April 26 • 06:03 AM
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Walks scheduled for Get Fit Don’t Sit Day

The St. Clair County Healthy Lifestyles Workgroup is encouraging everyone to participate on Wednesday, May 1, for the American Diabetes Association's 'Get Fit Don't Sit Day.' Get up and move at least once every 30 minutes throughout the workday and take a walk anywhere—your neighborhood, at the park, at work, or join a sponsored walking site!

There are several sponsored walking sites throughout the county and special gatherings at 12 noon at McLaren Port Huron's courtyard, at 12:30 p.m. at Lake Huron Medical Center's North Campus, 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Port Huron Municipal Office Center, or at 4:30 p.m. at the River Walk at the north entrance arch.

All events are free. For more information, contact the YMCA of the Blue Water Area at 810-987-6400. Look for updates on our Facebook page: Blue Water Walking Club. Kick-start your health this spring and Get Fit Don't Sit!

—Kelly DiNardo
April 24, 2019

Infant Immunization Week is April 26 - May 4

The St. Clair County Health Department is celebrating National Infant Immunization Week which runs from April 26 - May 4.

This annual observance highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunizations. St. Clair County Health Department joins communities around the nation in celebration of the critical role vaccinations play in protecting the health of our children, families, and communities.

When fully immunized, infants in the United States are protected against 14 preventable diseases. Vaccines are especially important for infants. Some of the diseases immunizations protect against can be dangerous for children under the age of two. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among children born during 1994-2018, vaccination will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses, and 936,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Diseases such as mumps, whooping cough and measles may seem like diseases of the past; however, counties in southeast Michigan have seen a spike in measles and mumps cases over the last few weeks. Both of these illnesses are highly contagious. Following your baby's vaccination schedule and making sure they are up-to-date is the best way to protect them.

Parents/caregivers not certain of their children's immunization status can contact the Health Department or their health care provider. For more information call (810) 987-5300. Follow us on social media @scchdmi. Additional information can be found at or

—Barb Todaro, RN Immunization Coordinator
April 24, 2019

Museum to close during construction

The Historical Society's Depot Museum in downtown Dryden will be closed until the road construction and replacement sidewalks are completed. We will re-open when access and parking are available again, and announce the re-opening in the Tri-City Times.


—Jan Chisnell
April 24, 2019

Wind may be the new crop in North Branch

On April 16, the North Branch Planning Commission voted for their draft wind turbine ordinance. Wind development would give a new steady revenue to farmers who have turbines on their property; as one young man stated, he wanted to harness this new crop and keep the farm solvent.

The meeting was well attended by the public and there was broad support for requirements on siting turbines that would allow wind development in North Branch, witnessed by the amount of speakers in favor and the response they received. Setbacks of 750 ft. are used around the state and would allow more farmers to participate and get the benefit from siting turbines. Unfortunately the Planning Commission chose more expansive setbacks of 1,200 ft. in what they stated was an attempt at compromise with those who on all fronts object to wind development. One farmer said this large setback kept 16 farms from being eligible to participate, if I recall the number correctly.

I would say the North Branch Planning Commission acted in a fearful manner, rather than in a responsible way. Several people stated thoughtfully that the commission's job is to protect the safety of the community, not to make people happy. Now it's up to the North Branch Township Board to either go with these very restrictive setbacks or alter them so that wind power can be a new crop in North Branch that the farming and overall community can harvest.

Let's see some forward thinking rather than reactive fear-based decision making. Be brave and move forward North Branch Township.


—Miriam Marcus
April 24, 2019

Peach, politicians leave bad taste

A few weeks back the 'Our Opinion' column in the Tri-City Times contained an opinion regarding state funding of our schools. I guess I should say the dwindling state funding of our educational system.

That commentary did reinforce my rather low opinion of some of our lame duck senators who just left Lansing and some of their cohorts that remain. In December, during the lame duck session, our Republican led legislature redirected $180 million in sales tax revenues away from the School Aid Fund. Those dollars were then earmarked for road repair and environmental site cleanup. Do you really think a bunch of Republican hacks are going to leave millions to our new

Democratic governor to fix the damn roads? Where did that money go?

Our state ranks last in revenue for K-12 education with per-pupil funding declining by 15 percent since 1995. Yet for eight years we listened to the governor tell us about improvements to our educational system. A few years back our rainy day fund was so fat the boys in Lansing saw fit to donate $480 million to the Ilitch corporation to subsidize building of a hockey stadium in Detroit. That money could have provided a lot of vocational training for the children of Michigan.

I ran across a disturbing fact on one of the state websites: The Teachers Pension Fund is under- funded today by an astounding $29 billion dollars; the shortfall more than doubling since 2009. Total accrued unfunded liabilities for teachers, state employees and state police (excluding legislative pensions) equals $36 billion. At this point, their healthcare plan is also underfunded by billions.

A recent documentary about the Kentucky state teachers' pension plan told a story of years of underfunding and poor investment choices of pension funds. For years the state told the teachers, 'you are paid less than other states but we will make it up with a good pension plan.' Well their pension plan is flat broke!

How much greed would over four trillion dollars in pension fund dollars spread across this country generate? It's not difficult to find websites telling the same stories about states investing billions of dollars of pension money in new high risk hedge funds, funds with high fees and no history of success. Then that fund donates millions back to that party in campaign contributions.

Some of our politicians remind me of a peach I purchased last summer. It was a perfect peach—it had color, texture and the aroma made your month water. When I took a big bite, it had a quarter inch of meat and rest was brown mush to the pit. I believe some politicians are like that peach—they look good when you elect them but they just rot from the inside out just like that peach.

While reviewing a list of state lawmakers and the pension they are or will receive a name jumped out; Mr. Ken Sikkema, a former state senator, the same guy I mentioned in my last commentary. He's the guy that told the lame ducks 'don't worry about a backlash from the voters— they have short memories.' The website shows his pension at a meager $9,100 a month. Back then our lawmakers sure knew how to cut a big slice out of fat hog. Unfortunately we tax payers are that hog.

The State Constitution states by law these pensions have to be funded. A pension fund is dynamic and will experience periods of underfunding but at what point do the state legislators think there is a problem? The governor and legislature can't raise two billion to fix the roads—what are their plans for the 36 billion dollar shortfall for the teachers, state employees and state police?

—Tom Janicki
April 24, 2019

She didn’t realize so many know her

A special "Thank You" to everyone that sent me a birthday card on the 14th of March—my 90th birthday. I received 159 cards as of yesterday, April 8, 2019. How wonderful that was!

I also want to thank Catherine Miniolli for the very nice article she wrote about me. I didn't realize so many people knew me.

Again, thanks to everyone. It was so nice of you! All my love and thanks again!

As ever,

—Alice Nettnay
April 17, 2019

He didn’t earn success from skin color or white privilege

On a very frequent basis I hear how white people have been the beneficiaries of "white privilege." I am not sure what that really means as those who make the charge have never defined the term. There is just the accusation that successful white citizens are the beneficiary of "white privilege."

I have given some thought about this and have come to the conclusion that I am not such a beneficiary. I have tried to think what has led to my having a successful career in law. I think it started with my mother's parents who scrimped, saved and worked their fingers to the bone on their family farm so that they could send their daughter to the University of Michigan in the early 1930s. Those were depression days and I vividly recall my grandmother telling me that there were times when she and my grandfather didn't have two dimes to rub together. Both of them were uneducated; my grandfather leaving school after the 8th grade to go to work and my grandmother quitting school at age 13 to help raise her siblings as her mother had died and, being the oldest, she had to run the household. Yet they believed in education and saw to it that my mother obtained one.

I grew up in what I'd describe as a lower middle class household. My father ran a business and my mother was the homemaker. The best year of his life my father only earned about $4,000.00. Yet in the 1950s that was enough, if you pinched pennies, to put food on the table, clothes on your back and once in a while bring home a 6 pack of Pepsi for the kids. Mom made clothes for both myself and my sister. When there were holes in the knees of our Levis we didn't get new pants but instead got patches. We went to school that way and did so without shame or embarrassment because that's just the way life was and there were lots of other kids just like us.

When I was old enough to work (my first social security withholding was in 1952 when I was 11 years old) I went to work washing dishes in a restaurant or helping my Dad in his business by shoveling coal and stacking sacks of fertilizer. I also mowed lawns for pocket money. Later I worked for the DPW of Imlay City and recall standing in human waste up to my waist, in a rubber suit, scraping down the walls of a below ground storage room for sewage at the sewage disposal plant for $1.35/hour. I knew then I was at the absolute bottom of the economic ladder and had no place to go except up.

My parents stressed the importance of education which, more than anything I believe, led me to a path of success. My mother brainwashed me so that when I was asked what I was going to do after high school my reply was "go to the University of Michigan." Not go to college but go to the University of Michigan. I did go to U. of M. and with financial help from my parents as well as student loans and part-time work I got through college and law school.

Do I feel privileged? Well, in a sense I do in that I had parents and grandparents who saw the value of education and hard work and instilled those values in me. Do I think I was privileged in the sense that I was given something that I didn't earn? The answer is no. I worked to pay off my college loans. I spent the many long hours in the library or in my room studying so that I could get my degree. I gave up the instant gratification of going to work in an auto factory after high school and earning a good wage allowing me to buy "stuff" and live the good single life.

Did I have opportunities that were not available to some people of color in our country at that time? I have to be honest and say of course. The southern states of our country were hot beds of segregation and racial bigotry. It is self evident that blacks, at that time in the nation's history, had a greater difficulty in taking advantage of the opportunities offered by this nation. I don't accept that the same was necessarily true in the northern states. Imlay City was a bi-racial community when I grew up. U. of M. had students of all races as well as students from around the world in attendance. I would admit it may have been easier for me to open the door of opportunity than it was for some others. However I refuse to feel guilty about whatever success I have achieved. I decline to accept the notion that I was given something that I didn't earn because of the color of my skin. The color of my skin does not define my life and I refuse to allow those who rant about "white privilege" to cause me to disparage what I have achieved through my own efforts.

—John L. Lengemann
April 17, 2019

Scholarship to pursue law-related career

The Lapeer County Bar Association is proud to offer its fourteenth annual scholarship in the amount of $2,000 to a high-achieving Lapeer County high school senior to assist that student in pursuing a law-related career.

Applications and information on eligibility requirements are available through any Lapeer County High School Counselor's Office, at the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office, 255 Clay Street, Lapeer, MI 48446 or by contacting Judge Byron Konschuh at 810-245-4817.

Selection criteria will include academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community involvement—including either volunteer work or work experience—and financial need.

Completed applications must be sent and received at the above address or emailed to prior to Friday, May 10, 2019. All applications will be reviewed by the Lapeer County Bar Association Scholarship Committee, and the finalists will be contacted for interviews to be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The scholarship will be awarded by May 31, 2019.

—Bernard Jocuns, President
April 11, 2019

Her denial, while true, was misleading

In a breach of propriety a congressman from Florida yelled out during President Obama's State of the Union address "You lie" referring to the president's comments regarding his healthcare plan reducing costs. That the congressman spoke the truth has been forgotten.

Last year Governor Whitmer, during one of the campaign debates, labeled the claim by her Republican opponent that she would increase the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon, as ridiculous. Her denial, while true, was misleading. She actually wants to raise it 45 cents per gallon not the 20 cents she was accused of. Nothing like honesty from a politician.

That's not her only tax grab. She wants to tax all small businesses with a 6% tax to pay for, in part, her give-away to retired government employees by making their pensions not subject to Michigan Income Tax. All other persons with income from retirement plans will pay income tax on their benefits. Only retired government employees won't. All taxpayers are equal but some are more equal than others.

—John L. Lengemann
April 11, 2019

Many honored at Spring Achievement

The 2019 4-H Spring Achievement/Style Revue was held recently at the North Branch American Legion Hall in North Branch.

Evening honors for youth included:

•4-H Ambassador Court: Senior Ambassador Emma Bloss, Sydney Gavan, Isaac Conley, Sydney Kapushinski, Brittany Evans

Junior Ambassadors: Avis Schapman, Xavier Hosler, Addison Schultz

•Capitol Experience: Sydney Gavan

•Jr. Agricultural Society Members: Amber Spudowski

•Key Club: Isaac Conley, Sydney Kapushinski

•National 4-H Congress: Isaac Conley

•Great Lakes Natural Resource Camp: Abigael Fox, Avis Schapman

•County Awards Medal Winners: Agriculture- Emma Bloss; Citizenship- Sydney Kapushinski; Achievement-Isaac Conley, Brittany Evans; Leadership -Isaac Conley, Sydney Gavan, Sydney Kapushinski

•Project Medal Winners: Swine-Amber Bennett, Rowan Conley, Mackenzie Johnston; Horses-Brittany Evans; PEP-Sydney Kapushinski; Sheep-Xavier Hosler, Avis Schapman; Rabbits-Emma Bloss; Cats-Emma Bloss; Camp Counseling-Sydney Gavan; Poultry-Amber Bennett; Food/Nutrition- Brittany Evans; Hobbies & Collections-Alexis Hedgcock; Vet. Science- Emma Bloss; Recycled Crafts-Avis Schapman; Horticulture/Gardening- Alexis Hedgcock

•Cover Design Contest: 1st-Abigael Fox; 2nd- Sabrina Kosa

Lapeer County 4-H State Awards Participant: Arianna Wright-Mark of Excellence

•Teen Council Representatives: Abigael Fox

The Lapeer County 4-H Program also recognized adult volunteers, clubs, and outstanding supporters of 4-H at the Spring Achievement program.

4-H clubs were recognized with a $50 award for outstanding programming. North Branch Finish Line Swine received honors for the Best Club Educational project; Busy Beavers 4-H Club won the Best Fun & Social Award and Rough Riders International won the Project Group Community Service Award.

A special award was given to honor Friends of 4-H. It went to Jennifer Hiltz, Jim Riehl's Friendly Chrysler, Lapeer and Virginia Sheeks.

4-H volunteers are all extraordinary people who do extraordinary things to help kids, but every year the 4-H Program honors volunteers who have gone above and beyond by recognizing them as 4-H Leaders of the Year. This year the honor went to Thresa Schumitsch, volunteer leader of the Young Pioneers 4-H club. Outstanding Lifetime Leader Award was awarded to Virginia Ankley, leader in Moo Crew.

Elizabeth Schumitsch, a project leader in Young Pioneers 4-H club, received the Meritorious Leader Award.

—Kathy George, 4-H Youth Program Coordinator
April 02, 2019

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