The Ball Game

January 17, 2005
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The belle of the ball apparently won't be wearing Pamella Roland after all.

First Lady LauraBush, according to the New York Times, has selected designs by Oscarde la Renta for the inaugural ball gown, a dress that The Times says "for a time at least will be the most scrutinized in the country."

First Daughters Barbara and JennaBush will be wardrobed by BadgleyMischka, LelaRose, DerekLam and de la Renta.

Grand Rapids' PamellaDeVos, the driving force behind Pamella Roland designs, had hoped the Bush entourage would select something from her line.

While Inauguration Day is out, don't give up on the GR designer's designs on outfitting Washington's First Family.

"Pam found out that Mrs. Bush and her daughters have decided to not wear Pamella Roland to the inauguration; however, they are going to keep the sketches for future reference in the hopes of maybe wearing the line at future events," said JessicaCarpenter, a spokeswoman for the design firm. Carpenter said DeVos is expecting about 10 different women to wear Pamella Roland designs to the festivities, mostly women from the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Joseph P. Gavan, one of the founding owners of Jones & Gavan, last year was called into service by one of the company's clients, pinch-hitting for Goshen (Indiana) Health System as interim vice president of marketing. Goshen apparently isn't the first city to which people look to relocate, and the recruitment effort has not produced the caliber of candidate hospital leaders expect. It is said that Gavan, henceforth, has been pressed into service as the new vice president of marketing, a position to which he recently agreed for a two-year term. (One wonders whether wife Susan Samples of TV 8 fame yet knows where she's headed…)

Gavan will remain on the business masthead and retain his interest, but the bulk of the work will be given to Joe Jones and John Helmholdt

  • Everyone knows former Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Betsy DeVos will almost single-handedly unseat Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, but with whom? While many wish to see former House leader and Holland Republican Paul Hillegonds in such a saddle, it's said he is likely to remain at the head of the Detroit-area Renaissance economic development group. It is also said that the recent employment of Ari B. Adler as State Sen. Ken Sikkema's press secretary is most telling of Sikkema's possible run for the governor's seat. Adler was the former director of Senate Majority Communications and director of communications for the Department of Transportation under former Gov. John Engler
  • Next week Monday the Business Journal announces its 2005 Newsmaker of the Year Award at the Econ Club luncheon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

While that's a tough act to follow, sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine is going to try.

The annual Grand Culinary Affair, honoring the region's top restaurants and chefs, is set for Tuesday and the theme, Open Kitchen, shows off the talents of some of the region's up-and-coming food creators from the Grand Rapids Community College Hospitality Education Department. Tickets for the event at the GRCCAppliedTechnologyCenter can be obtained by calling (616) 234-3690.

Why would you want tickets?

Smoked sea scallops with maple lacquered pineapple in Thai salad baskets. Cedar meat and truffled potato crème brulee. Kalua pork wrapped in taro leaves with Hawaiian red salt, served with purple Okinawan sweet potatoes with ginger.

Any other questions?

  • And you thought your health-care bill was high?

The latest analysis of how much Americans spend on health care each year came out last week and it shows some good and bad news.

First the bad. The U.S. health-care bill continued to rise faster than the GDP in 2003, topping $1.7 trillion (yes, trillion), according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the folks at the federal government who run Medicare and Medicaid.

That's 7.7 percent higher than what we spent in 2002. Health-care spending in 2003 represented 15.3 percent of the GPD, vs. 14.9 percent a year earlier. And the spending increase was three percentage points higher than the rate of economic growth in 2003.

The "good news" in the CMMS report, Health and Human Services Secretary TommyThompson said, is that the growth rate was the lowest in seven years. Health-care spending grew 9.3 percent in 2002, for instance.

Broken down, the $1.7 trillion spending in 2003 equates to per-capita spending of $5,670 per person, or $353 more than the year before.

Where did the money go?

The CMMS report shows that spending on hospital care accounted for 31 percent of all health-care spending, or $515.9 billion. Hospital spending rose 6.5 percent in 2003, a "deceleration" from the 8.5 percent growth rate in 2002.

Physicians and clinical services were second in spending, $369.7 billion, or 22 percent of all expenditures. Spending on prescription drugs took the third-largest piece of the health-care spending pie, 11 percent, or $179.2 billion.

Where did the money come from? (Our pockets, of course.)

Private-sector funding — insurance and out-of-pocket expenses — totaled $913.2 billion, 9.3 percent higher than the year before. Public-sector expenditures grew 6.6 percent to $765.7 billion, significantly lower than the 9.7 percent growth rate of the prior year.

  • Some broadcast reports are estimating that half of all Americans have contributed something to the tsunami relief effort in Southeast Asia

In return, Congress is contributing something to them.

U.S. Sen. DebbieStabenow said the U.S. House and Senate approved a measure that would treat contributions made in January as though they had been made before Dec. 31, 2004, allowing them to be claimed on this year's tax forms.

Now that's relief.     

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