09-01-2016 Letter and Commentary

SAVE YOUR NEWSPAPER… A community newspaper closing should be sad news for us all.  Undoubtedly, the newspaper business is changing and many publications are cutting back coverage due to declining readership and interest.  The resulting loss of a local newspaper is irreplaceable to the entire community. The gathering of local news in a professional and objective manner, then offered to the public unfettered in any way can never be replaced by the untrustworthy and unreliable social media.  The publishers of the Berrien County Record are in the midst of a subscription drive to add readers. Their goal is to add 2,500 subscribers, or they say, the Berrien County Record will no longer be a community newspaper. I am not entirely sure what they mean by that, but the publishers have already dropped some features to curtail expenses.  If you value getting the hometown news of the Berrien County Record, please join their subscription drive and keep the news in your hometown.   Meanwhile treasure your hometown newspaper; read it, share it, talk about it, subscribe.  Call me at 876-1327. LABOR DAY… This Monday, Labor Day, was set aside decades ago to ensure a long weekend holiday for workers at the end of summer.  Now with guaranteed time off, paid vacation and leaves, and nearly monthly Monday holidays added in, the need for the workers’ holiday is redundant.  Even so, as so many things, the need and purpose of the holiday has changed; now it honors the workers. It is also the signal for the beginning of the school year, the end of summer, the coming of fall and then winter.  Perhaps we should have a Labor Week or Labor Month… a national vacation to stave off the inevitable for a little longer.  The nice thing about the last of August is it brings on September. September is one of those months that usually are spectacular. It may start warm, but soon the nights cool, the water clears, and the tree leaves begin their color show. It is almost as if Mother Nature gives us one last gift of beauty before dropping her colors for the winter months. SCHOOL SAFETY… by this time next week all the youngsters should be back in school. We will get the sidewalks back for a while during the week. Following the roar of school buses and kids running down the sidewalks in the morning the neighborhoods will be quieter in the mid day. Sometime around three or so and on to 5 p.m. there is a certain bustle about as the kids are out of school and heading for home.   That is a dangerous time for everyone. Be extra careful for kids on the streets and sidewalks. Obey the flashing lights on the school bus, prepare to stop when the lights turn yellow, and come to a complete stop when the lights flash red. Never pass a school bus when it has its red lights on.   Let us keep the school kids safe on our streets, all year.

 David may not have realized that he was sometimes being inspired by God to write and compose his songs. Perhaps it was just a pastime, an amusement for him and his sheep as he watched his father’s flocks as a young boy, and then as a teen. Maybe he found expression for his thoughts that was not available to him in his unsupportive sibling situation. His songs became our Psalms. David wrote about half of them.  Whatever the reason for his developing his skills of expression in poetry, music and dance (see 2 Samuel 6), he did it in joy “before the LORD with all his might.” God used his efforts, and David grew in his love for God.  In Psalms 36 and 37 we find David’s thoughts about those committed to wickedness. He contrasts their sure final destruction with the secure end of those who have not forgotten the fear of God.  A key verse, Psalm 36:5, explains why he had such confidence: “Your loving kindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (NASB)  God’s consistent faithfulness and loving kindness (sometimes translated “mercy”) give reason for encouragement.  Another way of saying it at ground level is “Your goodness, of God, lasts beyond the life of trees.” Beyond the life of trees… ancient trees, aged trees, trees that no one living saw begin to grow from a seed in the forest, trees that have seen the rise and fall of nations, trees much older than I am, trees that outlived my grandparents and will outlive me.  Impressed with His goodness, patience and love, and encouraged by His protection and care that out spans our life, His presence can become our joy as we are reminded of His faithfulness and His loving kindness towards us.

Retiring overseas? What you need to know about getting benefits abroad

 There are a number of people who choose to live their retirement years in places outside of the United States. Perhaps retirement in Thailand or Portugal is in your plans. Maybe you plan to split your year between Central Europe and Central Asia. In many cases, it is still possible to receive your retirement benefits while living abroad. Our web site can help you navigate your benefit eligibility while living overseas. If you have worked in both the United States and another country, it may be possible for your credits to combine for a larger benefit. Currently, there are 25 countries with such international agreements with the United States. To find out if you have qualifying work in a country with such an agreement, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/international.  You can receive benefits in many countries. To find out whether you can receive your benefits in the country where you are retiring, you should use our Payments Abroad Screening Tool at www.ssa.gov/international/payments_outsideUS.  There are easy ways to get in touch with us and report changes to Social Security if you live overseas. You can contact your local U.S. embassy, write to us by mail, or call us at 1-800-772-1213. You can find other information in regards to living overseas at www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign.


City election inspectors needed

Dear Editor,

Would you like to earn some extra money, while serving your community? The City of Watervliet is accepting applications for its election inspectors. Previous experience is not required and city residency is not required. Ability to use a computer is a plus, but not required. Applicants are required, however, to be a registered voter in the State of Michigan. These positions are paid hourly and include required, paid training.  Although typically Election Day (next one is November 8) is a long day, there are full-day and half-day opportunities. Half-day obligations will be 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  All interested applicants are to inquire at Watervliet City Hall, 158 W. Pleasant St.  As a reminder, qualifying voters are encouraged to cast your absentee ballots early.

See you on Election Day!

Dan Hummel

Watervliet City Commissioner

Bible book drive  a success

Dear Editor,

I wanted to say thank you to the community of Berrien County for their help in making the Become a Book Missionary, Bible Book Drive a total, smashing success.  To summarize, donated books (Bibles, Christian Education, home school materials and text books) were collected at St. Joseph First United Methodist Church in May and June from all over the county. We filled a pick-up truck and trailer and took the books to Christian Resources International in Fowlerville, Michigan in July.  We received a thank you and final weight on our delivery in August. Our goal was 1,000 pounds but thanks to the help of the people in the community, in sharing this mission with us, we achieved a grand total of 4,214 pounds of books. These wonderful books will be sent overseas to missionaries, orphanages, schools and Bible Colleges.  As Americans, we take accessibility to books (on paper and electronically) for granted in the United States but this is not the case overseas. This would never have been possible without your help reaching out to the community of our beautiful sunset coast here in Michigan.  If anyone in the area would still like to send a check to help with overseas shipping costs for the books, this can be sent to Christian Resources International, 200 Free Street, Fowlerville, MI 48836. Any amount is appreciated.

With sincere thanks,

Marilyn and Les Herrman

Learn to live well with heart failure

 Lakeland Health will offer “Living Well with Heart Failure,” a free class for community members about congestive heart failure (CHF), a chronic condition characterized by the heart’s inability to meet the blood flow needs of the body. The program will take place on Tuesday, Sep. 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Pharmacy Conference Room at the Center for Outpatient Services, St. Joseph, located at 3900 Hollywood Road.  Participants will learn to identify common causes and symptoms of heart failure, as well as new daily routines that can dramatically improve one’s quality of life. Preregistration for the class is required; call     (269) 556-2808 or (866) 260-7544.  Visit www.lakelandhealth.org or find Lakeland Health on Facebook or Twitter for more classes and events.

America & Me contest invites Michigan students to write about  personal heroes

 Michigan eighth graders have written an exceptional book, “My Personal Michigan Hero,” a collection of essays about students’ personal heroes, many of whom live right in their home communities. The essays provide insight into whom Michigan young people consider to be heroes of today.  The booklet will be distributed to Michigan schools to introduce Farm Bureau Insurance’s 48th annual America & Me Essay Contest sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.  Each year, several thousand eighth graders from nearly 500 Michigan schools enter the patriotic writing contest, which encourages Michigan young people to write about their American heroes, especially the people who have made a big difference in the students’ personal lives.  “For nearly 50 years, the America and Me Essay Contest has recognized the creativity and accomplishments of Michigan students across the state,” said Lisa Fedewa, America & Me Essay Contest coordinator. “At Farm Bureau Insurance, we’re proud to support the continued achievement and inventiveness of eighth graders as they share their own unique perspective on heroism.”  This year’s contest, held September through Nov. 14, will again ask students to write on the topic “My Personal Michigan Hero.” Sign-up kits are sent to schools throughout Michigan in early September. The contest, open to any eighth-grade student in Michigan enrolled in a public or private school, offers a variety of awards on the local and statewide levels.  The first-place entry from each school is entered into the statewide competition from which the top 10 essays in the state are chosen. Each top 10 statewide winner receives a $1,000 cash award.  The top 10 essays and authors are honored in a day-long ceremony May 2017 in Lansing, where they will meet the state’s top elected officials, be honored in pre-game ceremonies at a Lansing Lugnuts Minor League baseball game, and attend an awards banquet aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat.  The America & Me Essay Contest has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in recognition of its support of educational activities for young people. To learn more about Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan’s America & Me contest, past year’s awards day, or to read highlights from last year’s entries, visit: FarmBureauInsurance.com/AmericaAndMe.  Local Farm Bureau agents in communities across Michigan are a driving force of the America & Me contest. For more information, contact a local Farm Bureau Insurance agent or Contest Coordinator Lisa Fedewa at 517-679-5411 or lfedewa@fbinsmi.com.


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