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Archive | February, 2011

Listen to your mother: wash your hands

To wash your hands properly, lather up and scrub all surfaces for about 20 seconds or as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

(NAPS)—Despite the obvious benefits, there are still many people who do not follow good hand- washing habits.
“If we all simply wash our hands frequently and correctly, we can play a huge role in reducing the spread of germs from one person to another,” said Paul Santoro, CRNA, president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). “From a healthcare perspective, the AANA views hand-washing negligence as a critical patient safety problem and promotes requiring all health- care professionals to comply with proper hand hygiene standards for their own safety and the safety of their patients.”
To help promote hand hygiene, the healthcare experts at the AANA recommend that everyone follow these simple tips on proper hand-washing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
•    How to wash: Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap. For 20 seconds, rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces. To ensure that this is being done for 20 seconds, try humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end two times. Afterward, rinse hands well under running water before drying them with a paper towel or an air dryer. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
•    When to wash: Hands should be washed before and after preparing food, eating, touching people, treating wounds or giving medicine, and treating a sick or injured person. It is equally important to wash hands after activities such as using the toilet, changing a diaper, touching an animal, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or handling trash.
In healthcare facilities, adhering to proper hand-washing techniques is essential in reducing the risk of exposing patients to the possibility of infections that are transmitted through touch and consequently could lead to dire consequences. Historically, the AANA has taken a strong stance in advocating for patient safety and preventing unsafe health care practices. The association works closely with the CDC to aggressively address vital issues such as infection control and safe injection practices.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.aana.com or call (847) 692-7050.

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Health department announces influenza activity

(Grand Rapids, MI) — “It’s not over yet.” says Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). “The typical flu season is November through April with a peak during the middle of February. The number one way to protect people from the flu is with the influenza vaccination. I encourage anyone who would like a vaccination to make an appointment with their doctor, a pharmacy, or the Kent County Health Department.”

That’s right! It’s not too late to get your flu shot and KCHD offers flu shots by appointment at all six of its clinic locations. Clinics are in Wyoming, Kentwood, Rockford, and multiple Grand Rapids locations.

Appointment times for each location vary, but appointments can be made by calling (616) 632-7200 or by visiting www.stickittotheflu.com.

Since the beginning of February there has been a significant increase (from 7% – 10%) of influenza-like-illness symptoms in emergency room visits in Kent County. Please note that influenzalike-illness complaints are not always lab-confirmed cases of the flu. As of February 5th, there have been 63 reported cases of lab-confirmed influenza since the first case on September 1st of 2010. This year’s flu season is a very typical season and trending very similar to past flu seasons (compared to 2006-2008 data).

For most recent data reports, please visit www.stickittotheflu.com. It is extremely difficult to predict if this is the peak, or if we are going to continue to see a rise in reported flu cases. But one thing is for sure, it’s definitely not over yet. This year’s influenza vaccine happens to be a great match with the influenza virus that has been most common in Kent County. So protect yourself during the duration of this year’s flu season, get vaccinated and stick it to the flu! Call KCHD at (616) 632-7200 or make an appointment online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

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Get Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions

You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement.  Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Savers Credit:

1. Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
•    Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $27,750
•    Head of Household with income up to $41,625
•    Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $55,500

2. Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.

3. Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
4. Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

5. Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.

6. Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880. Publications and forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Home destroyed in fire

A Solon Township family lost their home Monday when fire ripped through this home in White Creek Country Estates.

Two children managed to escape before a fire consumed their mobile home Monday in White Creek County Estates in Solon Township.

Cedar Springs Public Schools did not have school Monday (it was mid-winter break), and a 14-year-old girl was home with her three-year-old sister when she heard the smoke alarm go off. She said the fire started somewhere in the kitchen.

The call came in just after noon, and Solon Township responded with Cedar Springs Fire Department assisting at the scene. The fire spread quickly through the home of Troy Kaltenberg, located on Chestnut Drive. Kaltenberg was at work at the time.

Post photo by J. Reed.

“I was standing out here just a half hour ago and didn’t see anything,” said a neighbor, Richard Pawson. “Those old trailers go up fast.”

There were no injuries, but the two children were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation and released.

Solon Fire Chief Joyce Vandermey confirmed that the fire did start in the kitchen near the toaster, but the reason was unknown. Vandermey said they were on the scene until about 5 p.m. investigating the fire, and went back on Tuesday to continue the investigation.

The home is a complete loss, and reportedly was not insured.

According to park owner Russ Eldred, this was only the second fire since he built the park in 1971.

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Ice fishing derby celebrates 30th year

Tom Swanson with the winning Pike at 31-3/4 inches.

By Judy Reed

The snow and ice may be disappearing this week, but it was perfect for the 30th annual Land of Lakes Association (LOLA) ice fishing derby in Spencer Township last weekend.

“The weather was great, no problems,” said activities director Pam Bradfield. “The wind kept the thaw down, so it wasn’t too sloppy.”

The annual event held at eight area lakes—Maston, Little Muskelunge, Blue, Black, Friant, Cedar, Little Lincoln, and Lincoln Lakes—had just under 200 people registered in the tournament. “That’s a little slower than in the past, but there were other events happening in the communities also, not to mention the poor economy,” said Bradfield.

And the winners are…
Blue Gill – Chop ingraham 9 1/4 inches
Speck -Byron Andres 13 3/8 inches
Perch – Woody Norton 10 1/8 inches
Pike – Tom Swanson 31 3/4 inches
Smallest fish caught — Ben Enbody with a 3 inch Blue Gill

3-Man team winners were Blain Beemer, Roy Beemer and Ernie Jensen taking the traveling “Green Hornet Pole” for best weight.

According to Bradfield, there were no walleye caught and no trash fish brought in this year.

“Everyone had a great time even though the fish were elusive. Now spring can officially begin!” she said.

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Survivor contestant visits En-Gedi youth center

Mike Skupin, a second-year contestant on the CBS television series Survivor, shared his inspirational story last Thursday with approximately 120 En-Gedi Youth Center students (6th grade through high school) and parents at Red Hawk Elementary.
Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.
Those who watch Survivor know that Skupin didn’t win the show’s $1 million prize. Instead, he learned during his time on the show that God had other plans for his life.
Students were fascinated by Skupin’s stories of sleep deprivation, eating inspects, extreme temperatures, snakebites, and the emotional challenges of living away from family and friends.
Skupin told the students what it was like for him to walk five hours with only the clothes on his back to the little stretch of dirt in the Australian outback that he and the other contestants would call home for two months. The temperature was 120 degrees, so as soon as they arrived at their campsite, they jumped into the river—and watched in horror as dozens of fresh water crocodiles came thrashing out of the water. Other dangers they encountered were ten types of poisonous snakes, thousands of bats, Dingo dogs that lunged for an animal or human’s throat, and six- to seven-foot-long lizards that tried to use their razor-sharp claws to climb humans like trees.
Because Survivor is all about winning, Skupin said that he couldn’t become friends with or trust any of the contestants. He felt lonely and started talking to God. He said that in the beginning, he was mostly “whining and strategizing to God,” but it was the start of him forming a solid relationship and friendship with someone he could trust.
While trying to survive the weeks in the outback, Skupin learned that “you have to spend time together in order to form a friendship,” so he included God in his entire day. He also learned that “prayers are not wasted” and felt his relationship with God growing in his heart during the show.
On the 18th day of the show, Skupin passed out and fell hands and face first directly into the fire. According to Skupin’s bio, “Five different burn surgeons told Mike he’d have to have skin graft surgery to repair his hands. After 10 days in the intensive care unit, as Mike was being wheeled to surgery, the chief of surgery removed his bandages and said, ‘I’ve been the Chief of Surgery in the number one burn center in Australia for 35 years and what’s happened to your hands is medically inexplainable.’” Skupin’s hands had been miraculously healed.
“When a doctor with 35 years of experience tells me what has happened to my hands is medically inexplainable, I knew God had healed me for a purpose,” said Skupin.
His goal is to empower kids to make the best choices with whatever is thrown at them. Following his presentation in the cafeteria, Skupin graciously signed autographs, visited with the students, and posed for photographs. “En-Gedi is an amazing gift to this community and a wonderful opportunity to reach out to young people. I can see great potential with this organization,” said Skupin.
Skupin has spoken almost 2,000 times to over 8 million people at live events all over the world. He is co-authoring a book with Steven Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Brian Tracy called “Discovering Your Inner Strength” due to come out this summer.
Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Skupin currently lives in White Lake, Michigan with his wife Karen and their seven children.

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Get great deals at Ed Koehn Chevrolet

Ed Koehn Decker ChevroletIf you want a great deal on a new or pre-owned car, you don’t have to look further than your own backyard. There’s a new dealer in town, and chances are he has just what you’re looking for.

Ed Koehn recently purchased John Decker Chevrolet on 14 Mile Road and has re-named it Ed Koehn Chevrolet. Customers can count on Koehn’s experience; he operates a Ford-Lincoln dealership and a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Ram Dealership in Greenville and a Ford Dealership in Wayland. Ed Koehn’s son, Aaron, will run the new Chevrolet store.

“John built a great name, and a great reputation in the community. As far as we are concerned, that is just as important as the emblem on the car,” Koehn said.

Koehn is community-minded, and said he would keep all of Decker’s 20 employees and plans to at least double employment within the year. “We expect volume in service and sales to increase dramatically. Doing so will have a very positive impact on the growth of employment at Ed Koehn Chevrolet,” he said.

Ed Koehn Chevrolet has already doubled their pre-owned vehicle selection and will be announcing huge savings in both their sales and service departments.  Koehn added, “We want to invite the whole community to come in and visit us at Ed Koehn Chevrolet.”

The dealership is located at 4650 14 Mile Road, just west of Northland Drive, in the Cedar Rock business district.
This is a paid advertisement

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PinkaPurplicious party a pinktastic success

Photo by S. Read.

By Sarah Read
Little girls ages 4-8 were filled with glee and glamour Saturday afternoon in Cedar Springs thanks to a delightful PinkaPurplicious Party sponsored by The Cedar Springs Public Library and hosted at The Springs Free Methodist Church.
Based on the popular children’s book series Pinkalicious and Purplicious, the event gave area girls a chance to hear the stories, dance, make necklaces, have their nails and hair colored pink and purple, frost and eat cupcakes and even “walk the runway” on the stage with an announcer describing their outfits along the way.
“It was so much fun,” shared Melissa Almas, of Greenville. “My girls had a blast, even my husband joined the fun and had his hair sprayed pink and purple!”
The Pinkalicious books are available at the Cedar Springs Library, located at 43 W Cherry Street.

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Students perform living wax museum

A group of fourth graders pose as their living wax museum characters. Post photo by P. Emery.

By Judy Reed

If you want to know something about Mary Pope Osborne, the author of the Magic Tree House books, just ask fourth-grade student Aryis Crystal. Or what about Elvis Presley? Khloe Robinson can probably answer your question. Evan Galle knows all about Teddy Roosevelt, and Trevor Reed can give you the rundown on Jim Abbott, the Michigan All-American baseball pitcher who played for four Major League Baseball teams—despite being born without a hand.

These students were part of nine fourth grade classes—253 students in all—that presented a living wax museum last Thursday at Cedar View Elementary.

Evan Galle chose Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president, as his living wax museum project.

Teacher Linda Paul explained that it is the culmination of their biography unit in language arts, and encompasses many different skills and subjects. “We’re doing things the state expects of us and making it fun,” she explained.

The students decide on a character, come up with questions they want answered about the character, do the research, write a report, create a timeline, create illustrations, and finally, dress as the character for a whole day for the living wax museum.

“The kids get really excited,” said Paul. “We start in January right after Christmas break, so it takes a long time, but it’s worth it.”

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Man arrested for using stolen credit card

Juan Carlos Morejon

Sparta police put out a bulletin at the end of January that they were looking for an older couple that used a stolen credit card to make several purchases in the Village of Sparta on January 7, including groceries and gas. They were caught on surveillance tape at the Sparta Family Fare, and media outlets, including the Post, published a photo of the couple on their websites asking people to identify them.
According to Sparta Chief of Police Andrew Milanowski, they received numerous calls telling them who the couple was, and Officer Cook made contact with them. On February 9, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Juan Carlos Morejon, 57. He was arrested and lodged in t he Kent County Jail on February 10, and arraigned on February 11 on one charge of fraud—illegal use of a credit card. Bond was set at $4,000 cash or surety bond. At press time, he was still in custody.

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