More Vaccine Arrives in Mid-Michigan

Like other Michigan counties, Clinton, Gratiot, and Montcalm will be receiving a small amount of COVID-19 vaccine this week. All of it is the Moderna vaccine. The total number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected to come into our district is 9,550. Out of that, Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD) is receiving 1,100 doses and plans to vaccinate certain essential workers in all our counties this weekend with those doses. The remaining 8,450 doses are primarily going to hospitals.

The health department and hospitals are currently vaccinating those in priority group 1B (over 65 and essential workers) and working to finish vaccinating those in priority group 1A (health care). The health department continues to operate clinics for people over age 65, however only a small number of doses remain, and all the appointments are taken.

The shortfall in vaccinations is disappointing, but significant work is still being done. The National Guard is finishing up vaccinating staff and employees in adult foster care facilities. CVS Pharmacy is also working on vaccinating people in long-term care facilities throughout the jurisdiction. These two efforts will protect many vulnerable adults at serious risk if exposed to COVID-19.

Some area health care providers and pharmacies have vaccine and have begun to reach out to their patients offering vaccinations. Again, they have only a small amount of vaccine and most people will have to wait a few weeks before they can be vaccinated.

Next week MMDHD will order the Pfizer vaccine; and if it is received, will schedule more clinics. Be sure to check our website, www.mmdhd.org, regularly to see if we have openings. You can also sign up to receive an emailed notice of when additional clinics are scheduled. Simply go to www.mmdhd.org and look for the “sign up for updates” section.

Facilities with essential workers that wish to be notified when vaccine is available can also sign up there. Residents now have more options for getting vaccinated and can find those on our website, including Sparrow Hospital, Spectrum Health and MidMichigan Medical Center-Gratiot.

There were reports in the media MMDHD wants to follow up on. It was reported that some vaccines delivered to Michigan may have gone out of temperature range. This did not happen here, and those facilities that did have problems have ordered replacement doses. It was also reported that some people in California had unusual reactions associated with a certain lot of Moderna. Upon further investigation it was found that these reactions were normal, and this lot of vaccine did not come to Michigan.


Author with hometown roots releases new book in time for Black History Month

Janet Kloeckner Halfmann who grew up on a farm in the St. Johns and Fowler area has released yet another nonfiction picture book, The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker.

One year after escaping slavery, Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker used a clothesline code to steal Confederate military secrets and send them back to the Union army at great risk to themselves. This true story of sacrifice and bravery shows us that when we have courage and compassion for the world around us, even the simplest items can become powerful tools for change.

Janet Kloeckner Halfmann is a multi-award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. Many of her picture books are about animals and nature. She also writes picture book biographies about little-known people of achievement.

Janet has written more than forty fiction and nonfiction books for children. Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine managing editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of six. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living-history museums, and spending time with her family.

She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, WI. You can find out more about Janet and her books on her website https://www.janethalfmannauthor.com

Clothesline Code is scheduled for release on February 1, 2021. Signed copies of her books are available locally at Becker Furniture on Main Street in Fowler and the Clinton County Art Gallery in downtown St. Johns.


Sparrow COVID-19 vaccine distribution update


The national CBS Morning Show reported live from the Drive-Thru Services site at Frandor for Sparrow’s first public COVID vaccinations.

As of midnight Wednesday, Sparrow had distributed 16,783 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after beginning administration of the vaccine this week to members of the public in the 1B group (70 and older, per the recommendation of the Ingham County Health Department) and to essential workers.

Sparrow’s distribution numbers have risen dramatically with since Tuesday’s opening of the Sparrow Laboratories Drive-Thru Services site at Frandor for use as a vaccine site. The extent and frequency of the public distribution will be dependent on the weekly supply of doses that Sparrow receives from the government. Sparrow will schedule clinics based on the weekly allotment we receive. The Drive-Thru site is located at 3131 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing.

Those who fit the criteria as defined by the state of Michigan can get more information at www.Sparrow.org/Vaccine. Besides older adults, the 1B group includes frontline essential workers, such as law enforcement, firefighters, shelter workers, teachers and child care workers. Vaccines are by appointment only.

There will be no charge to the public for the vaccine. All administrative costs, for staffing and supplies, will be billed to insurance. Patients will not be billed for any balance not covered by insurance and those without insurance will not be charged.

Sparrow has received a total of 25,600 vaccine doses and 99 percent of them have been used or allocated, including those set aside for upcoming clinics. That includes 2,100 for Sparrow Clinton Hospital, 800 Sparrow Carson, 1,800 for Sparrow Ionia and 1,400 for Sparrow Eaton.

On Tuesday, 1,722 vaccines were given at Sparrow. In all, 60 percent of Sparrow caregivers have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2,411 are fully vaccinated (both doses).

Sparrow has been a national leader in COVID-19 patient care and testing, becoming one of the first hospitals in Michigan to offer tests for inpatients and using innovative processes to increase access and availability. Our Frandor drive-thru site alone has processed over 100,000 tests.

Sparrow has also been nationally recognized for its innovative COVID patient visitation policy in which a family member or friend is allowed to visit patients on a limited basis wearing personal protective equipment and following strict safety procedures.


State Funded Small Business Survival Grants due by noon Friday

More state funded grants are on the way for small businesses that continue to be battered by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved a Small Business Survival Grants program, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in partnership with regional economic development organizations around the state. The survival grant program will specifically assist small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the state Health Department December 2020 Gatherings and Mask Order. The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) will receive $3 million to provide 194 $15,000 working capital grants to eligible small businesses and nonprofits across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.

“It is crucial to fill the gap of these next months with financial assistance to help get our small businesses to the spring and summer when the economic and virus situation is likely to be much improved — especially those in the hospitality and entertainment industries,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “We continue to be grateful to receive state funds and thank the state legislature, Gov. Whitmer and the MEDC for once again entrusting LEAP with this complex and critical task on behalf of the Lansing region.”

In addition to statewide criteria, the Lansing region grant program will prioritize grants to small businesses and nonprofits such as bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, gyms and other entertainment and recreational facilities, which have been especially impacted by the Dec. 2020 Gatherings and Mask Order.

Julie Pingston, Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau (GLCVB) president and CEO, shares why this is particularly important right now, “Locally the hospitality and tourism industry supports 11,000 jobs and contributes over $682 million in economic impact. The disruption of the travel and tourism industry since March has been severe, so these funds come at a time when they are desperately needed.”

To minimize bias and equitably distribute funds across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties based on the geographic distribution of businesses across the region, LEAP has designed a multistage and multientity review process, including conflict of interest removal.

The MEDC has established a statewide application portal located at www.michiganbusiness.org/survival where the application is expected to open at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, and close at 12 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

LEAP and its team will work as fast as possible to review and issue the grants. The review process will involve 30 individual reviewers, including LEAP staff, Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) partner organizations, the Capital Region Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC), Capital Area Michigan Works! (CAMW!), Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau (GLCVB) and stakeholders from diverse organizations and larger businesses in the community.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, LEAP has distributed more than $7 million in grants and loans to nearly 500 businesses with funds allocated by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state and federal legislatures.

“At this point, we of course all know these grants will help many, but not nearly all those in need,” added Trezise. “These funds will be a great help in reaching the types of businesses especially impacted right now, many which have not truly been able to restart due to the necessary restrictions. We will work quickly to distribute these funds equitably across the region.”

Lansing region applicants are strongly encouraged to visit LEAP’s website at www.purelansing.com/businessrelief for information about regional eligibility requirements, review criteria, process and the grant timeline.


2021 Relay Kickoff scheduled for February 4

Relay for Life may look different this year, but the passion is unchanged.

Join everyone on Thursday, February 4 for a nationwide virtual kickoff on Facebook Live.

We’ll come together as a community to kickstart another year of celebrating lives, sharing stories, and using our strength as a community to fight for a cancer-free future. Relayers make the impossible possible.


Latest Clinton County COVID-19 stats
Updated daily except Sundays and holidays

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an Emergency Order under the Public Health Code to update COVID safety requirements for Michiganders.

You might feel healthy, but the reality is this: about 40% of people who have COVID-19 may be asymptomatic. That means almost one out of every two people could be infected. They might not know it until it’s too late. So Mask Up Michigan!

4164 cases and 57 deaths; probable cases: 443 and probable deaths 2 [as of January 23, 2021]

For the latest updates visit https://www.mmdhd.org/novel-coronavirus/

Do you have COVID-19 questions- If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call the MDHHS hotline at 1-888-535-6136, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.