09-14-2017 Letters and Commentary

Paw Paw Lake Foundation compliments townships

Dear Editor,

A few words and compliments for a job well done by both Coloma and Watervliet townships.

The Paw Paw Lake Foundation dedicates all of its efforts and resources to improving the water quality of Paw Paw Lake. Because its financial resources are limited to donations, their initiatives are limited also.

Thanks to the Special Assessment District (SAD) for Paw Paw Lake that was created by both townships, resources are now available to provide lake management tools that are state of the art and very effective.

We receive comments from many people who use the lake for fishing and recreation, as well as from lakefront homeowners.

Without exception, the comments are enthusiastic praise for the outstanding improvement in the overall condition of the lake.

The most frequent comments are: “I’ve never seen the lake in such an excellent condition.”  “The weeds are virtually non-existent; they are gone.”  “The water is clearer than ever.”  “Fishing is great.”  “What a difference the SAD has made!”

The entire board of both townships, as well as the appointed SAD committee, should be complimented for a job well done.

Joseph Wasserman, President

Paw Paw Lake Foundation

Let’s support America’s dream of hope and opportunity for all!

Dear Editor,

Today, I found a certificate registering my grandmother in the Statue of Liberty, Immigrant Wall of Honor. My Italian grandparents emigrated here from Italy around 1920.

We always say that America has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. But we also have a long tradition of treating immigrants with open discrimination and even violent hostility.

More than 4 million Italians immigrated to the U.S. between 1890 and 1920.  And in the early 1920s, Italians were portrayed in the U.S. media as ignorant and lazy.  Foreigners in general were feared and vilified.

Today, Hispanic immigrants and Muslim refugees experience discrimination. President Trump’s comments have legitimized discrimination against both of these groups.

I certainly agree we need to strengthen our borders to prevent illegal immigration, and we must get a handle on those individuals arriving and staying here illegally on expired visas.  But it’s time to stop blaming immigrants for all our country’s problems; and it’s certainly time to stop encouraging hatred and discrimination toward Hispanics and Muslims.

According to the Center for American Progress, 1.8 million children of undocumented immigrants are eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Approximately 800,000 “Dreamers” have registered for the program; 80% of Dreamers have jobs, 75% are in higher education.  They paid two billion in taxes last year. The Center for American Progress estimates ending DACA would result in the U.S. losing $460.3 billion from the nation’s GDP and removing 685,000 workers from the economy.

I urge everyone to call on Congress to develop a comprehensive immigration bill that gives undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.  And most certainly we need to preserve the DACA program to give the 800,000 “Dreamers” the ability to stay here, get an education and become productive citizens.

My grandmother’s certificate says that those visiting Ellis Island will recognize America’s dream of hope, freedom, and opportunity for all.  Let’s get Congress to ensure that happens for the “Dreamers.”

Ken Peterson, Buchanan

God’s timely help

One reason that we are given the many historic accounts in the Bible is so that we can learn from other people’s experience. Israel’s narrow escape from Egyptian slavery under Moses’ leadership is one of those episodes.

A lot had happened just prior to their leaving Egypt. Ten plagues culminated in the death of all firstborn in every household that did not have the blood of the “Passover lamb” on their doorframes. The Lord God of Israel had been glorified above the gods of Egypt by each of the previous plagues and now this one demonstrated that God had the lives of every human being in His hand.

After Israel was finally granted permission to leave, the Pharaoh had a change of heart and mobilized his finest chariots and troops to go out in hot pursuit. Whatever his plans for them, it went terribly wrong for him and his entire army.

Exodus 14 gives the account of what happened. It’s a great lesson for us today. The bottom line – God is in total control, is not limited by our ideas or by our fears, and it is no mistake for any individual or nation to trust Him.

Israel was frightened for good reason, but God’s total control of nature and His direct, timely intervention on their behalf changed a losing, hopeless situation into a surprising victory. But it was a victory that was too easily forgotten. Despite God’s continued blessing, Israel made individual and national choices that proved to be huge mistakes. Turning their back on The LORD God to serve other gods led only to misery.

None can deliver but the true LORD God who acts with complete control and by deliberate intervention. That was Israel’s true, legitimate hope. Can we learn from their experience?

Social Security celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

We know the importance of “familia” in Hispanic culture, and we’re proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) by helping build a secure future for you, your family, and your future family.

You can learn more about how Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow for millions of families by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/people/hispanics/.

Hispanics make up our nation’s largest ethnic minority group with a population of 56.6 million, according to 2015 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Social Security is here to help maintain and improve our economic well-being for generations to come.

Currently, we do this by providing retirement, disability, and other benefits to 61 million people, including nearly 3.5 million Hispanics, who have contributed to the Social Security system through their payroll taxes. Social Security also provides a safety net to the families of American workers who become unable to work due to grave impairments or have died.

We work hard to provide enhanced customer service and to educate millions of Americans about the importance of our programs and benefits. This allows us to connect with the Hispanic community in meaningful and efficient ways.

If Spanish is your primary language, you can visit www.segurosocial.gov, our Spanish-language website. It provides hundreds of pages of important information about how to get a Social Security card, plan for retirement, apply for benefits, and manage your benefits once you’re receiving them. Many of our offices have staff that speaks Spanish, or you can call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and select the option for Spanish.

Nationwide, our public affairs specialists reach out to thousands of Hispanic Americans each year to raise awareness of the benefits they may qualify for and to learn the advantages of setting up a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

These specialists promote our programs at local events, health fairs, libraries, schools, and community organizations that serve the public, including the Hispanic population. Some of our bilingual staff serves as contributors to Spanish-language television, radio stations, and newspapers. They also visit embassies and consulates in the U.S. representing Latin American countries to educate diplomatic leaders and new immigrants about Social Security programs.

We’re with you and your family throughout life’s journey. To learn more about Social Security programs, visit www.segurosocial.gov or 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.

TIME FOR TERM LIMITS… President Trump doesn’t have much of a track record, so far, of keeping his campaign promises. Votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have failed “miserably.” Tax reform and the “Wall” on the border with Mexico have little chance of going anywhere.

What President Trump needs to do is go to the people and make term limits for Senators and Congressmen a national issue. Senators and Congressmen, short of committing a felony, can expect to hold office as long as they like.  Many states, including Michigan, already have term limits for elected officials, such as governors and legislators. Even the President is term limited!

If you would ask your Senator or Congressman, he/she will tell you there aren’t enough votes to pass a term limitation bill, even as much as he/she is in favor of it. Then he/she will sadly say if there was a vote for term limits, it would not affect anyone currently in office.

It is the Senate and Congress that has the stranglehold on the government and causes stalemate instead of consensus. The stranglehold is doing nothing to support the other party’s proposal no matter the issue. The legislative bi-partisan compromises that brought us civil rights reform and won the World Wars no longer work for the good of the people.

Term limits for our national legislature is long overdue.

MESSAGE FROM THE PAST… The guys repairing old siding at the back of the Record building uncovered the date “July 5, 1904 CH Black” penciled onto the wood plank behind the Douglas fir siding.

Hopefully some local historian will let me know who CH Black was and perhaps have some idea what he was doing writing on the second story rear of the Record building.

Bill Beverly Jr. told me years ago the building had been built by a Mr. Sterner in the late 1870s. The Record has been in this building since 1896, shortly after Mr. Woodruff purchased the newspaper and relocated it from 404 N. Main Street.

HURRICANES… Speaking of history, so is Hurricane Harvey which flooded Houston Texas a couple of weeks ago and Hurricane Irma which tore through the Caribbean islands and smashed head on to Florida this past weekend.

Both were tracked with precision for days in advance, yet it seemed many folks were caught off guard.

The mayor of Houston was castigated for not making evacuations mandatory soon enough to get more of the population out of harm’s way.

The governor of Florida, with the images of the small islands smashed by Irma televised on CNN hourly, declared early a state of emergency, and issued evacuation orders. He also put the entire state on alert and ordered trucking limits lifted to beef up gasoline supplies to prevent anticipated shortages in the coming days.

Comparing the two hurricanes is like comparing apples and oranges. Harvey blasted the Texas gulf shore and flooded thousands of miles and soon dissipated. Irma took on the entire state and charged northward leaving flooding and debris in its wake.

What is the same is, even with all the preparation and meteorological predictions, people and places in its path are at its mercy.

It seems we are getting better at responding to monster weather emergencies but we’ll never master them.

The widespread damage in Texas and Florida will take many months to repair and replace. Keep those good folks in your thoughts and prayers and donate to your local chapter of the Red Cross.


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