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12-06-2018 Letters and Commentary


 In the November 22 issue of the Tri-City Record, in the article on Page 8 about Bainbridge Township the information on the Marturdt Meat Market was incorrect. The original owner has passed away and his son sold the market. It was the new owner that had been checking to see if a Zoning Permit would be needed. The Planning Commission had reviewed the issue and said it was not required.

Merchants and shoppers plus many volunteers are responsible for successful Small Business Saturday

Dear Editor,

On November 24, Small Business Saturday in Watervliet was a success. From various crafters housed in the former B & B Outlet on the south side of downtown for the Holiday Bazaar to the band Oak N’ Vine playing at Arclight on the north, businesses have advised us they had better than normal and in some cases record sales. The DDA thanks Ben and Beth Wagner for allowing us to ‘house’ those 18 different crafters in their building on Main. It was these and other volunteers that worked so hard to bring small business shopping to our local residents.

Watervliet’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) issues a big thank you to Amy Loshbough of the Tri-City Record (volunteer ringleader), Lisa Quiroz of Some Things Different and Krista Krogel of The Flower Basket for volunteering to call on merchants and to distribute Small Business Saturday bags and give-a-ways. These merchant volunteers also distributed the Christmas wreaths displayed by participating businesses. It was these and other volunteers who worked so hard to make November 24 so successful.

Kudos to the Public Works Department for helping create the Small Business Saturday and Holiday spirit by stringing the very festive lighting up and down Main. The shopping, the sales and the lighting denote the beginning of a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season for the merchants and the residents of the Watervliet area.

Most of all we wish to thank those who shopped downtown and we invite you to return often!

Downtown Development Authority

Nesbitt honored to represent citizens

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the citizens of Allegan, Van Buren and Kent counties for the opportunity to represent them in the state senate. By knocking on thousands of doors and meeting many of you at community events, I know the importance of standing strong for our West Michigan values and achieving results to build a brighter future.

I will work to continue strengthening our economy, repair our roads, lower auto insurance rates and support our priorities that include education, public safety and the Constitution.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with your ideas and perspective, because our system of government works best when we work together as fellow citizens for the policies that help our community and expand opportunities for each person to use their God-given talents to be a blessing.

Thank you for the honor of representing you.


Aric Nesbitt

State Senator-elect

Red Cross: Urgent need for blood and platelet donations now; give by Dec. 19 to receive a $5 Gift Card in thanks

The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors to give now to ensure blood is available for medical treatments and emergencies during the holiday season.

Blood and platelet donations often decline during the holidays. Regular donors are busy with holiday activities, and travel and severe winter weather may cause blood drive cancellations. Yet donations remain critical for patients like 4-year-old boy who is in the midst of intense chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. He has received a number of transfusions since his diagnosis in June and will likely need more.

Donors are urged to give now to ensure that families like Wyatt’s don’t have to worry about the availability of blood this winter. In thanks for helping meet the urgent need around the holidays, all those who come to donate blood and platelets through Dec. 19, 2018, will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at

Make an appointment to donate blood or platelets by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Another way to help keep the blood supply strong is to host a Red Cross blood drive this winter. To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up, visit

MI Student Aid Team reminds students and families about online scholarship search tool

Michigan Department of Treasury’s MI Student Aid Team is reminding high school seniors and their families about an online scholarship search tool.

MI Scholarship Search connects students with thousands of scholarships from local organizations throughout the state to help identify opportunities offered within a specific county. Students are encouraged to use this tool throughout the school year because scholarship information is updated regularly.

“MI Student Aid’s MI Scholarship Search tool is an invaluable resource for Michigan students and their families,” said acting Deputy State Treasurer Anne Wohlfert, who oversees Treasury’s student finance programs. “This tool provides an efficient way to look up and organize a wide variety of local scholarships.”

MI Scholarship Search is a place-based tool, meaning that one of the scholarship components is linked to a Michigan school, county, city or region. The database does not contain Michigan scholarships without a place-based component.

While the MI Student Aid database provides a starting point for finding local scholarships, a successful scholarship application strategy should also include national, state, college or institutional scholarship applications.

To use MI Scholarship Search, go click on “Students and Families.” Students with questions can contact MI Student Aid by email at, call 1-888-447-2687 or follow @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Weekend human trafficking operation recovers victims in SW Michigan

Over the weekend law enforcement agencies across southwest Michigan worked together to recover victims of human trafficking.  This initiative was led by the MSP Fifth District Headquarters and the Kalamazoo Area Human Trafficking Task Force.

Several agencies were involved in the operation including the Michigan State Police, FBI, Kalamazoo County Sherriff’s Department, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo Township Police Department, Portage Police Department, Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Kalamazoo Area Victims Services, YWCA, and probation/parole.

During the initiative, approximately 20 subjects were targeted as possible human trafficking victims and five were identified and recovered.   An ongoing investigation will be conducted to identify and recover other potential victims of human trafficking.

If you suspect that any adult or child is a victim, or is at risk of becoming a victim, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733, any time day or night.  If any individual is in imminent danger, immediately call 911.

RIP MR. PRESIDENT… President George H.W. Bush, 94, died last Friday in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Our 41st President served one term of office, losing his reelection bid to Bill Clinton. Wednesday, December 5, the day of his funeral in Washington, D.C. was a National Day of Mourning. He was interred in a private family ceremony the next day on the grounds of his Presidential Library near Houston. I guess his single term as President (1989-1993) might be recalled as less spectacular than his contemporaries… but what he may have lacked in presence, flamboyance, communication and competitiveness, he certainly made up for with graciousness, kindness, class, and courage. The official White House biography states… President Bush 41 “brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States ‘a kinder and gentler nation’ in the face of a dramatically changing world.”

HOMETOWN HERO… I’ve invited Record readers to share their own stories of folks they know and respect as individuals who sparkle a bit more than the rest when it comes to living a life of service, kindness and courage. Such is the likes of Otto Helweg. Small-town boy who did great things in his own way, served his country in uniform, contributed to his community and raised a remarkable family.

Hometown Hero: Otto Jennings Helweg… by Rev. Dan Minor Among other things, Otto Jennings Helweg was a man of great intellect who had strong Christian convictions and a passion for helping persons in need. His parents were Otto John Frederick & Laura (Jennings) Helweg. Both parents were educators. His father was a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy and a veteran of World War I and World War II. The Helweg family was well known and much respected in their community and church. They lived at 352 W. Pleasant Street in Watervliet along with their sons, Otto and Arthur.

Most remember him as “Otto J.” He graduated from Watervliet High School in l954. Otto J. was in one building from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. There were 53 in his graduating class. He played sports (football and basketball) and was in the band and glee club. He was voted outstanding boy in his graduating class. Otto was President of the Methodist Youth Fellowship and was active in Boy Scouts. From the time of his teenage years he exhibited leadership abilities which would become part of his legacy.

Education Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy where he earned his first Bachelor of Science in engineering. Otto was an undefeated heavyweight boxing champion, played on Navy’s Cotton Bowl football team and was honorable All-American in lacrosse. He was a friend and classmate of the late Senator John McCain. John McCain was a lightweight boxer. They were both commissioned as Ensigns in the U.S. Navy in l958. While on active duty in the Navy, Otto spent considerable time counseling young recruits. Other degrees Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary (1966); M.S. in Engineering from U.C.L.A. (1967); Pd.D. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University (1975); M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Memphis State; M.B.A. from the University of Memphis Faculty ranks University of California, Davis; Texas A&M; Acting Director of the California Water Resources Center; Chair of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Memphis; Dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture at North Dakota State University. Humanitarian service Volunteer teaching in a mission high school in Tehran, Iran (early in his marriage); after completing his master’s degree at U.C.L.A., he and his wife and new son returned as fraternal workers working among the Kurds in Western Iran, working in various village water projects (5-1/2 years); assisted the Saudi government in developing a water studies center and directed their agricultural experiment station; assisted South American countries and Russia. Service at local level Active in his local church, serving in various leadership positions, teaching Sunday school; advising and founded a number of student and faculty organizations; promoted engineering among inner city African Americans in the Memphis area. Affiliations Helweg was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers plus a member of sixteen other professional organizations and chaired several national civil engineering committees in the U.S. Recipient of numerous awards Ground Water Scientists of the Year for U.S. in l983; Outstanding Civil Engineer in the state of Tennessee in l994; Outstanding Engineer in the Mid-South in l995; Distinguished Research Award at The University of Memphis in l995; Prestigious Hoover Medal of the engineering societies in the U.S. Otto had written over l20 technical articles and three books. Near the end of his life, he and his wife had spent a successful year in Rwanda where Otto was special consultant to the Government of Rwanda, leading an effort to install 40 water wells for the citizens of that country. He died unexpectedly on November 2, 2008 (age 72) in Denver, Colorado while campaigning for his Naval Academy friend, John McCain. Otto’s family included his wife Virginia, now deceased, and sons Otto John Helweg, Mark Web Helweg, Steve Jennings Helweg and his brother Arthur, and Arthur’s spouse, Monica Helweg. Otto J. never forgot his home town. Now he has gone to his eternal home but his legacy lives on.

Connecting Christmases Holidays give life continuity. Continuity with the past, but also continuity with understanding the present and how things gradually change as life happens. Christmas memories are like that. What becomes for us “Christmas nostalgia” is really a connection with our past. Christmas is well-advertised so we have a strong reminder of our roots every year. And because most people see the past as better than the present (the “good old days” syndrome), businesses can take advantage of our willingness to “buy back” our past, to experience again the “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know” (easily my favorite Christmas song). That may sound cynical, but it’s not meant to be. Some of my memories of childhood Christmases are very specific, and still enjoyable. Like the taste of Lebkuchen. It came in an octagonal canister every year. Later, one aunt who knew I liked marzipan would give me some every year. And then there’s the Santa Claus that arrived via military helicopter in the field next to our apartment in Nuremberg just before Christmas. I was excited to see him get out of the helicopter with his big bag of gifts for us kids, but what I particularly remember is the sound of the helicopter approaching from a distance and the smell of the helicopter’s fuel. That smell became a part of my Christmas memories for years to come. Unusual things impress little kids and stick with them. Connecting Christmas past with the present is accomplished for many, in part, by the annual appearance of the “Advent Wreath” in their church. The wreath, with its five candles, is a visual aid helping us focus on that which gives every Christmas its true meaning. The reminder of Emanuel and the Biblical truths surrounding Him can help each of us to connect every year way beyond Santa Claus, Lebkuchen, and marzipan.

Be the first to know: online COLA notices We are constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control when doing business with us. Our new online cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notices are another example of our commitment in this area. Soon, you’ll be the first to know your new benefit amount! Later this year, we will post the Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries with a “my Social Security” account. The COLA announcement usually occurs in October, but final benefit amounts won’t be calculated and available until December, when we send COLA notices that contain the benefit amount for the next calendar year. These COLA notices will now be available to view and save via the Message Center inside “my Social Security”. The Message Center is a secure, convenient portal where you can receive sensitive communications we don’t send through email or text. This year, you will still receive your COLA notice by mail. In the future, you will be able to choose whether you receive your notice online instead of on paper. Online notices will not be available to representative payees, individuals with foreign mailing addresses, or those who pay higher Medicare premiums due to their income. We plan to expand the availability of COLA notices to additional online customers in the future. Remember, our services are always free of charge. No government agency or reputable company will solicit your personal information by email or request advanced fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards. Avoid falling victim to fraudulent internet “phishing” schemes by not revealing personal information, selecting malicious links, or opening malicious attachments. You can learn more about the ways we protect your investment, personal information, and “my Social Security” account at Be the first to know. Sign up for or log in to your personal “my Social Security” account today at and choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive your COLA notice online!


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