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Street Talk: West Michigan health care’s heart and soul
The “soul” is not a treatable organ in the body, and an organ would be an unlikely instrument with which to create “soul” music, but nonetheless the two are intertwined this week.
The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is hosting An Evening of Soul, Thursday, June 12, at the J.W. Marriott, during which time several individuals and corporations will be recognized for their efforts to improve the well-being of West Michigan’s African-Americans.
The biannual event begins at 6 p.m. and will honor community leaders who have dedicated their lives to achieving health and equity in West Michigan by promoting health care parity in the Grand Rapids African American community through advocacy, education and research to achieve positive health outcomes.
“In order to reach the people in our community who are in need of health services, GRAAHI has to have the right programs and outreach. An Evening of Soul is our way of making sure that happens,” said Shannon Wilson, executive director of GRAAHI.
Three individuals and one corporation will be recognized for their work within Grand Rapids.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Honorable Judge Benjamin Logan of the 61st District Court; John Mosley, executive vice president of business development at Spectrum Health Systems; and Patricia Pulliam, publisher and editor in chief for The Grand Rapids Times. Steelcase Corp. will be presented with the Health and Equity Award.
“It is exciting to see the community come together for a great cause at An Evening of Soul. The more people helping to spread the word about health and equity in West Michigan, the bigger difference we can make in our community,” said Wilson.
The evening also will feature culinary creations by Chef Rock Harper. He is a winner of the television show “Hell’s Kitchen,” author of “44 Things a Parent Should Know About Healthy Cooking For Kids,” and former executive chef at B. Smith Restaurant.
Tickets to the black-tie event are $100 per person and can be ordered by calling GRAAHI at (616) 331-5831. A portion of all proceeds of the event will support GRAAHI programming, services and community outreach.
Grand Rapids Sister Cities International is looking for a few good homes on a very short-term basis.
A delegation from Omihachiman, Japan, is planning to visit the Furniture City Aug. 22-27, and GRSCI is working to find host families for our friends from the Far East.
“Our guests want to experience the daily living of Americans and to practice their English,” said Don Bultman, board chair of GRSCI and a member of the committee that interacts with Omihachiman. “If you are busy during the day that is not a problem. Our Japanese committee has scheduled activities for the group on Monday through Wednesday. If you are not busy, you may also join in or you may prefer doing things on your own.”
Interested host families can contact Bultman for more information at (616) 245-1609.
Those Americans for Prosperity sure don’t like to be picked on.
Scott Hagerstrom, state director of the grassroots, limited government group, recently took exception to MDOT spokesperson Jeff Cranson for saying AFP-Michigan is “disingenuous” when it calls Michigan’s taxes on gas some of the highest in the nation.
“It is disingenuous for government bureaucrats to offer the people of Michigan a false choice: either bad roads or a massive tax hike. There are policy options available that would better fund roads without a net tax hike. Unfortunately, state lawmakers seem to lack the political will to pursue these options,” Hagerstrom said.
So where should the road funding come from? You get one guess.
"At a minimum, legislators can certainly trim spending in areas such as the 21st Century Jobs Fund and dedicate general fund revenue generated from the sales tax on gas to roads. Other options include exempting a portion of the gasoline price from the state sales tax and increasing the excise tax on fuel to a corresponding watermark,” Hagerstrom said.
"Unfortunately, other options aren’t being given much serious discussion by lawmakers who appear to only be serious about raising taxes. Our state legislature has the full-time job of identifying solutions that best serve the people of Michigan. Proposing a massive tax hike on fuel in lieu of other options is simply shirking that responsibility."
Leadership West Michigan is accepting applications now through July 15for its 2014 class. The organization’s goals support sustainable growth, nurture and attract human capital, foster public-private partnerships, and support collaboration among citizens and organizations.
LWM Executive Director Julie Metsker said participants are introduced to a variety of local, regional, and national experts and issues, giving students a chance to explore interrelated systems and challenges defining the West Michigan region. The program includes a two-day bus tour of the West Michigan region as well as single-day sessions focused on public governance, land use, education, economic development, and health care and human services.
“The LWM program is designed to ensure participants a great return on investment,” she said. “With the mission of creating a regional mindset by developing and engaging an effective and diverse network of regional trustees, LWM provides students with awareness and understanding of West Michigan’s interrelated systems, including local governments, transportation, and commerce, and the challenges they create. This knowledge will help develop stronger leaders, which in turn benefits the entire region.”
Call (616) 451-4348 for information or an application.
There’s nothing like a little art to bring a community and its youth together.
ArtPrize artist Alberto Gomez and his wife Luz Stella traveled from Florida to paint a mural in the Steil Boys & Girls Club, 235 Straight Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. The mural is themed “My Great Future Is …”and members from the three Grand Rapids B&G clubs participated in a drawing contest depicting what their great future is. Fifteen finalists were selected, and their futures are being joined together in a larger vision for the gymnasium wall at the Steil location. This mural will mark 31 murals that Stella and Gomez have painted in the United States.
A reveal party at 4:30 p.m., June 10, will feature an ice cream social.
At Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids, youth are provided a safe space to learn and develop the skills they need to achieve a great future. One way to help children understand themselves and others is through art, specifically murals. Youth are challenged to examine art and its importance within the community through murals.
“This mural project shows the true diversity of the great futures of Boys & Girls Club members,” said Erin Crison, director of programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids. “We have members who want to be doctors, singers, teachers, scientists, and scuba divers, and it is so exciting to think that with the support of the clubs and their families and the Greater Grand Rapids community these great futures will be actualized.”
Both the artists and the young artists from the clubs spent nearly every day last week turning a simple wall into something that the club members can be inspired by each day.