|Issue 9.54 | Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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XIAMEN, CHINA, Oct. 6, 2009 -- I still have an annoying foot ailment, causing some pain around my second and third toes and the tarsals that extend into my foot. Also, that whole area on the topside of my foot is swollen.
sucking down, first, sodium naproxin, then ibuprofin about four times
a day. The discomfort has lingered. I was going to ride it out, except
for the fact that we're headed to Yunnan Province next week, where the
Himalayas begin... and on into Shangri La by mountain bus. No time for
foot pain and swelling!
Sooo... even though I detected or maybe imagined improvement, I bit the bullet. This morning, I went to a new hospital that is on par with Bumrangrad in Bangkok. First class! And here is a list of our expenses relating to that trip. All costs have been converted from Chinese Reminbe to US dollars.
lunch for three at McDonalds: $8.08, or $1.41 more than the hospital/doctor
* * * * *
My wife Erin and I are retired. She was a teacher for many years, and I was a freelance writer for about 35 years. Our home is Orlando, Fla. We have been in China teaching oral English and doing what we refer to as "counseling" for the past seven years. We love China and especially the Chinese, who are the dearest people one could imagine. We both grew up in West Tennessee.
Xiamen is a city of two+ million, small by Chinese standards. It is a beautiful, clean and quiet resort city for the Chinese, offering a beach of sorts, and a delightful little island where no private vehicles are allowed. (Six minutes by ferry from downtown). We maintain a spacious seventh floor, four-bedroom apartment with a view of the harbor on one side and a range of mountains on the other. Monthly rent: 2500 Reminbe, or US $368!
Like many other human services, healthcare is government regulated and to some extent subsidized. I mean, how else could you see a doctor for 73 cents! That government control doesn't affect us at the "take-two-aspirins" level. At more serious and critical care levels, it's a different story. The hospitals do not feed patients. Family members bring meals
We have many "laowai" -- Western friends -- here in the foreigners community. And none of them has ever had surgery in Xiamen. They go to Hong Kong or to the sleek modern medical center in Bangkok, Bumrungrad International.
get the attention of an orthopedic specialist from Taiwan for 73 cents
because physicians are said to be paid out of what the hospital makes
on surgeries. I'd say that's incentive enough to recommend surgery for
a fever blister.
1 of two parts)
Mr. Reid, a former New York Times journalist, gives us an overview of several key countries and how their health systems work, and asks: "Is health care a human right." He points out that, indeed, health care is not in our U.S. Constitution.
He writes: "In the world's richest nation, we tolerate a health care system that leads to large numbers of avoidable deaths and bankruptcies among our fellow citizens. Efforts to change the system tend to be derailed and the essential moral question gets lost in the shouting."
And amazingly, as much as Americans cringe at governmental run health care ("Socialized medicine"), these same Americans readily embrace this same government-run medical program for American veterans, and the older Americans (Medicare.)
Yet Americans spend nearly twice what most developed countries spend on medical care, while not covering everyone.
The major sector that is so poorly covered are the ones who need it most: people and families in their middle age, who through no fault of their own, may have lost their medical insurance because they lost their job. Such a procedure leads to unnecessary deaths, and in many instances, bankruptcies because of staggering medical bills.
Americans might be surprised at the nation considered to have the best medical system .France. Any French resident can go to any private doctor's office or private hospital, and get service, all paid for by the government through required insurance.
Once in a French medical office, Reid points out, you see no filing cabinets. Every Frenchman has a green plastic "Vitale" card, which contains a small memory chip that stores that person's medical records. The doctor inserts the card into a machine, updates it with current medical history, and when finished, sends a signal to the insurance company to get paid. The insurance firm merely is the middleman on the payment, not the deciding person on what treatment the patient should get. That's the doctor's decision.
Reid explores other national health systems, in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan, India, Switzerland and Taiwan. All have nationalized systems that cost far less than does the U.S. system. He writes:
"The major reasons our national medical bill is so much higher than any other country's are two things that the United States does differently from every other country: the way we manage health insurance and the complexity of our health care system."
Then Reid adds: "The United States is the only developed country that allows insurance companies to refuse coverage to people for fear that they might get sick."
"To put it simply, the United States does well when it comes to providing
medical care, but has a rotten system for financing that care."
* * * *
As the Congress deliberates the national health care problem, it's fortunate to have T.R. Reid's book hit the book stores. He provides essential information for a nation that is behind the bulk of the developed world in its thinking about the moral question of whether health care is a human right.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today we welcome Asbury Automotive Group as a new underwriter. Asbury Automotive Group is one of the largest automobile retailers in the U.S. Asbury is publicly-traded (NYSE: ABG) and a member of the Fortune 500. Built through a combination of organic growth and a series of strategic acquisitions, Asbury currently operates 81 retail auto stores, encompassing 106 franchises for the sale and servicing of 37 different brands of American, European and Asian automobiles. Asbury offers customers an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicle sales and related financing and insurance, vehicle maintenance and repair services, replacement parts and service contracts. Headquartered in Duluth, Ga. Asbury's local dealership group is Nalley Automotive Group with 12 locations across metro Atlanta. Visit asburyauto.com or nalleycars.com for more information.
Three years ago, the City of Sugar Hill accomplished a Living Centers Initiative (LCI) Study. This study developed a plan to improve the "downtown" area and promote the development of the West Broad Street area.
The Sugar Hill Planning Department is in final review of the construction plans submitted by Pond Engineering for the improvements to West Broad Street. The project involved the city purchasing the "Right of Way" from 30 property owners to allow the construction of road improvements. This project includes all underground utilities, on street parking, wide decorative sidewalks, period streetlights, road improvements, regional stormwater detention, pedestrian friendly traffic calming crosswalks and landscaping.
The realignment of Temple Drive and a roundabout at Whitehead Road are included. These improvements are the first step to the creation of the City of Sugar Hill downtown district. The "Central Business District" will create a sense of place for the citizens, and hopefully a place to shop, dine, live and work. The City has adopted an architectural standard for all renovations and new construction in the Town Center area. The City expects to ask for "Requests for Proposals" for the construction to commence early 2010.
Comedy about murder to begin run at New London Theatre
The New London Theatre in Snellville will present A Slight Case of Murder October 16 through November 1 on the weekends. The play is a comedy in two acts by Damon Runyon and Howard Lindsay.
The story is set in the 1930s post-prohibition era, and is about a bootleg beer baron, Remy Markos, and his "boys" who have gone "legit" and are trying to fit in with high society folks. As they go off for the summer season in Saratoga, N.Y., they arrive at their rented home to find the lifeless bodies of four bank robbers in a closet upstairs as well as a half a million dollars. Remy's daughter, who has been away at private school, comes home with her fiancé, a policeman, which is just what Remy doesn't need!
A Slight Case of Murder is being produced by Leslie Raab and directed by Kathleen Mardis. It will have its dress rehearsal on October 15 at 7 p.m. It will be presented Oct 16-18, Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. while the Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are: $10in advance, $12 the day of the show, and $8 for children and students with I.D. Final dress rehearsal tickets are $8at the door. Tickets can be purchased either online through the website, or at the theatre box office. The New London Theatre is on East Main Street in downtown Snellville.
Sierra Club to hear about Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful
Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, will provide The Sierra Club with an update on the group's new recycling facility and projects at its meeting October 15 a t 7 p.m.
The club will also learn about GC&B reorganized structure to make Gwinnett a clean and green place to live. The group meets at Berkmar High School. Those with questions should contact Tom Morrissey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 513-4069.
Lawrenceville Ghost Tours now includes ghost trolley
Ghost Tours marks its fifth Halloween of haunting, history and horror
by adding a new attraction, the Lawrenceville Ghost Trolley. Unlike our
walking tour, Lawrenceville Ghost Trolley will travel off the square to
haunted locations just off the square. The Lawrenceville Ghost Trolley
offers new stories, such as one from the Lawrenceville Female Seminary,
where the ghosts of school girls are said to still run up and down the
stairs. It also will visit the railroad depot, where a robbery went terribly
wrong with deadly consequences. The tour also includes the Historic Lawrenceville
Cemetery, regarded as a haunted hot spot by nationally-known paranormal
North Gwinnett Schools Foundation plans Big T'Do Oct. 17
More than 400 guests are expected at the North Gwinnett Schools Foundation's (NGSF) annual dinner/auction on Saturday, October 17, at Bear's Best Suwanee. The Big T'Do is the foundation's sole fundraiser; last year, the event raised $84,000.
Established in 2001, the NGSF has provided more than $225,000 for grants and scholarships to teachers and students at the 10 public schools in the North Gwinnett Cluster. More than 100 items have been donated and will be available for bidding at the Big T'Do. Proceeds raised at the 2009 Big T' Do will support schools in the North Gwinnett Cluster as well as those in the future Lanier Cluster. More information about the Big T'Do and the North Gwinnett Schools Foundation is available online here.
GORACON Windpower Access Systems is expanding into Gwinnett County, bringing 10-15 jobs to the community in its first year. The new 10,800 square foot site is located at 805 Marathon Parkway off Sugarloaf Parkway near Georgia Highway 316 in Lawrenceville and represents more than $200,000 in capital investment for Gwinnett.
GORACON is a full solution provider of climb assists, service lifts and platform systems for the wind power industry. GORACON provides custom designed solutions and integrates individual customer demands into the product development process. The company's wide product range covers all access needs in the high access sectors, in particular the windpower industry.
Carl Vanhoutte, United States operations manager for GORACON, says of the location: "Gwinnett has easy access to major highways for logistical needs, is conveniently located to the world's busiest airport in Atlanta and offers terrific workforce training programs through Georgia QuickStart, making it a win-win for us."
GORACON's product line includes wire rope and ladder guided service lifts, ladder climbers, tower assembly platforms, maintenance platforms, modular platforms and blade platforms. With their parent company in Steinfurt, Germany, GORACON will implement the expansion in three phases. First, the company will build their products in Germany prior to shipping to the US for distribution. Once in the US, the parts will be assembled. Eventually parts will be supplied by US suppliers, promoting business-to-business opportunities stateside.
This is the latest in a series of international company expansions and relocations to Gwinnett including Hisense Corporation (China), Ningbo Self Electronics (China) and Habasit America (Switzerland).
City of Suwanee testing Segway police at its parks, trail
In an effort to enhance police presence on Suwanee's trail and parks, the police department is testing a Segway personal transporter. Five officers have been trained to use the Segway, which is on loan for 30 days from Suwanee Segway, a local company that offers Segway tours.
Keith Kerr, who has patrolled the Suwanee Creek Greenway on the Segway,
says that he gets double-takes from people on the trail, but that his
newest policing tool offers good maneuverability and allows him to cover
more ground. The Segway, which maxes out at 12 mph, allows more officers
to patrol Suwanee's parks and requires less training than bike patrols,
says Sgt. Nick Jacobs. The Segway is being used at the Suwanee Creek Greenway,
Suwanee Creek Park, and Town Center Park.
In 1971, the quiet town of Cornelia, in northeast Georgia, was shocked to learn that more than $1 million had been taken out of the bank -- in cash, over several weeks -- by a innocent-looking stranger, who had an account at the bank. Though the names of several out-of-towners involved in the caper were learned over several years, by then most were dead....except the major culprit, who, once identified, conveniently slipped out of a Georgia jail never to be seen again. Gainesville journalist Alma Bowen skillfully uses a novel to relate the caper, with new details. No doubt the relief of older Cornelians, she reveals that no local people at the bank were involved. Still, over $1 million was missing....and still is today. Order directly from Alma Bowen for $25.95. -- eeb
Isa-Beall Williams Neel was an outstanding educator and a gifted speaker and leader. She was president of the Georgia Baptist Woman's Missionary Union from 1911 to 1932 and then taught language at Bessie Tift College in Forsyth from 1932 to 1941. She was the first woman to receive the honorary LL.D. degree from Mercer University in Macon (1931) and the first woman to be elected vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention (1931).
Her parents, Harriet Elizabeth Beall and Alfred Carter Williams, were prominent Baptists. Her father was a merchant in Cartersville, where she was born in 1861. She was educated at Mary Sharpe College in Winchester, Tenn. (A.B., 1882) and attended Berlitz College of Languages, Dresden, Germany (1890). In 1892 she married William Jesse Neel, a lawyer from Adairsville. They were a team in church and civic life until his death in 1908.
As a Woman's
Missionary Union (WMU) leader in Rome and Cartersville, Neel attended
state WMU executive board meetings and served as recording secretary from
April 1911 until her election as president in November 1911. She played
a major role in the decision of the Georgia WMU to build the Mary P. Willingham
School for Girls at Blue Ridge (1916-31). The prayer room in the Memorial
Chapel at Camp Pinnacle, owned by the Georgia WMU, near Clayton, is the
I. Neel Prayer Room. She wrote the history of the Georgia WMU, His Story
in Georgia WMU History (1939).
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"I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts."
>> SPECIAL NOTICE TO GWINNETT
Those interested in the history of Gwinnett need to know that the recently published book: Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta, has sold fast, with the first editions about sold out. There are less than 50 books remaining unsold. If you want the book for yourself, or to buy for a present for someone this year, you need to take action. Go to www.elliottbrack.com to order, or buy the book at a local bookstore shown on the site.
(In full disclosure, the book is authored by the publisher of this Forum, and this notice is intended not so much to hawk, but to inform, those who have delayed purchase. -eeb)
The books are available at these sites:
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