ERMC Foundation plans golf outing

The Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) Foundation Golf Outing will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018 at Eldorado Golf Course. Golfers will enjoy 18 holes of golf with cart, lunch, prizes, hors d'oeuvres and a drink ticket. A $10,000 Hole-in-One challenge will be sponsored by Ackley-Peters-Haubert Insurance Service, Inc. Consumers Professional Credit Union will be sponsoring the famous Shoot-for-Loot hole with cash and lottery ticket prizes.

The ERMC Foundation uses contributions to assist the hospital in keeping up with the ever-changing advancements in healthcare and technology. The Foundation recently approved the purchase of 3D Mammography. The community benefits from the free educational programs, health screenings, counseling, support groups and school-based programs offered annually by the Medical Center. To participate or sponsor a team, contact Lindsay Peters at 517-663-9524 or

Article posted on July 11, 2018. - Article Permalink

Staying Healthy at Animal Exhibits and Fairs this Summer

The various summertime fairs around Michigan, including the Barry and Eaton County Fairs, offer many ways to explore the animal world. Exhibits such as petting zoos and fairs allow children of all ages to have a thrilling face-to-face experience with animals. This interaction allows children and adults to learn more about animals and helps to build an important human-animal bond.

Unfortunately, many people become sick every year because of a visit to an animal exhibit. It is important to remember that animals sometimes carry germs that are harmful to humans. When people forget to wash their hands after petting an animal, or bring food or drinks into an area where animals are exhibited, they are at risk for becoming ill.

The first germ to be aware of at summer animal exhibits is novel influenza (flu), which is a virus that can be spread from pigs or poultry (like chickens and turkeys) to people. This happens when someone comes into contact with the droplets from an animal’s cough or sneeze, or by touching a surface that has those droplets on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.

The second group of germs to know about is germs that cause gastrointestinal diseases, such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can infect a person’s stomach and intestines. The most common way for someone to become infected with these germs at animal exhibits is by touching animals or nearby surfaces that have been contaminated by feces (poop) and then eating or touching their face with their hands.

Stay healthy this summer! Below are tips to help prevent illness when visiting animal exhibits:

Wash Your Hands Often

  • Find out where hand washing stations are located.
  • Always wash your hands right after petting animals or touching the animal pens or fences.
  • Always wash your hands upon exiting animal areas (even if you did not touch an animal), after using the restroom, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.
  • Use running water and soap for the best protection. Use hand sanitizers if running water and soap are not available. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as a sink is available.

Eat and Drink Safely

  • Keep food and drinks out of animal areas.
  • Do not share human food with animals.
  • Food should be prepared, served, and eaten only in areas where animals are not permitted.
  • Do not eat or drink raw (unpasteurized) products, including milk, cheeses, and cider or juices.
  • Individuals should wash their hands before preparing food or drinks and before eating and drinking.

Keep Children Safe around Animals

  • Children younger than 5 years of age always need adult supervision in animal areas.
  • Never allow children to put their thumbs, fingers, or objects (for example, pacifiers or sippy cups) in their mouth while interacting with animals.
  • Supervise hand washing.
  • Do not take or use strollers, bottles, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, or toys in animal areas or barns.
  • Children under 5 years of age, elderly persons, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should use extra precautions when around animal exhibits.

People who attend an animal exhibit and later become ill, with either flu-like symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and/or tiredness or with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, especially with a fever or bloody stools, should contact their doctor. Be sure to let the doctor know about any recent contact with animals. Most animal-related illnesses would appear within one week after animal contact.

For more information on how to keep people and pets healthy, including information for those who should take extra precautions, visit the CDC’s Healthy Pets Healthy People website at or call the Barry-Eaton District Health Department at (269) 798-4152 in Barry County or (517) 541-2641 in Eaton County.

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on July 3rd, 2018. - Article Permalink

Vendor Spotlight: Sapo de Solis

Chuck Middaugh was setting up his booth for the ERMC Farmers Market on a bright sunny afternoon when I met him. He was busily stretching a large cloth sign that read Sapo De Solis in tall letters between two poles of his market tent, and arranging dozens of fragrant products on wooden stands and crates. Mason jars tied off with brown twine, cleaning products displayed in minimalist packaging, and chunks of marbled soap wrapped in cellophane made the space look organized and ready for business. While Chuck continued to prepare before the market officially opened, I had the chance to ask him a few questions about Sapo de Solis, the small business he and his husband run making and selling natural care and cleaning products.

“It all started with laundry detergent,” Chuck tells me, referring to the company’s signature Miracle Whip Laundry Detergent. “We noticed all of the chemicals in our laundry detergent and wanted to find another alternative. After making that, we tried other products and started making shampoo to give away as gifts. Eventually, we started working on products like the natural Castile soap.”

All of Sapo de Solis’ products (including the incredibly versatile Castile soap which can be used for anything from washing fruits and veggies to scrubbing kitchen counters) are plant based and contain no animal products. Sapo de Solis’ creations are also made without any detergents—an ingredient common in many store-bought products that can strip your skin of its natural oils.

“Our products are different from the ones at the store because they’re actually soap!” laughs Middaugh. “There’s no detergent, no alcohol, and no parabens so the products are healthier for you and more moisturizing. Plus, it’s cheaper!”

Strolling around the light, airy booth checking out the wide variety of Sapo de Solis’ natural products, it’s clear a lot of hard work and creativity went into each one. Chuck tells me that some products are easier to make than others, while some pose a unique challenge.

“The lotions are something that’s an accomplishment for me, and something I’m particularly proud of. They were the most difficult to get right, and took some time. They’re coconut oil and beeswax based,” he explains.

In addition to local farmers markets, Sapo de Solis has other venues for selling their products, including an Etsy shop and a website. However, those avenues can become expensive and frustrating for small business owners. Plus, Chuck says, he loves coming to sell at markets like the one held every Wednesday at ERMC because he gets to communicate with customers and find out firsthand what they think of the products.

“I love getting direct feedback from customers,” Chuck says. “I really prefer selling face to face because I get to interact with them and talk about what they think.”

Moving forward, Middaugh says he wants to focus on growing Sapo de Solis’ brand recognition, as well as investing in reusable and renewable practices for the business. The company already makes many efforts to reduce their carbon footprint through simple choices like using paper instead of plastic and packaging products in reusable containers. In the future, he plans to make the business even more eco-friendly by investing in reusable tote bags printed with the brand’s logo that every customer will receive with their purchase.

Finally, I ask Chuck what the story is behind the name of the company, and how it came to be. He smiles and says, “We wanted something that people would want to ask about! We stumbled across it when we were trying to figure out what to call the shop. It means ‘soap of the sun’ in Italian.”

You can find Sapo de Solis in the parking lot of Eaton Rapids Medical Center every Wednesday during the Farmers Market from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. all summer long.

Article posted on June 14th 2018. - Article Permalink

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