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Professional highlights from the 517 region

Notable news brings you the area’s professional highlights.

Sparrow Receives “A” grade for Patient Safety

Sparrow Medical Group has been nationally recognized for patient safety, receiving an “A” grade in a new scorecard of nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals throughout the country.

The grade from the Leapfrog Group recognizes the commitment of Sparrow’s physicians and caregivers to protecting patients from medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms. The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety, uses more than 30 performance measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign an “A” through “F” grade.


MI-ACE Announces 2022 Public Policy Pioneers

The Michigan American Council on Education Women’s Network announced the selection of three trailblazers as its 2022 Public Policy Pioneer honorees: Casandra E. Ulbrich, the State Board of Education president and vice chancellor for institutional advancement at the University of Michigan-Dearborn; Jean Ledwith King, a pioneering lawyer who fought sex discrimination in education, sports, employment and politics; and Lottie Wilson, an African American suffragist and artist.

The nonpartisan Public Policy Pioneer recognition began in 2013 to champion Michigan women who advocated the causes of equality, dignity and access as well as encouraged women’s voices in political decision-making. All three women were formally recognized at the MI-ACE Women’s Network’s June conference.


McLaren Residents Recognized for Research

Dr. Jones and Dr. Evan Guay

Three McLaren Greater Lansing residents earned awards for their research presentations during Graduate Medical Education Inc.’s 17th annual Mid-Michigan Regional Research Day on April 21 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.

Dr. Ethan Ruhland earned first place for case presentation with “Fracture of an Exeter Femoral Stem with Extensive Ipsilater Peri-Acetabular Osteolysis.” Dr. Evan Guay earned first place for oral presentation with “Effects of SARS COVID-19 on General Surgery Cases — and vice versa — on a Community Hospital.” Dr. J. Beau Liljenquist earned second place for oral presentation with “Investigating the Effects of Endocuff on Polyp Detection and Miss Rate in the Right Colon.”

Faculty and other experienced researchers from McLaren Greater Lansing, Michigan State University’s Colleges of Osteopathic and Human Medicine, and other mid-Michigan organizations teamed up to support the research projects presented by fellows, residents and medical students. The mentors provided inspiration, conversation and advice to the students.


WKAR Receives Edward R. Murrow Award

WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University was honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigative report on ballot measures ahead of the November 2021 elections in Michigan. Since 1971, the Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Sarah Lehr, photo credit: WKAR-MSU

“Group is Backing a String of Marijuana Proposals in Michigan, But Its Donors Are a Mystery,” by WKAR politics and civics reporter Sarah Lehr, won the award for investigative reporting in the small-market radio division. The story examined the unclear origins of various funding sources responsible for the 2021 ballot measures that would allow the presence of marijuana businesses in certain Michigan counties and cities.


Sparrow Clinton Nurse Recognized for Service

Registered nurse Gretchen Priess has been honored for four decades of compassionate care. Priess was recognized at the annual nurses’ tea celebrating National Nurses Week.

Gretchen Priess

Priess, who earned her nursing degree from Northern Michigan University, considers becoming a nurse one of her greatest accomplishments. She credited her fellow caregivers and the work climate at Sparrow Clinton for supporting and holding her interest in nursing through the years.

As a veteran nurse, she offered these words of wisdom to anyone who seeks clarity in their career: “Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think. You are more talented than you know. You are capable of more than you can imagine.”


Bazonzoes Opens Marijuana Drive-up Window

Bazonzoes Provisioning Center opened its third location at 920 American Road in south Lansing with the first drive-up window in the area. The business celebrated with a grand opening in June that featured a ribbon-cutting with the Greater Lansing Chamber of Commerce, vendors, performances, giveaways and games.

“We are just honestly excited to welcome our third location into the Bazonzoes collective, and so all of the events, performances and deals that day will ultimately just be a giant party reflecting that excitement and passion for Bazonzoes,” said Erin McCann-Sabo, chief people officer at Bazonzoes.


Origami West, at 137
S. Marketplace Blvd. in Lansing.

Origami Announces Achievements

Tom Judd, director of quality assurance at Origami Rehabilitation, was selected as the recipient of the Public Awareness Award presented by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. Judd played a pivotal role in various public awareness efforts, most recently being his work advocating for a fix to the auto no-fault legislation.

In June, Origami Rehabilitation celebrated one year of serving the community at its satellite location, Origami West, at 137 S. Marketplace Blvd. in Lansing. The satellite location offers the same outpatient services available at the Mason location.


Tom Judd

Sparrow Physician Named Ithaca Person of the Year

Sparrow Medical Group physician Dr. David Freestone was recently recognized by the Gratiot Chamber of Commerce as Ithaca Person of the Year.

Freestone has been caring for patients at the SMG Ithaca location for more than 21 years. During that time, he served as practice leader and chief of staff, on the Sparrow Carson Hospital board of directors, and as chairman on the Sparrow Carson Foundation Development Council.

“I’m honored to be given this award and feel there are many very deserving people in the area due this award,” Freestone said.


Rishar Appointed to State Insurance Nonprofit

Edge CEO Lorri Rishar has been appointed to the board of directors of the Michigan Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association.

The Michigan Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association is an association of life and health insurance companies authorized to write life, annuities or health insurance in Michigan. The association protects Michigan insurance policyholders, within limits, in the unlikely event that a member insurer becomes financially unable to meet its obligations. Rishar will serve in a citizen’s capacity alongside the state’s top life and health insurers.


David Freestone

Horizon Welcomes Rogers as Branch Manager

Mark A. Rogers is the new branch manager of Horizon Bank’s locations at 1600 Abbot Road in East Lansing and 2151 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos. He will oversee the daily retail operations along with managing sales and service.

Rogers has 14 years in a combination of retail, business banking and treasury management experience in southeast Michigan. Prior to that he was a partner in a gourmet Chicago-style pizza restaurant business. Before entering the pizza business, he worked in corporate sales.


Okemos Music Academy Expands in New Location

Okemos Music Academy has moved to a state-of-the-art, 4,000-square-foot building at 2220 University Park Drive in Okemos. A grand opening at the new site was held June 10 with a ribbon-cutting, open house and activities.

“We’ve doubled our size from our previous facility, which allows for a better music lesson experience and plenty of social distancing. Everybody’s got to come and see this place,” said academy Director John Dewey.


The event included live music from former academy student and “American Idol” contestant Jacob Moran.

WKAR News Earns Excellence in Journalism

The radio news team at WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University has earned six Excellence in Journalism Awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, including one first-place award.

Al Martin won a first-place award in broadcast videography; Sarah Lehr won a second-place award in broadcast investigative reporting as well as a second-place honor in sports reporting; Kevin Lavery earned second place in education reporting; Sophia Saliby drew a fourth-place spot in general news reporting; and the team of Lehr, Lavery and Karel Vega took fourth place in community/local news reporting.


Autism Foundation Recognizes Local Women

The Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation held the UNITE awards ceremony during a cookout at the Celebrate Meridian Event at Central Park and Marketplace on the Green to honor women whom DeGroat described as impacting his “spirit and love.” DeGroat honored community advocate Linda Sims; state

Rep. Sarah Anthony; state Rep. Angela Witwer; diversity and inclusion facilitator Maxine Hankins Cain; former Grand Ledge Schools paraprofessional Jody Klaver; Delta Township Trustee Fonda Brewer; Associate Vice President of External Affairs, Development and K-12 Ops at Lansing Community College Toni Glasscoe; and M3 Group President and CEO Tiffany Dowling with awards. DeGroat said these women have inspired him throughout his journey with autism and feels they deserve recognition for their work within leadership and their efforts with the community as well.


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Lansing Chamber Honors Award Recipients at Annual Dinner

The May 10 event highlighted the contributions made by outstanding leaders and organizations.
Wharton performanceWharton performance

Wharton Center Announced 2023-24 Season

Yo-Yo Ma, Step Afrika among the season highlights.
Samanthe Le and Carson PattenSamanthe Le and Carson Patten

Cultivating Community through Commerce

Samantha Le, Carson Patten work at Martin to bring millennial workforce back to Greater Lansing.