Ottawa County Administrator Applauds Common Sense

The Michigan House of Representatives narrowly defeated a proposal to cut the State income tax early Thursday morning. The process unfolded much like those of us responsible for balancing local government budgets have seen too many times before. Tax cuts were proposed without identifying which expenditures would be cut or how new revenue would be captured to cover the gap. We concur that tax cuts properly executed can improve taxpayer disposable income and have other positive economic effects, however, those cuts which are blind to the impact on state and local budgets and services are ill-advised. We wonder how many Representatives understood that the proposed cuts could significantly impact State Revenue Sharing payments to local governments? Revenue Sharing is the second or third highest revenue source in many local government budgets, paying for law enforcement, fire, jail, courts and many other essential public services.

Rep. Daniela Garcia and Rep. Jim Lilly stood up for making solid, informed decisions. They thought those decisions through to the consequences. Ottawa County very much appreciates and applauds their commonsense approach.

Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator


Courage…The Guts to Fail

By: Sylvia Allen

Someone quipped that a classified newspaper ad read: “For sale. Parachute. Only used once, never opened, small stain.”

I realize that we cannot afford to fail in some endeavors. But I also know that we cannot afford NOT to fail in most of what we do. Unfortunately, too many of us live by the motto: If at first you don’t succeed, don’t admit that you tried. Why? We often feel ashamed or embarrassed when we fall flat.

In his book THE COURAGE TO FAIL (McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1993), Art Mortell tells about a conversation he had with baseball’s Lou Brock. It took place when Brock held the record for stolen bases. He was about 35 years old at the time and his days as a professional player were winding down. Brock was talking about why he successfully stolemore bases than younger, faster players.

“When you start out in baseball,” Brock said, “you’re young and you have the speed and reflexes. However, when you try to steal second base and you get thrown out, it’s a long walk back to the dugout, with 40,000 fans watching you. When you reach my age, you come to understand that records are not set by being the quickest, but by the willingness to look bad in the eyes of others.”

There are other ways to avoid failure throughout life:
* Never ask anyone out. There will be no possibility of rejection and embarrassment.
* Never ask for a promotion. That way you will not risk the humiliation of being turned down.
* Never go back to school. You cannot fail a class you do not take.
* Never change careers. You’ll never fail at something you never try.
* Never try anything you’ve never done before.

If success is just avoiding failure, I don’t want it. But if success is about pursuing a passion or finding the guts to risk in order to experience life fully, then I want it. Even if it means a lot of long walks back to the dugout while everyone is watching.

Allen Consulting,
89 Middletown Road,
Holmdel, NJ 07733
732 946 2711
cell  732 241 1144


State Investment Needed to Ensure Sustainable Disaster Relief

BY: Christine Robere, President and CEO of United Way of the Lakeshore

The Flint Water Crisis has cast a light on the necessity to be prepared when disaster strikes. One service that has unwaveringly shone tremendous value throughout this situation, and which has proven worthy of state support, is Michigan 2-1-1.
2-1-1 is a confidential service that is free of charge to users and provides referral agency assistance. It helps those in need of assistance in our lakeshore communities of Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana Counties, as well as throughout the state, to connect to thousands of different programs and services. The program has been instrumental in providing the Flint Water Task Force with timely information in Flint. This has allowed the group to make informed decisions day-in and day-out, all while keeping residents safe by providing the latest information and updates.

It’s far from the first time 2-1-1 has engaged in disaster relief in Michigan. Amidst flooding in Grand Rapids and Detroit, the recent tornado in Wyoming, and wildfires in the Upper Peninsula, 2-1-1 has been at the helm 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to help residents connect to – necessary resources and information.

Yet the program receives only $500,000 of its nearly $7 million in operational costs from the state. The rest is contributed by local United Ways, including the United Way of the Lakeshore. This funding inequity is an unsustainable model for the future, with some communities already unable to support 2-1-1 and the critical services it provides due to funding constraints.

Therefore, Michigan 2-1-1 is requesting a total of $3.5 million from the state to ensure the organization’s sustainability and to improve its infrastructure. This will allow the 2-1-1 network to meet the state’s demands for real-time information about the needs and questions residents have on a local level. This funding request includes a $500,000 fund for disaster and emergency relief that could roll over in years where it is underutilized. This will help ensure that Michigan residents in the midst of a crisis receive support immediately, when it is most needed. To chart a course for the future under this increased investment, the organization would develop a planning committee of state stakeholders and 2-1-1 leadership responsible for stewardship of the emergency funds.

Given their continued commitment to their lakeshore constituents, I urge Senator Goeff Hansen and Representatives Marcia Hovey-Wright, Holly Hughes, and Jon Bumstead to support the efforts to bolster the Michigan 2-1-1 network.

The sustainable funding will help 2-1-1 meet demands that have become evident in recent months, as well as achieve long-term goals to best serve Michigan residents. 2-1-1 currently supports 97 percent of the state, but the first priority under additional state support would be to provide statewide quality assurance, embracing a true statewide model for the organization.
Crisis support requires quality staff members, and ongoing training to arm them with the necessary skills needed to provide relief. The funding increase would support training sessions, including Veteran and Military Cultural Competency training, to AmeriCorps and other 2-1-1 staff.

As our culture continues to evolve and modes of communication change, 2-1-1 needs to be able to meet local residents where they are located and with current technology. For that reason, testing and deploying a mobile app, expanding online chat, and testing text-based assistance are top priorities for the organization in coming years.

In the event of a disaster, residents of our lakeshore communities need to know that they have somewhere to turn for critical information and resources. 2-1-1 will be that resource, but only if Michigan invests in its sustainable future.
2-1-1 is a program that connects citizens in need of assistance to the appropriate community resources. Locally, It is partially funded by United Way of Lakeshore. For more information on 211, visit United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 231-332-4047 or visit



Jodi Nichols

Riddle for Seniors…

Today’s riddle for seniors…Here is the situation:

You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed.
On your right side is a sharp drop-off.
On your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you.
Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to
overtake it.
Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the kangaroo.
What must you do to get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Think logically before you track down for the answer.




Quietly get off the merry-go-round!

A Poem by Dana

“Who are you, Papa?” she said.
I smiled, and in a moment before I could speak
I realized the hats I wear are so many
But to her
I am he that in the darkness waits
Till your asleep and all is safe
For when the light is gone and no one’s near
I’m the one, your fears fear
I am he who moves toward that which comes
Stand on guard while your having fun
Fix your broken mend your tear
Looking up from you, you’ll see me there
I am he who will love you no matter what
Since before you were borne, no ands ifs or buts
I loved your mommy when she was small too
It’s true when I tell you, I will always love you
“Your mommy’s daddy” I said

By Dana K Rufener