by ANDREW GREMEL, J.D. The Gremel Group While health care reform has been at the forefront of our public debate these past months, the underlying issues have been plaguing business owners and individuals for well over a decade. As an independent insurance and employee benefit firm, we are keeping a close eye on developments coming out of Washington and Lansing alike. This week has been full of news related to various proposals. To say that health care reform is confusing and controversial would be an understatement for sure. At the core level, we are dealing with decisions involving life and death, privacy, the distribution and redistribution of resources as well as our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy. Our firm and our colleagues are often asked for our take on what is evolving in Washington. Here are some of my random thoughts on the current situation: The Gremel Group agrees with many of the reform ideas that President Obama presented recently to the joint session of Congress. Reigning in health care costs so that more Americans can afford health insurance needs to be the key driver of any comprehensive health care reform package. We strongly support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions and provide tax subsidies for low-income individuals and small-business owners who cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees. These market-driven sensible reforms will go a long way in controlling costs and improving access to the health care system. We are also encouraged by President Obama’s remarks on the need for meaningful medical malpractice reform. The Department of Human Services estimated that medical liability and defensive medicine reforms alone could save the health care system up to 500 billion dollars. While we continue to disagree about the need for a government-run public plan, we were very heartened by the President’s clear willingness to compromise on this issue. A public option may seem like a clever way to expand insurance coverage and lower costs, but our existing public options prove that another government-run health plan will only raise the cost of private insurance and crowd out private alternatives. The pattern of systematically underpaying doctors and hospitals through the Medicare and Medicaid programs have raised the average family’s premiums by $1,800 a […]
Articles by Squire News
Technology update for summer 2009 by PETER YOUNG Director of Operational Technology On behalf of the technology department of Rockford Public Schools (RPS), I would like to thank the community for the support of the May 2008 bond issue and the difference this is making for students and staff in the district. Through the use of bond monies, last summer we installed new workstations and student computer labs and updated the district’s network infrastructure to support the demands of new technology. During the past few months, we have continued improving and expanding the use of technology in the district by installing projection systems in classrooms and sound systems in all K-8 classrooms for improved learning, have purchased new equipment for the auditorium and have also expanded and purchased adaptive technology for special needs students. Another of the concepts we researched and are now in the process of implementing is a device called a multi-function printer (MFP). What in the past was a one-function printer has now been expanded to include the functions of scanning, copying and faxing. With high speed networks, the ability to combine these everyday functions into one device makes great economical sense. We can reduce the space requirements with a smaller footprint of one device compared to four. For example, we are able to eliminate two printers, a fax machine and copy machine in each building by installing a multi-function printer. We also reduce the number of service contracts or calls from many vendors to one. Other economic savings are in the cost of printing consumables, such as paper and toner. Printing and copying capabilities on the network allows for many users to share the resources at one time, which in turn reduces our operating costs. The finishing capabilities of these devices allow users to create professional-looking documents right from their workstations. Scanning with these devices is a newer function that all staff members will have access to use in their buildings. The ability to scan a document introduces a whole new way of distributing material without having to print, copy and distribute manually. For example, we now have the capability of scanning a document and sending it directly to a shared network resource or we can e-mail the document directly to […]
“We hope to find families that are not already receiving services through another organization. We would like to find a few that have fallen through the cracks,” said Rockford Volunteer Police member Linda Crone. She is asking that people who might know of a Rockford-area family that is having financial difficulties to tell the group. They would like to have names, and a little bit of background. “We don’t want people to just call in with a name, we’d like to know a little explanation of why you think they are in need,” Crone said. The group, who are funding the project out of their own pockets, also want the public to know that donations toward the dinner would be appreciated. The Rockford Volunteer Police Unit works out of the Rockford Police Department at City Hall and also staff the Welcome Center by Great Northern Trading Company in downtown Rockford Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 20-person force has had a busy summer helping visitors to Rockford and patrolling the White Pine Trail and other areas. They say they have had a busy summer with an unusual amount of animal interaction, such as swans in roads and turtles on the trail. They came up with the idea of helping a few families in the Rockford School District as another way to be of use in the community. They hope to feed Thanksgiving dinner to a minimum of two families, possibly more with donations. For Christmas, they would like to narrow their efforts to one family and be able to provide gifts as well. “For that family we would need even more information, such as the ages and genders of children,” Crone said. Information may be dropped off at the Police Department or the Welcome Center during their open hours. For more information, you may call the Rockford Police Department at (616) 866-9557. A wish list of donated items includes canned corn and green beans, boxes of stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, potatoes, dinner rolls, butter tubs, packaged salad, pumpkin pies, jello and gift cards for turkey.
Last year’s Pink Power at the Post Office proved to be not only a success for breast cancer awareness, but it was a success in terms of bringing postal employees and customers together as they joined forces in the fight. This year, from September 28 to October 2, the Rockford Post Office will be getting their pink on again for “Pink at the Post Office” to promote the sale of the breast cancer semipostal stamp. Rockford Post Office is one of several hundred post offices in the Greater Michigan District participating in this week-long event. Postmaster Fred Farage said, “Our retail associates will wear pink during this time in support of this important subject. Few things reach as many Americans each day as the U.S. Mail, so the breast cancer semipostal postage stamp provides an opportunity to raise money and awareness in support of important social issues.” The breast cancer research stamp was the first semipostal stamp in U.S. history, when it was issued on July 29, 1998, at the White House. By law, 70 percent of the net amount raised from the sale of the stamp goes to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent goes to the medical research program at the Department of Defense. Over 850,000,000 breast cancer semipostal stamps have been sold to date since its issuance, with more than 64.9 million dollars raised for research. So when you purchase pink—the breast cancer semipostal stamps, that is—from September 28 to October 2 at the Rockford Post Office, know that you will be a part of the continued fight for a worthy cause.
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were honored by the West Michigan Whitecaps at their home game on Friday, August 28, for the service they give to our community. To begin the night’s festivities, leaders and kids joined together for a parade around the field. Various Scouts continued to assist with game-opening activities by throwing a ceremonial first pitch, escorting the players to the field and presenting the colors for the National Anthem. Following the game, the outfield became a field of tents as Scouts settled in for the annual Scout Campout and movie night on the stadium’s big screens.