10-11-2018 Letters and Commentary

Upton’s attack ad is extremely dishonest

Dear Editor, Fred Upton recently unleashed an appallingly dishonest attack ad against his Democratic opponent, Dr. Matt Longjohn. The first dishonest statement in Upton’s attack ad is that “Nancy Pelosi’s political machine handpicked Matt Longjohn for Congress.” The truth is that Dr. Longjohn decided to run for Congress because he was appalled by Upton’s “flip-flop” on the terrible House Republican bill that would have deprived millions of Americans of affordable health care. Furthermore, Matt Longjohn has publicly stated that because he believes new leadership is needed, in both political parties, he will not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House if the Democrats regain the majority in November. The second dishonest statement in Upton’s ad is that “Longjohn wants to gut America’s military.” The truth is that Matt Longjohn, whose eldest son is currently serving in the United States Air Force, supports a strong military. What he does not support is wasteful or fraudulent military spending. The third dishonest statement in Upton’s ad is that “Matt Longjohn wants to abolish immigration enforcement.” This statement is, of course, totally untrue – Matt Longjohn does not want to abolish immigration enforcement. What he does want to abolish are Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration policies, which have included separating children (even babies) from their parents and putting young children in cages. Upton’s dishonest attack ad is a desperate attempt to smear Dr. Matt Longjohn, a distinguished public health physician who has spent his entire career working to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. Fred Upton has been in office much too long. The right person to represent Southwest Michigan in Congress is Dr. Matt Longjohn Larry Feldman, Lakeside

Teed Heating and Cooling receives re-certification

By Maryann Worl Michael Teed of Teed Heating and Cooling, 340 Washington St. in Coloma, has received re-certification from Generac to provide all warranty work for Generac and Honeywell generators. Starting in October 1996, Teed Heating and Cooling is one of the oldest companies in the area. It is their goal to keep homes and businesses safe, and comfortable all year long. Teed Heating and Cooling is an authorized factory dealer of many brands. They service all furnaces, air conditioners, filters, thermostat and water heater brands along with ice machines. Teed Heating is looking to hire a paid apprentice. Michael Teed states, “Anyone with a valid drivers license, a clean driving record and the interest to learn the heating and cooling business is encouraged to apply.” They invite homeowners and businesses to give them a call today at (269) 468-9640. Customer satisfaction is “guaranTEED”.

Support the Troops Christmas Open House; boxes packed for  U.S. military members

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. #177 is sponsoring the 16th annual Support the Troops Christmas Open House on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at American Legion Post 568, 3093 Johnson Rd. in Stevensville. There will be a patriotic program at 11 a.m. They encourage everyone to join them. Help make Christmas special and the holidays a little less lonely by packing boxes to send to our troops. Suggested items are Christmas stockings, white cotton socks, small cans of fruit, tuna or chicken pouches, beef jerky, instant drink mixes, foot and body powders, non-alcohol body wipes, gum, mints, nuts of all kinds, granola and cereal bars, Slim Jims, crackers and cookies. Donations may be sent to Blue Star Mothers, P.O. Box 76, Stevensville, MI 49127.

“Things to go bump in the night” topic of discussion at Watervliet Library

The Watervliet District Library is pleased to provide the public with a spine-tingling event, just in time for Halloween season. Venture into the unknown on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m., with the Michigan Paranormal Research Organization (MiPRO), here to share their experiences, insights and discoveries into “things that go bump in the night”. The group seeks explanations to unknown or unusual events that occur throughout the southwestern corner of Michigan. Their extensive list of investigations include: the Van Buren County Museum, Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club, the Morton House (Benton Harbor), the Air Zoo (Portage), Frost Cemetery (Eau Claire), and the Leonard Funeral Home (Lawrence), in addition to many others. MiPRO consists of a group of like-minded individuals who emphasize scientific methodology in their research. The not-for-profit organization formed in 2010. This will be their first visit to the Watervliet Library. The event is free; doors will open at 6:15 p.m. Please contact the library at 269-463-6382 or info@wdlib.org for more information.

Grants available for financially distressed communities

Cities, villages and townships experiencing financial struggles can now apply for a grant to help fund special projects and free up tax dollars for important services, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury). Applications are now being accepted for the Financially Distressed Cities, Villages, and Townships (FDCVT) Grant Program. Municipalities interested in applying for an award must submit applications to the state Treasury Department by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. All cities, villages and townships experiencing at least one condition of “probable financial distress” as outlined in the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act are eligible to apply for up to $2 million. A total of $2.5 million in funding is available for Treasury to award through the FDCVT Grant Program for the 2019 fiscal year. Grant funding may be used to pay for specific projects or services that move a community toward financial stability. Preference will be given to applications from municipalities that meet one or more of the following criteria: A financial emergency has been declared in the past 10 years; an approved deficit elimination plan for the General Fund is currently in place; two or more conditions indicating “probable financial distress” currently exist; the fund balance of the General Fund has been declining over the past five years and the fund balance is less than three percent of the General Fund revenues. Due to requirements outlined under state law, school districts are not eligible for funds from this grant program. For more information about the FDCVT Grant Program or to download an application, go to www.michigan.gov/revenuesharing.

Don’t ever look back A lot of bad things can happen when you take your eyes off your path. The one time I rear-ended another vehicle was on Aramingo Avenue in Philadelphia. The busy street was stop and go. A sign on top of a car off to the left caught my attention. I spent too much time reading it and failed to notice that the traffic had unexpectedly stopped in front of me. I creased the car’s trunk in front of me with my hood. Very embarrassing. I’ve learned that what is called the “Straight and Narrow” pathway may be narrow, but it’s frequently not straight. Life seems to be more of a series of Grand Canyon switchbacks than a straight train track to the horizon. The Grand Canyon’s Kaibab Trail was like that when I hiked it years ago. I had to pay attention going forward and not look back to where I had been. It was too easy to lose footing on the rutted path. A Bible passage encourages us in this respect. It’s in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul writes, “…I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) Paul’s journey was not done. He still had tasks to do and things to accomplish, so this one thing he did – he refused to go back but instead “pressed on”. Good advice for us too. In life’s switchback adventure there are many possibilities that we cannot presently imagine so trust God, travel on, and never look back.

Medicare explained Social Security and Medicare have a few things in common. Both programs help safeguard millions of Americans as well as improve the quality of life for our family and friends. Although both programs are household names, many people may not be familiar with the details of Medicare. Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You have choices for how you get Medicare coverage. If you choose to have original Medicare coverage, you can buy a Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) from a private insurance company to cover some of the costs that Medicare does not. Medicare has four parts: Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay). Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B. Some plans include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) and other extra benefits and services. Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get Extra Help with the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,900 per year. You must meet the resources and income requirement. Medicare’s different parts are further explained in our publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf. If you can’t afford to pay your Medicare premiums and other medical costs, you may be able to get help from your state. States offer programs for people eligible for or entitled to Medicare who have low income. Some programs may pay for Medicare premiums and some pay Medicare deductibles and coinsurance. To qualify, you must have Medicare Part A and have limited income and resources. You can learn more about Medicare, including how to apply for Medicare and get a replacement Medicare card, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ medicare. 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.

TERROR IN THE FISHPOND RUINS BREAKFAST… “Karl, come quick! There’s a giant bird chasing our goldfish in the pond!” Anne exclaimed, jumping up and running to the door looking out to our backyard. “That’s just a heron looking for breakfast,” I replied, not even looking up from my own bacon and eggs. “Oh no, he’s caught one! And he’s eating it! You’ve got to do something.” “I am doing something, I’m eating breakfast and yours is getting cold,” I replied. “Oh, he’s caught another one! You have to do something, take a picture,” Anne said. Look, he’s holding it in his mouth (beak). I explained the heron was a familiar site around our local lakes, most often seen by fishermen fishing the quiet shoreline areas. “That might be the same one Bob and I saw Thursday on Little Paw Paw Lake. We call him ‘@#$%head’, ever since one left a giant white stain on his boat canopy on Paw Paw Lake.” Herons are so common it is a safe bet that there is more than one fishing near us at any given time. When we see one fishing we know it has spotted fish in the shallows and that is a good place to cast our lures. By the time I finished my soliloquy Anne exclaimed, “He made a big splash and caught another fish. That was three goldfish the heron just caught in our pond.” “There’s three more to go,” I said, at the same time easing the door open. The heron was still swallowing fish #3; I could see the bulge moving through its gullet on the way to its stomach. As I quietly stepped through the door the big bird took flight, but landed just 20 yards or so away. That gave me the opportunity to take a census of the goldfish school remaining in the tiny pond. I guess I was expecting to see pandemonium on the bottom, fish in a frenzy, panicked by the sudden disappearance of their siblings and the giant head descending from above and piercing the water’s surface overhead. Instead, all was quiet, the three remaining goldfish were resting, as usual, on the bottom, feeding, and perhaps communicating among themselves about the recent calamitous events. I had barely returned to breakfast when Anne reported the bird was back, already staring intently at more prey without a blink of its giant eyes or a ruffling feather. If there was any tell-tale movement, the hapless and doomed goldfish probably never saw the slight tensing of neck muscles and barely a tic of the knees. In a flash the fish was snug in the bird’s jaws and in another was sliding down its gullet to join the three previous victims. By this time the heron must have been used to us voyeurs, as it stood its ground and quickly dispatched the last goldfish. With its gullet and belly full of fish, the heron spread its wings and headed for a quiet place for digestion. Anne and I returned to the breakfast table, only to stare at the cold eggs, greasy bacon and abandoned toast, all thought of a pleasant repast gone for the day. In a few moments Anne looked out the kitchen sink window and saw the heron returning to the fishless pond. “Can’t he count? Doesn’t he know he got all six goldfish?” she asked. I doubt he remembers gulping down six goldfish, but he does remember seeing two frogs, said I.

TWO DAY INDIAN SUMMER… the past weekend was typical October, cool, misty and windy. This Monday and Tuesday dawned sunny and muggy, dotted with patches of fog. The Big C weather forecast on last week’s TCR front page nearly got it right predicting 79 degrees and partly sunny on Monday and isolated thunderstorms for Tuesday and high of 80 degrees. Hopefully there will be more “Indian Summer” days in the near future. If there was any downside to the idyllic beginning of the week it was the clouds of tiny mosquitoes that lay in wait in every shady spot and the hordes of stinkbugs attached to every door jamb, siding and window screen.

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