12-14-2017 Letters and Commentary

Rosie the Riveter: Working women’s icon

 “Rosie the Riveter” is an American icon representing women working in factories during World War II. These women learned new jobs and filled in for the men who were away at war. They produced much of the armaments and ammunition to supply the war effort.

They also paid FICA on their wages, contributing to the Social Security program. These “Rosies” embodied the “can-do” spirit immortalized in a poster by J. Howard Miller. Both the image and the spirit live on today.

If you asked Rosie about Social Security, she would use her rivet gun to drive home the value of Social Security for women. More Rosies work today, and nearly 60 percent of people receiving benefits are women. Women tend to live longer than men, so Social Security’s inflation-adjusted benefits help protect women. You can outlive your savings and investments, but Social Security is for life. Women provide their own basic level of protection when they work and pay taxes into the Social Security system. Women who have been married and had low earnings or who didn’t work may be covered through their spouses’ work.

Today’s Rosie will turn her “can-do” spirit to learning more about Social Security and what role it will play in her financial plan for the future. She focuses on our pamphlet called “What Every Woman Should Know” available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html for a game plan.

She rolls up her sleeves and sets up her my Social Security account (www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount) to review her earnings and estimates. If she finds an incorrect posting, she’ll locate her W-2 form and quickly contact Social Security to correct it because she understands these are the earnings used to figure her benefits.

She dives into understanding benefits at our planner pages at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. She examines how marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, work, and other issues might affect her benefits. She studies our fact sheet “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/ to help her decide when it’s time.  And when the time is right, she will file for retirement benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire. Whether it was keeping the war effort production lines humming or discovering what is available to her from Social Security, Rosie symbolizes the motto: “We Can Do It.” Rosie and millions like her rely on the financial protection provided by Social Security in assembling their own financial futures.

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.

Keep in touch with Christmas

 I was reminded again, as I listened to a radio program about special Christmas memories, that profound sadness accompanies the Christmas holidays for many people. I can understand that. Losses of loved ones around that season would naturally taint the celebrations. As can the loneliness of realizing anew the sad reality of people missing that have been so much a part of our lives in the past. Christmas can be very hard.

We should be sensitive to that among those we know who may be suffering. Perhaps we can offer some loving context in sharing our Christmases with the sad and lonely. Joining us in family dinners, especially if children are present, can brighten otherwise dreary days. “Adopting” a grandparent, a time out for some special local holiday entertainment can help someone to see past their sorrow and to embrace a future that has expanded horizons.

We expect immature children (or immature adults) to identify their most memorable Christmas as the time they got some sort of “stuff,” a big screen TV for their bedroom, a drone, or some latest game. While marketers love that mentality, any thinking or feeling person sees beyond that fluff. Christmas, in the original “imanuael” – “God-with-us” form always has been about relationships. About God’s relationship with us and it is about our resulting relationships with each other. The real “stuff” of Christmas is, of course, John 3:16, which many know by heart: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The bottom line is God’s love and His gift. We can keep in touch with Christmas by sharing that love in the name of Jesus, finding someone who needs some love this season and including them in our lives.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR NEWS and photos with the readers of the Tri-City Record, is a frequent refrain on these pages. While the Record has numerous reporters (stringers) and a great network of contacts for newsgathering, the fact is the best network are you and your fellow Record readers.

I get the best new ideas from our regular readers that keep in touch via letters & cards, phone calls, emails and personal contact. I always enjoy the conversations I have when folks drop in to pay their subscription or just chat.

A reader stopped in a few weeks ago with the photo of him and others working on a church roof in the 1960s.

We chatted and discovered a mutual interest in old cars and local history.  On parting, he promised to bring by more photos. When I replied, “great” he added, “I have thousands.”

Don’t bring them all, I protested.

I get a few Christmas family update letters that I always enjoy. Most folks are way too busy to keep up any regular correspondence, but a “newsletter” at the holidays is a great way to share news and to keep informed.

I have a Facebook account and look at it at least a couple times a day. I am always surprised at much of the information that folks put on a public website. The sad truth is 90% is not fit for publication and easily 50% is not fit to share with your mom or your kids.

A bit of it I have used as a story idea or a community calendar item. Most times I’m nervous about picking up information that folks have not expressly intended for publication in the Record. That’s why I’m always asking folks to please share.

The Record is not the only media seeking news from its constituency. Just as I was composing this, there was a blurb on the radio from COSY DJ Spencer Rivers asking the same thing.

BAYER CHRISTMAS PARTY… Continuing a tradition started at my parent’s house in the 1960s, nearly 90 family members attended the annual Christmas Party this past weekend at the Linden VFW Hall near Flint.

Of Mom and Dad Bayer’s original 13 children, four have joined them in heaven; the surviving nine were in attendance Saturday.

Adding to the joy, were at least half dozen toddlers all great-great-grandkids of Chris and Margaret Bayer.

Thanks to all for making the event so special.

Abortion pill reversal comes to Michigan

Dear Editor,

In October we learned of an amazing story in Lowell, a small town outside of Grand Rapids. The small pregnancy center there, Alpha Family Center, successfully saved a life by reversing an RU-486 medical abortion.

It’s the first time we are aware of this relatively new procedure being used in Michigan. Abortion pill reversal is being pioneered by two doctors, Dr. George Delgado of California, and Dr. Matthew Harrison of North Carolina.

Both doctors independently had the same idea. RU-486 abortions work by starving a pregnant woman of progesterone. Natural progesterone is commonly used as a treatment for high-risk pregnancies. Both doctors theorized that they could offset the progesterone loss with a common treatment used for other pregnancies, thus saving the life of the child.

The doctors formed an organization called Abortion Pill Reversal, and together have been studying this off-label use of an FDA-approved treatment. So far they claim to have a success rate of more than 50 percent in saving the child’s life, as long the woman hasn’t taken the second pill of the two-pill medical abortion regimen. They are currently conducting a formal study, and hope to report a success rate between 60 and 70 percent.

Abortion supporters are intensely dismissive of research into abortion pill reversal; its existence threatens their narratives about the nature of abortion. Those who claim the mantle of choice and women’s autonomy should not try to deny women information about this new procedure. Many women find themselves in situations where they instantly regret taking the abortion pill.