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    Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. -- Thomas Jefferson

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    Planning Department plans fee increases

    Posted By on February 4, 2013

    Well it’s 2013 and it seems the county is busy implementing some of the proposed goals of the Cheboygan County Master Plan like “communicating the natural affordability of Cheboygan County”.  They did this by voting to raise building inspection and permit fees for the planning department.  Coupled with the changes in the building code, the average house will cost an extra $2000 to build.  Yes, nothing “communicates affordability” like raising fees.  This is just the latest in long list of taxes, fees, and millages for a local government that keeps growing and spending despite the fact the town keeps struggling and shrinking.  I doubt raising fees will help much anyways.   I project even less building next year.

    What’s worse is the planning department’s budget still isn’t balanced!

    According to the December 14 issue of the Cheboygan Daily Tribune the planning department is expected to need an allocation of $81,467 from the county general fund this year (http://www.cheboygannews.com/article/20121214/NEWS/121219674).

    Here’s where it gets interesting:

    According to online data, though the planning department’s budget is down from 2012 by $7185, it has actually INCREASED $34,126 since 2011.

    2013 Budget for Planning Department $398,946 (p. 122, http://www.cheboygancounty.net/__library/2013_Budget_-_Final.pdf).

    2012 Budget for Planning Department $406,131 (p.70, http://www.cheboygancounty.net/__library/2012_Adopted_Budget.pdf).

    2011 Budget for Planning Department $364,820 (p.42, http://www.cheboygancounty.net/__library/CheboyganCounty-2011-Adopted-Budget.pdf).

    The planning department has spent on questionable things before.  They spent over $3000 contracting folks from out of town to facilitate meetings despite the fact our county has an administrator and several community development coordinators capable of that job.  It’s not just a county issue; the city of Cheboygan is contracting a downstate company to plan for residents for a mere $25,000….more on that at a later date.

    There are basically two schools of thought here:

    The first is that we should continue to give government most of our money.  Only through their planning, rule-making, and spending will we make it.  Despite the fact this has never, ever worked in any government EVER, we are supposed to believe that this time will be different.  In return for most of our cash they will decide how best to regulate every aspect of our lives from deciding how we use “our” property, to what kind of toilet we can purchase.  This school of thought always leads to more government, less liberty, and demands for more money.   Based on their own votes, I submit to you most Republican and Democrat politicians in county, state, and federal government suscribe to this philosophy (with a few notable exceptions).

    Speaking of more government, according to my calculations the downsizing of the hospital makes GOVERNMENT the largest full-time employer in the Cheboygan County. 

    This is not an good position to be in.

    The second school of thought is more hands off.  It is rooted in the fact that God gives us unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which means
    the right to private property).  Government exists to protect those rights.  Of course, this philosophy believes individuals are better off when government doesn’t try to plan, tax, and regulate them too much.   It actively seeks out free market solutions to problems.  It treats individuals as capable of making their own decisions on how best to use their land, talents, and resources to take care of their own lives.  In these uncertain times, folks can’t even predict what our town will look like next month, let alone 20 years from now.  No group of planners can replace the robust activity of free people making their own choices in a market.  Government central planning always ends in disaster.  Incidentally, it often includes the elimination of private property rights via over taxation and bureaucratic despotism.  Just ask anyone who has lived in a communist country.

    It’s no secret that Cheboygan is struggling.  Businesses are barely getting by, homes are being foreclosed on, and people are leaving the area.  I don’t think “hope and change part two” is going to help much.  The philosophy of governance our local officials embrace in the next four years is crucial.  I say it’s time to take a stand.  Become informed about what our local officials are doing by attend as many meetings as you can.  Given the number of government meetings in our county, this is not an easy task but it gets much easier if everyone does a little bit.   Also contact your county commissioner today and tell them that fees should not be increased.

    District 1

    Linda Socha

    2322 Old Mackinaw Rd

    Cheboygan, Michigan 49721

    231-627-9471  Fax 231-627-6199

    lsocha@cheboygancounty.net

     

    District 2

    Bruce Gauthier

    114 North E Street

    Cheboygan, Michigan 49721

    231-627-7892

    brucegauthier@gmail.com

     

    District 3

    Pete Redmond

    4081 Wartella Road

    Cheboygan, Michigan 49721

    231-627-2708

    redcap213@yahoo.com

     

    District 4

    Cal Gouine

    492 Laperell Road

    Cheboygan, Michigan 49721

    231-627-7270 Fax 231-627-5152

    cgouineconstruction@yahoo.com

     

    District 5

    Tony Matelski

    6350 West Brady Road

    Onaway, Michigan 49765

    989-733-2080

    redbridge@core.com

     

    District 6

    John Wallace

    7010 Brudy Raod

    Indian River, Michigan 49749

    231-238-7663

    chaplain.john@hughes.net

     

    District 7

    Sue Allor

    PO BOX 248/7141 Silver Lake Road

    Wolverine, Michigan 49799

    231-525-8012 Fax 231-238-0030

    sallor@cheboygancounty.net

     

    Freedom to Work – No compromise, No exceptions!

    Posted By on December 3, 2012

    Michigan needs Freedom to Work.  Michigan needs jobs.  Michigan’s workers need the freedom to choose whether or not they join a union.  As a dietitian at the health department, I was forced into theAmerican Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  Each month, AFSCME took $28 from my paycheck for their services.  Now some may argue that those services were in my best interest, but shouldn’t I be the one to decide that?  As a dietitian, I think it’s in your best interest to eat broccoli every day, but I don’t want to use government to legislate daily broccoli upon you.  Forcing people into unions is like forcing people to eat broccoli…it goes against the basic principles that make this country great.  I also fundamentally disagree with public sector unions being able to bargain for taxpayer dollars with the politicians their campaign donations help to elect, but that is for another day.

    Unions are businesses – they should compete in the market to provide services for workers willing to pay for them.  Right to work laws empower workers by making their unions more accountable to the people they claim to serve.  Nothing improves products and services faster than a little healthy competition or the fear that you might lose customers if your work isn’t up to snuff.

    AFSCME and I have absolutely nothing in common.  Leafing through the monthly magazine my union dues paid for was downright painful.  On EVERY major issue – climate change, right to work, healthcare, taxes, public sector collective bargaining (just to name a few) their position is the polar opposite of mine.  The candidates they support do not reflect the limited government ideals that I hold dear.  Why should I be forced to give them any money at all, no matter how insignificant the amount may seem to others?  Freedom to work is about jobs, but more importantly it’s about basic freedom.

    If you believe in freedom from forced unionization, please speak up!

    Our representatives need to hear from you:

    Pete Pettalia – (517) 373-0833
    Frank Foster – (517) 373-2629
    Jase Bolger (speaker of the house) – (517) 373-1787
    Randy Richardville (Senate Majority Leader) – (517) 373-3543
    We can make this happen!  Freedom to Work – No exceptions, no compromises

     

     

    Nullification…Just what the doctor ordered

    Posted By on November 12, 2012

    You can help fight Obamacare! 

    Our founding fathers knew the federal government would be ruthless in its quest for more power over the states and the people.  They wrote the 10th amendment of the Constitution to prevent it.  

    The 10th amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

    In the last election 6 states voted against the federal healthcare mandate.  The people of Missouri and Ohio nullified the mandate last year.  Legislatures in at least a dozen more states have drafted or passed legislation to nullify the federal healthcare law. 

    MICHIGAN CAN JOIN THEM!

    Already we are seeing the horrible effects of Obamacare on our little county:

    1.  Cuts to Medicare – A recent ambulance millage due to the fact “congress passed a law that forces ambulance services to accept the Medicare and Medicaid allowed amount as payment in full….This decreased our billable income by $425,000 last year.” (Source Cheboygan Life Support mailer Oct 2012).
    2. Elderly friends receiving letters from physicians stating they will no longer be able to use their Medicare unless they pay additional amounts ($1500/year in one case).  Programs suggesting costly but personalized care are being recommended (www.mdvip.com).

    THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG!

    We CAN stop Obamacare in Michigan.  The federal government has issued an order that all state exchanges be set up by Nov. 16 but THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO DO SO.   

    We don’t want our lives to be run by Washington D.C.

    1.  The 2000 page law is such a mess that even the federal government has no idea how to implement it.  THEY DIDN’T EVEN READ THE BILL BEFORE THEY PASSED IT!  (http://www.mackinac.org/17251 – Official calls Obamacare Implementation a Mess)
    2. Regardless of who sets the exchanges up, the exchange is controlled by the federal government.  “An Exchange may not establish rules that conflict with or prevent the application of regulations promulgated by the Secretary [of Health and Human Services (HHS)].” Further, the Secretary and the General Accounting Office will have continuing oversight over exchanges. 42 U.S.C. § 18031(k) and § 18033(a), (b).
    3. Planned Parenthood was involved in designing the Michigan exchange. (http://www.mackinac.org/15501 -Michigan creeps closer to Obamacare Exchange – see workgroups at the bottom of the article).

    Please call your legislators.  Send letters and emails.

    1. Greg MacMaster – (517) 373-0829, gregmacmaster@house.mi.gov
    2. Peter Petallia – (517) 373-0833, peterpetallia@house.mi.gov  (Rep. Petallia indicated in the 2012 Campaign for Liberty Legislative  state candidate survey he will vote to nullify Obamacare http://www.campaignforliberty.org/surveys/michigan-state-legislative-candidates/)
    3. Frank Foster (517) 373-2629, frankfoster@house.mi.gov
    4. Governor Snyder (517) 373-3400
    5. Senator Howard Walker (517) 373-2413, senhwalker@senate.michigan.gov

     

    For more information www.tenthamendmentcenter.org, www.mic4l.com, www.mackinac.org

    Lessons learned from CMH

    Posted By on November 5, 2012

    Recently, I was asked to become a columnist on at the Cheboygan Daily Tribune.  With the departure of their editor, I’m sure that is on a back burner right now.  Below is my very first attempt at an editorial column…the fact that I run this website allowed me to expand it a bit. 

    For Liberty, free markets, and founding principles,

    Fedupgirl

    Heed the Lessons of CMH

    It’s been a roller coaster year for the town of Cheboygan, mainly due to the closing of Cheboygan Memorial Hospital.  Luckily for us, it has reopened as McLaren.  Despite all the ups and downs, there are lessons we can learn from the experience.  It’s funny how many direct comparisons I see in what happened to CMH with what is happening today.  While local people of all political stripes easily identified the problems within CMH, many cannot see the very same scenarios playing out within our government.  The lessons should be heeded.

    1. The hospital spent money to make money.  Over the years, CMH expanded services there was little market or reimbursement for and borrowed to build an impressive structure that was costly to maintain.  When they finally went bankrupt, the new addition accounted for 40% of their accumulated debt.  Who funded this massive boondoggle?  Why none other than Uncle Sam, in the form of a low interest loan from the USDA, proving once again politicians don’t really care about whether spending is a good idea or not, since they aren’t risking their own money in the ventures.  Interestingly enough, “spending money to make money” is the same business plan our local officials had this year despite the tough economic times and loss of over 300 jobs in the area.  We now have opened a new school, built a costly football field, and borrowed to build an expensive new pavilion complete with a stage for music concerts (of course, they bought the bigger, more expensive stage due to the expertise of the musician on City Council).  Don’t get me wrong, I like our musician councilman.  He is a very nice guy….but the gloves come off when we talk about adding to the debt my kids will be stuck with.  Time will tell if these were wise “investments” but my gut tells me to expect a crisis sometime in the future.  I find it a sad commentary on the state of things when a city that can hardly fund a police force can still get a massive loan for a pavilion and stage for the occasional music concert, but I’ve long been accused of being lacking of vision.  Perhaps that “sense of place” grant the county obtained can help solve that….
    2. CMH was not the right size for the town.  The board of CMH was full of citizens who cared about the community.  Unfortunately, sometimes caring deeply about something makes it tough to do what is necessary.  When McLaren came, they only retained about 150 people of the over 400 working at CMH.  They discontinued services.  It may sound cruel, but it is not.  They did what they had to do to ensure the doors could stay open.  Whenever I talk to an elected official about spending, I get the same response – I “simply don’t understand how much they care”.  It is good to care, but we must think – about the consequences of our actions (intended and unintended), the cost, and what results we get for our spending.  I’ve noticed that spending seems to be the form “caring” typically takes in government.  While McLaren downsized massively, the government here seems to be in a holding pattern.  I recently called the county treasurer and inquired who the largest employers in the county were now.  She didn’t have all the info but what she did have went like this: The first was a hotel mogul in Mackinac City (over 700 largely seasonal jobs), the second was Walmart.  Coming in at 3 and 4 were Cheboygan Area Schools and Cheboygan County.  If you add the Road Commission and the City to that bunch, I think it’s a pretty fair assessment that GOVERNMENT is the largest provider of full-time jobs in our county.  This is simply not sustainable.  If central planning and government employment were a foundation for success than high speed rail would be crisscrossing Mother Russia right now.  Has local government tightened their belt at all?  See numbers 1 and 2 for the answer.
    3. Avoiding difficult decisions helps folks avoid the pain for awhile, eventually it will become so bad that no one gets anything anymore.  No one knows this better than our local road commissioners, who were faced with dire financial problems.  To avoid a fate like CMH, some very brave souls (Republican and Democrat) made some minor changes to retiree’s health insurance benefits (requiring them to pay a copay and a portion of their health insurance for the FIRST TIME EVER).  Listening to the folks moan and groan (and watching the attempted recalls), you’d think they asked for payment in blood.  The disparities are growing between the public and private sector workers (who don’t get things like regular raises, pensions, and expensive healthcare plans).  Alas, you’d never know this listening to government workers.  They act as if every tax dollar goes to roads, respirators, and pencils “for the children”.  Incidentally by law our tax dollars are supposed to buy school supplies “for the children”, but there never seems to be money for that anymore. (http://www.mackinac.org/17335
    4. Dealing with the Center for Medicare Services will be what dealing with the bureaucracy of Obamacare will be like.  Many citizens who called on behalf of our hospital were frustrated with the excuses given by politicians and CMS.  This is a direct result of what happens when we let bureaucrats meddle with the market and make decisions on our behalf.  Obamacare establishes an Independent Panel Advisory Board.  This board is responsible to looking at your age, diagnosis, prognosis, and then deciding whether or not it is in the interest of the collective to treat you.  It is called care rationing. It is a hallmark of all government run healthcare programs.  Like arguing with CMS over the fate of the hospital?  Than you’ll love arguing with the bureaucrats at the IPAB over things like whether or not your grandfather can get things like a knee replacement or a heart cath.
    5. In the end the debt will get us all.  We cannot spend ourselves out of the hole we’ve created.   A government that promises all things to all people, will soon crumble under the weight of it’s obligations (see Greece) or give rise to a regime that is only interested in it’s own power (see North Korea).  Sadly, in these situations the people rarely escape with the lives, let alone their liberty.  We should not ignore this mess.  Righting the ship will involved courage.  The federal government must shrink to the framework enshrined in our Constitution.  State and local government must also recognize the most good is done when individuals are left largely alone and not over taxed or regulated too much.  We must help each other, freely sharing the gifts God blesses us with.  The fact that you had the good fortune to be born in America makes you blessed beyond most of the folks in the rest of the world.  Americans have great spirit and courage.  I am confident we will rise to the challenge.  For over 200 years, America has been the most free and prosperous nation the world has ever known.  It is because government was limited that individuals were able to create, innovate, and reach a potential our ancestors might never imagined possible. There is good news, more and more people are waking up to the problems that face our nation.  Hopefully the lessons of the hospital will help.    

    Obamacare comes to Cheboygan

    Posted By on October 13, 2012

    We’ve been told for a long time that Obamacare will provide insurance coverage for all without cutting services or raising taxes.  Seniors have been promised that Obamacare will “save Medicare”. 

    Wake up folks!  Nothing could be further from the truth and the proof is right in your backyard.  Recently I received a nice glossy pamphlet from my local EMS service, urging me to vote yes on Nov. 6 to support the ambulance service.  

    Here are a few details directly quoted from the brochure:

    Why are we asking for your millage support?
     
    • “Congress passed a law that forces ambulance services to accept the Medicare and Medicaid allowed amount as payment in full.  These two payers’ make up 63% of our total run volume.  This decreased our billable income by $425,000 last year.”                                                                                       
    • “Medicare decreased reimbursement on Advanced Life Support runs.
    And on and on…..
     
    These first 2 statements are a direct result of the Patient Affordable Care and Protection Act (OBAMACARE)!
     
    Obamacare needs to control costs and insure 31 million new people who don’t pay taxes.  We know they cut Medicare by $700 billion despite the Democrats best effort to avoid talking about the cuts.  To the bureaucrats old people are a burden to the system (sorry old people). 
     
    There are only 3 ways to do this:
     
    1. RATION CARE – Rationing of care is seen in every country with government healthcare (government decision making boards, decreased survival rates for things like cancer, denied treatments, long waits to see doctors and/or to get potentially life saving tests and treatments and in the emergency rooms, end of life counseling).  The cuts to Medicare are a pretty good indicator where they plan to start.
      
    Obamacare establishes an Independant Payment Advisory Board. 
     
    This is a board of unelected bureaucrats who will decide who gets what care and treatments.  Here is a great article from the American Thinker about the powers of the IPAB and it’s wonderful British counterpart the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (lovingly referred to as NICE…clever).  Be warned care rationing is coming your way.
    2.  Decrease payments to providers (in this case Medicare cut payments to our local EMS requiring them to accept what the government pays as PAYMENT IN FULL).
    3.  Increase taxes - hence the millage before you in November.  A friend of mine from Great Britain tells me they pay taxes on everything (even a TV tax for every television they own).  
     
     
    This is a TAX INCREASE NEEDED TO PAY FOR OBAMACARE!
     

    We should not let this slip by unnoticed. 

     

     
     

    Maybe the buck didn’t quite stop…..

    Posted By on September 6, 2012

    While the Cheboygan County Commissioners should be commended for freezing the salaries of elected officials for 2013, they didn’t quite go far enough, voting to continue with the expensive individual, two person, or family insurance they receive for their PART-TIME job as commissioners.  Given the importance of the bottom line in these tough times, this decision was a bit surprising.  Based on the available 2011 county budget numbers online, it would save the county well over $100,000 per year ($60,317 for the county and even more for the road commission due to their more expensive employee insurance plan).

    According to the June 12, 2012 finance meeting minutes a lot of discussion centered around whether or not commissioners should be receiving full healthcare coverage for their work.  You can see the discussion here: http://www.cheboygancounty.net/__library/7-10-12_Finance_Business_Meeting_Minutes.pdf.

    Let me help them out:

    Everyone works hard, most people have been making do with less for quite some time.  I’m sure a commissioner’s job is tough and often thankless.  Chebcon tries to thank them whenever possible.  Chebcon also doesn’t have a problem with people being fairly compensated for the time and the results they get.  But by results I mean starting to live within their means, reducing taxes and regulations and eliminating stuff that is better left to the private sector.  Let’s face it…the government cannot be the largest employer in this county.  History proves that doesn’t work.  

    Anyone who routinely reads county board minutes knows that they are filled with endless reports on various meetings that the commissioners attend.  In fact, given the fact they employ a county administrator and vote per his suggestion most of the time, their biggest responsibility seems to be meeting attendance.  When the local tea party made a push for the commissioners to downsize to five verses the current seven, one of the reasons they were given as to why it couldn’t happen was “there are simply too many meetings to attend”.  Reducing the workload by reevaluating the number of meetings was suggested (and subsequently ignored…as was the proposal in general). 

    My theory is that the one goal of bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself.  There seems to be no shortage of that in this county.  Difficult decisions about commissioners time and county resources need to start being made.  Meetings and involvement in departments and agencies should be re-evaluated. 

    In other words:  yes, you do a lot of things, but the real question here is:

     Does the government need to be doing all this stuff in the first place?

    Tonight I am issuing a challenge to our 5 county commissioners (Linda Socha, John Wallace, Pete Redmond, Cal Gouine, and Don Horrocks) who voted yes to continuing health insurance for the county board and road commission*:

    Find me ONE private sector job in Cheboygan County that pays for health insurance coverage for part-time employees, not to mention pension and term life insurance.  I’ll be waiting.

    Why do we continue to give our elected officials benefits that the taxpayers in the private sector can’t afford or get themselves? 

     

    Footnotes:

    *county commissioners set the pay and benefits for road commissioners

    *Commissioner Horrocks has stated he signed a waiver so he does not have to accept the $5000 stipend for declining the health insurance.  Other commissioners may do similar things.

    *In a follow up vote, Commissioner Horrocks joined Commissioner Matelski as the two NO votes in the motion to continue the stipend of 35% of the cost for the insurance or a cap of $5000 for elected officials who opt out of the county insurance program.  Had this motion passed, the county would no longer be required to pay elected officials a stipend if they opt out of the county insurance program.   

     

     

    The buck stops here?

    Posted By on September 3, 2012

    Recently the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners established compensation for the elected officials whose terms begin January 1, 2013.  Interestingly enough, this time the commissioners voted to FREEZE the salaries of the commissioners, clerk, treasurer, sheriff, and prosecutor for 2013. 

    Perhaps they felt a little heat from this blog…I certainly hope so. 

    Chebcon reported back in January 2012 that every 4 years the county board is required to set the compensation of elected officials prior to the new board being sworn in.  Given the state of things around here (job losses, foreclosures, and budget deficits as far as the eye can see) it was shocking that the previous board had voted themselves and the other county elected officials (clerk, treasurer, sheriff, and prosecutor) any salary increases over the past 4 years, let alone raises totaling anywhere from 2.22 (commissioners) to 11.51% (sheriff).   Even more shocking is the hefty amount these “public servants” already take home.  Details at http://www.cheboyganconfidential.com/2012/01/23/happy-days-are-here-again%e2%80%a6-at-least-for-elected-officials-2/

    Chebcon was told the raises were required according to Michigan law.  Though the law said nothing about freezing salaries, there seems to be grey area here.  Chebcon still maintains freezing salaries should be acceptable…they aren’t “diminished” at all.  Fortunately, the new board agreed and this time around froze the salaries for the next year in a unanimous vote.  All seven commissioners (Allor, Socha, Wallace, Horrocks, Matelski, Redmond, and Gouine) should be commended for this.  In addition, kudos can be given to Sheriff Clarmont who apparently declined a proposed raise that the county board was suggesting due to the fact that no other employees would be receiving raises. 

    According to the July 10, 2012 minutes, the board voted to review the elected officials compensation again in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  In my opinion, given raises the clerk, treasurer, sheriff, and prosecutor were given from 2009-2012, no additional raises should be approved for the next 3 years….welcome to the recession that hit the rest of Cheboygan County years ago.  I’m glad they will now share in the sacrifice.

    Chebcon Shocker! AP doesn’t bother with the facts about hospital rally!

    Posted By on April 30, 2012

    It’s shocking!  It can’t be true!  The Associated Press didn’t bother with the facts?  I just can’t believe it!  Okay, I’m being sarcastic and to most readers of blogs like Chebcon, it will come as no surprise that the AP completely botched their story of the community rally that occurred on Monday, April 23 at Cheboygan Memorial Hospital.  What’s more, they did it in a way that completely fits their left wing narrative by crediting the rally to the Michigan Nurses Association.  The MNA is a union which would probably like nothing better than to show the local folks how much they care in hopes of getting a foot in the door to unionize the place when it opens again. 

    Here’s the coverage of the rally that the AP sent across their wire to news agencies across the country: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/1dbeef85d6f54e42b1bc203850127eed/MI–Cheboygan-Hospital/

    The middle section of the article begins with the statment “The Michigan Nurses Association held a rally Monday outside the hospital to support reopening the facility, which had 25 beds for regular patients and a 50-bed long-term care unit.”

    SAY WHAT????

    THAT STATEMENT IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE! 

    The rally was planned and executed by a group of ordinary citizens and concerned business owners who donated their own time, talents and cash to make it happen.  As a member of the rally planning committee, I know that the Michigan Nurses Association and it’s members were not part of the process. 

    Of course, as a business organization that represented nurses at the former hospital they had every right to attend the rally with everyone else in Cheboygan.  Many groups had a particular viewpoint regarding the hospital closing.  For example, the local tea party wanted government to cut the red tape. That being said, every other community group in attendance followed the request that homemade signs be left at home….every group EXCEPT the MNA, who ignored that request and brought their own signs promoting the MNA and how “the MNA cares for the hospital” to the rally.  To me this action speaks volumes.  It makes me question whether or not the AP story was an honest mistake or intentionally misleading.

    I contacted the Associated Press and spoke to the reporter who wrote the story.  He was operating under the assumption that the MNA had held the rally.  At first he tried to reason with me that since members of the MNA were in the audience and a part of the crowd and the crowd got together at the rally therefore one could assume that the MNA actually did hold the rally simply by being in attendance.  I wasn’t buying that.  Groups like the Kiwanis Club and the local theatre troop were also in attendance.  By his logic those groups should have been credited with holding the rally too but they weren’t.  I confirmed to him that no one from the MNA was involved in the planning or donated any resources to the event and I confirmed that no one representing the MNA spoke at the rally either.  He stated his information came from a press release sent by the MNA prior to the rally and a follow up phone call he did to the PR person from the MNA after the rally.  That’s about as much as I could get from him.  His memory is foggy about the details of the conversation and so far he has not been able to send me either a copy of the press release or the notes he took during the conversation with the MNA.  I am not holding my breath.

    This leaves me with only 2 conclusions about what happened here: 

    1.  The AP reporter received a erronious press release from the Michigan Nurses Assoication Union that falsely took credit for the rally. 

    OR

    2.  This reporter is simply the most incompetent journalist in the history of journalism.  Now I am no reporter but I would think the who, what, when, where, and why would be the first questions one would find out when reporting on a community event.  But that’s just me.  

    I am hoping someone from either the Associated Press or the Michigan Nurses Association will respond with the truth.  I have requested a correction be printed but the damage has been done.  It saddens me that the real story of a community coming together to rally to save their hospital was probably missed by most folks reading this in papers across America.  The wonderful, uplifting event, ORGANIZED BY THE LOCAL FOLKS, was probably dismissed as a union protest.  Even worse the MNA got some fantastic, free publicity including the impression that over 2000+ people showed up to stand with an organization whose agenda includes single payer healthcare (they support a bill introduced by socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont,  http://minurses.org/legislation/singlepayer) and active opposition of a Right to Work laws here in Michigan (http://minurses.org/legislation/issues/rtw).  I’m sure some folks at the rally think these are fine ideas.  I do not.  Nor do I want members of my family to be forced into the MNA when the hospital reopens again.  I was happy to put our differences aside to stand with all members of the Cheboygan community in support of our hospital, but that’s all I’m willing to do with these folks.

    Alternative media sources and blogs like Chebcon have sprung up as a direct result of what we saw happen here.  More and more people are waking up to the truth that folks like those a the AP ignore the truth in order to push their own far left agenda.  The story of a nurses union holding a rally that over 2000 people attended probably fits the narrative much better than the actual truth.  They almost got away with it.  The late Andrew Brietbart called on us all to become the new media.  I take that responsibility very seriously.

    Many people think traditional journalism is dead and I tend to agree.

    Cheboygan Memorial Hospital Saga: Govt to McLaren….pay up and we make it all go away.

    Posted By on April 10, 2012

    Ronald Reagan said it best “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Right now we are arguing about rules regarding medicare payments….I hope we never see the day when we are arguing with Obamacare’s IPAB about the “rules” when it comes to a loved one’s life.

    I’ve have spent all week talking to as many folks as possible involved here. Everyday we call all our elected officials for an update. I’m not directly involved, nor do I have any connection to anyone at McLaren…..I am only connecting the dots the best I can.

    Ask lots of questions.  Follow the money.

    One minute the all local parties/new owner thought the hospital could reopen. The next minute the deal is off and everyone is scrambling.  Something stinks here.

    The Good

    The calls to reps about CMH have helped immensely. On Tuesday, we got little or no response from the elected officials and nobody was doing much of anything. Now it seems to be priority numero uno. I was told the Center for Medicare Services and McLaren have resumed talks so keep the pressure on.

    The Bad

    We are running into many folks in the community who are under the impression that McLaren “is evil” and “never intended to reopen the hospital”. That is simply not true. I got this excuse out of both Senators Levin and Stabenow’s office. To their credit, Stabenow’s office seems to be reconsidering this position when presented with the information below.  Carl Levin’s office is sticking to their story that McLaren never intended to reopen parts of the hospital.  In my opinion, they have no clue about how the free market works and refuse to look at the problem from any other angle.  Talk is cheap. It is important to look at actions. Businesses don’t do unnecessary things that cost them lots of money.

    If McLaren never intended to reopen CMH than:

    • Why go to the trouble of rehiring 175 employees, complete with mountains of paperwork, drug screening and benefits packets?

    • Why did they arrange for folks at NMH to work overtime prior to the planned acquisition getting things in order for billing?

    •Why bring in lawyers and the own staff in to work out a deal?

    If they simply wanted to close the hospital….why buy it at all?  It would have closed on it’s own.

    Folks should do EVERYTHING in their power to welcome McLaren to our community if the situation can be resolved.

    What is the alternative???

    The Ugly

    This boils down to money owed to the federal govt agency named CMS. This is money owed by Cheboygan Memorial Hospital NOT McLaren. If McLaren operates under Cheboygan Memorial Hospital ‘s old provider number then McLaren immediately becomes responsible for the old hospital’s debt to CMS ($3.1 million dollars). That is why McLaren wants to operate under a different provider #. They are willing to make a significant investment to get the old ER up-to-date but they do not want to be closed while getting a new number.

    In addition, the money owed by CMH (our hospital) was covered under the bankruptcy procedure. All parties INCLUDING the Federal Govt (CMS) understood that this money was lost. For CMS to come back later and expect McLaren to pay them back in order to reopen is a tragedy. The day before the closure, the old Hospital was operating with a CMS Provider number. Apparently something magically changed overnight and now CMS requires McLaren to go through the 4-6 month process to get a new number. McLaren asked for a waiver or an extension to use the Provider Number they have from the Petoskey Hospital. CMS refused. CMS says by law they cannot do this. But these upholders of the law and protectors of Medicare are willing to reconsider if McLaren pays the old debt owed to them by the previous hospital.  Come on folks….McLaren owns 10 successful hospitals in the state.  It’s not like they are new to the healthcare business. 

    Summarizing: The community is being held hostage by a federal govt agency which is willing to trade off 175 jobs and and the fate of a small community institution to recover money from a company which is NOT in any way obligated to pay.

    IT IS INCREDIBLE THAT THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT ISSUED 2000 WAIVERS to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law (OBAMACARE) CAN’T FIGURE THIS OUT!

    Ditto when the ruling class cheats on taxes (like Charlie Rangle or Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner) or restructures a bankruptcy so the investors (and major political donors) get paid back before the taxpayers (ex. Solyndra)…ask yourself why don’t the laws matter then?

    It is unfair that years of bad management by various (well-intentioned) folks ran up tremendous debt and now the taxpayers are out the money CMH owed to the govt. But it was also unfair for the government to foist the unconstitutional and soon-be-bankrupt program of Medicare on us in 1965! Keep the faith!

    Robocalls plague Northern Michigan

    Posted By on April 3, 2012

    It appears the Women of the 99% have some explaining to do.  I’m sure I’m not the only one receiving calls linking Rush Limbaugh’s so called “war on women” to our current Republican Representative Dan Benishek.  Now I have some issues with Dan Benishek’s voting record, but I don’t think the Women of the 99% should be allowed to do something illegal for what appears to be political gains in November.  People of all political stripes should condemn this group and their illegal behavior should be stopped.

    Apparently, the calls are illegal because they do not state who they are from (there is no known group called The Women of the 99 Percent) or provide a callback number, as required under the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

    But wait….I thought all the 99% wanted was was for stuff to be “fair”.  I’m sure they wouldn’t want to flaunt the rules that are supposed to be in place to help the little guys like you and me.   

    Maybe I am the only person in the world who doesn’t mind robocalls, but I really don’t.  I wouldn’t even mind them from the women of the 99% if I could call them back just so I could ask them:

    1.  Who funds their organization? 

    2.  To please cite where in the Constitution it says that I should pay for their birth control.

    Perhaps what the women of the 99% should pay for their own birth control and then spend their free time asking why so many of the 1% are “serving us” in Congress.