10-27-2018 Letters and Commentary

Question: I need proof that I receive Medicare benefits. Where can I get a letter proving that? Answer: If you need proof that you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare, get an instant benefit verification letter online by using your personal my Social Security account. If you do not receive benefits, your letter will serve as proof that you do not receive benefits. If you recently applied for benefits, the letter will make that clear as well. The information on your benefit verification letter will include information that applies to your situation. You can set up your secure, personal my Social Security account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Question: Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business? Answer: Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you do not give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone’s number and use it for any purpose that does not violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. Question: I am on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and live with my two brothers in an apartment. My SSI payment is cut by one-third because the Social Security office says I do not pay enough of the household expenses. How much of the expenses must I pay in order to get the full SSI rate? Answer: Under the rules of the program, you must be paying an equal share of the expenses. Because there are three of you in the household, you must pay one-third of the expenses. If you are not paying an equal share of the rent, utilities, groceries, and other household expenses, your SSI payment must be reduced. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

GOBLIN ALERT… Be careful driving about the next few days, with the Halloween “holiday” Monday, October 31. There will be many celebrations over the weekend as well. No matter your best efforts and caution, children will always be quicker than you are.  Children believe there is always enough room and time to squeeze between your car’s bumper and their body; they believe they can see in the dark and that you can see them. They believe they will live forever and never get hurt badly.   As you know, all of the above is false.  Even if the kid is totally in the wrong, you will never forgive yourself if you hit a child with your car.  And, parents do not let your kids trick or treat, alone, after dark, ever.  Actually, with all the Halloween daytime events on the weekend, there is little reason to take the kids out after dark on Halloween night, exposing them to danger for another sack full of candy.

ELECTION ISSUE NEXT WEEK…  The Tri-City Record will provide thumbnail sketches of issues and candidates on the area ballots for this coming November 8 election in next week’s issue.  While all efforts will be made to get letters and commentary of candidates and their supporters printed on these pages, some offerings may be shortened or left unpublished.  I would suggest all would-be letter writers get their offerings in to the paper via email (record@tricityrecord.com) as soon as possible.  Those folks wishing to purchase advertising space had better do so soon. Also advertising space reservations for that issue will only be accepted upon payment, because at the primary election some candidates “reserved” space but never provided the ad or payment by the deadline.  THE PRICE OF TAKING AN EDITORIAL STAND… sometimes is a friendship.  Over the years, I have ruffled a few feathers, have had subscriptions cancelled, lost advertising and have had friendships severed.  I have always maintained this column are my thoughts alone, subject to no other influence but my own opinions (many), information I trust to be true, of topics I am willing to write, on issues I believe need to be aired for the good of the community.  Opinions of others are printed on this page as letters to the editor, with the same latitude and constraints I give myself. More latitude in all cases, since this column has been shortened for space on many occasions while I have seldom shortened a letter to fit in a space. I have contacted letter writers and told them a letter was too long, confusing, or poorly written to warrant publication or that it may embarrass them if published in the present form. Invariably the letter writer has rewritten the missive for publication; occasionally (on further thought) the author asked that the letter be scrapped.  Be that it is as it may, while I regret nothing printed here, I do regret the occasional readers taking such umbrage to sever a subscription or a friendship.  In the 40 years of writing a “Kolumn,” most of those few cancelled subscriptions and friendships have been happily renewed.

 I would humbly submit that the sky is blue. But there are those that would claim that the sky is green! How do we respond to that? Some would insist that if you think the sky is green then it is truly green to you, and my claiming that the sky is blue and imposing that on you would be “unloving” and therefore not consistent with a kind and inclusive religion that respects everyone’s opinion. I would also humbly submit that that approach to truth is insane. Here’s why.  That approach to truth leads to the conclusion that something can be both true and false at the same time. If we were to take spectrograph reading of the same sky that both are observing, the result would be in the frequency range of blue. If the one claiming a green sky still objects to the blue idea, they are objecting not just to the blue opinion, but to the whole idea of a standard of measurement.  The Bible presents a spiritual standard that when understood in its original language provides a basis for measuring right and wrong. “What it means to me” has no relevance if it differs from “What God meant.”  Is it truly loving to not disagree with lies and to ignore, in the name of tolerance, denial of God’s word?  In the end it would not go well for those that insist that the spiritual sky is green when it is truly blue! That is the clear message of Isaiah 5, especially verse 20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (NASB)  The sky is green? No; that is false. The sky is blue.

League of Women Voters candidate debate

Dear Editor,

I was at the League of Women Voters candidate debate paid for by them. Only Carl G. Oehling was not allowed up front to give his positions for the 79th District of the House of Representatives of Michigan.  I noticed all four (debaters) had basically the same politically correct positions on all the issues.  I may only get the Christian and possibly the Jewish vote. That is because I GUARANTEE JOBS only if we repent “our wicked ways” according to 2 Chron.7:14. We will have to stop condoning and murdering babies before/during abortion and change our Constitution on capital punishment. There is more, but that is a start.  On education all promoted more preschool and more taxes. I don’t understand! The Bible says, “Train up a child…” and then parents accept sending their children early to preschool to be taught an atheistic based education. I think Satan follows God’s word more faithfully than Christians.  I agree with the debaters on most the State issues except we are wasting money by making purchasing decisions by the Government rather than need. Replacing adequate road signs was a waste of money and only made sign manufacturers rich, in my opinion.  I think the tax structure is backwards. We should have more local taxes and way less federal taxes. We know the local needs. I don’t think we would have the culvert problem in Millburg if we did the job ourselves.  Concerning the unconstitutional, federal Education Department, parents and teachers who love their kids could designate the billions of dollars in taxes much better. I want to give you a real choice.

Carl G. Oehling


Clements represents real change

Dear Editor,

There has recently been news coverage of one presidential candidate claiming a conspiracy to influence political events. However, the real conspiracy has been the current dysfunction in Congress caused by Republicans obstructing and delegitimizing Democratic initiatives to pass legislation which would serve our citizens and move our country forward.  Some examples of legislation stagnating in Congress are: fair health and prescription drug coverage; Wall Street reform; comprehensive immigration reform; infrastructure improvements; investment in job training; and protecting the environment.  To take just one issue, in 2015 Fred Upton voted against 35 bills and amendments that would have protected our air, our public lands and, yes, even our water (League of Conservation Voters). Mr. Upton touts the message that he is bipartisan. Nothing could be further from the truth on legislation that affects all our lives and our children’s lives in the future. To learn his votes on other issues, go to votesmart.org. Read beyond the bill’s title, however, as many are misleading as to their true intent.  Paul Clements, Mr. Upton’s opponent in our Sixth District Congressional race, accepts the scientific truth of climate change and believes in the urgency of acting now to speed up the transition to clean energy resulting in the creation of many new jobs. To learn more about Mr. Clements’ positions on jobs, education, Medicare, Social Security and other issues, visit his website clementsforcongress.com.  If you want real change in Washington, it begins in Congress. In several recent polls, voters have indicated they would prefer Democrats to control Congress. Let’s make that happen by voting for Paul Clements for our Sixth District Congressional Representative.

Anne Tenerelli

St. Joseph

Vote for Beth Griffin for State House Representative

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the State House.  My focus has been squarely on job creation, raising household incomes, balancing budgets, and dedicating record resources to education and our local roads and bridges.  Unlike the federal government, we are making progress here in Michigan, and we need to continue advancing common sense policies that move this state forward.  I hope you will join me in supporting Beth Griffin for State House.  Beth’s top priority is to increase jobs and household incomes by creating an environment for small businesses and farms to succeed, enhancing workforce training, and improving our local roads.  As a teacher, Beth opposes the federal government trying to run our schools and instead favors more parental involvement, more local control, and increasing vocational training.  Beth works hard, cares about this community and listens to her neighbors.  Her opponent, Annie Brown, is way too liberal to represent us.  Annie Brown supports Obamacare, the government takeover of health care, and using your tax dollars to fund abortions.  Our economy is still recovering, but Annie Brown’s plan includes raising taxes by $2 billion on Michigan job providers and more than 100,000 small businesses. We have come too far and made too much progress to go back to the failed ways of the past. This community has always prioritized smart management, low taxes and better schools. Beth Griffin understands that, and she will keep our district and state moving in the right direction.

 I respectfully ask you to join me in voting for Beth.

Aric Nesbitt

I pledge to bring Energy, Integrity and Common Sense to Lansing

Dear Editor,

My name is Kim LaSata and I would like to be the next State Rep. for Northern Berrien County.  I am not a career politician, but rather a teacher, mother of four and Bainbridge Township farmer.  I am precisely what the founders and term limit advocates had in mind, a regular citizen who would like to use my skills and talents to improve our state and when my time is done in Lansing return to my classroom and farm.  I was raised in Coloma and completed elementary school at St. Joe Catholic in Watervliet.  Our family is now an active member of Saint Joseph Parish in Watervliet.  I completed middle school and two years of high school at Coloma before ultimately graduating from Lake Michigan CatholicIt would be my great honor to represent the Coloma/Watervliet area in the State Legislature.  I am well prepared to serve you in Lansing.  I earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Western Michigan University.  I have chaired four different non-profit organizations in our community which help kids and senior citizens.  I know how to work well with others to find solutions to difficult problems.  I pledge to bring Energy, Integrity and Common Sense to Lansing.  I was honored to have Sheriff Paul Bailey and Mary Tatter of Watervliet as co-chairs of my campaign.  Because of my strong background our campaign has been endorsed by the Small Business Association of Michigan, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.  Please go to our website votelasata.com to view additional information.  With your help and a vote for me, we can have Great Jobs, Great Schools and Safe Communities.  Thank you for your consideration.

Kim LaSata

Bainbridge Township

Faith, Hope and Charity; Vote Clinton and Brown

Dear Editor,

Faith, Hope and Charity, the basis of all religions has been stretched in this election in Van Buren County. One candidate, Beth Griffin hates Muslims, no charity. Thousands of Muslims have lived here in Michigan for generations, charity. We had a party at our cottages for 45 Muslims now living in Michigan, charity. Grand Rapids has hundreds of Muslims living there for security and peace in the State of Michigan, more will arrive here. Charity!  When I was a Registered Nurse I was shocked when a woman was admitted into a hospital with a lacerated uterus as the result of a back alley abortion, of course forced by a man. (The) History in all cultures; men were the superior person in all families. Women were there just to birth and raise children. History has stories of women jumping off of mountains; suicide and rejecting birth of children. Hope lost.  Along came Planned Parenthood, an organization which supports women in a broad spectrum of health matters. Abortions are not funded by public money. Faith!  The voters of Van Buren County twice elected President Obama and Debbie Stabenow.  Now is the time to elect Hillary Clinton and Annie Brown. Faith!

Ed Laforge


Endorsement for Carl Oehling

Dear Editor,

Following is my endorsement for Carl Oehling, candidate for Michigan House of Representatives, District 79.  Not just now, but at all times, are we called to stand for life, for liberty, and for justice. It is not now that our nation is at its most critical moment, but at all times are we at a deciding moment. It is at this time, and every time, that we must select the right person for the responsibility of our representation.  The one we select must make a free choice for God in their lives and their families. 2 Chronicles 7:14 speaks to this effect and reminds us the beautiful interaction between God’s people and Himself.  Our selection must be of a person who believes that murder requires justice. If innocent life (is) unjustly taken, then life is required of the one doing the taking. Capital punishment is a gift from God to keep and to restore order in society. (See Exodus 21:22-23)  “Thou shalt not murder” (Deuteronomy 5:17). These are the clearly spoken words by God to all mankind. There is no qualification for the victim and the command rings loud and clear for all to hear, all innocent life is to be valued and protected at all times regardless of color, ethnicity, ancestry, quality of life, age, size, or method of conception. The candidate of our choice must adhere to this eternal principle. Whether a young person is in their first day of life, after conception and before implantation, or in their latter years, they are deserving of the same life that you and I now enjoy.  Our representative should be one that is able, a God fearing individual, and be such that hates covetousness. (See Exodus 18:21)  Carl Oehling of Coloma, Michigan meets these qualifications and many more. He is the man for this job, and our community, our nation, would do well to see men like him in office.

Adam Briggs

Saint Joseph

Don’t vote by party; Vote for your best interest

Dear Editor,

A recent letter suggested that we should all vote Republican if we really care about important issues.  If one were to vote for Republican Congressman, Fred Upton you would be voting for a very wealthy man who has been in Congress for over twenty years, gets millions from outside interests, voted for every expense George Bush ever asked for, including the Iraq war, which brought instability in the Middle East, many killed and injured soldiers, and the financial crash.  Think about it, what has Mr. Upton ever really done to address your most important issues.  For the first time ever in this district, there will be no public debate as he refused to debate his opponent, Paul Clements. And, no, a forum without a back and forth on the issues doesn’t count. All over the country there have been debates with congressional candidates-see them on C-span. What is Mr. Upton afraid of?  Vote for Paul Clements instead!  If one were to vote for the Republican Candidate Beth Griffin for State Representative in Michigan’s 66th district you would be voting for a right wing extremist, recent President of the hate/anti-Muslim group, Act for America who sued the Allegan County Schools and the Allegan Police department under the name of Elizabeth Griffin.  She also used taxpayer time and money to raise campaign funds from some questionable outside interests.  Vote for Annie Brown instead!  In this election, don’t vote by party alone! Read, become informed, and vote for your own best interests.

Kathy Murphy

Vote for Cirilo Martinez for VB County District Court judge

Dear Editor,

Firmly planted in my front yard is a large sign urging everyone to vote for Cirilo Martinez in the Van Buren County District Court Judge contest. Here is why it is there.  For more than 45 years, I have practiced law in Michigan. Over that stretch, I personally represented a number of District, Probate and Circuit Court judges. Some moved on to the Court of Appeals. One became the Chief Judge of the Michigan Supreme Court.  All of the judicial officers I represented were experienced, thoughtful, forthright and modest while campaigning for office. They did not exaggerate their qualifications or lie about those of their opponents. It is otherwise with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney McKay, Cirilo Martinez’s opponent for this judicial office.  Mr. McKay’s boastful claim that he has represented the county in over 5,000 criminal cases is preposterous and factually unworthy of belief. The math does not add up for one, such as he, who has not even finished four years in his current position. Likewise, he surely must know by now that his campaign statement that he is the only candidate with criminal experience is false. Yet, he keeps repeating it.  The District Court is not, as Mr. McKay asserts, only a criminal court. It deals daily with an even more complex and perhaps heavier caseload of civil matters affecting the day-to-day lives of all Van Buren County residents. But, Mr. McKay has no civil legal experience. None.  Mr. McKay wants to be elevated to a position that will allow his old boss and campaign associate to appear before him. I call that a conflict of interest.  Cirilo Martinez possesses the positive attributes of the best judges that I have personally known. He deserves your vote.

Robert W. White



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