08-17-2017 Letters and Commentary

TOLERATING TERRORISTS… The right of free speech and the right to assemble do not give anyone the right to kill or maim another in the expression of the right. This latest American atrocity in Charlottesville last weekend is a travesty of freedom, not an assertion; certainly, not a right.

How and why are communities providing permits to assembly or demonstration to groups that come armed (and dangerous)? What is there a “leave your guns at home” mandate that allows the same people to come to a distraction carrying shields and clubs?

People can’t carry scissors or pocket knives on planes, but people can bring pointed flagstaffs and placard stakes to a freedom of speech rally. Many were carrying shields and wearing helmets.

Those boneheads excuse me, skin heads showed up at a rally ready to rumble. Pardon me, who’s watching the hen house?

I’m not ready to give up any of my rights, but then again, I’m not planning on killing or maiming people either.

It’s time we treated those who advocate violence on their fellow Americans as we treat foreign terrorists who advocate violence against us.

Foreign terrorists have no right to demonstrate in America. They have no right to bear arms; they have no right to free speech. Neither should their American counterparts.

Indeed, why do we differentiate between foreign and domestic terrorists at all? Pure and simple, all are criminals in the eyes of any law.

LOCAL NEWS IS THE BEST a nurse told me last week. I was at Lakeland Hospital for a test. When I introduced Anne to the nurse, she asked, “Are you Anne and Karl from the Tri-City Record?”

On my affirmative, she said her grandmother gave her a subscription as a wedding gift and she reads the Record every week. In fact, she said her young daughter now accompanies her to the mailbox and she knows when it is Friday because that’s when the Tri-City Record comes.

“Your paper and the local news in it is the best,” she said.

I love hearing those comments. Not only is it nice to receive a compliment, it also reaffirms our mission to deliver the hometown news of the Coloma, Hartford and Watervliet area to our subscribers.

Also, the news coverage of the Record reflects how close the Tri-City community is, geographically and generationally. The nurse was raised in Coloma and now lives in Hartford. Her grandma gave the subscription to the paper which she is now sharing (reading) with her daughter.

Of all the things I love about the “paper,” it is the interaction with the readers I love the best. I’ve often “wailed” is no one reading? Then, I admit, they do, they just don’t tell me. Like the young nurse, “they” do read, and when the opportunity arises, they tell me.

I have had several comments about the recent column taking a tour of Watervliet Main Street as told by Dick O’Hara as he recalled it in 1950.

While I expected some folks might remember the downtown differently in that era, so far no objections have surfaced.

Joan Bujack related Dick’s memory was remarkable and she appreciated the trip down memory lane. Her dad had the Phillips 66 Service on the corner and she had worked at the Haxson Dairy.

“I recalled all the names and locations except for the Pflugradt Bakery,” said Joan. So I checked around and found out where it was, she added.

I didn’t ask where it was. I’m sure someone will point it out.

That’s the joy of communicating with folks through the paper.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY… Happy belated 60th wedding anniversary greetings to Dick and Angie Showerman of Hartford (their picture and write up are on page 3).

Sadly, Anne and I missed their anniversary open house in early July.

Kaleidoscope vision

She stood amazed by the window. “Wow!” “Wow!” was all she could repeat as she faced the bright light, turning her new kaleidoscope that she held to her eye. Birthday parties are fun, especially with grandchildren. And it’s great fun watching grandchildren make creative discoveries, as with the kaleidoscope.

Whatever the specifics of a particular design are, kaleidoscopes are constructed to make beautiful, colorful designs out of otherwise not-so-beautiful collections of various shapes. The symmetric results seem to have infinite variety.

The kaleidoscope reminds me of how life can look different depending on how it is viewed. The beauty and balance we see through a well-designed kaleidoscope is like the beauty and balance that God can create from our otherwise confusing and often not-so-beautiful collection of life experiences. This perspective is supported by two huge proofs: By God’s promises, and by personal experience.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

God creates hope out of hopelessness, a bright future out of a dim present, order out of chaos, good out of bad, and beauty out of dust.  What do we bring to the table? A heart committed to obeying Him, and a growing love for Him. Then we can legitimately expect to see His redeeming beauty in our lives – now or later. Both the solid expectation of His unfailing love and the joyful experience of His presence give us motivation to continue on our journey until we discover the beauty that He is creating – our own kaleidoscope.

Don’t get schooled, get smart about Social Security

Your summer job might be ending soon. You might even hold a part-time job while you’re in school. You can easily jump to the head of the class and secure your future with a few simple steps. As a young worker, you’re in the best position for planning, investing, and saving for your retirement, growing that nest egg as large as it can be. The sooner you start, the more money you’ll have.

There are two easy ways to get started in preparing for retirement:

Open a free online my Social Security account with Social Security. Having a personal and secure account is easy, but better yet, it empowers you. You can access the services you need in the convenience of your own home or on the go without traveling to a Social Security office. To open or access your account, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Many of our resources are available online and my Social Security is one of the best places to access vital information about your retirement. We are constantly adding new features to make your experience with us faster and more convenient. You can even replace your lost or misplaced Social Security card online in certain areas.

You could also start a myRA account. myRA is designed for people who don’t have a retirement savings plan through their employer, or are limited from other savings options. Check it out at www.myra.gov. If your employer provides a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), learn more about that plan’s potential matching contributions or other benefits.

The earlier you start preparing for the future, the more comfortable that future will be. Like a good friend, Social Security has your back when it comes to retirement planning or in the unfortunate event of disability. Learn 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.

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