While visiting her grandma and grandpa (Pat and Jack Koch of Elk Rapids) Ella Nash (of Jackson, Wyoming) made and sold creative pieces of jewelry all summer long. Ella later donated all the money she earned to Antrim County’s Pet Rescue Center “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Congratulations, Ella, your kind heart and precious jewelry helped out a bunch of furry friends.
USING LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL
Medical and family expenses can be an enormous burden on a terminally or chronically ill individual. Even if one has medical insurance, sometimes it’s not enough to cover the costs that can be incurred by a serious illness at the end of life. Terminally or chronically ill individuals may be able to turn to their life insurance for solutions. Some policies have add-on benefits that can be accessed in times of dire need, called accelerated death benefits. In many cases, these payments are excludable from the insured person’s gross income, which means they are tax-free.
Accelerated death benefits may be a part of the life insurance policy. Sometimes, they are offered as a rider that must be purchased at an additional cost, but some providers are now offering them as part of the policy without an extra charge. If you are interested in accelerated death benefits but your policy does not include them, ask your agent. Some companies will work out an agreement, since the full death benefits are likely to be paid out in the near future.
The payment amount is generally based on a percentage of the total benefit of the policy. The policy owner will be required to meet certain requirements, such as providing proof of terminal or chronic illness. The use of accelerated death benefits is not always restricted to medical costs. All these rules, requirements, and restrictions are different for each policy.
In order to collect accelerated death benefits, a life insurance policy holder is generally required to be terminally or chronically ill. A terminally ill person must provide proof from a physician that they have a condition or illness that is anticipated to result in death within 24 months. A chronically ill person is more difficult to classify. Basically, a chronically ill person is defined as someone who has been certified by a health care provider in the last 12 months as needing substantial assistance to perform daily living activities like eating, using the restroom, bathing, and dressing, or someone who needs substantial supervision because of cognitive impairment.
If the insured person is chronically ill as defined above, the amounts paid from the life insurance policy are only excludable if they pay for long-term care services that are not reimbursed by the person’s insurance. There is a cap on this exclusion. In 2013, the limit is a daily cost of $320, or $116,800 per year toward long-term care minus the amount covered by insurance.
The payments that can not be excluded are taxed as regular income, not as a capital gains. The only portion that will be taxed is what exceeds the policy holder’s investment in the policy, the difference between the total benefits received from the policy and its cash surrender value.
– Submitted by Char Kirchner, CPA, MSA, Williamsburg
HEALTH TIPS Prescription pain medication
Starting in September of this year, the narcotic hydrocodone (brand names: Vicodin, Norco) will be changed to a controlled substance schedule 2. This means that prescriptions can no longer be called in to a pharmacy (you must have a written RX), and that a physician must prescribe the medication (not a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant). Persons who take these medicines for chronic pain need to know that it may be somewhat more cumbersome to garner their prescriptions. The reason for this change is to try to curb the increases in prescription medication abuse and overdose.
Overdose and death from prescription pain medication have become an extensive problem in the U.S. Historically men have had more of an issue with painkiller abuse but women are quickly catching up, with a 400% increase of overdose related death since 1999 (48,000 women died of overdose related to narcotic medications such as Vicodin, Oxycodone and Methadone – about 18 women daily).
Deaths related to drug overdose have never been higher among any group, and most overdoses are related to prescriptions and not illegal drugs. Painkilling medication works by binding to receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain. These drugs also create a feeling of euphoria, and addicted persons need to periodically increase their dose to continue to get that feeling. As dosage increases the chances or respiratory sedation increase as well, which can result in death.
The most likely women to be affected are 25-54 years of age and Caucasian, American Indian or Alaskan natives. Ten percent of suicides among women involve prescription pain medicine. Half of deaths related to prescriptions involve at least one other drug, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Restoril). Other high-risk groups are persons who use more than one controlled substance prescription, especially when obtained from more than one provider; persons who take high doses of prescription pain medicine; persons with mental illness; and low-income persons who live in rural areas. Access to substance abuse treatment programs is often limited and may not be covered by insurance. Persons, especially young people, may think that prescription medications are safer to experiment with versus illegal medications.
Laws trying to prevent “doctor shopping” and “pill mills,” while keeping legitimate access to pain management services have been enacted. Health care providers are held responsible for prescribing outside of evidence-based guidelines for safe use of prescription painkillers. Unfortunately trouble persists.
Points to remember: • Pain medication is necessary for some with moderate to severe pain. When used appropriately the risk of addiction is outweighed by the benefits.
• There are now many non-narcotic options available for persons with chronic pain to try to limit their necessity of narcotic medications.
• Medication theft is an issue. Lock up narcotics and discard any that are no longer used. Don’t save them “just in case.”
– Submitted by Danielle Koch FNP, Elk Rapids Primary Care
Elk Rapids District Library Corner
Upcoming Events: • Island House Readers, Wednesday, September 3rd at 12:00 p.m. A book club that meets monthly. This month’s book is The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. The group will be soliciting suggestions for titles to read in the coming year at this month’s meeting. Hope to see you there!
• Make Noise at the Library!, Friday, September 5th at 10:30 a.m. Bring your preschooler up the hill for a fun hour of music with local musician Kathryn Christian. Studies have shown that singing, kinetic movements, and rhyming improve early literacy success. This program is free and no registration required.
• Evening With an Author: Fleda Brown, Tuesday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the Elk Rapids Historical Museum (301 Traverse St) An award winning Northern Michigan poet and former poet laureate of Delaware will share some of her work that focuses on family history, the history of our association with the lakes, and about writing poetry. Free and no registration required.
Did you know? Thanks to Dolores and Wally Hibbard and their children, we have an adorable Little Free Library! Look for it to be filled with books and ready for use soon. In the meantime it is on display at the Government Center on Bridge Street. Check it out!
The Friends of the Library need more gently used books for their book sale! Please no textbooks, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, or books that have been badly damaged by water, abuse, or time. (If they are musty or growing mold, please take them to your local recycling center.)
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See you at the Library!
Alden Art Fair
Photo by Priscilla Miller
Blue skies and sunshine were the order of the day for the Alden Volunteers Annual Art Fair held on Saturday. Artists from across the state displayed their artistic creations at the juried show.
While others were busy shopping at a variety of artists’ booths, a young lady stops to take a break and quench her thirst with a few sips of cool water from the Alden Depot Park drinking fountain.
Art enthusiasts look for that special work of art that will catch their eye and speak to them.
Clearwater Township Department reports, road paving and contracts addressed
By Teresa O’Hara, Contributing Writer All board members were present as the Clearwater Township Board met for the August meeting. Several residents spoke during public comment. Stuart McKinnon, from the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners, informed the board that the commission has asked the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department to redraft the township contracts to correct an error. Townships will extend the current contract, giving the sheriff six months to present new contracts. A resident, who lives near the Maple St. access, asked for an update on any progress as the access is still in poor shape. Supervisor Larry Niederstadt related that the township has the DEQ permit but also has to go through the county Soil and Erosion Department before any work can be performed. Another resident expressed interest in starting a township Facebook page. Additionally, a resident expressed concern over a helicopter flyover by state police, flying below FAA guidelines.
Before approving the agenda, the board added two items: the Fire Protection Contract with Rapid River and updates from Trustee Grace Beland. Clerk Julie Vance also added additional payments from the Fire Department Fund, which the board approved.
Deputy Christie Hoenicke began the departmental reports stating that 176 complaints were handled the previous month. Officer Hoenicke explained that the 4th of July was “extremely busy” and that “there were little injuries this year.” During the holiday, there were 27 parking complaints, with many getting towed. Hoenicke also explained that the 14.5 hours the township contracts is separate from the county road patrol. Township Assessor Dawn Kuhns reported that 87% of the properties have been re-assessed and that they will begin commercial properties within a week. Kuhns also reminded residents that if they have any tax concerns they could attend the Board of Review that is held twice a year. The board approved Clearwater Fire Chief Jeff West’s training class request for five firefighters to attend a Pump Operation Class, held in Elk Rapids. Chief West along with township maintenance man Leo Zimmerman looked over the Aarwood area that the township is looking to lease and turn into a park and canoe launch. West also stated that Lt. Jim Fellows’s name will be added in a ceremony, the third weekend of September, to Roscommon’s Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Kalkaska Memorial Health Center Manager Marianne Ewald gave the Hospital Report stating that State surveyors, who had recently toured the long-term facility, “commented positively.” The hospital is going through changes and Ewald suggested, “If you have any ideas, now is the time to offer any.” Deputy Clerk Pat Gray gave the Parks and Rec report, stating that the donations from the annual community Pig Roast enabled the township to purchase solar lights for the cemetery flagpole. A resident spoke up and suggested that the township look into providing solar lights for all township flags. Clerk Vance reported from the Planning Commission. The commission has recently worked on and approved the township’s Master Plan. Supervisor Niederstadt asked the board to review information in their monthly packets and address the Master Plan at the September meeting. Zoning Administrator Guy Molby was present, as Niederstadt read his monthly report. Molby issued 10 land use permits, 16 field checks, attended three Planning Commission meetings and had 21 contacts with land and homeowners during the month.
In old business, Niederstadt stated that a letter has been sent to Charity Hill Ranch, giving them a 60-day reprieve. One sign is in compliance but another still needs to be moved. Niederstadt spoke with the Whitewater Township supervisor. Grand Traverse County will pave two miles of Baggs Road in 2015. Half of the road is in Grand Traverse County and the other half in Kalkaska County. Niederstadt informed the Whitewater Township supervisor that Clearwater’s road millage funds have been earmarked for Morrison Road and Aarwood Trail and Clearwater could not contribute to the Baggs Road project. After much discussion, the board approved to allow alcoholic beverages in the Little Red Schoolhouse Community Center. The center is available for social gatherings and renters will have to sign a lease agreement. The board also agreed for a home inspection of the green house on the corner, as the township is looking at it for possible office space. The board approved the Rapid River Fire Protection contract for the last fiscal year and the next fiscal year, running through June 30, 2015. The board then discussed the Planning Commission’s request for the electronic sign. In Clerk Vance’s opinion, purchasing the sign would “not be fiscally responsible” at this time and he was “concerned that there is no place to put it on township land.” The board agreed not to purchase sign.
The next meeting of the Clearwater Township Board will take place on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Little Red Schoolhouse Community Center in Rapid City.
Community Foundation awards $1.2 million in scholarships over 10 years
As students from across the region are preparing to continue their education at colleges and universities, many will benefit from the support of a Community Foundation scholarship award.
In 2014, the Community Foundation awarded 28 scholarships, totaling more than $39,000, to support students from Antrim County, including 14 scholarships, totaling $28,500, for students from the Elk Rapids area.
Scholarships were awarded this year for Elk Rapids area students from the Suzanne Cline-Walthour Memorial Scholarship Endowment, the Miss Elk Rapids Scholarship Endowment, the Marjory Veliquette Memorial Scholarship Endowment, the Elk Rapids Scholarship Endowment, the Elk Rapids Industrial Development Corporation Scholarship Endowment, the Peter James Gorno Scholarship Endowment, the Ernest B. Isaacsen Scholarship Endowment, and the Bennie Kline Scholarship Endowment.
Over the last 10 years, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships. During that period, the majority of scholarships awarded were from endowments, which are permanent scholarship funds that will continue to support scholarship awards year after year in perpetuity. The remaining amount is from scholarships that are renewed with new donations on an annual basis or are established with gifts to support awards for a short period of time.
Scholarships offered reflect a diverse set of eligibility and criteria related to factors such as academic performance, financial need, community involvement, planned major and/or career path, etc. The Community Foundation works closely with donors when the gift is made to create the scholarship to identify the criteria that is meaningful to the donor and helps accomplish the donor’s goals.
The Small Town Outlaws and the Oakland Rolling Rebels will compete on September 13 at the Kalkaska Kaliseum! Doors open at 6 p.m., derby begins at 7 p.m. This is sure to be a fierce competition between two insanely talented derby teams. Small Town Roller Derby presents an all ages event that is definitely fun for the whole family. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door and kids 10 and under are free (limited to 1 free kid per 1 paying adult).
However, it’s fan appreciation night! That means that any fan wearing Outlaws apparel will get $2 off at the door and the first 50 fans through the door will get an Outlaws bumper sticker! A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be used to sponsor the River’s End Block Party in support of the Traverse Health Clinic. Beer will be available at the event and proceeds from all beer sales will go to Kalkaska Area Hockey Association. Don’t miss the last Outlaws’ event of the season at the Kaliseum. After Party will be at the Kal-Ho Lounge in Kalkaska. Don’t miss this opportunity to party with your favorite derby girls after the bout!
Dems Open House
Photo by KLW
General Jerry Cannon, congressional candidate, and Jay Calo, candidate for state representative, along with many enthusiastic supporters, attended the Antrim County Democratic Party Office Grand Opening on Monday evening.
Annual Wings of Mercy Fly-In scheduled at Cherry Capitol Aviation
Wings of Mercy makes sure patients living in northern Michigan, such as this young man, get the medical attention they need at hospitals downstate and beyond. Courtesy photo
The Wings of Mercy Care Affaire Fly-In will be held at Cherry Capitol Aviation on Saturday, September 6 from 7 to 11 a.m. and features a Pancakes with Pilots Breakfast, for a suggested donation of $5 a person or $25 for a large family. There will be plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy, including a special Northwestern Michigan College presentation on drones.
In addition, a special tribute to State Trooper Paul Butterfield, who participated in last year’s Wings of Mercy event just a few days prior to his death, will be held along with the announcement of a scholarship fund that’s being established in his name.
Proceeds from this event will go to offset the cost of fuel used to fly northern Michigan patients to hospitals downstate and beyond for needed treatments. Pilots and medical staff volunteer their time and efforts to make this happen. All proceeds from this event remain in northern Michigan.
Elk Rapids News 212 River Street P.O. Box 176 Elk Rapids, Michigan 49629 231-264-6670 Phone 231-264-6685 Fax