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My Town: Challenges for blind and visually impaired explored during Feb. 20 workshop

My Town: Challenges for blind and visually impaired explored during Feb. 20 workshop

---NEWS RELEASE---

The ability to see is something that most people take for granted. Vision loss can be devastating as common tasks such as cooking, the ability to drive and reading the mail become difficult. This can take an emotional toll on a person. The Kent County Disaster Mental Health and Human Services Committee is planning a blind and visually impaired workshop on Friday, February 20, 2015. This interactive workshop is designed to increase awareness of accessibility differences among people who are blind, visually impaired and sighted. Implications for emergency preparedness and response will be explored at the workshop.

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

LANSING, Mich. – Making fruits and vegetables more readily available, cancer screenings by mail, health coaches and exercise programs are just several of the local initiatives getting funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The MDCH recently announced 44 projects are getting approximately $1.34 million, including a dozen projects in West Michigan.  The grants include:

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

My Town: New director on the job at troubled hospital

My Town: New director on the job at troubled hospital

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—  The Michigan Department of Community Health hopes a new director will usher in a new era for a Kalamazoo hospital, under investigation for alleged abuse of patients.

Jill Krause's first day at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital is Jan. 7.   Krause has more than 21 years of experience in behavioral health, most recently serving as the director of the adult mental illness division of Network180 in Kent County.

“As a department, we are committed to providing quality care to the patients at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital,” said Tim Becker, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “We continue to make important progress in ensuring the safety of our patients and staff, and I am confident that Jill’s experience and leadership will help us carry this momentum forward.”

My Town: Hospital under investigation gets new leader

My Town: Hospital under investigation gets new leader

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—  A hospital under investigation for alleged abuse of patients is getting a new director.

Jill Krause will oversee the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital beginning Jan. 7.   Krause has more than 21 years of experience in behavioral health, most recently serving as the director of the adult mental illness division of Network180 in Kent County.

“As a department, we are committed to providing quality care to the patients at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital,” said Tim Becker, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “We continue to make important progress in ensuring the safety of our patients and staff, and I am confident that Jill’s experience and leadership will help us carry this momentum forward.”

My Town: Give the gift of life for the holidays

My Town: Give the gift of life for the holidays

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The Grand Rapids Donor Center welcomes your gift of blood for those in need through the holiday season.

Schedule:  Dec. 24, 26, 31 and Jan. 1 and 2 , 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The GR Donor Center is located at 1036 Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids. Call: (616) 774- 2300 or visit www.michiganblood.org for more listings.

My Town: Whooping cough on the rise in West Michigan

My Town: Whooping cough on the rise in West Michigan

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Kent County Health Department is seeing a slight uptick in whooping cough cases.

Health Department spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante says from Jan. 1 to Dec. 5, 13 cases of whooping cough were reported in Kent County.  During that same time last year, only nine cases of whooping cough were reported in the county.  Whooping cough last spiked in 2010, with 17 cases locally. In a month-by-month breakdown of the year, January had the most reported cases (5), followed by August (3) and September (2).

The Allegan County Health Department is also dealing with a higher number of whooping cough cases; 21 people reported coming down with whooping cough between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.  That's more than double the number of cases reported during the same time last year, according to the health department's Dr. Richard Tooker.