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Letters to the Editor


Thank you

Dear Tri-City Record,

Thank you so much for purchasing a happy ad from me for Miss Blossomtime. I am so very grateful for your support!

Natalie Hart

Miss Watervliet 2023


Developing great

educational

opportunities

To the Coloma Schools community,

As an educator, it brings me joy when students genuinely love to come to school. It’s their success and achievement that makes my job exciting and fulfilling.

However, I know the importance of providing students with a variety of options in school to help find the path that is right for them. Allowing students the opportunity to learn where they will thrive is essential to a successful journey. While many of our students will go to college, some will choose the military and, others, a career. By ensuring we have opportunities for students to explore their options, we are setting them up for success no matter where life takes them.

One of our most popular programs for educational exploration is Career in Technical Education (CTE) courses. In partnership with Berrien County CTE, students have hands-on experience in a select area of study. At CCS, we offer automotive technician, digital multimedia and information resources design, machine tool, welding, brazing and soldering, professional healthcare and accounting finance. From these courses, students can learn skills so they may immediately enter the workforce or apply their learning to a higher education. Because of our partnership with Berrien County CTE, students have a vast number of courses to choose from.

Another notable program offered to students is Early-Middle College (EMC). This program allows students to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree in five years at no cost to them. This is an excellent program that helps students get ahead of their peers and begin determining their career outlook early.

We recommend our students meet with their counselor and guardians to help them determine the appropriate steps for their education journey.

If you would like to enroll your student at Coloma, please visit CCS.Coloma.org.

Superintendent Dave Ehlers


Teach the whole truth

Editor,

Many Republican politicians, along with a number of extreme right-wing organizations, are waging persistent attacks on public school teachers, administrators, and school board members for daring to teach the truth about racial injustice in America.

Teachers need to teach all aspects of our nation’s history – the just and the unjust, the admirable and the deplorable. Students need to learn the whole truth, not an incomplete version of the truth. If they are taught a one-sided picture, in which only admirable behavior is examined, they are not receiving the education they deserve. Learning about past injustices is essential in order to undo current injustices and prevent future ones. By learning the whole truth, students will be prepared to create a more just and positive future.

The politicians and organizations that are attacking public schools are doing so under the false and misleading banner of “parents’ rights”. Parents certainly have the right to express their views about what they believe should and should not be taught to their child or children. However, parents’ views are not all the same. What one parent urgently wants excluded in their child’s education, another parent may just as urgently want included. Teachers and administrators need to listen carefully and respectfully to the views of all parents and take them into account as they organize their curriculum and make their teaching plans.

At the same time, parents need to listen carefully and respectfully to the views of teachers and administrators, who are professional educators whose training and experience provide them with specific knowledge and skills about what to teach and how to teach. They are the experts on education – their knowledge and skills should be recognized and respected.

Ideally, parents and teachers will form a collaborative partnership that focuses on the educational well-being of all students.

Larry Feldman, Lakeside


Hotline for seasonal farmworkers to get bilingual information about COVID vaccines, other health matters

(Press release) A new bilingual hotline makes it easier for Michigan’s migrant workers and their families to get information about the COVID-19 vaccine and other health-related matters.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Office of Migrant Affairs is launching the toll-free number, 1-833-SIAYUDA (1-833-742-9832). Si ayuda means “yes help” or “yes assistance” in Spanish.

“We aim to make health care in Michigan client-centered, which includes providing information in the person’s primary language when available to ensure timely health services,” said Dwayne Haywood, senior deputy director of the MDHHS Economic Stability Administration. “The Farmworker Hotline is a translation tool to help keep farmworkers healthy and reduce health-related work absences that could result in loss of earnings needed to support their families.”

The MDHHS Farmworker Hotline – which is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – will be answered by MDHHS Migrant Affairs’ staff who are fluent in both Spanish and English. Migrant Affairs staff will answer vaccine questions and connect farmworkers to vaccination clinics and resources, make appropriate referrals to local offices, and provide other MDHHS program information based upon farmworker inquiries.

Ultimately, the goal of the MDHHS Farmworker Hotline is to help Michigan provide bilingual residents with tools to prevent disease, improve health outcomes and increase well-being. Hotline information distribution is being provided to all Michigan local offices serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers, partner agencies, and through social media.

Find more details at www.michigan.gov/migrantaffairs or www.michigan.gov/help4migrants.


Nonprofits encouraged to apply for $35M fund to help more Michiganders make ends meet

(Press release) Michigan’s nonprofits who are struggling with the negative impacts and hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic can now take the first step to receive much needed funding from the $35 million MI Nonprofit Relief Fund for serving their hard-hit communities.

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) have announced the launch of the “intent to apply” phase for the relief fund, which is focused on assisting small charitable nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits can fill out the intent to apply at MiNonprofitRelief.org. MNA membership is not required to apply.

The bipartisan relief program was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part of FY23 budget and program funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds awarded to the State of Michigan as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The relief fund, designed for small nonprofits, is part of a two-part grant program. An additional $15 million in grants will be available to larger nonprofits later this year.

MNA and LEO have partnered to design the grant program and select grantees as well as manage the application portal and award payments. To be eligible for this funding, organizations must be a Michigan-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a fiscally sponsored project by a 501(c)(3).

The $35 million MI Nonprofit Relief Fund, which is being administered by MNA, is designed to provide aid and recovery to nonprofits with annual revenues of less than $1 million that can demonstrate necessary expenditures and/or losses incurred after March 3, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small nonprofits could receive one-time grant funds from $5,000 to $25,000 in Spring/Summer 2023 to continue or expand their services to areas hit the hardest by COVID-19 and to populations that are underserved and underrepresented. The impact of the ongoing pandemic has been particularly hard on nonprofits located in rural areas and those led by, and serving, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

The initial “intent to apply” short online form is estimated to take no more than 10 minutes to complete and includes basic yes-or-no questions to assess the nonprofit’s needs. The second phase of the application process for small nonprofits, estimated to launch March 22, will be a more detailed application.

For further information, go to MiNonprofitRelief.org or email relieffund@mnaonline.org.


Starting March 1, residents will pay $13 for Recreation Passport; first increase in three years

(Press release) The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ valued-packed Recreation Passport gives year-round vehicle access to 100-plus state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,000 state-managed boating access sites, 140-plus state forest campgrounds, and parking at thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces. Effective March 1, the Recreation Passport resident vehicle fee increases from $12 to $13 (and from $6 to $7 for motorcycles) – the first such increase since 2020.

The moderate fee change is a result of a statutory provision that ensures Recreation Passport funding keeps pace with the economy. Basically, the law says that the DNR does not determine the cost of the Recreation Passport; instead, fee adjustments are based on the Consumer Price Index, as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The notice of change was provided by the Michigan Department of Treasury in November.

There’s a $5 convenience fee (except for Belle Isle Park) when the Recreation Passport is not purchased at the time of your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State, and is instead purchased at a state park or recreation area.

New nonresident Recreation Passport fees, including the nonresident annual pass that went from $36 to $39, went into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

All revenue generated by Recreation Passport sales goes into a restricted fund that supports state park infrastructure and operations, a local grant program for community recreation agencies, state forest campgrounds and nonmotorized pathways and trails, cultural and historic resource restoration, and marketing and promotion.

Learn more about the Recreation Passport – how to get it, where it can take you, what it supports – at Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.

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