Crash Spurred A Plan

September 2, 2008
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Ripples from the May 29 AeroMed accident atop Spectum Health Butterworth Hospital continue to reach across West Michigan. Last week, AeroMed Medical Director Dr. Ralph Rogers announced the rebuilding of helistops on Butterworth’s roof.

Rogers told the Business Journal that landing spots across West Michigan were reviewed following the crash. One result is that patients being air-lifted out of Ludington’s Memorial Medical Center now face an ambulance ride first.

Bill Kerans, MMC’s public relations coordinator, said it was decided that power lines at the hospital could interfere with helicopters. So medical helicopters now will land at the Mason County Airport, which is one mile from the hospital, and patients will be transported between them via road rigs.

“These are decisions made by the air ambulance organization. We were perfectly happy with the way things were. We’re also happy to cooperate with them to make sure things are safe for patients and the air crew,” Kerans said. Helicopters land at MMC about 40 to 50 times a year, Kerans reported, mostly to pick up patients and ferry them elsewhere.

“We tried to use the event that happened, which as you know was pretty visible, to take an opportunity to look at other landing areas and ask the question, ‘Are there some improvements that could be made?’” said Rogers. “We do this on a regular basis, but this gave us the opportunity to stop and focus on that. There have been changes at some of the pads.”

  • Grand Rapids Community College Interim President Anne E. Mulder spent a lifetime in West Michigan before attempting to retire to Florida. A former dean at GRCC and former president of Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, she was pressed into duty in April to lead GRCC until a permanent president can be found to replace Juan Olivarez, who has departed to head the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.

But apparently things have changed around here. Noting that GRCC is expanding its offerings under the roof of Byron Center High School, Mulder described her experience in driving around the growing southwest quadrant: “One of the big shocks to me was M-6: Hello?” she said. “That is redefining a demographic there. I went in search of towels in Byron Center and instead found three huge hospitals. What happened?”

She was referring, of course, to Metro Health Hospital and Saint Mary’s Southwest near M-6 on Byron Center Avenue SW and Spectrum Health’s West Pavilion on Wilson Avenue SW.

  • Cornerstone University is celebrating the inauguration of new president Joseph Stowell on Sept. 12 with a reception and dinner celebration at DeVos Place. University officials decided to have such a special event for the first time and hoped to attract a few hundred people. They now have 2,000 RSVPs from those who want to be on hand to greet the school’s 11th president.

That makes Stowell a bigger draw than Bono, who managed to draw only 800 to a Grand Rapids Econ Club event.

  • FOX 17 WXMI is expanding its morning news to four hours of local programming from 5 a.m.-9 a.m.

 Sarah Broadhead and Tracy Forner (returning to the market after an earlier stint here) will team with meteorologist Jon Shaner and new traffic anchor Robb Westaby, coming off a couple of Clear Channel gigs in the local radio market.

Westaby was the director of traffic operations at Clear Channel and had previously served as a morning show host at WOOD-FM, assistant program director for WOOD-FM and program director for WOOD AM/FM.

  • Leadership Michigan, a program of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, will award its 2008 Distinguished Leadership Award to Jim Barrett, who will be honored at the Annual Leadership Dinner Oct. 16 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

The Michigan Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Michigan program established the Distinguished Leadership Award in 2005 to honor individuals who have demonstrated excellence in leadership and exemplify the goals and aspirations of Leadership Michigan. Leadership Michigan has graduated nearly 500 professionals since its start in 1988. Past recipients of the award include: Jim Epolito (2005), Patrick L. Anderson (2006) and J. Paul Austin (2007).

Barrett retired from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in June of this year. He began his career with the Chamber in 1971 and was named president and chief executive officer in 1976. Just 32 years old at the time, Barrett became one of the youngest persons ever selected to head a state chamber of commerce in the United States. Now, 32 years later, he holds the distinction of serving as the longest-running president & CEO of a state chamber in the country.

Barrett was selected for the Leadership Michigan award because of his “exceptional leadership qualities; his achievement in both professional and civic activities; his ability to create and articulate a vision and effect change; and his significant contribution to the development of future leaders.” He is a graduate of the 1988 Leadership Michigan class.

  • Evidently not quite hitting the shelves in time for a full impact on the Democratic Party partiers during last week’s convention, wine lovers across Michigan will still be able to enjoy the Republican Party gathering with a bottle of their favorite “political wine,” thanks to a wholesale distribution agreement reached between The Political Winery LLC and Kent Beverage Co. “Political wine” is starting to pop up on shelves across the state as one of Michigan’s top wholesale beer and wine distributors pitch the new Partisan wine.

The Political Winery LLC was launched by local politico John Helmholdt and Christopher Trebilcock, an attorney with Miller, Canfield Paddock and Stone, based in Detroit.

Helmholdt is director of communications and external affairs for Grand Rapids Public Schools and former co-owner of one of the top Republican political fundraising firms in Michigan — Strategic Communications Group LLC, based in Grand Rapids.

“The timing is ripe, the wine is good, the price is right, and the bottles jump of the shelf with an appealing, eye-catching design, said Tom Zuiderveen, wine sales manager for Kent Beverage.

We’ll see who has the biggest hangover come November.

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