Media Releases

Ring bells on Nov. 1 for National Hospice Month

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HANCOCK – November is National Hospice Month, and Portage Health Home Care & Hospice is inviting you to join them in celebrating by ringing bells at noon on Thursday, Nov. 1.

The annual “Bells for Hospice” is a nationwide moment that’s meant to honor all who have died under hospice care during the last year, and also in respect for their families.

“This is a special moment for all of us, and we hope you’ll join us this year,” said Marianne Berghefer, Portage Health Hospice volunteer and bereavement coordinator.

Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care at the end of life, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach of expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's wishes. Emotional and spiritual support is also extended to the family and loved ones. Generally, this care is provided in the patient's home or in a home-like setting operated by a hospice program. Medicare, private health insurance, and Medicaid in Michigan cover hospice care for patients who meet certain criteria.

Work places, religious institutions, schools and any other place where people are gathered are invited to ring bells at noon.

“This is a great chance to create awareness for hospice, and a chance for people to think about hospice as a plan for care for themselves or someone close to them,” Berghefer said.

Learn more about hospice by visiting the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Michigan at, or by visiting

2012 Lights of Love program kicks off campaign

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HANCOCK – The Portage Hospital Auxiliary is once again recognizing and honoring loved ones with its annual Lights of Love program at the hospital.

Each year, the Portage Hospital Auxiliary decorates and lights a Christmas tree in honor or memory of our relatives and friends, and places the tree in the Portage Health lobby.

Lights of Love Photo

The Lights of Love Tree last year with the list of names either honored or remembered next to it.

“Every year this tree truly brightens our staff and community’s experience in our lobby,” said Robbyn Lucier, director of human resources. “We hope you’ll consider supporting our effort by reserving a light in your loved one’s name.”

Each light is in memory or honor of a loved one or organization. Each light requires a minimum $5 donation, which funds a healthcare education scholarship fund.

“This scholarship fund has helped local young people realize their dream of becoming a healthcare provider,” said Lucier.

All recipients of the scholarship must be attending college for a healthcare-related field and be from the four-county area.

In order for your names to be displayed in the lobby of the hospital, donations must be received no later than Friday, Nov. 23.

On Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m. the Portage Hospital Auxiliary will be hosting a tree-lighting ceremony and social. At the event all of the names will be read, refreshments will be served and all in attendance will enjoy seasonal music performed by local youth.

For more information, visit, or contact Connie Greenleaf at (906) 483-1507 or Robbyn Lucier at (906) 483-1514.

Home Medical Equipment store now opens at 9 a.m.

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The Apothecary Home Medical Equipment store, located on the corner of Campus Drive and Elevation Street, is now open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are pleased to expand our business hours to better serve our patients,” said Jason Evans, director of pharmacy.

The store previously opened at 10 a.m.

“This change makes accesses easier for our patients,” said Sarah Pini, durable medical equipment coordinator. “It’s especially easier for our patients that have early-morning appointments at the hospital.”

The Apothecary HME offers sleep apnea devices, home and bath aides, compression stockings, walkers and much, much more for patients.

Call (906) 483-1290 or visit for information.

First ever Hockey for Health scheduled for Nov. 10

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HOUGHTON – Scoring big for their community, the Keweenaw Health Foundation and Portage Health Foundation are coming together to co-host “Hockey for Health” a fundraising hockey game slated for Saturday, Nov. 10 at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Hockey for HealthThe event will feature teams made up of employees from Aspirus Keweenaw and Portage Health playing a for-fun hockey game to increase awareness of each organization’s foundations and raise money to aid the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association and Calumet Hockey Association.

“Both of our organizations play a vital role in our community,” said Jim Bogan, president/CEO of Portage Health. “We’re pleased to be able to work together on a project that will benefit the youth in our communities as well as our foundations.”

The family-friendly event is free for children (18 and under) and $5 for adults. The inaugural Hockey for Health will feature a festive atmosphere with games and exhibits scattered throughout the main level.

The Keweenaw Health Foundation, Portage Health Foundation, Copper Country Junior Hockey Association and Calumet Hockey Association will receive proceeds from the event.

“Hockey is a big part of our community and something all of us can come together to celebrate,” said Chuck Nelson, president/CEO of Aspirus Keweenaw. “We’re happy to be supporting the efforts of the hockey associations, who both have pressing needs to keep our area’s youth active and engaged.” For more information visit

Inaugural Keweenaw Food Day set for Oct. 24

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HOUGHTON - Eat Real. That’s the message for the inaugural Keweenaw Food Day, which will be celebrated on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in downtown Houghton.

Food Day LogoThe event includes a free street-side cooking demo, the Keweenaw Eat Real Educational Market, a presentation of the film “Dirty Work, The Story of Elsie’s Farm” and Harvest Feast on Friday the 26th.

The Keweenaw Food Day is part of the national movement for Food Day, a celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

“This movement is vital to our future,” said Sara Salo, from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department. “This event is a great educational opportunity for our community to learn about healthy food options. We hope to see families from all over the Keweenaw joining us.”

The Keweenaw Co-op, Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Portage Health and the Portage Lake District Library partnered to make the inaugural Keweenaw Food Day possible. A full schedule of events is available below:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Street-side Cooking Demonstration – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join Portage Health Head Chef Mark Pittillo and the rest of the Portage Health nutrition services staff on the streets of downtown Houghton for some delicious homemade hot apple cider and homemade squash made from fresh, locally grown produce and learn how to make these same things in your home.

Keweenaw Eat Real Educational Market – 3 – 6 p.m.
The Keweenaw Eat Real Educational Market will be an interactive showcase of community food producers and distributors that features food samples, growing methods, food-preparation techniques, music, vendors and more. Come celebrate food and learn about food choices that lead to a healthier lifestyle. For more information contact Faye Carr at (906) 482-2030. The market will be in front of the Portage Lake District Library in downtown Houghton, and is made possible by the Portage Lake District Library, Keweenaw Co-op and the Western U.P. Health Department.

Film Presentation: “Dirty Work, The Story of Elsie’s Farm” – 6:30 p.m.
The film, hosted by the Portage Lake District Library and Keweenaw Co-op, is an engaging portrait of a couple, Don Roberts and Joni Cash, and their audacious, perhaps quixotic dream to take an old farm, invest it with new ideas and grow a community. For more information about the showing, contact Faye Carr at (906) 482-2030. Learn more at

Friday, October 26, 2012
Harvest Feast – 6 – 10 p.m. – Brownstone Hall

Portage Health and the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department are teaming up to finish Keweenaw Food Day with a hoot-hollering good time at Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. The event will feature live music by Tom Katalin starting at 6 p.m., a delicious meal made mostly of locally grown produce, a costume contest and a DJ to finish the night. Entry is $10 plus 10 healthy non-perishable items. All proceeds go to the Western U.P. Food Bank. Register here,

To keep up with all of the latest news from the inaugural Keweenaw Food Day visit


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