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12-13-2018 Letters and Commentary

Holiday Open House was a merry time Dear Editor, Over the weekend of November 30 – December 2, the North Berrien Historical Museum hosted their 14th annual Holiday Open House event. This event was developed to bring visitors into the Museum during the cold months, to connect with local businesses and organizations, and to gain funds for kids programs and other activities for the next year. This 2018 event did all the above. The Museum was visited by over 750 guests, most of which were on Sunday. The event raised nearly $4,000 for upcoming programs and had many new sponsors and involvement from organizations all over Berrien County. These sponsors decorated trees, donated particular items for the event, or gave monetary donations. For those who decorated a tree, they were entered in the People’s Choice competition. Visitors viewed the 32 trees and voted on their three favorite. Here are the results from the weekend – 1st Place: HOPE Resources with 49 votes; 2nd Place: Cutting Corners with 38 votes; 3rd Place: Coloma Lioness with 36 votes; 4th Place/Honorable Mention: Honor Credit Union with 35 votes. Throughout the rest of the month the Museum will be open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to view the trees (excluding Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Jan. 1). Students in 1st-3rd grade will be visiting the Museum from Watervliet, Coloma, Covert, and Countryside to decorate gingerbread houses, learn about vinyl and record players, and vote on their three favorite trees. There will be a Student’s Choice award following their visits. The North Berrien Historical Museum and Society would like to wish the community a Happy Holidays and thank all of our sponsors for being involved in this event: Mike’s Pit Stop, Escape Salon & Day Spa, Edgewater Bank, Cutting Corners, Chemical Bank, Honor Credit Union, Watervliet District Library, Centsible Heating & Air Conditioning, Coloma Public Library, HOPE Resources, Orchard Hill Landfill, Contessa Wine Cellars, North Berrien Senior Center, Coloma/ St. Joseph KOA Holiday, Sarett Nature Center, Coloma 2nd Grade, Lakeland Health, VFW, Coloma Lioness, Moss Chiropractic, Some Things Different, Community Sailing Foundation at Paw Paw Lake, Artes & Craft, Paw Paw Area Rotary Club, GateWay Services, The Kaucher Family, Whistler Farm, Coloma United Methodist Church, American Legion Auxiliary, The Richcreek Family, The Upbeats Band, Four Seasons Spa & Pool, Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce, Darlene Getz DDS, Tofu & Pizza Rolls,Benson’s Carpet & Floor Coverings, DiMaggio’s Pizza & Burgers, Easy Street Inn, Monte Package Company, Edward Jones – Financial Advisor: Brian W. Smith, Big C Lumber, The Sidetrack Cafe II, Lane Automotive, Harding’s Markets, H&R Block, Watervliet Hardware, Hill View Auto Sales, Jollay Orchards, Bob’s Barn Farm Market & Bakery, Hutchins Funeral Home, Todd Korabik – State Farm Agent, Linear Electric, and Future Construction. North Berrien Historical Museum

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.

Human trafficking operation recovers victims in SW Michigan Recently 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.

Adult-use marijuana added to LARA’s renamed Bureau of Marijuana Regulation With the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (Proposal 1) becoming state law, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced that the regulation of adult-use marijuana has been added to the newly-renamed Bureau of Marijuana Regulation (BMR). Michigan is a model for citizen safety and business efficiency by having all marijuana-related regulation handled by a single government entity. BMR combines the existing oversight functions of the state’s patient and caregiver registry and medical marijuana facility licensing with the newly established statutory requirements of adult-use marijuana (commonly referred to as recreational marijuana). “BMR’s organizational structure shows Michigan is continuing to lead when it comes to state marijuana licensing and regulation,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “While many other states have various licensing, regulation, and patient programs spread throughout different departments and agencies, BMR will keep marijuana-related services in one place in order to best enhance consumer protections and make regulations more efficient for business customers.” In conjunction with the renamed bureau – and in an effort to improve consistency among consumers, industry stakeholders, and other government agencies – LARA has embraced the common spelling of marijuana. All legal documents and references to statutes will continue to use the spelling in the state’s legal code – marihuana. In addition, the State of Michigan has launched a new marijuana-related website for Michiganders to find helpful information and get resources. The new website – marijuana – brings together information from multiple state departments and includes links to medical marijuana facilities, registry card application information, health effects, and more. BMR is in the process of implementing the regulatory framework created by the initiated law passed by Michigan voters on November 6, 2018. Regulatory functions include the licensing, investigation, and enforcement of adult-use marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters, retailers, safety compliance facilities, and micro-businesses. The new law required BMR to make licensing applications available by December 6, 2019.

Ready or not, here He comes The account of the shepherds found in Luke’s gospel has been a popular subject of Christmas greeting cards for years. But there are other players in the Christmas story, also mentioned in Luke, that are generally forgotten when we celebrate Jesus’ first advent. One of them is a man named Simeon, an elderly dweller in Jerusalem at the time. We read, “And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’” (Luke 2:25-32, NASB) Notice that Simeon was no prophet or priest, just a common person. But he enjoyed a “conversational relationship” with God such that God spoke to him about His plans. Simeon was ready for the Messiah. Note also that Jesus was to be for “all peoples”, just like the angel told the shepherds. Simeon had more to tell Mary and Joseph about their new special Son. It’s also there in Luke 2. Then we never hear of Simeon again. Simeon was plugged in to God’s redemptive plan. We can be too. When Jesus returns for His second advent may we all be ready. Be sure; call 1-800-NEED-HIM.

Caring for children During the holiday season, most of us, regardless of our beliefs, focus on the children we love. Children are our future — we share our knowledge and talent with them — we pass on our values to them knowing they will share those gifts. Social Security safeguards children all year long, but we’d like to take this opportunity to share information about our programs that provide direct support to children. In 2017, Social Security distributed an average of $2.6 billion each month to benefit about 4.2 million children because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired, or deceased. Those dollars help to provide the necessities of life for family members and help make it possible for those children to complete high school. When a working parent becomes disabled or dies, Social Security benefits help stabilize the family’s financial future. Children with disabilities are among our most vulnerable citizens. Social Security is dedicated to helping those with qualifying disabilities and their families through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSI: The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, resulting in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must severely limit your child’s activities; the child’s condition(s) must be severe, last for at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death; and the child must not be working and earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limit ($1,180 a month in 2018 and $1,220 in 2019). If the parents of the child or children have more resources than are allowed, then the child or children will not qualify for SSI. You can read more about children’s benefits at Social Security also covers many chronic illnesses and conditions. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. Thousands of children receive benefits because they have one of the conditions on the list at Visit to learn more about all we do to care for children. Social Security is with you and your children throughout your life’s journey, securing today and tomorrow. If you know a family who needs our help, please share these resources with them. 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

CHRISTMAS SEASON starts for the Bayer family with the annual Christmas Party. This year’s party, once again, was held at the VFW post in Linden (between Flint and Pontiac), Michigan. “Bayer family” means the more than 250 souls who are the members of families of the original 13 children of Chris and Margaret Bayer. Nine of us original 13 survive and were present Saturday. While we missed our dearly departed brothers and sister, it was a special joy to have their family members with us. More than 100 family members, from near and far (Colorado, Texas, and Watervliet) enjoyed each other’s company, good food and a visit from Santa. How wonderful it was to see so many family members together at such a beautiful time of the year.

ICE TRAGEDY… a woman in Wyoming, Michigan, this past weekend, fell through the ice on a pond and drowned. She was attempting to rescue her dog from the pond. The dog returned home later on its own. There is no such thing as safe ice. I doubt there is ever a Michigan winter without a tragedy involving frozen water and people on it. I learned that as a youngster on Lake Huron. I was playing on the lake ice floes along shore, running along and jumping from one to another. I wasn’t paying much attention to the environment, but heard my sister yelling at me from shore that the ice was moving away from the shore. Sure enough, there was an expanse of water wider than what I could safely jump between my ice floe and the beach. I joined my sister yelling for help. While I was yelling for help while running in circles on the now bobbing ice floe, she headed back for help from our parents at the cottage. Soon there was my dad jogging across the beach in his red checked hunting coat and carrying his homemade ladder. Once at the shore, he shouted to me, “you can jump that” and dropped the ladder. With him standing on the beach, the daunting abyss between us seemed not as wide as it once did. I backed up a couple steps and then sprinted to the edge of the ice and leaped for dry land and safety. I made it. By the time I landed, Dad was on his way back to the warmth of the cottage. With hardly a look my way, he said, “bring the ladder”. Not all ice stories end happily or leave great memories. Best to stay off it.


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