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Taxpayer: Health Dept. is "Overfed"


The Traverse City Record City-Eagle newspaper recently reported about the Health Dept. of NW Michigan's Program and Evaluation Committee meeting which took place on August 10th.


The P&E committee declined to approve applying for 2 grants. One grant - aimed at educating young people in Otsego County about the dangers of electronic nicotine devices and tobacco - was for a request for $5,000 to Tobacco Free Michigan.


The other one - aimed at securing the part-time services of a dental hygienist to provide 'free' dental services to students in Antrim, Emmet, Charlevoix, and Otsego Counties - was for a request for $125,000 to the CareQuest Institute. In their literature, the Institute makes it clear that they seek to partner with populations that include "racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities and older adults."


Long story short: Commissioner Josh Chamberlain, of Charlevoix County, made the motion to apply for the grants. The motion was not seconded by Commissioners Rich Ginop (Emmet), Henry Mason (Otsego) and Jarris Rubingh (Antrim). Ergo the motion died.


Rubingh (pictured) told the Record-Eagle, via email, why he voted the way he did: "Since before I was in high school, various governmental agencies have allocated millions of dollars to prevent substance use and abuse and yet, every year, the problems seem to get worse."


Charlevoix County resident, Greg Bentley, was even blunter about the never-ending quest to apply for grants. Bentley: "We've got a health department in the state of Michigan that's overfed. So I'm encouraging you folks not to accept anymore freebies because it comes with a price."


At tonight's Emmet County Board of Commissioners' meeting, which starts at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Commissioners room, Health Officer Dan Thorrell, will be making the Health Dept's annual presentation. Please consider attending and letting him know that you agree with Mr. Bentley and Commissioner Rubingh that we need less wasteful bureaucracy not more.

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2 Comments


lynnhyattbrown
Aug 20, 2023

Mr. Zako, that is just plum wrong. Tobacco use is wayyy down in the USA. Mr. Rubingh is completely wrong and so are you. In 1965 *42.4% of Americans smoked, and today that number is *13.7%, *8.8% for American youth. (*Per the American Lung Association) Smoking prevention programs have in fact been VERY effective - saving taxpayers exponential multiples of what they have cost us. (It's worth noting that many of these programs are actually funded by cigarette taxes and don't cost non-smoking taxpayers a penny.) Today, likely because smoking and smokers are decreasing, tobacco companies have developed new products which are dangerous, namely the E-cigarette. The men who would not agree to support smoking succession programs have failed us.

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Lou Zako
Lou Zako
Aug 17, 2023

Kudos to Antrim County commissioner, Jarris Rubingh, whom I quote: "Since before I was in high school, various governmental agencies have allocated millions of dollars to prevent substance use and abuse and yet, every year, the problems seem to get worse."

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