Letters and Commentary

Dear Editor,

I was saddened to hear of the dismissal of Becky Cagle from (Watervliet) City Hall in July. She has been the friendly face of Watervliet to all of its citizens. She is someone we can trust to steer us in the right direction for answers to our questions, someone at City Hall who really cares about us as residents and about the city in general.  City Hall will not be the same without her. Our city has lost a treasured employee. There are some things money cannot buy; a friendly, dedicated and faithful employee is one of them.

Sharon Platt


Dear Editor,

I am impressed by the citizens of Holland, Michigan. To enhance their festival they have planted tulips all over the city. I think we should plant gladiolas, hardy in zone 4, around the trees and mail boxes in Coloma. The non-hardy will work fine also, but need annual lifting to survive.

 Carl G. Oehling

Extra second

Dear Editor,

This year, 2016, has been a year of revelations and new experiences for me. I purchased my first home, learned my “friend” Kyle isn’t to be trusted as an educator for novice bourbon drinkers, participated in G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S, learned Dumbledore’s Army loves Lebkuchen and then proceeded to discover what Lebkuchen is. I also learned, according to National Geographic, we have an extra second this year.  Like you, when I first heard about the extra second, I scoffed. How much significance could one extra second have in my life?  But now, I’ve changed my tune.  This weekend, I allowed my two children to visit my mother for a few days… 463 miles away. Another new experience for me; I was a nervous wreck, but they arrived safely, so I was free to enjoy my alone time.  Except now, my alone time is just that, lonely. My beautiful, infuriating, irritating, wonderful, loving, make-me-laugh, make-me-cry children are not with me and I miss them. A lot! My house is quiet, so quiet that I can hear the television at a normal volume. There are no doors slamming, no fighting, and no crying. And while all that is nice, there is also no giggling, no make-believe worlds where dinosaurs and barbies are best friends and there is no “I love you’s”.  So, you know what I’m going to do with my extra second this year? I’m going to hold my children and tell them “I love you”. Because really, there is nothing else I would rather do.

Stephanie Smith

Errors in Election Preview

By Annette Christie

Errors were inadvertently made in the election preview in last week’s Tri-City Record. In addition, some of the candidates’ photos were left out of the issue. Once the errors were identified, changes were made to the online edition of the Tri-City Record as well as were posted on the Tri-City Record Facebook page. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Watervliet Township

In the Watervliet Township race for Trustee, the biographies for two of the candidates were not included in error.       Glen Giannetti and his family visited Paw Paw Lake regularly for 20 years before making it home about five years ago. Giannetti and his wife of 28 years reside at 8402 Lake Ave. They have three daughters.    He was in education for 28 years, including being a superintendent in the Chicago Heights area. Upon retirement, they re-located to make Watervliet home. He does continue to teach at Western Michigan University. He is also a member of the Paw Paw Lake Association.    Kevin Cole, who resides at 4840 Huntoon Ave., has lived in the Watervliet area his whole life, with the exception of attending college. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in science and engineering in the commercial pilot program. He provides fleet and heavy equipment maintenance for Ibid County Electric. He recently married.   Cole, who has often attended township board meetings, hoped to see a newer generation involved in township government.

Hartford Public Schools sought Millage Renewal

Voters in the Hartford Public School District were asked to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and restores the millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the Michigan Constitution of 1963. Approval will allow the district to collect 17.9370 mills for a five-year period and collect 0.063 for a period of five years (2017-2021) for operating purposes. This is a renewal of the millage that will expire in 2016. If approved and the 18 mills are levied, it will raise approximately $729,589 in the first year, 2017.  Coloma Township asked voters for Millage Renewals; Willmeng candidate for Trustee   Coloma Township residents saw mostly familiar names on the ballot for the Tuesday, August 2 primary election. Supervisor Ken Parrigin, Clerk Sandy Kraemer, and Trustees Bryan Duffield, Rob Harper, and Matt Moser were all running for re-election. Current trustee Jim Fulton ran for the Treasurer position. The current treasurer Lance Becht did not seek re-election.     With Fulton running for treasurer, that left one trustee position vacant. Jerry Willmeng, 73, was the candidate for that vacant seat. Willmeng resides at 7068 Paw Paw Ave., in Coloma with his wife Charlene. They have three children.    Willmeng grew up in Bainbridge Township and attended school in Coloma. He attended Central Michigan University before returning to this area to farm, which he did full time for 20 years. He and his wife then got into the real estate and log home business.    While Willmeng has never run for political office before he is not knew to Coloma Township government. He sits of the Coloma Township Planning Commission and the Board of Review. He is also very involved in the Friends of the Paw Paw River, a group working to get the Paw Paw River cleared so that it may return to a navigable condition.    Coloma Township voters were asked to renew the public safety and road millages. The public safety millage is for 4.75 mills and is for a period of four years, 2016-2019. It is expected to raise approximately $952,812.23. The road millage is for 1.25 mills and runs for the same four years. If approved, it is expected to raise approximately $250,740.06 for the first year.

Berrien County Drain Commissioner

With current Drain Commissioner Roger Zilke not running for re-election, two Republicans were on the ballot for the August primary.    Chris Quatrain, 52, grew up in St. Joseph. He went on to obtain a master’s in business administration at Nazareth College, an architectural engineering degree from Andrews University, and a master’s degree in civil engineering at University of Detroit Mercy.   He has more than 30 years of experience as an engineer. He is in charge of the Midwest region for Grecco Construction Consultants. His experience includes engineering work in field management, design, cost estimating, and consulting. He is engaged to be married and has four children.    It was Quattrin who ran in 2012 for Drain Commissioner, but was defeated when Zilke was re-elected. He seeks a more cost-conscious approach to drain problems, involving residents and local governments to determine what is considered affordable.    Kevin Gillette is also seeking the Drain Commissioner position. He is a graduate of St. Joseph Schools, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a secondary teaching certification from Western Michigan University.   He has over 20 years’ administrative experience including on the Lincoln Township Board, as a member of the Berrien County Planning Commission, and as a City and Village Manager. He is a volunteer for the Berrien County Youth Fair and the Krasl Concourse Car Show. He served as the Chairman for the Committee for Better & Safer Roads.    Gillette has served on more than 15 Drain Boards of Determination. If elected, he hopes to maintain a competitive bidding methodology and to create a customer service oriented office. He and his wife have been married since 1992.

MY EGREGIOUS ERROR… I am sure, if I spent a little time thinking about it, there is a parable about the big head being lopped off. Here is a story much closer to home.  There I was last week, cranking out one of our larger papers of the year, full of election news and ads.   Reporter Annette was burning up the internet sending me election copy and candidate photos. Amy and Laurie were checking copy and my headlines.   I had spent extra hours over the weekend prepping ads, copy, photos, and pages. By Monday afternoon I was putting the package together. By Tuesday, I was waiting for last minute copy and promised ads. I even made arrangements to add two more pages to the 18-page issue.   By Wednesday morning, with most of the pages ready for press and just waiting for final proof, it was apparent I did not need the extra pages.   By mid afternoon, the Tri-City Record election issue was on its way to the printer and Thursday morning it was in the mail and on local newsstands.   By midmorning I took the rest of the day off, satisfied with a job well done and smug that my readers were going to be impressed with the paper.   By Friday morning I had messages… “There’s an error in my bio” reported a candidate. “How come the interview I gave isn’t in the paper,” another asked. A reader messaged on Facebook, “Where’s the township election story.” Another messaged, “thanks for not running the Hartford School millage election story.”   By noon Friday the news to me was clear. The extra space was not needed because I had left off several election news features and photos; not because I had done such a great job of editing and composing.   Thanks to Amy and her new-found webmaster skills, the missing stories were soon posted on our website and on Facebook.   Knowing the errors had been publicly acknowledged provide little solace.  I spent much of the weekend agonizing, not over my stupidity, but that I had let many of my loyal readers down.   In these modern days of instant communication and internet, digital photos and texting “real” newspapers survive and succeed by staying true to their mission to serve their readers faithfully and honestly continually. Not most of the times, not some of the time, but all of the time.   For the first time since I accepted the mantle of publisher here at the Record, I failed that sacred bond I have felt with my readers. That is no small thing, in one issue I lost 32 years of earned trust. I hope you will let me earn it back.   I apologize as well to the candidates in Coloma Charter Township for not publishing the story of their election, to candidates in Watervliet Charter Township for leaving out some of their election biographies, the Hartford School District for leaving out the story of their millage renewal election and missing a composing error in the story of the drain commissioner election in Berrien County.   I will do better, I promise.

Don’t get school

Listening to the rain

 The rain pounded the driveway just outside the garage where I stood, watching, listening for the next thunder. I loved it. There was something peaceful about the thunderstorm. Maybe it was the power that seemed to displace all other concerns, at least for a little while. Or maybe the sound of the steady downpour reminded me of some previous time when it was not so hard to feel secure. Sleep always seemed better when it was raining.  I was about 15-years-old then and the garage was one of my retreats. Walks through the neighborhoods surrounding our northeast Philadelphia home had become my quiet time alone. I have learned that we need those quiet times; times when we can just listen to the rain, or times when we can pause to think.  Life becomes so busy. They say, “Life happens”. What they mean is, “Stuff happens, and if you’re not careful it will steal your life”. The rain helped keep that from happening. But I had to pause long enough to listen.  Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly”. If we are not careful we can get intense about that too. I do not think He meant that to happen.  When I have had opportunity to be close to the ocean, whether vacationing or working, taking time to listen to the surf can be as helpful. Watching a storm front approach, smelling the salt air, watching the lightning strike the water – all are a welcome relief from life’s normal “drama”. The waves and storms of Lake Michigan are often as enjoyable. But we have to take time to stop and listen. Observe and realize that God gives us this too.  Remember when you used to listen? Would now be a good time to listen again?


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