Readers’ Voice

Dear editor,
   This is my opinion, and I guess I’m stuck with it. If you are healthy enough to donate blood, you should be happy to do it. Wednesday, April 11, from noon until 6 p.m. at the Paw Paw Lions Club, will be your chance. One donation, 1 pint, could help three people in need of blood products. Please help.
Frank Wunderlich
Blood Drive Coordinator
PawPaw Lions Club

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Letter to Editor
   The month of April is National Volunteer Recognition Month. We would like to take this time to publicly honor the outstanding volunteers who share their time and talents at the Community Thrift Shop in Paw Paw. We have over 80 volunteers who shared 17,000-plus hours of their lives to assist at the shop.     
   The shop is a true “community” outreach. Not only do we receive and process donations from our great community, we give right back to the community through our community partners - Eleanor’s Pantry, Wings of God, Red Cross, First Tee, local churches, and others. Caring about the environment, we recycle many items - metal, electronics, cardboard, batteries, glass and plastics, eye glasses (for Lions Club), ink and toner cartridges, cell phones (for our veterans), books, newspaper and plastic bags… and more.
   The success and growth of the shop from a tiny 2,500 square foot building to now two buildings totaling over 13,000 square feet, is due to our volunteers. Their dedication to providing the community with “quality second hand” items at reasonable prices makes the shop. The volunteers make new friends, they enjoy and care about the team of people they work with. The shop is filled with laughter, when we try to figure out what an item might be or tears when we hear a spouse has been diagnosed with cancer. 
   If you would be interested in finding out more about volunteering at our shops, please contact us at 269-657-4186. 
   On April 9, we will open our Holiday Store and Home Décor Shoppe, located at 32849 Red Arrow Hwy. (next to the Secretary of State office), (269) 459-7355. The shop will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Please stop in and see our expanded space. 
   We are extremely proud of our volunteers; they are truly priceless in our eyes. 
   Thank you, volunteers:
   Jim Alden, Connie Ashcraft, Michele Babin, Penny Baker, Charlene Bare, Tony Bentley, Pam Bielang, Doug Bond, Jami Bond, Sue Briggs, Sally Brinkman, Greg Butler, Wendy Charles, Diana Chiddister, Florence Chybik, Kerry Cochran, Sue Conklin, Marge Cornish, David Corstange, Carolyn Curtis, Bonnie Davidson, Dayton Davis, Dorothy Dietz, Marilyn Doyle, Ginny Drogula, Brenda Elmore, Carole Erickson, Alan Fader, Yvonne Ferrara, Pat Garrod, Pam Gehl, Diane Grimm, Lourdes Guevara, Bill Harris, Vicky Harrington, Linda Heidenreich, Kathy Hobbs, Lucy Hood, Morene Huggett; Charlotte King, Sue Knudstrup, Marlene Lake, Mike Lake, Celine Lanting, Peggy Magnuson, Sue Martin, Nancy McCorry, Pat McKinney, MaryAnn Menck, Bev Mroczek, Jill Muir, Curt Newhouse, Deb Newhouse, Jan Ogden, Diane Pietrowski, Chris Pomeroy, Marcia Potter, Wayne Potter, Mary Pyonk, Sally Quan, Beth Robbins, Joanne Rossman; Barb Sampsell, Gary Sampsell, Rich Schiele, Sally Schiele, Bruce Shannon, Cheryl Shaw, Keith Shaw, Debbra Slater, David Sivley, Carol Sjoquist, Pat Small, Laura Smith, Marie Smith, Patti Smith, Darlene Spalo, Audrey Spencer, Shirley Stewart, Carol Tedrow, Nancy Terry,  Don Waite, Margie Waite, Adam Walter, Carole White, Marcia Williams, Janice Wilson, MaryLou Wright and Eleda Zygalo.
   Respectfully yours,
   Mary Bentley, Leanne Fader, Sue Harris and Sheree Vandenberg

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To the Editor:
   It seems that the major media likes to take a tragic event and turn it into a political issue, with the latest coming from Florida. This time they are concentrating on an organization which had nothing to do it, or the power to stop it. The real culprits are the FBI and local officers. The FBI had plenty of warnings about the shooter but failed to inform anyone. And then, there were officers who refused to enter the school during the shooting (CNN, Washington Examiner), which could have reduced the number of killings. No one has expressed any concern or outrage, not even parents, students or school officials; no accountability for actions being addressed. Gun control and the NRA are more  important issues to attack, with the media using the students as pawns to promote their anti-gun agenda.
   The problem with our society is that there is no accountability or consequences for doing evil, which occurs in homes, schools and society. Parents fear punishment for reprimanding, scolding or threatening their children.   People want no more gun violence in schools. But what about other violent actions? An investigation (NRA) found that during the 2013-2014 school year, 65% of all schools reported at least one violent activity. They all did not involve guns.
   For less violence, are students willing to accept a penalty for doing wrong from parents, faculty and law enforcement? Are parents willing to discipline their children? If not, violence will continue, using whatever means is available.  As Ben Stein said “for the government to ban certain firearms is a cop-out  to avoid fixing the real problem. Parents and government officials ignore and cover for anti-social, near feral humans like Nikolas Cruz until they kill someone.”   
   What good are background checks if the pertinent information on a person is not passed on? Remember, the FBI did nothing to prevent what happened in Florida.
   There are thoughts about banning certain firearms. This requires a definition, which gun owners fear, and don’t trust the government to do. Organizations have stated that Democrats want to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Current laws need to be enforced.
   But other changes are needed.
   The age to purchase should be 21 (except military) for all guns, no bump stocks, no high capacity magazines, and an “owners accountability act” - owners would be accountable in some  way if their weapon is used in a serious crime.
   The attacks on the NRA are not justified. They may lobby for manufacturers. But they also work for our 2nd Amendment rights, support gun owners in various ways and provide training for military, civilians and police agencies. They also have safety and educational programs for the youth to promote safe shooting.
   The NRA Foundation provides grants to various organizations. There is also the “National School Shield” program to address security and other issues, as there is no one size fits all. Arming teachers is not part of the program. Their mission is: To protect our children.
   To reduce violence, changes are needed, which includes more discipline and accountability for actions, applying to all.
   Wayne Wilhelmi
   Paw Paw

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An open letter to Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker,
   Yes, Tonya, the students’ protest marches were only a “statement” against guns and violence - a very powerful statement. Yes, they have no legal power - no vote (yet). They cannot pass laws to make our world safer.
   But YOU can.
   YOU have the vote. YOU have the ability to make a difference -- mental health - military style weapons - background checks.
   YOU and the other “adults” in our legislature have the power to fix this terrible situation, make our schools safe, bring sanity back into our world.
   This has gone on too long.
   Please do something meaningful NOW.
   God bless,
   Barbara L. Ewing
   Lawton

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Editor,
   I believe the March 24 demonstrations against gun violence organized by students from the Florida high school who recently experienced a mass shooting were a watershed moment in the raging debate on reasonable firearm regulation.
   I recall such a turning point relative to the Vietnam War. Protests over the draft-training-to body bag scenario resulted in the eventual end to that shameful waste of young lives.
   Unfortunately, not everyone has seen the value of the students’ reaction to gun violence. Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, criticized the students, urging them to “learn CPR rather than looking for someone else to solve their problem.”
   What a hare-brained suggestion! Santorum later walked back his statement a little, acknowledging that CPR would not be a helpful way to deal with gunshot wounds. He continued, however, to spout the NRA standard argument, asserting that any government action to curb gun violence was not the right solution because it involves looking to “someone else” to solve the problem.
   The “someone else” that the students are looking to are the president and those in Congress. In our democracy, these are the people we hire to fix such problems. However, those in control place more value on donations they get from the NRA and gun manufacturers than they do on children’s lives.
   These young demonstrators, and the many millions of people across the country who support their actions, have made it clear to those of the Santorum ilk now serving in Washington: “Shape up and help stop the carnage, or we will elect those who will!”
   Eric A. Wild
   Lawrence

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Dear Editor,
   I know many people are not paying attention to politics like I am. People are too busy, are sick of hearing it on TV all the time, they don’t bother voting - it doesn’t make a difference. As someone who has been politically active in Van Buren County for a few years now, I have heard it all.
   But unless you are living under a rock, where this State and Country is headed isn’t in a direction that the average Van Buren County person will prosper from. In fact, things are getting worse for our citizens and it is imperative for everyone to pay attention.
   Well, for those of you who do not know, people have become motivated. There are seven people running for the 6th District Democratic nomination in the August Primary to defeat Fred Upton -- the time has come for Fred to retire.
   The Democrats also have a dynamite person running for State Senate. We could use a few more for County Commissioners. So, if you think that running for a county commission seat as a Democrat is something you want to consider, the Van Buren County Democratic Party wants to talk to you.
   But this letter is really about introducing Dan Seibert. He is running as a Democrat for State Representative in the 66th District, which includes Van Buren County and a small gerrymandered slice of Kalamazoo County in the Parchment-Cooper Township area.
   Come and meet Dan at a fund raising fun event on April 12 from 6-8 p.m. at the lower level of LaCantina Ristorante. (An ad in The Courier-Leader and Paw Paw Flashes this weekend has more information.) Check out www.seibertforstaterep.com for more information or look up the Van Buren County Dems website.
   Dan sees the problems caused by special interests and is running to fight against the corruption they cause. It is time we had a candidate who works for us, but he needs help funding the cost of the campaign. This grass root support is key to sending Dan Seibert to the State House  supported only by the community he would represent -- the citizens of the Michigan State House 66th District.
   Pat Winston
   Paw Paw

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Dear Editor,
   Briggs Pond and Maple Lake are depositing arsenic into Lake Michigan via the Paw Paw River. We have an opportunity to greatly reduce this flow or toxic sediment contamination by applying for a grant funded by the federal budget which provides $300 million for toxic sediment reduction in the Great Lakes. This money must be committed by September 30. The federal program is titled “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”
   We have a one million (measured) cubic yard sediment problem. $5 million would clean up Briggs Pond, our primary sediment trap, and restore the beauty and recreational use of the South Basin of Maple Lake.
   The plan for this effort is included in the second edition of the document entitled, “A Plan to Alleviate the Loss of Top Soil (sediment) as well as To Recover Top Soil in the Southern Reaches of the Paw Paw River Watershed,” available at the Paw Paw Village Office.
   Please call or write Congressman Upton, State Senators Schuitmaker and O’Brien, and Representative Griffin soliciting support for our efforts to win a grant. This project will help solve two environmental recreational problems with one money source.
   Ted Major
   Rotarian
   Maple Lake Assn. member
   Paw Paw

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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