10-20-2016 Letters and Commentary


 Autumn is the season of dressing up as monsters and watching scary movies in the dark. Even though most of these tricks and treats are just for fun, some of them can be scary. One of the most common threats we face is identity theft. Just imagine someone stealing your information and pretending to be you. You would have no control as this person acts in your name, spending money — and possibly, ruining your credit.  That is one trick you can do without, which is why we have added an extra layer of security for our customers when they interact with us online.  Your my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount is a safe and secure place to do business with us.  For an extra layer of protection, Social Security offers an “extra security” option where we send a text message to the account holder’s cell phone with an access code required to log-on. However, account holders can access their secure account using only their username and password. We highly recommend the extra security text message option, but it is not required. If you are uncomfortable with texting, we will be creating an option where you will receive a code via email.  We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure. The my Social Security service has always featured a robust verification and authentication process, and it remains safe and secure.  When you access your account, we encourage you to sign up for the extra security text message option. You can access your account by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.


MY HEART WAS IN THEIR HANDS… It is hard for me to believe that nearly ten months have passed since my heart valve replacement surgery.  I will not say the experience was entirely forgotten, there is the occasional twinge where my rib cage was cracked open. Some mornings just before getting up, I find myself listening to my quiet, steady heartbeat; nothing like the noisy, racing pulse that was my calcified aortic valve trying to push oxygenated blood into my head and limbs.  The first few months of recovery were all about getting better and talking about “my surgery.” Now by early fall, I really was not talking about it much, with friend or family.  Then the fall issue of HealthCurrents, the Lakeland Health Care quarterly publication came out with a feature on my surgery, complete with picture of me and my favorite heart surgeon, Dr. Kourosh Baghelai.  I had signed a release many months ago giving permission for the story and the use of a picture taken of Dr. Baghelai and me while I was still in cardiac rehab. But as the months passed, I kind of forgot about it.  Then Wade Lynch mentioned the story in his online “You know you’re from Watervliet…” history blog on the internet. Wade joked that the local newspaper editor was featured in the Lakeland magazine but he was bumped off the front page by a picture of an old train depot.  In just a few days, many folks went out of their way to comment on the story and wish me well with my recovery.  I thought, with all that I wrote earlier, I figured most folks (at least my readers) knew about it, or forgot about it.  One fellow from Coloma stopped in and said, “Hey man, I didn’t know you had heart surgery. I had mine 6 years ago.”  Several folks were kind enough to drop a note or card. Another heart patient stopped by to say he was just wrapping up rehab and was headed for the brewery.  All in all, the article brought back great memories of the outpouring of well wishes by many good folks.  It also reminded me of the fantastic (and successful) experience of the whole process, from being examined, tested, prepped, operated on, recovering and rehab by a great and caring staff at Lakeland.  No, I do not want to do it again. But if it has to be done, I would go back there in a “heartbeat.”

Dear Editor,

It will be active, it will be loud AND it will be patriotic as the Southshore Concert Band joins Lest We Forget (LWF) in saluting veterans of all conflicts in their annual Veterans Patriotic Concert on November 6, 2 p.m. at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center in Benton Harbor.  This will be the 11th veteran’s concert put on by Lest We Forget and the Southshore Concert Band led by Dale Reuss.  Southshore will be featuring their 80 piece band with vocalist Jeff Whittaker of Niles.  There will be traditional patriotic songs and salutes for the branches of the service, PLUS patriotic songs from the wars that our country has fought.  For example, for the Revolutionary War of 1776 the signature song will be “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”  For the Civil War it will be “To Heal a Nation” featuring the “Gettysburg Address.” For the Vietnam War it will be “Black Granite March” and “Mansions of the Lord.”  This concert will be one hour of musical history that will be very educational.  Bring your children and grandchildren for a history lesson they will never forget!  There will be several new features for this patriotic concert.  The first new feature is the awarding of two $500 scholarships, donated by Michigan State Representative Al Pscholka and Lest We Forget.  One scholarship will be for students in grades 7-9 and the other for students in grades 10-12.  Students will be required to submit a 500 words or less essay on what they learned about American patriotism from attending the concert.   We will also have a student check-in table and we will notify their school if they attend the concert.  They do not have to submit an essay but by recording their attendance they might be able to receive extra credit from their social studies/history teacher.  If the school arranges a field trip they can notify LWF in advance of their attending and a special section will be blocked off for their attendance. Additional information on the above can be obtained from Larry Wozniak at 269-429-2098 or www.49wozniak@gmail.com.  At past LWF Veteran concerts pictures of WWII veterans were taken and later sent to their homes.  This time pictures of ALL veterans, i.e., Afghanistan/Iraq down to WWII, will be taken. This is provided that they arrive between 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.  There will be no charge for this service.    The master of ceremonies will be Korean veteran Jim O’Malley who always manages to keep things lively. Jim is replacing Jim Cassidy who was the announcer for six years.  Tickets to the concert will be available at the Lake Michigan College, Mendel Center Box Office (269-927-1221 or www.lmcmainstage.org) or from Martin’s Super Markets in St Joseph and Stevensville and from Lest We Forget members.  Tickets from Martin’s or from LWF members are $10.  Tickets from Lake Michigan College are $12.50.  High school students and under are free.  There will be a map of Vietnam and Vietnam veterans will be able to sign their signature in the location they served.  They will also receive a medal thanking them for their service.  There will be an opportunity at the concert to purchase Lest We Forget shirts, books and DVDs.  For questions call Lest We Forget at 269-925-7176 or go to www.lestweforgetusa.org.

Lila Megna

Thankful for many blessings

Dear Editor

 I feel compelled to write this to let the people of this area know how blessed we are to have Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph and the Lakeland Community Hospital in Watervliet.  I recently had to have triple bypass surgery and a pacemaker.  The care that I received was phenomenal at both facilities.  I want to especially thank Dr. Arora, Dr. Durham, all the other doctors, the many nurses, the many physical therapists, and all other hospital personnel for their loving care.  A special thank you goes out to the Watervliet Hospital Ladies Auxiliary for the beautiful crocheted lap blanket and homemade bag.  Another special thank you goes out to all my family and friends for their many prayers, all the beautiful flowers, get well cards, those who came to visit me, brought books, and also to Pastor Jay Hartman for his visits.  Finally, I want to thank the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Coloma Post #362, and the Paw Paw Lake Joint Regional Sewer Board members for all their generosity.  I will never forget all the love and kindness that has been shown to me at this time.  May God bless each of you as He has me.

Martha Darling Coloma

VB County Road Commission invites you to its Centennial Anniversary Celebration

Dear Editor,

The road commission wants you to know… the Van Buren County Road Commission was organized on April 28, 1916 when it held its first meeting of the Board in Paw Paw.  The public is invited to help celebrate its centennial anniversary from 3-7 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the Storage-Maintenance Facility in Lawrence.  Visitors can tour equipment displays and demonstrations, view historic photos, and participate in a Touch-the-Truck activity where they can paint a 100th Anniversary Plow with their hand print!  Hot dogs, chips and cake will be served.  For more information, call 269-674-8011 or email vbcrc@vbcrc.org. Van Buren County Road Commission

I’m impressed with  Mike McKay

Dear Editor,

I was the Director of Migrant Bi-lingual Education Program for Van Buren County Intermediate School District until I retired. I have been a member of the Van Buren County community for many years. Recently, I had the opportunity of meeting and spending some time with Mike McKay and I must admit I was impressed. I found him to be an intelligent, informed and well-spoken man.  Mike is an outstanding candidate to serve Van Buren County. His skill in the courtroom as a prosecuting attorney, knowledge of the law and experience in the courtroom make him the logical choice for District Court Judge.  I believe Mike McKay to be the most qualified candidate for District Court Judge. When elected, Mike will continue to be a fair and hard-working presence in our justice system. My vote will be for Mike McKay.

John Dominguez Jr.

Mattawan

Mike valiantly served and protected

Dear Editor,

I confidently recommend Mike McKay for the position of Ban Buren’s 7th District Court Judge. As a Michigan State Trooper, Mike valiantly served and protected our country for ten years-being forced to retired after an on-duty injury almost cost him his life. He continues to contribute to Van Buren as our county’s Assistant Prosecutor, having a record of success and criminal jury trial experience. In law enforcement and the courtroom, Mike McKay has proven himself a dedicated leader. I urge my neighbors to support Mike as our county’s next District Court Judge.

John “Mike” Henry

South Haven

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