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08-06-2020 Letters and Commentary

VOTERS ARE PATRIOTIC… I trust you count yourself among the community minded citizens that cast a ballot in Tuesday primary election. I get it that many of election ballots have no races of candidates or local issues, even so there is something of standing up and being counted is the patriotic thing to do.

Thank you for doing so.

THANKS FOR THE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE… As one who has made a career of exhorting citizens to stand up and be counted, I did the same in the primary election, putting my name on the ballot to offer my services as a Watervliet Charter Township Trustee.

Up to two years ago, I was a citizen of the City of Watervliet for 28 years or so, and as such I participated in many public services. I intend to participate in township governance as well.

Thanks to all for their kind support. I hope to serve the Watervliet Charter Township in the same spirit.

BLANK SPOT FOR SOME… Subscribers last week noticed their mailing address was not at the top right on the front page, but was at the lower left hand of it.

Those buying their paper off a news rack or store counter saw nothing. The space was just blank. Anne spotted it right off and expressed her concern that something had been left off.

That was the case back in the old “cut and paste days” where pictures and copy were pasted on the page. Occasionally an item on the page would actually pop off when it was being photographed for printing. When all the stars and planets are aligned a keen eyed printer would notice the blank spot and locate the errant copy.

Before I wander too far afield, I’ll note more likely there could be something on the glass over the page being photographed … hence a time when a pair of scissors left on the glass became a front page graphic. Strangest I’ve seen was a couple photographs mixed up in the darkroom. The picture of the engaged couple was placed over copy describing the upcoming donkey basketball game. Not surprisedly which elicited little comment from the coffee shop wags reading their free copy of the local paper. They seldom paid any attention the sports news, much less social news.

There was comment from the mothers and friends of the bride and groom. The mothers demanded a “redo” of the engagement news, which they got.

I don’t recall any comment from the donkeys, but the one I was riding at the high school gym Saturday night pinned my foot to the floor for 120 seconds. Upon my release, the dumb jackass ducked its head at the halftime buzzer and rolled me off its back.

Sorry, back to the blank hole. As of last week your Tri-City Record is printed at Stafford Printing in Greenville. Our pages are a half inch narrower (10 inches) and a half inch taller (21.5).

We were printing the TCR at the Allegan Flashes for nearly 20 years. Many thanks to the crew there, especially to Sue Sowle, the production manager, for the faithful and loyal service.

Our COVID-19 recovery needs our small businesses While Michigan looks to safely reopen and rebuild a healthy economy, our small businesses will help lead the charge, and Congress must continue to provide the relief they so desperately need to weather this terrible storm. Just last week, I introduced and cosponsored three bipartisan bills that will truly help our small businesses keep their doors open and employees on the payroll. My Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act will cut burdensome red tape and expedite the loan forgiveness process for countless small businesses with PPP loans of $150,000 or less. This will certainly relieve stress for small business owners, workers, and local lenders that have worked hand-in-glove to distribute these loans. I also cosponsored the RESTART Act, which will provide small businesses hardest-hit by COVID with partially forgivable loans to cover a number of business costs, and the Save our Stages Act to create a $10 billion grant program to support small entertainment venues. Here in Southwest Michigan, we have so many extraordinary small businesses that have long been the backbone of our communities. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to power our economic recovery and support our small businesses as our nation fights to defeat COVID-19. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or by visiting my website: You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Millions in unclaimed property held by state could be yours Every year, millions of dollars’ worth of unclaimed property is returned to Michigan residents through the state’s treasury department. These lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates make their way to state coffers because the property has been considered abandoned and unclaimed by banks or companies that were entrusted with it. Those entities turn over the assets to the state, which serves as a “custodian” until the property can be properly returned to its rightful owners. A couple years ago, the treasury department overhauled its online system that enables residents to search the database of unclaimed property to make it easier to use. According to the department, the refreshed system offers enhanced search options and the ability to easily upload verifying documentation directly online. Previously, you could search for unclaimed property online, but claims had to be submitted via traditional mail. Should you find your name in the database, the items listed are considered to be worth no less than $50. The items the state has collected are only held for a maximum of three years, after which they are auctioned. It is important to note, however, that if you discover your property after it has been auctioned, you will still receive the cash value for what was made at auction. If you think you may have unclaimed assets, I encourage you to explore the site to learn more about the process and whether the state is holding your property. The Michigan Unclaimed Property website is available at People can also call 517-636-5320 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Friday if they don’t have web access. If you have any questions, please contact my office by phone at 517-373-6960 or send an email to and my staff will be happy to assist you.

How to make an informed decision under new no-fault law After nearly 50 years of being forced to pay what became the highest car insurance rates in the nation, rate relief Michigan drivers have long asked for and deserve has finally arrived. On July 1, our state waved goodbye to its much-maligned no-fault system and replaced it with an improved structure that works for every driver no matter where they live. The new law, which I proudly cast my vote for, was designed to retain the nation’s best car insurance coverage and offer drivers more affordable options. It guarantees lower rates by giving drivers more choice on personal injury protection coverage, stopping price gouging on medical services for car accident victims, combating fraudulent claims and strengthening consumer protections. Given all this, drivers have important decisions to make – decisions they have never been able to make in decades. I understand with all the options to consider it can be overwhelming for many people who are not well-versed in insurance. That’s why I want to share these helpful tips for drivers looking to make informed decisions when purchasing new policies. Education is key. Michigan drivers interested in more information on the new law may visit, a user friendly platform that includes a rundown of all the new coverage level options, educational guides and shopping tips to help people maximize savings. I cannot stress enough the importance of shopping around. This is a new system for consumers and insurance providers alike, and the provider a driver is with now might not be their best option moving forward. Lastly, I encourage people to consult with a trusted insurance agent for further advice on choosing a coverage plan that is in the best interest of themselves and their families. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. You can reach me toll free at 1-800-577-6212, via email at and on Facebook at RepBethGriffin.

Who’s in charge here? Moses and brother Aaron stood before an uncooperative Pharaoh demanding the enslaved Hebrew people’s freedom. The situation in Egypt had changed for Moses’ kin. At one time, when Joseph, the son of Jacob, was second in command under the main ruler, there had been a very congenial relationship between Egypt’s leadership and Jacob’s descendants. Joseph had earned his position by his wisdom and administrative skill, but then a Pharaoh came into power “that knew not Joseph”. Oh well, things change. It went south from there. So here’s Moses demanding the release of the Hebrews, Egypt’s slaves. Not going to happen – at least not easily. Egypt relied on slaves for economic health. Maybe they couldn’t get Egyptian workers to make bricks. This is where the ten plagues come in. In Exodus 10:1,2 we read: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” (NASB) Every one of the plagues demonstrated the Hebrew God as superior to some Egyptian god. Pharaoh had decided to play hardball, so God hardened his heart. That was very bad for Pharaoh and for his people. They were cruising for a bruising. The ten plagues destroyed Egypt. Pharaoh discovered he was not as in charge as he thought. The LORD God of Israel was in charge. God is able to destroy any nation that pridefully opposes Him – Destruction can come by supernatural control of natural processes, by extraordinary means, or by bad choices resulting from hardening of hearts into insensitivity to God. Be careful America.

The city looks bad


I have been doing a lot of walking in the city [Watervliet], and noticed houses that their lawns are high and the shrubs are very bushy. Why can’t the city mow and trim them for a small amount? Some people can’t do it, or afford it. It would improve the area; also, there are shrubs and trees blocking the sidewalks and you have to walk around them.

There are ordinances in the city but no one does anything about them. Also, cars, trucks and trailers block sidewalks. The city does nothing!

Why can’t owners of stores keep up their property? The old Harding’s building is a mess with weeds and bricks. Windows are out in the old drug store, and weeds. Places need to be updated with paint. The city looks bad.

When are we getting new businesses in? How long has it been? We need a grocery store. We have to go to Coloma, Benton Harbor, St. Joe and South Haven to shop.

Why can’t we get grants here to help? Look at South Haven, they are also doing something. I know they are bigger than us, but we could do it also.

What has the city done? Nothing. We need people in City Hall that want to do things and care about Watervliet. Some stores look terrible.

Also, the South School … the flower bed by the entrance is very weedy. I try and pull weeds when I walk, it doesn’t do any good. The burning bushes are all different sizes; some died and were never replaced.

The corner of Park and Silver Terrace is a mess. So is the retention pond. Why isn’t this taken care of?

The street drains aren’t cleaned.

A concerned citizen,

Meldrene Noecker

Children’s Advocacy Center of SW MI & B.C. Prosecutor’s Office remind professionals about importance of mandated reporting

In our community, and across the county, those working with victims of child abuse have seen a dramatic drop in the number of child abuse cases being reported. This is of concern because child abuse has not decreased. In fact, many suspect the stress and isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased instances of child abuse, and for some, has created a dangerous environment where this abuse goes undiscovered and unreported.

It is important to know that The Michigan Child Protection Law requires the reporting of child abuse and neglect by certain persons and permits the reporting of child abuse and neglect by all persons. Physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, medical examiners, licensed emergency medical care providers, audiologists, dentists, registered dental hygienists, LMSW, LBSW, social workers, social service technicians, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, persons employed in any capacity by Friend of the Court, school administrators, school counselors, teachers, regulated child care providers, law enforcement officers, and members of the clergy, are examples of some of those considered mandated reporters under this law.

Mandated reporters are an essential part of the child protection system because they have an enhanced capacity, through their expertise and direct contact with children, to identify suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports made by mandated reporters are confirmed at nearly double the rate of those made by non-mandated reporters. Mandated reporters are always required to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Michigan Department for Health & Human Services (MDHHS).

It is also important to note that there are civil and criminal penalties for a mandated reporter’s failure to make a report. Likewise, there is a civil and criminal immunity for someone making a report in good faith. The information in a CPS report needs to be provided by the individual who actually has observed the injuries or had contact with the child regarding the report. This cannot be delegated to another individual.

As a result of the pandemic, online communication has become the primary point of contact for many who work with children. Recognizing abuse can be done virtually and these suspicions still need to be reported, even if there is not face-to-face contact with the alleged victim.

As community leaders in the prevention of child abuse in our community, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan offers several abuse awareness, prevention, and reporting trainings to professionals and the community at no cost. Questions or request for more information can be directed to Prevention and Outreach Specialist, Allie Kibler-Campbell, at or 269-556-9640.

Letters carried forward from 7-30

Red Cross encourages donations to keep robust blood supply as pandemic continues

$5 Gift Cards offered to thank all blood donors who come to give

Right now, the American Red Cross has an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially lifesaving treatment for patients with COVID-19. The Red Cross has seen demand for convalescent plasma more than double over the last month as the number of coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. Convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in.

Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign up to give convalescent plasma now by completing the donor eligibility form at

Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19. With each donation, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help up to three patients recover from the virus.

Blood donors needed to keep supply strong amid pandemic

Though this summer may feel different than summers past, one thing remains constant: The need for blood donations to help save lives. The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to give blood to restock the shelves for patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have stepped up to help by giving blood or platelets with the Red Cross. Blood donations from healthy individuals are just as essential now to meet patient needs; and those who gave this spring may be eligible to help again.

Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma, including convalescent plasma, Aug. 1-Sept. 3 will receive a $5 Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. Plus, come to give by Aug. 31 and automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm, redeemable through the 2021 season!

Blood donation safety precautions

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Letters carried forward from 07-16

Message from Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation President

To Lakeland Health community members,

As many of you know, I will be moving out of the area later this month to be closer to family. As I prepare to move, I’d like to thank you for your support and philanthropy over the past four and a half years. It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve as President of Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation, working campaigns like our new Pavilion, the Parcourse in Watervliet, and events like Hope Grows. Your generosity has truly inspired me and impacted our community positively for future generations.

As I depart, my colleague and friend, Melinda Gruber will take over as interim president of the foundation. Amidst a time of changes and challenges, she and the foundation team look forward to continuing to work with you as we move forward in our mission of improving health, inspiring hope, and saving lives.

Brandi Smith

President, Spectrum Health

Lakeland Foundation

Don’t Be a Party to Underage Drinking

Dear Citizens,

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office support the Parents Who Host Lose the Most: Don’t Be a Party to Underage Drinking campaign. Furnishing alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal substances to minors, even your own children, is illegal and can result in serious criminal charges, and quite possibly a civil lawsuit.

Hosting parties where teens are allowed to drink alcohol is extremely dangerous and poses a great risk to the children in attendance. It is illegal to allow minors to drink alcohol in your home, even if you did not personally provide the alcohol. Teens who consume alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal substances risk criminal charges which could negatively impact their future. Teenagers are not equipped to handle the effects of alcohol and could have serious physical reactions or engage in behavior which causes harm to themselves or others. Furthermore, parents who host these parties send the wrong message to teens at a critical stage of their life – that breaking the laws is ok. It is not.

We encourage all of you to take the pledge: host substance free parties for teens. Don’t allow teens to possess or consume alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal substances; and discourage teens from attending parties where substances will be available to them.

For more information about the negative effects of teen drinking and how to talk to your youth about drinking please visit:


The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office


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