In January 2005, The Nature Conservancy and several partners announced the “Big U.P. Deal” that preserved roughly 423 square miles of forest land for forestry, recreation and conservation through a unique public-private partnership. Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Rick Snyder and other dignitaries, including the conservancy’s Michigan state director, Helen Taylor, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh, marked the 10-year anniversary of the historic land deal with a ceremony at the Mouth of the Two Hearted River State Forest Campground. “This monumental land deal provided key environmental protection for landmarks across the Upper Peninsula, from the Porcupine Mountains in the west to Tahquamenon Falls and the Two Hearted River in the east,” Snyder said. “Michigan has set a model for responsible land management that supports healthier forests and rivers while creating more jobs and improved recreation opportunities.” Under the $57.9 million Northern Great Lakes Forest Project – nicknamed the “Big U.P. Deal” – the conservancy facilitated the DNR purchase of several conservation easements over a period of years on about 248,000 acres located throughout eight counties in the Upper Peninsula. In addition, the deal included the purchase of 23,338 acres in the Two Hearted River watershed in northern Luce County, helping to enhance an existing conservancy nature preserve. At the time the deal was announced, Snyder was serving as a member of The Nature Conservancy Michigan Board of Trustees, a position he held from 2004-2009. Managing the conservation easements under a “working lands” approach provides several benefits to a range of interests in the region. Among them, the conservancy said the easements: Keep the lands open to the public for recreation, including fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and other pursuits. Protect thousands of timber and tourism jobs. Keep the lands in private ownership and on the tax rolls, generating important revenue for local communities. Help protect some of Michigan’s most treasured landscapes. Keep valuable and environmentally sensitive forest lands habitat from fragmentation. Limit development, which keeps forest lands from being converted to non-forest uses. The easements and lands were purchased from The Forestland Group, LLC, a North Carolina timberlands investment firm, which outbid the state and bought 390,000 acres at auction in 2002 from the Kamehameha Schools Trust of Hawaii. Much of that land had been […]
Spectrum Health has selected Gwen G. Sandefur, MHSA, as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Spectrum Health Grand Rapids. Sandefur assumed her new role on August 3. “We are very pleased to have Gwen in position to provide leadership and coordinate operations for inpatient and outpatient aspects of the hospital facilities and service lines in Grand Rapids,” said Christina Freese-Decker, president, Spectrum Health Hospital Group. “Her skills and experience will be invaluable as we work together in our mission to provide seamless, high quality health care in the communities we serve.” Specifically, the new COO will lead day-to-day operations for Spectrum Health Grand Rapids and oversee the development and implementation of long-range plans, goals and objectives for the organization. Sandefur has extensive experience in health care administration, most recently serving as the executive vice president/chief operating officer, St. Mary’s Health and president, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville, Ind., a member of Ascension Health. Previously, she served as senior vice president, strategic development and regional operations, St. Mary’s Health System/Seton Health Corporation. Prior to joining St. Mary’s Health, Gwen worked for St. Vincent Health, Indianapolis, Ind. Sandefur earned her Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Indiana University. Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 181 ambulatory and service sites; 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,100 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 654,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 23,000 employees. The organization provided $294.6 million in community benefit during its 2014 fiscal year. Spectrum Health is the only health system in Michigan to be named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics for 2015. This is the fourth time the organization has received this recognition. spectrumhealth.org
Great Lakes Hospital for Animals has achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Great Lakes Hospital for Animals earned AAHA accreditation after a rigorous review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service. Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited. Accredited hospitals are the only hospitals that choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards that go above and beyond basic state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. AAHA standards are continuously reviewed and updated to keep accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence. Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire health care team. At AAHA-accredited practices, pet owners can expect to receive the highest quality care from well-trained, professional veterinary teams. Only the top small animal hospitals in the United States and Canada have achieved accreditation by the Association. To maintain accredited status, Great Lakes Hospital for Animals must continue to be evaluated regularly by AAHA. Great Lakes Hospital for Animals is celebrating their 27th year of accreditation this year. In appreciation they will be hosting a Community Open House on Saturday, August 22, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Be sure to stop by and check out the many fun activities planned for the entire family, including the four-legged, furry members. There will be tours, face painting, a reduced cost microchip clinic, a pets and people photo booth and more. Several local organizations will be at the event, including Rachael Gray from 105.3 HOT FM, West Michigan Therapy Dogs, Happy Tails Dog training and Crash’s Landing. All the events are FREE with the exception of the microchip clinic ($20.00 per microchip placement). Great Lakes Hospital for Animals is asking those in attendance to consider bringing a gift for the cats of Crash’s Landing. (Paper towels, trash bags, bleach, Science Diet cat food, etc…) For more details on the event or to see Crash’s Landing’s complete wish […]
Gov. Rick Snyder today thanked Justice Mary Beth Kelly for her service on the state Supreme Court, after the announcement she will retire Oct. 1. “Justice Kelly has shown tremendous leadership and dedication during her time on the Supreme Court,” Snyder said. “Her advocacy on juvenile justice issues has had a major impact on the state, and she has been instrumental in shaping innovative specialty courts meant to rehabilitate drug offenders and defendants who are veterans. “Her legacy will certainly reflect the time she spent working to change outcomes for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. I thank her for her unwavering commitment to Michigan’s judicial system and wish her future success.” Kelly was elected to the Supreme Court in 2010, and prior to that she served as a judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court – including several years as chief judge – beginning with her appointment by Gov. John Engler in 1999. The state Constitution authorizes Gov. Snyder to appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court for a term ending Jan. 1, 2017. To complete the remaining portion of Justice Kelly’s term, which ends in Dec. 2018, the appointee would need to run for election in Nov. 2016.
We each have the privilege of being born during a special time. The events surrounding our personal birth vary and add spice to ones personal life history. I was born during the most spectacular meteor shower of the year. The Perseids Meteor Shower provides a fiery light show to mark my birthday or so it’s fun to believe. Of course scientific evidence does not demonstrate such a relationship but we can each believe what we desire despite evidence to the contrary. We tend to place our own lives at the center of the universe and we like to think all that happens revolves around us. When we take time to examine our place in the great scheme of things, we discover we are not the most important in the universe even though we tend to think we are. When we live well, we find we can be important to others and that we can improve the lives for all around us. We can be a shooting star that brightens the lives of others or we can stay focused on our own perceived self importance and self-interest. Imagine the light from shooting stars during the Perseids Meteor Shower as shimmering light reflecting a person’s good deed done for another or someone’s soul traversing into the great beyond. We can create stories that enthrall our imaginations, pleasure, and desired beliefs. Such stories move our hearts and spirits in ways that science does not and make for the best and most appealing “Hallmark” stories. Science, however, provides a more accurate account of how nature and its processes work. Such explanations have their own charm and lead to great discoveries. If it were not for scientific discoveries, we would not have recently received pictures of the surface of Pluto. Scientific discoveries from the space program have also improved our daily lives here on Earth’s surface. The reason the Perseids Meteor Shower, occurs in mid August has to do with our planet traveling around the sun once a year. When it arrives at the same location in mid August each year, the Earth collides with debris left by the comet when it passed. Comets like planets have an orbit around the sun. Their orbits are greater than planetary orbits and […]