web analytics

Archive | Voices and Views

Medicare is the best care if you are age 65 or older

 

Vonda VanTil

Vonda VanTil

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

 

If you are age 65 or older and haven’t signed up for Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), now is the time to consider doing so. The general enrollment period for Medicare Part B runs from January 1 through March 31 each year. Before you make a decision about general enrollment, we want to share some important information.

Remember: Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B when they become eligible. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you first become eligible, you may have to wait until the general enrollment period, which is January 1 through March 31 of each year. At that time, you may have to pay a higher Medicare Part B premium.

Most people first become eligible at age 65, and there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. In 2014, the premium for most people is $104.90, the same as it was in 2013. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. Your Medicare Part B premium can be higher if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, also known as your initial enrollment period. There is a Medicare Part B deductible of $147 in 2014.

You can delay your Medicare Part B enrollment without having to pay higher premiums if you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member. You can sign up for Medicare Part B without paying higher premiums.

For more information about Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, visit www.medicare.gov or read our publication on Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Information about Medicare changes for 2014 is available at www.medicare.gov.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov  

 

Posted in Social Security NewsComments Off

Time to move on

For over 70 years there was a cooperative spirit between Red Flannel Festival volunteers and city officials who worked together to promote Cedar Springs for the good of the entire community. That all changed in 2011 when the economy took a serious downturn and the city could no longer justify costs associated with the festival, as taxpayer services and staff were negatively impacted. As a result, the Festival Board threatened a lawsuit if the city didn’t pay for use of the long john logo. After almost two years, facing what would surely be a prolonged court fight and considering the subsequent costs to taxpayers, the Council voted to move forward with a new logo. During last Thursday’s council meeting, members were openly castigated for doing so by those RFF volunteers who refuse to accept the decision and who seemed determined to promote more divisiveness within our community. I found it telling that they left immediately after speaking, not caring about anything else but their own agenda.

After all the Festival’s demands for taxpayer dollars, I found it ironic that a woman took to the podium to quite proudly proclaim the Festival Board’s success in taking care of everything (costs) themselves this year, except for police support at the beer tent. (She explained that an outside security would have been used but the City charged less.) You just can’t beat that good old American can-do spirit, the concept of pulling one’s own weight! Had that been done in the first place, it would have been a win-win situation for everyone.  The city vehicles, stationary, street signs, etc. would have continued to be free advertising for the yearly festival and the citizens would have their red flannels. I found it odd that the Festival recently offered a new business free use of the Red Flannel logo when it is being held for ransom from the city.

The whole issue surrounding the logo boiled down to nothing more than pride, arrogance, and unwillingness to do what was best for Cedar Springs. There is plenty of blame to go around for all involved but, the Council, having no other viable option, has voted, with heavy hearts, to move on.  That can only happen if people will stop the rumors, gossip, and hateful vitriol that is taking place throughout the community and on social media and embrace the future.  Friendships have been lost, families divided and enough is enough! Take a step back and work to restore good relationships within our city for the good of all.

Cedar Springs will always be known as the “Red Flannel Capital Of The World”.  Google that title and you can find as many as seven websites where our city’s name shows up as just that. That isn’t going to change. It’s time to support the Chamber of Commerce, an entity that is trying to bring back a spirit of cohesiveness and community to our town. Business owners are joining in and Shawn Kiphart has worked tirelessly, and at great cost to himself personally, to improve community relations. Let’s all do our part to make that happen. We can’t change yesterday, tomorrow is a new day, let’s make it good.

 

Kathy Bremmer, Cedar Springs

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off

Godspeed, USS Gerald R. Ford

 

Tens of thousands of Navy supporters attend the christening ceremony of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at Newport News Shipbuilding. The first in class, Ford-class aircraft carrier, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Peter D. Lawlor/Released)

Tens of thousands of Navy supporters attend the christening ceremony of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at Newport News Shipbuilding. The first in class, Ford-class aircraft carrier, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Peter D. Lawlor/Released)

By Sen. Carl Levin

 

Over Veterans Day weekend, I had the honor of giving the keynote speech at the christening ceremony of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.

We Michiganians are proud to call President Ford one of ours. That’s not just because he held our nation’s highest office, but because of the manner in which he held that office – with a fundamental goodness of heart and generosity of spirit that all of us in public life should try to emulate.

There is perhaps no more visible, more powerful representation of America’s military strength than the towering hull of an aircraft carrier. No other nation makes carriers like America makes them, and the USS Gerald R. Ford will be the most powerful American carrier ever to sail.

Yet for every time this ship will instill doubt in the minds of our adversaries, it will many more times give hope to our friends and the people of the world. It will be welcome support in a time of crisis, and it will bring comfort and aid in times of disaster and grief. And so it is truly fitting that it will bear the name of Gerald R. Ford.

Gerald Ford sought to replace division and doubt with unity and hope. He took office at one of the most tumultuous moments in the history of our democratic system. His task was to calm America’s stormy waters so that we could regain our self-confidence as a nation. George H.W. Bush observed as Vice President Ford prepared to take office as president, “What we need at this juncture in our history is a certain sense of morality and a certain sense of decency.” That’s the perfect description of Gerald Ford. He was the right man for the time.

He knew our true strength, the strength that would carry us through that trying time, wasn’t just in the force of our arms, but what is in our hearts. In a 1975 speech outlining his foreign policy goals, President Ford spoke of the need to build a strong military, but then said, “I would like to talk about another kind of strength, the true source of American power. … I am speaking here of our belief in ourselves and our belief in our nation.”

That is the spirit this great vessel will carry across the oceans. It embodies our military might, and much more: It carries the name of a president who showed us America at its best, an America that strives to bring hope to every corner of the planet and to do so with strength, but without bluster.

Then-Congressman Ford brought a moment of modest humor to the solemn moment he was sworn in as vice president. He told America, “I am a Ford, not a Lincoln.” He showed us that one need not take on extraordinary trappings to accomplish extraordinary things, just as the men and women of this ship, drawn from every part of this land and every segment of our society, ordinary Americans all, will accomplish the extraordinary.

In the decades to come, when the crew of the USS Gerald R. Ford helps defend our nation from danger, when they protect the innocent from harm, when they sail under freedom’s flag bringing hope in times of despair and calm in moments of crisis – at those times, they will exemplify the greatness and goodness, the steadiness and steadfastness of their vessel’s namesake, and of the nation he loved so much and served so well.

Godspeed to the USS Gerald R. Ford and to the men and women who sail her.

Carl Levin is the senior U.S. senator from Michigan and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Posted in Featured, Voices and ViewsComments Off

Congratulations to the new mayor

Congratulations to our new Mayor, Mark Fankhauser, for winning the mayor’s seat, and a big thank you to that person who spilled the beans several days before election night that I would not be returned to serve you, the good people of Cedar Springs. I have been asked not to write and inform you any longer. I will honor that request, but let me tell you before I go, our City is not broke, and the $2,930 in fees invoiced to the Red Flannel Festival for 2013, is not the big picture.

I have a copy of those “severe” cuts that were made a few years ago when our revenues dried up. One of them was using two-ply rather than four-ply toilet tissue at City Hall. You poor people, it made me want to cry. When I was a kid growing up on West Muskegon Street, we had the luxury of going from corn cobs to the pages from a Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Those were the good days, as my Grandpa Eldred was also a successful businessman.

Thank you for your prayers and support. 

See you, Bob Truesdale

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off

From the Mayor’s Desk

By Bob Truesdale

 

Yesterday, on my way to church, we drove past a home on 5th Street, where a family was parking their second car on the grass, just off their single gravel driveway, leading to a one-stall garage. It has been that way since I was a kid.

But, it brought to memory, a former city manager, who rode with a uniformed police officer, in a marked police car, targeting these families, who were violating some type of a city code—families who were already struggling in our poor economy. We can only hope and pray these Gestapo tactics are now behind us.

I heard a present member of our planning commission say, “I liked it the way it was in the past,” which I took to mean he felt we had too many codes and it was not our business to regulate everything people do.

I agree with you. 2014 can be a year of healing. As for me, I can never have too many friends, as we move forward. Please join us at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) for our annual City Council meeting at City Hall. Some exciting projects are being proposed.

Humbly, your friend,

 the mayor

Posted in From your Mayor's DeskComments Off

Let’s serve Veterans as well as they have served us

Daniel M. Dellinger

Daniel M. Dellinger

By Daniel M. Dellinger

 

During the recent government shutdown many numbers were thrown around. But there is one number that stands out and it has nothing to do with the debate over the federal budget.

More than one a day. That is how many members of our active-duty military, National Guard and Reserve forces have committed suicide over the last year. Simply put, we are losing more service members by their own hands than we are by the enemy in Afghanistan. Only those who experienced firsthand the horrors of combat can understand why most of these young men and women feel compelled to take such drastic and permanent measures.

As Veterans Day ceremonies and parades occur throughout the country, it is important that we commit ourselves to do everything possible to prevent these needless and tragic deaths. We are their friends, their family, their co-workers and their neighbors. It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service to this country is appreciated by their fellow Americans.

There are many tangible ways that we can acknowledge their sacrifice, but the easiest is to simply say, “Thank you for what you have done for our country.”

If he is showing signs of unhappiness or depression, encourage him to seek help through the VA immediately. If she has had difficulty obtaining the benefits that she is entitled to let her know that The American Legion has thousands of trained service officers nationwide that will help her navigate the bureaucracy free of charge.

And if that veteran has made the Supreme Sacrifice, remember the price that has been paid for our freedom and offer your support to the loved ones left behind.

But Veterans Day is a time to honor not just those who have fought for us in battle, but, in fact, all of the outstanding men and women who served in our nation’s Armed Forces since our founding more than 237 years ago.

Not all veterans have seen war, but a common bond that they share is an oath in which they expressed their willingness to die defending this nation.

Perhaps most significant in preserving our way of life are the battles that America does not have to fight because those who wish us harm slink away in fear of the Navy aircraft carrier, the Coast Guard cutter, the Air Force fighter squadron or the Army soldier on patrol. While we should all be grateful for the remarkable advancements made in military medicine and prosthetics, the fighting spirit and inspirational stories of our veterans are not due to technology.

These traits come from the heart.

And many of these veterans are women, such as Army Chief Warrant Officer Lori Hill. While piloting her helicopter over Iraq in 2006, she maneuvered her chopper to draw enemy gunfire away from another helicopter and provide suppressive fire for troops on the ground. Despite flying a damaged aircraft and suffering injuries, she landed the helicopter safely, saving her crew. For her actions, she became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Women are major contributors to our military presence in Afghanistan and many have given their lives in the War on Terrorism. The American Legion recently issued a report calling upon VA to improve its response to the unique needs of women veterans. The VA and military health systems need to adequately treat breast and cervical cancer as well as trauma that resulted from domestic violence, sexual harassment and assault. America is home to more than 1.2 million women veterans and they deserve our support.

In the poem “Tommy,” the great writer Rudyard Kipling lamented over the rude treatment a British soldier received at a pub. Writing in classical old English, Kipling compared the abuse with the more favorable treatment that “Tommy” receives by the public during war.

“For it’s Tommy this, an ‘ Tommy that, an’ ‘Chuck him out, the brute!’

But it’s ‘Savior of ‘is country’ when the guns begin to shoot;

An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;

An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!”

Let us always treat our 23 million veterans as the saviors of our country that they are—even when the guns are no longer shooting.

 

Daniel M. Dellinger is national commander of the 2.4 million member American Legion.

Posted in Voices and ViewsComments Off

From the Mayor’s Desk

Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale

 

Wow! Election Day was exciting. I saw many of our older citizens hobble in and out of City Hall to vote. They remember the good old days when our city was a thriving community.

A big thank you to everyone that put forth the effort to vote the new faces to city council. It was a tough call, but you made it happen.

Congratulations to Daniel Clark and Jerry Hall. I look forward to working with each of you in years to come.

And to Pam Conley and Mark Laws, you fought a good fight, and don’t give up. Our city needs someone like you to form a “Concerned Citizens Coalition,” with a representative of the group at every planning and council meeting. If you, the taxpayers of our city will get involved, I promise you an all new Cedar Springs in 2014. With God’s help, watch us make the changes you have been asking for.

 

Posted in From your Mayor's DeskComments Off

From the Mayor’s Desk

Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale, Mayor

The City of Cedar Springs

 

First, my condolences to the Mike and Alice Holton family. You should be mighty proud to be the children and kin of such a caring couple. Cedar Springs and Red Flannels was a great part of their lives, and they showed it in so many ways that can’t be named or counted. Thank you, Mike and Alice, so very much for your love and example to we that remain.

In June of this year, I asked my wife to send an email to my fellow council members that started with the statement, “Depending on your support, I might become known in the future, as the Mayor who served the shortest term in office, for delving into the problems John and Mary Taxpayer experience. I asked for their support and it backfired, with my getting called on the carpet for editorials in the Post.

As kids in Sunday School we sang, “Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone, Dare to have a purpose firm, Dare to make it known.” Daring to be a Daniel is not always easy, but I stand by the statements I made; length of time served as your Mayor means nothing to me. If it turns out to be only a one-year tenure, so be it. You won’t find me crying, for in God’s sight, I have given it my very best, with the abilities He gave me.

My promise to you: I will continue to serve with a good attitude, in any capacity, for an all-new Cedar Springs in 2014.

Thanks for your prayers and support,

Your friend and present Mayor

 

Posted in From your Mayor's DeskComments Off

From the Mayor’s Desk

Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale, Mayor

The City of Cedar Springs

 

In Florida, 78 degrees, taking a few days off before our November 5 big election (in Cedar Springs).  I’m sitting on the veranda of a mini $1.5 million southern plantation that most of us only dream about. My granddaughter and her husband own and operate a lucrative photography studio site. They are a very organized young couple, living what this generation calls the good life. Oh, and did I mention, they run it like a business?

I am thinking that maybe you, the local taxpayers, should check with my counterparts on our city council and some very sensible first-time candidates, as to where they stand on our city being operated in a more business-like setting, and also not doing a thumbs-down on the Community Building Development team’s proposed plans to relocate the fire barn, so we can enjoy a beautiful new library and community building overlooking a multi-colored flowing well. I would ask you to please take a look at what other villages and townships have done all around us, over the past few years. They are called visionaries. We also have leadership with a passion to give of their resources, abilities, and their time to make it happen in our community, for our present and future generations.

Please get out November 5 and vote your God-given wisdom. If you need a ride to and from the poles, phone 696-2050. There are cars and drivers standing by, ready to get you there.

God bless you, I am humbly, 

Your Mayor

 

Posted in From your Mayor's DeskComments Off

How to improve the road ahead

V-Lee-HamiltonBy Lee H. Hamilton

 

One of the more amazing spectacles in the days after the government shutdown ended was the obsession in Washington with who won and who lost in the showdown. Yes, the capital is focused on next year’s elections, but honestly! There was only one real loser, and that was the American people.
Why? Because nothing got resolved. The agreement leaves the government open only until mid-January, and gives the Treasury the ability to borrow through early February. This is the barest minimum that we needed. So the question is, can we avoid a similar crisis down the road? To do so, Congress must confront three enormous challenges. To begin with, great democracies do not lurch from doomsday moment to doomsday moment. They plan ahead, they resolve their challenges, they fulfill their responsibilities abroad and respond to their own people’s needs. Congress can do none of these things so long as its members respond only to brinksmanship, resolving one crisis by setting up another a few months down the road.

Second, I find myself thinking often these days of the skillful legislators I’ve known over the years. Where are their counterparts today? Congress only works well when politicians and staff understand that each party has to walk away with something; that it’s crucial to preserve flexibility and avoid scorched-earth rhetoric; and that it takes people with the fortitude not to walk away from talks when things are going poorly. Congress needs legislators who are willing to roll up their sleeves and commit fully to the process.

Finally, Congress is weak today. By its inaction, it has given power to the President, who can use executive actions to enact policy. It has strengthened the federal bureaucracy by leaving regulatory decisions to federal agencies with very little direction or oversight. It has given massive economic power to the Federal Reserve, since someone has to promote economic growth. And it has allowed the Supreme Court to become the central policy-making body on controversial issues from campaign finance to affirmative action to environmental regulation.

“Any society that relies on nine unelected judges to resolve the most serious issues of the day is not a functioning democracy,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in a recent speech. I’m sorry to say that he’s talking about us.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Posted in Voices and ViewsComments Off

advert

LOCAL Advertisers

Tri County Body Shop

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!