Text Size:
Dyslexia Assistance:

News & Events

Moolenaar honors retiring Markey for leadership of the Arnold Center

Midland Daily News: December 16, 2016

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, recently presented Charles Markey, the president of the Arnold Center, with a tribute for his years of leadership at the organization.

Markey has been president of the Arnold Center since 2009 and he has played an instrumental role in its mission to improving the quality of life for those who live with disabilities.

The tribute that was entered into the Congressional Record last week in the House of Representatives follows: EXTENSION OF REMARKS – THURSDAY, DEC. 8, 2016

"Mr. Speaker: I rise today to pay tribute to Charles Markey, the president of the Arnold Center, upon his retirement on Dec. 31, 2016. Mr. Markey has made many contributions to Midland and the great state of Michigan.

Mr. Markey attended Central Michigan University, where he excelled as a member of the football team. After graduating in 1974 with a bachelor of science degree, Mr. Markey joined IBM. From 1974 to 2004 he held several different titles and went on to become the vice president of solution sales before becoming a partner at IM1 Capital Group, LLC. During this time he was inducted into the CMU Football Hall of Fame.

In 2009, Mr. Markey became the president of the Arnold Center. The Center has since become a large employer in Midland and has aided in giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. Most importantly, it has enhanced the quality of life for those with disabilities and donates thousands of hours of community service.

During his tenure, Mr. Markey has held fast to the mission and vision of the Arnold Center and has helped countless individuals who have sought his guidance. I have seen firsthand the dedication and service Mr. Markey has given to our community. I thank him and wish him luck as he begins this new chapter of his life.

On behalf of the Fourth Congressional District of Michigan, I am honored today to recognize Charles Markey for his dedication to the Midland community."

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar presents a tribute to Charles Markey, honoring Markey for his work as president of the Arnold Center.

Arnold Center President, Charles Markey Retires

December 8, 2016

Charles Markey, president of the Arnold Center, a nonprofit company headquartered in Midland, has announced his retirement at the end of this year.

He joined the Arnold Center in May 2009. During his term in office, the agency has seen two major plant expansions and many new programming improvements including the Arnold Center's consignment auction house.

Additionally, the agency has been awarded several CARF International accreditations and selected as the recipient of the MSHARP award for safety by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Markey was a member and past president of the Midland Health and Human Services Council, member of the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce, the Midland Noon Rotary Club, the Midland County Connection board of directors, founding member of the Midland Disability Coalition and served on several community panels and councils while representing the agency.

The Arnold Center's board of directors is considering restructuring at the executive level and will be taking time to investigate options before announcing any changes.

Chris Chamberlain, vice president, will lead the organization during the transition.

At the Arnold Center in Midland, a display of destruction

Midland Daily News: October 21, 2016

There's something insatiably alluring, even oddly comforting, about destruction.

We watch and listen in awe under a firework-lit night. We throw paint at a canvas. Smash a watermelon and marvel at its guts. Rig a water balloon for maximum explosion. Whack a piñata — not merely to collect candy, but also to remove the blindfold and observe the chaos that ensued.

The results can really be awesome.

To see a form of destruction new to Midland, the Daily News visited the Arnold Center, which recently acquired an industrial shredder. It thrashes hard drives, cell phones and other electronics to a pulp in seconds.

The aim isn't merely senseless destruction, but rather to reduce or eliminate the risk of data breeches in an increasingly vulnerable digital world. To that end, the Arnold Center recently had its first business customer drop off drives for destruction.

With the flip of a switch, powerful metal cutters turn. A drive is placed in the chute. The twang of twisted metal erupts like fractures in thick winter ice. Serial numbers and private data are sent into oblivion. It's a bit jarring.

"We think we're fairly unique right now," said Arnold Center President Charlie Markey, as he watched in silent curiosity.

Markey said the shredder was purchased to complement paper materials destruction at the 45,000-square-foot facility at 400 Wexford Ave., where 25,000 pounds of paper is shredded and recycled every month. Metal scraps from the hard drive shredder also are recycled.

"It just doesn't go through a landfill," said Greg Knopp, Arnold Center manufacturing manager. A gauge on the machine has logged more than four hours of use.

"We've had a lot of interest in it," Knopp said. "I can see cell phones being a popular item." Shredding services are open to the public. An added comfort to seeing your private data annihilated: the Arnold Center offers certificates of destruction for data files from personal computers, laptops, iPads and phones.

Pricing: Hard Drives 1-5 Includes Removal of Drive from Device - $20 6 Plus - $15

Hard Drive 1-5 Drive Al ready Removed from Device - $15 6 plus - $12.50

Cell Phone/Smart phone (without battery)- $7.50

CD,Tape,USB any small storage device- $2.50

Arnold Center gets state award for workplace safety, health

Midland Daily News: October 27, 2016

The Arnold Center in Gladwin and Midwest International Standard Products in Charlevoix received renewal of the prestigious Michigan Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The MSHARP award acknowledges employers with outstanding workplace safety and health programs that far surpass their counterparts.

Some of the Arnold Center's best practices include monthly and yearly safety audits, and the completion of incident forms for all accidents and near misses.

"We are very proud to receive this distinguished award," said Arnold Center Safety Director Greg Knopp. "It validates what is truly a team effort and commitment to make safety at the Arnold Center the number one priority. Thank you, MIOSHA for recognizing our team's dedication."

Both facilities have excellent safety and health management systems in place, incorporating each of the seven required elements: hazard anticipation and detection; hazard prevention and control; planning and evaluation; administration and supervision; safety and health training; management leadership; and employee participation.

"The management and engaged employees of Arnold Center and Midwest International continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to accident and illness prevention," said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. "MIOSHA is pleased to recognize Arnold Center for its third MSHARP renewal and Midwest International for its fourth."

The program targets small manufacturers to help them develop, implement and continuously improve the effectiveness of their workplace safety and health management system. It provides an incentive for employers to emphasize accident and illness prevention by anticipating problems, not reacting to them. MIOSHA's Consultation, Education and Training Division, Onsite Consultation Program operates MSHARP. Program worksites earn an exemption from "programmed" MIOSHA inspections on a yearly basis.

Onsite consultants work with employers to help them become self-sufficient in managing occupational safety and health. The MIOSHA review team for both companies consisted of Joe LeBlanc, senior safety consultant and Robert Dayringer, senior industrial hygienist.

Forty year partnership between Scientific Anglers, Arnold Center reaps benefits

Sunday, August 14, 2016 By the Midland Daily News

A 40-year partnership between Scientific Anglers, a global leader and innovator in fly fishing equipment, and the Arnold Center, Inc., a vocational rehabilitation center that provides jobs for people with disabilities, has proven to be a fruitful venture for all parties involved.

Scientific Anglers, founded 71 years ago in Midland and now a division of Orvis, distributes products worldwide from its manufacturing and warehouse space on James Savage Road. Over the years, the company has needed assistance with projects such as labeling, packaging and repackaging products. When those unexpected projects arise quickly or have a short turnaround time, the Arnold Center has been able to step in, ensuring that Scientific Anglers maintains the quality customer service people have come to expect, said Jason Proctor, manager of merchandise operations and planning.

"The Arnold Center is a well-oiled machine," Proctor said. "They are well-organized, and the biggest thing is they always follow through. They are on-time and on-budget and they operate smoothly. I know that since we started partnering with them it's been a great experience."

The Arnold Center has partnered with 3S international that fragments the devices.

A recent project required the relabeling and repackaging of 100,000 units of a fishing line, and the Arnold Center staff was able to finish in five weeks. "It was a monumental task in a short amount of time, and we could not have done it with our workforce here," said Proctor. "They were able to complete it in the time allotted and Scientific Anglers continually had the product we needed in stock."

"Scientific Anglers' needs fall right in our wheelhouse," said Charlie Mar-key, president of the Arnold Center. "What is unique is the longevity. When you think about two entities having an ongoing, smooth relationship for 40 years or more, even with changes in company ownership, what a significant accomplishment."

The Arnold Center, celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2017, was founded by a group of parents, philanthropists, and mental health and rehabilitation professionals who wanted a way to assist people with disabilities following the deinstitutionalization movement in the 1960s. Over the years the Center has grown and evolved and today is itself a business employing about 200 people with disabilities at its Midland location and another 65 at a Gladwin location. The Arnold Center generated $4.3 million in revenue and its employees contributed a significant amount of income taxes and made many purchases at local businesses to stimulate our economy last year, said Markey.

At its 45,000 square foot Midland facility on Wexford Avenue, the Arnold Center employees work on sorting, labeling, packaging and recycling projects for companies including Cintas, Nexteer, Dow Chemical /Dow Corning and CPI Engineering, according to Greg Knopp, production manager. Many of the projects are done on an ongoing basis, such as the 1.5 million steering column pins they help Nexteer recycle every year, and the 8,000 shop towels folded and bundled daily for Cintas.

The as-needed assignments like the ones for Scientific Anglers help Arnold Center fill in the gaps and provide ongoing employment, noted Markey. They have the capacity to handle more work, he added.

To contact the Arnold Center, call (989) 631-9570; the website is www.  arnoldcenter.org  . Scientific Anglers' products can be viewed on its website,www.scientificanglers.com  

Arnold Center celebrates another 'great year' "They choose us not because they are interested in doing charity work. We do good work."

Sunday, August 7, 2016 By the Midland Daily News

JESSICA HAYNES jhaynes@mdn.net

It is one of the best days of the year for the Arnold Center: A casual awards ceremony that recognizes the work skills and achievements of people who aren't your typical employees.

Alice Strack's son, Eric, was born with Down syndrome and has benefitted from having his own source of income, and an opportunity to get out of the house, learn new skills and interact with people. Strack first got involved with the Arnold Center in order to connect with Eric, who is non-verbal, and she now serves on the board of directors. She was present to see her son and his friends and colleagues at the annual meeting and awards ceremony at the Arnold Center, 400 Wexford Ave. "He learns a job and he sticks with it," Strack said about her son. "He likes to work, he's very happy over here."

Happiness was the emotion of the day as the Arnold Center brought a crowd together to share a picnic lunch under a star-decked tent and receive awards, from "Most Valuable Participant" to "Rookie of the Year," and "All Star" to awards for the staff.

"It's fun to see the various people and parents here," Strack said. "They truly look forward to it."

Charles Markey is president of the Arnold Center, a role he has held since 2009, and said the awards ceremony is one of his favorite events.

"We want to continue to do the quality job we are accustomed to," Markey told the crowd, congratulating them on an "exceptionally safe year" that resulted in $620,000 in wages for 445 employees.

Those figures earned a round of applause, and the excitement only grew when T-shirts were handed out along with certificates of achievement. Friends cheered on friends, and colleagues hugged their coworkers as staff members passed out awards.

"It was a great year of accomplishments, and that's why you deserve these awards," Markey said.

Midland resident Joy Drummond, 55, tried on her shirt as soon as she could, a white T-shirt emblazoned with the Arnold Center logo, and danced around as her friends received their own awards. She clapped as more names were announced.

There was a moment of silence for Ann Frimodig, 68, of Midland Township, who was riding her bicycle and was struck by a pickup truck in July. She is now recovering from serious injuries at Beaumont Hospital in the metro Detroit area. "She is in serious condition, but improving," Markey said. "Good luck, Ann."

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE ARNOLD CENTER

There are quite a few goals for the Arnold Center as it reaches its 50th anniversary of operations, besides a big celebration, Markey said with a smile. Strack would like to see the Arnold Center reach out even more to the community to increase awareness about what it offers for both people with disabilities and the people who love and care for them. The organization already does outreach, but would like to bring in younger families who could benefit from the Arnold Center. "We need to get more parents involved, and we need to have more meetings with parents," Strack said.

In November, Markey responded to rumors that the Arnold Center would be closing as a result of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 22, 2014, and affects how Medicare dollars are dispersed. That legislation is still being implemented, but Markey said the Arnold Center will simply adjust its programming if needed.

Recently, the Arnold Center lost a contract with Michigan Works!, which Markey said was a big blow. "It cut it down to bare metal," he said about programming.

Still, the organization continues to have ties with other large employers in the areas who have jobs that are difficult to fill or keep filled. "They choose us not because they are interested in doing charity work," Markey said. "We do good work."

He and the Arnold Center staff are determined to keep offering employment opportunities for people who may be looked over, and said he loves his job, but not quite as much as the people who now have something to commit to and receive a paycheck from. Some have been working through the Arnold Center for decades, and new employees often pop up throughout the year.

"They look forward to every day," Markey said.

Arnold Center Auction House: Let the bidding begin

Midland Daily News: February 9, 2016

If you've never been to a live auction before, the Arnold Center Auction House at 400 Wexford Ave. in Midland is a good place to get an introduction to the fast-paced, dynamic and entertaining environment which matches buyers with sellers' consigned items in a heated, indoor facility.

The doors open on auction day at 8:30 a.m. so potential buyers can walk around the auction floor and preview the items. Bidders simply checks in at the registration desk, shows a driver's license, and are entered into the computerized system for a bid number card. The live auction starts at 10 a.m. When an on-line auction is being held, the live auction starts at 11 a.m., with an Internet clerk calling out bids received from online bidders.

"We've had out-of-state bidders, and we'll ship items," said Lynnae Osborne, Auction House Coordinator. "We post items with pictures and descriptions on AuctionZip, generally two weeks ahead of time. People register to bid, and they can start bidding early or put their maximum bid in if they can't participate on auction day. It's similar to eBay bidding."

Frequent auction attendee Barb Hummelle of Midland offers a few suggestions for the first-timer: "Preview the items on the Arnold Center website ahead of time, arrive early to view the items and get a good seat and take time to look in the boxes of small, grouped items. You may find a treasure! If you're interested in guns, tools and coins, they all seem to be top sellers."

A wide variety of items are sold on the auction block, including housewares, antiques and collectibles, furniture, dolls, firearms, tractors, vehicles, sporting goods, new merchandise and more. About 95 percent of the auction items are consigned, with the remaining 5 percent being donations to the Arnold Center. An average of 300 items are sold per auction over about a two- to four-hour time period. The auction house seats 200 people.

Auctions are really a social event, Osborne said. "People come early and want to be first in to look at everything. A lot of people who go to auctions make the loop to other auctions, and they all know each other. Each one has a little niche of what they collect. But we had several new buyers last time. No one should be scared or intimidated to come check us out. We're a year-round facility. It's nice and warm inside. When you raise your bid number and get the auctioneer's attention, he'll help you along to a sale."

The auction house's cashiers, house clerks, internet clerks and ringmen have a range of backgrounds, including individuals with disabilities who work with staff in an effort to build job skills and expand their involvement in the auction experience.

"The Arnold Center folks make it fun and welcoming," Hummelle said. "And they explain how the auction will run prior to the start. There is also food and refreshments available inside for purchase."

Buyers just use check, cash or credit card to take their items home after the auction. Or they can arrange to pick up large items the following week. Consignors should get a check for their percentage of what was sold in about 30 days after the auction, Osborne said.

"With the auction sale items, we look everything up and make sure we are educated on the values of what we are selling, but we don't have to set the price," said Osborne, who is an auctioneer in addition to managing the auction house. "I like to start where I think it should start, and the crowd will run it down and you can run it back up. You might have three, four or five people interested, so the price always goes up with competition. So it's a true market price you're getting for those items you are selling. It's the only avenue where you are bargaining for the price to go higher. At a garage or estate sale, people are arguing to make the price go down."

The next two auctions at the Arnold Center Auction House are scheduled for Feb. 13 and Feb. 27. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for preview of items, and the live auction begins at 10 a.m. For more information: www.arnoldcenter.org; (989) 488-8701; auctioninfo@arnoldcenter.org.

Arnold Center Auction House serves buyers and sellers

Midland Daily News: February 9, 2016

It's all about "upcycling" for Barb and Dale Hummelle of Midland when they attend the Arnold Center Auction House's bi-monthly auctions.

Dale refinishes furniture as a hobby, so he can usually be seen bidding on a furniture item to "do up." Or on pieces that his wife describes as "needing some love."

"Some of what we buy stays in our house," Barb said. "Our daughter has a century-old, 1900s home just off Center Avenue in Bay City. She's 24, and she appreciates antiques. So we're helping her to furnish it, too."

After Dale has refinished some furniture pieces, he may consign them back to the Arnold Center Auction House to sell, or he has consigned some to Bijou Antiques in Bay City.

"Going to auctions is fun. It's a hobby," Dale said, admitting that he's been to about every auction at the Arnold Center since Midland County's only consignment auction house opened in February 2014. "I really enjoy supporting the Arnold Center concept and helping provide paychecks for the people here. And I just love the auctioneer's cadence. It reminds me of being a kid and going to farm auctions. There's something addictive to the cadence of a good auctioneer. He's a good one here. He has high energy and people get caught up in it. He bounces the bid back and forth before people can think too much."

Kevin Laethem has been the Arnold Center's Auction House auctioneer since the beginning. He was also involved in the original planning process with the Arnold Center's Board of Directors to create the venue.

But ask Laethem about his role, and this Midland-based Farm Bureau insurance agent describes his auctioneering job as: "I'm a hired mouth!"

QUALITIES OF AN AUCTIONEER

Laethem started his career as "a hired mouth" in 1991 after graduation from the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. The two-week course has allowed him to auction off household estates, business liquidations, farm equipment, construction equipment, livestock and fundraising items.

"I conducted more than 38 auctions last year," Laethem said. "All in central Michigan. My goal is to do 50 this year. Auctions are my release of energy. When I start an auction, the room is completely full of stuff. After four or five hours, it's empty, and I feel like I've accomplished something. That's a big high for me."

You can't be shy, Laethem said. "You gotta be outgoing. You need to be pleasant, be clear, look people in the eyes, and read their interest in an item in their eyes. You don't want to sound boring. You want to keep changing the tone of your voice."

And since Laethem averages selling about 1.8 items a minute, and sells from 250-350 items per auction, he has mastered talking fast in what is known as the auctioneer's chant—a series of numbers connected by filler words—to give the buyer time to think about the next bid but to also keep the excitement level high.

According to the Michigan Auctioneers Association, a basic auctioneer chant goes something like this: "1 dollar bid, now 2, now 2, will ya give me 2? 2 dollar bid, now 3, now 3, will ya give me 3? 3 dollar bid, now 4, now 4, will ya give me 4?" "We have all generations come and bid," Laethem said. "Someone looking to start out and fill their home with furniture should definitely come. We have had beautiful dining room sets, beautiful living room sets. It's all here on consignment. That's the big misconception. People think the stuff is donated. We could have 50 different consignors at a sale. If somebody has moved to an apartment, they'll bring over a riding lawn mower or rototiller to sell. We have whole estates. We have beautiful antiques. We've sold antique tractors, jewelry and a lot of coins. We have had huge success with guns, because this auction house is a licensed gun dealer. That's one thing that's a little bit unique. And we are licensed to sell registered and titled vehicles—cars, recreational vehicles and boats.

"Our job is to sell things," Laethem said. "To turn items into cash. I'm working for both the buyer and the seller. I am trying to get them to make a transaction together. It's important to the consignor that we get it sold, and I want the buyer to get a chance to purchase an item they are interested in. I want to describe it as fairly and honestly and accurately as I can. When you are averaging two auctions a month and buyers are coming to every auction, they are as valuable as the sellers who might just have one estate."

BUYING TO RESELL ONLINE

Another buyer at the second January auction was Garry Smith of Holt. As Laethem started selling off the "box lots" of many small, similar items grouped together in a box, Smith was wandering around checking out other items on the floor. "I bought a mirror here for $12 and sold it for $150 online," Smith said. "I'm always looking for cast iron frying pans. I bought a small one last year for $80 and sold it online for $350. I'm always looking for axes and hatchets. People don't really know the value of what they're selling." A Sanford consigner was unsuccessful in selling a Rock Ola Jukebox 450, just like one found in retro diners and malt shops, as the reserve of $2,600 was not met.

HELPING THE ARNOLD CENTER

Lynnae Osborne, auction house manager, is also an auctioneer and a graduate of the Reppert Auction School in Auburn, Indiana. At times she will share auctioneer duties with Laethem or serve as his "ringman," holding up items for sale and helping to spot bidders in far corners of the auction floor. "The Auction House is just another enhancement for the people with disabilities we serve here at the Arnold Center," Osborne said. "It's another way for them to be involved in the community, continue their work responsibilities and feel part of something. About 12 to 15 of them are involved to set up, tag items, fix things or wash dishes. We have a couple of ladies who love to clean the furniture, dust and fold things. It's fun to see their excitement."

As part of the auction service, the Arnold Center will also do estate pickups of household items to be consigned. And they do cleanouts for realtors, including carpet cleaning and general housework to prep a house for sale. Since each estate is different, the contract is based on the estate, whether there are a lot of big items or small items. The Auction House gets a commission based on the selling price. The workers get paid for working estate pickups or auctions. Osborne frequently visits houses where owners or children are wanting to sell out its contents. "Everything can sell," Osborne advises. "People throw away older items that auction goers love to have. They're throwing out money, and they don't realize it. I encourage people not to throw anything away until we can review it. We have a heated warehouse and a cold storage area." Laethem admitted that a large part of his joy from being associated with the auction house is seeing how the people with disabilities who work there are learning new skills. "It's very rewarding for me to be a part of that. I have watched the folks that we have had help us set up things, and I've witnessed them getting more confidence in themselves and coming out of their shells a little bit. You can see that they take a lot of pride in their auctions."

Change from Arnold Center to SVRC Industries has employees upset

Midland Daily News: January 19, 2016

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! (GLBMW) recently changed from having a contract with the Arnold Center to a Saginaw company, a move that upset longtime employees from the Arnold Center.

The affected employees had been contracted by the Arnold Center to work at GLBMW. But, as of July 1, 2015, SVRC Industries of Saginaw secured a new contract with Michigan Works!, replacing the Arnold Center.

"(GLBMW) goes through a competitive procurement process every three years to select service providers," stated Ed Oberski, CEO of GLBMW. "This is not your typical 'low bid wins' procurement. Price and budget are among several non-financial factors."

Oberski stated that the new contract required SVRC to: 1) Hire all of the Arnold staff so that no one lost their job; 2) Pay all of them the same salary that they received from their former employer; and 3) Come "as close as it could" to their former fringe benefits.

"When a contracted service provider loses its contract, the norm around the country is for its employees to lose their jobs. They have to compete for their old jobs by applying to the new contractor as new employees. They may or may not be hired," Oberski said.

The third point is the one that has employees concerned due to a reduction in seniority and vacation time. "We all lost our seniority at that point because we are new employees for SVRC, even though we have worked for Michigan Works! There are people that have worked there over 20 years," said an employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Generally, GLBMW does not get involved and is not familiar with contractors' personnel procedures."We only became involved for this transition to the extent described above. Therefore, we do not have firsthand knowledge," Oberski stated.

"SVRC did not bring them in as senior SVRC employees with more seniority than long-time SVRC employees," he added. "In balancing all factors, we did not believe that was unfair to the former Arnold Center employees."

Those employees were also considered new employees when it came to vacation time.

In "coming as close as possible" to the former fringe benefits, the Arnold Center, GLBMW and SVRC worked out a compromise regarding vacation time or "PTO" (paid time off).

"Arnold Center agreed to pay the employees for up to 80 hours of accrued PTO when they left. SVRC agreed to honor any remaining Arnold Center accrued PTO up to 80 hours. SVRC allowed any remaining Arnold Center PTO over those 80 hours to be transferred to the employee's catastrophic sick bank," Oberski said.

SVRC, which "creates and sustains opportunities and support systems for persons with barriers to employment and community access," has been providing vocational rehabilitation services in Saginaw County and the surrounding community since 1962.

Pay was another issue raised by the employees.

"We are very low paid, under $30,000 per year," the employee stated. "This is all unique to our region. We've been to training and statewide meetings and discussed things with people who are in the exact same positions that we are. We're paid $10,000 to $20,000 a year less than every other region."

"GLBMW is not a state agency. We are one of the 500 plus agencies that implement the nation's workforce investment system," Oberski responded. "There are 16 of us in Michigan, and we all have agreed to use the 'Michigan Works!' name even though we are all separate and independent from each other.

"We are federally funded and partner closely with the state in implementing our programs," added Oberski. The employees also brought up their understanding that management level positions are required to hold a bachelor's degree and that two do not. "We are not aware of SVRC's personnel requirements in this regard, nor do we impose any requirements on them related to that," Oberski said.

Rumors are wrong; Arnold Center not going out of business

Midland Daily News: November 10, 2015

The Arnold Center continues to offer its services to area residents, despite rumors to the contrary. "The rumors are incorrect that we are going out of business," said Arnold Center President Charlie Markey. "We are determined to stay open."

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation, signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014, has prompted rumors that the Arnold Center will cease operation.

"The WIOA signed by President Obama changes the way Medicare dollars are to be dispersed," Markey said. But that legislation is in the process of being implemented, preventing Markey and the Arnold Center from setting up permanent plans to deal with an unknown.

"Until the details are firmed up, we are going to continue to work to integrate people into external community settings and continue to offer positions at our factory locations in Midland and Gladwin," he said. "We'll adjust our programing to whatever services we need to when the government figures out its plans."

Working with many different agency partners, the Arnold Center has been providing vocational and related training programs to thousands since its beginning in 1967. Originally established as a small, adult-centered daytime activity program, the Arnold Center has grown to provide state-of-the-art services throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond.

The Arnold Center offers those services to qualified persons who typically possess barriers to their pursuit of full participation in employment and community activities. Last year saw the Arnold Center provide over 6,000 hours of collective training and education services along with launching its Auction House Services as the nonprofit organization continues to expand its offerings.

Arnold Center recognized by CARF for exemplary performance

Midland Daily News: October 11, 2015

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) announced Sept. 30 that Arnold Center Inc., a provider of community integration and organizational employment services in Midland and Gladwin counties, was accredited for a period of three years. This latest accreditation is the 12th consecutive three-year accreditation that the international accrediting body has awarded to the Arnold Center.

A three-year accreditation represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization is in substantial conformance to CARF standards. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during a two-day on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable and of the highest quality.

Chris Chamberlain, vice president of the Arnold Center, was proud CARF surveyors made no recommendations, which means CARF did not identify any areas of nonconformance with the nearly 1,000 applicable CARF standards.

"This is an extraordinary accomplishment, as only 3 percent of CARF surveyors result in no recommendations," Chamberlain said. "There are over 6,800 accredited providers and the Arnold Center has accomplished this level of achievement in back-to-back surveys."

Chamberlain credits the agency's success to the center's dedicated and professional staff that is committed to providing quality services that focus on enhancing the life of each person served. The Arnold Center serves about 260 daily in a variety of skill-building and employment programs.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services through a consultive accreditation process. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Services, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process and CARF, visit the CARF website at www.carf.org.

A great service

Friday, February 27, 2015, 12:30 pm By the Midland Daily News

To the editor:

What a great service The Arnold Center is offering Midland! They will shred your old electronic device into recyclable fragments for free! This covers all data-containing devices.

Shredding is the only completely secure way to protect your data and preserve the ecosystem.

The Arnold Center has partnered with 3S international that fragments the devices.

All devices are held in a locked box until transferred to 3S's "BLUEBOX" which can shred up to 2,000 pounds of e-waste per hour. Hazardous materials are safely captured and 100 percent of shredded e-waste is recycled into reusable raw material. Wow, how satisfying is that?

The Arnold Center can be found at 400 Wexford Ave., Midland. Help them, help yourself, help the environment. This is a winner.

ALICE STRACK Midland

Consumers Energy helps local nonprofits reduce energy costs

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 10:20 am By the Midland Daily News

Boys and Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, food banks and other nonprofit groups throughout Michigan will pay $350,000 less for energy next year thanks to Consumers Energy, which is providing them with energy-efficient upgrades for free.

In the Midland area, nonprofits receiving the upgrades included the American Legion Post 165, Caregiving Network, Humane Society of Midland County, Immanuel Reformed Church, Midland Seventh Day Adventist Church, Ten Sixteen Treatment Center and Arnold Center.

"Michigan's nonprofit organizations are the backbone of our communities, and we want them to put every dollar possible toward helping those in need," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president of customer operations and quality. "We fulfill our promise to care for the communities we serve by helping these organizations lower and manage their energy bills."

More than 190 nonprofits are receiving free installations of energy-saving items, financial incentives or free energy assessments to help them reduce their energy usage this year. Most of that work is complete.

These organizations will save about $350,000 each year thanks to the upgrades, which included free LED lights, programmable thermostats, low-flow water faucets and more.

Rochow noted that businesses and households also can lower their bills through more than 200 energy efficiency rebates and incentives that Consumers Energy offers. The company has helped Michigan save more than $575 million through energy efficiency since 2009.

"We provide solutions to energy needs, whether it's for your home, your business or the charitable organization you serve," Rochow said. "We encourage people to learn more about our energy efficiency programs online or to contact us. This holiday season — and all year long — you can count on us to help."

For more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Arnold Center, Inc. in Midland Recognized by MIOSHA for Excellence in Workplace Safety and Health

December 10, 2014 – Arnold Center Incorporated, Inc. in Midland, a vocational rehabilitation service, recently received renewal of its prestigious Michigan Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (MSHARP) Award certification from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).

MIOSHA established the MSHARP Award to acknowledge employers with outstanding workplace safety and health programs that far surpass their counterparts. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

"Arnold Center Incorporated has an involved team of employees that continues to show its commitment to accident and illness prevention," said MIOSHA Director Martha Yoder. "It's a pleasure to renew this special achievement for an organization that is as focused on safety as it is improving the quality of life for members of its community."

MSHARP targets small manufacturers to help them develop, implement and continuously improve the effectiveness of their workplace safety and health management system. The program provides an incentive for employers to emphasize accident and illness prevention by anticipating problems, not reacting to them.

"The Arnold Center focus is on quality service delivery in every aspect of our operations," said company President Charles Markey. "Our employees are truly exceptional people delivering quality service and we are particularly proud of them for this outstanding safety achievement. Management and employees worked together as a team, to implement safety and health practices that protect all workers."

The MIOSHA Onsite Consultation Program within the Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division operates the MSHARP. MSHARP worksites earn an exemption from "programmed" MIOSHA inspections on a yearly basis.

Onsite consultants work with employers to help them become self-sufficient in managing occupational safety and health. The MIOSHA review team consisted of George Zagresy, senior safety consultant and Robert Dayringer, senior industrial hygienist.

"MSHARP eligibility requires significant employee involvement and the completion of several requirements," said Yoder. "Arnold Center has successfully completed the process and created an effective health and safety program."

The facility has an excellent system in place, which incorporates each of the seven required elements: hazard anticipation and detection; hazard prevention and control; planning and evaluation; administration and supervision; safety and health training; management leadership; and employee participation.

Some of Arnold Center's new improvements include: • Internal auditing of its safety program. • The creation of statistical reports that compare severity and frequency of rates against prior records.

Arnold Center, Inc. is a multi-county services provider that was established in 1967. Its mission is to provide individualized services that enhance the vocational, social and life skills of any person with differing needs and aspirations. The site recycles automotive parts and currently employs 170 people.

For more information about MIOSHA, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/miosha For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

Back to Top

Arnold Center holiday auction slated

Midland Daily News: November 15, 2014

The Arnold Center Auction House is planning a holiday auction on Friday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m.

King's Kloset is bringing a large selection of new merchandise that will be auctioned off in the indoor Auction House, located at 400 Wexford Ave. New merchandise will include toys and candy, household items, clothing and cold weather gear, sports collectibles and novelties, ice fishing tackle, knives, decorations, wrapping paper, and more.

Doors open for preview at 5 p.m. Concessions will be provided by Timbers Bistro

The Arnold Center provides training for individuals with disabilities and has established its own Auction House where it conducts year-round auctions. The Arnold Center's Entryway Boutique, open 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, offers antiques and other items for sale. All proceeds from the Boutique assist in supporting the Arnold Center's work.

Back to Top

Arnold Center, Inc Midland Earns Three Year Extension on Michigan Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (MSHARP)

It is with pleasure that we award Arnold Center Incorporated – Midland with a three-year extension in our Michigan Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (MSHARP). MSHARP recognition exemplifies the result of successful efforts by employees, management, and government in partnering for excellence in workplace safety and health. We commend you for demonstrating that a company culture that promotes management commitment, employee involvement, and a desire to excel in safety and health not only reduces injuries and illnesses in the workplace, but can also be a positive experience in promoting safety and health for all.

We look forward to your continued participation as an MSHARP site and the protections that your employees will benefit from with their partnership in the safety and health program. Your involvement in the MSHARP continues to demonstrate that the implementation of an outstanding safety and health program is an admirable and achievable goal.

Back to Top

Midland event to collect, securely recycle end-of-life electronics

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 12:15 pm By the Midland Daily News

Mount Pleasant-based electronics processor 3S International is joining forces with the Arnold Center to host a large-scale e-recycling collection event.

Mid-Michigan businesses and community members can drop off their end-of-life electronics for safe, secure and sustainable recycling.

From 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, participants can bring their end-of-life electronics such as laptops, computers, LCDs and flat screens to the Arnold Center, located at 400 Wexford Ave. in Midland. Bulky CRT televisions and computer monitors are not accepted.

"At the Arnold Center, we are thrilled to do our part to help promote responsible electronics recycling in our community," said Charlie Markey, president of the Arnold Center. "By hosting this e-recycling event, we can educate about the growing e-waste issue, the importance of safely processing old electronics that may contain sensitive information or hazardous materials and provide a substantial and needed resource for individuals and businesses looking to do the right thing."

The event is an unofficial kickoff for a newly created e-recycling program that will target businesses, schools and organizations looking to donate and safely dispose of large quantities of computers, LCD screens and end-of-life electronics. By partnering with 3S International and utilizing its BLUBOX technology, the Arnold Center said all donated electronics and data-containing devices will be physically shredded, destroying sensitive information and protecting companies from liability.

Organizations that donate end-of-life electronics through the e-recycling program will help the Arnold Center provide vocational, social and life skills programs to those in need. The Arnold Center has locations in Midland and Gladwin. Visit arnoldcenter.org or call (708) 263-0400 for more information.

Back to Top

$62,200 grant awarded to implement SAAFE program

T Friday, October 24, 2014, 7:30 am By the Midland Daily News

Shelterhouse of Midland and Gladwin counties, in collaboration with The ARC of Midland, The Arnold Center and the Disability Network of MidMichigan, has received a grant of $62,200 to implement new services, Sexual Assault Awareness for Everyone — SAAFE.

These services will provide primary and secondary sexual assault prevention services to people with disabilities; provide sexual assault prevention training to direct care service providers who work with people with disabilities; and increase community awareness of and sensitivity to this issue.

The mission of Shelterhouse is to eliminate domestic and sexual violence by providing advocacy, counseling, education and shelter for people in Midland and Gladwin counties. Since opening its first shelter in 1980, Shelterhouse has provided a range of services which include shelter, crisis counseling, advocacy, court accompaniment, education, a 24-hour crisis line, therapy, support groups and emergency intervention.

The Arc of Midland promotes the general welfare of people with developmental disabilities and increases their presence, participation and inclusion in the community.

The Arnold Center has provided vocational services for people with disabilities since 1967.

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan works to change societal attitudes about people with disabilities, and to provide an environment where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can contribute to their communities based on their interests, skills and desires. DNMM is one of 15 centers in Michigan and covers 12 counties in east central Michigan.

Information about the Midland Area Community Foundation can be found at www.midlandfoundation.org.

Back to Top

Public can purchase Dow ACs photos at Arnold Center auction

Updated: Tue Sep 2, 2014, 9:15 am. By the Midland Daily News

When Dave "Tuck" Bedford retired from a standout fastpitch softball career with the Saginaw Bolters and Midland McArdle in the 1970s and 1980s, he partnered with Art Tolfree to open the Sports Junction sporting apparel shop.

Bedford and Tolfree eventually turned their stores in Saginaw and Midland into a kind of softball museum. On display for customers were such things as equipment and uniforms of the Dow Athletic Club (Dow ACs) softball teams, which were sponsored by The Dow Chemical Co. and won world championships in the 1940s and 1950s.

One day, a lady came into the store and asked Bedford if he would like some pictures of both the Dow ACs softball and basketball teams. "I told her 'yes' and I gave her a varsity jacket in return," Bedford says.

The Sports Junction is still operating in Saginaw, while the store in Midland is now called Sandlot Sports. But Bedford recently donated those Dow ACs photos to the Arnold Center Auction House in Midland. Among the photos is one showing the 1951 softball team that includes, among others, Dick Dudzik, Bud Collins, Jack Kett, Bob Wright, Jim Cole, Roy Weaver, and brothers Pat and Jimmy Walsh.

Especially unique is a series of photos showing the pouring of concrete for the Currie Stadium bleachers in May of 1940. The photos also show inside and outside views of the stadium upon its completion.

According to Charlie Markey, president of the Arnold Center, the pictures have been consigned for auction on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Arnold Center Auction House at 400 Wexford Avenue, east of Dow Diamond and behind Midland Tire and Auto.

"The auctions are both live at the Arnold Center and online at a service called AuctionZip (auctionzip.com)," Markey said. "Bidders can pre-register, view detailed catalogs, and set ceiling bids a few weeks before the live event.

"On live auction day, the Internet bids start the auction, and they compete against the live crowd's bids," Markey continued. "Bid winners would be expected to pick up their items ASAP, or we do ship at the buyer's expense. We have shipped a compound bow to Australia."

Markey added that the Arnold Center receives a wide variety of items for both mixed consignment sales, where the owners receive cash pay a commission to the Arnold Center; or straight donations to the center, which gives the donor a letter for purposes of a tax deduction.

Proceeds from the auction help to provide vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

For more information about the auction, call 989-488-8701. Don Winger is the retired executive sports editor of the Daily News.

Back to Top

Mt. Pleasant 3S International partners with Arnold Center

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 11:45 am By the Midland Daily News Midland Daily News

Mount Pleasant-based 3S International, an electronics processor that provides safe, secure and sustainable e-recycling solutions, has partnered with the Arnold Center, a non-profit community rehabilitation center, for an innovative electronics recycling program in mid-Michigan.

The e-recycling program will target businesses, schools and organizations looking to donate and safely dispose of large quantities of computers, LCD screens and end-of-life electronics. By utilizing 3S International's groundbreaking technology, the partnership will ensure that all donated electronics and data-containing devices are physically shredded – destroying sensitive information and protecting companies from liability.

"It is our hope that the new e-recycling program will make a positive and lasting impact in our community," said Charlie Markey, president of the Arnold Center. "The Arnold Center's mission is to provide individualized services that enhance the vocational, social and life skills of any person with differing needs and aspirations. Organizations that donate old electronics will not only help solve a growing e-waste problem, but will support our goals and services."

Unlike other electronics recyclers, 3S International has the ability to completely reduce electronics into recyclable fragments in the safest and most environmentally secure way. The company's revolutionary BLUBOX technology specializes in recycling hazardous LCD and mercury-containing electronics on a large scale, at a rate of 2,200 pounds each hour and 15 million pounds every year.

"As technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate, more and more schools and businesses find themselves with a great quantity of outdated electronics, which often contain sensitive information," said Brittany Bradley, account executive for 3S International. "As a trusted community resource, the Arnold Center is in an excellent position to help businesses and schools safely and responsibly recycle their electronics. Each pound of electronic equipment that is recycled rather than landfilled has an immediate impact on our environment and community."

Headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., 3S International is poised for rapid growth and plans to open six to ten new facilities in the U.S., including a new location in southeast Michigan later this year.

Organizations that donate end-of-life electronics through the e-recycling program will help the Arnold Center provide vocational, social and life skills programs to those in need. The Arnold Center has locations in Midland and Gladwin. Visit arnoldcenter.org or call (708) 263-0400 for more information.

Back to Top

Public can purchase Dow ACs photos at Arnold Center auction

Updated: Tue Sep 2, 2014, 9:15 am. By the Midland Daily News

When Dave "Tuck" Bedford retired from a standout fastpitch softball career with the Saginaw Bolters and Midland McArdle in the 1970s and 1980s, he partnered with Art Tolfree to open the Sports Junction sporting apparel shop.

Bedford and Tolfree eventually turned their stores in Saginaw and Midland into a kind of softball museum. On display for customers were such things as equipment and uniforms of the Dow Athletic Club (Dow ACs) softball teams, which were sponsored by The Dow Chemical Co. and won world championships in the 1940s and 1950s.

One day, a lady came into the store and asked Bedford if he would like some pictures of both the Dow ACs softball and basketball teams. "I told her 'yes' and I gave her a varsity jacket in return," Bedford says.

The Sports Junction is still operating in Saginaw, while the store in Midland is now called Sandlot Sports. But Bedford recently donated those Dow ACs photos to the Arnold Center Auction House in Midland. Among the photos is one showing the 1951 softball team that includes, among others, Dick Dudzik, Bud Collins, Jack Kett, Bob Wright, Jim Cole, Roy Weaver, and brothers Pat and Jimmy Walsh.

Especially unique is a series of photos showing the pouring of concrete for the Currie Stadium bleachers in May of 1940. The photos also show inside and outside views of the stadium upon its completion.

According to Charlie Markey, president of the Arnold Center, the pictures have been consigned for auction on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Arnold Center Auction House at 400 Wexford Avenue, east of Dow Diamond and behind Midland Tire and Auto.

"The auctions are both live at the Arnold Center and online at a service called AuctionZip (auctionzip.com)," Markey said. "Bidders can pre-register, view detailed catalogs, and set ceiling bids a few weeks before the live event.

"On live auction day, the Internet bids start the auction, and they compete against the live crowd's bids," Markey continued. "Bid winners would be expected to pick up their items ASAP, or we do ship at the buyer's expense. We have shipped a compound bow to Australia."

Markey added that the Arnold Center receives a wide variety of items for both mixed consignment sales, where the owners receive cash pay a commission to the Arnold Center; or straight donations to the center, which gives the donor a letter for purposes of a tax deduction.

Proceeds from the auction help to provide vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

For more information about the auction, call 989-488-8701. Don Winger is the retired executive sports editor of the Daily News.

Back to Top

Midland's Arnold Center partners with Silikids

Monday, July 7, 2014, 11:30 am John Kennett jkennett@mdn.net
for the Daily News

How do you get your product to the consumer? That was the problem facing Silikids co-founders Stacey Feeley and Giuliana Schwab. So they turned to the Arnold Center in Midland for help with warehousing, assembly and shipping for their product line of safe, modern silicone accessories for children.

"They've been doing a great job," said Feeley. "We started working with them in March and started shipping in April."

The idea for a product line of bibs, cups, maps, tops for bottles, bowls and spoons germinated when Feeley and Schwab began having their own children and reading about the toxic chemicals in plastic. About six years ago, they began researching how to replace the plastic in baby items and started experimenting with different materials.

"We started looking at silicone as an alternative to plastic," said Feeley. "It is a really superior material from what is out there and doesn't fade, scratch or retain mold."

The result was Silikids, accessories made of silicone, which is non-toxic and does not promote bacteria or fungus growth and does not transmit taste to food or liquids. Because of its high heat resistance, silicone can be boiled to sterilize and is dishwasher safe.

"We developed a silicone sleeve to go over a glass baby bottle," said Feeley.

Silikids received a boost in 2008 when the Canadian government banned bisphenol-a, or BPA, a main element in plastic baby bottles. "That really put us on the map as far as distribution of our product," said Feeley. "Overnight it kind of exploded." However, it also created problems keeping up with demand. "We were grateful to grow quickly," said Feeley. "But we had to come up with a full line that fit on the (store) shelf cohesively. We've spent the last two years working on that."

During that time the Feeleys completed a move from California to the Traverse City area to be closer to family. In Michigan they found plenty of help for the fledging business: the Arnold Center, Blue Water Angels investments and Dow Corning. "One of our board of directors found out that Dow Corning was interested in selling silicone to Silikids and mentioned that we should get in contact with them," said Arnold Center President Charles Markey. A partnership was formed that saw the Arnold Center warehouse, assembly and ship the eco-friendly products to baby boutiques, pharmacies, individuals and other customers. "We would like to increase to all the major retailers in the baby arena," said Feeley. With an extensive background in silicone, Dow Corning became a tremendous asset. "Dow Corning is a great colleague," said Feeley. "If we have questions about manufacturing, we can go to them." The move from California has been a great decision. "The awesome thing about the state of Michigan is that they absolutely understand manufacturing at its core," said Feeley. "We do have a goal of bringing the silicone manufacturing back to the states. We have done a lot of comparison with overseas pricing and found a few manufacturers that are very competitive. So, we're very hopeful. It would be nice to have more control over the process."

To contact Silikids or purchase products call (866) 789-7454 or visit silikids.com

Back to Top

Arnold Center And Pace & Hong Auctions Team Up

By the Midland Daily News: January 4, 2014

Some people can stand tall, even while sitting.

For Jennifer Gentile, life changed when she started learning from negative situations and making them into positives. It's the kind of thinking that leads a girl out of foster care, through cerebral palsy, and into dreams, like owning her own home.

I got to know Gentile through a conversation at her home. At her front door I was greeted by a kind lady in an electric wheelchair and I asked if Jennifer was home before mentioning that I was supposed to talk to her. These are the kind of things that can happen when you initially meet people via a phone call. She laughed before maneuvering her wheelchair back and down the smooth, wooden floors of her new home and explaining to me a few quick things I should know about cerebral palsy.

A short, over-simplified explanation of cerebral palsy is that it is a muscle disorder that makes one side of the body have more difficulty functioning than the other, and it is something one is born with. In Gentile's case, the left side of her body has very little motor skill.

Once we talked a little, I got the sense that I was dealing with a highly motivated person. Every once in awhile you'll meet a person that is electric to talk with, eyes lighting up anytime you mention adversity, passion, opportunity, or any keyword having to do with success and hard work. Every person in the world says they believe in, and really like themselves, but few actually embody the words.

Through our talks, I learned that Gentile loves dramatic and true stories. This is the extremely shortened story of her time with The Arc of Midland and what it has meant for her, those around her, and, by the end of this, you.

Gentile first met The Arc's executive director, Jan Lampman, in 1998 when her foster mother, Sandy Moe, contacted the organization. At that time, Gentile was in a nursing home, and she was starting to lose hope that she'd ever achieve her dream of owning a home.

Lampman helped Gentile get in touch with Carol Wallace, a supervisor with the Midland office of Community Mental Health of Central Michigan, or CMHCM. Lampman and Wallace introduced Gentile to the concept of self determination, in which every person, regardless of his or her abilities, should be able to make decisions and control their destiny.

"To me, self determination is having a dream, and finding all the possible ways to accomplishing that dream," Gentile said. "You have to voice what you want. That's the first step in achieving a dream. Then you have to go to the right people to make that happen."

Gentile worked with The Arc of Midland on different ways to become more independent in her home and the community.

"I don't know if you know this, but a lot of counties don't offer the same staffing opportunities that Midland does. I have plenty of staff that can work the hours I need," Gentile said of the support team built around her. "The hardest part, and The Arc's made this easier, is learning how to manage your staff, so that you can be the most independent you can be. You can do what you want, but you need others to help you do that. Jan has taught me that, just because you can't do it by yourself, doesn't mean you can't accomplish it."

The Arc was showing Gentile how to best use her staff as a tool to support her needs and wants when Lampman delivered the good news. Lampman explained that Gentile would be receiving Social Security money, and that she would be eligible to own her own home. Next, Lampman told Gentile about the building trade program through Midland Public Schools that was building barrier-free, zero step design houses.

Bill Brown, supervisor of the MPS building program, met with Gentile, Lampman and Michelle Vouaux, an Arc employee that helped make sure Gentile's benefits got approved. Brown was just as excited as Gentile to get started on the house, and soon Gentile was helping to design the house.

Gentile was able to secure funds through a state program and Kristin Parsell, Gentile's support coordinator at CMHCM, helped Gentile through every step of the process. The City of Midland also offered Gentile a grant through the CHOICE program, which is designed to create housing opportunities for those in need, to help her purchase the land to build on.

Now, Gentile works three days a week at the Arnold Center, a place where people with disabilities can earn money by helping to manufacture products. Gentile noted that a major misconception that people without disabilities have is that those with disabilities cannot contribute to the community and be as productive.

"The secret is setting goals, and communication," Gentile said. "The Arc really does care. They look out for safety and independence. If what you want can be done, they will help you do it in a safe manner."

Ironically, Gentile admits that she is not the kind of person that can just sit around, so when she does have downtime she will often travel and do work as a motivational speaker to others with disabilities. Her message is always about dreams and patience.

"If you work hard and want something, it will happen," she said. "It may not happen overnight, but it will happen."

It's this kind of attitude that makes a woman sitting in a chair stand so tall in the living room of her new home.

-- Alex Barker is an intern at The Arc of Midland. He manages The Arc's Twittwer account at @thearcofmidland and is a marketing major at Northwood University.

Back to Top

Standing tall in a home of her own

By the Midland Daily News Midland Daily News
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 10:30 am 
Updated: 10:58 am, Sun Apr 8, 2012.
By Alex Barker
for the Daily News

Some people can stand tall, even while sitting.

For Jennifer Gentile, life changed when she started learning from negative situations and making them into positives. It's the kind of thinking that leads a girl out of foster care, through cerebral palsy, and into dreams, like owning her own home.

I got to know Gentile through a conversation at her home. At her front door I was greeted by a kind lady in an electric wheelchair and I asked if Jennifer was home before mentioning that I was supposed to talk to her. These are the kind of things that can happen when you initially meet people via a phone call. She laughed before maneuvering her wheelchair back and down the smooth, wooden floors of her new home and explaining to me a few quick things I should know about cerebral palsy.

A short, over-simplified explanation of cerebral palsy is that it is a muscle disorder that makes one side of the body have more difficulty functioning than the other, and it is something one is born with. In Gentile's case, the left side of her body has very little motor skill.

Once we talked a little, I got the sense that I was dealing with a highly motivated person. Every once in awhile you'll meet a person that is electric to talk with, eyes lighting up anytime you mention adversity, passion, opportunity, or any keyword having to do with success and hard work. Every person in the world says they believe in, and really like themselves, but few actually embody the words.

Through our talks, I learned that Gentile loves dramatic and true stories. This is the extremely shortened story of her time with The Arc of Midland and what it has meant for her, those around her, and, by the end of this, you.

Gentile first met The Arc's executive director, Jan Lampman, in 1998 when her foster mother, Sandy Moe, contacted the organization. At that time, Gentile was in a nursing home, and she was starting to lose hope that she'd ever achieve her dream of owning a home.

Lampman helped Gentile get in touch with Carol Wallace, a supervisor with the Midland office of Community Mental Health of Central Michigan, or CMHCM. Lampman and Wallace introduced Gentile to the concept of self determination, in which every person, regardless of his or her abilities, should be able to make decisions and control their destiny.

"To me, self determination is having a dream, and finding all the possible ways to accomplishing that dream," Gentile said. "You have to voice what you want. That's the first step in achieving a dream. Then you have to go to the right people to make that happen."

Gentile worked with The Arc of Midland on different ways to become more independent in her home and the community.

"I don't know if you know this, but a lot of counties don't offer the same staffing opportunities that Midland does. I have plenty of staff that can work the hours I need," Gentile said of the support team built around her. "The hardest part, and The Arc's made this easier, is learning how to manage your staff, so that you can be the most independent you can be. You can do what you want, but you need others to help you do that. Jan has taught me that, just because you can't do it by yourself, doesn't mean you can't accomplish it."

The Arc was showing Gentile how to best use her staff as a tool to support her needs and wants when Lampman delivered the good news. Lampman explained that Gentile would be receiving Social Security money, and that she would be eligible to own her own home. Next, Lampman told Gentile about the building trade program through Midland Public Schools that was building barrier-free, zero step design houses.

Bill Brown, supervisor of the MPS building program, met with Gentile, Lampman and Michelle Vouaux, an Arc employee that helped make sure Gentile's benefits got approved. Brown was just as excited as Gentile to get started on the house, and soon Gentile was helping to design the house.

Gentile was able to secure funds through a state program and Kristin Parsell, Gentile's support coordinator at CMHCM, helped Gentile through every step of the process. The City of Midland also offered Gentile a grant through the CHOICE program, which is designed to create housing opportunities for those in need, to help her purchase the land to build on.

Now, Gentile works three days a week at the Arnold Center, a place where people with disabilities can earn money by helping to manufacture products. Gentile noted that a major misconception that people without disabilities have is that those with disabilities cannot contribute to the community and be as productive.

"The secret is setting goals, and communication," Gentile said. "The Arc really does care. They look out for safety and independence. If what you want can be done, they will help you do it in a safe manner."

Ironically, Gentile admits that she is not the kind of person that can just sit around, so when she does have downtime she will often travel and do work as a motivational speaker to others with disabilities. Her message is always about dreams and patience.

"If you work hard and want something, it will happen," she said. "It may not happen overnight, but it will happen."

It's this kind of attitude that makes a woman sitting in a chair stand so tall in the living room of her new home.

-- Alex Barker is an intern at The Arc of Midland. He manages The Arc's Twittwer account at @thearcofmidland and is a marketing major at Northwood University.

Back to Top

Universally accessible canoe/kayak launches open

By Steve Griffin for the Daily News Midland Daily News | 0 comments
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:00 pm
 

Steve Griffin | for the Daily News

 

 
“I did it!” said Roger Isenhart as he and his kayak ascended rollers on a new, universally accessible canoe and kayak launch facility just downstream of the Tridge on the Tittabawassee River in downtown Midland.

Isenhart, fresh from his first-ever solo boating adventure Thursday, had exchanged his wheelchair for a kayak, swapped solid land for flowing water.

It’s an experience members of the Access to Recreation Committee of the Midland Area Community Foundation (Isenhart co-chairs the committee) hope will be repeated many times at the facility and two others in Midland County.

The launches are now operating; formal dedication is set for Friday, June 8, at the Tridge.

In addition to the downtown site near the Farmer’s Market, access facilities have been installed at Sanford Lake Park on the lake, and on Chippewa Nature Center’s Universal Access Site on Chippewa River Road, 0.3 miles west of Meridian Road, on the Chippewa River.

All were funded through a Kellogg Foundation grant matched by several local sources. The river access project followed creation of a paved nature trail at the West Midland Family Center, and the Oasis Spray Park at the Midland Community Center.

Isenhart’s expedition, in which he was attended by Tom Lenon and Curt Holsinger, both of the Chippewa Nature Center, came just before a dedication-planning meeting of the Access to Recreation Committee on the dock the event will celebrate.

Most kayakers and canoeists will tell you that the trickiest, most treacherous parts of a voyage are the beginning and end: getting into the boat from dry land, and climbing back out of the craft at journey’s end.

That’s where you’re most likely to wobble on legs-gone-to-sleep, stumble on unseen underwater hazards, flip your vessel by moving the wrong way, or slide on a sloped and slimy surface and take a dip.

That’s if you’re of average agility, or a little better.

If your mobility is compromised, it can be a nearly impossible task, daunting enough to keep you ashore.

Although the Tittabawassee, Chippewa and Pine rivers are great recreational resources, CNC Executive Director Dick Touvel said, “Unless you’re very athletic, it’s hard to actually use (them).”

Consider a research trip taken by members of the local committee last year. Eight people dragged a canoe, with Isenhart aboard, 20 feet up a river bank. “That highlighted the need for me,” said Chris Tointon, CEO of the Greater Midland Community Centers.

It’s to avoid those kinds of obstacles to outdoor recreation that several Midland-area organizations pooled their efforts to place the three launch facilities on area rivers.

The Access to Recreation Committee includes representatives of the Arnold Center, The Arc of Midland, CNC, City of Midland, Disability Network of Mid-Michigan, Midland Area Community Foundation, Midland Community Center, Midland County Parks and Recreation and West Midland Family Center.

Local funding came through The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Midland Area Community Foundation, the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN), The Dow Chemical Co., Midland Rotary Club, Midland Kiwanis Foundation and Kiwassee Kiwanis Foundation.

The facilities, which the committee helped design with landscape architect Pam Blough of PM Blough, Inc., and Missouri-based EZ-Dock company, feature floating dock sections leading to float-mounted rollers flanked by handrails.

The watercraft is pulled onto the rollers, where the paddler can step directly into the boat, or first sit on a slide-able bench and then drop into the boat.

The handrails provide a way to propel oneself down the rollers and into the water.

Lenon, who leads kayak and canoe trips for CNC, said there’s another advantage: “You can float (in the kayak or canoe) while still holding onto the rails, get everything adjusted and get used to the feel” of the floating watercraft.

Ramps leading to the facilities are designed for easy access to those in wheelchairs or using other mobility assistance.

Wheelchair use is an obvious barrier to conventional paddlecraft launching. But so, too, are increasingly common conditions such as hip and knee replacements, back injuries and other issues.

Committee members are betting that a variety of Midlanders will echo Roger Isenhart’s proud statement, “I did it!” at the end of a local voyage.

Back to Top

Arnold Center Receives Three Year CARF Accreditation

“Arnold Center proudly announces it has once again been awarded a Three-Year Accreditation by CARF. This represents the highest level of accreditation achievable. Arnold Center, Inc. was recognized for accreditation in Community Integration...(including Community Employment), Evaluation and Organizational Employment programs. This marks the twelfth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation awarded to Arnold Center, Inc. by CARF, the international accreditation authority in the fields of rehabilitation, behavioral health, and employment and community services. This level of accreditation resulted from findings during CARF's recent on-site survey. In a letter to Arnold Center, Inc. Brian J. Boon, President and CEO of CARF, wrote: "Please be advised that the CARF surveyors made no recommendations, which signifies that they did not identify any areas of nonconformance to the standards. This is an extraordinary accomplishment, as only 3 percent of CARF surveys result in no recommendations." Established in 1966, CARF is the preeminent internationally recognized accreditation authority promoting and advocating for quality rehabilitation services. CARF develops standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their rehabilitation programs.

Back to Top

Homeowners honored with City of Midland beautification awards

“By Tony Lascari tlascari@mdn.net Midland Daily News | 0 comments Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:11 am, Tue Nov 6, 2012.

This home at 3810 Collingwood St. was among those honored with Appreciation of Beautification awards. .The motivation of homeowners honored with Appreciation of Beautification Awards from the City of Midland varied from excitement about a first home to the love of a childhood home and a project to tackle in retirement. What all of the winners had in common was a passion for making their properties more attractive, and in turn, making the city of Midland a more beautiful place to live. That attitude is important as Midland strives to provide a high quality of living and make the city attractive to potential residents and investors, Midland City Councilman J. Dee Brooks told this year's award winners at a ceremony last week. "We have so many beautiful areas in the city and it's so much fun to see what everyone is doing to improve the city and the neighborhoods where we live," Brooks said. "It really does help. We get comments all the time on how nice the city and neighborhoods are." Nancy Gregory worked on landscaping with her husband, Thomas, at their home at 1913 Rapanos Drive. She said she has lived there since she was 4 years old, so when the porch started crumbling, she wanted to improve the entrance to the home. They replaced the porch, added stone to the bay window, added window boxes, worked on a walkway to the front entrance and gardens on each side, and more. "It just kind of snowballed," she said. "We appreciate the appreciation award," Steve and Anne Jenkins were recognized for improvements at their home at 308 Rowe Court. They added six major flower beds, 18 trees, 25 evergreen shrubs and a rose garden with hedge border. Anne Jenkins said her love of nature came from her mother, who she said would be happy if she could see the completed project. "It's been wonderful," she said. "We have loved it and we have enjoyed it. All of you know what it does for your soul when you have a garden." For Thomas and Heather Wood, 7200 Windstream, the improvements were a chance to tackle landscaping for the first time. Thomas Wood said they didn't even have a lawn mower after moving to Midland last year from metro Detroit. "It's a lot of fun," he said. "It keeps you busy in the summer and gets you outside." The Harris family was honored for improvements at 3316 Kentwood. Sherrie Fritze-Harris said the foreclosure home was a project for her retired husband, Patrick Harris. She said the improvements turned out to be a great way to meet neighbors, who stopped by to ask about the project. "Midland is a better place because of all these great committees we have," she said, thanking the beautification committee. Among the nonresidential winners was the Midland Country Club, which made improvements to its 106-acre property. As part of a remodeling project, the landscaping added new plantings, water features and new vistas onto the golf course. Honored with a special recognition was The Dow Chemical Co. Founder's Garden at the site of the former Dow 47 Building, which served as the company's headquarters for decades. Rich Wells, Dow vice president and site director for Michigan Operations, said Midland is an incredible home for the company and he thanked the fellow honorees for their work to improve Midland's appearance. He suggested people take a stroll through the Founder's Garden, which honors Dow founder Herbert Henry Dow with a statue, has walls featuring five important elements that Dow Chemical was built on, fruit trees representing one of H.H. Dow's passions and more. Award winners Landscaping Residential 3810 Collingwood St., Mark and Wendy Adcock 2605 Georgetown Drive, Michael and Jennifer Schau 2718 Hollyberry Drive, Kirk and Julie Shangle 409 Longview St., Dale and Karen Wegener 3328 W. Nelson St., Jeffery and Kristen Gandy 1913 Rapanos Drive, Thomas and Nancy Gregory 308 Rowe Court, Steve and Anne Jenkins 808 W. Sugnet Road, Michael and Nancy Hurtubise 7200 Windstream Circle, Thomas and Heather Wood Structural and Site Improvements Residential 1009 Helen St., Sue Scheddel 3316 Kentwood Drive, The Harris family Landscaping Nonresidential 5317 N. Saginaw Road, Cottage Creamery 1120 W. St. Andrews Road, Midland Country Club 414 Townsend St., Ieuter Insurance Group 400 Wexford Ave., The Arnold Center Special Recognition The Dow Chemical Co. Founder's Garden Honorable Mention Residential 4609 Arbor Drive, Catherine Fisher 3817 Cambridge St., Marilyn Waun and Ray Elvey 4313 Hancock Drive, John Moore 5204 Shoal Creek Circle, Ronald and Gaye Woodward 5804 Summerset Drive, Paul and Susan O'Connor 4512 Washington St., Joseph and Laura Yatch Honorable Mention Nonresidential Schade West Drive, Schade West Condominium Association Copyright 2012 Midland Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to Top

ARC of Midland seeking donations to continue mission begun 60 years ago

“By Lori J. Sutton | 1 comment Posted: Sunday, December 9, 2012 10:30 am

As we move through the festive holiday season, many of us are updating our Facebook walls with daily postings of the things for which we give thanks. These reflections are profound and many of them among my FB friends include tributes to the Arc of Midland for the services this nonprofit organization provides to people with intellectual and cognitive impairments. This year the Arc proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary. At its annual membership meeting in October, Jan Lampman, executive director of the Arc of Midland, presented a review of the organization's history and accomplishments. The list is long and the depth of its impact on the Midland community is great. Founded by parents of children with mental impairments in 1952, their grass-roots-based effort was influential in addressing key life challenges their children were facing including appropriate education, housing and employment. Sixty years later, we see that fruits of their labor were truly amazing. The school they established to address the lack of educational opportunities for their children began the Midland Public School special education services program. A memorial fund created in honor of a son born with Down Syndrome grew into the Reece Community Living Endeavor whose mission is to provide decent affordable housing to individuals with disabilities. Their participation in the creation of the Midland County Rehabilitation Services for the Handicapped, Inc. in 1967 to address the lack of employment opportunities and vocational training is now known as the Arnold Center. The efforts of these families were instrumental in starting community-based solutions for individuals with disabilities which are cornerstone agencies that make Midland so unique. Today we would call the founding families and their work "game changers." This pioneering spirit lives strong and continues to guide the Arc of Midland in its mission today. Some examples include the creation of Personal Assistance Options and enabling self-determination, which give people with disabilities a choice in their care. Other crucial services provided by the Arc include individual financial services, educational and life plan facilitation, the Dental Clinic, Project Lifesaver, Everyone in Education, the Arc Faith group and Healthy Relationships classes. All these efforts are dedicated to help people with disabilities reach their full potential and realize their dreams as productive members of the Midland community. As we look into the future, the Arc realizes that the challenges and economic hurdles will be great. Supporting people with intellectual disabilities is critical to the overall well-being of everyone and we are grateful to be a part of an extremely supportive community. The Arc is wrapping up 2012 with a fundraiser to build our capacity and ensure our financial security. The goal of this year-end appeal is to raise $15,000 and we need your help. If 100 people give $100 and another 100 people give $50 each, we are done! This will build the financial health of the Arc so that we can ensure another 60 years of collaboration and accomplishments in Midland County. Thank you for your support. Lori J. Sutton is president of the Arc of Midland. To learn more about the Arc of Midland and how you can get involved, visit www.thearcofmidland.org Send donations made payable to Arc of Midland to Arc of Midland, 220 W. Main St., Suite 102, 48640.

Back to Top