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Future use for Herrick Hospital uncertain following new hospital announcement

ProMedica announced Thursday, Dec. 11, plans to build a new hospital in Lenawee County beginning in 2016. The 145,000- to 200,000-square-foot hospital will replace ProMedica Bixby and Herrick Hospitals.

The new hospital will be located on M-52 on the site of Mission Pointe Golf Course, 5640 N. Adrian Hwy. in Adrian Township. Construction is expected to take 18-22 months, with completion tentatively scheduled for sometime in the mid-third to fourth quarter of 2017.

“We’re happy it’s in the township,” said Adrian Township Supervisor James Koehn, adding that it will be “quite an addition” to the township.

No information was available on how many construction jobs would be created.

The facility will be a full-service hospital with up to 80 acute care beds, an emergency department, surgical capabilities that include orthopedic care, a women’s health center, a cancer center, a pain management clinic, and an inpatient psychiatric unit, according to a press release from ProMedica.

Tim Jakacki, President of ProMedica Bixby and Herrick Hospitals, said the new facility will provide Lenawee County and the surrounding communities with great healthcare services for decades to come, echoing the sentiments of Kevin Webb, ProMedica Chief Acute Care Officer.

“By consolidating Bixby and Herrick into one hospital, we will improve access for our patients and strengthen healthcare offerings for this community for generations to come,” said Webb.

“ProMedica’s mission to improve health and well-being in the communities we serve will advance with the development of this new facility,” said Jakacki. “This dynamic new hospital will offer more efficient, effective services and enhance our ability to recruit and retain new specialists to Lenawee County and surrounding communities. It’ll give us the benefits of a more centralized access point.”


New hospital to replace Herrick and Bixby hospitals

ProMedica announced Thursday plans to build a new hospital in Lenawee County beginning in 2016. The 145,000-square-foot hospital will replace ProMedica Bixby and Herrick hospitals.

The new hospital will be located on M-52 on the site of Mission Point Golf Course, providing centralized access for the service area. The facility will be a full-service hospital with up to 80 acute care beds, an emergency department, surgical capabilities that include orthopedic care, a women’s health center, a cancer center, a pain management clinic, and an inpatient psychiatric unit. The building will be developed following LEED Silver-Eligible Certification standards to ensure sustainability and offer best-in-class in design, construction and energy efficiency.

“ProMedica’s mission to improve health and well-being in the communities we serve will advance with the development of this new facility,” said Tim Jakacki, president, ProMedica Bixby and Herrick hospitals. “This dynamic new hospital will offer more efficient, effective services and enhance our ability to recruit and retain new specialists to Lenawee County and surrounding communities.”

“Small, regional hospitals face a competitive challenge in the current healthcare environment,” said Kevin Webb, ProMedica chief acute care officer. “By consolidating Bixby and Herrick into one hospital, we will improve access for our patients and strengthen healthcare offerings for this community for generations to come.”


Body-worn video cameras help keep public, police on record

See video

The purchase of body-worn video cameras for Tecumseh Police Department (TPD) officers that was approved at the September 2 Tecumseh City Council meeting have been in use since the first week in October, according to Tecumseh Police Chief Troy Stern.

“We’ve been pretty happy with them so far,” Stern said. “It took a little bit of time to get accustomed to utilizing them.”

Twelve — one for every officer — VIEVU LE3 cameras were purchased at a cost of $9,560, or about $796 a camera, in addition to the demo model the department already had. The LE3 retails on VIEVU’s website for $899.95.

An additional $5,040.15 was spent on server space for storing the video and audio files.

At the September 2 city council meeting, Stern said that the video and audio files from the cameras would be stored for 90 days unless the data is part of a court investigation, and then it would be kept for a longer period.

“There have been instances where they have been used in court,” said Stern.

The camera clips to an officer’s uniform and filming begins when the shutter is opened. Filming stops when the shutter is closed.

Stern said there are policies in place dictating when the cameras are to be used and administrators monitor that officers are following those policies.

“They’re basically used with every citizen contact,” Stern said, adding that there are situations where privacy is of concern and where it would be appropriate to turn them off. They are used in traffic stops and when fielding complaints.

The files are initially stored on the camera, which can operate for up to 12 continuous hours. The data is downloaded to a server in the department, which allows officers to go back and review the video while writing their reports.

“This allows us to write more accurate depictions of what’s going on,” Stern added.


City earns clean bill of health via audit

At the Monday, Dec. 1, Tecumseh City Council meeting, council members heard two presentations, one on the 2014 Fiscal Year Audit and another from the treasurer, Leisa Still.

With the audit, Tecumseh received its 17th consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2014.

“This is quite remarkable,” said Mark Kettner, Principal-in-Charge of Governmental Audit, Assurance and Outsourcing Group for Rehmann, which completed the audit. “It is a great indication of the board and management and staff that are very concerned and interested in doing things right.

“I think you’ve done a very good job compared to many of your neighbors in terms of looking at that and saying this is a benefit that we really can’t support and sustain it and you’ve taken action to change that — not an easy thing to do,” Kettner added about the city’s unfunded liabilities.

According to Kettner, out of the city’s $5-million-plus budget, the fund balance was close to breaking even. The city budgeted $178,214 in appropriations, but actually spent $136,218.

The Treasurer’s Report laid out numerous upgrades and improvements that have been made since Still filled the position in June 2012.

In June 2013, the city upgraded all of its accounting software to BS&A Financial Suite, which allows department heads to access their financial information in real time. Looking ahead, the report noted that the BS&A Cemetery Management program will be added in January 2015.

“The major accomplishments, and most of them are technology related, were for better productivity and to give the taxpayers more options,” Still said.

Online, the city upgraded from Internet Services to Accessmygov to contain tax and assessing information.


Holiday events, benefits has TCA bustling

The Tecumseh Center for the Arts (TCA) has a December to remember going in full swing. Between fundraisers and holiday concerts, the theater is a busy place.

One of the TCA’s yearly fundraisers is a Buy-a-Seat program. For the past six years, individuals or families can have a plaque applied to a seat of choice in the theater.

Last year the board decided to have a December sale on the seats. Instead of the normal charge of $700, people can purchase a plaque for $250.

“We do have seats for sale throughout the year at TCA,” said Shelley Lim, Cultural and Leisure Direct for Tecumseh. “We let them select the seat they are interested in, and we will put a plaque on the arm with their name on it. It’s a great Christmas gift.”

The sale runs through January 2, and orders can be placed over the phone or in person at the TCA. “We’ll make it very easy for folks,” Lim said.

Another way the TCA is raising money for the organization is a 50/50 raffle. Only 250 tickets will be sold, with each ticket costing $100. Ideally the goal is to raise $25,000 total.

“We’d like to split that money with someone,” said Lim. “We’ve sold about 100 tickets, and the drawing is Dec. 13.”

The drawing is scheduled during the Street Corner Symphony concert, which is December 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the TCA. “It’s going to be very fun,” Lim said. “We put a call in months ago at the North Pole. Santa Claus himself is going to pull the winning ticket for us.”

There is a great deal of excitement at the TCA over the Street Corner Symphony holiday performance. The internationally known a cappella group gained notoriety on NBC’s all vocal competition, “The Sing-Off.”

“They are awesome,” said Lim. “It’s a holiday concert, and they will be performing classic music and their own compositions. They are also going to include a few Christmas carols for us.”


Local veteran part of Normandy invasion and Battle of the Bulge

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Bulge. For 90-year-old veteran Mahlon Sebring, this anniversary is a reminder of his life in the 319th Glider Field Artillery and the 82nd Airborne Division.

Sebring was part of the D-Day Normandy Invasion the previous June, which turned World War II in favor of the Allied forces. On December 16, 1944, Hitler initiated a counteroffensive attack and the Battle of the Bulge began. By the time the battle officially ended on January 25, Sebring and his fellow soldiers were battered, cold, and exhausted.

Sebring remembers the battle beginning so fast, he was still in his summer uniform covered by his winter overcoat as he jumped into the back of a transport truck. Rain and snow soaked the wool coat during the trip. It was so heavy he would have fallen without the men so close on every side of him.

Sebring’s time in Europe during WWII and during the occupation in Berlin, Germany post-war, is still very clear for the Tecumseh resident. Unlike a textbook, the memories don’t come in chronological order, but have a power not found in any book.

Sebring left high school before graduation to join the Army. His mother, upset about having two sons serving in the war, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt asking Sebring be excused because he was the only one who could milk the family cow. The response said her request would be taken under advisement.

As part of the 319th Glider Field Artillery Sebring flew into battle in a glider made of aluminum pipe, canvas and a plywood floor. He landed in Normandy with the 30-foot tow cable frayed by enemy gunfire.

“Riding in those gliders was crazy,” Sebring said.

The gliders carried either a Howitzer or a Jeep and flew in pairs. When there was no glider or Jeep on landing in Normandy, Sebring commandeered, at gunpoint, a Red Cross Jeep for his Howitzer.

“We were pretty cocky,” he said.


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