RULE IS STILL THE SAME… some things never change. That includes requiring a signature on Letters to the Editor. That doesn’t mean the policy won’t be updated to adjust to a situation that is new and the policy needs changing for fairness and clarity. This past year I’ve published a letter without a name that I probably shouldn’t have. I published it without much thought as someone else vouched for the writer. Months later I received a hand typed letter that was “just plain distasteful” and the name on it was something I was pretty sure was not the writer’s. I got another unsigned letter a couple weeks ago. As I usually do, I left it in my “to do” box for a couple weeks to give the writer an opportunity to stop by or call and ask why the letter was not published. Then I shredded it. Written six years ago this week, here’s that policy: UNSIGNED LETTER WON’T BE PUBLISHED…. I have a Letter to the Editor on my desk with some points about coaching behavior that I would like to print. But I won’t. The letter writer left out a name and contact information without which I cannot publish it. As it reads on the masthead at the bottom of this page under the header Letters to the editor… The Tri-City Record welcomes all letters to the editor. Letters should be typed. Letters are subject to editing for length and content, and will be published at the discretion of the editor. All letters must be signed and include a phone number and address so that authorship may be verified. Letter authorship identity may be withheld by request, at the discretion of the editor. The publication deadline for letters is 5 p.m., on Monday for that week’s issue. Over the years I’ve received many unsigned letters to the editor; most have been personal attacks on individuals without any public merit. Others have been illegible or so nonsensical that no amount of editing would make them suitable for publication. Without benefit of a name and contact information the decision not to publish is easy to make. It is the select few (perhaps two or 3) that have been published unsigned after I was able to talk with the writer and determined the validity of the issue and the identity of the writer. As it stands now for the unsigned letter here on my desk, it will be consigned to the shredder once this Kolumn goes to press. It has some valid points about the necessity of coaches giving a good example of fair play to the team and the dangers of “winning at any cost” to the same. Printing it unsigned would be no example of fair play either.
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Social Security is here with information, tools, and benefits to help you secure today and tomorrow. Our journey together begins when you’re born and get your Social Security card. It continues when you get your first job and follows you through your entire career, marriage, and retirement. Our commitment is to be with you throughout life’s journey. Our promise extends to surviving family members when a worker dies. Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for your family. In the event of your death, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits; these include widows and widowers, divorced widows and widowers, children, and dependent parents. The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on your lifetime earnings. The higher your earnings are, the higher their benefits will be. The value of your survivors benefit may be more than the value of your individual life insurance. By making sure your earnings are posting correctly, you are passing down protections to your survivors, just as your parents did before you. You can do this by: Creating a personal “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount – Your personal my Social Security account is secure and gives you immediate access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates, and a printable Social Security Statement. Visiting our Benefits Planner for Survivors to help you better understand you and your family’s Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/survivors. Checking your Social Security Statement to see an estimate of survivors benefits we could pay your family at www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount. It also shows an estimate of your retirement and disability benefits and provides other important information. For more information, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov or read our publication Survivors Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this information with your family and friends. Vonda Van Til 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.