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My Town Kentwood: Convicted pharmacist loses his license

My Town Kentwood: Convicted pharmacist loses his license

KENTWOOD, Mich.—The state is suspending the license of a Kentwood pharmacist convicted in a prescription drug misbranding scheme.

Last November, Thomas VerHage was convicted of Causing Drugs Held for Sale to be Misbranded after Shipment in Interstate Commerce, which is a felony offense.  Verhage and another pharmacist, James D. Orr, pleaded guilty to the charges.  Both men were pharmacists at Kentwood Pharmacy, which dispensed medication to foster care and nursing homes. The U.S. Attorney's office says Orr acknowledged some of the prescriptions contained leftover or misbranded drugs that were returned to stock.

VerHage was ordered to pay more than $30,000 in fines and fees. On March 6, the Michigan Department if Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended VerHage’s license, based on his felony conviction.

My Town Walker: IHOP to serve up free pancakes March 4

My Town Walker: IHOP to serve up free pancakes March 4

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—Skip firing up your skillet Tuesday, March 4 and head to your closest IHOP for free pancakes.

Participating IHOP restaurants will be serving up a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in honor of National Pancake Day.   The deal will be good from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

In exchange for free pancakes, customers are encouraged to donate to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children and other local charities.

"Our guests, our franchisees, their team members, and all of us at IHOP- look forward to National Pancake Day every year. Knowing that every free stack of buttermilk pancakes has the potential to improve the lives of the children in their own community makes serving them and eating them even more enjoyable than usual,” said Julia Stewart, Interim President, International House of Pancakes, LLC and CEO of the parent company, DineEquity, Inc.

American Red Cross in need of blood after donation drop

American Red Cross in need of blood after donation drop

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The American Red Cross is trying to rebound after a devastating drop in donations caused by severe winter weather.

From Jan. 2 through Feb. 10, the organization says more than 1,000 of its blood drives nationwide were canceled, leading to a loss of about 35,000 blood and platelet donations.  The Red Cross says the impact is equivalent to the organization shutting down its national operations for more than two full days. 

“On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 units of blood every day to help patients nationwide,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager of the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region.  “Regardless of the weather, patients are counting on blood products to be there when needed.”

Skateboarder concussion workshop Feb. 21

Skateboarder concussion workshop Feb. 21

WALKER, Mich.— The Spectrum Health Sports Medicine Team is partnering with 3 Mile Project to help young skaters protect themselves for potentially life-changing injury.

SK8 Clinic- Concussion Awareness will take place Feb. 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3 Mile Project.  Professional skateboarder Auttiesh Danger will also lead a skate skills clinic.  Seventh and eighth grade students who come for the seminar can get in free to 3 Mile Project afterward. 

For more information, visit the 3 Mile Project website here.

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Healthy Kent and the Kent County Health Department will begin tapping the community for ideas to make the county healthier Tuesday, Feb. 11.

From more health food stores to more mental health services, all ideas are welcome as both groups collect information for the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment.

"The best way to ensure success of our health programs is to focus on what we can address and what we can improve, said Adam London, Kent County health officer who has dedicated staff working with Healthy Kent. "The data and information gathered in this step will help us develop top priorities to improve health outcomes in Kent County."

Local health departments are required to update their Community Health Needs Assessment every five years for state accreditation.  Hospitals must update their CHNA every three years.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Feb.

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The recent winter storms and extremely cold temperatures are taking a toll on donations to the American Red Cross.

The organization says more than 7070 blood drives were cancelled last month because of the weather—leading to a loss of more than 25,000 blood and platelet donations. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood each day to supply medical centers. 

“While thousands of people from across the country responded to the call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in January, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donors with type O, especially type O negative,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Kulman says the recent uptick in cold and flu cases is also taking a toll on blood donations.   Community members are encouraged to donate blood at one of the following drives:

  • Feb. 4, 12 p.m.

Basketball game beneficiary recovering from transplant

Basketball game beneficiary recovering from transplant

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.-- Grand Rapids police say the detective who will benefit from Saturday's Robert Kozminski Memorial Basketball Games has had a successful double lung transplant.

The department says Kent County deputy Aron Bowser is recovering at home.  Proceeds from the games on Saturday, Feb. 1 wil go toward his medical expenses.

This is the seventh year for the friendly competition at Kenowa Hills. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. with Kenowa Hills teachers playing officers from the Wyoming, Grandville, Walker, Rockford, Kentwood and Grand Rapids police departments.  The second game will pit the Grand Rapids Police Department against the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. Griff from the Grand Rapids Griffins will also stop by for the games.

Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.