10-15-2020 Letters and Commentary

REAL NEWS SELLS NEWSPAPERS… Too often (perhaps to get my goat), someone will say, “You just printed that to sell papers.” Invariably, the table gets turned when I reply, “Yes.” The sordid truth of the matter is that without the “news” there would be no Tri-City Record… if there were a product at all, it would be like the countless other throwaways, jammed with ads from who knows where. It is the news that makes the Tri-City Record a newspaper. You buy it for the news, not the advertising. In accepting the challenge to publish a NEWSpaper, the Tri-City Record also accepts a responsibility to publish ALL the news in a TRUTHFUL and RESPONSIBLE way. That’s where folks get confused about printing the news and selling newspapers. We print all the news we can get in each week. We can’t print what we don’t know about; can’t print lies, half-truths, innuendo, or fiction. We do sell newspapers by printing news of the tri-cities. We can always use some help with that mission with folks calling in with news stories and photos and ideas for stories and photos. And the most help would be folks calling in with breaking news stories such as fires and accidents; special government meetings and such. Call 463-6397 during business hours; or my cell phone anytime, 876-1327. I’m proud of the Tri-City Record and the contribution it makes to the Tri-City community (the paper coined the good name that now identifies Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet).

SOUND FAMILIER? The above is a Karl’s Kolumn from October 2003. If I had a crystal ball back then and wrote about Fake News, COVID-19, a country divided nearly 50-50 on just about any issue, my readers would call me a liar. Even so, most newspapers, large and small, endeavor to print the real news.

Plan, practice your family’s fire escape plan As we settle into fall and look ahead to the winter months, many Southwest Michiganders are preparing — or in some cases have already started — to heat their homes with fireplaces and woodstoves. There’s nothing quite like a nice, warm fire to cozy up to when it’s cold outside. In addition to being a great source of heat, wood burning stoves and fireplaces are also quite economical compared to oil, propane or electric. But, heating a home with firewood also presents dangers that must be taken seriously. That’s why I recently hosted a virtual town hall event with state Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer and Niles’ Fire Marshal Lieutenant Rory Iwaniuk in observance of national Fire Prevention Week. The annual event is observed every October, with the goal of raising awareness about fire safety to help ensure families have a fire safety plan and are prepared for the unexpected. Regardless of whether your family has a fireplace, every home should have a fire escape plan. Here are some key tips to consider when making your family’s plan: Draw and review your home’s floor plan, including all doors and windows; locate two ways out of each room; ensure egress points are not blocked; choose a meeting place outside the home. As important as having a fire escape plan is practicing the plan. Schedule a time for a family fire drill; test smoke alarms and practice the plan to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of a fire emergency. MI Prevention, a statewide fire safety campaign set up through the State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Services and Michigan’s fire safety organizations, offers loads of free information, including videos and downloadable tip sheets, on how to prepare for and respond to fire when one breaks out. To get started, visit www.michigan.gov/miprevention. My thanks to all who tuned in to the town hall. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by emailing senklasata@senate.mich igan.gov or calling (517) 373-6960.

Don’t mess with the Great Lakes Here in Southwest Michigan, the Great Lakes are truly our most cherished national treasure. As the country’s largest source of fresh water, they generate millions of dollars in economic activity, create thousands of jobs, and sustain diverse underwater ecosystems. The Great Lakes also power Michigan’s flourishing tourism industry that attracts millions of visitors annually to our great state. That’s why I’ve long fought to preserve their beauty by preventing the storage of nuclear waste anywhere near the Great Lakes, keeping dangerous pollutants out of our water, and funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – the largest investment in the health of the Great Lakes in nearly two decades.

More recently, I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to fund the Brandon Road Lock and Dam construction project, which will keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and support our world-class fishing industry. Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, protecting the Great Lakes has long been a top priority for me. As your voice in Congress, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to preserve their beauty for generations to come and strongly proclaim: “Don’t mess with the Great Lakes!”