08-03-2017 Letters and Commentary

Rejected no more

My dad had a lot of practical wisdom for my early teen years. One of his tidbits was, “If you ever ask a girl out and she turns you down, remember it’s her loss, not yours.” I wasn’t very big on dating at the time, but I remembered his statement. It may sound arrogant, but dad was helping me avoid falling victim to other people’s opinions (including girls). Too often we allow what others think about us, or what we think they think about us, to determine our opinion of ourselves. This creates unnecessary frustration, confusion, and anger. Unnecessary because others’ opinions have so little value in themselves. Those who are at vulnerable points in their lives where they are trying to better understand and define themselves can feel especially victimized.

Working in retail, I see many examples of how people treat each other. It is disturbing when an impatient parent publicly berates a teen son or daughter. Sometimes the hurt is visible in the young person’s face and manner. That parent is not helping their teen at all. Often the one needing recalibration is the parent, not the teen.

What determines our value as an individual person? It’s not others’ fickle acceptance or rejection. It’s because of our “intrinsic value,” value because of who we really are at the core, like how pure gold has intrinsic value. And it’s because of our “destiny value” or better, “destination value,” what we will still become. Discovering those two values trumps all other opinions about us. A proverb expresses it very well, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord will be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)  Find your value in what God has made you, not in what others think about you. Opinioned people come and go. God’s love and presence stay with you forever.

Handy ways to use Social Security online

Cotton swabs, aluminum foil, and www.socialsecurity.gov; everyday items that are simple, easy to use, and serve multiple purposes.

The many easy ways to use www.socialsecurity.gov? We offer you some common and not-so common uses:

Apply for Social Security benefits online, of course! 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.

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.

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/benefitcalculators.html.

Find out how to get a new, replacement, or corrected card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. In fact, you may be able to apply for a replacement card with a my Social Security account, if you meet certain qualifications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq.

Are you a veteran? Are you at mid-career? Or 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.

Simple, easy to use, beneficial, and 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.

WHERE ARE THE FIRE SIRENS… Sometime this spring there was an emergency broadcast test that included local sirens. It was to be on a Thursday, and at 11 a.m., (I think). I remember because I was fishing on Mud Lake and was surprised I didn’t hear any “local” sirens at all.

Since then I’ve been listening for the traditional noon and 6 p.m. fire siren in Watervliet. I called City Hall a month or two ago and was told the fire chief was waiting for a fuse on the siren to be replaced.

At last week’s DDA meeting the subject came up. Mayor Dave Brinker dialed a number, asked the question, and reported there was a blown relay switch that was soon to be replaced on the siren.

When the railroad crossing bells went off Tuesday morning with no train in sight (ghost trains are common here on Main Street), Laurie Kibler commented that she had not heard the noon or supper whistle in some time. She added that she didn’t recall hearing the Coloma fire whistle either.

As I got to thinking about it, I haven’t heard any fire sirens, to mark the lunch or supper hour, and most important to let the public know there is a fire or weather emergency. Nor do I recall hearing the monthly Palisades Power Plant emergency siren test in some time as well.

Even in this day of instant communication, I don’t think the sirens should be dropped as a unified public notification of a fire or other emergency.

Perhaps we could get along without the noon or suppertime whistle; but somehow the siren call at a set time daily is a comfort and reassurance that all is well.

What do you think?

AUGUST ANGST… Hard to believe two/thirds of the summer vacation season is history. You pessimists are eyeing the leaf rakes and making room in the garden shed for the lawn furniture. We optimists are saying the best of summer is yet to come and looking for good garage sale deals on beach toys and swim suits.

I do feel sorry for the kids in other states nearby that started school this week and those that will hit the books next week.  I don’t believe any extra time off in the middle of winter or early spring makes up for missing summer.

For all us lucky ones living and working in Southwest Michigan, this is the best time to be here… all the farm stands are full with fresh fruits and vegetables, the days are warm and the nights are cool, the lake waters are just warm enough for swimming and cool enough to escape the midday sun.

The worst of it is the Christmas advertising already on TV!

ANNIVERSARY WEEK… Anne and I have been enjoying the company of family and friends on Paw Paw Lake. Justin and Kris rent a place annually on quaint Bowes Landing. This year the fun week on the lake concludes with a family dinner to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

Anne and I were married at the Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak Michigan, June 24, 1967. Following a week-long honeymoon in Oscoda, Michigan we headed to RAF Alconbury at Huntingdon England.

Soon we secured a “flat” in Oundle and lived there for two years, as I finished my USAF tour and Anne bore our first child.

We have been looking at photo albums for the past several months reliving those first years, the births of Justin, Amy, and Gill, home in Dryden, jobs in Almont, Dryden, Imlay City, and Capac. Then the great leap to Watervliet and the purchase of the Watervliet Record in 1984.

Now there are 19 of us at the table, with grand kids from 12 years old to 26 and a great-grandchild of 7 months.

We are blessed, indeed.


Keep Postal Carriers safe from dogs

Dear Editor,

We are asking customers to keep our Postal Carriers safe from dogs. Here are some reminders:

When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, secure your dog in a separate room. Close that door before opening your front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows.