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01-09-2020 Lakeland welcomes first baby of 2020 for Southwest Michigan; Watervliet District Library’

Lakeland welcomes first baby of 2020 for Southwest Michigan

(Press Release) The BirthPlace at Lakeland Hospital Niles welcomed Southwest Michigan’s first baby of 2020 at 12:59 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Ashley Swisher and Austin Zavoral of Buchanan are the proud new parents of a son, Ryker James Zavoral. Baby Ryker weighed in at six pounds, four ounces, and measured 18-1/4 inches long. In keeping with their annual tradition of celebrating the first baby of the year, the Lakeland Auxiliary provided the family with a gift basket full of baby items valued at $100.

Lakeland is served by a team of 23 obstetrics and gynecology providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives. In 2019, the Economic Alliance of Michigan (EAM) awarded Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph with the Maternity Care Excellence Award for demonstrated excellence and improvement in maternity care and delivery outcomes. Lakeland Hospital Niles was also awarded the 2019 Maternity Care Improvement for demonstrated decreases in cesarean rates, episiotomy, and elective early delivery over a two-year period.

For more information about the BirthPlace, visit

THESE KUTE KIDS ARE… the eight great-grand kiddos of David & Esther Rodney helping them celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary. In the photo with the Rodneys are Myla (4), Charlotte (4), Vivian (4 months), Maisy (5 months), Sloane (4), Logan (20 months), Molly (2) and Elizabeth (8). David & Esther Rodney are currently living in Arkansas and are formally of Eau Claire/ Berrien Springs, Texas & Illinois. Parents of Elizabeth, Charlotte and Vivian are Sarah & Brad Manning of Hartford. Parents of Sloane & Logan are Ryan & Ashley Isbrecht of Texas. Parents of Myla, Molly & Maisy are Melissa & Michael Tepool of Coloma.

Watervliet District Library’s Legacy Brick-Walk takes shape

People strolling through Watervliet District Library’s Garden Park today will see more than dormant plant-life. The park’s brick pathway includes many familiar names, each dedicated to a special person and memory. Always a part of the vision for the park, the brick walkway provides a means to share a remembrance or an honor with the purchase of an engraved brick. These add to the beauty of the park and truly make it a local landmark.

The process, however, does take time. Once an engraving order has been received by the library, it’s added to a growing list of requests. These are turned in to the engraver when a sufficient number are received. Proofs are exchanged several times to verify accuracy. Engraving is then done in batches of ten or more before ready for pick-up.

At this point, further work is determined by temperatures, snow cover or rain, occasionally prohibiting placement of the bricks until well into May. When the weather is warm enough, the engraved bricks are swapped out with blank bricks, already on the path.

The Library Garden Park was designed as a place of beauty, inspiration and contemplation. The engraved bricks along the walk-way provide an additional incentive to stop and enjoy this community gem. Anyone wishing to add an engraved brick of their own is encouraged to stop by the library to pick up a form, or print one out from the library’s website, at

Maritime Lecture Series tackles beached shipwreck documentation

The Michigan Maritime Museum’s Maritime Lecture Series continues with State of Michigan Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi on Wednesday, Jan. 22 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and his presentation “The Robert’s Cove Wreck: Combining Archaeological and Historic Research to Identify a Shipwreck.”

Museum Director of Education Ashley Deming says, “With high water levels and storm activity the Michigan coastline has endured, we’ve gotten many calls about historic shipwreck material on the beaches and what people should do about it. Lusardi’s expertise will discuss what people can do when they find material on the beach and how best to share that with experts.”

Shipwrecks, particularly those in near shore, shallow water environments, are often fragmented to a point where identification is challenging, if not impossible. Extensive information about a shipwreck can be collected archaeologically, though a complete historic record of the vessel cannot be made until the site is positively identified. The Robert’s Cove wreck in Lake Huron is a case study in the process of using archaeology and historic research to identify a shipwreck, thus combining two bodies of data to give a more complete account of a previously unknown shipwreck. There are some basic things anyone can do to record these sites to help with documentation and identification.

Wayne Lusardi is Michigan’s State Maritime Archaeologist. He has been at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary since 2002. Lusardi researches and documents the nearly 1,500 shipwrecks located in the state. He is involved in all aspects of fieldwork, survey, research, education and outreach. Lusardi has an extensive background in underwater and terrestrial archaeology, artifact conservation, and material culture studies. He was previously employed as an archaeological conservator for the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia and excavated the USS Monitor’s turret after its recovery in 2002. He also spent four years on the Blackbeard shipwreck project in North Carolina. He received his MA degree in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University in 1998, and a BS in Anthropology from Illinois State University.

Admission is $8, $7 for seniors. There is no admission fee for Museum members. Museum doors will at 6 p.m. the evening of the lecture. The Museum is located at 260 Dyckman Ave. in South Haven and is open regularly from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday – Saturday the month of January. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 or visit

Lakeland offers incisionless surgery for chronic heartburn and reflux

Over twenty million Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions. The new Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure, using the innovative EsophyX device, is performed without incisions and is now available at Lakeland General Surgery, Niles, located at 42 North St. Joseph Avenue.

The TIF procedure is based on established principles of surgical repair of the anti-reflux barrier. Performed through the mouth with an endoscope, the procedure reduces a hiatal hernia and rebuilds the valve between the stomach and esophagus restoring the natural, physiological anatomy to prevent GERD. Because the procedure is incisionless, there is reduced pain, shorter recovery and no visible scar.

“Reflux medication like PPIs [proton pump inhibitors] can help relieve patients’ heartburn symptoms but don’t solve the underlying anatomical problems or prevent further disease progression,” said general surgeon, Seth Miller, MD. “Even on PPIs many patients are still unable to eat the foods they want or are forced to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux. After the TIF procedure, clinical trials show that most patients can eat and drink foods they avoided for many years. Reflux no longer impacts their life like it previously did.”

Recent studies of the TIF procedure have shown that it can reduce patients’ dependency on medications with 75% of patients completely off their daily medications after three years and experiencing a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit or call 269-684-6696.

Southwestern Medical Clinic providers donate $75,000 to

Lakeland Pavilion

Southwestern Medical Clinic providers recently donated $75,000 in support of the Atrium dining area, located on the basement level of the new Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion. Renovations to the space include new food stations, modern décor, natural light, and digital menu screens. The cafeteria and new dining area are currently open to the public.

“Southwestern Medical Clinic has a long history of serving families in Southwest Michigan,” said Dan Hayward, MD, president, Southwestern Medical Clinic Physicians, Inc. “We are honored to provide this space of respite and refreshment for all who find themselves here and grateful for the opportunity to support the new Pavilion.”

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of Southwestern Medical Clinic providers,” said Brandi Smith, president, Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation. “Not only do our physicians and clinicians provide the best care for our patients, they also give back to the community in tremendous ways.”

To date, community members have donated nearly $7 million in support of the Pavilion. Phase I of project will be completed in February 2020. Phase II, which includes 80,000 square feet renovated space, is projected to be completed late 2020. For continued updates on the project, including architectural animations, visit


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12 Corners Church Car Show, June 22

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