Kowall presents certificates to State Fair scholarship winners

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (center, second row from the back) on Thursday presented certificates of appreciation and gave a tour of the Senate floor to Michigan State Fair Gold Ribbon Urban and Rural Youth Scholarship winners.

Judging for the scholarships ran during the Michigan State Fair throughout Labor Day week. The certificates of appreciation were signed by Kowall, state Rep. Kathy Crawford, Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

The Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship recognizes young people who are making a difference in cities, towns and villages by clearing, planting and harvesting garden space for their families and neighborhoods. More than 60 participants received scholarships this year.

The original Michigan State Fair debuted in Detroit in 1849 and was one of the first statewide fair events to take place in the country. It moved to its permanent home at the fairgrounds on Woodward Avenue in 1905 and was staged there until 2009, when it was discontinued due to ongoing budget issues.

In 2012, Blair Bowman brought back the Michigan State Fair, this time to Novi. Ram Truck is the major sponsor.

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Oakland Press: If disaster strikes, are you prepared?

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

The recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma inflicted devastating damage to the Houston area and to much of Florida.

While the chances of being affected by hurricanes here in Michigan are small, we do regularly experience hazardous weather and other emergency situations, including tornadoes, winter storms, flooding and power outages.

September is National Preparedness Month. Each year, Michigan Prepares joins with national, regional and local governments, as well as private and public organizations, in supporting emergency preparedness.

Now is a good time to make sure your family knows what to do in case of an emergency. Many disasters strike without warning, and when they do, family members may not all be in the same location. It’s important to have a plan for getting in touch with each other, knowing where to meet, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Basic information for creating an emergency plan includes the following:

Checking In and Initial Contact.
• Designate one person to be the point of contact for each family member to call or email.
• If possible, text, don’t talk (unless absolutely necessary).
• Establish the basics during initial contact, but keep it short with only need-to-know information.

Contact Information.
• Keep your family’s contact information and meeting spot location in your backpack, wallet or purse.
• Store in your cell phone all the information you might need to know.
• Establish alternative methods of communication in case traditional means are not available.

Where to Meet.
• Create an escape plan with two ways out of every room, and practice the plan twice a year.
• Choose a meeting spot near your home, and practice getting there.
• Choose a spot outside of your neighborhood in case you can’t get home. Practice getting there from school, friends’ houses and after-school activities.

Natural Disasters.
In addition to a basic emergency plan, all families should have a plan for the following natural disasters:
Flood. Visit ready.gov/floods.
Power Outage. Visit ready.gov/power-outage.
Wildfire. Visit ready.gov/wildfires.
Hurricane. Visit ready.gov/hurricanes.

A free app for iPhones and Android phones — Michigan Prepares — can help your family plan for emergencies in a few quick steps. Along with helping you pull together the right information to create an emergency plan, the app covers basic supply checklists, Michigan-specific hazard fact sheets and links to other resources.

To find the app, and for more information, plan templates, supply checklists and more, visit www.michigan.gov/michiganprepares.

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Save the Date: Kowall and Nofs announce Battle Creek event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Nofs, R-Battle Creek, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Battle Creek in conjunction with the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, 3367 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek.

South Haven native, Vietnam veteran, and Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan will perform the national anthem and address the audience. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert Secrist also will make comments.

RSVP to U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Sherry Swann at 269-274-8890 (email gordonrosberg@comcast.net) or to Kowall’s Director of District Affairs Lynn O’Brien at 517-373-0563 (email lobrien@senate.michigan.gov).

Kowall and Nofs will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

“We must never forget the sacrifices that our Vietnam veterans made for their country,” he said. “These pins are one way we declare that we remember, we are grateful, and we thank you.”

Nofs agreed.

“It’s truly an honor to participate in the long-overdue recognition of these great Americans,” Nofs said. “The pins we present Vietnam veterans are a small token of our gratitude for their sacrifice on behalf of our state and nation.”

Michigan Air National Guard Col. Bryan J. Teff, commander of the 110th Attack Wing, is looking forward to the event.

“The 110th Attack Wing is honored to host and pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans,” Teff said. “Hosting this event on an active military installation is very appropriate as we honor these great Americans and their service to our nation.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

“While Michigan’s Vietnam veterans honorably served their nation, too many of them were not properly recognized for their service and did not receive adequate assistance upon their return,” Kowall said. “At our lapel pinning ceremonies, we take some time to let our veterans and their families know that we appreciate them for all they have done.”

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Guests should be aware that all vehicles entering Battle Creek Air National Guard Base are subject to inspection. For security, no bags or purses will be authorized in the event area, and individuals may be subject to metal detector inspection. Handicapped parking will be limited, although a shuttle service will be provided from the on-base parking area to the event.

The lapel pinning ceremony is not an official military function of the 110th Attack Wing.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Spinal Column: National Preparedness Month

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

The recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma inflicted devastating damage to the Houston area and to much of Florida.

While the chances of being affected by hurricanes here in Michigan are small, we do regularly experience hazardous weather and other emergency situations, including tornadoes, winter storms, flooding and power outages.

September is National Preparedness Month. Each year, Michigan Prepares joins with national, regional and local governments, as well as private and public organizations, in supporting emergency preparedness.

Now is a good time to make sure your family knows what to do in case of an emergency. Many disasters strike without warning, and when they do, family members may not all be in the same location. It’s important to have a plan for getting in touch with each other, knowing where to meet, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Basic information for creating an emergency plan includes the following:

Checking In and Initial Contact.
• Designate one person to be the point of contact for each family member to call or email.
• If possible, text, don’t talk (unless absolutely necessary).
• Establish the basics during initial contact, but keep it short with only need-to-know information.

Contact Information.
• Keep your family’s contact information and meeting spot location in your backpack, wallet or purse.
• Store in your cell phone all the information you might need to know.
• Establish alternative methods of communication in case traditional means are not available.

Where to Meet.
• Create an escape plan with two ways out of every room, and practice the plan twice a year.
• Choose a meeting spot near your home, and practice getting there.
• Choose a spot outside of your neighborhood in case you can’t get home. Practice getting there from school, friends’ houses and after-school activities.

Natural Disasters.
In addition to a basic emergency plan, all families should have a plan for the following natural disasters:
Flood. Visit ready.gov/floods.
Power Outage. Visit ready.gov/power-outage.
Wildfire. Visit ready.gov/wildfires.
Hurricane. Visit ready.gov/hurricanes.

A free app for iPhones and Android phones — Michigan Prepares — can help your family plan for emergencies in a few quick steps. Along with helping you pull together the right information to create an emergency plan, the app covers basic supply checklists, Michigan-specific hazard fact sheets and links to other resources.

To find the app, and for more information, plan templates, supply checklists and more, visit www.michigan.gov/michiganprepares.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Kowall presents Certificates of Honor, lapel pins to surviving Vietnam War family members

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Thursday presented Certificates of Honor and awarded lapel pins to several immediate family members of Vietnam Veterans killed during the war.

“To pay tribute to the loved ones of those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War in service to their country is a humbling experience and a privilege,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “We should all be grateful for their sacrifice. This recognition is long overdue.”

Kowall honored family members of Marine Lance Cpl. Roman Rodriguez and Army Spc. 4 Lloyd Slack.

Rodriguez, of Flint, was 18 years old when he was killed in action in Vietnam on Feb. 15, 1970. Kowall honored Rodriguez’s immediate family members, including his widow, Judy Rodriguez Haller; his daughter, Angela Rodriguez; and his mother, Trinidad Martin.

Grand Rapids native Slack was killed in action in Vietnam on Dec. 14, 1967. He was 23. Kowall honored Slack’s mother, Lola Slack; his nieces, Linda and Wanda Fisher; and his nephew, Michael Fisher.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC) established the Certificate of Honor Program to honor the unique service and sacrifice of veterans and their families.

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

More information regarding the VWC can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

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***KOWALL PHOTO ADVISORY*** Kowall honors service of Air Force Capt. Andrew Becker

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Thursday paid tribute to the life and service of U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Becker, who died on March 14 when his U-28 aircraft crashed during a training exercise in New Mexico.

Kowall and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley welcomed Becker’s parents Gary and Stacey Becker, Novi Fire Captain Mark Theisen and Novi Police Officer Bob Manar for the memorial statement during Senate session.

During his service, Becker participated in six overseas deployments with the 34th Special Operations Squadron in support of counterterrorism operations.

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