09-12-2019 Letters and Commentary

FUTURE OF NEWSPAPERS? That’s a good question. According to a story in the New York Times in a special section titled “Dying Gasp of a Local Newspaper” some 2,000 newspapers closed in the past 15 years. The special section feature, written by Richard Fausset, specifically covered the end of the “Warroad Pioneer” hometown newspaper of Warroad, Minnesota. The 121-year-old weekly newspaper with 1,100 circulation closed up shop with its final edition dated May 7, 2019. The story, to me, hits eerily close to home. The Tri-City Record is 137 years old, is a weekly newspaper with a press run of 2,000 and is the hometown newspaper to a three small-town area. While the TCR has no plans to close up, it would be dishonest of me if I wrote that Anne, Amy, and I did not talk about it. We have. Then we get a letter, like the recent one from a former school teacher, who listed the things she loved about the paper, favorite columnists, writers and such. No week goes by without a handful of readers that drop in to renew their subscription, suggest a story or a correction, or just to pass the time of day. The friends that make up the Tri-City area loyalist recharge our commitment and pleasure to publish another issue and then another volume. Like the seasons of the year, there are four seasons to the Tri-City Record. The back to school season just opened with the first days of the school, Friday football and fall specials. The holiday season opens with the Thanksgiving weekend and runs through to Valentine’s Day, complete with holiday festivals, sale events, greetings, gifts, and candy. The spring season opens with the St Patrick’s Day celebration in Coloma and runs through Memorial Day, with graduation pages, top ten students, solemn ceremonies to salute our American Heroes and sales. Summer season is hot on the heels of spring… Hartford kicks off the Tri-City summer with its classic Strawberry Festival in mid-June, Watervliet follows in early July with its Independence Weekend Celebration, and the first weekend of August is anchored with the fantastic Coloma Glad-Peach Festival. Hardly a week goes by in those summer months without other events and celebrations interspaced with reunions, regattas, store openings, races and salutes. Whew the year sure went by fast didn’t it? Every time we start talking about the demise of the newspaper industry, there is the caveat, “except for the Tri-City Record newspaper and others like it.” There is no crystal ball, no hard and fast plan, no deep pockets investor to fund the next century. There is a great mix of faithful readers and advertisers, committed to their local paper, plus a dedicated newspaper staff to publish a great newspaper every week.

Twice mine I remember a storybook as a child about a boy who built a wooden toy sailboat. He carefully attached a sail to the mast after painting the sanded hull a bright blue. It was beautiful. He went to the river to test it out, but its maiden voyage did not go so well. A wind gust caught the sail and took the boat out far beyond the boy’s reach. He sadly watched his prized possession disappear down the river. Weeks later, as he walked on the main street where the shops had their displays, the boy saw his boat on display in the toy store window! He was very excited and rushed into the store to retrieve his treasure. The store owner however explained that he had paid for the boat and he needed to at least recover his cost. Unwilling to give up, the boy rushed home to look in his piggy bank. To his delight he found that he had saved enough to buy back his boat! Returning to the store, with a big smile he placed his coins on the glass counter. As he left the toy store cradling his boat in his arms, he was heard to say, “Now you’re twice mine! First, I made you, and now I bought you!” Twice mine… First created then bought back. That’s how it is with us and our Maker. But it wasn’t with money that God redeemed us. It was with blood. In 1 Peter 1:18,19 we read, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (NASB) God loves us and values us that much! Amazing grace!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American. Hispanics make up our nation’s largest ethnic minority group with a population of 58.9 million, representing 18.1 percent of the nation’s total population. We work hard to deliver great customer service and easy-to-access information about our important programs and the benefits we provide to millions of Americans. If Spanish is your primary language, you can visit www.ssa.gov/espanol, our Spanish-language website. It includes important information about how to get a Social Security card, plan for retirement, apply for benefits, manage your benefits once you’re receiving them, and much more. Many of our offices have staff that speaks Spanish, or you may call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and select the option for Spanish. Spanish-speaking individuals wishing to apply for retirement, disability, survivor, and other benefits, as well as Medicare, can request an appointment online at www.socialsecurity.gov/ applyforbenefits for an in-person interview or telephone claim with a representative. In many cases, you can make an appointment with a bilingual representative. Social Security also provides many publications in Spanish on popular topics like: Retirement, Disability, and Survivors benefits; Retirement planning; Online services information; Medicare; and Supplemental Security Income. You can save, print, and share them at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Social Security is here for you and your family. To learn more about what Social Security offers, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/people/hispanics. 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.

Time to renew my subscription

Dear Amy, Another year has rolled by, fall is upon us and time to renew my subscription. Thank you for the reminder card to this wonderful paper. We so enjoy taking our trips back to “yesteryear” with Roy Davis, our very dear friend. You have a great team of reporters who do a super job reporting to us readers. Thank you one and all and keep up the GREAT reporting! Jerrie Williams

TEC is in dire need for volunteers this fall session!

The Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) operated at the Stockbridge Equestrian Center, 615 N. M-140 in Watervliet needs the community’s help to fulfill their mission which is to engage the power of horses to challenge people with special needs to build stronger minds, bodies, and spirits. You can make a difference! Because of YOU… a child can smile and laugh for the first time, a rider can reach a new milestone, and a life can be changed with one small “I Did It!” moment. “I Did It!” moments at TEC only happen because of their amazing volunteer team. They are always looking for volunteers because some of their participants require up to three volunteers and a lesson can have up to four or five participants. For this fall session they need at least 5 – 6 more volunteers, please consider signing up or help spread the word. Make “I Did It!” moments happen. Join the TEC volunteer team today. Call or text their TEC Volunteer Coordinator, Beth, at (269) 932-5005 or send her an e-mail at beth.drollinger@gmail.com. All your help and support is appreciated, help them spread the word by sharing this info to your Facebook family and friends. Did you know that you can make “I Did It!” moments happen while shopping? When you buy your groceries at Harding’s or purchase a special gift for a loved one from AmazonSmile, you’ll be helping TEC make these moments happen. Through Harding’s Community Rewards program, they’ll donate a percentage of your purchase to TEC. And Amazon does the same thing on their AmazonSmile platform. It’s the same products, same service, same prices you love at Amazon. You shop and Amazon donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases.

Red Cross urges blood & platelet donations after Hurricane Dorian impacts blood supply

As the American Red Cross works around the clock supporting those impacted by Hurricane Dorian, providing food, shelter and comfort, individuals outside the affected areas are urged to help by giving blood or platelets to ensure patients in the storm’s path and around the country have access to lifesaving blood. People can also help by making a financial donation to support relief efforts. Hurricane Dorian has forced the closure of blood donation centers and the cancellation of blood drives in its path, causing blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. When blood donations are disrupted in a region of the country, the Red Cross is able to move blood donations where they are needed most. To help, donors of all blood types are urgently needed to ensure a sufficient supply for patients. Type O and B blood donors are especially needed. Make an appointment to donate blood now by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Financial donations are also needed and allow the Red Cross to make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Just visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word DORIAN to 90999, to make a $10 donation. Financial donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Up-to-date information about how the Red Cross is responding to Hurricane Dorian is available at redcross.org. Upcoming blood donation opportunities locally in September are in Coloma on Friday, Sept. 13, 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. at Coloma Township Office, 4919 Paw Paw Lake Rd. and in Hartford on Friday, Sept. 27, 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. at the Federated Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy.

Lawrence playground growing

More than 30 volunteers recently turned out at the Bert Goens Learning Center to continue work to The Janice DiGiovanni Playground. Following initial construction of the playground in 2017, volunteers returned to add a second set of swings, boosting that total up to 21, and another dual zip track. Volunteers also added a five-piece outdoor exercise equipment area to fulfill DiGiovanni’s dream, surpassing the original three-piece. Four of the five pieces of exercise equipment are wheelchair accessible. The equipment features a chest press, lateral pull down, a shoulder rotator, hand-cycler, and recumbent bike. The Holland, Michigan-based Sinclair Recreational, LLC Inc. completed the final installation of equipment and handicap accessible surfacing at the site, located on the grounds of the Van Buren Intermediate School District in Lawrence. DiGiovanni served as the Learning Center’s principal for five years. She passed away in April of 2017, after being diagnosed with brain cancer in May of 2016.

Maximum Mold Group promotes 3 to vice president positions

The Maximum Mold Group of companies was established on September 20, 1996 in Coloma. Overall, the group of companies that is comprised of Maximum Mold, Max 2, Max 3, and Magnum Manufacturing specializes in project management, engineering, injection molding, die cast dies, and trim dies. The companies have grown through the years and are now over 100-plus employees strong. Owners, David and Cynthia LaGrow believe in the future of manufacturing and support various local schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) Training through the U.S. Department of Labor Journeymen Apprentice Program. Over the last year, the company has again made a transition in preparation for their future growth in manufacturing. The following have been promoted to vice president positions within their respective companies. Maximum Mold Skip Thibeault has been employed as Plant Manager at Maximum Mold since September 12, 2013. Skip attended Lake Michigan College where he completed his Journey Mold Maker requirements. Skip has worked in numerous sales and project management roles during his career in the manufacturing of Die Cast Dies and Plastic Injection Molds. Max 2 Charlie Kreitner was hired at Maximum Mold on June 23, 2014 as an addition to the Sales Team. In 2016, in addition to his continued role in sales at Maximum Mold, Charlie was named as Plant Manager of Max 2. Charlie completed his Journeyman Mold Maker requirements while attending Lake Michigan College. Charlie’s experience in project management, sales and the building of Die Cast Tooling has aided in the manufacturing of custom components being performed at Max 2. Max 3 Gavin Dewey started with Mach Mold on August 7, 1995. Gavin is a Journeyman Mold Maker having completed his apprenticeship while attending Lake Michigan College. After successfully completing the Journeyman requirements he worked his way to plant manager. He has continued in this role since the acquisition of Mach Mold, now Max 3, by owners Dave and Cindy LaGrow. Gavin’s years of experience building and managing the production of Plastic Injection Tooling has helped make this acquisition a success.

LaSata reacts to leaders’ budget, roads announcement

State Sen. Kim LaSata issued the following statement on Monday, Sept. 9 after legislative leaders and the governor announced they would table discussions on a roads plan until after the fiscal year 2020 budget is approved: “I applaud the decision by Senate Majority Leader Shirkey, House Speaker Chatfield and the governor to prioritize passing a balanced budget before working on a comprehensive plan to fund a fix for our state’s roads. I have long-supported this idea of working on a roads plan separately from the state budget — doing so will benefit both by allowing all parties to better focus on each.

“As lawmakers, we owe it to Michiganders, local governments, and schools to provide them with a smart, balanced budget that is on schedule and that prioritizes the things they care about and rely on most. I look forward to approving the next fiscal year budget soon and I’m confident it will continue our commitment of investing in those priorities, like our children’s education and protecting the state’s natural resources, including and especially our drinking water supply.”

Great Lakes to continue high water level trend into the fall

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces that based on preliminary August data, Lake Superior tied its record high for the month while Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie established new record high monthly mean water levels in August. Water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Ontario were slightly below record highs, but still very high compared to average. The Detroit District monitors the Great Lakes’ water levels and provides the data and analysis of these findings as a public service. Recent data is revealing interesting trends and the possibility of high levels again during the fall and early winter. The August levels continue a trend of new records set on the Great Lakes this spring and summer. Lakes Superior, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario all reached new record highs. In June, the records for Lakes Erie and Ontario are the highest for any month dating back to 1918, while the July level for Lake St. Clair was the highest in the period of record. Lake Michigan-Huron was less than one inch from its June record. Additional record high water levels are possible on all the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair this fall.

On the Great Lakes and other navigable waterways, many shore protection projects, including riprap, revetments, seawalls and backfill, and bioengineered shore protection, commonly require permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Coastal shoreline property owners may want to consider applying for proposed shore protection permits now. Many tend to put turning in such applications until an emergency situation arises; however, regulatory staff advise property owners to plan their projects and apply for permits in advance. Waterfront owners are urged to beat the rush and apply for shore protection permits now.

In Michigan, applications for permits should be submitted online through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy MiWaters website. Links to MiWaters, information on Nationwide and Regional General Permits, and other resources are available on the Detroit District Regulatory website at: www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits. Help is available to local communities as well.