10-12-2017 Letters and Commentary

13 fearless things to know about your Social Security number

While many of us look forward to Friday this week, with its end-of-the-workweek designation and our weekend plans, certain cultures consider it an unlucky day.

While superstitions play an important part in the Friday the 13th jitters, we offer a different approach to this “unlucky” day with 13 fearless things to know about your Social Security number and card.

1) Your Social Security number is your link to Retirement or Disability benefits since we use it to record your wages and earnings.

2) There is no charge to obtain a Social Security number and card. This service is free.

3) We keep your records confidential and don’t disclose your number to anyone, except when the law requires, or when your information connects you with other government health or social services programs.

4) To prevent identity theft, keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers and be careful about sharing your number.

5) While you need a Social Security number to get a job or for other services, you often don’t need to show your Social Security card. Many organizations can verify your Social Security number directly with us.

6) If your Social Security card is lost, you can replace it up to three times a year with a lifetime limit of 10 replacement cards. Legal name changes and other exceptions will not count toward these limits.

7) You can request a replacement Social Security card online if you have a my Social Security account and meet our qualifications. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

8) If you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes, be sure and review your earnings record. You access your earnings record in your my Social Security account.

9) If you suspect someone is misusing your number to create credit or other problems for you, report the identify theft with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT. We also recommend that you contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if fraudulent tax refunds or reporting is involved, quickly file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, and monitor your credit reports.

10) The nine-digit Social Security number was initiated in 1936 for tracking workers’ earnings over the course of their lifetimes for benefits, not with the intent of personal identification.

11) Until June 2011, the first three digits of a Social Security number were determined by the geographical region in which the person lived.

12) Beginning in June 2011, we assigned Social Security numbers randomly, which protects the integrity of the Social Security number and extends the longevity of the nine-digit Social Security number.

13) Since November 1936, we have issued 453.7 million different numbers. We assign about 5.5 million new numbers a year.

Fear not, if you properly protect your Social Security number and card. Information about applying for a Social Security card, name changes, identity theft, and other answers to frequently asked questions is available at www.socialsecurity.gov, or by calling us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

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.

Your part is important

The Bible reminds us in Acts 17 that God has specific geographic and time boundaries for nations. Speaking of God, “…He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things, and He made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…” (17:25,26) So nations rise and fall totally under God’s control. The next verse gives one reason why God does this: “…that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (17:27, NASB)

So God graciously gives people a specific location and identity for a certain amount of time to find Him. Then their time is up. Doors of opportunity close, and someone else occupies their space. How do we in the United States expect to break that pattern?

It’s one thing to live with that philosophical perspective; it’s another to try to plan for the unknown. Unfolding reality is the test of philosophy. It has to work where the “rubber meets the road.” In this case fatalism may be fatal. Fatalism makes everyone the victim of random events and denies any plan. We become helpless to understand or to take any meaningful action. Fatalism forgets God’s power, negates prayer, and sacrifices hope on the altar of ignorance. Fatalism requires no action, and requires no understanding. It is the lemming approach to life.

So how can we avoid being lemmings as history unfolds? We must respond to God’s gracious offer to have a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ while there’s still time. Radical change can happen quickly in these dangerous times. Finding God on His terms fulfills part of our individual purpose in God’s big plan for the nations.

GREMLIN ATTACK AND OTHER MEANDERINGS… Sharp-eyed readers caught the duplication of the Coloma Courier Rolling Back the Year feature on last week’s Page 4 at the expense of historical tidbits from the Watervliet Record. Perhaps the “gremlin” was making allowances for last week’s extra-long Karl’s Kolumn chronicling the history of the Tri-City Record.

Thanks again Wade Lynch for gathering the info.

Nancy Erickson acknowledged the Rolling Back feature is a weekly favorite, “I read all three sections, after I read the obituaries and your column,” she admitted.

Nancy was in to sign up for the electronic edition. It’s free to subscribers; just ask Amy for a password, I was able to tell her.

“Do you cover Albany news?” the caller asked Monday. No I replied, just Coloma, Hartford and Watervliet, chuckling.

Obviously the caller got her phone wires crossed seeking the Record News in Troy, a newspaper covering Albany and Watervliet.

Before I could engage her in conversation to see how things were going in the capital of New York she had hung up.

Mark Wakefield, a Coloma HS graduate had his picture on the front page of the Bryan Times, the newspaper for Williams County Ohio recently. Mark settled in Edgerton, Ohio following four years in the Navy. He is Tooling Disposition Manager for YanFen Automotive Interiors. The company manufactures components for self-driving vehicles and was showing off its own model that was recently shown at the Detroit Auto Show.

Mark’s mom Rita, now a St. Joe resident, dropped off a clipping. Mark and his wife Peggy have three children living in the area with their families, Erin in Coloma, Mark in Watervliet and Amanda in St. Joseph.

Debra Wieand recently called to ask how the Coloma “Comets” got the name. She said she has heard from several elderly residents that it was because a comet came down near Johnson Road.

I’d like to get some information on that, call me here at 463-6397.

A reader out on Danneffel Road recently called and said she had seen a young doe in her yard with an arrow hanging from its hindquarter. She was sad the animal had been shot.

Small town America took another hit when Chemical Bank announced it was closing its Eau Claire branch in the Village come this December. The branch is the only bank in the village. The only grocery, Harding’s Friendly Market, closed in 2014.

Small towns are suffering as bigger stores gobble up the local business and then close them down. The only light at the end of the tunnel is discount groceries and dollar stores, credit unions and independent pharmacies are moving into the vacuum left in some towns.

Just a couple weeks ago owners of a meat cutting operation in the Eau Claire area, in a letter to the Record, wrote they were interested in expanding to other towns.

Who knows, perhaps Main Street America will survive the big box store age by welcoming small business entrepreneurs and helping them set up shop in the vacant storefronts to serve the hometown customers. What a novel idea!

KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS reads the sign on the 2-lane freeway. While it makes some sense, it is just nonsense when the 2-lane freeway is I-94. The freeway is choked with trucks hauling goods in both directions between Chicago and Detroit and limited to 65 miles per hour. Cars, pickups, and motorcycles are continually passing the slower behemoths. Faster trucks try to pass the slower trucks, which hold everybody up. You get the idea, the only winner is the sign company.

The other winner is the auto repair shops; the roads are so bad in some places, especially where they have been ruined by the heavy haulers, and the trucks stay in the left lane as well. Even though by law “slower traffic keep right” they are confined to the bumpier right.

I guess the real big winner is the Michigan Department of Transportation and their local counterparts, the County Road Commissions. Oops, I forgot, Berrien County doesn’t have a county road commission.

These of us living in a rural paradise will probably see less of the big orange trucks as the County Commission starts prioritizing the repair work and plowing. By the time the work gets done around the Southern and Northern County Administration complexes and the casinos, there’ll be little daylight and gas left for the rest of us.

THANKS NANCY… Nancy Albright, our Hartford news reporter, has left us for another career opportunity.

Nancy has been ably covering Hartford news since April 2016. Although she had extensive writing and editing experience, she had no reporting experience. That didn’t stop her from jumping right in to the reporting “gig.”

Now she is a full-time employee at the South Haven Arts Council. Good luck Nancy and thanks for a job well done.

Hartford resident and Tri-City Record regular Jon Bisnett returns to his former position as Hartford news reporter. That’s no simple task as Jon is no slouch when it comes to being a good citizen with his activities at Hartford Schools through the Education Foundation and community events, plus keeps us in gooey goodies with his Chocolate Lab food wagon.



 In the October 5, 2017 issue of Tri-City Record an error was made on page 4 in the Rolling Back the Years feature. News from the Coloma Courier was duplicated under the News from the Watervliet Record. Tri-City Record is sorry for any confusion this error may have caused.


Dear Editor,

Why? What has happened to our country? A news commentator asked this question Monday night after the horrific mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas. He went on to ask several guests but no one had an answer. He made the statement that these things did not take place when he was a child.

There is an answer to his question but many are too blind to see it. To answer his question we must ask ourselves what has changed from the 50s and 60s to today.

What has changed? There is a lot of talk about poverty but we have more today than ever before. How many people do you know that does not own a cell phone or have some type of cable? How many have full refrigerators and cabinets and still eat out? From the news accounts the man who committed this crime was a wealthy man. And think about this, what he had was not enough, not satisfying.

The major change that has taken place in the United States is a loss of respect and values for life, for one another. Why? What is the major change that has taken place in our Country over the years that would cause this? Here it is. We ask God to leave and take His Word with Him.

Prayer has been outlawed and the 10 Commandments removed. Evolution, which teaches we evolved from animals and the fittest survive, has taken His place. In the place of Andy Griffith and other wholesome shows, where the good guy won and the bad guy lost, we now have other programs which popularize murder and immorality. Technology has given us games where the goal is to kill people. We celebrate the fact that we can kill unborn babies!

So the answer to “What has happened to our Country” is the removal of God and the values of respect, love, morality and much more taught in the Bible. Think about this, if we remove the Bible what standards do we have? If we remove the Bible nothing is wrong! The opinion of those in power rule until they are dethroned and then the rules change.

If we want our Country to be great again. If we want life to have value. If we want love to prevail. If we want people to respect one another. God and His Word, the Bible, must be restored to first place.

Mark Manning, Pastor

First Missionary Baptist Church, Coloma

Open House Thank You!!!

Dear Editor,

We had a wonderful party!!!! Relatives and friends from far away came and it was so exciting to see them and all of the 123 guests who came to celebrate with me. I am humbled and so happy.

My children decorated the Knights of Columbus so beautifully. I am very proud of them.

Thank you to all who took time to visit on that special day.

It’s great to turn 90.

Blessings to all,

Joyce Kolenko

Thank you to the farmers for fresh produce

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all the local farmers who brought produce into the North Berrien Senior Center.  It helps us avoid the “big box” stores where fruits and vegetables are from out of state.  It not only saves us money but we know it’s fresh off the farm in our wonderful Michigan southwest where fruit abounds.

We truly appreciate our hard working farmers who grace our tables with the fruits of their labors.

Thank a farmer today.

Dawn Consolino, Coloma

U.S. Flag etiquette

Dear Editor,

It is encouraging that so many people show their patriotism by displaying the flag.  Likewise, the various community agencies and businesses are proudly flying the American flag.

However, too often the flags are not being flown with the respect due our national symbol. Flags are either, worn, torn, ragged, or faded.  They are too frequently not flown correctly when flown 24 hours.

The place to find the information concerning the U.S. Flag Code (Title 4 Chapter 1 Sections 5 & 8) for these unfortunate circumstances is either of these two URLs: https://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf or https://www.legion.org/documents/pdf/flagcode_07.pdf.

In particular our local municipalities should note that, when flying the flag 24 hours it has to be illuminated; the flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free; when the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Hopefully, the local Post Offices, township sheriffs, and town offices will provide lighting for their flags that they fly and set the example for the rest of us in showing the proper respect for our flag.

Steven Williams, Coloma


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