Media Releases

Shopko Foundation donates $946.66 to Senior Meals

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HOUGHTON - Today, Portage Health Senior Meals Director Jennifer Szubielak accepted a $946.66 check from the Shopko Foundation.

Shopko Grant“This is a wonderful bonus for our organization,” said Szubielak. “This money will help us continue to provide more than 85,000 meals a year to residents in Houghton and Keweenaw counties.”

The money was awarded through Shopko Foundation’s Community Charitable Grant program, which was established to support charitable non-profit organizations through limited funding of local programs and events in Shopko communities.

“The foundation is pleased to recognize the good work you do and applauds your effort and commitment to support your community,” writes Michelle A. Hansen, the foundation’s program manager, in a letter that accompanied the check.

Learn more about Portage Health Senior Meals, including how to qualify for daily delivery of meals, by visiting

Foot care expert hired at Portage Health

(Staff) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Get your foot in the door at Portage Health and Jonathan Brueggeman, DPM, will get it taken care of.

JonathonBrueggemanDr. Brueggeman is a podiatrist, offering expert care for feet and ankles at Portage Health’s main campus. He begins working in Hancock on April 1.

“I’m excited to join Portage Health and fill a need in the Copper Country community,” said Brueggeman.

For broken bones, torn ligament and tendons, bunions, hammer toes, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, arch pain, arthritis, and fungal infections of the skin and nails, Dr. Brueggeman brings a new level of expertise to the area.

“I’m looking forward to working with patients of all ages,” Brueggeman said. “I’m especially looking forward to establishing long-term relationships with patients suffering from diabetes and those needing preventative care to maintain good health.”

In addition to general podiatric medicine and surgery, he is an expert in wound care, ankle joint arthroscopy, diabetic limb preservation and deformity correction. Another highlight of the doctor’s abilities includes surgical correction of foot and ankle deformities such as flatfoot, Charcot foot, cavus or high-arched foot, and clubfoot.

Dr. Brueggeman is a graduate of Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University. He completed his residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago and the North Chicago Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He served as chief resident during his time at both facilities.

After completing residency, he worked as a physician and partner at Lakeshore Medical Clinic in Cudahy, Wis. Dr. Brueggeman has moved to the area with his wife Megan Brueggeman, a physician assistant who has joined Portage Health’s orthopaedic team.

To learn more or to make an appointment with Dr. Brueggeman visit or call 483-1060.

Phase 1 of Portage Health - University Center work completed

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HOUGHTON – Phase one of the highly anticipated Portage Health-University Center expansion and renovation is now completed.

This morning the expanded area of the clinic opened for patients in Houghton, including the new lobby area, exam rooms and a complete renovation of the Houghton Apothecary.

“This new facility is wonderful,” said Dr. Bruce Trusock. “The patients and the staff will love it.”

The opening marks the completion of phase one of the project, which included construction of the new space, and marks the beginning of the second phase, which includes renovations to the old clinic.

Phase two should be completed in August, when the entire clinic will be open and a grand opening ceremony will be held.

UClobbyThe $4.3 million project is more than doubling the square footage of the clinic, including doubling the amount of exam rooms and procedure rooms. The expansion will allow for three additional medical providers and a dozen new support positions.

“It will be August before everything is finished, but already the clinic is worth a visit,” Trusock said. “It’s quiet, comfortable and spacious.”

The clinic hours are still the same, 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday. X-ray services and the pharmacy drive-up window are currently unavailable in Houghton. Both will be available mid summer. Currently, x-ray services are being sent to Hancock. Pharmacy delivery is available to most Houghton County residents by calling 483-1818.

Clinic and apothecary customers will park in front of the new entrance, while rehab patients are still asked to use the SDC entrance.

Continuous updates on the project will be available at

Senior Meals celebrates OAANP's 40th anniversary

(Events) Permanent link
HANCOCK – It was this day in 1972 that the Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs passed, paving the way for senior meal programs all over the United States, including here in the Copper Country.

Portage Health Senior MealsPortage Health Senior Meals is one of those programs, delivering more than 85,000 meals a year to residents of Houghton and Keweenaw Counties.

“These meals are a Godsend,” said Mary Harju, an 82-year-old Houghton resident who receives the meals seven days a week. “I threw all my pots and pans away. I’m 82-years-old, I can’t cook, and I don’t need to.”

She isn’t alone. Hundreds of residents in the area take advantage of the program, which was started in the late 1970s and taken over by Portage Health in the early 1990s.

“People that can’t cook or shop should still have access to a good, hot meal,” said Jennifer Szubielak, director of Portage Health Senior Meals. “All of our food is cooked from scratch, and delivered right to the customer’s door.”

The meal delivery drivers enjoy the experience because they get to visit and chat with people from all over the community.

“It’s nice to have a friendly voice come in and visit me everyday,” said Jim Troy, a nearly 90-year-old Hancock man. “You can’t understand how much I appreciate this. It makes it possible for me to still live at home.”

The Copper Country service was the first in the Upper Peninsula, and Szubielak notes that all the meals meet at least 1/3 of a person’s daily nutritional requirements.

“We get help from local and state dietitians to make sure we’re not only providing food, but healthy food,” she said. “We can also provide diet-specific meals if someone’s health conditions deem that necessary.”

On a national level, more than eight billion meals have been served since the act passed, keeping millions of older Americans living independently.

Meals are also sent to seven congregate sites across the Keweenaw for people who are able to drive and want to socialize, a full list can be found on our website.

To find out more information, including learning how you can start getting home-delivered meals, call 483-1155 or visit

Get your Plate in Shape during Nutrition Month

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It’s time to get your Plate in Shape!

That’s the message from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is celebrating National Nutrition Month this March.

Here are six simple tips that everyone could learn from:
1) Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially those that are dark-green, red, and orange, plus beans and peas. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables. For canned vegetables, look for those without added salt. For canned fruits, look for those in water or 100% juice.

2) Make at least half of your grains, whole grains
Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.

3) Opt for fat-free or low-fat milk
Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories.

4) Vary your protein choices
Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Twice per week, make seafood the protein on your plate.

5) Cut back on sodium and empty calories
Watch for salt (sodium) in foods you buy. Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
Make major sources of saturated fats, such as desserts, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs occasional choices, not everyday foods. Select lean cuts of meat and fat-free or low-fat dairy. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.

6) Enjoy your food, but eat less
Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home, where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options and opt for dishes that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

For more information on healthy eating visit, or

Visitor restriction lifted from Family Birthing Center

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HANCOCK – The Portage Health Family Birthing Center has lifted its temporary restriction on visiting children.

“We have seen a significant decrease in local cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),” said Cheryl Frankovich, unit manager of the birthing center. “We appreciate the patience that families have shown, and we are happy to allow siblings into the birthing center once again.”

Daily visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Children under 12 are not permitted to visit, except for the newborn’s siblings.

Visit for more information.

Mary Altman turns 105 at PortagePointe

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Ask anyone at PortagePointe about Mary Altman, and smiles are all you’ll see. The 105-year-old resident of PortagePointe has that affect on people.

Mary Altman“Everyone loves her,” said Julie Beck, the social worker who works with all of the elders at PortagePointe. “She’s an amazing woman, the kind of person you could spend a week listening to and it wouldn’t be close to enough time.”

On Sunday, March 11, the PortagePointe community celebrated Altman’s 105th birthday with an afternoon celebration that included members from the Lake Linden American Legion Post 90, Major General Todd Stewart and Altman’s family.

“It was just marvelous,” said Altman. “There were so many people, so much stuff going on.”

Flash bulbs were going off, community leader Dennis Korby gave a touching speech and Altman got to see old friends and meet new ones, such as a three-year-old Lake Linden pre-school student that gave her flowers.

“She was so precious,” Altman said. “I was floored by all of it.”

Altman grew up in Gregoryville, which was a French suburb of Lake Linden. She didn’t learn English until the fifth grade when she began attending school in Lake Linden. She graduated from the high school in 1927.

“I was there when they first opened that school,” she said.

After high school she attended Hurley Hospital School of Nursing in Flint. The school still sends her birthday gifts, including a personal care gift basket this year.

She worked in Flint before joining the army as a 1st lieutenant during World War II. She also had four brothers serve in the army, two were injured during World War II, the other two served near the end of World War I.

Altman has traveled to all 48 states in the mainland, and has always enjoyed learning new things.

“I’m full of questions,” she said. “I’m always asking them and have been since I was born.”

She said she used to badger her mother with questions, but now the curious lady directs questions to her caretakers and friends at PortagePointe.

She said the key to her long life is a positive attitude.

“Think positive, forget the negatives,” she said. “There’s always obstacles, but things will be better. If there’s something you want to do, go for it, try your best and never give up.”

Dialysis Center modifies clinical and visitor's hours

(Services) Permanent link
HANCOCK – The Portage Health Dialysis Center is changing clinic hours to 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. beginning on Monday, March 19.

Portage Health Dialysis Center 2“The change in hours will increase patient safety, patient satisfaction and efficiency,” said Karen Kelley, dialysis director.

Previously, the center opened at 6:30 a.m., which is often too early for patients who travel to Hancock from L’Anse, Ontonagon or Copper Harbor.

“When we opened in 2000, and even as recent as five years ago, the majority of our patients wanted to be here early,” Kelley said. “That has shifted, people are more interested in coming a little bit later in the morning.”

The center will see patients later into the afternoon to make up for the later start. Kelley said the center is also changing its model of care.

“We’re having a paradigm shift in how patients initiate and discontinue treatment on a daily basis,” Kelley said. “This change came after a strong evaluation of our workflow, and also includes a new patient-scheduling software.”

The decision to add the new software, ScheduleWise, was suggested by a class from the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics.

“The students did a lean project where they examined patient flow, eventually concluding that new software would help,” Kelley said.

With the change of clinic hours, visitor’s hours have changed as well. Visitors are welcome from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 2:30 to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Portage Health Dialysis Center, visit

One-day closure scheduled for University Center

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HOUGHTON – Portage Health-University Center will be closed on Friday, March 23, 2012, as part of Portage Health’s $4.3 million renovation at the clinic.

University Center ExpansionThe clinic will reopen on Monday, March 26, 2012 for regular business hours in the newly constructed space.

The new space features a more spacious and comfortable registration area/waiting room, state-of-the-art patient-care areas and a larger revamped pharmacy.

All of these new areas will be open on March 26, when phase 2 of the renovation begins. Phase 2 includes renovating the current clinic, which was built in 2000. In August, the entire complex is expected to be open.

Patients are being asked to either visit Portage Health Express Care in Houghton or Portage Health’s main campus in Hancock if they need to be seen that day.

The Apothecary – Hancock will be open normal hours, and free delivery is available as usual. Call 483-1919 to reach the Hancock office, or to learn more about free delivery.

Visit for more information about the project.

Free hospice training set for March 13 and 15

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HANCOCK – Portage Health Home Care and Hospice is hosting hospice volunteer training sessions on March 13 and March 15 from 6 to 9 PM.

The training is free and prospective volunteers are required to preregister and attend both sessions.

"People who volunteer for hospice will typically tell you it is the most rewarding experience they've ever encountered," said Marianne Berghefer, hospice volunteer and bereavement coordinator.

This training serves as a crucial bridge between volunteers gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to work with hospice patients, families and professionals. Volunteers are needed for direct patient respite care, pet therapy, clerical assistance, fundraising and much more.

For more information on hospice volunteering, including a full description of the training and on-line registration information, call Marianne at 483-1160.

Fitness Center unveils spring class schedule

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HOUGHTON – The spring fitness class schedule at Portage Health Fitness Center is now available with classes beginning March 5 and running through June 2.

WorkoutPortage Health is proud to announce the addition of Amanda Altobelli, a certified group exercise instructor who has added five new classes (Yogalates, Strength & Tone, Zumba, Cardio Mixx and Zenergy) to our already-impressive list of fitness opportunities.

Altobelli is a NSCA Certified personal trainer that will also be available for one-on-one sessions at the Fitness Center.

“Amanda brings a wealth of knowledge in the fitness field to our workout facility,” said Angela Luskin, community health coordinator at Portage Health. “We were lucky to bring her in, and are very excited about the fresh new classes she will be directing.”

Other fitness classes include Cycle Fusion, Core Cycle, Mat Pilates, Total Body Circuit, Core Combo and four sections of the very popular Indoor Cycling class.

Classes are $6 for non members and $4 for members, with 16-session punch cards priced at $72 for non-members and $48 for members. Indoor cycling punch cards are $88 and $56.

A full list of courses, including a description and schedule, is below. Please call 483-1149 to sign up for classes that fit your schedule. All classes are at Portage Health Fitness Center (the old Blockbuster building off Sharon Avenue in Houghton) unless otherwise marked.

Full Class List

Combines the muscle toning of Pilates and the relaxations methods of Yoga.
Monday & Wednesday, 6:15-7:15 a.m. at Portage Health Rehab - Hancock
Tuesday & Thursday, 7:15-8 a.m.

Strength & Tone
Get a kick butt workout that strengthens and tones the entire body in just 30 minutes!
Monday & Wednesday, 4:45-5:15 p.m.

Fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program.
Monday & Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Cardio Mixx
A creative spin on your basic aerobics class.
Tuesday & Thursday, 6:45-7:30 p.m.

Energize and de-stress! A vinyasa, flowing style Yoga is used to increase strength, power & flexibility.
Monday & Wednesday, 6:45-7:45 p.m.
Indoor Cycling
This class is an amazing cardio challenge and great for beginner to advanced participants.
Tuesday & Thursday, 6-7 a.m.
Monday, Wed, & Friday, 8-8:45 a.m.
Tuesday & Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8-9 a.m.

Cycle Fusion
Combines the cardio challenge of cycling with strength training and core exercises.
Monday, Wed, & Friday, 6-7 a.m.
Saturday, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Core Cycle
Cycling combined with a great core workout, all in 45 minutes.
Tuesday & Thursday, 4:30-5:15 p.m.

This yoga class blends power and balance to increase strength and flexibility.
Wednesday, 11-11:45 p.m.

Mat Pilates
Work on strength, balance, flexibility and posture in this total body workout class.
Friday, 9-10 a.m.

Total Body Circuit
A 30 minute class to increase strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Tuesday & Thursday, 8-8:30 a.m.

Core Combo
Focused on strengthening the abdominals and strengthening the core.
Monday, Wed & Friday, 10-10:45 a.m.

Per session: $6 (non-members); $4 (members)
Fitness Classes 16-session punch card: $72 (non-members; $48 (members)
Indoor Cycling 16-session punch card: $88 (non-members; $56 (members)
First class is always free! Call 483-1149 to sign up.

Liam Merriman welcomed as 2012 Leap Year Baby

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Liam Raymond Robert Merriman is the Copper Country’s Leap Year Baby of 2012!

2012 Leap Year BabyLiam was born at 6:01 p.m. Wednesday at the Portage Health Family Birthing Center with women’s health doctors Rebecca Baudoin and Julie Meyer present.

“This wasn’t what we were expecting,” said Liam’s mother, Amanda. “He picked his time, though, and the leap day was it.”

Liam was born to Amanda and Ricky Merriman of Painesdale, and joins two brothers and a sister.

“They were all through the roof with excitement,” Amanda said. “They were hooping and hollering.”

And the siblings were even more excited that their new little brother was born on such a unique date.

“It’s fascinating,” said Ricky. “We weren’t really thinking about it, but suddenly Dr. Baudoin realized it and told us ‘you’re going to have a leap year baby.’”

Liam won’t get to celebrate his birthday on Feb. 29 until 2016, when he turns 4. The Merriman’s said they’ll likely celebrate his birthday on Feb. 28 each year.

“His older brother celebrates an early March birthday, so we’ll probably do his in March,” Ricky said.

Portage Health also welcomed a baby to the world on Feb. 29, 2008, but did not in 2004.


500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930
(906) 483-1000


921 W. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1777

Express Care 


945 Ninth Street
Lake Linden, MI 49945
(906) 483-1030


751 S. Seventh Street
Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 884-4120


600 MacInnes Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1860

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