GREEN BAY – Today Prevea Health began administering second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to its health care workers, along with those at its HSHS hospital partners in Wisconsin. The second dose, which is required for maximum effectiveness (94%) of the vaccine, is given 21 days after the first dose.
“From the moment these vaccines first became available to us by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services just 21 days ago, our teams have been working swiftly, yet carefully to effectively immunize every health care worker within the Prevea Health and HSHS Wisconsin systems that wishes to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Ashok Rai, President and CEO at Prevea Health. “We are immensely proud of the work our teams have done so far to get our health care workers and community EMS teams vaccinated. We continue to eagerly await the opportunity to offer these life-saving vaccines to our community members and put an end to this pandemic.”
Dr. Richard Amankwah, a Prevea Health hospitalist at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay, was among the first to receive the first dose of vaccine on Dec. 16, 2020, and among the first today (Jan. 6, 2021) to receive his second.
“This second dose completes my immunization and provides me great relief as a frontline health care provider,” said Dr. Amankwah. “I encourage my patients and everyone in our communities to become vaccinated, and to be sure to get both doses for maximum protection, the moment they become available.”
Additional health care workers at HSHS hospitals in Wisconsin (HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls; HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls) and Prevea Health locations throughout Wisconsin will receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days and weeks.
As the wait for vaccines to become more widely available continues, HSHS Wisconsin and Prevea Health encourage everyone to do their part to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin by continuing with diligent hand washing, social distancing, masking and staying home if you are not feeling well.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Enbridge said Tuesday it would defy Michigan’s demand to shut down an oil pipeline that runs through a channel linking two of the Great Lakes, contending that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision was based on bad information and political posturing.
The Democratic governor in November moved to revoke a 1953 state easement that allowed part of the Canadian company’s Line 5 to be placed along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. Saying Enbridge had repeatedly violated the terms and put the lakes at risk, Whitmer gave the company 180 days — until May 12 — to turn off the flow.
Enbridge filed a federal lawsuit challenging the order shortly after it was issued. Vern Yu, president for liquids pipelines, gave a point-by-point-response to the state’s termination notice in a letter Tuesday and said it wouldn’t close Line 5.
“Our dual pipelines in the straits are safe, fit for service and in full compliance with the federal safety standards that govern them,” Yu said.
Mike Koby, vice president of U.S. operations for the Calgary, Alberta-based company, said Whitmer had overstepped her authority. Enbridge has “no intention of shutting down the pipelines based on these unspecified allegations,” Koby said in an interview.
Dan Eichinger, director of the state Department of Natural Resources, described the letter as “Enbridge’s attempt to power-wash the company’s long history of violating the terms of the 1953 easement, and their current non-compliance.”
“Enbridge cannot unilaterally decide when laws and binding agreements apply and when they do not,” Eichinger said. “We stand behind our efforts to protect the Great Lakes, and we stand behind the substance of the November 2020 revocation and termination of the Easement.”
Line 5 is part of Enbridge’s Lakehead network, which carries oil and liquids used in propane from western Canada to refineries in the U.S. and Ontario. The pipeline moves about 23 million gallons (87 million liters) daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.
The underwater section beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, is divided into two pipes that Enbridge says are in good shape and have never leaked.
Whitmer, however, agrees with environmentalists, Native American tribes and other critics who contend they’re vulnerable to a catastrophic spill.
Enbridge reached an agreement with then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, in 2018 to replace the underwater portion with a new pipe that would be housed in a tunnel to be drilled beneath the straits.
The company is seeking state and federal permits for the $500 million project, which is not affected by the shutdown order.
Whitmer’s order said granting the easement in a busy shipping lane vulnerable to anchor strikes was a mistake and Enbridge had made things worse, repeatedly violating a requirement that the pipelines rest on the lake bed or have other supports at least every 75 feet.
The company also has failed to ensure that protective coating hasn’t worn off and has allowed the pipes to bend excessively in some places, the order said.
In his response, Yu said problems with pipeline supports and coating had been fixed years ago and that Enbridge had taken numerous steps to prevent contact with vessel anchors after one was dragged over the pipelines in April 2018.
The allegation about bending appears to have been based on the state’s flawed reading of data that could have been cleared up if officials hadn’t refused to discuss technical issues over the past two years, he said.
“The governor’s notice is actually based on inaccurate and outdated information that ignores the current condition of the dual pipelines” that federal regulators have described as safe, Koby said. He accused the state of bias, adding that “for the governor this is a political issue, pure and simple.”
I recently traveled to Washington, DC for meetings and to stand for the integrity of our electoral system as a citizen and at the behest of my neighbors here in Western Wisconsin.
On the now notorious January 6, I decided to walk down the mall to the Capitol and wait for the people to march there. The crowd was peaceful, many families with small children, elderly people, and others from all walks of life were mingling. The mood was festive.
When we arrived at the Capitol, several hundreds of people were on the grounds waving flags. There were multiple families with small children walking on the lawn.
Two of my friends, both combat veterans, and I stood on the parapet that lines the perimeter of the grounds and watched what should have been an expression of free speech devolve into one of the most tragic incidents in the history of our nation.
When it became clear that a protest had become a mob, I left the area as to remain there could be construed as tacitly approving this unlawful conduct. At no time did I enter the grounds, let alone the building.
I was so disturbed that I went back to my hotel room and sat in shock watching the images unfold on television. The following day, I felt compelled to visit the Lincoln Memorial. This towering memorial is a somber reminder of the darkest days of our history and the type of statesmen we again require if we are to remain the nation I have dedicated my life to preserving.
Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was bookended by two of the most powerful inaugural speeches ever penned by a president. Their power was derived from both their eloquence and the circumstances when they were delivered.
By March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded from the Union and the Republic was spinning into oblivion. Foreseeing the future devastation that this would lead to, Lincoln took a measured tone.
He chose to be the quiet voice in the storm, to not further inflame the passions of his fellow citizens.
The final paragraph of this address follows:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Tragically, we know that these words were not heeded and the single most devastating conflict in American history ensued. If only everyday citizens and his fellow politicians had listened, the content of the second address would certainly have been notably different.
After four years of bloody conflict, that would eventually see over 600,000 Americans killed by Americans, Lincoln intuitively understood that even if the Union was victorious unless someone made the first step to reconciliation that even if the Union won the military conflict, that there would never truly be peace in America.
The last paragraph of his second inaugural address follows:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
If Abraham Lincoln could deliver these words in 1864, words not of condemnation but comfort in furtherance of the higher good, then we as American citizens must listen to them in 2021 or we will suffer the consequences.
And, unless we have statesmen who will put aside political differences in this time of crisis, we will hurl ourselves into the abyss that I have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa.
I never want to see this happen in our great nation.
Chippewa County COVID-19 update
Chippewa County announced 48 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 6,343 to-date (381 currently active). No new coronavirus related deaths were announced, leaving the death toll in Chippewa County at 70 individuals.
Eight people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 complications (183 to-date) and there have been 25,700 negative coronavirus test results in Chippewa County as of Tuesday afternoon.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have now been 510,975 cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin to-date (30,659 currently active) and 5,576 individuals have passed away due to complications with coronavirus so far (a one day increase of five).
A Chippewa Valley resident will have a downtown Chippewa Falls shopping spree after a recent sweepstakes.
Roberta Christensen has been chosen as winner of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Christmas Sweepstakes. Her prize includes $500 in downtown gift certificates.
Teri Ouimette, executive director for Chippewa Falls Main Street, said the many submissions for the sweepstakes show how willing to support their community Chippewa Falls residents are.
“On behalf of downtown business owners, I would like to thank everyone for keeping it local in this challenging time,” Ouimette said. “With your continued support we will continue to survive and thrive.”
The recent sweepstakes involved patrons shopping at any downtown business in Chippewa Falls (including retail, restaurants, gas, services, etc.) and keeping all of their receipts. Participants could staple their receipts (or photocopies) to an entry form and submit it to the Chippewa Falls Main Street office. Every $10 spent was one entry, and individuals could submit as many entries as they desired.
The next sweepstakes in the Chippewa Falls Main Street series is the “Sweet Sweepstakes.” From Jan. 25-Feb. 25 interested participants can again submit receipts from local shopping trips. All entries must be received by Mar. 1. For more information on the contest you can visit http://www.chippewafallsmainst.org/sweet-sweepstakes.html.