Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 3/4/04
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Letters 3/4/04

Various - March 4th, 2004
Conflict of interest in Manistee

Recently, the Houston, Texas based Tondu Corporation unveiled plans to build a 425 megawatt coal burning plant on the already heavily polluted lake in Manistee. Tondu currently burns coal at their Filer City plant, also on Lake Manistee, emitting at least 134 pounds of mercury a year. The new plant, as proposed, would unleash another 420+ pounds of mercury into the atmosphere a year.
Concerned people formed the Manistee Citizens for Responsible Development (manisteecfrd.org) to try to stop this project, for the environmental concerns far outweigh one Texas corporations‘ profit margin. The group raised concerns about seeming conflicts of interest on the Planning Commission, such as one member having a spouse who works at the Filer City plant, another members‘ friendship with a Tondu PR person, and a third member expressing he stood to make a lot of money if this project goes through. Two deeply involved city officials, who shall not be named to prevent any further embarassment, delivered a letter to the attorney working for the group. I give you one paragraph, complete as written (misspellings have been retained -- ed.):

“Who are you people! What ill-willed motives compels this group, of self-titled and alleged ambassadors of the moral voice of this community. What is the true agenda of this fallacious insurgence? What wickedness has become of you to allege an impropriety of bias, of due process and ethics! Why have you hired a Judicative professional to harm the most dedicated, most concuss, citizens who voluntarily give more than just there time, to enhance the quality “good“ of this community and surrounding communities.... lt is now reflective of a coercive mutiny upon the integrity of the City of Manistee and all commissions subserviant to the city consul.“

This is what we face in Manistee. The planning commission, to show they truly care, has given the public ONE chance to be heard. If you made it there, we thank you, but the battte is not over. Mutineers unite! Help stop more coal from being burned in Northern Michigan!

Bob VanderLewn • Manistee

Safety at NMH

“I had .. . come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.“ -- Arthur Conan Doyle, 1892, The Adventures of the Speckled Band.
Is it safe to be hospitalized at Northern Michigan Hospital? Does Northern Michigan Hospital have an infection control problem? What is going on?
I would like to clarify some of the confusion surrounding the “infection control“ issues at Northern Michigan Hospital. This term refers to a program designed to identify, control and prevent hospital-acquired infections. This also includes policies designed to provide a safe environment for patients and staff, such as prevention of spread of influenza from a patient to other patients and hospital staff.
The success of our program is measured by how well we prevent infections that are acquired in the hospital. In order to know how well we do, Northern Michigan Hospital participates in a Center for Disease Control program that allows us to compare ourselves to hospitals throughout the country. Every three months we are able to generate a “report card“ of how we are doing. We carefully monitor these scores or rates to see how we compare to other hospitals and how we compare to our own historical rates. As in any statistical analysis, there will be months or quarters when the rates are low or high. What is important is how we trend over time -- are we better than previous years or are we worse? If we see an increase in rates in a month or quarter, we investigate for potential reasons and then implement control/prevention/education efforts as rapidly as possible.
We care for very ill patients from a large region and like other similar hospitals, someone will occasionally develop a hospital-acquired infection despite our best efforts. This is often related simply to how sick our patients are. Hospitalization in the Intensive Care Unit for weeks requiring many procedures, monitoring devices, etc., does put people at increased risk for infection. This is why we have an active, aggressive infection control program, to minimize any risk of infection.
As stated, we measure how well we compare to a national standard and generate a report card. Comparing our overall rates from the pre-strike to post-strike periods, we have noted no significant changes in our hospital-acquired infection rates. There have been the usual monthly and quarterly variations that we have historically observed. We have post-surgical infection rates that are well below the national standard. We are better than almost 75% of comparable hospitals with regard to bloodstream infections. We are similar to other hospitals with respirator-related pneumonia, experiencing our lowest rate ever in 2003. Hospital-acquired urinary tract infections in the Intensive Care Unit, both pre-strike and post-strike, have been higher than the national benchmark and we continue to strive to improve that rate.
Every year nearly 2 million people in the United States get infections in a hospital. However, efforts to prevent infections can be successful, as documented by a 30-60% decline in hospital-acquired infections in the past decade in hospitals like Northern Michigan Hospital using active, aggressive infection control interventions, despite an aging population and increasing complexity of hospitalized patients. We strive for perfection even though it is an elusive goal. We at Northern Michigan Hospital, like all hospitals, will never be perfect, but we will never stop trying to achieve perfection and continue to maintain our excellence in care of critically ill patients.
Northern Michigan Hospital physicians, nurses, and staff provide both excellent primary and specialty care services. A regional referral hospital like Northern Michigan Hospital that offers specialty care, such as infectious disease specialists, often has very ill patients transferred from other hospitals to assist in their care. This has led to another apparent misperception, in that patients who have acquired an infection at another hospital, such as a “staph infection,“ or who have developed a serious infection unrelated to hospitalization, are often sent to Northern Michigan Hospital to obtain the latest in specialized care. This gives the perception in the community that we have a large number of patients who have acquired these infections here, but in reality these infections were acquired elsewhere and were sent here to get the assistance of infectious disease physicians and other specialists.
A highly regarded accreditation agency, JCAHO, and the Northern Michigan Hospital Center for Disease Control benchmark infection rates, have not substantiated any problems in excess hospital-acquired infections at Northern Michigan Hospital. Even the politicized Governor‘s Blue Ribbon Panel and Congressman Stupak‘s initiated Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) survey, found no problems with excess hospital-acquired infection rates. The CMS survey findings focused on documentation and policy wording issues. At no time was any patient or staff‘s safety jeopardized. To infer that our infection control program is “significantly deficient“ because of documentation and policy wording issues, is in my opinion illogical and an egregious exaggeration of the significance of the actual survey findings.
Our community needs to know that your physicians and hospital staff would not tolerate an unsafe hospital. What we are all about is helping and caring and this would violate those basic values. Is it safe to be hospitalized at Northern Michigan Hospital? Yes! Does Northern Michigan Hospital have an “infection control“ problem? No! Northern Michigan Hospital provides safe and excellent quality care, and yes, I‘m proud of it!

“Practice two things in your dealings with disease: Either help or do not harm the patient.“ -- Hippocrates (460-375 BC).

H. Gunner Deery II, MD, FACP, FIDSA • Hospital Epidemiologist, Northern Michigan Hospital Infectious Disease Specialists, Northern Michigan Infectious Diseases

The photo of folksinger Sara Anderson which ran on the cover of the Feb. 19 Express was taken by Larry Wojcik. The photo was originally used for her “Wellworn Timber“ album, recorded with the Third Coast band.
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