Barbara Kramer Dickinson County Commissioner District 3
Barbara KramerDickinson County Commissioner District 3


Notes From Focus Group held on 10/9/2018

I held a Community Listening Session on October 9, 2018. Concerned residents raised questions, identified core issues and made suggestions to help the hospital move forward.  It was a very positive meeting. I complied the notes and presented what we had developed to the DCHS Board at their meeting on 10/11/2018.

            The tone of the meeting was more positive than in the recent past. My presentation went fairly well, although I was not able to read the document in its entirety.  I had only enough time to touch on some of the questions, issues and suggestions put forth by the focus group. The mention of hospital billing concerns seemed to draw some attention. I gave each of the DCHS Board members and Bart Stupak and his associate, Andrew Currie a copy of the complete document. Several DCHS Board members stated that they appreciated the comments.

            Mr. Stupak reported that after reviewing DCHS financials, the hospital in not even close to being in “dire straits”. He stated that he has seen hospitals in much worse situations. The biggest problem facing our hospital is a cash shortage (something they could easily remedy by collecting on unpaid bills, perhaps?)

            I found out that the DCHS pension plan is 70% funded (very good by today’s standards) and that all retirees are still getting their monthly payments- even if they had opted for the lump sum buyout.  No one who is eligible is going without retirement income.

            Venable LLP is going to do a feasibility study to determine which services need to be enhanced, reduced or eliminated.  They will be looking at every department and into every nook and cranny to find out where the money is (or is not) to be made. 

            Thank you to all who participated in the focus group. Thank you for your input and taking the time to share your concerns. We will have more sessions as the hospital moves forward on its journey.

Focus Group Notes
Listening Session 1
Adobe Acrobat document [92.9 KB]

10/2/2018: With the withdrawal of two potential partners, DCHS faces tremendous financial and organizational challenges.


The DCHS Board of Trustees has announced a “restructuring”.

I pray that it will solve most of the problems that the hospital faces, but there is no guarantee that this move will prevent bankruptcy. The "restructuring" will cost DCHS a lot of money. I hope it is worth it.


The Administration and Board must commit to following ALL of the recommendations of legal counsel, Venable, LLC. If the current Board and CEO are unwilling or unable to make the tough choices necessary for survival, a fresh start with a new Board and Interim CEO will be necessary for our hospital to move forward.


My full care and concern is with the hospital employees, retirees and our community. I call on all area residents to support the employees and retirees of DCHS by using the services the hospital provides whenever it is appropriate to do so. 


We are all in this together. We need a hospital in our community!


Lake Antoine Park Partners received grants for Park improvements from Michigan Arbor Day Alliance, BOSS/Toro. Inc. Weyerhaeuser and CUPPAD. 

Dickinson County has been awarded for a DNR Recreation Grant for a "Big Kids" play area. The tot lot, funded by a CUPPAD grant is operational.

The Campground Host at Lake Antoine Park was a huge success.

The First Ever Crafty Flea Market on September 8 exceeded all expectations. Lake Antoine Park hosted 50 vendors and more than 1300 visitors for the event.


Ford Airport is one of our County’s greatest assets.  It is an often unrecognized economic engine that drives commerce in our area. 

Ford Airport Facts:

  • More than 4000 boardings and deplanements in July 2018. The target for 2018 is 20,000 passengers.
  • 18,500 annual passengers- the minimum of 10,000 passengers was reached by August 31, 2017*
  • 28 locally-based aircraft
  • 63 employees (private vendors)
  • Classification: Tier I, Commercial Service, Primary non-hub: allows highest priority for Federal and State grants*
  • Regulatory Compliance with FAA, TSA and MDOT(Aero)

FY 2018 Projects:

                 Repaving of Runway**: Done in 2 weeks!

                 Expansion of parking area- 50 new, free parking spots!

                 NEW HANGARS for MJ Electric, CSA Air and EAA

* if there are more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings, Ford Airport receives a $1 million Federal grant for airport mantenance and upgrades.

**Paid for with Grant funds and 5% local match

My Goals for 2017-2018:

"Lake Antoine Park Partners":  Accomplished

A nonprofit for park renovation is operational.

Lake Antoine Park Partners has already applied for 3 grants.  More are on the way. Watch for new announcements!

State-owned Lands Back Into Private Hands: In Progress. Land Cap in Place

51% of Dickinson County land is owned by the State via the DNR. I will work with the Townships to identify land that can be auctioned off and returned to private ownership to increase our tax base. Benefit will be to the taxpayer, Township and the County.

Reduce Risk & Liability for LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers): 

Legislation needs to be changed to allow Emergency Medical Services personnel to accompany LEOs when they transport an inmate with mental health issues. LEOs are not trained to provide aid in the event of a medical emergency during transfer, which can often be more than 10 hours to a downstate faciity.

Enhance Courthouse Security and Access:ADA Power Door Opener: INSTALLED.  Security Measures will be fully in place soon.

This topic has been a concern for more than a decade, according to Sheriff Rutter.

Prisoners need another, safer way to make court appearances. The public and employees need to feel safe as well.

The Courthouse entrance needs to be made more accessible to those who have physical challenges.

Establish a Business Incubator: Dickinson Growth Connector has been established as a 501(c)3.

Dickinson County needs economic development to help expand the tax base. Business incubators are an excellent means to help new start-ups develop by providing professional space at a minimal cost to the entrepreneur.

And more...

1. Work will wrap up on the Iron Belle Trail. The DNR is in the process of evaluating the route through Dickinson County. DONE

2. Work will continue on a Dickinson County Comprehensive Plan. SURVEY IS DONE

3. A calendar to promote Dickinson County summer events will be developed. "125 Days of Summer" will be available on the County website and social media.

These activities will be a joint effort between me and the Dickinson County Planning Commission. IN PROCESS WITH DICKINSON AREA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

KRAMER appointed to MAC Committee

7.20.2016: It is with great pleasure that I anounce that I have been appointed to the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) Economic Development and Taxation Committee for a two-year term. This is a volunteer position with no cost to Dickinson county taxpayers. I am very honored to represent Dickinson County and the Upper Peninsula on this committee.


Letter of Appointment
Appointment to MAC Economic Development [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [153.0 KB]

Want to be a Precinct Delegate? Get Information Here...

In order to be a write-in candidate for Precinct Delegate, you MUST RESGISTER WITH THE COUNTY CLERK. PLease consult her for filing deadlines.

Precinct Delegate Filing Requirements
Adobe Acrobat document [104.1 KB]
Affidavit of Identity- Michigan Precinct Delegate
Adobe Acrobat document [455.2 KB]

For County Board meeting minutes, follow this link:

Click on "Meeting Minutes" on right hand side of page. 

If you have concerns or questions, please call, email or schedule and appointment. Your needs are important!



  Call:  (906) 396-3116

Please check the "NEWS and UPDATES" page for important information updates.

You can use the link below- "Recommend This Page"-  to share information with your friends.














Print Print | Sitemap Recommend this page Recommend this page
© Kramer for Dickinson County