OUR HOME TOWN News

Serving Vanderbilt and environs since 1956

March 19, 2014

     

Corwith Township Adopts $500,000 Budget

by Tom Serino

2% Raise for Officers Approved The Corwith Township Board approved its 2014-2015 operating budget at a budget hearing held in conjunction with its board meeting on Thursday, March 14th. The revenues totalling $500,000 included receipts from the state for shared revenue services ($87,331) and swamp tax ($25,400) as well as property taxes ($63,000), administration income ($19,000) and contributions ($2,000) as well as sundry other receipts including the fund balance from last year ($274,149) for a total of $500,000. Commented Supervisor Vern Kassuba, “We rolled in the fund balance from last year since I don’t like leaving it out there.” Before Kassuba had been re-elected, the fund balances were kept separate from the budget since they were unused funds from previous years budgets. Projected Expenses included $9,200 for the township water well which is used for the fire department, which also provides potable water; and general expenses including Roads ($130,000) Insurance ($8,000) and Auditing costs ($22,000) and other expenses for a total of $167,000. Trustee wages were increased to $180 per meeting and clerk and treasure wages were increased to $15,675 per year. Trustee Pat Coultes told OUR HOME TOWN, “The increase for the trustees was not a full 2 per cent, as the number was rounded down to $180 per meeting.” The supervisers’ wage of $8,500 was not increased and according to Debbie Whitman, clerk for the township, the supervisor, Vern Kassuba, will only net $5,000 per year since he is donating back the difference to the township per year. The deputies for the clerk, treasurer and supervisor each had their wages increased to $3,315. The assessor wage was increased to $17,665, and the waste transfer site costs were at $32,954. These costs with other budgeted expenditures make up the $500,000 total. In other news, Kassuba reported that he appointed Jill Kassuba this past month, as his deputy, replacing Don Tober who passed away a couple years ago.

Budget OK at VAS

by Tom Serino

The Vanderbilt Area Schools budget for the 2013-14 year was discussed at the regular meeting of the Vanderbilt Area School held last Wednesday, January 8th. The issue was not on the agenda, but it was brought up at the beginning of the meeting, and discussion followed. In lieu of a budget, the school board reviewed the deficit elimination plan for the year which, at first glance, suggested areas of concern for the school’s budget. Michelle Kihn, Superintendent for the school, explained that she had reviewed the ‘plan’ with school bookkeeper, Mrs. Patti Kenyon, and that all school fiscal reports were completed on time, and that deadlines were being met for all state of Michigan reports. In a later interview with Mrs. Kenyon, held Monday, January 13, Kenyon told OUR HOME TOWN, budget numbers seem a concern, but that is only because the state has not accepted the Deficit Elimination Plan (DEP). “Once accepted, the school’s budget will look a lot better.” added Kenyon. According to Kenyon, the school is required to use old budget numbers until the new DEP is accepted. School board member Jim Ormsbee told OUR HOME TOWN, “We are looking good, but the numbers just don’t show it yet. We’ll be o.k.” In other news, the school discussed cleaning of the school gym, as there were reports that the gym had been left in disarray after some rentals. The Vanderbilt Area School rents out the use of the gym to Gaylord area organizations, such as Gaylord St. Mary’s and the Grace Baptist Church among others, in an effort to raise funds to pay for expenses at the gym. The board decided to raise rents for the use of the gym to better cover costs, and more closely monitor the cleanliness of the gym after each use. Commented Mark Mathews, of Math Investments, who has the cleaning contract with the school, “It’s been hard keeping up with the cleaning after each use, and the more frequent use of the gym we are experiencing this year.”

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Retired Firefighter earns award of appreciaton and pin

Above, Tom Serino (on right) receives award of appreciation for 26 years of service from Fire Chief Dave Cadaret (left) with Vanderbilt Fire Board Treasurer Pat Coultes (center) at a meeting of the Vanderbilt-Corwith Fire Board held in November.

VAS Gets New Superintendent/Principal

by Tom Serino

Attending her first school board meeting at Vanderbilt Area Schools is Michelle Kihn, former Principal and Teacher at VAS. At that meeting, held Wednesday, June 12, Kihn reported that the school may be looking at $110 per pupil increase in state aid in the coming school year. Kihn also reported that the year end student count was still holding at 118. In other news, Summer School at VAS will be starting July 1st, and will be held Monday thru Thursdays, and will end August 1st.

Motorcycle Crash Ends in Fatality

by Tom Serino

A single vehicle motorcycle accident took the life of a 55 year old Johannesburg man last Sunday, June 9, 2013. According to a report filed by the Gaylord Post MSP, Harry Eugene Helgeson, 55, of Johannesburg was traveling northbound on Crapo Lake Road when he lost control of his motorcycle and left the roadway. He was fatally injured in the crash. Helgeson was not wearing a helmet. Otsego County First responders assisted at the scene and EMS transported Helgeson to Otsego Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the accident. An MSP accident investigator was called to the scene and no information is available as to the cause of the crash. It is also unknownif alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

Vanderbilt Woman Meets With Women’s Council

by Bev Cherwinski

Jane Kozlowski, secretary of the CCW (Council of Catholic Women) St Michaels Church in Roscommon for their Janurary gathering, ask Bev Cherwinski founder/coordinator of the Organ Transplant Support Group of Northern Michigan to speak on Organ and Tissue donation. Bev told of her experience as a person waiting and eventually receiving a single lung transplant on 5/5/99 and told the CCW group members what an organ transplant means to a person receiving the transplant along with their family and friends that surround them. At this time there are over 3,000 persons on the Michigan transplant waiting list, as many as 17 patients per day will pass on because the organ they are waiting for was not available, this happens mostly because of the severe shortage of organ donors. Bev asks, “Won't you consider being an organ and tissue donor?” You can join up to be an organ and tissue donor by email at giftoflifemichigan.org or by phone 1-800-482-4881 or go to your local Secretary of State office any time and they will sign you up and you will receive the red heart to be placed on your drivers' liscense. Remember, one donor person can enhance the life of as many as 50 persons. What an ultimate gift just think, your final ultimate gift. A part of you living on and helping others.

Didion on Woodward in 1996:

Courtesy Kenichi Serino

Quote of the week “The genuflection toward “fairness” is a familiar newsroom piety, the excuse in practice for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what “fairness” has too often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.”

St. Andrews Episcopal Church To Host a Blessing of the Animals

by Tom Serino

A Blessing of the Animals is scheduled for this coming Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Gaylord. Located at 55 Hayes Road at M-32, the church is hosting this event in recognition of the Feast Day of St. Francis. Rev. Pamela Lynch invites all animal-loving people to bring their pet. Commented Lynch, “All animals are welcome, large or small.” Residents may call the church at 989.732.4163 for more information.

On the Other Side of the Street...

by John Crinnion

Postage Costs Must Meet Cost of Doing Business

It has been years since we have had the head of the postal service stand up to the unions as an advocate for needed cost-cutting. Not untypical, the politicians have blocked the needed cuts in service. These same politicians will be the first to be critical of the over-spending by the postal service. There are thousands of one-postmaster post offices such as Vanderbilt, that cost well over $100,000 to keep each post office of that size open. Considering rent, insurance and salaries. Multiply that amount by the thousands of similar post offices over the fifty states; it is a large expense for the post office. The customers of the post offices could have their service replaced by rural delivery for a fraction of their present costs. The union wants to protect the members’ jobs. That is their job, but the politicians should be concerned about the wasteful practice of doing a management style that Detroit has practiced for years. It is time for the politicians to represent all the voters and not just the union who represents a fraction of the voters. Cutting is necessary, but not service. It is important that you know if your local politicians vote that will lead in the direction of Detroit just to gain the union vote. But will they vote to save the Post Office and Government Budget? Call your politicians offices and ask how he voted or will vote on key issues. It will make them vote for the proper side of the vote. Voting to cut days, instead of post offices is not the answer. It is important to save the postal system, because it is required to serve the entire country, if it is leased out to contractors to low bidders, the rural service will be cut back. Currently, a background check on your mail deliver carriers is performed, and if they even have a bad driving record, they don’t get the job. Do you want a ‘contract’ person delivering your mail? This will be a dollar short as far as maintaining true reliable service to the entire service. With texting and email, it should be obvious that the Post Office system should be reduced to meet the reduction of the volume of mail that they now receive. Cutting window hours at small post offices should be a consideration for your politicians. Perhaps they should increase the rates charged for bulk mailing. Or even charge .50 cents for a first class stamp. A first class stamp delivers a letter from Bangor Maine to San Diego, CA or even to Hawaii or Alaska. This business model is faulty. Maybe your politician should think about letting the Post Office raise its prices. Perhaps an increase in the bulk mail postate rate would make it more worthwhile to reduce double mailing of their bulk mailing. It is hard to understand how bulk mailing is charged, 1/2 (.28 cents instead of .46) what first class mailing is charged. Perhaps it is because a lot of that bulk mail is political. Call your Congressman Dan Benishek at 202.225.4735 or 989.448.8811 and press 1 and then 102. Benishek has not supported the Postal Service in the past and needs to hear your concerns.

Benishek Votes for Payroll Tax Cut

Editorial: Same Bill Defunds Social Security

by Tom Serino

Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) has come out in favor of the recently passed two month extension of the Payroll Tax Cut for two months. Benishek even commented in a news release as follows: “I plan to support the legislation being considered in the House of Representatives today because it makes needed federal government reforms and contains job creating components to bolster private sector hiring. Though there is plenty for both sides to dislike in this bill, I believe it represents a sensible compromise by extending the current 2% reduction in payroll taxes for 170 million American workers without adding a dime to the national debt and without raising taxes when this country’s economy can least afford it. Additionally, I am pleased the legislation supports the Keystone Pipeline project, a bipartisan job-creating measure that will further improve America’s relationship with Canada.” What Benishek didn’t say, was where the money to pay for the 2% tax cut was coming from. The wording in Benishek’s statements doesn’t say where the money is going to come from. Instead, it just says it won’t add “a dime to the national debt.” O.K., so where’s the money coming from? The devil is in the details, and it comes in the form of a victory for President Obama and Democrats. The Social Security Trust Fund is going to be taking a hit... again. And, if your read Benishek’s latest statement, it shows he has no interest in Social Security for those under age 62. His comment was, "there should not be any reduction, freeze, or changes in the benefits provided existing retirees. This is a promise made to those over the age of 62 by their government, and it must be honored 100 percent. No ifs, ands, or buts." It sounds great, if you are older than 62. Reading between the lines, it looks like an attack on the Social Security system for those under 62. And this is coming from a Republican Congressman? Benishek is also pushing for a full year extension of this payroll tax cut. Again, where’s the money coming from? As for bolstering private sector hiring, his wish to bolster private sector hiring is in line with his lack of support for bills which could save115,000 US postal workers (public sector) jobs.

Benishek Still Undecided on H.R. 1351

by Tom Serino

Dan Benishek, Congressman for northern Michigan District 1, can be contacted at 989.448.8811 in Gaylord or (231) 348-0657 Petoskey. Please ask him to support HR 1351 to save 120,000 jobs. At a time when nationwide unemployment is record highs, and the Michigan unemployment rate is among the worst, Benishek has commented, “I have not decided whether I will cosponsor H.R. 1351 or H.R. 2309, separate legislation aimed at reforming the U.S. Postal System. I have concerns with both reform bills introduced in Congress as I believe any legislation being considered should simultaneously address the sustainability of the post office and its retirement obligations. However, I do support the short-term relief in next week’s Continuing Resolution budget that postpones the due date for the Postal Service’s $5.5 billion payment. It gives us time to address the problem.” The $5.5 billion that Benishek refers to is a pre-payment on retirement benefits for the next 75 years, and has been a yearly requirement by Congress since 2006. (See http://www.nalc.org/news/bulletin/pdf2011/bulletin1112.pdf or http://labornotes.org/2011/09/postal-unions-492-rallies-tell-congress-dont-kill-post-office) Senator Debbie Stabenow responded as to her position on the rally saying, “While the Postal Service needs to cut costs, eliminating massive overhead and administrative costs should be the first steps the USPS takes, not eliminating the jobs, health care and pensions that families across Michigan rely on.” In fact, both politicians suggest a U.S. Postal Service financial crisis and Stabenow suggests a need to cut costs due to dwindling volumes of mail. What most people don’t know is that a recent national mail count was held, and the pay of USPS delivery personnel is based on that count, so that if the volume of mail is down, carrier wages will also go down. There are no official totals available.

Postal Employees Host Rally

by Tom Serino

Yesterday, Tuesday, September 27, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. members of the four employee unions of the United States Postal Service hosted an informational rally in front of the office of Michigan Representative Dan Benishek at 810 S. Otsego Ave. in Gaylord, to request his support of H.R. 1351, to save the Postal Service. Working together in this effort are members of the American Postal Workers Union representing the clerks who sort the mail at the post offices; members of the National Association of Letter Carriers, made up of your city mail carriers who walk miles every day to deliver your mail; members of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, who sort the mail to the carriers and post offices from the processing center in Gaylord and members of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. They will join forces with members of our community to send a message to the nation and its Congress. Joining these mail carriers are their supervisors, members of the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) in the effort to Save America’s Postal Service. These informational rallies are being held across the country, and local postal employees are visiting the home offices of each member of the House of Representatives. The union membership is asking members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1351, a bill that addresses the financial crisis facing the Postal Service. According to an information sheet which is available at www.saveamericaspostalservice.org “Despite what is being passed onto the media, the Postal Service isn’t broke. Nor is it losing billions of dollars a year delivering the mail. And a taxpayer bailout isn’t imminent. Reduced services are being presented as a foregone conclusion, but they’re not. The massive cuts in service to residents and businesses being proposed —allegedly to address these problems—are not inevitable, necessary or constructive. That’s because the financial problems facing the Postal Service aren’t caused by the cost of delivering mail; they’re caused largely by Congress, and Congress can solve them.” According to the documentation at the website, some of the facts that are not being reported include: “The Postal Service isn’t funded by taxpayers. All its revenue is earned from the sale of its products and services, meaning that the dire warnings of a taxpayer bailout are completely unfounded. The Postal Service hasn’t used a dime of taxpayer money in 30 years. -The Postal Service made a net profit of more than $600 million sorting and delivering the mail the past four fiscal years. You read that correctly. Despite the worst recession in 80 years, despite competition from the Internet, despite everything you’ve heard, postal operating revenues exceeded costs by $611 million in the four fiscal years since 2007. -Customer satisfaction and on-time deliveries are at record levels, labor costs are declining, worker productivity has doubled, and for six years running the American people have named postal employees the most-trusted federal workers. U.S. citizens and businesses benefit from the most inexpensive and most efficient mail system in the industrialized world. -So why the headlines about multibillion losses and a Postal Service in financial free fall? There is indeed a financial problem, but it’s not what you’ve been told. It doesn’t result from mail delivery or lack of mail volume. The $20 billion in postal losses you’ve heard about stems from a 2006 congressional mandate that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade — a burden no other public agency or private firm faces. The Postal Service is actually paying, out of its operating budget, for the future retiree benefits of people who haven’t been born yet. That cost, $21 billion since 2007—accounts for 100 percent of the agency’s red ink over that period. House Bill 1351, which has bipartisan support and over 200 co-sponsors, would address the pre-funding issue.” The website continues with the strengths of the postal service adding: “Even if the current financial snafus are fixed, why would the Postal Service have a future, given the Internet? This isn’t the first time the Postal Service has had to adapt to an evolving society or to technological change. It did so with the telephone, the telegraph, the fax machine and more, each time emerging stronger, offering new and improved services to meet society’s changing needs. Today, the Internet offers both challenges and opportunities. More people are paying bills online, but they’re also ordering goods online that need to be delivered. One of the fastest growing profit centers within the Postal Service is doing “last-mile” residential deliveries for UPS and FedEx, which it can do inexpensively because of its universal network—helping reduce costs for the private carriers and for their customers.” The “last-mile” represents the rural carrier who delivers packages to the distant parts of the communities in its daily deliveries. The article at the website explains: “Why is it important to save the Postal Service? Because it’s the centerpiece of a $1.3 trillion mailing industry that supports 9 million jobs. Because it is indispensable in the overall economy. Because its role is included in the Constitution. Because it binds to -gether this vast land nation, offering inexpensive service to every resident no matter how remote, and it also unifies individual communities.” The website article explains the need to save the post office, adding, “In a time of rapid societal and technological change, we need to strengthen our universal communications and delivery network, not weaken it. It would be a national travesty to begin to dismantle this unique network, jettison its numerous capabilities and jeopardize all its contributions, when the financial challenges, properly understood—can be addressed in ways that are more effective and cause no damage.” OUR HOME TOWN has presented portions of the website article in an effort to add to the public understanding of all the issues related to the current Postal Debate, in an effort to elevate the public dialogue and get the message to our Congressional representatives who read OUR HOME TOWN as a service to our community. In full disclosure, this writer, Tom Serino, is a rural letter carrier since 1983, and is President of the Top o’ Michigan Rural Letter Carriers’ Association.

Village Council Supports Bay Mills Against Rivals’ Lawsuit

by Kenichi Serino

The Vanderbilt Village council voted unanimously to support the Bay Mills Indian Community in their court battle to keep their casino open. A letter of support will be written council president Ed Posgate and will be submitted by the BMIC in the western federal court in Kalamazoo. The BMIC are responding to a lawsuit brought against them by the Little Traverse Bay Indians (LTTB). BMIC attorney Kathryn ‘Candy’ Tierney requested the letter and said the tribe had until January 12 to give the court their response. The LTTB contend that the BMIC casino, which was launched Nov. 3 of last year on Old 27 north of Vanderbilt, is illegal because it violates their compact and should be closed immediately while the court case proceeds. Posgate asked how Vanderbilt could be considered part of the Little Traverse Bay Indians compact since the village had not received any revenue from their casinos. He joked that council members visit their casino and ask for money. “I’m here for my check since I’m in your compact. Did you forget about me?” said Posgate. “They don’t want to split the pot. Are they greedy?” asked council member Ron Bush. Also present at the meeting was BMIC president Jeff Parker who updated the council on the casino’s progress, court case and revenue. The casino has offered to provide the village with two percent of its revenue. Parker said the first payment of $8,000 was already coming due. The council welcomed news of the payment. However, council member Karen Matelski criticized what she called a “dismissive attitude” of the council toward Vanderbilt schools. Earlier in the meeting, her proposal that representatives from the school participate in the meeting to discuss the usage of the casino’s payment was met with silence. “It’s annoying me a bit,” she said. “The schools are in serious decline. You need to consider with the casino coming in and giving [the school] some money.” Matelski said that while the payment of $8,000 was not large, it was expected to increase as the casino grows. That is pending, of course, the outcome of the lawsuit.

My Vacation 2005

by Tom Serino

Well, here I am back from my vacation to Japan. The first trip back there in 18 years. It was a fun trip, with lots of things to do, great food to eat, and lots of my wife’s family to meet and spend some time. The trip was eventful with a lot of new experiences. Things have advanced greatly in the past 20 years. For example, the new trains are faster, very roomy, with very nice bathrooms. I say that since on the last leg of my journey there, after landing in Sapporo, I took the express train to Wakkanai, about a 5 hour trip. I had to use the bathroom and there is one conveniently located every second car, so that passengers don’t have to travel too far to get to one. The doors open easily at the push of a button. They also close easily, but you have to remember to push the button. As I left the bathroom, I touched the door to enter the passenger car and the door opened, but then I noticed that the bathroom door was still open, so I stepped with one foot and pushed the button, so the door closed. That left me with my legs spread wide apart, as well as my arms, so that when the train shifted around a fast corner my body went crashing into the wall, giving me my first view of stars during daylight hours and a black eye. At age 58, it was painful, but I can take it. I went and sat down. The next day, my son and I ventured to Rebun. Rebun Island is the most northern island of Japan and south of Sakhalin, Russia. The weather there is bitterly cold in winter time. However, it does contain many beautiful scenery for one to see. It is also called the Island of Flowers because there is a great variety of flowers over the island in summer time. Anyway, there are two courses, an 8 hour trek and a 3 hour trek. My son agreed to the 3 hour trek with his Dad. The 3 hours meant 3 hours up, and it took us about 2 hours to come down the mountain, and another hour to walk back to the main town Kafuka, to eat and then catch the ferry back to Wakkanai. I suggested taking the bus, but Kenichi thought it was a great weather for a walk, which it was. It would have only cost us a dollar each for the bus ride to the ferry. And I figured it would be a buck well-spent. But we walked. It took my legs 3 days to recover. At my age it takes longer, I guess. Lastly, the trip to the main family farm, owned by brother in law Haruo Watanabe. It is a dairy farm with 84 cows, and since we stayed there, I felt compelled to help, along with my wife Fumiko and son Kenichi, in the barn. My wife and son had been there off an on during their two month stay in Japan, and I was only there 4 days, and it was nice to help out and learn about the dairy farm business. Helping out meant twice a day, once at 6 a.m. and later at 5 p.m. cleaning out the barn, the stalls with the cows in them, and then feeding them hay. I became good friends with the cows, as they became intimate with me, licking every part of me as I tried to clean manure from under their feet and inside the stalls. One cow especially gave me a rough time. I struggled three days, thats six times, with this one cow who seemed to like me a lot. On the third day, she pushed me so hard I lost my footing and I don’t know what I hit, but found myself holding on to a post in the stall, so I wouldn’t be on the floor, and the cow was right up against me. I was dazed and suffered a large scratch and bruise to the top of my forehead. I did manage to stay off the floor, and also learned how to use the other cow in the stall to keep the seemingly agressive cow away from myself. On the last day, I dreaded going into that one stall, but I figured I had to meet my fear head on, so I did, keeping the tamer cow between myself and the agressive cow. About a minute or two before I completed cleaning the task, and after what seemed a lot of maneuvering of the two cows, my wife came over and cautioned me, saying, “You need to watch out for that one cow, she’s in heat.” At my age, I’m still learning.

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$500 Reward Offered

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who stripped trim, a headlight and various other parts off a black Cadillac which had been located on Lincoln Street, at an auto shop, and later moved to behind OUR HOME TOWN office, (east of the U.S. Post Office parking lot). Anyone with information may call Tom at 989.306.0234 or investigating Officer Hogan at the Otsego County Sheriff’s Dept. at 732.3555.

VAS Gets Help for Music Program

by Tom Serino

The Vanderbilt Area Schools received a total of $800 in help for a new program being offered at the school. That news came out of a school board meeting held Wednesday, March 12, 2014, held in the school library. Mrs. Billye Thatcher, a volunteer music teacher at the school offered to teach ukelele in addition to her regular duties at the school. The new program is part of a new two-year upgrade to the music program which Mrs. Thatcher is offering - at no charge to the school. Helping out with the new ukelele program was the Gaylord Rotary Club, with member Jack Deming facilitating the donation for the school Commented Deming, “When I presented the idea to the Gaylord Rotary, they were excited about helping out with the music program in this way.” Mrs. Thatcher announced at the school board meeting that the Rotary Club had purchased the ukeleles for the class, but it would be nice to have stands for the sheet music and straps for the students to hold the ukeleles up, to prevent accidental dropping of the ukeleles. Both Mark Mathews and Jim Ormsbee immediately offered to pick up the cost of the stands and straps for the program. This great show of community spirit was all that was needed to get the program off the ground, and Mrs. Thatcher began teaching the students in afternoon sessions, beginning at 3:15 p.m. Permission slips were sent home with students to parents to allow the students to participate. Any parent wishing to have their child enrolled in the program should call Mrs. Thatcher at 983-4185.

Obituaries

Robert Lee Loshaw

Robert Lee Loshaw, 72, peacefully passed away on January 8, 2014, at the U-M Medical Center in Ann Arbor. Robert was born March 11, 1941 to Ray and Marjorie Loshaw in Vanderbilt, Michigan. During his high school years, Robert was active in sports excelling in football, basketball and baseball. In 1960, Robert tried out for the Detroit Tigers during spring training. He was invited to return the next spring, but instead married the love of his life, Diana, and started their family. His love of sports stayed with him throughout his entire life. His close group of friends attended the high school basketball state finals each year for well over 25 years. In later years, he was a top-notch armchair coach for the Tigers and Lions filling the air with colorful disagreements with the current coaching staff. He was honored to be inducted into the Greater Otsego Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Robert worked for over twenty-five years for Oven Fresh Bakery. Robert is survived by his wife of 53 years, Diana; two sons, Mike and Kelley Loshaw and Jim and Heather Loshaw; four daughters, Sandy and Tom Heering, Lori and Brian Pearson, Janet Anter and Bobbi and Bill Guthrie; a sister, Joanie and Dave Chafer and two sister-in-laws, Joyce Loshaw and Rheta Loshaw. Robert was blessed to have twelve wonderful grandchildren and three great-grandchildren along with many nieces and nephews. He was also a beloved "treat" to his grand dogs. Robert was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Richard, Larry, Harold and Terry. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to your local blood bank or the American Red Cross, as it was donated blood that increased his quality of life during his illness.

Kendahl Brooke Glazier

Infant daughter of Eric Glazier and Leslie Korona, born Oct. 9, 2013 and died in Ann Arbor on Jan. 3, 2013 in the arms of her loving parents. Kendahl is survived by her parents, a brother Kamren Korona. She was the niece of Greg and Tabatha Glazier; Valorie Glazier and Buddy Butts; Gerrett Glazier and Toshia Butts, Chris Korona and Jamie Newhouse and Vickie Korona and many cousins. Kendahl is also survived by her grandparents Dale and Joan Glazier; Tonya and Brian Korona and great grandparents Bernard and Jeanette Prusakiewicz; Les and Jackie Brown; and Delores and Sylvester Korona. Kendahl was preceded in death by Vanetta Brown; Mel and Doris Glazier; and Morgan. Services were held at Nelson Funeral Home. Donations can be made to ‘Karing for Kendahl’ through the Awakon Credit Union. There will also be a silent auction and a benefit dinner by donation held at the Vanderbilt Community Church on January 31st from 5 to 7 p.m.

Planning Commission to allow ‘progressively permissive’ use of land?

by Tom Serino

The Village of Vanderbilt is hosting a Public Hearing on Wednesday, October 30 to hear public comment regarding proposed zoning changes to the Village of Vanderbilt’s zoning ordinance. At the end of this public hearing, there will be a vote which may affect zoning for every property in the entire village. The ordinance changes will allow for ‘storage units’ which are undefined in the ordinance notice, in R-1, R-2 and B-1 districts. A ‘storage unit’ could be a 8’x12’ open bin, or a closed, locked unit for public storage. A copy of the entire text of the proposed zoning ordinance amendment will be available for public review after Monday, October 21, until the time of the public hearing. The gist of the public hearings will center around making the zoning in the village more ‘progressively permissive’ allowing more relaxed use of village properties. The village currently has only 1.1 square miles of land which is covered under a Master Plan. Commented planner Tom Kellogg, “That (Master) plan needs to go through the public input process (with periodic updates), to make sure everybody has a say in it. Potential zoning changes must go through a public notification process- and the proposed changes must follow what is intended in the Master Plan. That way, development will take place the way people said they wanted it in the Master Plan.”

Emergency Notification System For Otsego County

by Tom Serino

Otsego County has initiated an emergency notification system for residents to access and to recieve information from, when natural or man-made disasters occur in the county. That was reported out at both the village of Vanderbilt and Corwith Township meetings by Otsego County Commissioner Paul Liss. Liss told the board members and people attending the meetings that they could sign up to receive e-mail alerts, text messages, phone calls on their home (landline) phones or cell phones on any emergencies in the county. Liss explained that once a person signs up to receive alerts, whenever severe weather, or traffic accident, or other emergency occurs, an automatic emergency notification alert will be broadcast to anyone who signs up to receive them. That alert may arrive in the form of voice mail, text message, facebook msg, or e-mail. To sign up, residents should go to the new 911/Emergency Management Facebook page at https://facebook.com/pages/Otsego-County-911Emergency-Management/318117674964418 to receive updates on issues as they happen as well as other safety-related information. Liss asked that residents share this information with friends and other residents.

Homeowners Get Hardest Hit Funds® Help

by Tom Serino

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is offering help for homeowners who are receiving unemployment benefits from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). That was reported out at the regular meeting of the Corwith Townshp Board at their Feb. 6 meeting. There are several sub-programs under the Hardest-Hit Homeowners program. There is an Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy Program; a Loan Rescue Program; A Modification Plan Program and a Principal Curtailment Program. For detailed information, visit their website at: www.stepforwardmichigan.org. A brief overview of the programs available are as follows: Under the Unemployment program MSHDA will provide monthly mortgage payment assistance directly to the mortgage lender. This program provides up to the lesser of $1,000 or 50 percent of homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment each month, for a maximum of 12 months. The Loan Rescue Program helps homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage and/or property taxes and need help catching up. These funds can be used to help 1) to fully reinstate a 1st lien mortgage delinquency; 2) to reinstate the 1st lien mortgage delinquency AND make a contribution toward past due property taxes; 3) to reinstate a 2nd mortgage lien delinquency only OR contribute toward past-due property taxes only, if the first lien mortgage is current. The Modification Plan Program helps homeowners that may have fallen behind on their mortgage, and homeowners with negative equity. Funds can be used to, among other things, to make a contribution toward the unpaid balance to reduce the negative equity, if the lender agrees to modify the existing mortgage terms aimed at providing the homeowner with a more affordable, sustainable payment plan. Finally, the Principal Curtailment Program also helps homeowners in a negative equity situation when their combined loan balance is higher than the value of their home. The difference here is that the maximum program reservation is only $10,000 and requires a one-to-one match from the lender to equal a total amount of assistance of $20,000. These funds can be used toward the unpaid principal balance to reduce the negative equity, if the lender also agrees to modify the existing mortgage terms. For all programs, homeowners must sign a lien document and a note. The loan note is zero percent and is forgivable over a five year period at 20 percent per year, as long as the homeowner occupies the property. For more detailed information see: www. stepforwardmichigan.org.

Editorial:

Possession is Nine Tenths

by Tom Serino

The recent rally by postal workers at Rep. Dan Benishek’s office to ‘Save our Post Offices’ and to support H.R. 1351 were basically thwarted with rhetoric suggesting postal employees retirements were at issue. In fact, postal employees are employed under the Civil Service Retirement System (CRSS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Postal workers and the postal service pay into both. Postal employees like other government employees may also subsribe to the Thrift Savings Program to bank extra money for retirement. What is at stake is the $70 billion that the government is holding ‘to protect employees retirement benefits.’ And the billion dollar question is, “Does anyone think that the government is going to give that money back to the CRSS and FRSS systems?” To add insult to injury, Congress wants to continue taking $5 billion a year for the next 9 years to ‘to protect employees retirement benefits.’ for the next 75 years. That suggests the government is trying to protect retirement for postal employees who haven’t even been born yet. Give me a break! Possession is nine tenths of the law, and to his credit, the Postmaster General (PMG) has refused to pay the $5.5 billion this year, but unfortunately will, if Congress lets him have his way.. i.e. force a five day work week. (see ad, Page 7) The PMG, whose pay is almost 1/2 a million dollars, says the postal service needs to cut costs. How about starting at the top? That being said, unless the general voting public contact their congressmen asking for co-sponsorship of H.R. 1351 only the lower levels of the post office will suffer. Benishek’s Gaylord office is 989.448.8811. The public may contact Benishek’s office to ask about the PMG’s idea of service standards. Benishek, while still undecided on H.R. 1351, probably knows less about the PMG’s plan to reduce service standards.

V.F.W. Donates to Local Agencies

by Tom Serino

The Ralph Holewinski Post 1518 of Gaylord donated $400.00 to each of three service agencies in Otsego during an Installation of Officers dinner last Saturday night, July 30, 2011 at B.J.’s Restaurant in Gaylord. Making the presentation of the checks was V.F.W. commander John Facchinetti to Donna Quandt, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity; Marilyn Kaczanowski, Executive Director for the Friendship Shelter of Gaylord; and receiving the check on behalf of the Gaylord Food Pantry was Lorraine Manary, Executive Director of the United Way. Upon presenting the checks, Commander Facchinetti commented, “We receive a lot of help from the community, and we are presenting these checks to these agencies who help a lot of people, including veterans of all wars, in an effort to give back to the community.” After a dinner enjoyed by all, an installation ceremony of newly-elected officers and a special presentation was made by Commander Facchinetti. The special presentation went to retiring Quartermaster Don Peterson for his 15 years of continous service to the V.F.W. Post 1518 as Quartermaster. The Post Quartermaster is the chief financial officer of the Post. The Quartermaster is the custodian of all Post property and the officer responsible for safeguarding Post funds and property. Re-elected to offices were: John Facchinetti, Commander; and Rex Wilson, Chaplain. Newly elected officers were: Matt Barresi, Senior Vice Commander; Nathan Neal, Junior Vice Commander; Tom Serino, Quartermaster; and Paul Aumiller, Sergeant.

Gas Savings Tips for the Thrifty

by Tom Serino

At $3.99 per gallon gas prices are causing stress in these economic times, but there are some ways to save gas that are well worth consideration. According to energy tips at Yahoo, MSN-Money you can get up to 50 m.p.g. if you drive your car with a goal to save gas. Some of the tips found at Yahoo, and MSN-Money include: 1. Jack rabbit starts burn gas. When leaving a stop sign or green light, press lightly on the gas.. you will still move forward, albeit slower, but the you might be surprised at how little it takes to get the car up to the speed limit in town. 2. Racing up to red lights While driving you see a red light up ahead. Take your foot off the gas. If you’re still doing 45 m.p.h. when you reach the light, you’ll be burning up your disc brakes to stop. It’s a lot cheaper to let your car coast to the stop while braking gently. As an added benefit, your brake pads will last longer, too. These two tips alone can improve your fuel economy around town by as much as 35 percent, according to tests conducted by automotive information on the Web site Edmunds.com. 3. Highway driving. On a recent trip to Grand Rapids, I drove my Honda CRV, a small S.U.V at or below 62 m.p.h on the expressway, and on M-55 and other places where it was 55 m.p.h. I drove only 52 mph. You would be surprised at how many cars passed me. And as they passed me, they dragged my S.U.V.. I actually attained 34.9 miles per gallon on that trip. According to the Yahoo site, in tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour reduced fuel economy by between 3 and 5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle. 4. Tailgaiting People tailgate, thinking they can stay inside the vacuum zone, to be dragged by the car in front of them, as in Item 3 above. Actually, tailgaiting is dangerous and wastes gas. Every time the driver ahead taps his brakes, you need to slow down considerably, and faster. The biggest problem is that you can’t see what is happening in front of the other driver when you’re that close to him. Take a lay back attitude, put a couple of car lengths between you and the other driver. You’ll be able to drive more smoothly and use less fuel. A good rule of thumb is to allow two seconds of space between your car and the one ahead. You can figure that out by counting off two seconds after the car in front of you passes an obvious landmark like an overpass. 5. Saving gas at stop lights With modern fuel-injection engines, it takes very little extra gas to restart a car once it’s warmed up. So, if you are stopped for more than 14 seconds, according to MSN - Money, shut it off. At a long line of cars, at a traffic light in downtown Gaylord - by the way, if you travel at the correct speed, you will be stopped by at least one of the lights since they aren’t synchronized yet... Maybe in another 20 years. In the meantime, once you are in a long line waiting for a left turn, or at one of those fast-food restaurants, shut off the engine. Idling burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute, according to the California Energy Commission. By the way, you will get more exercise walking into Burger King for your meal. If you want to know where gasoline prices are headed, watch the Dow Jones Transportation Index ($DJT). That's the theory of some market watchers, at least. The transportation sector uses more than 70% of U.S. petroleum production and imports, according to Rigzone. When the transportation index drops, it's usually followed by a drop in crude oil prices. "We suggest keeping a close eye on the transports as the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine' in preparation of rotating out of the energy sector ahead of what historically has signaled grief for the industry," Rigzone writes. And that could be the case now. The Dow Transportation Index has dropped 12.3% since July 7. (Source: http://money.msn.com)

Letter to the Editor

by Phil Williams

This past week I received a schedule of fees from my propane gas company (at bottom). As I read through it, I could not believe that in a time when gas prices are skyrocketing that they would have the nerve to add additional fees or better yet to send me a notice at Christmas. And heaven forbid—You run out of gas——Because you are low income and don’t have regular refills—It will cost you $150.00 if you call after 4:30 or before 8 am or $250.00 if it is on the week end. Then add $85.00 for the leak check fee (because you ran out of the gas that you can’t afford anyway) then another $100.00 if you can’t afford the 200 gal minimum! So now for running out of gas on a Holiday weekend you will need $435.00 to make the call to get any gas…Gas fee not added in yet. The more I read the angrier I got. But after some reflection I realized that this is just a great marketing plan and I began to think of ways that I could also benefit.. Here are some of the concepts I came up with: Driveway usage, every time they deliver… $100.00. If unable to back in with one try additional $50.00 per attempt. Per minute fee for using our property $5.00 per minute or $100.00 whichever is greater. $100.00 fee for arriving before 9am and disturbing my morning coffee. $100.00 a month advertising fee for having their company name on the tank in MY yard. Obviously the days when Customer Service mattered are gone. When a Company was just darn happy to have you as a Customer… Now it is about the money. Needless to say, I will be shopping for a friendlier Gas Company, one that wants my business, not my Soul. Maybe you should too. But first I will have to save up the $100.00 fee for the tank removal! Phil Williams

My Vacation 2009

by Tom Serino

From time to time, your editor takes a vacation... I can usually find something to bore our readers with.. So here is a summation of one of my vacation days in South Africa. Easter Sunday was special in South Africa. I did want to go to a Catholic church, but my son, a journalist for the South African Press Association (SAPA) had been given an assignment to do a story on a political rally for the President of the African National Conference (ANC) so we went there instead. While my son was able to take some time off work, it was great tagging along to see him do his work. Actually, it was fantastic! As we approached the main church, we were met and challenged by one of the church’s deacons, who turned out to be the media spokesperson for the church. My son presented his credentials with the media. Then the PR person for the church asked me for mine. I had to say, “I don’t have any credentials, I’m here just visiting my son.” The man asked where I came from. I responded, “The United States.” That resulted in a broad smile and a “Come on in!” That gave me a great feeling of welcome, and pride of my home country. And that happened on other occasions, as well. But I digress. It was a great event. besides seeing the President of the ANC up close.. he even smiled for me a couple of times as I took some pictures of him, as my son did his work.. taking notes for the story.  The President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, age 67, is the most likely winner of the Presidential Election for S.A. which was held April 22, so this was a huge story. Interesting that he showed up at the International Pentacostal Holiness Church IPHC, for a campaign stop... He was there from Noon to about 3, because there was also scheduled for that same religious service 400 weddings of 150 men... you ask how do 150 marry 250? easy.... some men married 2 or 3 wives on the same day... I was shocked... and in the procession of the couples to be, the wives would lead and the husband would walk behind the wife.... Sometimes the wife-to-be would have at her side, the current wife or wives of the man she is marrying... I took pictures because I didn’t think anyone would believe me.. One guy, a young man, married three women the same day... Can you imagine what was going through his head? And the decisions he had to make later in the day?  I was impressed. In all cases, the wife’s bouquet of flowers contained a color matching the man’s suit, or vest, or tie at least. The reason so many got married this day, was because Easter is a special day for this religion, and it is considered an auspicious day for weddings, in particular. After the procession of the wedding parties to the music of a great choirs and large band (with some great sax.. even got me dancing) Yes, most of the newlywed couples ‘danced’ down the aisle.. not just walked... The President to be, J Z as he is called, has four wives... and his fourth wife MaNtuli, while the youngest of the others, age 33, may take the front seat as the FIRST LADY, when he becomes President of S.A. Anyway, what is especially interesting is the fact that the Leader of the Church, welcomed J.Z, the politician, into the church.... i.e. they have no separation of Church and State here... After the rally at the IPHC, which featured about 30,000 church members attending, J Z went to a Muslim celebration, and spoke there as well... We followed him there as well.... all very interesting... As my son interviewed and I listened to people’s response, it was mixed.. some liked J Z, some did not... their most important concern was crime against their people... Africa has a 40% unemployment rate, and 70% of blacks are unemployed... so it makes for a lot of crime, thievery, muggings and the like... As such residents live in compounds, homes with 6’ cement or steel bar walls. By the way, the car of the day was the Rolls Royce which the leader of the church showed up in... the President of the ANC rolled up in a BMW... It turned out to be a nice Easter. Tom Serino

On the Other Side of the Street...

by John Crinnion

A Poll Indicates 20% of Those Questioned Think Obama is Muslim

What makes 1 in 5 people believe Obama is Muslim? Perhaps it is because his father was a Muslim and he was taught in Muslim schools as a boy and he has said the Muslim call to Prayer is a great sound to him. When he was in the Middle East on his ‘Apology for America’ tour, he declared that the USA was not a Christian nation. Then there is the problem of establishing his birth. The Hawaiian hospital, where he claims to have been born, has had all his records blocked from public view. They have even blocked his mother’s passport records around the time of his birth by the State Department. What are they afraid those records would reveal?? And now the president steps into it by announcing to a group of Muslims at a meeting, that they have every right to build the Mosque a few blocks from the 9/11 attack by Muslims. He failed to mention that with the legal right, the moral obligation should suggest a more appropriate location, but he did not do that until he read the polls the next day and even then he did not make it a clear statement. He reverted to his service in the IL legislature when he chose to vote present on any tough issues. In his backtracking on the Mosque issue, he merely voted – present. A fair comparison is when the nuns were going to build near the location of the Holocaust to pray for those who lost their lives there. But the Jews objected and the Pope stepped in and asked them not to build there. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a Pope figure in the Muslim world. What has not been mentioned in all this discussion, except for a very few times, is that a Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed by falling debris from the Twin Towers during the attack and they have not been given permission to rebuild on the same location as the previous church. The argument used is, that it would look like a church, what a shame. Perhaps if they built it to look like a Mosque, they could get approval. The Greek Church would be built from funds from church members, not foreign countries. The leader of the Mosque building near the Twin Towers will not say where his funding is coming from; perhaps Saudi Arabia, which will not allow any Christian church in their country; no Bibles and no Rosaries. This Imam claims the US was partially responsible for 9/11. Perhaps he heard Obama’s apology to Egypt shortly after he became president where he apologized for the US behavior, but failed to point out our going to war to save Kuwait under Bush I; then the war in Serbia to protect the Muslim population under Clinton. Then there was going to war in World War I and World War II, in both cases to save Europe at a great expense to the U.S. in funds and lives with no gain except to protect those being killed for gain. Today Iran is continuing with nuclear reactors with Russian help and we continue to ignore the threat and wish to talk of peace. That is what we were doing when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. With our reluctance to step up and take a strong stand our allies has become queasy regarding our word to defend in treaties. It is true we should demand more from these “allies” for their own defense and support in treaties, but this is not the time to reduce our defenses. This could be where money could be well spent and create jobs. Obama passed up two annual “Days of Prayer” while attending Ramadan meetings with Muslims during the same two years of his administration. It would seem he is more comfortable among the Muslims than the Christians.

H&H Earns Industry Award

by Tom Serino

H&H Tube of Vanderbilt has been honored with the 2010 TPJ Industry Award presented by the Tube and Pipe Association (TPA). TPA is a technology affiliate of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International ® (FMA) which honors industry success stories. H&H Tube meets the criterion of an industry success story. With its high regard to customer service, quality, on-time delivery and short lead times, H&H Tube not only encompasses the essence of the TPJ Industry Award, but is a great example of a quality American manufacturing facility. In addition, H&H Tube has taken incredible steps over the past several years in reducing inventory levels, minimizing scrap and achieving safety goals while never losing focus on their customers. “Our editors meet many fabricators every year, and every one of them is unique,” said Ed Youdell, group publisher for FMA Communications Inc., the company that publishes of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal. “Some are in specific niches, and some are very diverse; some have just a handful of employees and some have dozens; some use all the latest technologies and others use tried-and-true machinery; but despite these differences, every fabricator makes a contribution to this industry. As this years’ top award winner, H & H is a fabricator we believe everyone can learn from. We selected H & H because the company exemplifies what metal fabrication is all about.” “Every application goes through several reviews,” said Eric Lundin, editor of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal®. “What really stood out for H & H Tube was what the company does for people. Not just its customers, but its employees and the people in its community, too. Its safety record speaks for itself,” Lundin continued. “Three years without a lost day says a lot about its commitment to a safe workplace. When customers call, they talk to a receptionist because the company doesn’t want them to have to deal with a frustrating and impersonal automated phone system. And to top it off, H & H supports nearly a dozen local charities and causes.” “It is truly an honor to be recognized with this award.” comments Dan Dreyer, General Manager. “It is the result of the hard work of every employee; without their dedication and support, this award wouldn’t be possible.” The award will be presented at the Metal Matters 2010 conference hosted by FMA. H&H Tube will also be featured on the cover of the January / February 2010 issue of TPJ – Tube & Pipe Journal ® with an editorial covering how its culture was recognized for the Industry Award. H&H Tube is one of the largest tube fabricators supported by its own customer redraw mill. Established in 1930, H&H Tube was built on the philosophy of always recognizing the needs of its customers and understanding that quality, on-time delivery and customer service are paramount to success.  Today, H&H Tube still conducts it business with the same philosophy. H&H Tube is ISO 9001:2008 certified and owned by Sunspring America, Inc. with locations in Kentucky and North Carolina.

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