09-08-2016 Letters and Commentary

Grant for Watervliet County Park

Dear Editor,

This is a letter sent to Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. This fall the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund will make a decision on the $300,000 application for a grant to Berrien County for the new Watervliet County Park. The case for this grant request is the following:  This site along the Paw Paw River in North Berrien County has 180 years of historical, economic and recreational significance. Starting in the 1830s this location was the foundation for the village of Watervliet. The power of the river provided sawmills and grist mills to be built and provided work for the early settlers. Even some of the lumber was floated down the river to St. Joseph and went on to be used in the building of Chicago. For the next 50 years this site and this town provided an economic engine for the region. The next century saw the creation of a paper mill.  A group of Kalamazoo business men challenged the citizens of Watervliet to raise $5000 (in today’s dollars that would be $125,000). And if they succeeded a paper mill would be built at this location.  From 1909 to 1994 the paper mill provided over 400 jobs and produced some of the finest paper in the country. Today this site lies empty. But once again, with the local community ability with fund raising and Berrien County’s commitment, the potential for a great regional park will become a reality. Please help our North Berrien County community continue the American tradition of adapting to challenges and new opportunities. This land and the new Paw Paw River Water Trail are just waiting to be part of the new century.

Chana Kniebes

Community Development Coordinator

Rick Rasmussen

Volunteer Project Coordinator

Wicked ways

Dear Editor,

Rick and Jan Stevens wrote about 2 Chron. 14:7 which tells America God will heal our land if we pray and turn from our wicked ways. The prayers are talking with God, but I wonder what God means when HE refers to “wicked ways”. We don’t have capital punishment for a capital crime in Michigan, but God wants the punishment to equal the crime as justice. Is that a “wicked way” according to God? God says, “Do Not Murder.” Is murder before/during abortion wicked ways?  I note neither HIS law nor Michigan’s law, MCL 750.316, has criteria for color of skin, ethnic group, quality of life, age, etc. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, might help us decide who to vote for to make society run smooth and with justice. The advice is to pick able men, who are afraid of God (even before Judgment Day?), who don’t love money, and don’t lie. My personal question in parentheses. Have either Republicans or Democrats in the last 43 years even hindered the murder of babies during/before abortions? No laws will ever stop sinners from sinning, but might God think it is “wicked ways” to vote for the lesser of two evils? I think the verse indicates if we repent our “wicked ways” and obey, God will heal our land and bring jobs and justice to America. We pray, “THY will be done on earth…” Do we mean now, by us?

Carl G. Oehling


Thank you

Dear Editor,

Thank you to everyone who sent cards, flowers, food donations, thoughts, prayers and condolences.

The Michelle White family

Fly your US flag

Dear Editor,

Citizens of Watervliet, are you proud to be an American citizen? Are you an American citizen? How do you show that? One way you show you are an American citizen, and proud of it, is to fly your flag. Remember, Red – White – and Blue, our symbol of being free. So many young men and women died for it, and still do. Our veterans need to know you respect our flag, so fly it! Show it! Show you are proud of the Red – White – and Blue. Show our veterans that you respect our flag; that you care and are proud. Show our veterans that they did not sacrifice in vain. Fly your flag! It shows our enemies we will protect our faith, laws, people and constitution. America, our country, our land, the North Star, the beacon light for all to see; keep it shining around the world.

Fly your flag!

Lina Williams

Trump and LaSata

Dear Editor,

Experience… How important is it, or should it be when choosing a candidate for office? Can anyone be President or State Representative? How much of a role does it play in the success of other professions? For example, would you be comfortable with an EMT performing your quadruple bypass surgery? Or how about swapping with the Olympic swimming and gymnastics coaches this year? Although the EMT and individual coaches may have many skills and qualifications, I would argue that their lack of experience in these situations precludes them from being successful. Donald Trump is the least experienced person ever to be nominated for the presidency. Kim La Sata, who is running for State Representative in the 79th District, has endorsed Trump.  She apparently believes he is qualified to be president. Other than making as much money as possible for himself, what experience does Trump have as a humanitarian? Is there any evidence of him having experience in performing selfless acts? Or is he just a master of exploiting others for his own gain? Many highly experienced Republicans have publicly rejected Donald Trump.  Senator Susan Collins of Maine said that she has “become dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize”, is concerned that he “inflame[s] prejudices by attacking ethnic and religious minorities”, and believes that he “lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president.”  Chris Shays, former Republican Congressman from Connecticut, says “[Trump] doesn’t understand the basic requirements of being President of the United States and frankly, he’s dangerous.” Trump claims that our country should be run like a business. He believes businesses should be allowed to regulate themselves, but isn’t that how the 2007 crash happened? We should allow industries to set their own pollution standards? Bye bye, fresh water! Should we allow Congress to continue the systematic dismantling of unions so corporations can continue to cut wages and slash benefits for their employees? Or better yet, just allow the businesses to move overseas to find cheaper labor, like Trump has done with many of his businesses? Kim La Sata’s endorsement of Donald Trump is a clear indication of her poor judgment.  Her opponent, Marletta Seats, is a much more qualified candidate for the office of 79th district State Representative. She has extensive experience as a Berrien County Commissioner and has been an active participant in many important community initiatives. Marletta Seats is clearly the right choice to represent the 79th district in Lansing.

Shari Del Mariani


 Social Security joins you and your family in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. We know the contributions of Hispanics can be traced to before the origins of the United States with the discovery, exploration, and naming of many places in our nation, such as state names like California, Colorado, and Texas and city names like San Antonio, Santa Barbara, and Boca Raton. Hispanics have influenced every facet of life, from language to our cultural development. Hispanics play a crucial role in American life. The most important things to you are your family and maintaining the feeling of individuality through your language. That is why Social Security provides a website — www.segurosocial.gov — with a variety of publications and services in Spanish that are important to you and your family.  We offer a toll free number, 1-800-772-1213, which provides automated instructions for Spanish speakers. We also try to have employees available on the phone and in many of our offices who speak Spanish. However, if you need an interpreter, you can go to www.segurosocial.gov/espanol/interpreter.htm to find out more about our free interpreter services.     Just as grandparents help guide their grandchildren through life’s journey, we at Social Security are with you throughout yours. The services we provide guide you through your journey from birth, with your first social security card, to your dream of a secure retirement.  You do not have to wait to find out what your retirement benefits may be. We provide the Retirement Estimator, one of our most popular online calculators, in Spanish. It offers instant, approximate estimates of your future retirement benefits. Try it for yourself at www.segurosocial.gov/calculador. To learn more, visit www.segurosocial.gov.

REMEMBER OUR HOMETOWN HEROES… Patriot Day, September 11 is a national holiday to commemorate the first responders, firemen, police, and medical staff that gave their lives on three terrorist attacks that day in 2001.  Now the day has evolved to include all those men and women who risk their lives in the service of their fellow man as first responders to all situations of need.  Remember the dead of the 9-11-2001 attack and all those who have died in the service of their community and those serving us today.  You are invited by the Watervliet VFW to attend the 9-11 commemoration service at 10 a.m., Friday, September 9 at Veterans Memorial Park in Downtown Watervliet.SUMMERS’ SWAN SONG… Every year, at this time, I marvel at how fast the summer has gone by. I never got time to paint the shed or the garage wall, also undone was repainting the garage floor. Since painting is my least favorite thing, I don’t feel bad about moving those projects to the calendar for next summer.  I guess there’s still time for a trip to the UP, fly-fishing on the river and trimming the trees and hedges in the backyard before the weather forestalls such activities. To be safe, I’ll get the fly-fishing out of the way first and perhaps the trip across the Mighty Mac before there’s frost on the ground. I can always do the trimming before the spring thaw.  All in all the summer season, defined as that period of time that school is out for vacation, was a pretty good one. Compared to the last few summers, this one was hotter and drier than most.  As much as I lament the coming of Labor Day, it is always a happy occasion with Anne and Willy’s birthdays on the 5th and 2nd respectively. We celebrated the happy occasions Sunday with a family dinner. MANY THANKS… to the sponsors of our Welcome to Paw Paw Lake Summer Fun. Even with summer “officially gone,” there are lots of nice weather ahead and plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the services offered by these fine local businesses.     Chris and her crew at Cutting Corners salon will make you feel good and look good any time. Walk in are always welcome or call 468-3055 for an appointment.   Lots of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables are just now ripening at Fruit Acres on Friday road. Annette offers a large variety including her own homegrown produce. Call her at 468-5076 for the latest crop ready to harvest.   Right across the street is Jollay Market. Sarah Jollay is usually on hand to dish up fresh donuts or help you select prime farm produce and gifts. Call the market at 468-4800.    Big C Lumber on Red Arrow between Coloma and Watervliet is the area’s largest building supply center. Manager Chuck will be happy to show you around the kitchen cabinet display center and the new paint department. Call Chuck at 468-3128, better yet, just stop in.   Lunch or dinner can’t be beat anywhere by the specials at the Easy Street Inn in downtown Coloma. Karen and John Demis will make you feel welcome and make sure everything is just right. Call them at 468-3515 for the daily special.   Relax and have fun is a great motto for Four Season Spa and Pool. Their spas and grills can be enjoyed year round, no matter what the weather is outside. Paul is ready for the installation and has parts for nearly any pool repairs. Give him a call at 468-3118.   John’s Glass stayed busy all summer long with window and screen work. There’s still time to get those windows in shape for the cooler weather. Give Art Moore a call at 468-4227; he will stop by for an estimate for any project.   Pizza season never closes and the most famous pizza maker in the area hardly does either. DiMaggio’s Pizza is open every day of the week, rain or shine. Vince says call ahead at 849-1521; we’ll have your take out ready.

 Chaos happens. It cannot be avoided. At some time in some way, it will happen. Disruptive events can upset our routine and challenge our security. Surviving chaos is difficult; thriving in chaos would seem an impossible task. If we can survive in spite of chaos, no one thrives because of chaos. When things get “stirred up” in our experience, however, we do get opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities, purposes, and plans (in that order). Does this event help us refocus on what is really important to us? How does our life’s direction reflect those values? What do we need to do differently now to go forward with new plans? If it were not for the unexpected (and unwelcome) chaos, we maybe would never correct our course. Our disruptions need not destroy us. Approaching difficult times with a faith perspective, we may discover that our trust in a good God is reinforced by our response to chaos. We finally discover what we truly believe and are encouraged to find that God did not fail us and we did not fail God. This insight may take time, but when it comes, it brings peace. Seeing beyond the immediate to a brighter, happier future can also help us thrive. Jesus gave us a good example: “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. (Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB) He did that for us; now He has entrusted us with this new opportunity to also be victorious. May we thrive indeed as we look to Him, even in the midst of chaos.


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