08-25-2016 Letters and Commentary

Dear Editor,

For those who wish a hand in volunteerism and may also have some passion in your heart, there is currently an opportunity to serve your community. The Watervliet City Planning Commission is preparing to fill two vacated seats and wish to consider you for a one-year term.  Every municipality in existence has a finite amount of land that can be used to live upon, create jobs and provide resources and recreation. If that land is to be used in the highest and most efficient manner possible for the good of everyone in the community, it involves serious planning, and that planning lies solely with the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission’s job is important as any other commission, board or committee. It is their responsibility to inventory what assets the community presently has, decide through interaction with residents, what direction everyone wishes to go, devise a plan to utilize those current assets and be the impetus behind the implementation of that plan.  Nice things, in every community, just don’t occur by happenstance or by chance. They are planned! The degree and the extent of the Planning Commission’s efforts will affect the appearance, character, and livability of Watervliet for generations to come.  There are many facets that are a part of the planning process, i.e.: inventorying current infrastructure and developing a capital improvement plan. Sitting on a planning commission does not require any special skills. What is required however, is pride in your community, a sense of purpose and, more than anything, a vision.  If you have thought of serving your community through local government, but never felt invited to do so, be welcomed to stop by City Hall and share your desire to serve with Mayor Brinker. It is an exciting time and we hope you can share in it!

Bob Lohr

Zoning Administrator


City Commissioner

Abortion advocates block funding to combat Zika virus

Dear Editor,

The Zika virus has been all over the news lately as Olympic athletes in Brazil discuss how they plan to prevent contracting it. Some athletes decided not to compete in the Olympics based on the risks. Recently 15 people in a Miami neighborhood have been infected by Zika, while others in the U.S. have contracted the disease after traveling in South America.  The Zika virus often causes only mild symptoms: rash, fever, red eyes, and joint pain among others. Unfortunately, unborn children whose mothers are infected with Zika can develop birth defects, most notably microcephaly. Zika is transmitted mainly by mosquito bites but can also be sexually transmitted.  For the past couple of months Congress has been debating an effort to prevent the spread of Zika and speed up vaccine development. Senate Democrats have filibustered the bill, preventing it from getting the 60 votes it needs to pass.  Why would Senate Democrats work to stop a bill which funds research into a disease that can cause birth defects? The bill does not single out Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, for more funding. The legislation does not touch the half a billion dollars Planned Parenthood already gets in government grants every year.  In a press conference led by the leadership of the Senate Democrats, Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens condemned the bill because it did not provide her organization with more money. Planned Parenthood even sent a letter to U.S. Senators claiming that “a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care.”  In Planned Parenthood’s bizarre world, “women’s health care” really only means Planned Parenthood providing more condoms and more abortions, not vaccine development or a public health campaign to stop the virus’ primary vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.  Planned Parenthood does not just perform more than 300,000 abortions a year; they are actively fighting against legislation which could help prevent birth defects and the spread of a disease simply because they do not get another seat on the federal gravy train.  In addition, Planned Parenthood’s position on late-term abortions for children with disabilities is quite clear. The unfortunate response from many to children in the womb diagnosed with disabilities is not providing the child, her mother and family with the love and support they deserve, but taking the child’s life away from her.  Learn more about Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda at www.RTL.org.

Chris Gast

Director of Communication/Education

United in prayer

Dear Editor,

If there is one thing our great country could use more of, it’s a willingness of the church to come together as one body & pray for our nation. It is all too regular an occurrence to flip on the TV or news feed, and read horrific news that is plaguing our nation. Whether it is the loss of lives, political ideologies leading to violence, terrorism, etc., one thing is certain, we are not immune from the growing problems of our time.  What stands out to me is the immeasurable need we have for healing and reconciliation as a nation. People are hungry for an outlet where they can hear a message of hope and peace for each of us. That message is Christ Jesus, the hope of Glory. We greatly need his interceding in America; maybe today more than ever.  As the church, our institution is the only one spreading the good news of Christ. When our institution was young they would gather together in prayer to lift one another up and spread the encouraging news of Christ to one another and any others who wanted to come and hear the truth.  Coming soon in Coloma, an opportunity has been organized for us to come together, outside of our four walls, as one body and spend time together in prayer. We will focus on petitioning heaven on behalf of our community, our citizens, and this great nation to the name above every name.  Three meetings will be held at Baker Park in Coloma, opposite Coloma City Hall, Aug. 29, Sept. 5 and Sept.12 at 7 p.m. each evening.  Our nation needs healing- God said, “If my people humble themselves and pray.”  Our nation is turning to the wrong outlets- God said, “If my people turn from their wicked ways and seek my face…” He said, “…then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)  Please come and join us. Lift prayers, hopes, and cares unto GOD with the body. Tell your congregation about the upcoming opportunity to engage in prayer for each other and our nation, compel them to come. Church members, church leaders, believers, and non believers alike are all welcome to attend!

Rick & Sarah Stevens

We need to know Upton’s beliefs about Trump

Dear Editor,

Congressman Fred Upton’s spokesman Tom Wilbur recently stated, in regard to Upton’s beliefs about his party’s presidential nominee, “Fred is certainly not dismissive of the fact that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee fair and square, but right now his entire focus is on continuing to build a positive, governing agenda in Congress.”  That statement is not nearly enough. We need to know whether Upton believes that Trump is qualified to be President of the United States. We need to know whether he would trust him to be our country’s Commander-in-Chief. We need to know whether he agrees with the negative stereotypes Trump has expressed about Mexicans and Muslims; with his insulting, disrespectful remarks  about women; his mean-spirited imitation of a physically disabled reporter; his unending series of bald-faced lies; his financial ties to Russian oligarchs who are close to Vladimir Putin; his frequently expressed admiration for dictators, including Sadaam Hussein and Kim Jong-un; and his repeated incitement to violence by his supporters, including a thinly veiled suggestion that “second amendment people” should consider murdering Hillary Clinton if she is elected in November.  It’s not enough for Upton to ignore Trump. He needs to tell us whether he regards him as a viable candidate or a menace. He needs to tell us whether he agrees or disagrees with Trump’s economic policies, which both liberal and conservative economists tell us would explode the federal deficit and debt and would greatly increase income and wealth inequality.  Fred Upton is running for re-election to Congress as a Republican. He needs to tell us what he believes about his party’s candidate for President.

Larry Feldman


 Social Security provides benefits for children who suffer from many disabling diseases, including some forms of cancer. These benefits could help with the additional costs of caring for an ill child.  Although children have not paid Social Security taxes and, thus, cannot be covered for Social Security disability benefits, they may receive disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI pays benefits to disabled children who have limited income and resources.  If you wish to apply for benefits for your child, you will need to complete an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and a Child Disability Report. The report collects information about your child’s disabling condition, and about how it affects his or her ability to function.  The SSI program has strict limits on the amount of income and assets you can have. It is a “needs-based” program for people who have low family income and resources. Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. business days to find out if the income and resources of the parents and the child are within the allowed limits. If yes, you will make an appointment to file the SSI application.  Before the scheduled appointment, go to www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/apply-child and fill out the online Child Disability Report. At the end of the report, we will ask you to sign a form that gives the child’s doctor(s) permission to give us information about the child’s disability. We need this information to make a decision on your child’s application.  Social Security is here to provide benefits for the most vulnerable members of our society — including children with severe disabilities. If you or anyone in your family needs assistance, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

THE RACE IS ON… I figure the race for the Presidency of the United States is in its final laps.  Like those long distance races we watched at the Olympics last week, Donald and Hillary started out slow and steady. They had already destroyed any of their own party contenders and have the field to themselves.   Like any long distance race, they maneuver for position and a clear shot at the finish line.   Unlike those wonderful races at the Olympics, the stands of the presidential race are divided by lies, hatred, and fear.   Even if the race comes down to a dead heat, there will be a finish. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.   Ironically, for all the brouhaha over party support, endorsements, and votes, it will be the independent voters that swing the election. They have no party affiliation but have the same strong views carried by the most conservative or liberal members of either party.   Clinton or Trump will catch the winning votes from the great silent majority that does not give beans for politics or party loyalty.   That silent majority will vote for the local offices and the president based on what they believe is best for the country.

ROAD RAGU… some observations taken from a recent drive to St. Louis.   The roads in Illinois, especially near Chicago are as bad as any in Michigan. There was a chuckhole so big and deep, I almost lost control of my Jeep.   Just about a third of all the drivers were on the phone or texting.  I did see a fellow reading a book and another was programming his GPS (oops, that was me).   Many of the front seat passengers were barefoot and had their feet on the dashboard.   Nobody drives the speed limit, ever. Several times, I was passed by a police car (and I was speeding).   Truckers are, for the most part, polite and careful. They use their turn signals and lights as warnings and to telegraph their intentions. They even block the “yahoos” that pass stopped traffic and then squeeze in ahead, thus making those in the stalled lanes wait longer.   The halfway point between Watervliet and St. Louis on US 55 is Dwight, Illinois… nearly 166 miles each way.   There is a plethora of Cracker Barrels except the stretch between Bloomington and Springfield. There, ready for lunch we settled for an Arby’s. On the way back Sunday morning we made sure to have breakfast at the Cracker Barrel near Springfield.  The Cozy radio signal dies at Sawyer and there is no Detroit Tigers broadcast thereafter (southward or fans).   Most fellow travelers met in a rest area are friendly and freely exchange information about the weather, detours and traffic conditions.   Two rest areas in a row were closed. The candy machine at the next kicked out an extra Three Musketeers Bar. Perhaps as an apology for the 47 miles of discomfort. I’ll check it out next time.

 Driving on an interstate highway recently, I noticed on the back doors of a  semi-trailer an image of a flying eagle. Below the eagle was simply, “Isaiah 40:31”. That Bible reference reads, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint”. (The all caps for LORD in the Bible usually indicate a translation from “JHWH” or “Jehovah”. This eliminates any confusion with any other so-called “god”.)  Waiting upon the LORD. How do you do that? It involves trusting God, with confident expectation of good. And it involves patience, allowing Him to act on His schedule, not ours. Peace can then result from realizing that He has not lost control of the situation; He is still in charge, and He is still good. This “elevated” view of life lifting us above our circumstances is like a powerful eagle’s flight lifted on thermals, warm air currents that rise high into the sky. Trusting God can result in a better view of our situation.  But we need endurance to run our race. Runners speak of a “second wind” that gives renewed energy to keep going further. But there is a “third wind” that gives enough encouragement and energy to not only go further, but to not stop at all. The weariness is totally gone. I have experienced that only twice. The running actually became fun and enjoyable. Trusting God can also do that for our life-run.  Then there is walking without “fainting”. The word for faint has the idea of “melt”. Trusting God can help us to not melt, or give up on our journey. That kind of perseverance is sometimes the hardest to maintain.  Remember Isaiah 40:31 and keep on keeping on.


Related Posts

See All

Commonsense reforms

Over the last two weeks, my team and I have knocked on hundreds of doors throughout our community, talking to our friends and neighbors – the people I have the honor of serving.  As I’ve spoken with t

Choosing wisely

We choose what we believe. We base our choice on complicated webs of logic, reason, relationships, and experience that are unique to us alone.

P.O. BOX 7


CALL: 269-463-6397
FAX: 269-463-8329

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Instagram