Letter led to family discovery


One year ago this month I wrote a woman I did not know and she did not know me. I had been wrestling with whether I should do so since Nov. 6, 2017.

It was on that date I learned she had submitted her DNA to Ancestry.com. My younger daughter saw the result and showed me that she appears on Ancestry as a biological first cousin of mine.

On Jan. 30, 2018, I was reading The Herald-Palladium and sipping a cup of coffee when the phone rang. It was her calling me. My letter had been forwarded to her winter address in Miami, Fla. She had just gotten it.

She told me I would be getting a call from one of my biological sisters. She asked if I knew I have four sisters. I did not.

After she hung up, I got that second call. It was an improbable and incredible day.

During this past year I have discovered some extremely nice people who are all related to me biologically. I have met a few in person, including one sister, but not the one who called. She and my other two sisters live outside Atlanta. I hope to meet all of them in person some day. In the meantime Facebook, email and telephone calls keep us in touch.

I am amazed that instead of throwing my letter away, my cousin investigated it. She called yet another cousin who lives a couple of states north of her. This other cousin knew their aunt had given a baby boy up for adoption in 1942, knew from hearing my letter read aloud that it was me and knew my birth mother was on her death bed before telling my sisters of my existence.

My sisters had, after that disclosure, tried to find me but had “hit a brick wall.” My letter had unlocked everything. While they had not found me, I had found them through a cousin’s DNA. Neither she nor I had submitted our DNA to Ancestry in an attempt to find biological kinship.

Terry McFall

St. Joseph

Trump’s tantrum to blame for government shutdown


Donald Trump’s self-centered temper tantrum about the refusal of the Congress to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary southern border wall has now resulted in a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Trump repeatedly promised his supporters that “Mexico will pay for the wall.” Now that Mexico has refused to do so, Trump is insisting that the American people finance this misguided project.

The president wants $5 billion to begin building his wall. Experts have estimated that the total cost of such a project would be at least five times that amount, and that a wall would not enhance border security.

Multiple polls have clearly indicated that a majority of Americans oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. One example: a recent CBS poll found that 59 percent of respondents were opposed to the government building such a wall.

A majority of House Republicans have lined up like lemmings to follow Trump over the cliff of fiscal insanity and have supported the president’s demand. Democrats, like the majority of Americans, reject appropriating billions of dollars for Trump’s unnecessary border wall.

During the recent televised meeting between the president and minority leaders Pelosi and Schumer, Trump proclaimed that he would be “proud to shut down the government” and would take responsibility for doing so. Once the shutdown began, our “liar in chief” immediately tried to blame the Democrats.

This fiasco was not perpetrated by a need for “border security,” it was perpetrated by immature Trumpian ego!

Virginia Washburn

Grand Beach 

Congress must protect the Mueller investigation


As Robert Mueller and his team move toward completing their investigation, some important related events have recently become part of the discussion.

The Senate has started the confirmation process for Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr. Serious questions have emerged about an unsolicited memo that Barr wrote to the Justice Department last year in which he expressed concern about “over-zealous prosecutors” investigating the president. A number of legal experts have strongly suggested that, if confirmed, Barr should recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.

The New York Times recently reported that Rod Rosenstein has said he plans to step down as deputy attorney general after the Senate confirms a new attorney general. NBC News has said that Rosenstein will leave after “Mueller completes his work.”

In an interview with The Hill, the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani stated, “Of course we have to see (the Mueller report) before it goes to Congress. We have reserved executive privilege and we have a right to assert it. The only way we can assert it is if we see what is in the report. ... As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you – so we can correct it if they’re wrong.”

These events foretell some real threats to proper completion of the probe. Would the exit of Rosenstein and the entrance of Barr affect the release of the final report? What does Giuliani mean “correct it if they’re wrong”?

The Trump administration has no respect for the truth or facts. Trump himself views the Justice Department as a body that exists to protect him rather than the rule of law. This combination, along with the authoritarian tendencies of the president, could quash legitimate findings of the investigation.

Congress must exert extreme diligence to prevent the occurrence of such a travesty.

Ed Shaffer


Independent investigation needed at SMC


I’m thrilled that former Gov. Snyder signed PA 512 into legislation and takes SMC off the hook for $10 million dollars of fines and penalties for unpaid MPSERS funds.

I’m also thrilled that the SMC president has withdrawn his unnecessary lawsuit against the state, which was filed to repress the Office of the Auditor General audit report and wasted more than $125,000 of our tax dollars.  

The OAG audit report (https://audgen.michigan.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/r917DTMB01.pdf) concluded that David Mathews provided falsified documents to the state of Michigan. SMC internal emails obtained during the audit show the president was informed by cabinet members that the college must make part-time student MPSERS payments. This makes the document falsification intentional. Yet, the president says that this is “all behind us now.” The facts indicate, that it’s just the beginning.

Dr. Mathews said, “(The) Auditor General, as a matter of law, doesn’t have authority outside of state agencies.”  Dr. Mathews has offered his opinion, but the result of the lawsuit was a Michigan Circuit Court ruling that the OAG does, in fact, have that authority.  And the OAG Investigative Conclusions states that he knowingly falsified documents.

It is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to openly address this serious accusation, leveled by the state auditor general. Several community members, including myself, as well as an SMC employee, have publicly asked for an independent, internal investigation.  I ask for one again.  If a member of the president’s staff had falsified documents to the state, I contend that the president would have investigated, and fired that person.  There must be accountability, transparency and equity with matters of public trust. The obligation of the trustees is to the institution and the community, not to the Mathews family name.

Tom Buszek