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Local News Summary - February 26, 2020 Edition

Senator Stabenow pays visit to the Thunder Bay Community Health Service clinic in Hillman
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) stopped at Thunder Bay Community Health Service in Hillman on Feb. 18 to discuss her plight to extend funding for community health centers as well as expand funding for mental health and addiction services.

Legislation currently making its way through the system would extend funding for community health centers for five years, but Stabenow said the bill she is proposing would extend funding for five years as well as increase funding by $200 million every year through those five years.

Stabenow’s Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2014 provided higher reimbursement through Medicaid for behavioral health and addiction services to eight states through a pilot program. Michigan was not one of those states, and the Senator explained her new Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), would increase funding so more states, including Michigan, can participate.

Some physical health treatment costs are fully reimbursed by Medicaid in Michigan, but that is not the case for behavioral health or addiction treatment costs.

“We cannot keep telling people with mental illnesses or addictions that, somehow, they don’t count enough to be treated with health care,” Stabenow emphasized.

The Senator described prescription drug prices as the top driver for national health care costs, and one representative from Thunder Bay Community Health Service pointed out some patients can’t afford the co-pays for medications as necessary as insulin. Stabenow highlighted the injustice by explaining insulin was discovered more than 100 years ago by two doctors in Canada who gave the patent to the University of Toronto because they didn’t believe in making money off something so revolutionary in health care and people’s lives.

Students educational needs revealed through “data digs”
“Data digs” at Atlanta Community Schools have provided guidance for tweaks in instruction for K-5 students. At the regular school board meeting on Feb. 17, Tawny Hisscock, principal for Atlanta, explained which student needs were revealed.

Although students, district-wide, are struggling in math, Hisscock pointed out elementary students are experiencing issues with math fluency. As a result, the district is implementing a math fluency program at the elementary. Intervention group instruction for a variety of elementary grade levels is being adjusted to focus on areas where students need more support.

Six-minute interventions are set to begin for students in fourth and fifth grades to increase reading fluency. Hisscock said, at the end of this school year, a literacy coach will work with K-2 teachers and an ELA consultant with work with 3-5 grade teachers to increase student achievement regarding ELA.

“So, some good things came out of those data digs,” Hisscock concluded.

A new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment is expected to be less time consuming, next year. To implement it, kindergarten teachers had to provide observational data for kindergarteners to establish baseline data. Students were scored on social foundations, language, literacy, mathematics, physical well-being and motor development.

Carl Seiter, school superintendent, said the mandated kindergarten assessment indicates the state should mandate a universal preschool program.

“By mandate, I mean fund,” Seiter clarified. “You can see a marked difference in kids from a structured preschool versus being home and not having that interaction.”

Huskies fall to Eagles in final seconds of play
It’s not very often fans groan and smile at the same time, but that’s what Atlanta fans did on Feb. 19 as the Fairview Eagles topped the Huskies in a game that ended in a roller coaster of fear and elation for both sides. Trailing by as many as eight points in the first half, it took the Huskies a while to get rolling, but roll they did.

Zac Roux warmed up with six consecutive first-half points, and a triple from Aaron Cuzzort as well as a free throw for Trent Whitt brought the Huskies within three at the halftime break. Whitt tripled in the third quarter to tie the game at 35. As the teams battled for control, a downtown shot from Cuzzort put the Huskies up by three going into the final quarter and put distress on the face of some of the Fairview players.

Roux converted a three-point play and blocked a Fairview shot, resulting in two points for Atlanta’s Trace Juergens. A perfect trip to the line for Roux left the Eagles down by more than the Huskies had trailed all game, but Fairview would recover. As the Huskies added one at a time from the line, the Eagles landed two-pointers until a shot from Grant Lietzke put Fairview back on top.

Tied at 58 with eight seconds left in the game, the Eagles made the mistake of fouling Cuzzort. His free throw gave Atlanta the edge with five seconds left. The Eagles were tasked with inbounding the ball at the opposite end of the court from their goal, and it

was the longest five seconds ever in Atlanta as Lietzke drove all the way to the hoop for the bucket that ended the game 60-59, Eagles. The leading scorers for Atlanta were Cuzzort and Roux each with 20 points, Whitt with 11 and Juergens with six. The Huskies are on the road for the rest of the regular season, traveling to Boyne Falls on Feb. 24, Wolverine on Feb. 26 and Posen on March 5, until the first round of district play in Hale on March 9.

Death Notices
Full obituaries are in the Tribune print & paid online edition
Eleanor M. Lutze
Lorraine E. Curtis
Richard E. Vanleen
Ida I. Williams
Judith A. Currie

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