Letters and Commentary

 Becoming disabled and unable to work is a very stressful time in one’s life. There are so many questions and unknowns when you have to transition out of the workforce due to medical issues. While an employer may offer short or long-term disability, most people faced with a disability will file for benefits with Social Security.  If you are facing life with a disability and do not know where to start, we encourage you to visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi.  After reading about Social Security disability, if you are ready to file, you can do that online as well.   When applying, be prepared to answer a number of questions including: when your conditions became disabling; dates you last worked; the names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of visits to your doctors; the names of medications that you take and medical tests you have had; and marital information.  In addition, if you plan on applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments, for people with low income who have not paid enough in Social Security taxes to be covered, you will answer questions about: your current living arrangement, including who lives there and household expenses; all sources of income for you and your spouse, if applicable; and the amount of your resources, including bank account balances, vehicles, and other investments.  You can view our disability starter kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm.   Remember, we are there when you might be faced with one of the hardest obstacles of your life. Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow with critical benefits for people with severe disabilities, not just during retirement. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Who’s that knocking?

 The one window in the bedroom I shared with my older brother may have had curtains, but no pictures were on the walls except for one small plastic-framed print of Jesus knocking on a door. It hung over my bed. Maybe I got it from Sunday School. We lived on Lawndale Street in Philadelphia after our last Germany duty where my dad had served in the Army. My parents took us to Sunday School. We had gone in Germany too, at the Nuremberg base chapel. I liked the picture.  It was explained that the image represented Jesus knocking on the “door of our heart” asking to come in to save us. I have since discovered that the picture is not about that at all. The need for and the means of salvation is well-documented in the Bible, but that picture is really about Christians who no longer feel they need Jesus in their lives. Jesus is asking them to reconsider and invite Him to participate again. The message is for those already Christians, not for those who are not yet Christians.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) It is an invitation to renewed fellowship with the Savior, to welcome Jesus back where He seems to have become unwelcome. This is revealed by the context of the verse. It is an invitation to a revived, more dynamic and motivated Christian life.  Life’s busyness can cause us to put Jesus on the back burner. But for a Christian, His continued presence is what gives daily encouragement and strength and endurance to deal with all of life. We must be careful not to lock Him out.

BIKER BLOCKADE… coming back from Gerald Ford Airport Sunday morning and a mile or so north of Covert on M-140, I saw traffic backed up and flashing police lights.   My first reaction was I hope no one is hurt. On seeing cyclists peddling across the road, my second reaction was how nice, folks are out peddling on a beautiful Sunday. I glanced over at the clock on the dashboard, 10:03.   My third reaction was concern as cars ahead of me were squeezing out of the line and making a U-turn. Some drivers were displaying displeasure by stomping on the gas pedal and spraying gravel from the opposite shoulder.   Hope for a quick release of the blockage rose when the 50 or so cars ahead leapt forward as the parade of bicyclers seemed to abate.   The hope was short-lived as the Sunday traffic was once again halted by the police guarding the crossing.   Every time I considered joining the handful that braved the unknown of exploring country roads with just numbers for street names, a couple cars would be allowed to squeeze through a gap in the now seemingly unending chain of peddlers. That is unless there was a car or two on the crossroad. Those lucky drivers were given precedence over the hundreds now piled up on M-140.   Keep in mind, not only was southbound M-140 blocked, so was northbound. Folks heading for church, shopping, catching a plane, or picking up grandma were held up both ways as bicycle after bicycle placidly passed without interruption. The clock on the dash read 10:23.   By now, I was six cars from breaking free from the traffic jam. I can only imagine the back-up behind me had to be reaching nearly to South Haven. Looking beyond the State Police Troopers handling the roadblock, I could see traffic backed up south as far as I could see. The only movement to be seen was an occasional motorist making the U-turn back to Covert, perhaps to refuel or attend a church service there.   As an apparent gap in the pedal parade appeared, us lucky few in the front cars prepared for the dash across to freedom, one of the two Troopers  (both female and young) holding back my line of vehicles waved a car on the cross roads to make a right turn.   The driver stopped on M-140 and argued with the Trooper that she had to turn left. The Trooper insisted the driver turn right. I suspect the driver saw the light and turned right, not because of the Trooper but because more bikers had closed the gap and there was nowhere to go but back or right.   A couple more minutes passed and two more cars got through. I was the second car from freedom.   I could hear the voices of the Troopers talking to each other but could not make out the words. From the tone one might have been complaining, I heard “by 10:30.” Perhaps she was late for a date at the beach or a coffee break. I can hardly believe she was concerned for the hundreds of motorists sitting in stalled traffic on a beautiful Sunday morning near Covert.   Any hopes that I would soon be free were dashed when I realized the tail end of the bike parade had to be closer than the head, but it was also more spread out. The stragglers, the young, the old, the infirm, and the clumsy were well apart, but not apart enough to allow a car permission to cross the State Police barricade.   By now, I had my window rolled down as both car and I were overheating. When my turn came to cross the hallowed police crossing, I shouted to the Trooper protecting the public from themselves, “28 minutes is bull —-”.   Her reply was lost to the rush of wind as I accelerated away. Immediately I felt some remorse for my crudeness and rudeness. After all they were just doing their duty and certainly were not the blockheads allowing some cross country bike “run” to block traffic for more than a half hour.   I was really considering heading back to make amends but considered I might be stuck in the other blockage in the opposite direction.   By now I was south of Covert. Ahead I could see flashing lights… I hope everyone is all right. Oh no, it is the return leg of the marathon bike ride… probably rode out to the big lake and back and are now leisurely crossing M-140 on their way back to trophies, ribbons, and certificates.   As I am looking for a place to U-turn to spend the rest of the morning in downtown Covert I see there are only a couple cars stopped for the bikes crossing. By their speed and the packs they are in, this must be the head of the bike race and I will be stuck again.   The two older, male, troopers are motioning me through the blockade. I resist the urge to tell them they should be ready for some real irate drivers coming along behind me.   Any urge I may have had to stick around to see what would happen was soon forgotten as I headed for home.

Political, real estate and garage sale signs  not allowed in right of way

Dear Editor,

The road commission wants to remind the public that each year hundreds of political, real estate, and garage sale signs are placed along the roadsides across Van Buren County.  Improperly placed signs can create safety hazards by blocking a driver’s view.  With the primary elections now behind us, the Road Commission wants to remind candidates, and supporters, alike of the regulations regarding political signage.  “Michigan law prohibits the placement of non-standard signs, such as political, real estate and garage sale, in the county road right-of-way.  They can become a real problem for motorists, both by restricting vision and creating a potential collision hazard.  We understand that signs are placed to help businesses and to promote candidates, but rights-of-way must stay clear of non-standard signs for safety reasons,” said Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager, Lawrence Hummel.  “Everyone’s assistance in monitoring sign placement and removal is to the benefit of the traveling public’s safety.”  Signs placed along local and primary streets and roads in Van Buren County must be placed more than 33 feet from the centerline of the roadway, or farther in some locations.  Before proceeding with any activity along a public road, people should contact the Road Commission at 269-674-8011, or vbcrc@vbcrc.org.  Illegally placed signs may be removed by the Road Commission at its discretion.  Political candidates, business people and citizens who believe their signs may have been removed by Van Buren County Road Commission crews may contact the Road Commission at 269-674-8011 to make arrangements to pick up the sign(s).  In addition, one must obtain approval from property owners before placing signs, and be sure to follow local ordinances that govern the placement of signs with regard to size, material, how long they can remain standing, etc.  Political signs must be removed within 10 days after the election or they will be subject to removal and disposal by the Road Commission.

Van Buren County Road Commission

Car show door prize subscription

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the subscription you donated as a door prize for the Watervliet 4th of July Car Show.  With your help $826 was raised for the Battle Creek V.A. Hospital. The money will be used to aid homeless vets and those with P.T.S.D.

 Your help is greatly appreciated.

Vick Kinzler

Les Fairbanks

Bake Fest donors make it happen

Dear Editor,

A warm thank you to the Glad-Peach Festival Bake Fest donors for making the Bake Fest a success: Hammond’s Chocolate and Cupcakes for the use of their business space; the three judges Wendy Goodline, Chris Leach and Charlene Harbin for their time to decide; Addy’s Flowers for donating gladiola bouquets for the judges; thank you to the Tri-City Record for running the festival advertisement and Coloma Honor Credit Union Manager Dave Scheuer for spearheading HCU’s exquisite gift, the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Honor Credit Union donates to several areas of the Glad-Peach Festival to make it enjoyable.  The best for last, thank you to the creative contestants. Their entries were colorfully decorated and the palate well pleased. I encourage all to enter their innovative delicacies in 2017.

Don Burleson

Bake Fest coordinator

Funds needed to make Skate Park structurally sound

Dear Editor,

The City of Watervliet is developing a plan to rebuild the existing skateboard/bicycle ramps at Hays Park.  Originally the ramps were financed with money from a DNR grant and private donations and were constructed of wood to keep the cost reasonable.  Unfortunately, the wood used had to be untreated due to environmental restrictions.  Due to considerable use over the last 10 years by young people from Watervliet, as well as the surrounding communities, the ramps, in spite of regular maintenance have become unsafe.  Because we have 20 years remaining on the life of the grant, if the ramps are torn down the city will become liable for repayment of the entire grant, even though it also included a canoe launch and other improvements to the park.  Therefore, the only option is to rebuild the ramps with materials that will guarantee structural soundness for at least 20-25 years.  Passing by Hays Park heading north on Main Street/M-140 one can observe the skate park in constant use.  A basketball court was added several years after the completion of the park that is also used regularly.  The City of Watervliet wants to continue to keep our young people engaged by providing safe places for them to enjoy, no matter where they come from. However, since our ultimate concern is safety, of the equipment and of our young people, we must have a more permanent solution to just tightening loose screws and replacing warped boards.  The City has committed $50,000 to this project but in order to construct a sound and lasting structure we will need to at least match this amount, not only to replace the current ramps with ones made from metal or concrete, but possibly purchase additional ramps.  Therefore we are reaching out to our community and our neighboring communities for help with this project.  Any amount would be greatly appreciated.  Our non-profit, tax ID number is 38-6004848.  Checks should be made payable to City of Watervliet (please put Skate Park on the memo line) and sent to:  Attn: Deah Muth, c/o 158 W. Pleasant St., Watervliet, MI 49098.

 Thank you for your consideration of this request.


 Deah Muth, Chair

 Barbara Schofield

 Melanie Marvin

Parks and Recreation Committee

 City of Watervliet


Dear Editor,

That is what I thought of the headline in the August 11, 2016 edition of the Tri- City Record and as far as I am concerned, it was uncalled for!  Mr. Brinker has done a good job as mayor of Watervliet.  Investigation does not make a person guilty.  The investigation was in November of 2014, which is old news.

Rita Lynch

Watervliet, MI 49098

Thank you to our little town

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Coloma High School Marching Band I would like to take a moment to thank the community of Coloma.  We just finished  another successful band camp leading up to the Glad-Peach Festival.  Looks like it is going to be another awesome season. We are just shy of 100 members again this year!  Special thank you’s go out to Culligan Water Systems, Hot Spot Cafe, Saylors Pizza, Wendy Goodline, Coloma Athletic Boosters, custodial staff and all the band parents and alumni that helped out through the week.  Extra special thank you to Mrs. Thomas, Mr. Keech and the other camp staff members for their time and patience in putting together another great show!  Hope to see everyone at the home football games and competitions this fall.

 Thank you all!!

Coloma Band Boosters


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