08-31-2017 Letters and Commentary

Disaster response

Listening to the Harris County Sheriff and Constables Dispatch on scanner radio I hear reports of roads being impassable, high water rescues, wrecker calls for stranded drivers, inquiries about boat availability and water depth, and reports of some looting. Emergency services desperately try to help those needing assistance in Hurricane Harvey flooding. It’s encouraging to hear the dispatcher calmly coordinating so many police and rescue units. It goes on and on. Houston is in Harris County, and almost 1,600 people are listening to this report with me.

Is this for entertainment? For curiosity? No, this is for opportunity to help from a distance. How? By interactive prayer. While the dispatchers send rescuers all over Harris County responders risk their lives to save others, we can be praying for them right now! For God’s help and protection; for adequate resources, for effective intervention, for their success as it turns dark in Houston. Some of the victims have ignored warnings, but others, like those with disabilities and many elderly are unwilling participants in this drama.

This is just one opportunity to help. We have many opportunities to help by prayer every day. Other drivers, truck drivers, other shoppers and their children, people we encounter with disabilities, coworkers, road workers. Anyone we meet along our pathway. We may never know the effect of our prayerful attention, but by our paying attention to those around us we have the unique opportunity to interactively impact their lives for good. There is a promise in the Bible in the New Testament book of James about prayer. James 5:16 in the Amplified Bible says “…The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much (when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power).”

So jump in there and participate in your own disaster response! It’s needed.

Your retirement planning starts with Social Security

Right now is the perfect time to start planning for a secure, comfortable retirement. And you can count on Social Security to help you begin the process.

First, we encourage you to set up an online my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record and make sure you get credit for all of your contributions to the Social Security system through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes. If you haven’t set up your personal my Social Security account yet, you can do so at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Then, you can use your earnings history and our online retirement estimators and calculators to get a glimpse of what your Social Security retirement future looks like. You’ll find important details such as your retirement age, life expectancy, and estimates of how much you may receive in future retirement benefits from Social Security.

As you look ahead to ensuring a secure, comfortable future for you and your family, it’s important to keep in mind that Social Security replaces about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income, on average. So, a responsible retirement plan includes planning for more than Social Security.

Here are some more things you can do now to build your financial security: Contribute to pension plans offered by your employers; maintain and grow savings accounts; and open and regularly contribute to an individual retirement fund.

These steps — combined with your Social Security benefits — will go a long way toward ensuring a comfortable quality of life for you and your loved ones in the future.

To learn more about our programs, please visit 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.

WATCH OUT! By this time next week, all area schools will be in session. While in school, our youngsters are under the able care and protection of the faculty. To, from school, on, and off the school bus is another story.

Be mindful that red flashing lights on a school bus means the school bus has stopped for its passengers and you must stop at all times. The yellow flashing lights mean the bus is about to stop and you must be prepared to stop as well.

For youngsters, especially in these first few days of school, the last thing on their mind is watching for you and your vehicle on the roadway. Be extra careful and alert at intersections and crossings.

Responsible or not, there will be nothing as horrible as hitting a child with your car… be safe and keep them safe.

FIRECRACKER YAHOOS… My ears are already ringing in anticipation of the after dark racket coming this Labor Day weekend.

I for one could forego the celebratory flash and bang of fireworks except for public shows on traditional holidays.

I’m not sure this past weekend was any holiday, but some neighborhood yahoo had “mortars” and was firing them off, one every 15 minutes or so, Saturday night. I was incensed as the big bang set the neighborhood dogs to barking and crying. The long interval was enough to let the dogs settle down and then BANG! another shot would set them off again.

Judging from the many negative comments about private fireworks “shows” by citizens complaining of the shooters’ disregard for folks that don’t share their enthusiasm for loud bangs and brilliant flashes in quiet neighborhoods, perhaps the law should be reconsidered.

PFLUGRADT BAKERY LOCATION MYSTERY SOLVED… A few weeks ago, former Watervliet resident Dick O’Hara dropped a line with reminisces of 1950 era businesses.

Dick’s memories drew several comments (I’m sure more will come). Joan Bujack said she remembered Dick well and that she had worked at the Haxson Dairy. She said she remembered all the businesses except for the Pflugradt Bakery and its location.

Dick replied… Dear Karl: I was surprised on your publishing my 1950 recollection of the Watervliet Main Street. As I mentioned before, this was from my memory in the 90s. Earlier I had sent the list to a former classmate (Roberta Thompson Holmes) who was the daughter of the Thompson Plumbing Business owners. Roberta emailed me and said between the Black Cat and Bridges was the Pflugradt bakery shop. I should have written “Formerly” because it was closed sometime in the early 40s. I hope this clears up my memory miscue.

I remember (Joan Crain Bujack) as a pretty young lady, a few years behind me in high school and working in our Haxson Dairy milk store. Her father Del Crain owned the “Phillips 66” garage, on the busy corner of Main and US 12. He serviced many of our dairy cars and trucks. I loved that little city and to this day, am interested in keeping in touch, through your fine Tri-City Record paper. Rose Kosher Scheid outstanding citizen who recently celebrated her 95th birthday had a brother Louie. Louie a good friend and dairy customer, left a note to the retail driver, as such:

My wife’s a good stitcher… Her hands never stutter… If your name is Joe Pitcher… Then leave me some butter…

Joe Pitcher was the milkman and received this note, which went into our dairy note archives.

There was a tourist stop between Hartford and Watervliet in the 40s and 50s called Royal Cabins. Mr. Royal was a very distinguished gentleman and would leave a note for the milkman. He never called the half pint bottles as such he referred to them as individuals. His note would read, ‘I want 5 chocolate individuals and 10 white milk individuals.’ This also went into our archives.

Thank you Mr. Bayers for reminiscing with me, I love your column and will always be a subscriber to the Record. Sincerely Dick O’Hara. I was a WWII combat Marine in the South Pacific (92 yrs old).

I hope more readers will write and share their memories of days gone by in the Tri-City Area. It is very important we preserve those memories of early school days and town life, where time moved a bit slower and the days and nights were quieter.

Mail your story to the Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet MI 49098.


Confederate monuments belong in museums, not in the public square

Dear Editor,

There are currently more than 700 Confederate monuments in our country. These monuments were built to honor politicians and generals who were so committed to the institution of slavery that they were willing to fight a bloody civil war in order to preserve it. These individuals do not deserve to be honored with public monuments.

Many of the Confederate monuments were erected between 1890 and 1920, a period of backlash against post-Civil War Reconstruction when freed slaves were allowed to vote and run for elective office. The message of the monuments was clear: white southerners were proud of those who perpetrated the Civil War and they were not about to allow former slaves to have equal rights – political, legal, or otherwise. They were committed to replacing Reconstruction with Jim Crow segregation, intimidation, and persecution.

Photographs of the dedications of many of these monuments prominently feature white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan. Lynching of African-Americans was at their peak during this period of time.

Other monuments to Confederate “heroes” were erected in the 1950s and 1960s, in reaction to the Civil Rights movement. The message, once again, was white supremacy, bigotry, and hate.

The Confederacy does need to be remembered, in the same way, that the reign of the Nazis in Germany needs to be remembered. These evil institutions need to be remembered so that future generations can understand how they came about and how to make sure that they never happen again.

In Germany, there are no public monuments to Nazis. The people of that country understand that Nazis do not deserve the honor, they deserve condemnation. The history of the rise of the Nazis is taught in schools and in museums so that people can learn how to avoid any recurrence of this evil regime. We in America need to follow the German example.

Slavery was evil; those who perpetrated a war to preserve it should not be honored with monuments. The proper places for people to learn about the evils of slavery and the Confederacy are schools and historical museums. Current and future generations need to know the whole story of this terrible part of American history.

Dolores E. Minks, Buchanan

Candlelight vigil on World Suicide Prevention Day at the Whitcomb Veranda in St. Joe, Sept. 10

The tragedy of suicide continues to devastate the residents of our community. While suicide prevention efforts are ongoing, much still needs to be done. The Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition continues to work toward the goal of connecting the people of Berrien County to the information and resources they need for emotional wellness, thereby preventing suicide.

As part of their suicide prevention effort, the Coalition is hosting its Fourth Annual Candlelight Vigil. The Vigil is planned to take place on World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, which is Sunday, September 10, 2017. The public is invited to meet at The Veranda at The Whitcomb in St. Joseph. Following a brief ceremony from 8:00-8:30 p.m., light refreshments will be provided along with the opportunity to connect with others interested in suicide prevention.

The Candlelight Vigil gives families and friends of those lost to suicide the opportunity to honor the loved one’s life and keep their memories alive. Participants may bring a photo of their loved one to share. As part of the ceremony, participants will be given the opportunity to tell the name of the one lost to suicide. This event also brings awareness of the need for suicide prevention to our community.

The Coalition functions as an advisory committee of Berrien Mental Health Authority and seeks to bring interested organizations and individuals together for the cause of suicide prevention. To learn more about the Coalition, when it meets, and how to be involved, please see BerrienCares.org.

For more information on the Candlelight Vigil or on the Coalition, contact Trent Watford, trentwatford@gmail.com or 269-428-7226.

The Candlelight Vigil: It’s a time to remember. It’s a time to connect. It’s a time to increase awareness of the need for suicide prevention.


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