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10-31-2019 Letters and Commentary

FROM POPE FRANCIS… I was “surfing” the web Sunday evening and came across an article titled, “A gentle reminder from Pope Francis”. When I read it, I said to Anne, I just read the most amazing thing. Its written by Pope Francis and he’s not preaching for us to be good Christians, he’s not telling us not to sin, he’s not saying gay marriage is wrong; he says for us to relax, don’t worry, enjoy life, be good to others, and enjoy our blessings. The Pope wrote we should enjoy our blessings now. Why not. Why wait until bedtime to say our prayers, why not say them now. Why wait till Christmas to celebrate, celebrate now, why wait. Here’s what I read as printed on the web… nothing is deleted or changed. If you don’t read all of it, or any of it, please read the final paragraph, written by me.

A Gentle Reminder from Pope Francis This life will go by fast. Don’t fight with people, don’t criticize your body so much, don’t complain so much. Don’t lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness. Never stop being a good parent. Don’t worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don’t kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don’t dedicate yourself to accumulating money. Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve. Allow dogs to get closer. Don’t put away the fine glassware. Utilize the new dinnerware; don’t save your favorite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favorite sport shoes; repeat your favorite clothes. So what? That’s not bad. Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect… look… Everything perfect doesn’t exist. Human beings can’t accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn. So take this challenge that is life and do it now… love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God’s hands. Amen.

Sadly, how many times have we said, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I did a search of the web and found a discussion of the veracity of the claim that the letter (epistle) “The Popes Gentle Reminder”, was not written by him this year, not last year, not the year before and probably not at all. There is evidence the “Gentle Reminder” was circulated in English on the web in 2016 without authorship. Prior to that publishing, it was printed in Portuguese the year before that in a South American magazine, authored by a female singer. As the author wrote, “so what”. Does it matter that this thoughtful and insightful letter was not written by the Pope? I don’t think so. SNOPES a fact checking web site observed often times writings placed on the web by unknown contributors languish there unread. When such writings are resubmitted with a well-known personage, the readership grows exponentially. So I chose to print the letter here because of the great message it contains. I never came across it before because it was unnoticed. What prompted me to read it was the name of the author, a truly great leader, gentle and kind. So what does it matter, nothing or everything, that the Pope didn’t write it. Maybe he did.

Correction Hagar Twp. Board meeting is November 11 In the October 24, 2019 issue of Tri-City Record, an error occurred on Page 6 in the report of the Hagar Township October business meeting. It was incorrectly reported that the November business meeting would be rescheduled to November 12 due to a conflict with Veterans Day. That meeting will in fact be held as usual on Monday, Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m. at the Hagar Twp. Hall. Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have caused.

Halloween in the Park Trunk or Treat sponsors for 2019 Dear Editor, Thank you to local businesses, organizations and volunteers for helping with the 2019 Halloween in the Park, Trunk or Treat in downtown Coloma. The North Berrien Community Development, Coloma Township Police Department and the Coloma Lions Club coordinated a fun, safe Halloween gathering with delicious grilled hot dogs, popcorn, juice, apples and candy given to the costumed children. Numerous business owners, Lions Club members, and City and Township officials volunteered their time to help bag the popcorn, pour juice and run the food line. Fun games were organized by Freshwater Community Church in Laura Baker Park and the Coloma Lion’s Club did a fabulous job of grilling hot dogs even in the rain for adults and children. Delicious apples were donated by Fruit Acres and Tom Gear was on hand playing upbeat music and announcing sponsors during the event. The Coloma Lions Club coordinated their Annual Pumpkin Derby that morning as a kickoff for the day with some beautiful and cleverly decorated pumpkins and Coloma Community Schools decorated a spooky “Haunted School Bus” behind City Hall! Without the sponsorships and volunteers, Halloween in the Park would not have been possible so we want to thank the following: ABC Truck Repair, Alpha Baking Company, American Home Real Estate – Mikki Swisher, Apryl Watson, Bertuca Bonding, Best Way Disposal, Big C Lumber, Boss Services Heating and Air, Certified Auto Repair (C.A.R.), Centsible Heating and Air, Chemical Bank, Coloma City, Coloma DDA, Coloma Choirs and National Honor Society members, Coloma Charter Township, Coloma Community Schools, Coloma Lioness Club, Coloma/ St. Joseph KOA, Chief Smigielski, Dan Stuglik and the Coloma Township Police Department and reservists, Coloma City Public Works Department, Coloma Subway, Coloma United Methodist Church, Coloma UMC Fellowship, Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce, Cutting Corners, Downtown Digits, Easy Street, Edgewater Bank, Edward Jones – Brian W. Smith, El Asadero, Four Season’s Spa and Pool Services, Commissioner Fred Reeves, Friendly Tavern, Full Moon Advertising, Fruit Acres, Fusion Center for Dance, Grapevine Nursery, Hair Innovations and Day Spa, Hillview Estates, H&R Block, Honor Credit Union, Hub Central 185, If the Show Fits, J.S. Fulton Construction, John’s Glass, Justin VanFerrari and the volunteers from Freshwater Church, Keep Me in Mind Repurposed Treasures, Commissioner Kent Churchill, LADD, Linda’s Antiques, LOMA Theatre, Commissioner Marsha Hammond, Midway Baptist Church, Mike’s Pit Stop, North Berrien Fire & Rescue and Chief Mattix, North Berrien Community Development (NBCD), Orchard Hill Landfill, R & B Stelter Farm, Reflections Hair Studio, Rory Bell, Roseann Clements, Sandy Kraemer, Soulards, Tom Gear, Tracy Tavolacci, Waterfront Restaurant, Wil-O-Paw Animal Hospital, WTP and Youth Development Company. A special thank you to the wonderful group of Coloma students that volunteered and helped wherever we needed them we certainly appreciated their community spirit! If we have forgotten anyone we thank you for your help and support. Continue to patronize these area businesses that contributed toward the success of a wonderful community event. If you would like to volunteer, contribute or participate in the event next year it will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Thank you again to everyone! Chana Kniebes Community Development Coordinator North Berrien Community Development/ Coloma Watervliet Chamber of Commerce

Marijuana legality is still challenged Dear Editor, Recent articles involving the issue of marijuana legalization often have, in my opinion, the subtext that the issue has not already been decided. In fact, voters in Michigan have already approved the use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes in separate referendums that were a decade apart, in spite of the issuance of local ordinances or business permits. Regardless of permits or local board votes, citizens of Michigan will be consuming marijuana, legally, in our community, our neighborhoods, in Watervliet, Coloma, and Hartford. As with most social conservative failures in both legislation and at the ballot box, local municipalities find it necessary to respond with knee-jerk reactions to the will of a free people voting to behave freely. Whether it is denying permits to recreational and medicinal marijuana dispensaries or opting to not issue marriage permits at all after the legalization of same sex marriage, social conservatives will always find a way to “have the last word,” however ineffectual and/or irrelevant. Our municipalities can deny permits to businesses all they want and they can bicker about the hypothetical of a gay wedding cake. Nevertheless, it will still be legal to smoke marijuana, marry someone of the same sex, and conduct yourself otherwise freely in the state of Michigan, per the will of the voters of Michigan. What won’t change is the abject failure of the so called social conservative movement, a child’s idea of paint by numbers morality. James Tyler, Watervliet

Raccoons in the daytime “let them be” Dear Karl, After reading the letter that Roy Davis included in last week’s Tri-City Record regarding his friend’s encounter with a raccoon, I felt motivated to comment on his friend’s reaction to the raccoon. Her behavior was exactly the wrong way to deal with this daytime raccoon. In fact, I thought her description of the cat’s behavior sounded more of a concern that the cat was rabid than the raccoon. She admitted she has lived in the country her entire life and that a raccoon out in the daylight was a strong indication it could be ill. I too, have frequented the countryside over my 60-plus years and have seen many a raccoon, opossum etc. out in the daytime and have left them alone as they have left me alone. Here is some information I gleaned from a website entitled Animal Welfare League of Alexandria: “If you see a raccoon out in the daytime, let him be. Just being outside during daylight hours does not mean he’s sick or rabid. His home may have been disturbed, or he could just be hungry. It’s perfectly normal for raccoons to be active during the day. “If you see baby raccoons or a raccoon you encounter seems friendly, let them be. Raccoons are wild animals and a raccoon who feels cornered or threatened can be dangerous.” Dennis Bachman, Benton Harbor

Red Cross: Healthy donors needed to maintain blood supply As influenza activity picks up this fall, the American Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets to ensure a strong blood supply for patients in need. Blood and platelets can only be given by donors who are feeling well.

Flu shot doesn’t affect blood donation eligibility One way to maintain health is to get a flu vaccine each fall. There is no waiting period to give blood or platelets after receiving a flu shot as long as the donor is symptom-free and fever-free. For those that have the flu, it is important to wait until they no longer exhibit flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation. All blood types needed now Donors of all blood types, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood are urged to give now to ensure a stable supply this fall. Stay healthy this flu season and make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Upcoming blood donation opportunities Nov. 1-15: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 9:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Lawrence Conference Center, 490 South Paw Paw Street in Lawrence Wednesday, Nov. 6, 12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Bethel Baptist Church, 6701 Blue Star Highway South in South Haven

You can get social with Social Security Social Security means many different things to many different people. To a spouse who has lost their partner, it may mean a monthly check to help with childcare costs. For a wounded warrior, Social Security might mean a lifeline of income that improves their quality of life. And chances are, you’ll rely on us one day as well. Social Security provides millions of people with retirement and disability benefits. This means we need to be able to start a conversation and answer questions for those millions of deserving people. Social media allows us to quickly help people in a cost-effective and agile way. We use our Facebook page to share information about our programs, policies, and services with our vast network of followers and advocacy groups. We also monitor and provide quick-turnaround responses to select questions and comments that people post. We also hold Facebook Live events to dive deep into topics that matter to you. socialsecurity. Our blog, named Social Security Matters, gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement- and disability-related solutions. ( Our Instagram page is a mostly visual outlet where we share our top ten baby names of the year and other trend-setting stats. We use this page to share information about our programs, policies, and services. ( Do you prefer getting information from videos? Social Security’s YouTube channel is an archive of informative videos. ( Our Twitter page is updated frequently with up-to-date information that is easy to share. ( Follow us today! Be part of the conversation. Share our posts with friends and family who may not know about our services. Vonda Van Til 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

Favorite time of year For many, fall is a favorite time of year. There can be a lot of reasons for that. One is anticipation of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. Then there’s football, and maybe new opportunities with the hunting season schedule, ice fishing, skiing – downhill and cross-country. Summer was fun. It was warm. But now we’re thinking about “color tours”. There’s a new crispness in the air. In the colder night air the stars are brighter due to lower humidity, and the trees turning colors gives promise of snow right around the corner. Another winter is approaching. Those living in colder climates get used to the cycles of nature, and while we may develop the annual habit of stoic determination, unless they become “snowbirds” escaping to some warmer climate – at least for a couple of weeks. Autumn, for most of us, is a not time of escape, but of preparation. Clean up the leaves. Check the heating system. Replace filters. Check out the snow shovels and snow blowers. Replace the screens with storm windows. Drain the hoses. Insulate the faucets. All kinds of things need to be done to prepare for the inevitable winter. The only way not to be afraid of it is to be ready for it. That’s true for life as well. When we’re younger, in the spring and summer of our lives, winter seems very far away. Growing up, families and careers take our attention. If we’re wise, we think enough about the future to prepare as best we can financially. Winter is coming. Being ready reduces the fear factor. Even the squirrels know enough to save nuts! But what about being spiritually ready? That reduces the fear factor too. We may not normally think about that important aspect, but to ignore it could be devastating. Are you ready? The message at 800-NEED HIM (800-633-3446) can help.


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