11-24-2016 Letters and Commentary



Donation appreciated

Dear Editor,

With your help 220 service members are each receiving a box filled with love, support, a little bit of home and lots of Holiday Cheer!

Thank you for your very generous donation for our 14th annual “Christmas Open House” event. There are no words that can express our deep appreciation of your support to our mission of supporting the troops. We are committed to projects which help raise the morale of our troops and bring more support to America’s service members, veterans and their families.

Saturday, November 12, 2016 was an amazing day at Michigan Lutheran High School! We started with a moving program hearing from those who have served, Blue Star Mothers, and music from retired military members. Then it was time to pack boxes for our troops! With the help of many hands 220 boxes were packed and shipped! Each box contained at least two one gallon size zip lock bags of toiletries as well as two one gallon size zip lock bags with food items. Every box also contained Christmas stockings and larger bulk goodies; Oreo cookies, peanut butter and jelly, magazines, books, toys and very special handmade cards and letters written by students from local area schools. The total cost of mailing was $4,575.35. To date we have sent 5,233 boxes at a cost of $104,947.76. You enabled us to accomplish this and we are so very appre­ciative!

Thank you for being part of a community that is so supportive of America’s military, and for your contribution that made this project successful. We could never have done this without your help!!

With sincere gratitude,

Blue Star Mothers Chapter #177

VB County Road Commission snow removal operations

Dear Editor,

The road commission wants you to know… as in previous years, normal operations of the Van Buren County Road Commission are scheduled between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Routine snow removal and ice control will be performed during normal work hours only.  Snow removal operations begin on County Primary Roads as a first priority (Red Arrow Highway, Blue Star Highway and all roads with the “CR” designation).  Local Roads (streets and avenues) and roadways within subdivisions are given secondary priority.

Weekend operations and/or overtime operations will be authorized in the event of a snowfall in excess of four inches (4″) only on the most critical locations on selected County Primary Roads, as conditions permit.  In the event of a snowfall in excess of eight inches (8″), authorization shall be extended to cover the remaining County Primary Roads System and the Local Road System of the affected area(s), as conditions permit.  In addition, unusual ice and/or wind conditions causing hazardous driving on the affected areas of the road system may also be authorized, as conditions permit.

In all cases, minimum crew sizes will be utilized to cover the affected areas with every effort within the physical and financial resources of the Road Commission being made to keep the roads in a safe and reasonable condition for public travel.

The Snow Plow Policy can be found on the Van Buren County Road Commission’s website at www.vbcrc.org.

Remember: Drive slow on ice and snow!

Van Buren County Road Commission

Red Cross urges donors to give the perfect gift this winter

Dear Editor,

Blood and platelet donations needed throughout holiday season.

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give the perfect gift this holiday season – a lifesaving blood or platelet donation. By rolling up a sleeve, donors can help ensure patients continue to receive treatment throughout the holiday season.

Busy holiday schedules and travel plans make it more challenging for regular donors to give, and many businesses and organizations postpone hosting blood drives during the holiday season for these same reasons. This can lead to a decline in blood donations, but the need is constant.

“While many of us gather with friends and family this time of year, patients may spend the holidays in a hospital room,” said Todd Kulman of the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “The need for blood doesn’t take a break for the holidays. Please make an appointment to give the most meaningful gift of all – the gift of life through a blood or platelet donation.”

To encourage donations around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood or platelets from Nov. 24-28 will be emailed a set of recipes from celebrity chef partners Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Richard Blais, David Burke, Mike Isabella and Ellie Krieger.

Power Red maximizes donations; blood donors with type O, B negative and A negative blood can help more patients with one appointment by making a Power Red donation at select Red Cross blood donation centers and blood drives. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells – the most commonly transfused blood component. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and are frequently given to trauma and surgery patients. During a Power Red donation, red blood cells are separated from other blood components, and plasma and platelets are then safely and comfortably returned to the donor.

“With just a little extra time at their appointment, donors can have an even greater impact on patients in need,” added Kulman.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities: Friday, November 25, 12 noon – 5:45 p.m., Federated Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford and Thursday, December 15, 12 noon – 5:45 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 7454 Paw Paw Avenue, Watervliet.

To donate blood, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

American Red Cross


HAPPY THANKSGIVING… may you all count your blessings this Thanksgiving and share the happiness with all those you love and who love you.

COUNTING MY BLESSINGS… a year ago this week, Dr. Brooks told me my aortic heart valve was failing and had to be replaced, “sooner than later.”

Well, I had it replaced sooner and my heart is pumping away just as it is supposed to.

Health is just one of my blessings. I have a wonderful, loving family that I am very proud of. Just last week our first great grandchild was born. Proud parents of William Harold Loshbough V are Willy Loshbough and Brook Rose. William was born at 11:07 a.m. on Saturday, November 19. He was 7.11 lbs and 21 inches long.


My lovely wife Anne, despite her own health problems, thoroughly enjoyed the new baby news and is now hosting a houseful of family guests for Thanksgiving. She likes nothing better than having the kids around making cookies for any occasion. This weekend we are looking forward to another great tradition… the kids that can, come over and help Grandma and Grandpa put up our 13 foot Christmas tree.

Another blessing is my job. I consider myself one of the lucky ones that have a job that he enjoys. Most days I look forward to “another day at the office.” Even with the 41 years on the job, I am still learning new things.

Coming along with my wonderful family and great job are the friends I have come to know and appreciate.

As a buddy once exclaimed “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

I hope you can take a minute and count your blessings.

EAT YOUR WORDS… I just love watching these politicians fall over them to kiss up to President-elect Donald Trump. Most egregious, so far, is Mitt Romney.

At the time of this writing Mitt was the top contender for Trump’s Secretary of State. Just a few weeks ago when Trump was the Republican Candidate for President, Romney the former GOP standard-bearer of 2012, called him a con man and a fake.

Trump called Romney one of the dumbest to run for President.

Won’t our enemies (and allies) be comforted by dealing with either?

I know and accept we have an “outsider” as the next president. It is a shame he has to name “insiders” to his cabinet. Perhaps it would be better if he just picked real estate moguls and bankers for his team.


Additional states joining Michigan for replacement Social Security cards online

Applying for a replacement Social Security card just got even easier!

Joining Michigan residents that can already request a replacement Social Security card online using my Social Security are residents of Arizona, Maryland, and South Dakota.

Social Security continues to add more states to this list and provide updates, so check out socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Applying online is an easy, convenient, and secure way to request a replacement card.

To request a replacement card online, you must: Have or create a my Social Security account; have a valid driver’s license in a participating state or the District of Columbia (or a state-issued identification card in some states); be age 18 or older and a United States citizen with a domestic U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses); and not be requesting a name change or any other changes to your card.

No matter what state you live in, with a secure my Social Security account, you also can: Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year; get an estimate of your future benefits, if you are still working; get a letter with proof of your benefits, if you currently receive them; and manage your benefits such as change your address; start or change your direct deposit; get a replacement Medicare card; and get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.

In order to secure your future, you need the best tools and information available. Our online services provide superior support and offer knowledge you will not get anywhere else. Visit my Social Security to empower yourself today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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


 As a kid in elementary school we sang thanksgiving songs. One of them was “Now Thank We All Our God”. We would think that the words to that well-known Thanksgiving hymn were written in good times of peace and prosperity:

“Now thank we all our God

With heart and hands and voices;

Who wondrous things hath done,

In whom His world rejoices.

Who from our mother’s arms,

Hath led us on our way

With countless gifts of love

And still is ours today.”

The surprising truth however, is that it was written in very bad times by a German pastor during Europe’s Thirty Years’ War. Thousands were dying, with no apparent light of peace on the horizon. All Martin Rinkart had to go on was faith. This hymn became the most popular of those he authored, even until today – faith expressed four hundred years later!

Were we to ask, “What good did his faith do him? It didn’t change things for him,” We would reveal our own shallow understanding of both faith and the One in whom Rinkart ultimately trusted.

Faith does not depend on circumstances; it rather expresses confidence in a specific object of faith. Faith does not look inward, but outward to something or someone outside of us, something or someone that outlasts and outlives our circumstances. True faith in God is confidence in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and power.

A promise we have from the Bible gives encouragement even in the darkest times: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35, 37 NASB)

Independent of our circumstances, we can have a thankful heart towards God.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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