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Newsmakers Archives for 2021-01

'Don't be a prisoner of your past' Parks tells Drug Court grads

Listen to the Delta County Drug Court gradiuation program and all five stories of drug addiction.



Five participants in the Delta County Drug Court graduated from the program yesterday. They meet at the Delta County District Court while others watched online.


District Court Judge Steve Parks told the five several rules to live by including not being a prisoner of their past.


“If people judge you by your past, then they are not really worth worrying about,” he said. “You have your whole future ahead of you and I hope you take advantage of it.”


He also urged them to be honest to themselves and others.


Graduating were Mike Bizeau, Sarah Doutree, Karl Schmidt, Zach Tryan and Kasey Rudden-Stoerck. Like others in the drug court, Rudden-Stoerck starting using marijuana at a young age.


“My drug use started at the young age of 13,” she recalled. “In high school, I drank and started to use drugs. It began with marijuana, then cocaine then opioids. I started to skip school which turned into truancy and eventually I was expelled from two school.”


She was in and out of jail and says her life was in shambles before deciding to take the offer of drug court rather than serve her time.


“Drug court has dramatically changed my life. I went from being jobless and homeless to having two jobs that I enjoy, an apartment of my own and two years of sobriety.”


Judge Parks says it was disappointing to have to hold the graduation program online because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Drug Court graduations are usually held in the larger Circuit Court packed with supporters.

Moyle addresses militia comment in effort to help businesses hurt by COVID-19


The Delta County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution yesterday to support businesses closed due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state.


The current ban on indoor dining ends Friday. The Governor has not said if she will extend it.


Commissioner Dave Moyle read the resolution.


“The Delta County Board of Commissioners shall support no endeavor, financially or through ordinance, that will in any way single out, harm, discriminate against any business owner that opens their establishment with responsible PPE and social distancing,” he read.


The resolution goes on to say that it does not have the power of law and cannot be used to avoid state penalties. 


Moyle ended the meeting yesterday saying he is going to advise bar and restaurant owners that if Governor Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t allow them to reopen with indoor dining that they take steps to protect themselves.


“I would actively consider forming a rapid response militia of very well educated armed people stand at my property line,” he said. “I’m not talking about redneck guys spitting tobacco with firearms but it is coming to that point. I hope I’m wrong. I hope she is the bigger person and starts unlocking.”


The resolution is being sent to the Governor and other elected officials. The county yesterday extended it own emergency declaration another 28 days.

More than 200 animals seized at Delta County home can now be adopted


Listen to the interview with Sue Gartland at the Delta Aimal Shelter.

The dogs and horses seized in August from an alleged puppy mill in Rock can now be adopted.


Rebecca Johnson, who is charged with cruelty and abandonment of the animals, yesterday agreed to the forfeiture action and gave up all her rights to the animals.


The Delta County Prosecutor’s office says the action makes the animals immediately available for adoption. The Delta Animal Shelter has been caring for nearly 217 dogs and puppies and 23 horses.


Because of the large number of animals, the prosecutor’’s office says the shelter will provide information on the availability of the animals and adoption process on Facebook and Instagram.


Johnson has a court hearing on January 22. She face up to seven years in prison.

Escanaba dentist talks about getting the COVID-19 vaccination


As a healthcare provider, Dr. Beth Knudsen of Knudsen Dentistry in Escanaba was one of the first in the community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. She says it has given her a sense of relief.


It was no different, she said, then getting a flu shot.


"It was actually pretty routine," she said. "We got an email from the health deaprtment that said we were eligible because we are health care providers in the area. We have contact, obviously, with patients right up close so we called, made our appointment and went over. It was very simple. Just like getting any other flu vaccine or any other shots that I've taken."


Most of the staff has received the vaccination including her husband Eric who is a partner in the practice.


Even though they are getting the vaccination, Knudsen said they will continue to take the precautions they have developed since the beginning of the pandemic.


"We certainly are taking precautions and we're going to be taking them for quite awhile becasue it is still out in the general public and it's going to take a long time, a couple of months i'm going to suspect, for the general public to receive the vaccines," she said.


Knudsen said they are finding that some of their patients, especially their older ones, are deciding to stay home rather than come in for routine care. Otherwise, she says the staff does a good job assuring patients that they are safe.


Patients are screened before and during their appointments and they’ve installed new air purifiers in the rooms. Medical staff will also continue to wear extra PPE including masks and face shields.


The vaccination requires them to get a second round of shots. Knudsen said it will take a few weeks after that for the vaccine to take effect.

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