invitation, as it allowed me to share some of our findings with residents of Southwest Michigan as well as listen directly to their ideas and concerns regarding fixing our roads.” The town hall took place on Monday, July 8 at the Niles District Library in Niles. Rep. Paquette and his guests provided an update on current road funding discussions, a brief summary on the history of road funding in Michigan and thoughts on potential options to improve the quality of our infrastructure around the state. They also discussed innovative and cost saving ideas being tested or utilized throughout Michigan and North America. For more information on items highlighted during the event and to stay up to date on road funding discussions, contact Rep. Paquette’s office by calling (517) 373-1796 or by email at BradPaquette@house.mi.gov.


Why are you here?

He began the worship service with a question for all those present. The Pastor asked, “Why are you here?” It was like a multiple choice quiz. He proposed some possible answers. From habit – you’ve always done this? Nothing better to do? From curiosity? Or was it that you have a struggle that you were hoping that God could maybe help with – a relationship, a financial crisis, a health issue that is keeping you awake at night? Whatever our reason, whatever our struggle, we should admit it. Later he pointed out an account in Jesus’ life found in Mark 9 when his disciples were unable to cure a man’s son of some sort of demonic oppression. The man, not so easily giving up hope, went directly to Jesus. He reported the situation and pleaded, “…if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Jesus repeated the father’s words, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” And the father’s response? “Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief’.” Jesus proceeded to get rid of the demon. The boy’s situation was resolved. (Quotes from NASB, Mark 9:16-27) Jesus makes the difference. A struggle need not become a way of life. Jesus can do “great things beyond what we ask or think”, turning despair and hopelessness into victorious rejoicing. All of Jesus is available to each of us, but is all our faith available? Nothing is impossible for Him, but “those that come to Him must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) May we use what faith we have, and with that father, trust God to “help our unbelief”. That father’s faith was much stronger after his new encounter with Jesus. May we have similar experience.

Social Security terms in plain language

Some of the terms and acronyms (an abbreviation of the first letters of words in a phrase) people use when they talk about Social Security can be a little confusing. We’re here to help you understand all you need to know. Social Security employees strive to explain benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. In fact, The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” If a technical term or acronym that you don’t know slips into the conversation or appears in written material, you can easily find the meaning in our online glossary at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/glossary. Social Security’s acronyms function as verbal shorthand in your financial planning conversations. If you’re nearing retirement, you may want to know what PIA (primary insurance amount), FRA (full retirement age), and DRCs (delayed retirement credits) mean. These terms involve your benefit amount based on when you decide to take it. If you take your retirement benefit at FRA, you’ll receive the full PIA (amount payable for a retired worker who starts benefits at full retirement age). So, FRA is an age and PIA is an amount. Once you receive benefits, you get a COLA most years. But don’t expect a fizzy drink — a COLA is a Cost of Living Adjustment, and that will usually mean a little extra money in your monthly payment. What about DRCs? Delayed retirement credits are the incremental increases added to the PIA if you delay taking retirement benefits beyond your full retirement age. If you wait to begin benefits beyond FRA — say, at age 68 or even 70 — your benefit increases. If one of those unknown terms or acronyms comes up in conversation, you can be the one to supply the definition using our online glossary. Sometimes learning the terminology can deepen your understanding of how Social Security works for you. Discover and share more at 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.

PARTY AT THE PEACH FEST… Next weekend is the Coloma Glad-Peach Festival… you can look on page 9 for a schedule of events to the area’s largest community festival.

IN A DIFFERENT TIME… It was one of those calls, a name out of my past, I knew it wasn’t good news. After the pleasantries, ‘How ya doing, staying cool’, Ted said, “I’m calling with bad news, Tom died yesterday.” My gasp, from the expelling of air, caught me off guard, like a blow to the chest. How could that be. He was just thirty or so. Last time I saw him was at his mom’s funeral, just 20 years ago (he was over thirty then!). He looked good, successful, enjoying life. Speechless, I asked what happened. Ted, his brother, said you know the last couple years were really rough on him, all his ailments just caught up with him. I was making noncommittal sounds, none of which could be a YES or a NO. I didn’t know. The months had become years, the years decades. The only ailment I knew of was his need for a kidney. This was a huge deal… brother Tim had donated a kidney to save his brother’s life. Tom made a big poster of himself and Tim… under the image of Tim was “Donor”, under Tom’s “Donut”. Tom seldom was too serious. He loved life, family, friends, and a good laugh. At his mom’s funeral, two decades ago, I failed to recognize him at first glance but for the hat. Who else would wear a hat indoors, especially one with a long feather in the hat band? Had to be Tom. I recalled a day we had lunch at a tiny restaurant his wife owned. A young man at the front called out, “Are you a cowboy?” With a glance at me, Tom rolled his eyes and reached for his diet soda. The young man repeated, are you a cowboy. With a look towards the young man Tom replied, “Yes!” “Then where’s your horse?” the young man queried. We exploded with laughter, but not the young man. Tom went over to him, and with a smile asked if he would like to try the hat on. It was too large, but Tom pulled out the long black feather and handed it over. The youngster was pleased, as was the guardian with him. She mouthed, “Thank you” as the youngster, perhaps in his late twenties, was waving the feather over his head. When he returned to our table, “You gave him the feather out of your hat?” I asked. With a big smile Tom said, “Sure, I have lots of feathers but only one hat.”

SAME OLD TRICKS… There’s no end to the things crooks will do to separate you from your money. You can get gift cards for just about any national large store, or restaurant chain. You can even get one for cash. You buy the card at just about anywhere, especially groceries and pharmacies. Then you put the card in a safe place until you are ready to gift it to someone. Depending on the card, it can be redeemed at where ever it was bought for. Cash cards are as good as cash. The owner just scratches off the number code on the back and starts spending. That’s where the trouble is… if you lost the card, anyone can redeem it at the location it was bought for… such as to pay for dinner.

THE SCAM WRINKLE… It didn’t take long for the crooks to figure a new wrinkle on an old scam. The cash gift card can be redeemed any where cards are accepted. Anyone can cash it. Anne’s cousin posted a warning about a scam where another cousin was impersonated on line asking for some money. His email… Just to show how clever this person is, look at how she responded to my inquiry about who she was and how could this work? “I need to get an Itunes Gift Card for my niece. She has been on a wheelchair all her life and it’s her birthday but I can’t do this now because I’m currently traveling. I would have called you but my phone keeps displaying No signal due to bad network here. Can you get it from any store around you? I’ll pay back as soon as I am back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this. Thank you, XXX” Then there was this: “Thank you so much XXXX. You can buy it from any store (Walgreen, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Best Buy, any CVS Store, etc.) around you. Please don’t bother buying it online because online purchase always have issues and they end up canceling the purchase order and cash refunded back. Total amount needed is $400 but will appreciate whatever amount you can help me with. ($100 denomination is better because it comes with some extra bonus). If you don’t find the $100, you can go ahead and buy $200 denomination. Once you buy it, I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin so I can forward to her directly. Just take a picture of the back showing the pin and have them sent to me. I promise to refund you. Thank you so much for helping me. I’m grateful.” Anne’s cousin checked to see if his cousin was really traveling and needed money for a gift. Of course, none of it was true. There is no moral to this story. There is no good will, or kindness, or sincerity. I was impressed how the fraud suggested if there was not a hundred-dollar card, just get a $200 card. What? Then the fraud promised to refund the money. When these criminals call on the phone, we all know to hang up. Right? When the crook sends an email message… do not reply and delete it.

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