11-03-2016 Letters and Commentary


Thank you Halloween in the Park sponsors for 2016

Dear Editor,

Thank you to local businesses, organizations and volunteers for helping with our 2016 Halloween in the Park in downtown Coloma.

We had an unseasonably mild day which led to record crowds for this annual event. The Coloma Township Police Department and North Berrien Community Development coordinated a fun, safe Halloween gathering with delicious grilled hot dogs, popcorn, beautiful cupcakes, juice, and tremendous amounts of candy given to the costumed children.

The Coloma Township Police Department did a phenomenal job with their Egyptian theme and pyramids that you could walk through and enjoy with all the spooky figures and volunteers in elaborate costumes.  Numerous business owners, city and township officials and community members volunteered their time to help staff the event, candy and food lines.  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 for adults and children.  Delicious apples were donated by Fruit Acres for the crowds.

Tom Gear was on hand playing upbeat music for the crowds and announcing all our sponsors for the full two hours. A big thank you to the Coloma Lions Club for coordinating the first ever Pumpkin Derby in the morning as a kickoff for the day; that was a really fun time with adults and children racing decorated wheeled pumpkins down the track for a chance at a trophy.

Without the sponsorships of the contributors and volunteers helping, Halloween in the Park would not have been possible so we want to thank the following: Alpha Baking Company, Apryl Watson (our wonderful photographer),  B & B Outlet, Bertuca Bonding, Best Way Disposal, Boelcke Heating and Air Conditioning, Certified Auto Repair (C.A. R.), Centsible Heating and Air, Chemical Bank, City of Coloma, Coloma DDA,  Coloma Charter Township, Coloma Lioness Club, Chief Roe and the Coloma Township Police Department, Coloma City Public Works Department, Coloma United Methodist Church, Coloma-Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce, Dan Stuglik,  Diann Pudell, Downtown Digits, DiMaggio’s Pizza and Burgers, Edgewater Bank, El Asadero, Fifth Third Bank, Four Season’s Spa and Pool Services, Friendly  Tavern, Full Moon Advertising, Getz Dentistry, Grapevine Nursery,  Hair Innovations and Day Spa, Handmade Treasures, Honor Credit Union, Hub Central 185, J.S. Fulton Construction, Jim & Sherry Polashak, Justin VanFerrari and the volunteers from Freshwater Church, Keith Hammond, Kent Churchill and Churchill Farms, LaGrow Consulting, Lane Automotive, Linda Freitag, Linda’s Antiques, LOMA Theatre, Marsha Hammond, Mary Spaulding, Maya Hammond, McDonald’s Coloma, Melanie and Jason Cowgill, Midwest Civil Engineers, Midwest Family Broadcasting,  M & M Polishing Inc., Nate and Kelly Clements, North Berrien Fire & Rescue, North Berrien Community Development (NBCD), Orchard Hill Landfill, R &  B Stelter Farm, Randy’s BP & Randy’s Service Center, Reflections Hair Studio, River of Life Church, Robert Michael Salon and Spa, Rory Bell & family, Sharon Yoder State Farm Insurance, Sharon Kreitner, Stacey Davis, Subway of Coloma and Watervliet, The Tea Cup Peddler, Todd Korabik State Farm Agency, Tracy Tavolacci, Vincent J. Jewelers, Waterfront Restaurant, Wil-O-Paw Animal Hospital and WTP.

Thank you also to the wonderful group of Coloma High School students that helped wherever we needed them for the full two hours we certainly appreciated their community spirit!

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 2017 Halloween in the Park, please call our office at 468-4430.  This event continues to grow each year and we need more volunteers and sponsors; watch for more information for 2017 as we change it up a bit. Check out the Coloma Township Police Department Facebook page for the hundreds of photos from Saturday. Thank you again to everyone!

Chana Kniebes

Community Development Coordinator

North Berrien Community Development

Many reasons to vote for Annie Brown

Dear Editor,

Annie Brown for State Representative! And let me tell you why… She is courageous, she is smart, she is thoughtful, and she is laser focused on fighting for Michigan families, schools, the elderly and the disenfranchised. Annie Brown will work to insure that government operates effectively on behalf of all of us. Annie is reasonable, and she has been a supportive asset in our community for many years. As a South Haven School Board Member, she is fully invested in the heart beat of the community. We need Annie’s heartfelt desires for improvement, at work in Lansing to represent the 66th District. The Michigan House of Representatives will experience the excitement, motivation, and commitment of Annie Brown. As one who knows Annie personally, her giving heart motivates her to always help others.

Just a few of many reasons to vote for Annie Brown for State Representative!

Cheryl Ward, Covert

Vote for Suzie Roehm for VB County Clerk

Dear Editor,

As County Clerk for the past twelve years I know the complexities of the position and how important it is to have someone with knowledge and experience in this lead role.  That is why I wholeheartedly endorse and support Suzie Roehm in her bid for Clerk.  Suzie is without a doubt the most qualified candidate for Van Buren County Clerk.

After working in the Clerk’s Office for eight years Suzie was appointed Chief Deputy by former County Clerk Shirley Jackson before her retirement in 2003. Suzie was appointed Acting County Clerk by the Chief Circuit Judge during the year before I was elected in November 2004.  During that time Suzie prepared budgets, worked cooperatively with the Judges and Courts, conducted the General Election for the County, supervised staff and managed the Office… and did it well.  There was no question who would be my Chief Deputy when I was elected Clerk.  Suzie was my first choice.

Since that time we have worked together as a team and I’m very proud of the accomplishments and progress we’ve made in the Clerk’s Office.  We now have vital records (birth, death, marriage) digitized for security and easy retrieval.  We’ve consistently been in the forefront when working with the State to pilot and implement new programs, systems and software.  Suzie instituted and maintains a payment program for felony defendants that holds them responsible and insures that they pay the restitution and court costs they owe.  Because of the diversity of the services the Clerk’s Office provides, we have one of the busiest offices in the County and our customer service is second to none!

Suzie has the qualifications, proven experience, dedication and commitment to continue moving the office forward. On November 8 please join me in voting for and electing Suzie Roehm as our next Van Buren County Clerk.

Tina Leary, Van Buren County Clerk

Vote for Marletta Seats and Paul Clements

Dear Editor,

Marletta Seats is certainly the best and most qualified candidate for State Rep. in the 79th District (North Berrien). She has been a leading County Commissioner for the past 12 years. I have observed her hard work, dedication and high intelligence on the Commission. She deserves congratulations for her work in improving indigent legal defense in our County and restoring confidence in our legal system as well as for her work with jail inmates and against drug abuse. Marletta is a practical, non-ideological, results-oriented leader who will work for ALL of our community, working effectively with leaders from across the aisle. Her opponent, Kim LaSata, has demonstrated a severe lack of good judgment by her endorsement of Donald Trump – a man profoundly unfit for public life, much less the Presidency!

Paul Clements should be our next U.S. Congressman! Rather than training for a career as a sports journalist (as did our current Congressman) he trained for public service at Harvard and Princeton, becoming an expert in reforming bureaucracies and economies, work he has done internationally and subjects he has taught for 20 years at Western Michigan University. Mr. Upton has failed a basic test of democracy – he is unwilling to present himself to the public in a debate format that would allow citizens to judge him and his ideas in an open contest. Upton’s failures to acknowledge the truth about global warming are only one example of his failed ideas. Upton has become a captive of the Tea Party and has failed his constituents by giving us the current budget “sequestration”. He touts his “21st Century Cures” bill but fails to admit that it is no more than long over-due regulatory adjustments and a modest increase in research funding.

Eric Lester, M.D., St. Joseph

Marletta Seats, candidate for 79th District, Michigan House

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter as a private person who has talked seriously about issues with both Marletta Seats and her opponent.

Marletta is a person who has spent her life in the service of the community. She has experience as a Berrien County commissioner. She is literally on the street and inside the institutions that serve the persons in her district every day.

Marletta will tell you that “we need to start thinking about the resources and assets that we have and build on those. Talking about community needs has not gotten the job done. We need to build up from our resources. Start with what we have.”

When asked about how tourism and local jobs fit together, she responds, “Tourism and second homes are a great gift to our community. But if we want our children to be able to live here, we need to create jobs that will earn them a decent living. I have not given up on that dream.”

Marletta Seats is a person respected by everyone with whom she has worked. Friends who have known Marletta for years and have worked with her say, “She is passionate, her head is on straight, and she gets things done for the people who rarely have anyone caring about them. She is a person with whom you can disagree and then work together to do something.”

Marletta’s opponent is a fine person. She has been teaching elementary school for years. She is best known as the wife of a judge, who was a great state representative. Her signs leave it unclear whether you are voting for her or her husband. Legal and smart. Her thoughts about government are always the same: “Reduce Taxes and Regulations.” When you push you find that it is a slogan; not a plan.

Marletta Seats will make a difference. I urge voters in the 79th District to vote for Marletta Seats.

Dan Coffey, New Buffalo

Impressed with Kim LaSata

Dear Editor,

It is my pleasure to support Kim LaSata for state representative of the 79th District of the State of Michigan. Kim has been a loyal and trusted friend of mine for thirty years as well as a fellow Berrien County Guardianship board member. Her well rounded experience in business, community service, education, family farming and knowledge of the legislative process will be invaluable as a member of the Michigan Legislature.

Kim impresses me with her intelligence, honesty, work ethic, the willingness to listen and consider views other than her own, her love and passion for quality education for a.1I students and better working conditions and compensation for hardworking and dedicated teachers. She has an impressive ability to grasp and implement new ideas and projects. If she is elected to the state legislature she will be prepared to serve the people of her district as soon as she gets to Lansing.

Her campaign brochure says “Energy. Integrity. Common Sense.” Those words best define Kim LaSata. I hope you will join me in voting for her for state representative in the 79th District.

Mary Tatter, Watervliet

The Noble Murders

Dear Editor,

In August of 2002, Roberta and Carlin Noble were brutally murdered in their Van Buren County home. Two of the three suspects who took part in the killings were put on trial, convicted, and sent to prison for the heinous act, but the third suspect was not. Timothy Andrews, who later confessed to being present at the time of the murders and to setting the Noble’s home on fire to cover up the crime, had not been brought to justice for what he did. After taking part in the killings of two innocent people, Timothy Andrews was sent to prison only for perjury. With a parole date fast approaching, I brought the case to Assistant Prosecutor Mike McKay in 2014.

This case could not go undone. Roberta and Carlin were good people, innocent people. They were killed in a very brutal way. I made a promise that I would see their case through and get justice for them. When I saw that he could be released from prison, I brought the case to Mike McKay. I knew that if the case could be prosecuted, Mike had the fortitude to get it done.

After months of work and further investigation, Mike decided the case was still strong enough, even after over a decade had passed, to charge Andrews for his role in the killings. The Noble’s surviving son wanted to see justice for his parents. He also hoped that Andrews would stay in prison for at least 10 more years – another decade that they wouldn’t have to think about him walking the streets.

On June 5, 2015, Mike got Timothy Andrews convicted of murder in the 2nd Degree and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He will be nearly 70 years old before he can be released.

That was an important case for the Nobles, their family, and for our community. I can’t say how much I appreciate Mike’s work on the Noble case. Mike McKay would be an excellent judge for Van Buren County. He is fair, compassionate, and has the right priorities. With his experience outside of the courtroom, he has the right tools for the job.

Chief of Police Thomas Verberg

Supporting Kim LaSata

Dear Editor,

Kim LaSata is our best choice to send to Lansing as our state representative. Simply stated, she holds to the fundamental American ideal that we are to be governed not ruled, that governance is best coming from local governing bodies, and that our representatives are citizens first rather than career professional politicians or civil servants rising through the ranks of political power on the basis of “time served”.

Kim is committed to her fundamental values but is also open to new ideas, new information and can be pragmatic when necessary. We should remember that we elect representatives rather than robots or recording devices that will mimic our individual opinions and concerns. We should select people that have the closest set of values to our own and a willingness to learn, listen and work to represent our best interests when they are given all of the information on any subject at hand. Kim has shown that she is willing to listen and re-evaluate based on all the available information and is willing to put in the time and effort to research the facts behind the issues rather than act on just emotion and suggest a knee jerk reaction to the “crisis of the day”.

Party affiliation does matter. Neither party can represent our own ideals perfectly but there is a very basic and underlying difference currently represented by each party. As a Republican, Kim will still vote her conscience and make the best decisions based on the evidence available but the Republican party also represents the broad belief shared by Kim that government is to be limited, non-invasive and as minimally controlling as possible in a representative democratic society. The Democratic Party seems intent to rush ever faster toward a redistribution of wealth that ultimately leaves only the political elite and their cronies wealthy and in power along with an ever increasing regulatory environment masquerading under the guise of concern and care while working mostly to ensure and increase their own power and financial welfare with little or no consequence to the missions they were originally charged with. Kim LaSata is not afraid to ask the difficult questions and she will demand performance and accountability while striving to make at least our state government live up to the standards that we have a right to demand and expect.

Brad Wendzel

MAKE SURE TO VOTE TUESDAY… November 8 is Election Day in the United States of America.

That is the day the eligible citizens may cast their single vote to elect the President of the United States, and for a myriad of other candidates seeking public office, as well as public issues to fund schools and other worthy causes.

No matter the rancor and emotion stirred up, it is the duty of all eligible Americans to cast their ballot for the candidates and the issues they support.

A vote not cast is not a vote saved for another day. It is a vote lost forever.

Do not lose it. Be an American Patriot and vote for your country.

RIP MADAME EDITOR… Longtime Watervliet Record Editor and Watervliet School Board member Joan Banasik passed away last week (her obituary is on Page 6).

Joan and her husband Gordon published the Watervliet Record from 1959 to 1984 when they sold it to Anne and me. They were the consummate newspaper publisher team. Joan worked days and evenings gathering the news and handling the subscription and ad customers. Gordon worked nights running the printing press and the Record Printing Company. Together they would put the pages together and print the Watervliet Record.

Joan was the first person I met in Watervliet when I came to purchase the Record from them.

She was at her desk in the front office, answering the phone and updating subscription cards. She brought me up to speed on the local news stories, sports highlights and the club gossip.

She was a classic hometown – homespun newspaperwoman… she was excited by publishing the news, but did not want it to get in the way of her family, church or business.

When I asked her about a story she had just told me, she said, “Oh, we didn’t put it in the paper, but that other paper did.”

Not long after selling the paper, she ran for the Watervliet School Board. Not surprisingly, she was elected. I am sure her name recognition and reporting fairly and judiciously meant many more votes.

She got my vote right off. Joan made it clear that she was not happy to sell the paper. Even so, she realized it was the right thing to do at the time and not once did she say or do anything to prevent Anne and me from closing the deal.

After 25 years of editing the Watervliet Record, she served another 20 on the school board. Had it not been for ill health just a few years back, I’m sure she would still be on the board, serving the community fairly and faithfully.

I always appreciated the fact that although she regretted giving up the Record, but she made us feel welcome and always was helpful and gracious. She was our first friend in Watervliet, and one of the best.

Supporting our wounded warriors

 Every Veterans Day, the nation honors the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the support they deserve. A vital part of that is administering the Social Security disability program.

For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website is at socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

The expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they are unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay does not necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person cannot receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

Learn more by visiting socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

With over 80 years of experience and compassionate service, Social Security is proud to support our veterans and active duty members of the military. Let these heroes know they can count on us when they need to take advantage of their earned benefits, today and tomorrow.

 Jesus was disgusted with spiritual leaders of His day. The “Pharisees” were a self-righteous, hypocritical group committed to their own agenda instead of God’s direct instructions. They hated Jesus’ message.

Jesus once explained that “not one jot or tittle” (smallest letter and notation in Hebrew language) of God’s word would fail to come true. (Matthew 5). The Pharisees liked to “put commas where God had put periods”, adding and subtracting from God’s word as served their agendas. Like their rule of “corban” whereby adult children could effectively disown their parents by pledging money to the Temple that should be used to help meet their parents’ needs. Find Jesus nailed them on that in Mark 7.

Some religious leaders still ignore God’s word, replacing God’s periods with commas to serve their purposes. Such is the case with the moral issue of abortion. While a social and political issue, it is first a moral issue.

The Bible clearly speaks, directly and indirectly that preborn children are real persons in the following passages: Psalm 139:16 – They are intended to live out their lives. Ephesians 2:10 – They are intended to have spiritually meaningful, purposeful lives. Judges 13:5 – Samson was dedicated as a “boy” to the LORD while in the womb. Luke 1:15 – “He” (John the Baptist) was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. Persons get filled with the Holy Spirit, not tissue. Luke 1:41-44 – When Mary’s voice was heard, “the baby” leaped in Elizabeth’s womb.

These are a few obvious examples that would require us to change God’s word to deny the personhood of preborn children, and to ignore God’s loving purpose for each of them.

Samson’s mother, Elizabeth, and Mary also model an honorable willingness to temporarily surrender some of their personal rights for the sake of the lives of their preborn sons.


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