The deadline for submitting letters for the general election is Thursday, Nov. 3.
Retired Van Buren County judge endorses McKay
To the editor,
I graduated from Law School 43 years ago in 1973, and that same year I went to work as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Van Buren County. A year-and-a-half later I was appointed as the prosecuting attorney for Van Buren County and I served until 1976, when after serving only three years in the prosecutor's office, the governor of the State of Michigan appointed me probate judge of Van Buren County. I served as probate judge for 38 years, being re-elected 6 times.
During the last three years I served as chief judge of all Van Buren County Courts. During those 38 years, I served many times by assignment from the State Court Administration Office to both the circuit court and the district court.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Van Buren County will elect a new district judge. The choice is between Van Buren County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mike McKay and Attorney Cirilo Martinez.
First of all, we should be clear that the lack of prosecutorial experience by attorney Martinez and the lack of civil experience by attorney McKay does not disqualify either attorney. The district court has a heavy case load and both attorneys will be on a learning curve for their less experienced areas of the law.
However, there is not a better training ground on how to be a judge than the prosecutor's office because a prosecutor is in the courtroom almost every day, while a civil attorney is usually in the courtroom for short spurts of time and for just a couple of days a week, if that. I have been able to assess both attorneys in their work as both have appeared in my court prior to my retirement. Both attorneys possess the minimum qualifications by the law to be elected to the district court bench.
However, experience is but one element of being a good judge. A good judge must also have personality traits such as that which conform to the Michigan Code of Juridical Conduct. Having had the opportunity to observe Mike McKay as a Michigan state trooper, assistant prosecuting attorney, and his integrity during the campaign, attorney Mike McKay is “faithful to the law,” he maintains his professional competence,” he is “unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.” He is also intelligent, patient, dignified and courteous to litigants.
Early in my career, an experienced and well respected judge told me that our society wants to believe in our judicial system and that one of the main things that a litigant wants to see in a judge's decisions are decisions that are “fair but firm.” I have found that to be true.
I believe that Mike McKay will deliver that kind of justice, and I urge you to join me in voting to elect Mike McKay as the next district court judge in Van Buren County.
Frank D. Willis
Township official disagrees with reference to 'Old Guard' candidates
To the editor,
Mr. Green's letter was well written and we have partial agreement. I concur that there seems to be two “warring factions” within Columbia Township, but I disagree that those are the two groups running against each other in this election.
I submit that a third faction has emerged, and his friend is allied with that group through a common thread. For reasons unknown to me our fire chief has actively recruited and endorsed a candidate for each of the five seats, including his step-daughter that ran against me in the August Primary.
With nine candidates running for five seats, it is no wonder that Mr. Green perceives some conflict, but both circles have a combination of returning and new members, so I also disagree with “Old Guard” characterization.
If age is a factor, mature citizens tend to have more practical experience, a broader range of life lessons to draw from, and are often more able to prioritize civic duty than their child-rearing counterparts. I encourage younger residents to participate initially as volunteers, deputies, or staff positions in preparation for greater roles later.
I have made my local preferences known publicly, but will respect the results of the election. I have nothing personal against Mr. Green's chosen candidate, but a couple practical concerns do come to mind. One, she is already juggling two jobs. Columbia Township would require more than a third of Ms. Norton's attention. Two, she would have to recuse herself from matters pertaining to the Village of Breedsville. Her “independent voice” may be better utilized on a commission seat to combat the referenced chaos that exists.
I believe I speak for my chosen (Independent) Supervisor Dean Beckwith when I say that God had good reason to create us with two ears and only one mouth. Public officials should listen to both sides of a debate before leaping to conclusions. We are accountable to all citizens, not just a favored few.
I am trusting voters to elect those that are willing and able to shake hands, roll up their sleeves and cooperate toward a smooth transition into new terms – all in the best interest of our township.We will put service before self.
Brown will bring her middle-class values to Lansing
To the editor,
Annie Brown is a small-town hero. It’s rare today to see a woman who; continues to raise 3 children, help run a small family business, serve on her local school board, volunteer with her church and local charities, and still find time to help a friend in need at a moment’s notice. We don’t simply want Annie Brown in Lansing, we need her.
I look around our political climate today and see “business as usual” on my T.V., in the mail, and on the radio. It’s all the same these days. Whatever happened to the folks who have always helped someone in need, stepping up and serving in such a trusted capacity? Annie was raised with middle class values and that’s exactly what she’ll bring to Lansing.
This isn’t a traditional fluff piece of support for Annie Brown, it’s more than that. It’s a letter of truth supporting an honest and passionate woman. Annie is always a phone call away and even more impressive she’s willing and wanting to help those who need it while looking out for the interest for everyday hardworking families. Annie is accessible, transparent, and honest, in everything she does. If you’re still unsure how to cast your vote in the 66th House Race, please join me in voting for Annie Brown on Nov. 8 Let’s show Lansing that honesty, dedication, and integrity still exists in our political system.
SH school board candidate cares very much about children
To the editor,
I am writing to express my strongest endorsement of Crystal Davis for South Haven School Board. Crystal is the daughter of a school teacher. She is the mother of 6 children who currently attend South Haven Schools. She is a dedicated, hard-working, and utterly selfless individual who truly would do anything for not only her friends—but anyone in need. Anyone who has had the good fortune to spend time around Crystal will attest to this fact.
I could give countless examples regarding Crystal’s generosity with respect to local kids and families. I will instead, however, offer this—every year, Crystal spends 10 days of her time, and her own money, to travel to Haiti on a Mission trip. She does this not for any reward or recognition—she does this because she cares about children. All children. She has no agenda. She simply wants to help children who are in desperate need.
Crystal will bring this selfless dedication to the South Haven School Board. I urge you to vote for a woman who will stand for children above all else. I urge you to vote for Crystal Davis for South Haven School Board.
Background as a state trooper will be an asset for McKay
To the editor,
This election day, citizens have many important choices to make. Not the least of which is who will sit on the 7th District Court bench in Van Buren County. I’ve seen some postings by one candidate who certainly displays the creative traits of an imaginative lawyer who no doubt has spent considerable time trying to show how his client isn’t subject to the law being applied to him or her. But we won’t be electing a lawyer. We will be electing a judge.
I have already voted absentee for Mike McKay. For me the choice was simple. This is the candidate whose preparation consists of a disciplined structured respect for the law. I think having over ten years as a Michigan State Trooper, where each case for him began at the beginning, at the crime scene, is the best preparation for the mindset needed for a judge. Mike continued his passion for how the law serves the public by getting a law degree and returning to law enforcement in the prosecutor’s office. I spent a couple years in the MSP after serving in Vietnam with the Marines, and had my days in court. I never appreciated the judges, who like those on TV, injected their personalities and theatrics into a case.
The judge’s job is to see that the process of trial and examination follow the rules of evidence and court demeanor, for the protection of not only the process, but the rights of the accused. Judges that are not well versed give way to appeals that are costly and troubling for those involved. Mike McKay has been involved in hundreds if not thousands of criminal complaints and trials, always subjecting his activities to the rules of law, and the rules of the court. This is the kind of discipline and professionalism we expect from those that will sit in judgment of us or protect our rights during the process of court. For Mr. McKay the law isn’t just an intellectual pursuit, for him it has been life or death more than once. I hope you will join me approving his appointment to the bench.
Mitchell will bring high principles to clerk's office
To the editor,
We have an important election on Nov. 8. Up and down the ticket we
should elect principle-based people in office. One of those people should
be Aaron Mitchell in the office of Van Buren County Clerk. He is my
brother-in-law, but I have also worked with Aaron in an office environment
while he was working his way through Western Michigan University and then
again when he was the Deputy Clerk for Antwerp Township.
He is incredibly knowledgeable in local government and has good judgment. I’ve also served
alongside him as members of the Paw Paw Lions Club. I feel Aaron is the right choice.
Vote Aaron Mitchell for Van Buren County Clerk.
Democratic candidates Clements and Brown will bring positive change for state residents
To the editor,
A recent letter suggested that we should all vote Republican if we really care about important issues.
If one were to vote for Republican Congressman Fred Upton you would be voting for a very wealthy man who has been in congress for over twenty years, gets millions from outside interests, voted for every expense George Bush ever asked for, including the Iraq war, which brought instability in the Middle East, many killed and injured soldiers, and the financial crash.
Think about it, what has Mr. Upton ever really done to address your most important issues.
For the first time ever in this district, there will be no public debate as he refused to debate his opponent, Paul Clements. And, no, a forum without a back and forth on the issues doesn't count. All over the country there have been debates with congressional candidates - see them on C-span. What is Mr. Upton afraid of?
Vote for Paul Clements instead!
If one were to vote for the Republican Candidate Beth Griffin for State Representative in Michigan's 66th district you would be voting for a right wing extremist, recent President of the hate/anti-Muslim group, Act for America, who sued the Allegan County Schools and the Allegan Police department under the name of Elizabeth Griffin. She also used taxpayer time and money to raise campaign funds from some questionable outside interests.
Vote for Annie Brown instead.
In this election, don't vote by party alone. Read, become informed, and vote for your own best interests.
Brown's focus too liberal for
Van Buren County residents
To the editor,
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the State House. My focus has been squarely on job creation, raising household incomes, balancing budgets, and dedicating record resources to education and our local roads and bridges. Unlike the federal government, we are making progress here in Michigan, and we need to continue advancing common sense policies that move this state forward.
I hope you will join me in supporting Beth Griffin for State House. Beth’s top priority is to increase jobs and household incomes by creating an environment for small businesses and farms to succeed, enhancing workforce training, and improving our local roads. As a teacher, Beth opposes the federal government trying to run our schools and instead favors more parental involvement, more local control, and increasing vocational training. Beth works hard, cares about this community and listens to her neighbors. Her opponent, Annie Brown, is way too liberal to represent us.
Annie Brown supports Obamacare, the government takeover of health care, and using your tax dollars to fund abortions. Our economy is still recovering, but Annie Brown's plan includes raising taxes by $2 billion on Michigan job providers and more than 100,000 small businesses. We have come too far and made too much progress to go back to the failed ways of the past. This community has always prioritized smart management, low taxes and better schools. Beth Griffin understands that, and she will keep our district and state moving in the right direction.
I respectfully ask you to join me in voting for Beth.
66th District State Representative
Brown is the best choice for state representative
To the editor,
This is the first time in my life that I’ve written a letter to endorse a candidate. I feel moved to do it now because of the person I’m supporting. Over the last year or so, I’ve had the pleasure to come to know Annie Brown. I have found Annie to be the best choice to represent me in Lansing as my state representative. I’ve seen Annie speak to groups about her values and commitment to seniors, veterans, and students. Annie doesn’t just speak about her values to get votes – she truly lives a life of exemplary values. Her work ethic is beyond impressive and I know that she will fight hard for all of us in the 66th House District.
South Haven Hospital affilation with Bronson a wise choice
To the editor,
I first became involved with South Haven Health System (SHHS) when I was appointed to represent Arlington Township on the hospital board over 20 years ago. I have served as a volunteer and president of the Auxiliary and since we have moved to South Haven now am a “member at-large” on the board. It has been my pleasure to serve on the SHHS Foundation Board since its formation.
During my time as a Foundation Board member, I have witnessed amazing outreach opportunities supported by the SHHS Foundation such as free sports physicals, diabetic clinics, health fairs and screenings and Wellness Center scholarships. These have been funded by events such as the Blueberry Festival 5K/10K run, the annual SHHS Foundation Golf Outing and donations from the public. The SHHS Foundation has been operating on a smaller budget than most hospital foundations and that is one of the reasons why I am excited about what is to come for our community if the affiliation with Bronson Healthcare passes.
Bronson has committed to contributing $1 million over the next five years (in addition to the $18 million for the hospital) to be used for Foundation efforts right here in our community. With the support of Bronson and the $1 million, the foundation will be able to significantly expand its outreach, including providing more services to low income community members.
I urge you to vote “yes” on the Nov. 8 ballot because I know that a partnership with Bronson is going to benefit our friends and neighbors for years to come.
Democrats have turned into socialists
To the editor,
I am a Republican because I don't want to become a slave. The Democratic party has changed dramatically since my youth. Its goal is socialism. As a senior citizen, I have watched our country turn towards socialism. An ism, takes your money, tells you how to live, and then those in control live high off the hog.
Social Security is a prime example. Under democratic control, Social Security started by Franklin Roosevelt was voluntary. Not now - you would have to pay 1 percent tax of the first $1,400. Now its 7.65 percent on the first $90,000. Money put in would be tax deductible - not now. Annuity payments are never taxed. Clinton and Gore changed that and now 85 percent can be taxed.
We are all required to get health insurance under Obama. The old way was destroyed by the Democratic Party. Not one Republican voted for Obama Care.
Michigan Cherry Growers were told by the Obama administration to dump their tart cherries this year to inflate prices. If that isn't bad enough, now when a farmer plows his field, the furrows are now considered miniature mountain ranges and are controlled by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. This is no laughing matter. More can be found at Capcon under the title “Feds Claim Power Over Every Mud Puddle Under 'Migratory Molecule' Theory,” by Bruce Edward Walker, Sept. 27, 2016.
The choice is yours, slavery or freedom.
To the editor,
My name is Kristin Kubiszac, I am a wife, mother, and farmer. Southwest Michigan is a special place and I am writing to let our farming and small business communities know of our family support of Beth Griffin for State Representative.
Yes vote encouraged for SH hospital's affiliation with Bronson Healthcare
To the editor,
I write to encourage a “yes” vote on the Nov. 8 South Haven Health System ballot proposal. I have been a member of the South Haven Hospital Board of Trustees for 18 years. The decision to remain independent or to affiliate has been discussed at every Board meeting for the past several years.
As we have observed the dramatic changes in health care financing, the answer has become very clear. The Board of Trustees and the hospital administration have unanimously concluded that our current locally controlled, “stand-alone,” independent hospital cannot survive for the long haul. We must either affiliate, and change our structure, or we will wither away. Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option.
Bronson Health Group is enthusiastic about this affiliation. They believe enough in our future to invest $18 million dollars in our local facilities. It is our belief that new and better health care services will be the result of this affiliation.
Relinquishing local control is always a difficult decision. However more important is to maintain and improve local and accessible health care services. Your Board of Trustees asked to affiliate with Bronson to assure that our area will have excellent health care for years to come. A “yes” vote on Nov. 8 is a vote for the hospital and for healthcare in our area.
Richard J Allen M.D.
To the editor,
Brown offers a ray of hope for voters
For those of you who reside in the 66th District in Southwest Michigan and are concerned about the funding of education, seniors, lobbyists, and the direction of our state, there is a ray of hope this election year. The ray of hope is Annie Brown.
As a retired high school teacher, I have been and continue to be very concerned with the lack of funding for our public schools. One of Annie's primary reasons for running for state representative is her concern for our public schools. Annie has served on the South Haven School Board for over 12 years, so she is very aware of what should be done to make our schools work.
Annie also, like most of us, wants an economy that works for all of us, not just the privileged. She wants seniors to feel confident that their pensions, Social Security, and Medicare will be protected, along with their other needs.
Annie is a dedicated public servant that is very passionate about what she believes will work for the people of Michigan, especially in her district. A vote for Annie is a vote for change. I know her well enough to know that she means what she says and is honest and trustworthy. So, if you want change in Michigan, give Annie a chance to show you what she can do. She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and this is a good thing for us. Vote Annie November 8th!
McKay endorsed for Van Buren County district judge
To the editor,
I was an educational provider at the Migrant Bi-lingual Education Program for Van Buren County and met Cirilo Martinez as a student and have known him well since junior high school and continued to watch him as he grew, graduated high school, attended law school and began his law practice.
I have known Mike McKay since he graduated from law school. I have had the opportunity of observing both men work at their trade — Cirilo as he pled a couple of misdemeanor cases for defendants he represented and Mike as the prosecutor for a significant felony trial.
Mike was very well prepared, professional and fair in his admiration of justice. I believe Mike is the most highly qualified candidate to be elected District Court Judge. After careful thoughtful consideration, I must endorse Mike McKay for District Court Judge for Van Buren County.
Hartford couple supports Griffin as state representative
To the editor,
My husband, Bud, and I have known Beth Griffin for a number of years. I met her in the Republican Women’s Club, and her enthusiasm struck me. When she was elected to her commission seat, I could see her growing in knowledge and respect for her office and the people she serves.
Before she supported issues, she was willing to investigate and then come out and explain why she supports them. Beth has continued to flourish in experience and passion for her calling and she is an honest, hard working candidate for State Representative. She will apply everything she has learned during her time of service and she has great mentors helping her along the way.
We support Beth and are grateful she is willing and able to do the job.
Bud and Cyndie Howes,
Roehm most qualified to be county clerk
To the editor,
We have known Suzie Roehm for the past 35 years and in the past 21years in the Van Buren County Clerk's office. She has shown to be very knowledgeable in her duties, very compassionate to the public and handles herself very professionally. In our opinion, she would make an excellent County Clerk.
Dennis and Prudence Newell
'Old Guard' needs to go way in Columbia Twp.
To the editor,
This year's election in Columbia Township is between two warring factions of the Old Guard fighting not for good governance but over who gets to be "in charge" again. At a recent candidates forum several of those running did not introduce themselves and say why they should be (re)elected but used their time to attack others instead. It's been an ego-driven race that is emblematic of the inability of our township to prepare for our future.
This is why I am voting for an independent voice, Linda Norton, as the Township Supervisor, seeing as she is not part of, nor allied with, either of the warring factions. Having someone free from the chaos presiding over meetings might be the very thing we need to bring some sanity, decorum and sensibility to Columbia Township government.
Mrs. Norton is a 25-year resident of our township and has served as a trustee and now as the Village Clerk of Breedsville. In those roles she has worked successfully with everyone from MDOT to Rep. Aric Nesbitt to the Southwest Michigan Planning Council. It is clear how those successes - especially combined with her independent status - would be beneficial to Columbia Township as a whole.
That's why this year I will be casting my vote for Linda Norton as Columbia Township Supervisor and I encourage you to consider doing the same.
Griffin will support a better Michigan
To the editor,
When Beth says “Together for a better Michigan,” this is what she will work for.
Beth has served the community in many areas. Van Buren Mental Health, Kalamazoo Transportation, Wings of God, Mattawan Lions Club, Van Buren County Farm Farm Bureau, and many others. She is presently vice chair, Van Buren County Commission.
Beth is a wife, mother and an all-around community builder.
When there is something to be done, Beth is there to help.
Beth will work for a balanced budget. She is committed to free enterprise, keeping taxes low, and creating more jobs. Beth will speak for those who can't speak for themselves.
Please join us and vote for Beth Griffin for state representative.
Township supervisor supports hospital affiliation
To the editor,
I am reluctant to write letters to the editor because of the way people interpret what we say and do, but I feel that the ballot proposal for the South Haven Community Hospital Authority is very important to the well being of our community and the efforts to continue to provide good health care and services to all of us in this area.
I am in support of the ballot proposal and the affiliation with Bronson Hospital and I see benefits for this community if we have the support of Bronson. Knowing full well that some are not in favor of this proposal, I feel that if we do not move in this direction the loss of services for our population could cause severe hardships for many of us. I see that many seniors do not drive and are reliant on others or public transit to get to doctors and appointments. Loss of local services many of us rely on will deter some to continue to try and keep in good health.
I believe that the affiliation with Bronson or any hospital that can enhance the services locally is beneficial to our community. I honestly think that if we do not take this action we could see an exodus of providers currently in place that will find that economically they can no longer provide services in South Haven.
I don’t think that South Haven Community Hospital can survive without the affiliation. We are subject to about 75 percent Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement which does not provide stability or financial ability to grow or even survive.
Now I can provide a boatload of statistics on financial information, but the bottom line is if we don’t support this proposal, we may not have the services we enjoy today at South Haven Community Hospital.
If you are in doubt, attend one of the many open information meetings the Hospital is providing all the information to be an advised voter.
I am supporting the Nov. 8 ballot proposal for these reasons. Are you?
Geneva Township supervisor
Democrat-supported tax increases will hurt small businesses
To the editor,
As mother and wife of a retired Army sergeant, I work to ensure my family and I live within our means. We are not rich but we are not poor, It feels like were being punished for our hard work. What I see coming over the horizon gives me pause.
On our economy and for my families future, the choice for State House is clear. Beth Griffin will work for taxpayers. She wants to reduce the tax burden, continue to balance budgets by being fiscally responsible, and opposes outdated and overzealous government regulations.
Annie Brown wants to raise taxes by $2 billion on 100,000 Michigan small businesses. These massive tax increases will hurt my family and our economy and reduce opportunities for work. Annie Browns answer to everything is higher taxes, more government spending and control, and wasting our hard earned tax dollars to promote her liberal ideology. I’m definitely voting for Beth Griffin.
Democrat Brown says she will not support tax hikes on small businesses
To the editor,
First, I would like to thank everyone in the 66th House District for your encouragement, support and generosity. My favorite part of campaigning is going door to door and I have enjoyed listening to you and learning from your experiences, concerns and suggestions for improving Michigan.
This is the time of the election year when you may hear things that make you raise your eyebrows and shake your head. For example, last week a woman from Lawrence wrote a letter to the editor and said I want "to raise taxes by $2 billion on 100,000 Michigan small businesses."
As a small business owner for 16 years, that is the last thing I want to do. We need to encourage small businesses, not punish them with more taxes. Michigan families and senior citizens are already burdened with high taxes that need to be cut. When I called the woman who wrote the letter, she said she heard that I wanted to raise taxes, but couldn't remember where she heard it. I don't blame her one bit. There's a lot of information being tossed around, but it's not always the truth.
Because I want to help make our communities and families stronger, I announced recently that when I'm elected, I promise to donate half my salary back to the 66th District. The money will go to our schools, libraries, food pantries, college scholarships, and services for our veterans and senior citizens. Our state representatives make about $79,650 a year. But when the average family in our district makes $43,000 a year, and beginning teachers earn $33,000 a year, there is no reason I should make twice what our families make.
Griffin will work hard to voters in 66th District
To the editor,
I am writing to show my support for Beth Griffin for state representative. I have known Beth since 2008 and have served with her in county government since 2013. I have seen Beth work very hard as a county commissioner to represent her district and to reach out to voters, local officials, and business owners to help make Van Buren County a better place to live, work, and raise a family. She is a tireless worker, is helpful, a team player, and inspires those around her in a positive way. She has worked hard to implement a strategic plan at the county that improves efficiency and fiscal transparency for taxpayers.
Beth is a person of high integrity, honesty, and works well with others. She is servant to the people and shows this by example by giving her time to the Mattawan Lions, local chambers of commerce, the Farm Bureau, Wings of God, and Drug and Mental Health specialty courts.
Please join me in supporting Beth Griffin as our next state representative for the 66th District.
Griffin runs positive campaign with facts
To the editor,
I would like to express my appreciation for Beth Griffin as she campaigns for State Representative. She has run a positive campaign with facts, hard work, and a focus to discuss the issues that matter to our community. There is much to be said about a gal who is well liked and and can meet your eye and know she is a straightshooter and not pandering to you for a vote. Our county is a special place to live and work and Beth has a good working knowledge of our area and the needs of its people from her service as a county commissioner. The integrity she brings to the job today will allow her to promote a transparent government we all can participate in. Beth has demonstrated her willingness to work with all people on many different aspects of our community including: agriculture, health, education, and fair law enforcement to name a few. I am very pleased to see how inclusive she is for all of us and feel she can bring Michigan along on its road to recovery. I like her slogan “Together for a Better Michigan” it’s a core principal of the work she has done and her way forward.
We have a lot of work to do and need focused positive people to represent us.
Please join me in supporting this hard working trustworthy educator, mom and friend as our next State Representative for the 66th District.
Brown will bring real change for 66th District
To the editor,
This Nov. 8, we have the opportunity to make a real change for all people in the 66th House District of the Michigan Legislature. Annie Brown is a champion for people from all walks of life. She grew up in a small Michigan town, attended the local public school, graduated from a Michigan college, worked in both Lansing and Washington D.C., owns a small business and serves on the local school board.
She is hard-working, community-minded, kid-focused and eager to serve all of us. Annie has the ability to build consensus but also the fortitude to ask the tough questions. She will listen and do her research before she acts and will make her decisions based on what is best for the whole district. Having tired of the out-of-control, tied-to-big-money politicians, it is refreshing to find a woman who will represent and advocate for all of her constituents in everything that she does in Lansing for the 66thDistrict.
Please join my wife and me in voting for Annie Brown this November.
Former candidate endorses McKay for district judge
To the editor,
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to campaign for judge. While I did not make it to the general election, I did meet a lot of wonderful people along the way. I also learned a ton during these last few months that I can build on in the future.
I went into this endeavor knowing I was the long shot because of the cost of running an election. I felt that I was a great third option for the people of Van Buren County.
When I first discussed running I had a million questions and got a lot of help from an unlikely source - that source was Mike McKay. Yes, one of the people I would be running against. He actually took the time to answer my questions and help make sure I had what I needed to get on the ballot. Some might think he would be crazy for doing that, because it forced a primary election and would double his work to become the next judge. So why would he do this? Mike cares about Van Buren County enough that he wanted to make sure that the people of Van Buren had two candidates that are invested in our county.
I hoped that we would be the two candidates that the people of Van Buren County would choose from because either win or lose you would be getting an experienced and dedicated judge.
Unfortunately, I didn't make it through the primary election. I still have hopes of being a judge one day and until then I will remain vested in Van Buren County. With that I thank you all and ask you to join me in supporting Mike McKay for our next 7th District Court Judge.
Hospital nurse supports Bronson affiliation
To the editor,
I am an employee of South Haven Health System (SHHS) and I would like to encourage my fellow community members to vote “Yes” on the upcoming affiliation agreement between South Haven Health System and Bronson Healthcare. As an employee of SHHS, I am thrilled to hear about the $18 million that Bronson is committing to SHHS over the next five years. Our current lab space is cramped and does not offer enough privacy; our Medical Office Building needs to be redesigned or relocated; and our surgical suites just barely meet our needs for our growing orthopedics program. As an independent hospital, we do not have the money to fund these much-needed renovations, but as part of a larger system, there is a better chance of meeting those needs.
My coworkers and I are looking forward to having additional resources available to us if the SHHS/Bronson partnership is approved. Those resources include additional technology, clinical and nonclinical staff, medical specialists, and of course, the financial resources previously mentioned.
Working in a small, independent hospital has been a great learning experience for me because I was required to be a “jack-of-all-trades,” but now I am looking forward to the educational development and job advancement opportunities that are possible with a larger organization. This partnership with Bronson is only going to make our workforce stronger which is going to benefit our patients and our community.
Nadine Stacks, RN
Griffin will address issues important to the 6th District
To the editor,
I want to to cut to the chase. In good conscience can’t watch my country go down hill without making sure my local elected officials are men and women who believe in this Republic. Our freedom isn’t free, and we can’t afford liberal agendas in this area. I already pay too much in taxes, and we have empty storefronts we need filled up. We should be attracting more businesses, not driving them away with red tape and higher taxes.
I met Beth Griffin, and she works on these issues as a Van Buren county commissioner. Now Aric Nesbitt can’t run again, so we need a new state representative…. who do we choose?
I figure I got two choices this fall, vote for liberty or open up the door to higher taxes coming from the Democrats. Not on my watch. I may be a small-town man, but by God I know I have worked damn hard in my community my whole life, from fireman to DDA to chairman of the Bangor Police Commission, all the while running my welding shop for 45 years. Beth listens to my concerns, and understands what it means to run a successful business.
We have to make sure we work together where we can and stand up where we should to stop those that would deter our liberty. I am voting for Beth Griffin for state representative.
I hope you do too.
McKay meets criteria to be district court judge
To the editor,
This is an extremely important judge election and we must elect the most experienced, qualified, fair, and a person with integrity.
This person must be qualified for the job, have experience, have tried criminal cases and understands the necessity to represent every person coming before him as judge equally, fairly, and with respect for each individual.
There is only one choice that meets this criteria and that is Mike McKay.
Please vote for Mike McKay for Judge.
Marvin G. Flick
Brown concerned about welfare of 66th District residents
To the editor,
What defines good health? Of course you should eat right, you should have regular doctor visits and treat chronic illnesses like arthritis and diabetes. But there is much more we need to do to really be healthy. The whole concept of mental health is too often ignored and stigmatized as something we just don't want to discuss. But we must. Many people are afraid to seek help and the help is too often not even available to all.
So what do we need to do?
First of all, we need to have a state legislature that understands the problems and cares enough to do something about them — that means funding the mental health services that our citizens need and deserve.
To have such a legislature, we need strong, active, concerned and knowledgeable representatives. And Annie Brown certainly fits that description. She is the best choice to be our state representative for the 66th District. I am certainly going to vote for her and I encourage others to join with me in getting her elected in November.
Griffin committed to helping
To the editor,
Friends and community we hope you will join us in supporting Beth Griffin for Representative of the 66th District. Beth has shown a solid commitment in serving her community as a volunteer and and a commissioner. She supports farmers and small businesses, because she know in our community they are the job creators. She is responsive to tax payers knowing that they work very hard and government needs to be efficient and responsible with every dime they are given.
As a teacher Beth supports parental involvement and local control. She also believes in increasing vocational training as a critical element in a well rounded education. Beth is caring and seeks input from her neighbors and community to find collaborative solutions. She is a uniter and tries to find common sense solutions to problems.
Please join us in voting for Beth Griffin for State Representative on Nov. 8.
Larry and Liana Bodtke
Police chief endorses McKay for judge
To the editor,
In August of 2002, Roberta and Carlin Noble were brutally murdered in their Van Buren County home. Two of the three suspects who took part in the killings were put on trial, convicted and sent to prison for the heinous act, but the third suspect was not. Timothy Andrews, who later confessed to being present at the time of the murders, and to setting the Noble's home on fire to cover up the crime, had not been brought to justice for what he did. After taking part in the killings of two innocent people, Timothy Andrews was sent to prison only for perjury. With a parole date fast approaching, I brought the case to Assistant Prosecutor Mike McKay in 2014.
This case could not go undone. Roberta and Carlin were good, innocent people. They were killed in a very brutal way. I made a promise that I would see their case through and get justice for them. When I saw that he could be released from prison, I brought the case to Mike McKay. I knew that if the case could be prosecuted, Mike had the fortitude to get it done.
After months of work and further investigation, Mike decided the case was still strong enough, even after a decade had passed, to charge Andrews for his role in the killings. The Noble's surviving son wanted to see justice for his parents. He also hoped that Andrews would stay in prison for at least 10 more years- another decade that they wouldn't have to think about him walking the streets.
On June 5, 2015, Mike got Timothy Andrews convicted of Murder in the 2nd Degree and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He will be nearly 70 years old before he can be released.
That was an important case- for the Noble's, their family, and for our community. I can't say how much I appreciate Mike's work on the Noble case. Mike McKay would be an excellent judge for Van Buren County. He is fair, compassionate, and has the right priorities. With his experience outside of the courtroom, he has the right tools for the job.
Lawton police chief
Griffin's political platform supported
To the editor,
I deeply appreciate Beth's character and integrity, highly value her experience, and strongly support affirm her platform.
I hope you will join me in supporting Beth Griffin for State Representative."
Rev. Curry Pikkarrt
Brown willing to answer difficult questions
To the editor,
We need good, honest, and strong leadership in the 66th House District and that is why I’m voting for Annie Brown. If you are still undecided on whom to vote for to be our next state representative, please take the time to see what Annie stands for. Annie Brown is willing to answer the difficult questions and has an inclusive view of our district. As a resident of Antwerp Township that is the representation I want to have. Vote Annie on Nov 8.
Roehm most qualified to be Van Buren County clerk
To the editor,
In recent weeks, my wife and I have been asked many times why Suzie Roehm is the most qualified for the Van Buren County Clerk position. Our response has enlightened many people, and I would like to share some facts about my sister with you.
Suzie has worked 21 years in the Clerks Office, 13 of which as the Chief Deputy Clerk. She has led/co-led many new programs to improve functions in the office, including imagining of vital records and will implement the same for Circuit Court records. She initiated and maintains a Circuit Court collection program which increased collections over $63,000 in the first year of the program.
Suzie was appointed acting County Clerk, during the transition between the last two County Clerks in 2004, by the Chief Judge.
These are just a few examples of her extensive experience that highlights her dedication and commitment to follow all County and State laws/rules while improving services to all Van Buren County residents.
William John Goodrich
Martinez possesses attributes a district judge needs
To the editor,
Firmly planted in my front yard is a large sign urging everyone to vote for Cirilo Martinez in the Van Buren County District Court Judge contest. Here is why it is there.
For more than 45 years, I have practiced law in Michigan. Over that stretch, I personally represented a number of District, Probate and Circuit Court judges. Some moved on to the Court of Appeals. One became the Chief Judge of the Michigan Supreme Court.
All of the judicial officers I represented were experienced, thoughtful, forthright and modest while campaigning for office. They did not exaggerate their qualifications or lie about those of their opponents.
It is otherwise with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney McKay, Cirilo Martinez’s opponent for this judicial office.
Mr. McKay’s boastful claim that he has represented the county in over 5,000 criminal cases is preposterous and factually unworthy of belief. The math does not add up for one, such as he, who has not even finished four years in his current position. Likewise, he surely must know by now that his campaign statement that he is the only candidate with criminal experience is false. Yet, he keeps repeating it.
The District Court is not, as Mr. McKay asserts, only a criminal court,. It deals daily with an even more complex and perhaps heavier caseload of civil matters affecting the day-to-day lives of all Van Buren County residents But, Mr. McKay has no civil legal experience. None.
Mr. McKay wants to be elevated to a position that will allow his old boss and campaign associate to appear before him. I call that a conflict of interest.
Cirilo Martinez possesses the positive attributes of the best judges that I have personally known. He deserves your vote.
Robert W. White
Mayor endorses Patterson-Gladney for VB District 1 race
To the editor,
I am writing to endorse Gail Patterson-Gladney for Van Buren County Commissioner, District One. Having served many years with Gail on the South Haven City Council, I can attest to her passion for Van Buren County and the greater South Haven area.
During her time on City Council, Gail was actively engaged in a variety of community service efforts. Some of her work includes her service on the Ward One Action Committee, the Housing Commission, the Community Development Commission, and the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. As a Council member, Gail worked hard to facilitate the redevelopment of Elkenburg Park and to facilitate the demolition of the factory building at 229 Elkenburg Street. In addition to those efforts, Gail worked with the local leaders to plan and facilitate the construction of the Van Buren Trail, and the redevelopment of Phoenix Street and Williams Street in the city’s downtown.
Above all of these accomplishments, I have found Gail to be a truly caring person and advocate for residents. If elected to the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, I believe that Gail will be an excellent asset for the residents living in the greater South Haven area. I encourage everyone to consider support for Gail Patterson-Gladney as our next County Commissioner.
Robert G. Burr
Mayor, City of South Haven
Griffin sets a good example for others
To the editor,
I’m writing today to express my support for Beth Griffin for state representative. She is a down-to-earth mom, helping to make our communities stronger, and she juggles the daily challenges like all of us. She has said many times that she got into community service after her kids were born, in order to teach them by her actions what a good citizen does. I think she sets a great example for her kids and for us by reaching out and working together for a better Michigan. If you want to know what kind of person she is, all you have to do is look at her actions. She is working together with us for a better Michigan, one day at a time.
Brown will ensure government works for everyone
To the editor,
Annie Brown for State Representative. And let me tell you why. She is courageous, she is smart, she is thoughtful, and she is focused on fighting for Michigan families, schools, the elderly and the disenfranchised. Annie Brown will work to insure that government operates effectively on behalf of all of us. Annie is reasonable, and she has been a supportive asset in our community for many years.
As a South Haven School board member, she is fully invested in the heart beat of the community. We need Annie’s heartfelt desires for improvement at work in Lansing to represent the 66th District. The Michigan House of Representatives will experience the excitement, motivation, and commitment of Annie Brown. As one who knows Annie personally, her giving heart motivates her to always help others.
Just a few of many reasons to vote for Annie Brown for State Representative.
Negative campaigning hurts election process
To the editor,
As we conclude the election process, I'm saddened by the negative campaigns on the federal, state, and even our local level in Van Buren County. In any event, this election year has many of us scratching our heads and screaming. "I thought I would never live to see this happening at a local level!" I know I personally experienced this vicious behavior, in my election, in 2012.
Beth Griffin, current county commissioner, who represents Antwerp Township, had an opportunity to vote to let Antwerp Township maintain its own senior millage funds and keep the program at the local level. She listened to her constituents and the township board and made the right decision.
Join me and vote for Beth Griffin for State Representative on Nov. 8.
Daniel J. Ruzick
Van Buren County clerk endorses Roehm as next clerk
To the editor,
As County Clerk for the past 12 years I know the complexities of the position and how important it is to have someone with knowledge and experience in this lead role. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse and support Suzie Roehm in her bid for Clerk. Suzie is without a doubt the most qualified candidate for Van Buren County Clerk.
After working in the Clerk's Office for eight years Suzie was appointed Chief Deputy by former County Clerk Shirley Jackson before her retirement in 2003. Suzie was appointed Acting County Clerk by the Chief Circuit Judge during the year before I was elected in November, 2004. During that time Suzie prepared budgets, worked cooperatively with the Judges and Courts, conducted the General Election for the County, supervised staff and managed the Office….and did it well. There was no question who would be my Chief Deputy when I was elected Clerk. Suzie was my first choice.
Since that time we have worked together as a team and I’m very proud of the accomplishments and progress we’ve made in the Clerk’s Office. We now have vital records (birth, death, marriage) digitized for security and easy retrieval. We’ve consistently been in the forefront when working with the State to pilot and implement new programs, systems and software. Suzie instituted and maintains a payment program for felony defendants that holds them responsible and insures that they pay the restitution and court costs they owe. Because of the diversity of the services the Clerk’s Office provides, we have one of the busiest offices in the County and our customer service is second to none!
Suzie has the qualifications, proven experience, dedication and commitment to continue moving the office forward. On November 8th please join me in voting for and electing Suzie Roehm as our next Van Buren County Clerk.
Van Buren County Clerk
Martinez best candidate for district judge
To the editor,
I am proud to support Cirilo Martinez in his candidacy for 7th District Court Judge in Van Buren County. I have known Cirilo and his family for many years. He is an outstanding public servant, committed to making a positive impact on our community. He will have an even greater impact as a judge. Cirilo is a gentleman who will treat people with dignity and respect and administer his duties with integrity and impartiality. And he will administer those duties even if doing so means that he may face ridicule and scorn.
An example of Cirilo’s principled character in the face of ridicule can be found in a series of posts on the Mike McKay campaign’s social media site. In 2011, Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata was killed in the line of duty. His murderer committed suicide immediately after mortally wounding Officer Zapata. The murderer’s brother was arrested that night. His father was arrested in the days following. Both were charged with federal offenses by the U.S. Attorney. My friend Cirilo Martinez was assigned to defend the killer’s father.
Officer Zapata is referenced on the McKay social media site and a link to a news article about the prosecution of his killer’s father is provided. In his social media thread McKay engages in, responds to, and promotes criticism of Mr. Martinez by posting, “Of equal concern is that my opponent is the lawyer who fought to keep him out of prison. We all have to decide what we stand for in our careers. This case says something about character in the upcoming election.” Indeed it does, but not in the way in which Mr. McKay would have us see it. Mr. McKay’s post is what actually sheds light on the issue of character.
McKay goes on to post a similar statement(s), rebuking officers of the court who serve as counsel to those charged with crimes. This position is contrary to the fundamental premise of our system of justice. I am concerned that someone who seeks judicial office be so openly opposed to the concept of due process, even in circumstances wherein the victim of the heinous crime is a law enforcement officer. Many of the finest people I know have been attorneys who defend the accused. And many of them have gone on to become outstanding judges.
I am deeply respectful of law enforcement officers and I am outraged when they are the victims of crimes. My father was a police officer, his father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, my brother is a police officer, my cousins are police officers and some of my most treasured friends were and are police officers. I was a police officer for 25 years. I retired from Kalamazoo Public Safety in 2012. I respect Mr. McKay’s service as a Michigan State Police trooper and I regret the circumstances which resulted in the premature end of his career.
I was the shift commander on April 18, 2011. It would have been my father’s 80th birthday; it was Officer Eric Zapata’s final watch. He was murdered at 11:28 p.m. I authorized the arrest of the murderer’s brother that night and I supported his subsequent federal prosecution. I supported the arrest and federal prosecution of his father, Mr. Martinez’s client.
Sleep is sometimes elusive and interrupted, though less frequently as time passes, with dreams of that night. During those fitful nights, I hear the crack of gunfire over the radio as Officer Zapata’s partner calls for help during the gun fight, I hear the wail of sirens as every officer in the city and every officer from surrounding jurisdictions responds to the call for help, I hear the “officer down” transmission, I smell the gunpowder when I embrace Eric’s grief stricken partner, and I see the blood stained uniforms of the good men who carried their fallen friend from that godforsaken alley. None of those dreams has ever included a shred of consternation over the fact that my friend, Cirilo Martinez, did the job he took an oath to do in defending the murderer’s father. Mr. Martinez’s job in the aftermath was no doubt difficult, but it was necessary. The system of justice that Officer Zapata took an oath to support is the same system of justice that Cirilo Martinez took an oath to support.
Mike McKay has no claim to the events of that awful night. He has no right to use those events against Cirilo Martinez in any fashion, much less to use Officer Zapata’s murder and its aftermath to curry political favor. It cheapens what took place that night and it denigrates the ultimate sacrifice that Eric made.
Although I did on April 18, 2011, I no longer speak for the officers working our shift that night. But I am confident that each of them would agree with me. We all raised our right hands and took an oath, an oath I believe to be sacred, to uphold the law and to defend the Constitution—all of it, not just the parts which suit our agendas at a given time or place. Taking that oath means that we believe in our duty to uphold our entire system of justice. It means that we seek to ensure that the circle of justice is complete. It is not complete without such fundamental privileges as the right to counsel and to due process. Surely Mr. McKay has taken the same oath.
I authorized the arrest of the murderer’s brother. I fully supported the arrest of the murderer’s father and the prosecution of both. That is our system of justice. But there is no justice at all if those two men were to be denied the rights afforded to them, and to all of us, by the rule of law and our Constitution. My friend Cirilo Martinez did his job and upheld the oath he took when he fought on behalf of his client! The U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the man agreed with Cirilo and did not seek incarceration as part of the man’s sentence. Mr. McKay would evidently have us believe that this reflects negatively on the character of Cirilo and the U.S. Attorney. It does not. Just the opposite is true.
I encourage you to join me in voting for Cirilo Martinez for 7th District Court Judge. I know that Cirilo believes in the rule of law and the Constitution and that he will uphold and defend both.
Michael W. McCaw
McKay most qualified to be district judge
To the editor,
I have taken my personal time to evaluate both candidates for 7th District Court Judge.
After searching records and information on both, it is clear there is only one choice and that is Mike McKay.
McKay is a former Michigan State Trooper (because of an accident he had to leave that position), current Assistant Prosecutor, has tried over 5,000 criminal cases in Van Buren County, and has proved his ability to do the job.
He is experienced as an Assistant Prosecutor and works hard every day to protect us with his decisions.
Vote McKay, for experience, qualifications, trust, integrity, and honesty.
Brown supports public education
To the editor,
Annie Brown is familiar with public education, having been a teacher herself as well as serving several years on the South Haven Board of Education. Public education has been squeezed since Gov. Snyder joined forces with the Republican-controlled legislature. Their actions, including Right-To-Work legislation, are aimed more at weakening the power base of the Democrats than to serve the needs of our children as students. We in this state need to invest in our future, not try to get off on the cheap.
As a retired teacher I am grateful to have a pension, many others are not so fortunate in these changing times. And I earned it by faithfully showing up and doing my job the best I knew how. When Snyder came into office he got a 4 percent tax on pensions through the legislature and while not happy to lose money from my fixed income, I knew I should do my part to help balance the state budget when Michigan was really hurting from the recession. But things are better economically now and it is time for the retirement tax to go. This issue is important to Annie.
I doubt that either one of the issues I mentioned will be addressed by a Republican-controlled legislature. Annie Brown is my hope to change the balance in our legislature.
Hospital trustee supports affiliation with Bronson
To the editor,
I have been a trustee of the South Haven Health System for six years. During that time the board has done everything possible to keep the hospital independent. Unfortunately the recent changes in legislation have reduced the reimbursements for services for Medicaid and Medicare insured every year.
The hospital has continued to provide high quality medical care for the nine authorities and our other neighbors.
Costs to hire, train, equip, supply and maintain highly qualified employees have continued to rise. As an authority, we are required to operate under the open meetings act. In addition, we have regularly kept the nine governmental supporters informed. Nine of the 13 trustees are appointed by the nine authorities.
In order to maintain our quality health care and services, it is critical that we affiliate with a like thinking and acting larger medical entity. After more than two years of investigations, meetings, discussions and visits, the board identified Bronson Health Group's performance in affiliating with two other hospitals as very successful.
Further due diligence on behalf of South Haven Health System and Bronson Health Group found that both hospitals had much in common.
The final step is for each of you to vote “Yes” to the affiliation agreement on the Nov. 8th ballot; 50 percent of individuals voting must agree, plus one voter to end the millage that has been paid since the 1950s. That will end the hospital millage as soon as the affiliation contract is signed.
I urge you to vote “Yes” on the Nov. 8th ballot. A “Yes” vote will help the hospital to continue to supply the present services and gain additional access to more services for all of us.
Trustee, South Haven Health System
Godfrey represents Van Buren District 3 well
To the editor:
As a Van Buren county commissioner for many years, representing District 4, I have worked with many commissioners and have found Dick Godfrey to be one of the best. Dick Godfrey does an excellent job representing district 3 (Bloomingdale, Pine Grove, Almena, and the city of Gobles) and spends many additional hours as Van Buren County Commission chair and demonstrating his leadership qualities. Dick has spent much time working for veterans and helped to establish a veteran's drug court for Van Buren County.
He has recently made personal contact with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters trying to get federal assistance to improve internet service for rural areas of Van Buren County. These are but a few of Dick's endeavors as he spends additional time serving on other important county committees.
In the upcoming election, I would urge voters in District 3 to re-elect Richard Godfrey and let him continue to serve the citizens of Van Buren County.
McKay has the experience to be district judge
To the editor,
I confidently recommend Mike McKay for the position of Van Buren's 7th District Court judge. As a Michigan State trooper, Mike valiantly served and protected our country for ten years - being forced to retire after an on-duty injury almost cost him his life. He continues to contribute to Van Buren County as our county's assistant prosecutor, having a record of successes and criminal trial experience. In law enforcement and the courtroom, Mike McKay has proven himself a dedicated leader. I urge my neighbors to support Mike as our country's next district court judge.
John “Mike” Henry
Martinez will pursue justice for all
To the editor,
This letter is written in full support of Cirilo Martinez for the position of Van Buren County District Court Judge.
I first met Cirilo 20 years ago while working in migrant education for the Van Buren Intermediate School District. Time and again, I personally witnessed him make the extra effort to ensure all potential students and their parents understood the full benefits of the educational opportunities provided by the program.
That commitment, combined with his intellect and strong academic background from Paw Paw High School, the University of Michigan and Loyola University School of Law, positioned Cirilo for the successful legal career he has built over the last 13.5 years. Throughout his career, he has relentlessly pursued justice for all, serving as lead counsel on hundreds of cases in 18 counties throughout Michigan as well as the Federal Western District of the state. In addition, Mr. Martinez is currently representing those afflicted by the Flint water crisis.
As demonstrated by his actions throughout his life, Cirilo’s personal integrity and principals are of the highest order. As a man of faith, he strongly believes that what he does, both personally and professionally, should benefit the greater good. I have no doubt that those qualities and beliefs, joined with a well-developed sense of empathy and the depth and breadth of his legal experience, have positioned him to excel as a Van Buren County District Court Judge.
Brown supports mental health care
To the editor,
A vote for Annie Brown will be a vote for better education, a vote for senior citizens, a vote for small businesses. A vote for Annie Brown will also be a vote for individuals and their families who suffer from mental illness.
What used to be a hush-hush issue has now come out in the open, partly due to the tragic death of comedian Robin Williams as well as the courage and openness of Doug Meijer and Bruce Springsteen to talk about their own struggles with depression. Mental illness strikes one in four people in the United States, one quarter of Michigan's adult residents suffer from severe mental illness. Millions of people suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders, sometimes debilitating and sometimes treated with medication.
You often cannot identify the people around you suffering from these disorders due to effective medication. They are your colleagues, your friends, your neighbors. Go to NAMIMI.org to learn more. Annie Brown has done her research. Annie has spoken to families affected by mental illness, about the shortage of beds for adolescents, about available, affordable care.
Annie Brown knows and understands the issues facing citizens in the 66th district. She has knocked on doors and talked to people face to face about their concerns. Annie has studied the issues. Annie is known to be forthcoming, honest, hardworking, and a hands on person. A vote for Annie is a vote in the right direction.
Lynda and Joe Warshawsky
Special interest groups back Griffin
o the editor,
I am worried that the 66th State House District is being bought by the highest bidder. I am deeply troubled by candidate Beth Griffin's recent campaign finance disclosure and her lack of support by everyday hard working middle-class families. You can check this out for yourself at www.michigan.gov./sos.
It’s clear from this latest financial report that she is being bought by wealthy special interest groups and CEOs. She has taken well over $10,000 from distant millionaires and anti-teacher supporters. She has received “free” glossy mailers from the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), an anti-public school organization orchestrated by these same individuals. Even worse, she has loaned her campaign $40,000. Who do you think pays that debt if she were to win? The same people who are buying her campaign at this very moment. How can we honestly expect the quality middle-class representation we deserve when she’s being bought and paid for by folks in Grand Rapids and Lansing? We can do better, we deserve better, we need better.
As a former trustee of the South Haven Board of Education, I’ve seen how charter schools have taken precious resources from our local schools while following a completely different set of rules. While serving with Annie Brown on the school board I’ve personally seen her stand up for the little guy, defend our teachers, and remain an honest and independent voice for kids and middle-class families.
Perhaps the most troubling concern is that Beth Griffin is aligned with millionaire embattled Gov. Rick Snyder, the same man who attempted to cover up the poisoning of Flint’s water supply and has consistently attacked our public education system. As someone who has grown up on the shores of Lake Michigan I know we can’t afford Beth Griffin’s “business as usual” approach to our schools, environment, and outside special interest groups.
Beth Griffin cannot be trusted as an independent voice if the top 1 percent and other political cronies are pulling her strings. The 66th House District needs exceptional leadership, Integrity, and dedication we can trust. Please vote to save our schools and uphold our middle-class values. Vote for Annie Brown on Nov. 8.
R. Tyler Dotson
Brown will advocate for senior citizens
To the editor,
I was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1947 and have lived in South Haven ever since. I worked as a police officer in the city for six years, and then I worked at the local post office for 28 years until I retired. Over the years my wife and I built our home in South Haven and were blessed with three children, two grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. My wife and I were married for 63 years.
In all of my years living in South Haven I have not had the opportunity to be represented by someone who shares my values of integrity, dedication, and working hard until the job is done right. This year I’m proud to say that I will be voting for Annie Brown because I believe she is the right person to represent our entire district in Lansing. I’ve been lucky to know Annie and her family for many years and have all the confidence in the world that she will make a great state representative. Annie will be the strongest voice for veterans and seniors. I hope you will join and support Annie Brown this November.
Rummel's skills will enhance
SH school board
To the editor,
I am a 30-plus-year veteran public school teacher who has spent most of his adult life working for positive reform that makes sense for students and parents who send us their most precious gifts. In that time I have had the opportunity to work with some great names in reform ranging from Roger Taylor to Buckminster Fuller to Pedro Noguera and some wonderful powerful people across this great state.
One of the most inspiring and amazing is Donna Rummel who is currently running for a school board position in South Haven.
I met Donna as she was coordinating teachers as part of the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship where she worked tirelessly as state manager to bring the best teachers in the state together to create a unified voice on what was best for our students and organizations everywhere. Since then I have come to know her as a passionate, informed and articulate advocate for quality education.
I have found Donna to be well connected nationally and across the state which is a wonderful trait for a local school board member. She will not operate as if in a vacuum, but with the understanding that your district is part of a collaborative effort statewide to serve students. Her connections and team building skills will make her a powerful board member.
I also have seen her commitment up close and personal. She gets the job done because she is a big picture thinker. She doesn’t provide knee jerk reaction to every little bump in the road. She creates a context for quality and keeps, not just herself, but everyone involved focused on the goals. Her humor and sincerity make her a true team player that can make a difference.
So you have the option to put someone on your board that has a lifetime of experience in the classroom and the field of education who has proven herself to be of the highest quality and truly desiring to make a difference for your district and your families. I can’t think of a good reason that you wouldn’t put her in this position to serve you so ably and willingly.
Jeff Bean, Ferris State University staff,
Roehm best qualified to be county clerk
To the editor,
I am supporting Suzie Roehm for Van Buren County clerk for several reasons. First, she was hired into the clerk’s office and trained by my mother, Shirley K. Jackson, our county clerk from 1983 to 2004. She was appointed chief deputy in 2003 and continued that position during Tina Leary’s terms as county clerk.
Suzie Roehm knows all aspects of the clerk’s office. With her experience and leadership in the clerk's office she knows how to run the office with customer service being a top priority.
Second, after observing her opponent's signs, it is clear he doesn’t even know basic election laws. His signs give the impression he is already clerk by giving his name and then stating, "Van Buren County Clerk." He also doesn’t have the correct candidate campaign information at the bottom of his signs that states the address of the campaign. As someone running for the office that oversees elections in this county, he should at least be able to follow these basic laws. I understand he has been asked to correct his signs and he has made excuses and doesn’t take it seriously. It is unbelievable that he wants to be in charge of all the elections in this county when he can’t follow the laws himself.
Many people believe the office of county clerk is a figure head that has office workers to do all the work. Having watched my mom work all those years I know there is a lot more to the position. The clerk not only has to know the basic functions of the office, but also the laws that govern it. The county clerk's job entails more than just making sure birth certificates and marriage licenses are processed correctly. They run all the elections and when the local clerks have problems, the county clerk is the first one they call, so they must know all the laws and regulations. They are also clerk for the Circuit Court and County Board of Commissioners meetings. All while following the applicable state laws. No excuses.
Having worked many years in the office Suzie Roehm has all the knowledge to keep the office running from day one. She will also make sure it functions legally serving the public, as it should.
Judy (Jackson) Janssen
Small business owner backs Griffin
To the editor,
My name is Joyce Webster, I am a seamstress and own my own shop in Paw Paw.. We have a special place here that we live in Southwest Michigan and there is a lot we have to do together to keep it that way. This coming November we will voting for a new state representative. I don’t know about you but I know that I can’t control what happens in the Presidential election, I though can continue to have a positive impact here.
Have you met Beth Griffin? You should. She is running to be our next state representative, and she is a special women who has worked many years as a school teacher in our area to make sure our children are taught well. She has a servant heart, having helped to start the Mattawan Area Food Pantry. She is a wife of a Navy captain, and is a mother of two. Beth has also been working for a number of years as a Van Buren county commissioner.
To me, as a senior, one of the most important things Beth has done, in my opinion, was when questions were raised about spending at the Van Buren Senior Services, Beth Griffin asked questions, searched for answers and transparency. She worked to ensure that money from her Antwerp township senior millage was being spent to provide quality services to local seniors. She listened to concerns, asked questions, and voted to ensure local township control of tax money for her district. Antwerp seniors were able to keep their local control over their own services. Can you imagine how you would feel as a senior if you didn’t have a say over the services provided to you?
I am voting for Beth Griffin for state representative. She cares and works for seniors and all of our community with a servant heart and she is one smart cookie.
She likes Mike
To the editor,
Short and to the point.
"I like Mike."
Vote for Mike McKay for Judge.
Concerns raised over hospital's proposed affiliation with Bronson Healthcare
To the editor,
Regarding the proposed “affiliate” (read buy-out) between South Haven Healthcare System and Bronson Healthcare Group, I find the paragraph at the top of page 3A chillingly telling. “Bronson South Haven would continue to provide services currently offered...as long as it is economically viable and operationally practical to continue supporting or offering such services.”
Ouch. The suggested time line is 3 – 5 years. Then what? If it's not economically feasible, what happens to the vital Emergency Services, the lab tests and all the other medical services that make it possible for the public to avoid the 45-plus minutes to drive to Kalamazoo, to stay local—a strong reason for people to live and retire in the South Haven area?
There is a major highway just on the edge of the city, there are thousands of people visiting in the season, there's a nuclear power plant five miles away which is a powerful consideration for the need for medical services. It seems there are many compelling reasons to keep at least the basic services that a hospital provides in this place. Additionally, it is a public hospital, owned by the citizens of the area. To my way of thinking, that is an important distinction.
Another consideration to mull over is that there are people who live in the area who have transportation and financial issues. Some have no one to turn to when they need a simple — but not easy — trip to the hospital for lab work or other hospital needs. If the hospital moves, goes away, who suffers?
There are no savings by eliminating a millage for the hospital (the millage stands at 0.33050 mils) and losing a public hospital. The hospital does not need to be full service (many folks are sent on to Bronson or Borgess for further action in any case), but it does need to exist for the basic health care services including emergency services, urgent care, lab work and other medical services. Unless these services can be guaranteed to continue in our South Haven hospital, I will vote no on this ballot proposal. I suggest strongly that other means continue to be explored. A hospital is part of the infrastructure of a city, like roads, schools, sewers, water, fire and police protection. How about supporting our hospital with assessments such as those levied for the county drain districts?