10-01-2020 Letters and Commentary

TCR & Roy Davis fan Dear Karl & Amy, Thank you for a wonderful paper! Better than the Palladium. Marie Hartline P.S. Thank you for reprinting Roy Davis’ columns – miss him – but never met him.

MSU Ext. launches resource to support teachers, parents and homeschool families during COVID-19 pandemic (Press Release) With a back-to-school season that has looked unlike anything seen before, the 2020-2021 school year has brought and will continue to bring new challenges. To support teachers, parents and homeschool families in their educational efforts, Michigan State University Extension has compiled a list of helpful resources that can be used to supplement school plans. With a comprehensive index and robust list of resources, the virtual learning tools site supports youth in the classroom, online or at home. Arranged by audience, grade level and topic, extension.msu.edu/virtual-learning-tools hosts a variety of resources in differing delivery methods. From preK to high school, the site also features resources for special needs learners, parents of children ages 0-3 and parent support tools. Resources range from instructional videos to print-and-go lesson plans that can be used individually or as part of a series. While not all resources utilize school standards, many do. In addition to the educational tools, viewers can also explore the list of virtual events that are being offered to youth audiences. “As leaders in the field of experiential, out-of-school learning, we have a multitude of resources to support Michigan’s teachers and students,” said Erica Tobe, director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “Many of our counties have partnered with local school systems for years and we wanted to ensure all the state’s learners, be they virtual or in-person, were aware of and had access to these tools as they tackle the 2020-2021 school year.” After browsing the many educational offerings, available in topic areas such as STEM, careers, arts, social studies, leadership and more, visitors to the site are also encouraged to connect directly with MSU Extension staff. Though the site features a dynamic listing of on-demand content, MSU Extension has a wealth of customizable trainings, programs and workshops that teachers, families and homeschool cohorts can request for virtual delivery. “MSU Extension’s children and youth staff possess both youth development knowledge and content expertise in areas such as science literacy, leadership and civic engagement, and career preparation,” continued Tobe. “In this virtual world, we are ready and poised to support learners across the state through personalized trainings on a number of topics. Connect with us to see how we can support your educational needs!” To begin exploring the educational resources for teachers, parents and homeschool families, visit extension.msu.edu/virtual-learning-tools. To learn more about MSU Extension’s remote learning resources for all audiences, extension.msu.edu/online4MI.

Donors have opportunity to help COVID-19 patients (Press Release) Plasma from whole blood donations made through the American Red Cross that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now to help ensure coronavirus patients and others who depend on transfusions have needed blood products this fall. “Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the blood from those donations for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.” The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to schedule an appointment, download the free Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Relief for our small businesses can’t wait any longer

When COVID-19 first hit American soil, countless small businesses across Southwest Michigan stepped up to the plate to produce critical supplies to fight this vicious virus converting their normal operations into PPE powerhouses. Their work to supply healthcare facilities and local communities with protective equipment like masks and gloves is a real reflection of the American spirit. But the sad reality is that too many of these folks face closing their doors for good without additional relief passed by Congress, and that is simply unacceptable. We must have their backs just as they have had ours these past several months. That’s why I signed onto a congressional discharge petition to unleash more than $130 billion in critical Paycheck Protection Program funds to help our small businesses keep their doors open and their employees on the payroll. Now is not the time to play politics with relief for American families, workers, and small businesses. Rather, it’s time we pass a bipartisan aid package – like our Problem Solvers Caucus March to Common Ground proposal – that will truly support folks here at home and across the country. My promise to our small businesses is clear: we are with you every step of the way as we look to defeat this virus and recharge our economy. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or by visiting my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Announcing the ‘MI COVID-19 HERO’ essay contest

Southwest Michigan has been fighting the coronavirus for seven months. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, stories have been shared of the incredible sacrifices made by family, friends and neighbors who work tirelessly to safeguard people’s health, safety and quality of life during what has been the biggest disruption to our lives in generations. By now, each of us knows someone who has emerged as a hero to his or her community. From doctors and nurses to religious leaders, community volunteers and grocery workers — so many from our communities have stepped up to answer the call to service. These heroes sacrifice their own health and time from their families, putting in long hours to help others. That is why I am announcing a new MI COVID-19 HERO writing contest open to all schoolchildren in the 21st Senate District who want to submit an essay honoring the sacrifices and heroism of Southwest Michigan’s heroes in the fight against the coronavirus. The essay contest will be a great opportunity for students to exhibit their talents and celebrate the people in their lives who have sacrificed to ensure the health and safety of Southwest Michigan residents. The contest is open now through 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 for all K-12 students residing in the district. One winner will be chosen from among grades K-5 and 6-12 entries, respectively. The winners will be announced Monday, Nov. 9. Only electronic submissions will be accepted, and the essays should be emailed to SenKLaSata@senate.mi chigan.gov. All submissions should include the name, grade and hometown of the participant, as well as a parent’s or guardian’s name and phone number. I look forward to reading our students’ essays about these modern-day heroes. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by emailing senklasata@senate.mi chigan.gov or calling (517) 373-6960.

The power of praise

We usually think about the power of praise as a motivator and encourager for others in our circle of influence. We might note an accomplishment like a good test score in some school subject. The praise is a reward in itself. Or on the sports field someone may make a great play. The cheers as well as the points are the reward. But do we realize that praise can be of great benefit to us personally as well? Not praise for ourselves in some self-advancing bragging session (we’ve all heard that scenario, and it’s not pleasant). No. The other type of praise from which we can greatly benefit is natural praise for God. Praise for God can take many forms. It can be thanks for some particular benefit. It can be appreciation for something He has done apparently specifically for us. It can be admiration of some aspect of His creation, the beauty, the function, the immensity or the intricacy of detail. It can be for His protection for us or for someone we care about as we or they go through medical challenges. Or we might praise God for a new day. It can be for things and people past, or now, or for those expected in the future. Be creative. There is not only honor directed toward God in the act of praise, but there is benefit to us in the process of praise. Praising God gets our minds off ourselves. In these days of trouble and worry, that is a welcome relief. Sometime when sleep won’t come try reciting the alphabet letter by letter, finding something for each one for which to praise or thank God. For example: A – always there, B – my best friend, C – the Creator of all things, D – Deliverer, etc. Isaiah 26:3 promises that setting our minds on God is the way to peace – focusing faith defeats fear.

SW MI schools will endure zero funding cuts despite tight budget year

As a former teacher who now serves in the Michigan House, I am honored to be in a position to fight on behalf of students and educators to help secure the support they need and deserve. Despite facing financial stress due to COVID-19 I recently voted to approve a bipartisan balanced state budget plan that makes no cuts whatsoever to K-12 education in Southwest Michigan, helping provide our children and grandchildren with the tools they need to achieve academic success and lead brighter futures. Under the 2021 budget plan, the state will dedicate about $15.5 billion to K-12 schools – exceeding the $ 15.3 billion originally established for the current fiscal year. Michigan’s minimum per-student foundation allowance will also remain steady at $8,111, with an additional one-time bonus investment expected to equal roughly $65 per student – an overall boost of about $95 million. Other highlights of the budget include: A continued commitment to literacy programs, because learning to read at an early age is a building block for future success; making student mental health a priority given the many challenges and changes they have endured over the past year – the plan invests in school-based health centers and programs at the ISD level; funding for districts to identify kids who need additional help and parents who need help finding childcare; resources for students engaged in virtual learning; ensuring funding for vital programs like CTE, special education, STEM competitions and First Robotics is held harmless; protecting local control ensuring school districts are empowered to do what is best for their community’s families and young people; guaranteeing financial stability for school districts that are growing, ensuring they receive the full foundation amount for every student. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. You can reach me toll free at 1-800-577-6212, via email at BethGriffin@house.mi.gov and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ RepBethGriffin.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Each year, over 100 women in Berrien County are diagnosed with breast cancer. While cancer can be deadly, early detection is the key to survival. The five-year survival rate among women whose breast cancer has not spread beyond the breast at the time of diagnosis is 97%. However, that rate drops to below 50% if the cancer has already spread. There are many types of treatments available depending on how soon the cancer is discovered, so the important thing to remember is that the sooner the cancer is detected, the better the outcome. To assure early detection, all women over 20 should perform monthly self breast exams and get yearly clinical breast exams, and women over 40 should have yearly mammograms. All women are at risk of breast cancer, but some women are at a higher risk, including women after menopause, those with a family history of breast cancer, and those who have never given birth. Fortunately, the Berrien County Health Department Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) provides clinical breast exams, mammograms, pelvic exams and pap smears to eligible women 50-64 years of age. You may be eligible for the program if you are a woman age 50 or over, do not have Medicare, HMO, or PPO insurance, and meet certain income limits. You can lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways: Keep a healthy weight; exercise regularly (at least four hours a week); limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day; breastfeed any children you may have, if possible. Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs. For more information on breast cancer prevention, call the Health Department at (269) 926-7121 or visit www.bchdmi.org.

PAYING THE PIPER… It appears Mother Nature is balancing the scales this week with cold, rainy weather… the price we must pay for an all together fantastic September. I just hope the snow-tinged climate is well before its time and we get some September weather this October.

“NO CALL” CONUNDRUM… It appears the “No Call” law just recently stymied in federal court is on again, at least for a while. It seems the telemarketers are upping the ante by looking for loopholes and challenges to take to the Supreme Court. Evidently our spineless legislators left enough exclusions in the law to make it discriminatory against the telemarketing industry. Charities and political campaigns are left exempt of honoring the law that demands people not wanting phone calls soliciting products cannot be contacted. The best response to the complaint that the telemarketing industry would be ruined was that, to the contrary, they would save millions of dollars and man-hours by not making calls to people who did not want them. I’d think charities, pollsters, and political campaigns would just as soon not want to waste calls either. I do everything I can to save them money; I hang up immediately. Another gimmick that invades your privacy is having your name and address sold to companies by the companies you do business with. The magazines you subscribe to, your credit card company, your charity and, get this, your government, all sell your address. At least the state government sells voter registration and vehicle registration lists. I wouldn’t be surprised if the IRS and Social Security does the same. The above explains the flurry of phone calls and mail solicitations you get when you first subscribe, donate, or get a new car or license plate. By the way, the Tri-City Record has never given out any subscription information to any agency or organization. On the rare occasion someone has called for help in finding a person that perhaps gets the paper, we call that person and let him or her initiate the contact.

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