Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Public invited to attend Oct. 8 meeting regarding list of prescription drugs covered under Michigan's Medicaid Health Plans.

Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the public is invited to attend an Oct. 8 meeting regarding the list of prescription drugs covered under Michigan’s Medicaid Health Plans. 
The Michigan Medicaid Health Plan common formulary stakeholder meeting is from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Lansing Community College West Campus Auditorium, 5708 Cornerstone Drive in Delta Township near Lansing.

In 2016, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services developed the list of prescription drugs – known as a common formulary – to streamline drug coverage policies for Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries and providers. The prescription drugs are common across all contracted health plans for the department’s current Comprehensive Health Plan contract, according to the MDHHS.

“The common formulary is important to the approximately 1.8 million Michigan residents who are Medicaid managed-care beneficiaries,” said Kathy Stiffler, acting deputy director of MDHHS Medical Services Administration. “It reduces any interruptions in a beneficiary’s drug therapy due to a change in health plans and provides administrative efficiencies for Michigan’s Medicaid providers.”

Health plans may be less restrictive, but not more restrictive, than the coverage parameters of the common formulary.

The purpose of the stakeholder meeting is to provide an in-person forum for the public to comment on the common formulary. 

Anyone who plans to attend is asked to notify KrepsD@michigan.gov no later than Sept. 28Find more information at michigan.gov/MCOpharmacy.

Anyone who cannot attend the in-person meeting may submit questions to the Common Formulary mailbox at MDHHSCommonFormulary@michigan.gov, according to MDHHS.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hundreds participate in Rally For Abdul El-Sayed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at Brown Chapel AME Church in Ypsilanti Sunday.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

If you were looking for inspiration Sunday afternoon, July 29,  you had to look no further than Brown Chapel AME Church on Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti because that was the site of one heck of a rally by Candidate for Governor Abdul El-Sayed and his his staunch supporter and fellow progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

The rally with El-Sayed and Cortez attracted a standing room only crowd of roughly 500 to 600 people in the church as crowds of more supporters were unable to get inside and stood in the over crowded church parking lot.

Inside the packed and steaming church rally participants clung to every word delivered from El-Sayed and Cortez as several times their speeches were drowned out by loud cheers and applause from the hundreds of like-minded progressive Democrats that filled the church pews and aisles.

 If anyone doubts the enthusiasm and and support for progressive Democrats here in the rust belt, those doubts were doused, no, they were drenched, because the Brown Chapel AME Church in Ypsi was packed to the brim with boundless optimism and energy for progressive Democrats.

Memorable quotes from El-Sayed Sunday included, "Our democracy is sick."  "We have a president who thinks tax cuts will make all of us rich, too."  "Who are we and who do we want to be?" "Are we ok with the Flint water crisis which continues to rage!?"

Each quote was met with shouts of approval and cheers from the scores of supporters.

The loudest and most enthusiastic cheer was for Democratic Socialists of America party member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who recently won the Democratic primary in New York's 14th District by defeating incumbent caucus chair Joe Crowley. It was obvious that everyone in the roomed adored Cortez, as was apparent by the cheering and appreciative applause she received from the supporters in crowded church.

Quotes from Cortez that stood out were as follows. "We can't get single payer in the Bronx until we get it in Michigan." "We must realize that the Bronx , Detroit, St Louis, and Cleveland are more alike than people think. " There is no zip code for injustice, No zip code for standing up for what is right." "We need to give people hope in a system they feel has forgotten them." It is that last statement that resonated most with folks in the packed church in Ypsilanti Sunday. "Our job is to invite people to vote and give them reason to believe."

It is safe to say that we are witnessing the birth of a strong progressive political Democratic movement in this country. All who attended this event left refreshed, inspired and invigorated.

Photos Purple Walrus Press.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Abdul El-Sayed.
Ypsilanti Mayoral candidate Beth Bashert mingles with rally participants.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

United Way of Washtenaw County has invested $100k in building programs that create financial stability.

Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.
According to a July 26 press release, United of Washtenaw County today announced its investment of $100,000 in local programs to increase the financial stability of women, individuals and families with low incomes, and communities of color. The organization is awarding 12-month grants to six nonprofit agencies. Funded agencies will provide a variety of supports including free tax preparation, financial coaching, transportation, job placement, and literacy tutoring.
 According to the release received by Purple Walrus Press, “In Washtenaw County, a gap persists between those who are financially secure, and those who are living on the brink,” shared Mitzi Falon, previous Power of the Purse Chair. “Although one of the most affluent counties in Michigan -- One in five Washtenaw County households (22%) do not have sufficient net worth to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income.
This fund was augmented by $25,000 in proceeds from United Way’s annual Power of the Purse event.
Funded programs will advance one or more of the following goals of United Way’s Financial Stability Initiative:
·       Advance the economic well-being of individuals and families with low incomes
·       Reduce reliance on predatory financial practices in Washtenaw County neighborhoods.
·       Improve the economic wellbeing of women who are Asset-Limited, Income Constrained and Employed (ALICE).
“Thank you to each and every donor that contributes to United Way’s efforts to build a thriving community for everyone. These grant funded programs are helping people increase their financial ability and self-sufficiency,” shared Pam Smith, President and CEO.

To review all investments during FY17-18, visit uwgive.org/grants 

Financial stability grants provide support for efforts that prioritize women, individuals and families with low incomes, communities of color, and historically and/or systematically marginalized groups. Funding is open to both new/pilot or existing programs, projects or initiatives. 
As part of our 96-year history, the United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. Our focus areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability provide the building blocks to strengthen the community and create opportunities for individuals and families. Our Volunteer Center provides an easy online way for people to connect with nonprofits in the community and our 2-1-1 helpline refers more than 8,000 people annually to critically needed services. To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit uwgive.org.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Congresswoman Dingell calls for pension committee to work through August recess to finalize talks.

Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to the office of Congresswoman Dingell, today, during a hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) reiterated her call for the urgent action needed to address the Pension Crisis. During the 5th hearing of the Committee since its formation earlier this year, Dingell called on the Committee to get to the task of crafting a negotiation that will save thousands of pensioners from cuts.

“Failure is not an option for any of us on this committee,” said Dingell. “This hearing is for us to hear from the stakeholders, but I’ve been hearing from the stakeholders every single day. I have stories of working men and women who are desperate and almost driven to suicide because they don’t know what their options are if their pensions aren’t there.”

According to the media release, Dingell offered to return to Washington or travel to wherever her colleagues are during the August recess to work on negotiating a final plan to address pensions before the November 30 deadline.

She then turned her questions to highlighting how workers had little to no ability to make decisions or were even informed about the financial stability of their pension plans.

Dingell continued, “Workers gave up pay increases and sacrificed compensation to at the time because of the promise of a safe and secure retirement. . We are talking about what will happen to the economy, what will happen to our communities, and what will happen to human beings across this country if we don’t address this pension problem. We have a moral responsibility to protect the retirement people have earned through a lifetime of work. The time to act is now.”   

Last week, Dingell brought together House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, other members of Congress, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, UAW President Gary Jones, and other leaders of multiple unions for a standing-room only townhall meeting in Detroit. The leaders heard directly from American workers and retirees of how the potential cuts and other issues are already deeply frightening. More than a dozen people shared stories of forgoing raises in order to add to their pensions, but now they are facing pay cuts of more than 70 percent. Pensioners described the impossible task of having to choose between putting food on the table or paying for prescriptions because the pension they were relying on is no longer there.  

Dingell has made fighting for a solution to the pension crisis a top priority since coming to Congress. She was appointed by Leader Pelosi to the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Plans which is instructed to report a bill by the last week of November that will be guaranteed an expedited vote in the Senate without amendments.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Election reform: PWP contributor Brooks Parola.

By Brooks Parola.

Folks, if you were smart, you realized after nothing was done to significantly avoid more "hanging chads" after the 2000 election, that nothing would ever be done. There are too many forces in our system who want to prevent, and manipulate our votes.
If we believe our vote should mean something, we must insist that election reform be a serious part of any party platform. The continued alienation of the voting public will not only continue to give more power to wealthy/corporate interests, it will likely become a dangerous situation for our country, far sooner than one might think.
A VERY angry, frustrated populace is prime breeding ground for increased hatred and violence.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Power restored to Normal Park Neighborhood in Ypsilanti Friday evening after yet another outage.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown

At approximately 3:30 pm Friday afternoon it was lights out for much of the Normal Park Neighborhood in Ypsilanti. It remained lights out until 8:30 pm Friday evening. Around 3:45 this afternoon the Ypsilanti Fire Dept responded to the field adjacent to the playground at Estabrook Elementary School off of Cross Street in Ypsi.

 At the scene I spoke to a fireman with the the Ypsi Fire Dept. The fireman told me that a wire had come loose and was dangling against a tree in the field behind Estabrook. The sparking wire ignited the tree causing a small fire. The fire was immediately extinguish by the Fire Dept and no one was hurt. The fireman said it was probable that the sparking wire and ensuing small fire caused the power outage in Ypsilanti, though he indicated that he was not positive.

Within an hour DTE arrived to the scene and by 8:30 pm Friday power was restored to the area.

Neighbors who live in the area expressed some frustration with the fact that there have been several power outages in the area over the past few months.

Photos Purple Walrus Press.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

On Trump's performance in Helsinki Monday: PWP contributor Brooks Parola.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.

By Brooks Parola formerly of Flint.

I guess I have mixed feelings about all this. On the one hand, of course we have a right to be outraged over Trump's performance in Helsinki today, (and I am outraged) and yet on the other hand, is anyone who's got a clue surprised by it?
I mean, what did those of us who KNOW that Trump is Putin's lackey expect? That he would actually stand there next to him, and have the balls to call him out?
Folks, a pee-pee tape is probably the tamest thing Putin has on Trump. Trump is deathly afraid of him, and with very good reason...Putin likes to kill people.
But, back to my feelings. In a way, I'm a bit happy(?) relieved(?) especially when you see even FOX condemning him. This meeting, coming only days after the Russian indictments, forced him to call out Putin in a big way. We really should not have been surprised that he didn't; especially when he didn't cancel the meeting soon after the indictments were handed down.
But in refusing to cancel the meeting he put himself in this position. A position of having to choose between Putin, and the United States...BEFORE THE WORLD!!
Well, he made his choice, and the world is outraged, and yes...I'm rather happy about that.
This could very well be a turning point.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

On Lawrence O'Donnell comparing Friday's indictment with Watergate: By PWP contributor Brooks Parola.

Brooks Parola:  PWP.

Lawrence O'Donnell comparing Friday's indictment's with Watergate. Big difference? In 1974 you had Barry Goldwater and other top GOP leaders going to the WH and telling Nixon, the jig was up. Either he resigns, or a whole bunch of members of his own party would vote to impeach him.
Today we have Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, et al, working with FOX to attack and undermine Mueller and the FBI at every turn...unbelievable...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Ann Arbor based Wild Swan Theater & Synergy On Stage seeking actors and ASL Interpreters for 39th season.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Are you interested in acting? If you are then by all means, keep reading! Ann Arbor based Wild Swan Theater & Synergy On Stage are looking for actors and ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreters for their 39th season. Actors will be considered for roles in Wild Swan Theater's original versions of A Christmas Carol to be performed in December 2018, a collection of African folktales, Under the African Sky to be performed in February 2019, and the classic story Charlotte's Web, which will be performed in May, 2019. The company is interested in culturally diverse casting.

ASL Interpreters will be considered for Wild Swan Theater's production of A Christmas Carol, Shipwrecked - performance in March 7-9, 2019, Jack and the Beanstalk-performance March 20-23, 2019 and Charlottes Web.

Those who land roles in these productions will be payed $75 per performance. Not too shabby! Maybe I'll try out for a role myself! Naa, I don't think I have the skills, but you should!!

You need to have an appointment and they can be made by calling 734-995-0530 or emailing Michelle Trame Lanzi - Company Manager at michelle@wildswantheater.org. For more info about Synergy On Stage vist synergyonstage.com.

Wild Swan Theater is a professional, non equity theater company that produces and performs family geared productions. The theater company performs 175 shows a year in Ann Arbor and across the state. Synergy On Stage provides ASL Interpreters for the majority of Wild Swan productions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

EMU Police Department 1st Annual Bike Rodeo August 11 Convocation Center Parking Lot.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Mark your calendars because on Saturday, August 11, the Eastern Michigan University Police Dept will be holding the 1st annual Bike Rodeo at the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti...And the event is free! The Bike Rodeo will take place from 10 am until 2 pm.

The Bike Rodeo welcomes all ages, but kids need to bring their parents. The event will include a free safety check and helmet fitting. Participants can also learn the rules of the road, practice skills, learn to bike safely and there will be some food and drinks. Also, there will be free stuff! I know that I'm a real sucker for free stuff! I'm serious!

I had the pleasure of speaking to EMU Police Officer Sgt Joe Torres. Joe told me that the Eastern Michigan University Police Dept is very enthusiastic and interested in building positive community relations. In my book, that sounds pretty fantastic.

So check out the EMU Police Department free Bike Rodeo on August 11, from 10 am -2 pm at the Convocation Center located at 799 North Hewitt Road, Ypsilanti. See you there!

For more info or to RSVP contact EMUBIKERODEO@GMAIL.COM

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Day #1533 of Flint Water Crisis: Activist Melissa Mays of Flint.

Contributed to PWP by Melissa Mays.

Day #1533 in the #FlintWaterCrisis: We Matter.
Today I had a long talk with a Flint resident and she told me that she's not sure she can continue fighting. That she feels the world has forgotten us and that we are on our own. She posts about her medical problems and her water bill and her struggle to keep positive for her kids but is not sure how to keep on. Now when she posts people don't seem to care that she's a person who is hurting. She gets told that it's "not that bad" and that Flint is "old news" or "you guys are fixed so why are you complaining?" She has rashes on her chest and arms that she feels worsen in the shower and her little boy has to get an expensive oil that eases the pain of his rashes all over his little body. Their doctors are doing what they can to help ease the pain. You can see they're in pain. She wants to know why we have been forgotten and if it worth fighting anymore.
I reminded her that we have been on our own for years. It was our strength and demands for answer that got us this far. Asking questions and standing up for her young children is what helped us expose what was being done to us. I let her know that she's not alone. That people all across this City have similar, yet different stories to tell. Each one is important. And as long as she tells her story, she may reach one more person so they don't feel so alone. No, the fight is not over, far from it. But we can't stop until we are made whole. We deserve that. We matter. As long as we don't let anyone silence us by convincing us we are not human beings with good days, bad days, pain, imperfections, dreams and fears and stories that matter, we will prevail. We are human beings who deserve justice and to be treated with respect because we are strong and no one should ever even try to convince us or others that we are less than.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Dems should ease up on calling for abolishment of ICE. PWP contributor Brooks Parola.

By Purple Walrus Press contributor Brooks Parola formerly of Flint.

Most Dems calling for the abolishment of ICE are doing so for political reasons, and if they're smart they'll ease up on the rhetoric before it bites them in the ass.
Exploiting the understandable emotion folks have about this issue, is as bad as Trump exploiting the racist emotions of the nativists. A call for reform and restructuring, allows Dems the opportunity to address the valid concerns of people outraged by Trump policy, while preventing him from accusing Dems of being anti law and order.