Fear and uncertainty over coronavirus is putting air travel on hold and canceling major events, but rather than stockpile toilet paper, Long Road Distillers is still pouring drinks while being sure to give the bar an extra wipe-down.
The Grand Rapids-based distillery recently took to Facebook to outline new sanitary procedures and assure fans it is taking their health seriously.
“As our community works to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we continue to monitor and take to heart the advice of the CDC, State, and local health officials,” the company said over Facebook.
According to the post, Long Road has taken several new precautions in response to the virus. New hand-sanitizing stations currently are being installed in both the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven locations and will be available for use by both employees and guests.
Long Road also is implementing a more frequent cleaning and sanitizing schedule for all areas of its restaurants and tasting rooms. Staff will use sanitizing wipes to disinfect tables and chairs at the beginning of every shift, before and after guests are seated at the bar or tables, and at the end of every shift, in addition to normal cleaning practices.
Additionally, the manager on duty will sanitize heavily trafficked areas, including all door handles, counter tops and doors into the kitchen and bar prep kitchen every 15 minutes. Bathrooms, including toilets, sinks, grab bars and counter tops will be sanitized every 30 minutes.
“And, as always, employees who are sick will be required to stay home from work. Employees and guests are being encouraged to redouble their hand washing efforts, as this has proven to be the best way to prevent the spread of unwanted germs,” the post continued.
Long Road owners Kyle Van Strien and Jon O’Connor also encouraged use of its take-out services for guests who wish to eat at either the Grand Rapids or Grand Haven location.
Every vote counts
Lisa Posthumus Lyons, Kent County clerk/register, reported a significantly higher number of voters who cast absentee ballots for the recent primary presidential election.
There were 145,923 people in Kent County — or 30.74% of Kent County voters — who cast a ballot in the election.
Of that total, 55,180 people cast an absentee ballot, making up 37.8% of the total votes this election.
This represents a 125% increase over the number of absentee ballots voted in the 2016 presidential primary, Posthumus Lyons said.
Among the voters were 1,009 who registered on Election Day in accordance with recent changes allowing for same-day registration.
“Turnout was within the normal range that we’ve seen in recent primaries. What was unique, and sure to be our new normal, is a strong shift from Election Day to absentee voting,” Posthumus Lyons said. “That shift, and to a larger extent same-day registration, tested our elections infrastructure, but I am proud of our team of local clerks and election inspectors in Kent County who performed so well.”
She added: “As we continue to the May, August and November elections later this year, Kent County voters can be confident that their voice matters and their vote counts because our elections are safe, secure and transparent.”
The Kent County Health Department has received a $50,000 grant to enhance access to local treatment, support and recovery resources, and provide education through MIRecovery.info for expecting women struggling with substance use disorder in West Michigan.
The funding is provided through the Addressing Perinatal Opioid Use Disorder initiative, a new public-private collaboration between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.
The Kent County Health Department is one of five health organizations across the state receiving a combined total of $300,000 in grant funding to begin new projects and enhance or expand existing projects meant to prevent and treat opioid use disorder among women, their children and infants during prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum periods.
The best me
West Michigan talent development and employment successes recently were celebrated at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards.
The ceremony was hosted at the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing on Wednesday, March 4.
Among the honorees was Holland resident Aruna Khadka, who immigrated to the U.S. from Nepal in 2017.
Medilodge of Holland, Thompson M-Tec, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and West Michigan Works! were recognized for providing job opportunities to individuals who have overcome significant barriers.
“I am thankful to the many organizations that provided training opportunities and helped me find a better job. Most importantly, they have helped me to be the best version of me,” Khadka said. “Thank you for your support and guidance.”
While her education and employment background in Nepal was strong, Aruna moved to the U.S. speaking very little English. She needed assistance with language skills and guidance on how her education and experience would translate in this country.
Khadka sought help from West Michigan Works! where she attended workshops and received job search and transportation assistance, and English as a Second Language (ESL) services.
Khadka found employment at Holland Hospital working in environmental services. While working at the hospital, she learned about an opportunity to earn a certified nurse assistant (CNA) license. Khadka enrolled in CNA training at Thompson M-TEC using funds from the America’s Promise Grant, an initiative in partnership with GRCC that provides individuals with short-term training to fill high-demand jobs in the health care industry.
Khadka is now a CNA at Medilodge of Holland.
“Aruna has impacted many lives in a positive way through her caring work, including our Medilodge extended families as they visit daily,” said Andrew Portko, director of nursing at Medilodge. “She’s been a great asset to our team.”
Khadka is currently working full-time and taking classes at GRCC. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in medical social work.
“Certified Nursing Assistants are in high demand across our state,” said state Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland. “The CNA program offered through Thompson M-TEC and West Michigan Works! not only helps get individuals working quickly, but also puts them on a path to a career opportunity in health care. Congratulations to everyone receiving this prestigious award today.”