11-08-2018 Letters and Commentary

Helping veterans and active duty military members Every year on Veterans Day, we honor the people who risk their lives to protect our freedom. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the respect they deserve. Social Security’s disability program is an important part of our obligation to wounded warriors and their families. For military members who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to. If you know any wounded veterans, please let them know about Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/ woundedwarriors. The Wounded Warriors website answers 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 than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application. The expedited process is used for 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’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t 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. Social Security is proud to support 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. Our web pages are easy to share on social media and by email. Vonda VanTil 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 vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE… November 11 is Veterans Day; the day America sets aside to honor all its veterans of all branches of military service. It’s a certainty that a family member or friend has worn the uniform of the armed forces of the United States of America. They didn’t wear it for the badges and medals; they wore it to serve our country in war and peace. When you see them, especially this Veterans Day, thank them for their service. And to the Veterans reading this… Thank You for your service. Since Veterans Day, November 11, is on a Sunday this year, local services are being held on Friday and Saturday, see the front page of the Record for the date, times and location of the events.

DRUG PROBLEM… A reader of last week’s Record observed an error in a headline last week. It should have been “arrests made in Lawrence meth raid”, not in Hartford meth raid. I apologize for the error and for any confusion it may have caused. The reader also observed that some folks were concerned about the Record’s coverage of pot issues and marijuana. There was also a perceived impression that I was picking on Hartford. I have no preconceived notion of any illicit activity in any community. My reporters and I cover the news as it occurs and is reported to us, through public meeting coverage, news tips, and contacts with the local police departments, the Berrien and Van Buren County Sheriff’s Departments and the Michigan State Police. Those of you that have heard my explanation of the Tri-City Record’s “news hole” know… the Record seeks to cover all the news that occurs in the Tri-City Area, which basically is comprised of the communities that are included in the Coloma, Hartford and Watervliet School districts. That includes the city and township governments and the three school boards. All the “police news” sent to the Record is forwarded to senior correspondent Annette Christie who compiles the information, contacts the various police departments (and fire departments) and writes the weekly Police and Fire Reports over her byline each week. I discuss with her, weekly, the police and fire reports coming in, and updates that she is working on for the week’s paper. We have no control over the “police news” and endeavor to report it in an objective manner. If there is any consensus at all, it is all of us here at the Record have a sincere regard for the health and welfare of all in our Tri-City community and do our best to report to our readers the hometown news. That includes police news and the reports of illicit drug and alcohol use. We should all be concerned over the widespread use of illegal drugs in our community. Such use is on the increase and is a concern of law enforcement. I’m not seeking to open a discussion of marijuana or its legality… right or wrong … it is here to stay. Its abuse… like alcohol abuse does cause social issues that impact us all. I do have issues with the increase of drug abuse and have made a conscious effort to highlight the police and court activity as it pertains to our area by making it a headline event. I realize there are some who may take issue with this, especially those who have a family member that was named in a police report. Some time ago I had a phone call from a distraught person…. “Do you know the pain you have caused my parents by publishing my brother’s arrest and name in your paper?” My reply… “Isn’t that your brother’s fault?” All the police I have talked to about drug use in our area have expressed concern that it is on the rise. All also expressed reservations about passage of the recreational marijuana ballot issue. I could surmise, had I asked, all would have expressed reservations about alcohol abuse as well. I guess there are few in law enforcement that would miss dealing with anyone who is impaired by alcohol use or marijuana. Sadly, I suspect, there will always be a need for a police report.

ELECTION PREVIEW… I had a couple comments about the election preview in last week’s Record. All expressed appreciation that their “little” paper would provide so much space to the elections. It’s the biggest news of the week is always my reply. This week will have more of the same, as we publish the results of the local and state issues. One reader had an interesting comment; she said she was an early voter and she would have appreciated the Record election preview a few weeks earlier, especially Annette’s report of the marijuana issue. She felt more early voters would have the same concern. My thought is that folks to vote early would be prepared none-the-less. Another is when is early, early enough? That is something Amy and I will talk about before the presidential elections in 2020. Who knows, there could be a whole new batch of issues to address by then, including more accessible voting and registration via smartphones and the internet, or something we haven’t even thought of.


 In the November 1, 2018 issue of Tri-City Record, an error was made at the top on the front page. Arrests made in Hartford meth raid should have read Lawrence meth raid.

 Also an error was made in the Nov. 1 issue on Page 15 in the photo caption for the service award to Jack and David Clark. Jack is on the left in the photo and David is on the right.

 Tri-City Record is sorry for any inconveniences or confusions these errors may have caused.

Win a Thanksgiving turkey!

Make sure to enter the Record’s free Thanksgiving Turkey drawing. Look for merchant coupons on Page 7 of this week’s Tri-City Record.

Here is how to enter all the drawings… Fill in the turkeys with your name, address, and phone number. Cut the turkey entries from the paper and drop them off at the participating stores (one entry per visit, please). The winning entries will be drawn Monday, November 19, 2018 at 12:00 noon. Winner will be contacted by phone by the sponsoring business, and the names of all the winners will be published in the Thanksgiving edition of the Tri-City Record.

Store employees and their families are not eligible to win their employer’s prize; however, they may win turkeys from other participating businesses. Please drop off your own entry in each store! You must be at least 18 and you do not need to be a subscriber to enter!

For a free copy of this coupon page, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to the Tri-City Record, Box 7, Watervliet MI 49098, or stop by the office at 138 N. Main St., Watervliet.

Hunting & Fishing Reports are helpful

Dear Editor,

Hi, I just wanted to thank you for having a hunting and fishing section in your paper. I think it is great and very helpful to local hunters that you take the time to add this in your paper. I feel that the many people who receive your product like it because now they don’t need to buy a booklet with the current season dates they can just pick up a paper.

I would also like to thank you for adding your contact information on the paper because now I can send you this note and receive a Merit badge that will help me toward my eagle rank.


James Miller

Troop 696

Thank you from Van Buren County United Way

Dear Editor,

Van Buren County United Way would like to thank everyone who supported our 7th Annual Stuff the Bus Food Pantry Drive on November 3.  Winter is just around the corner and as many families face difficulties with keeping up with higher utilities bills and feeding their children when schools close for the holidays, they will be looking to our local food pantries for assistance.

We are most grateful to the many individuals and businesses who stepped up to help us this year.  The grocery store managers at Harding’s, Wagoner’s, Family Fare and Village Market, as well as the Dollar General in Covert welcomed our efforts and posted signs announcing our event.  All our local school districts agreed to provide buses and drivers from throughout the county to volunteer their time to drop off and pick-up buses.