12-08-2016 Letters and Commentary


Benefit Spaghetti Dinner at Riverside UMC

Dear Editor,

The call to serve:

I was appointed to the Riverside United Methodist Church on July 1, 2014. I must admit to being a little scared. What would they expect of me? What would I expect of them? This transition was short lived. I found Ordinary people trying to make a difference in the world we live in.

I found it amazing that two men within our congregation have fought in three wars – World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Juan DeLacruz and Art Hawkins both fought in each of these three wars. Both men are in their 90s and going strong. Art has dedicated his life to serving veterans in Southwest Michigan. He sits on several different agencies that help veterans in Berrien County. Art and Juan remains a constant reminder to us of the sacrifices men and women have given to us to preserve our freedom.

Riverside United Methodist Church continues a tradition of putting together 50-plus Christmas stockings and delivering them to the veterans in Battle Creek. Men and women who have given of themselves to serve our country and are housed in the Battle Creek facility deserve love and dignity.

On December 9, Riverside UMC will host a benefit Spaghetti Dinner from 5 – 8 p.m. for Robert and Ami Hendrickson. Robert has brain cancer. This is to help them with the high cost of care for Robert. All proceeds will go to Robert and Ami. Please come and support them on December 9.

The church’s Christmas Cantata will be on December 17 at 6:00 p.m.

Many of us are very blessed this Christmas season. As a pastor I am reminded of those who are homeless, jobless, and underemployed; children in foster care, plagued by parents of addiction; and those in jail and prisons across America. I am reminded of those whose best Christmas might be a good night’s sleep and nothing more.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Pastor Dave Haase


Social Security’s gift to children is security

 This is the season of caring. No matter your religion or belief, December is also considered a time to focus on the children we love. Whether we are wrapping Santa’s gifts, buying Hanukkah treats, decorating the house in celebration of Kwanzaa, or volunteering for a toy drive, children add joy to the holiday season and we at Social Security definitely know a thing or two about helping children.

Often overlooked in the paperwork that prospective parents fill out in preparation for a child’s birth is an application for a Social Security number and card.  Typically, the hospital will ask if you want to apply for a Social Security number for your newborn as part of the birth registration process. This is the easiest and fastest way to apply.  The Social Security card typically arrives about a week to ten days after that little bundle of joy! You can learn about Social Security numbers for children by reading our publication, Social Security Numbers for Children, available at socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

A child needs a Social Security number if he or she is going to have a bank account, if a relative is buying savings bonds for the child, if the child will have medical coverage, or if the child will receive government services. You will also need a Social Security number for a child to claim him or her on your tax returns.

If you wait to apply, you will have to visit a Social Security office and you will need to: Complete an Application For a Social Security Card (Form SS-5); Show original documents proving your child’s U.S. citizenship, age, and identity; and Show documents proving your identity.

Remember, a child age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for the interview, even though a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.

Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/people/kids to learn more about all we do to care for children. Caring for the next generation is a central part of securing today and tomorrow, during the holidays and all year long.

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.


HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS… I am always pleased to see the huge outpouring of thoughtfulness from the citizens of the Tri-Cities at the holidays and throughout the year in times of need and support.

Obviously, the Christmas Holiday celebrations get the most attention, and rightly so; there is just something special about the spirit of Christmas that reaches us all. Keep up the good work.

There are many community organizations working to make Christmas special to all. Also the Tri-City Angel is hosting the Giving Tree with the names of many local youngsters that will get a special Christmas gift thanks to local folks.

Man oh man; the Watervliet Hometown Christmas Parade organizers hit a bull’s-eye by having the event Sunday night. A lake effect snowstorm dropped several inches of snow on the area. By parade time, the Tri-Cities were a classic picture post card of Christmas.

What a wonderful memory the hundreds of youngsters that showed up will have of a magical night.

The scene was recreated in Coloma Tuesday night, without the snow, as Santa and Mrs. Claus opened the Christmas season for a large crowd of youngsters.

Keep up with the Hometown Holiday Happenings feature in this week’s issue for more scheduled events, including the Hartford Lions Santa parade on Saturday, December 10.

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE… personal communications have never been so instantaneous and widespread. Most of us are connected with personal phones that we use to send and receive messages at the speed of light. We do not even have to type the message… we just need to speak into the phone and our words are converted to type and sent on their way. Of course, there is no guarantee your enunciations might be misinterpreted by the robot living in your phone. Recently I texted a reporter asking to cover a special meeting… the phone sent “over a saucy needle.”

What is really neat is the instant and omnipresent communication makes us more connected than ever before. Barely a century ago the age of the telephone transformed personal communication by making it available to everyone. Even so, we were limited by the length of the phone cord plugged into the wall.

Now the connection is nearly limitless. Where there is no signal for a phone service, there is another carrier or system ready to offer a connection of some sort.

There is only one drawback of this instant messaging-texting-emailing communication. The connection is only as good as the reception and the viewing and response of the recipient.

Many folks send off the email or text and assume once the sent button is pushed the message has been received.

That is not necessarily so. I am networked with a lot of folks who communicate many messages and documents to me here at the paper.

When I get a message for the paper, I reply to the sender with an “ok” that I got the message and will use the information, or a thanks, I will not use it. When I do not reply at all that usually means I did not get the message.

Please follow up on your email or text message to me if you get no reply from me at all.

That will certainly prevent most problems or disappointments if something does not make it on these pages.

At the very least, my reply makes me responsible for something not being printed in the paper.

TREASURE TROVE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS… A longtime citizen and Record subscriber has 60 years of National Geographic magazines free to a welcoming home.

Contact me at 463-6397 if you would like to pick them up.