Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I had almost no sleep last night and am currently running on the 15 million ounces of caffeine I poured down my throat today. Team Chaos and Mayhem pulled off our goal and then some for the March of Dimes March for Babies fundraiser today. Travis and Sam were undoubtedly hungover but they were in brighter spirits (and shape overall) than I was today. I was late...big surprise..... but we did it. Our initial goal was $500, which Jessi killed her first day of donation seeking, so I raised our goal to $800 (I didn't want to go too high since donors were starting to lag)... but we doubled that today too. We raised $1576!!!! Not too shabby for only 2(ish) weeks. I was pretty surprised. The walk was from 10-12 and then it was back to the homestead for final steps in the pre-party process. And Ashtyn's birthday party went very well. Part of the reason for no sleep last night was because Julie and I were up until 1:30am decorating Ashtyn's cake which tasted delicious and looked pretty good for 2 girls who have no idea how to decorate a cake. The weather was awesome... a bit too hot, but we finally got to use the swimming pool we got her 2 years ago which the kids all loved. Pepere and Nonna gave her a wonderful playhouse. My dad.... aka Pepere, built it to resemble our camp. It came out awesome. She got tons of kitchen and fake food things to put in her new house. And a beautiful princess ball gown with shoes from Grandmama and Papa. I still haven't even actually scene half of the gifts since I was dealing with Taylor and everything else but she is spoiled spoiled spoiled. There were so many kids here today and I don't think there was a single episode of bickering, whining, fighting, nothing. Everyone was completely awesome. This one little girl, who I met today for the first time, completely blew me away. She was absolutely in love with Taylor's little hand. She kissed her "smiley" a bunch of times and acted like it was the coolest thing she'd ever seen. Yet again reassuring me that Taylor will be fine. I'm still waiting for the day some little bully picks on her.... I'm really waiting to see how bad she pummels anyone who dares to pick on her, but either way...it will someday happen. Just not today. Today would not have happened without all the help from my family. They tied up all the loose stings I forgot about or just couldn't pull off and helped out so much. Lisa, Mom, Dave, Ryan, Julie, Dad, Jess, Bryan and my hubby Jeremy Thank you all for your help. Thank you everyone who Marched today. Thank you everyone who donated. And thank you to everyone who joined us today. This week has sucked, today was awesome and finally...its over.....now I can get some sleep
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
My day started off with a "Good morning Mommy" and then a great big smile followed by a very puzzled look as I said "Happy Birthday". I asked Ashtyn what she was looking for and she asked me where everyone was. "What are you talking about?" "Where is everyone for my birthday? and cake? where's my cake?" As I explained to her that her party was not until Saturday, she gave me this look like: "why the hell did you say happy birthday to me today if no one is coming until Saturday?!" This is why, I remembered, that last year we only celebrated her birthday at her party, not on her actual birthday. One good thing that happened today though, I managed to get her to cooperate and let me take pics of her. I took 113!! I might not get this chance again.
It wasn't a super exciting day for Ashtyn. We started the day by stacking 2 cords of wood, planting grass and opening up the in-laws' pool. Followed by rain. But we finished the day off with a whipped cream fight inside (my mil's house.....someone's head would roll if it were in my house), ice cream "cake" and a bubble bath.
I can't imagine that my "baby" is 3 already!!!!! It seems like only yesterday......
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I should know at this point in my child raising career, that if I get woken up to an uncommunicative, uncontrollable, whining, crying and/or screaming fit, it means: Mommy get up right now and bring me to the bathroom or you'll very quickly be sorry. Well in my current state of sleep deprivation, at 1 am, that thought really never came to mind. At least until I heard BLECH! and then BLECH Mommy whimper whimper....by the third projection I slipped a couple curse words grabbed Ashtyn and ran to the bathroom for the grande finally. Ugh!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This is where my mom, step-dad, sister and bro-in-law live (a mile away I should say).....and "mom" and "dad" peck.
this is the link.....there's tons of pics
ALTON BAY, N.H. -- Heavy fire ignited on Easter Sunday at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center amid windy conditions, prompting multiple alarms and a road closure.
By 5:15 p.m., crews called for seven alarms. Within minutes, an eighth and ninth alarm were called. Alton Bay's deputy fire chief told News 9 that 52 homes in the area were burned and all of the homes could be a total loss.
The fire prompted officials to close westbound Route 11 from Gilford to Alton. Calls initially came in as a brush fire before it quickly escalated.
It was not immediately reported whether anyone was inside.
Refresh WMUR.com often and watch WMUR News 9 TONIGHT at 6 for the latest updates.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Now that I've got your attention......Its not Julie!!! Jeremy's half-sister Crystal is expecting. Congrats Crystal!!! (Jolene and GG, I saw you both jump, and I'm giggling to the point of wetting myself.) Team "Chaos and Mayhem" (March of Dimes) has grown to 8 members (and 7 baby-members).... and we've raised almost 500 dollars so far (not bad for 10 days).....we've got 15 days left to rally some more funds but 4 people joined us yesterday and I don't know yet how much CrownPoint is donating for Travis. Now if only I can pull something similar off to help Shriners. Depending on how this vote of theirs goes in July, I may be attempting a community wide party to benefit them. I'm still in the pondering stages and finding out what I can for info on how to go about this project. If all goes as planned it shouldn't be a big deal and it could actually get a lot of donations for them and be a ton of fun. Here's to hope. For those of you completely confused as to what I'm talking about, you apparently somehow missed the 8,000 posts of news clips I put up, but the hospital Taylor goes to for her prosthetics and Orthopaedic needs might close, along with 5 of their other locations due to lack of funds, stock market losses, decline of donations, etc. If they close Taylor and lots of other kids will either have to trek thousands of more miles away for care, or they may not even be able to receive care anymore. That's not an option in my book. I'm currently trying on much smaller than community-wide-party scale to rally some donations and at least light a fire under some people's tushies to donate. I've got a million and one ideas, I just need to figure out how to make them work. Hmmm other stuff that's going on... Jeremy got his engineer's license, so he can now drive the train without someone holding his hand:) Woo-hoo! And a raise:) Super-WOO-HOO! and a cut in hours :( Not so woo-hoo. But back on the ups, one of my ex-daycare families might be a re-enrolled daycare family!! Yippee. Apparently "Mom" and her mom and step-dad are going into a Tri-ownership of a new restaurant. Super! And my current part time fella might become a full timer in May. Its about time something changed for the better around here. I hate not having a ton of kids around, I get all out of sorts when its just my two. When I've got a bunch, I've got a schedule, I've got rhythm, I've got some sanity. When its just Ashtyn, Taylor and myself, there is no schedule, there is not rhythm, its full of indecision and destruction, or a doctors visit that will undoubtedly be accompanied by a HUMONGOUS BLOW OUT TANTRUM FROM HELL...in other words, not as fun as it should be. Speaking of my tantrum-haver, she's in love with her dad this week?!?! She had a complete break down when he left to go to Sam's tonight. She ran to the door behind him and just screamed and cried and yelled for her daddy. It was so sad but nice at the same time. She's not usually (at least for the past year) very lovey. She is generally happy just doing whatever with whoever until she gets in trouble and then she wants anyone who isn't the person scolding her. But the last couple days, she's been a total Daddy's girl. And when she's not glued to her dad, she's trying to help me with anything and everything. I don't know what happened to her or if she's been switched with an alien, but she's a total different kid this week. On that note, I've have caught you up on the good, the bad and the in general happenings of the homestead and now I'm departing to my bed.... my mind is jumping around like a kid with ADD after drinking a 12 pack of redbull.....I'm sure you've noticed......waaaaaay past my bedtime. Goodnight
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I do have more to post when I get a minute or two. This week and last have been crazy.... 6 appointments with doctors, physical therapists and prosthetists, ripping up 2 driveways and then putting them back together again, sanding, painting and cleaning my in-laws computer room, watching another child above and beyond my own two, everyone being sick, a birthday party this weekend, planning 2 other birthday parties for both of the next 2 weekends, a walk-a-thon and brainstorming fundraiser ideas.....All that and fighting with Ashtyn for just one decent picture of her and Taylor, or even just of her alone......hopefully it will happen....but for now, I'm pooped.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
***there's a video clip to go with this story, but I can't get it to embed on my blog.... the link is posted below*****
By Liz Tufts
Story Published: Mar 28, 2009 at 6:05 PM EDT
Story Updated: Mar 29, 2009 at 12:58 PM EDT
"I thought I needed to let people know the financial status of the hospitals " explains Ralph Semb. But for Semb, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the news wasn't good. He notified other board members this week of the major budget deficit 22 hospitals across the country are currently facing.
The 22-hospital network relies on public donations--but because of a national recession donations are down. So down in fact, the organization has been losing a million dollars a day since 2001. "If we leave it the way it is then we will have to close 22 hospitals and that's not what we want to do, " says Semb.
So the board is now looking at other options. And that includes closing or suspending the services at six of its hospitals. On the short list, is Springfield's Shriners Hospital. "it's not being used and those are the ones that may be taking the cut, " adds Semb.
Semb says a final decision on the closures will be made sometime in July, but they are trying their best to avoid it. They are also looking into decreasing the hospital's budget by 30 percent, or add the option of third party pay. But if the decision is to close Springfield's hospital, it would effect more than 13-hundred children with orthopedic problems annually.
The medical center has been providing free care to children since the 19-20's. But Semb is confident the children will not be forgotten. "They will be taken care of, even if we have to ship them off to other places, " says Semb.
Other than the patients, if the Springfield facility closes more than 200 employees will also lose their jobs.
Shriners Close Galveston Hospital, Sued by UTMB
News Type: Event — Sun Apr 5, 2009 10:40 PM EDTus-news, nascar, shriners, ralph-semb, david-ragan, douglas-maxwell, east-west-shrine-football-game, galveston-burns-hospital, imperial-potentate, justin-timberlake-pga-shriners-open, shriners-sued-by-utmb, shriners-to-close-hosptialsSandy FrostAccording to national media, the Shriners aren't as well endowed as they used to be.
Headlines are announcing that the Shriners are closing their Galveston burns hospital after it was damaged by Hurricane IKE as well as possibly closing five other hospitals, including those in:
* Erie, Pennsylvania
* Spokane, Washington
* Greenville, South Carolina
* Springfield, Massachusetts
* Shreveport, Louisiana
The Galveston County Daily News has reported that:
"A huge financial loss within the Shriners endowment due to turmoil within the financial markets prompted the organization's CEO (Ralph Semb) to order the (Galveston) hospital to cease operations indefinitely even after promising the hospital would reopen after the storm."
Other headlines read:
"Shriners Prepare to Close Some of Their Children's Hospitals Because of Financial Problems"
This New York Times headline ran on Sunday, July 6, 2003 and reported that the Shriners' endowment lost $2 billion, or a quarter of its value, over the previous three years.
So, just what is an endowment?
"Definition: A fund that is made up of gifts and bequests that are subject to a requirement that the principal be maintained intact and invested to create a source of income for an organization. Donors may set up an endowment to fund a specific interest; and a non profit's governing body may set up an endowment. In any case, an endowment requires that the principal remain intact in perpetuity, or for a defined period of time or until sufficient assets have been accumulated to achieve a designated purpose."
According to a recent ModernHealthCare.com article:
"Semb (Ralph Semb, Chairman of the Shriners Board of Trustees and CEO) said Shriners hospitals have already been asked to cut $200 million from operations this year because of rising health care costs and the endowment's plunge to $5 billion from more than $8 billion…Repairs and renovation to the Galveston hospital following last September's Hurricane Ike were halted in January because of budget constraints."
In addition to insurance coverage, the Shriners have applied for FEMA disaster assistance for the IKE damaged hospital but those funds could be in jeopardy if the Galveston facility is closed.
FEMA assistance is granted to rebuild to pre-existing conditions and is designed to help nonprofits and non government agencies recover by helping pay for disaster related expenses such as debris removal and facility repair. For example, after insurance covers policy obligations, UTMB will most likely be eligible for tens of millions of FEMA dollars because it is planning to rebuild and reopen. This type of assistance is also available to the Shriners, however, FEMA will not pay to rebuild a hospital that is going to be abandoned.
At this point, one might ask questions like
"If things are so bad, why didn't the Shriners try and raise money during the recent national broadcasts of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children PGA Golf Tournament and the East West football game as well as use the opportunities presented as NASCAR driver David Ragan announced the Shriners as his chosen charity?
"And just how much did those events raise?"
And just In case you don't know who the Shriners are, they're the red Fez wearing grandpa-types who have the secret handshakes and drive their goofy little cars around in parades. They are members of a 350,000 member fraternity of those who must first be Master Masons. They meet in nearly 200 North American temples to support and operate their network of 22 hospitals that provides free medical care to burned and crippled children,
It's been discovered that the Shriners also have a secret nonprofit sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters, currently being investigated for links to prostitution, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors and international travel for those purposes after three Jesters were caught in a FBI human trafficking sting. All three, including a former NY state Supreme Court judge, his law clerk & former Erie County prosecutor and a retired police captain, have pleaded guilty to violating or conspiring to violate the Mann Act. You can read all about this and other ethical challenges in this list of findings.
Back to the headlines.
This ABC headline reads "UTMB files lawsuit against Shriner's Children's Hospital."
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Board of Regents for the University of Texas System filed for a restraining order and injunction against the Shriners on March 30 to stop them from closing their Galveston hospital because they allege that the Shriners failed to provide proper notice so the joint research projects could relocated.
This concept of research is very important because it is the first step for processes that commercialize new burn treatments in an industry worth billions. For example, the Shriners helped develop a product that is marketed as Integra Dermal Regenerative System. Integra did pretty well in 2008. According to this press release, "Total revenues in the full year of 2008 were $654.6 million, reflecting an increase of $104.1 million, or 19%, over the full year of 2007… Integra generated $27.1 million in operating cash flows in the fourth quarter and $72.6 million for the full year 2008, a 54% increase over full year 2007."
So, when Shriners announced that they will "suspend indefinitely" operations at the Galveston facility, it means a bit more than shuffling patients and figuring out how to continue patient care.
What follows is a time line from which you can draw your own conclusions, including that which was written by the current Imperial Potentate in his last message as he name drops and gushes about hanging out with celebrities and traveling the world instead of rallying the troops and putting out the call for the faithful to raise money in the face of closing their beloved hospitals.
And about the traveling?
As the Imperial Potentate flies around the world and as board members travel from all over the country to meet in Tampa and to places like Hawaii and wherever else to conduct business, who pays their expenses?
In an attempt to get the other side of the story, the following email was sent on March 23, 2009 and follow up calls were made to Marlena Laguna-Klein, Shriners VP of communications.
To date, there has been no response, including the disclosure of the Shriners' 2007 exempt organization tax return AKA the 990. According to the IRS, nonprofits have 30 days to supply the past three years of tax returns if so asked and face penalties for not doing so.
My name is Sandy Frost and I'm an on-line investigative journalist who specializes in investigating issues of nonprofit compliance. My work is here.
This is a request for the 2007 SHC 501c3 tax returns as they don't seem to be available on Guidestar.org.
Emailing them back to this address or posting them online meets IRS disclosure regulations.
I have a question about the 2006 SHC 501c3 tax return, please find attached.
On page 2, Section 2, Statement of Functional Expenses, Line 29 "Travel" lists $7,080,265. It's not clear how much of that was spent on board expenses, whether it's a board of directors or board of trustees.
I have the same question about Line 30, Conferences, conventions and meetings. How much of the $666,254 went toward board expenses?
I'm asking this because Part V-A, pages 32 - 33 indicates that officers, directors, trustees and key employees list $0 for expense account.
This would mean that those individuals serve voluntarily and pay their own way to Shriner functions, etc. Is this true?
For example, a Texas newspaper is reporting that there is a meeting of the joint boards with hospital officials to discuss the Galveston SHC situation. Do the board members attending this pay to fly to Tampa themselves, pay for hotel, meals, etc? Do the Galveston SHC officials pay their own way?
Thank you in advance for your cooperation,
Here is a timeline that may paint a clearer picture of how the Shriners operate, including how closing the Galveston hospital led to the UTMB taking legal action against them for doing so.
June 3, 2005 - Announcement that Shriners will rebuild Honolulu hospital.
August 7, 2007 - Groundbreaking for a new $73 million, state-of-the-art Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu, Hawaii.
November 12, 2007 - Announcement that this PGA event has been renamed "Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open." Timberlake says he's excited to raise money for the kids. Ralph Semb is happiest about how Timberlake will bring "unprecedented amount of attention and interest to the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open" and does not mention fund raising.
January 4, 2008 - "Erie Shriners Hospital cuts staff" reports the Erie Times News. "Erie Shriners Hospital for Children can't recruit any full-time surgeons, so hospital administrators Thursday laid off the equivalent of 39 full-time employees. Thirty-five employees either retired or were laid off, while 35 others had their work hours reduced. The hospital now employs the equivalent of 108 full-time workers. The first layoffs in the Erie hospital's 80-year history."
January 4, 2008 - Cached article from Penn State Medical Center reports "Shriners has lost three full-time surgeons over the last two years, including chief of staff Jim Sanders, M.D., who left Dec. 14 to accept a job in Rochester, N.Y… A Shriners employee laid off Thursday said she couldn't talk to the Erie Times-News about her situation because her severance agreement includes a clause saying that she promises not to disparage the hospital."
June 14, 2008 - The Honolulu Star- Bulletin announces $73 million Honolulu Shriners Hospital ahead of schedule.
July 3, 2008 - Shriners announce ground breaking for new St. Louis hospital.
September 13, 2008 - Hurricane Ike damages and forces Galveston Shriners burns hospital to close.
October 16 – 19, 2008 - Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals Open broadcast on Golf channel. As Shriner leaders hang out with the rich and famous in Las Vegas, there is little or no mention of or attempt at fund raising to specifically rebuild Galveston or the dire financial situation that threatens hospitals.
October 21, 2008 - Press release about East West Game fails to mention Galveston emergency or need to raise money. First of eight East West game press releases that do not mention need to help Galveston SHC or fund raise to help keep other hospitals open.
November 11, 2008 - Shriners apply for FEMA disaster assistance.
December 15, 2008 - "Patients Represent Shriners Hospital at East West Shrine Football Game" promotes game with no mention of fund raising to help save Galveston or keep other hospitals open.
2008 – 2009 - Message from Imperial Potentate Douglas Maxwell discusses "Justin Timberlake/Shriners Hospitals for Children Las Vegas PGA Open." He drops names like Josh Duhamel of the "Vegas" TV Series, actor Greg Kinnear, professional pitcher Greg Maddux, Olympian Amanda Beard, and Ellen DeGeneres. The event got widespread publicity on "Entertainment Tonight" and in "Sports Illustrated" and he goes on to write about Planet Hollywood and how "Justin had a concert… 'Justin Timberlake and Friends'… to benefit our beloved Shriners hospitals. A few of the guest performers were the Jonas Brothers, Boyz to Men, Rhianna, and a special guest friend of Justin's, Lionel Ritchie, who was introduced as a Shriner. It was quite an event… Even Bill O'Riley, under his section on "Patriots and Pinheads", called Justin a patriot for supporting such a noble cause as Shriners Hospitals. All told, I've been informed that we have received more than $12 million dollars of publicity." There is no mention of the need to raise funds to save Galveston or address the dire situations that threatens other hospitals with closure.
January 16, 2009 - Shriners decide to "suspend operations indefinitely" at Galveston hospital.
January 20, 2009 - Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas makes first public announcement about the hospital's closure as she told the Houston-Galveston Area Council the hospital would not be open, saying she wanted the council to be aware of the anticipated further strain on the Harris County Hospital District.
January 21, 2009 - "Shriners delay new hospital construction" reports that Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis has delayed construction of a new $170 million hospital at the Washington University Medical Center campus as the international Shriners health system struggles with a budget shortfall. "It's the economy that's holding us back," said Ralph Semb. "We have to look at things we are spending money on that we don't necessarily have to. We can only afford to do so much."
January 22, 2009 - "Shriners isle hospital to close indefinitely" KHOU reports a nurse at the hospital said she took the announcement to mean she ought to look for a new job. The closure came as a surprise to the 325 employees who had been assured by hospital officials for more than four months that their jobs were secure. "Many employees streaming out of the meeting Thursday morning declined to comment or provide their names. They said they were told if they spoke to the media they would be immediately fired and would not receive further paychecks. Employees are to be paid through March 31. Hospital employee Robert Gaona removed The Daily News from the meeting because he said it was a private affair for employees only. Later, security guard Karl Piazza removed reporters from the hospital's sidewalk and then called the police."
January 22, 2009 - "Save Shriners Burns Hospital for Children, Galveston Texas" goes on-line.
January 25, 2009 - KBTX reports that Ralph Semb meets with Galveston SHC staff to announce "indefinite suspension." "Reconstruction at the Galveston hospital was halted this week because of the cost. Semb told The Associated Press this week that the hospital had significant damage. He says the group can't afford to repair it."
March 2, 2009 - Last update to Shriners MySpace shows all interest in celebrities and high profile events like East West Shrine Game, Justin Timberlake Shriner Golf Tournament , Justin Timberlake/John Elway Shriner ad, NASCAR driver David Ragan Shriner endorsement but never mentions dire financial situation or sounds the call to raise money to save Galveston or prevent widespread hospital closures.
March 19, 2009 - Announcement that Shriners Hospital Cornerstone Laying Cornerstone-laying ceremonies will be performed at the Shriners Hospital on Punahou Street. The ceremony will be held on March 19, 2009 starting at 3:00PM. The Grand Lodge of Hawaii will perform the ceremony led by MW Dennis Ing and with all the leaders of Masonry present. Imperial Shrine Potentate Doug Maxwell as well as Ill. Pete Larson of Aloha Temple and his divan will attend.
March 13, 2009 - Galveston Daily News reports: "UTMB Galveston's Blocker Burn Unit might be operating" said nursing supervisor. "We are back open," she said. "We can take anyone age 13 and up from zero to 99 percent (burned). UTMB Galveston cannot handle major pediatric burns for those younger than 13 since the Shriner Galveston hospital closed, Shriner Cincinnati is the best place for the youngest patients."
March 24, 2009 - Shriners' joint hospital and executive board voted down a motion to reopen the burns hospital in Galveston.
March 25, 2009 - Galveston County Daily News reports that hospital battle goes public as one Shriner promises to take this up with the 1163 delegates at their upcoming annual convention.
March 26, 2009 - "Shriners vow fight to keep Galveston hospital open" Houston Chronicle reports that "Local Shriners vowed Wednesday to take their case for reopening the storm-damaged Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston to convention delegates after the national leadership again decided to keep it closed. National board members could not be reached for comment."
March 28, 2009 - Ralph Semb sends out this email to Shriner representatives, claiming Shriners have "no money."
Editor's Note: For those Shriners interested in discovering what the 2008 Florida Statutes have to say about corporate records, go here. Shriners interested in what the 2008 Florida Statues have to say about "Inspection of Records by Members," will discover that a member of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy any of the records of the corporation such as the minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting, a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation and accounting records.
March 29, 2009 - Springfield's Shriners Hospital In Danger Of Closing (video) News story reports Shriners Hospitals for Children has been losing a million dollars a day since 2001. "If we leave it the way it is then we will have to close 22 hospitals and that's not what we want to do," says Semb. If the decision is to close Springfield's hospital, it would affect more than 1,300 children with orthopedic problems annually.
On March 30, 2009 - The UTMB filed an application for a restraining order against the Shriners. A copy can be read here. The UTMB video announcement can be seen here.
March 30, 2009 - "Western Mass. supporters rallying around Shriners Hospital in Springfield" Masslive.com is reporting "SPRINGFIELD - Supporters of the Shriners Hospital for Children are vowing to rally around the Carew Street hospital and redouble fund-raising efforts amid news the facility is eyed for possible closure. A spokesman for the Shiners International Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., could not be reached for comment."
March 30, 2009 - "Shriners Hospital in Spokane may close" The Spokesman Review is reporting "Parents, former patients and the medical community reeled from Monday's news that the Shriners may close its children's hospital in Spokane. The hospital is regarded by many as a city jewel – a group of specialists who have healed and helped children for 85 years…Telephone messages left at Shriners headquarters in Tampa, Fla., were not returned."
April 1, 2009 - Greenville SC Shriners Hospital may have to close doors" Greenvilleonline.com reports that "The Greenville hospital has been a part of the community for more than 80 years, treated about 15,000 patients last year and employs 249 people… The hospital, which treats children with cerebral palsy, club foot, spinal abnormalities and other orthopedic conditions, made the list because it is underutilized, (Ralph) Semb said. However, Rodney Brown, chairman of the board of governors for the Greenville Shriners Hospital, said it is seeing more patients every year and always operates under its $18 million budget. "There is no logical reason to close our hospital," he said. "We're seeing 1,600 patients a month in the outpatient setting and do 70 to 80 surgeries a month."
April 2, 2009 - "Erie Shriners Hospital for Children might close" The Erie Times News reported "This is not the first time the Shriners have looked at closing the Erie facility, which opened in 1927. A 2002 consultant's report to the national board of trustees recommended closing Erie's and several other hospitals as a way to cut costs. The board didn't pursue it. In 2005, delegates narrowly rejected a proposal to move Canada's only Shriners Hospital from Montreal to London, Ontario -- only two hours from Erie. Local Shriners had feared the move would have meant closing the Erie hospital. Erie Shriners officials also laid off the equivalent of 39 full-time employees in January 2008. A shortage of surgeons forced the hospital to reduce the number of surgeries it performs."
The UTMB application for a temporary restraining order and injunction states:
• For decades, UTMB has operated a state of the art burn and research and treatment unit on 32,000 square feet of lab and office space in the Shriners hospital that is located on the UTMB campus.
• In 1989, the University of Texas entered into a lease with Shriners pursuant to which Shriners leases property within the UTMB campus.
• Currently, there are approximately sixty-four (64) doctors and scientists who are conducting research at the Burn Research Unit and laboratories.
• The parties recognized and agreed that the burn research unit and labs could not be easily moved or relocated, and that the Affiliation Agreement requires five (5) years notice of termination.
• If serious, unresolvable problems develop between the parties, either party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement upon not less than five (5) year's notice in writing to the other party.
• It is not clear that the decision to close Shriners in Galveston was properly made or authorized.
• As if closing Shriners was not bad enough, on March 12, 2009, Defendants told UTMB that it had exactly 19 days to remove its entire lab and burn research unit operations.
• On 2/25/09 Exec VP of Shriners Keith Gardner wrote a letter to UTMB and stated that Shriners were continuing to assess the remaining repairs to be completed at the hospital site in Galveston.
• Properly moving the entire UTMB operation out of the Shriner facility would cost between $500,000 and $750,000 and could take 8 to 10 weeks.
• Environmental clearances must be obtained to safely construct new facilities in a temporary space.
• Construction of new space is necessary to avoid the loss of research materials that require sensitive storage.
• Freezers and hoods that are critical to the burn institute must be carefully moved, and the new facility must have the appropriate electrical distributions and modifications.
• Recalibrating equipment and certifying hoods from the lab at Shriners in the new spaçe is yet another substantial task.
• There is no space on Galveston island to house the bum research unit as 15,000 square feet of space available on the UTMB campus However, the Burn Research Unit and Laboratories currently occupy 32,000 square feet.
• If UTMB is forced to move the burn research unit and labs in any manner other than specified in the transition plan, there is a substantial likelihood that critical research will be destroyed or impaired as some of the scientists are in the middle of research projects that will be irrevocably lost if the labs are shut down next week.
• Further, UTMB could and would likely lose multiple grants and endorsements for research to be conducted at the facility.
• UTMB has attempted to initiate discussions with the defendants to negotiate a temporary lease and to find other solutions to eviction and cause irreparable harm to UTMB. Shriners have ignored these requests, and have not returned any written correspondence or phone calls from UTMB on the subject.
• UTMB's only recourse is to seek an order restraining Shriners from essentially evicting UTMB from its hospital on March 3l. 2009.
• The conduct of Shriners constitutes a breach of contract.
• Plaintiffs request a show cause order from the Court requiring Defendants to show that the hospital was closed with proper authority.
• lt is essential that the court act immediately, prior to notice on defendants and a hearing on the matter because in the time it would take to formally serve Defendants and schedule a formal hearing, the date by which Defendants have demanded UTMB to remove itself will have passed.
According to a March 28, 2009 story story by KHOU.com:
"The medical branch's offer to lease research space in the Shriners building have been ignored, officials say. But Ralph Semb, president and CEO of Tampa, Fla.-based Shriners Hospitals for Children, said Friday he was taken off guard by the lawsuit. The national office, which operates 22 hospitals, had been in talks with medical branch officials and had offered an extension, Semb said. 'I don't understand where they're coming from,' Semb said. 'We talked to them about extending the time and haven't heard back.'"
The UTMB was scheduled to present their case in the Galveston County District court, 405th Judicial District, tomorrow, Monday, April 6 before The Honorable Wayne J. Mallia, Presiding but the hearing has been rescheduled to April 29th at 9:30 am.
All copies of material reprinted or duplicated from "by Sandy Frost" must include the following credit line: From http://sandyfrost.newsvine.com/ Copyright © 2009 by Sandy Frost. Used by permission.
There are several links on the original publication:
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Erie Shriners Hospital for Children might close
Shriners board mulls plans
BY DAVID BRUCE
email@example.com [more details]
Published: April 02. 2009 12:01AM
Emily Mellish is a regular at the Erie Shriners Hospital for Children.
Emily, 3, was born with spina bifida and scoliosis. The Harborcreek Township girl visits the hospital, 1645 W. Eighth St., every month or two for tests and to have her leg braces adjusted.
"Every person we see when we visit has a willingness to help children. It's amazing, and you don't see that at other hospitals," said Emily's mother, Joy Mellish. "To have a place like this in our own backyard is so wonderful."
(CHRIS SIGMUND / Erie Times-News)
But a Shriners Hospital might not be in Erie's backyard much longer.
The national Shriners board of trustees will consider two proposals that would close six of the Masonic organization's 22 hospitals, including the one in Erie. They are among three cost-cutting plans the board will discuss at its annual meeting in July.
"We had meetings with our employees and told them that it's only a proposal, and that it can't be implemented unless the Shriners vote on it at the July convention," said Bob Howden, Erie Shriners spokesman.
Howden referred other questions to the Shriners' national headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
Most Shriners hospitals, including Erie's, provide free orthopedic care to children. Others specialize in burn care.
The Shriners organization pays the costs out of an endowment that has shrunk from $8.5 billion to $5 billion over the past year because of the stock market decline, said Shriners Hospitals for Children Chief Executive Ralph Semb.
"We're in a financial shipwreck, like the Titanic," Semb said. "We are $300 million short in funding to run the hospitals for 2009."
To reduce expenses, Semb said, the Shriners will consider three proposals in July:
-Close the hospitals in Erie; Shreveport, La.; Greenville, N.C.; Spokane, Wash.; Springfield, Mass.; and Galveston, Texas. Reduce the other hospitals' 2009 budgets 5 to 9 percent.
-Close the same six hospitals, reduce the budgets of the other hospitals by about 10 percent, and eventually start billing families' health insurers for treatment.
-Keep all 22 hospitals open but slash their budgets 20 to 30 percent.
"That last option would paralyze the Erie hospital anyway," Semb said. "If you cut its budget by that amount, it's not going to be able to provide services."
This is not the first time the Shriners have looked at closing the Erie facility, which opened in 1927.
A 2002 consultant's report to the national board of trustees recommended closing Erie's and several other hospitals as a way to cut costs. The board didn't pursue it.
In 2005, delegates narrowly rejected a proposal to move Canada's only Shriners Hospital from Montreal to London, Ontario -- only two hours from Erie. Local Shriners had feared the move would have meant closing the Erie hospital.
Erie Shriners officials also laid off the equivalent of 39 full-time employees in January 2008. A shortage of surgeons forced the hospital to reduce the number of surgeries it performs.
It has recruited one full-time surgeon, but it still lacks a permanent chief of staff.
"We've looked at the Erie hospital for years," Semb said. "It's run efficiently, but it's been underutilized. They've had issues getting surgeons up there."
Families travel hundreds of miles to seek treatment for children at the Erie Shriners Hospital. The facility treated more than 8,000 children in 2008.
If it were to close, the next closest Shriners orthopedic facilities would be in Philadelphia, 420 miles away, and Chicago, 445 miles.
"We go to the Erie hospital so often, to change the bracing or for tests, that I don't know if we could afford to travel to Philly that often," Joy Mellish said.
Shriners officials have been talking with Hamot Medical Center about renting space at the downtown Erie hospital for a clinic and leasing its hospital to Hamot, Semb said.
Hamot spokeswoman Lucia Conti confirmed that preliminary discussions have been held with Shriners, but she said "nothing concrete" has been decided.
Hamot owns the land where the Shriners Hospital now sits.
"The bottom line is that we need a more efficient way of helping children," Semb said. "Maybe renting space at another hospital and putting our logo up there will work."
An Erie woman, Michelle Wetsell, has started an online petition demanding that the Erie Shriners Hospital for Children remain open. You can access the petition at
Friday, April 3, 2009
There is a petition at the end of this..... you can print it out and mail it in.... if you can send a donation.....every dollar will help.....make sure to tell them its for Springfield!!! You can also email it to (the person who I believe started the petition) firstname.lastname@example.org I know a lot of you think a petition will do nothing but our voices are their best shot at staying open. The more people that fight, the less likely they will close our hospital down.
Shriners International Headquarters
2900 Rocky Point Dr. Tampa, FL 33607
Shriners Hospitals for Children
516 Carew St. Springfield, MA 01104-2396
Western Mass. supporters rallying around Shriners Hospital in Springfield
by The Republican Newsroom
Monday March 30, 2009, 8:00 PM
By PATRICK JOHNSON
SPRINGFIELD - Supporters of the Shriners Hospital for Children are vowing to rally around the Carew Street hospital and redouble fund-raising efforts amid news the facility is eyed for possible closure.
"This is our hospital; those are our children," said Gary Block of Longmeadow. "I'm going to do my damnedest to keep my hospital open."
Block is president of the Melha Riders Motorcycle Club, the largest motorcycle club in the country dedicated to raising money for Shriners programs. It's annual biker run last year raised $25,000 for the Carew Street hospital.
Block, a member of the Melha Shrine Temple, said he has been aware of the hospital network's financial problems for some time. The recent announcement was an eye opener for a lot of others who have worked to raise money for Shriners programs.
Ralph Semb, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, announced Friday that on-going financial problems with the Shriners system has the Board of Trustees considering shutting six of its 22 hospitals, including the hospital here.
Semb said the hospital network, which relies on donations and income from an endowment fund, is losing about $1 million per day.
No decision has been made, and closures are just one option to be considered at the board's next meeting in July, he said.
Bernadette White, spokeswoman for the Carew Street facility, said reactions have overall been very supportive.
"A lot of people are coming through the front door or giving us a call," she said Monday. "They want to support us. It's nice to know the community supports us."
In particular, parents of children receiving medical treatment have been called to express concern, she said. But most have been quick to ask what they can do to help.
She emphasized no final decision about closing has been made. It is one of several options under consideration, and maybe other options will materialized before July, she said.
A spokesman for the Shiners International Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., could not be reached for comment.
Ariel E. Miller, 18, of Longmeadow, also said it would be sad to see the Carew Street hospital closed.
Miller, a senior at Longmeadow High School is a member of the school community service program, Interact.
Its upcoming show Longmeadow Idol will this year, as it has for the past five years, raise money for Shriners programs.
Each year the show, planned this year for April 15, raised about $2,000. She said she is hoping this year to top that.
"We're trying to do everything we can," she said. "It would really, really be a shame if they close the hospital."
Block said the Shriners have not been exempt from the recession that has gripped the country.
He said he is hopeful alternatives to closing can be found, and thinks people who give to the Shriners may now see an urge to give more.
"If anything people should say 'That's our hospital.' People should rally to support it," he said. "Maybe some good will come out of something bad."
Posted by hmtzcronin16 on 03/30/09 at 10:57PM
Hello! For all of you who are interested, below there is a petition/letter to help save Shriners. My husband and I have a son who had a severe form of Bacterial Meningitis when he was two years old. He has received his first pair of prosthetic legs from Shriners and all the rest that have followed since he was three years old(he is now 12!). We are fortunate (so far)to have health insurance yet, the quality of care and exceptional employees at Shriners are reasons we have not ever looked elsewhere. We hope that Shriners can find a way to utilize the insurance that patients do have. However, until then, we ask that you please help the community advocate that everything is done to preserve this pillar of hope for so many!
If you are interested, please copy and past this letter below(also add anything else you would like-and your name /email) and I will print the letters to give to the Board when they meet again in two months.If you have any questions/thoughts or other ideas please feel free to call *** *** **** or email @ email@example.com. Thank You so much!
To: The Board of Trustees for the Shriners Hospital and Ralph Semb, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Shriners Hospitals.
PLEASE SAVE SPRINGFIELD SHRINERS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN ON CAREW STREET!
This hospital has been providing needed care and is an asset to our community. The Shriners Hospital in Springfield, founded in 1925, is one of nineteen in the Shriners network that specialize in pediatric specialty care and orthopedics. Closing this hospital cannot be an option! Shriners has not only saved lives but has immensely improved the QUALITY and Mobility of life for others. Now, in particular, it is important to advocate and support the services that Shriners provides for thousands and thousands of children each year. Many people have lost their jobs and are unemployed. along with this comes loss of insurance,transportation and adequate healthcare services. Should Shriners close, familes and surrounding communities will falter even more.
Without insurance,they will likely have to go without care. With soaring unemployment rates, high gas prices and limited means of transportation to drive to a hospital that would be hundreds of miles away, many patients will go without this care. The type of care that will be lost is not just basic annual check ups, it is a vast range of care. For example, a young boy wearing prosthetic legs is likely to grow so quickly that he requires a new pair of prosthetic legs to be made once every six months! Without this, skin infections occur from improperly fitted prosthesis and eventual severely challenged ability/mobility from having no legs to wear at all! The quality and dignity of life that is affected for the patients of Shriners Hospital is a physical and emotional one -a basic need that we all have a right to have met,not compromised.
This is a time in which a hospital like Shriners is even more of a saving grace!Look at how the community is rallying together for a great cause. We will all be willing to help in any way necessary to put the word out there for what we can do and yes, we can do it together! This petition is to NOT close Shriners Hospital in Springfield, MA!
Thank You for your time and consideration!
Name of resident/date/
City of residence and email
I was at Shriners today and I talked to a couple people there about what is going on, and what we could to help out. The Director of Public Relations, Bernadette White, assured me that any donations earmarked for Springfield would go to Springfield, O&P to O&P, etc. There was a big discussion about where money goes this week and that was they found out......where ever you say you want it to go, that is where it will go.
Aside from that, we, the parents of small children, the children and young adults who can write themselves, all need to send in letters to Shriners to thank them for their help, express how lost we would be without them, the good things they've done, anything and everything you can think of to show your support. Send them to your local Shrine, send them to the Shriners Hospital you go to, send them to your local news and tell them what is going on. We can be the biggest help. We are the ones who can do it, not the employees. The Shriners will be having a national meeting in July (around the 4th) and they will decide then what will happen. If they have thousands of letters to show support in keeping a certain hospital or all the hospitals doors open, they will help them immensely in fighting their case. The hospitals will also be sending letters to the families soon, so watch your mail box. If you can afford to donate, please do. If you can start a fund raiser, do it. Yard sale, bake sale, car wash anything and donate the money to your local Shriners. We all need to try to help now before we lose our Shriners Hospitals.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Springfield Shriners Hospital May Close
Posted: March 27, 2009 04:54 PM EDT
Updated: March 28, 2009 12:14 AM EDT
By: Elizabeth Corridan
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (abc40) -- The Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield could be closing. There are 22 hospitals in the nationwide Shriners network. The Board of Trustees is considering closing six of them to help cut $200 million for the annual budget.
"As we look at the system and we look at if we're going to survive and keep Shriners Hospitals active and continue to help children, we have to retrofit the system," said Ralph Semb, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Friday.
Employees at Shriners Hospital for Children on Carew Street in Springfield were called to a meeting at 1:00 p.m. Friday. They were told the hospital is one of the six under consideration for closing. Semb says the board felt obligated to alert employees in advance.
Founded in 1925, the Springfield facility specializes in orthopaedic pediatric treatment. All care is provided free of charge.
Closures are a last resort. The board is considering all options including massive budget cuts and accepting third party pay. Members could also vote to do nothing and continue operating at a deficit. Semb says that course of action would have a dramatic impact on the entire network. Within 8 years all 22 hospitals would be in jeopardy of closing.
For patients who have received years of treatment at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, the news of an impending closure is devastating. Christian Lalli was 3 months old when he first went for a consultation. Other doctors had told his parents he would never walk. The doctors at Shriners disagreed. After numerous operations, several pairs of custom-fit braces and orthopaedic equipment Christian could walk. He says without the hospital and its staff, he would never have gone to high school, never graduated college and never been able to walk. He is disheartened to hear the legacy of care could be coming to an end. "It just makes me sad because it's such a big part of my life," Lalli said.
A formal vote on the closures is schedule for July
Shriners tells employees hospital won't reopen
By Rhiannon Meyers
The Daily News
Published January 23, 2009
GALVESTON — Some walked out crying; others carried boxes of stuff.
Still others had anger in their voices when they left a meeting, closed to the media and general public, in which executives officially announced to staff that Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston would close indefinitely as it struggles with a nearly $3 billion shortfall in an endowment that funds it and other pediatric centers.
Closing the 30-bed hospital would save the Tampa, Fla.-based philanthropic organization as much as $30 million in yearly operating expenses, officials said in a confidential letter to employees. But employees wondered what it would mean for children and burn research. The island has been home to Shriners for years.
Ahmed Al-Mousawi, a research fellow at the hospital world renowned for treating badly burned children, was upset about how hospital officials and executives handled the decision to close the Galveston hospital, or what he called the “right arm” of the national hospital network, he said.
He doubted that thousands of philanthropic Shriners would allow one of the nation’s top burn institutes to close, he said.
“I don’t think they’ll accept this decision lying down,” he said.
Others weren’t so sure.
Kathy Cooper, a nurse at the hospital, said she took the announcement to mean she ought to look for a new job.
The closure came as a surprise to the 325 employees who had been assured by hospital officials for more than four months that their jobs were secure, Cooper said.
“It’s over,” she said. “It’s over here. And that’s sad.”
Shriners officials blame financial constraints for the indefinite closure. The hospital has been closed since it was damaged by Hurricane Ike, which struck Sept. 13.
But crews had been making repairs and in November, officials were adamant the hospital would reopen.
But the hospital this week suspended operations and stopped repairs to the damaged building, 815 Market St.
With the financial markets battered and Shriners’ endowment down by nearly $3 billion, it didn’t make sense to reopen the hospital until funds and the economy recovers, officials said.
That could take months or years, officials have said.
Many foundations earn money from investing their endowments in a mix of stocks and bonds, which took a hit in 2008.
Expenses this year are expected to exceed the total amount of gifts and bequests, dividend and interest income and other sources of operating income, officials said in a confidential letter to employees.
Officials promised to pay employees salaries and benefits until March 31.
Shriners also would adjust work hours and schedules to allow for the transition of current patients to alternative health care providers within and outside its system, officials said in the confidential letter.
Media Kicked Out
Many employees streaming out of Thursday’s meeting declined to comment or provide their names.
They said they were told if they spoke to the media they would be fired immediately and would not receive their paychecks.
Hospital employee Robert Gaona removed The Daily News from the meeting because he said it was a private affair for employees only.
Later, security guard Karl Piazza removed reporters from the hospital’s sidewalk and then called the police.
A letter explaining the decision, which was distributed at the meeting, was stamped “confidential.”
“This is one of many steps in a systemwide effort to achieve long-term financial stability,” the letter states.
The closure will cost most of the 325 employees their jobs and force young patients to receive treatment at other Shriners hospitals in Boston, Cincinnati and Sacramento, which also specialize in treatment for burns, officials said.
While Shriners CEO Ralph Semb earlier this week said closure of the hospital isn’t permanent, some employees speculated it would be difficult to reopen within the next two or three decades once staff members and researchers seek other employment opportunities elsewhere.
“I don’t think this is the right decision,” Al-Mousawi said.
Natasha Brooks, a University of Texas Medical Branch graduate student who conducts her research at Shriners hospital in Galveston, said the meeting was filled with tears and anxiety.
She left feeling unnerved and uncertain about her research but remained hopeful that “things would work out,” she said.
The economic downturn also has forced the organization, with 23 hospitals, to stop reconstruction work on facilities in Los Angeles and St. Louis, Semb said.
Reporter Laura Elder contributed to this report.