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Eleven candidates vie for five Syringa board positions

Election on May 16

Syringa Hospital will have its board of trustee elections May 16.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Syringa Hospital will have its board of trustee elections May 16.

Candidates’ forum on tap for May 9

GRANGEVILLE — A “Meet the Candidates” forum is set for Tuesday, May 9, 7 p.m., at the Grangeville Senior Citizens Center on the Truck Route. The event is sponsored by the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce and the community is encouraged to attend.

Eleven candidates will vie for five open positons on the Syringa Hospital board at the May 16 election.

Two six-year term seats are sought by Twila Hornbeck, Jo Hardy, Ben Paul, Leta Strauss and Jerry Zumalt.

Twila Hornbeck, Grangeville


Twila Hornbeck

Twila Hornbeck was born and raised in Grangeville and graduated from Grangeville High School. She went on to obtain a portfolio degree at Lewis-Clark State College.

She has worked as office manager, store clerk, tree planter, in a bug study (USFS), as a USPS carrier, bookkeeper, pizza waitress, served one term on Grangeville City Council and served eight years in Idaho House of Representatives.

“I was never ‘career’ oriented,” she said. “I am a housewife who worked outside the home, now and then. During my lifetime I have served in many volunteer positions in the community and at my church.”

Hornbeck has served on the board for the past 12 years. Throughout the years, she said the board instituted the clinic, began employing practitioners, embarked on extensive facility remodeling, including adding the bistro, and to serve the employees and others who may be visiting the hospital or clinic.

Hornbeck said health care is changing rapidly.

“We are a small critical care facility. Looking to the future, we must consider the viability of Syringa,” she said.

Jo Hardy, Grangeville


Jo Hardy

Jo Hardy has lived in Grangeville for the past 16 years. She has a BA from the University of Washington and has owned a retail business for the past 25 years.

“I believe that solid citizens who are committed to making their community a better place are those willing to raise their hand for board service,” she said. “They are among the single biggest needs in our society.”

She said as a patient of Syringa she has now enjoyed being a board member.

“A group of smart and passionate folks sitting around a conference room table can argue and pontificate,” she said. “I enjoy working with interesting people. People who join boards are a wonderful breed. They have chosen to get off the bench and onto the field.”

Hardy said she is willing to stretch all her intellectual and emotional muscles, and said the hospital must remain current and effective in a changing climate of health care.

Ben Paul, Grangeville


Ben Paul

Ben Paul has spent his entire life in Grangeville except for when he was in the Army, one year in Alaska and about seven months in Meridian.

He has an associates degree in science and his work experience has been mostly logging and ranching. He also worked for the U.S. Postal Service for a decade. In his retirement, he became a certified residential real estate appraiser and worked in that field from 2012-2017. He previously served on the Syringa board for a year when he resigned to move to Meridian to help his daughter and grandchildren.

“In my opinion, Syringa is the best hospital I have ever stayed in,” he said. “The doctors are all very knowledgeable and the nurses and staff are always friendly and professional.”

He said his main objective is to do everything in his power to see the above ideals never change.

Paul sees Syringa’s biggest challenge is to remain economically viable during the current difficulties facing all the small hospitals across the nation.

Leta Strauss, Grangeville


Leta Strauss

Leta Strauss grew up in Mt. Idaho and graduated from Grangeville High School and spent the first 27 years of her life in the area. She and her husband lived in numerous places for work but chose to return to Grangeville to retire in 2002.

Immediately after graduating from GHS she began her career as an entry level clerk/typist at the Nez Perce National Forest.

Strauss said she believes a good public servant must first and foremost desire to serve.

“I decided to run for the board to make a positive contribution to the hospital and my community,” she stated. “The hospital is an important institution in our county. My goal is to participate at a level that will maintain and improve its effectiveness. My relationship to Syringa started many years ago when my mother worked as a nurses’ aide and my husband, Ken Strauss, served as board chair before his passing.”

She said her top priority is to make sure the hospital can maintain its financial viability and provide patient-centered care in the hospital and the clinics.

“I believe the recent decision to affiliate with Kootenai was a tough decision, but the right one and I support that action,” she stated.

Jerry Zumalt, Grangeville


Jerry Zumalt

Jerry Zumalt has lived in Grangeville since 1994. His education includes a bachelor of science in agriculture and business from Chico State College and a master of arts in theology from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is also certificated in financial planning through U.C. Davis.

Zumalt retired from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest as an aviation officer. He spent his 33-year career in wildland fire as firefighter and smokejumper, seven years as Smokejumper Program Manager in Grangeville. Since 2005, he has served as the Idaho County Emergency Management Coordinator.

“As a critical care access hospital, Syringa is a vital health care delivery point in Idaho County. The trustees are responsible for determining the policies and strategies that will provide the very best patient care outcomes,” he said.

Zumalt said Syringa Hospital will face the challengers of continuing to identify and achieve a viable business model that maintains sufficient flexibility to retain local control and maximize patient-centered care outcomes.

“It is imperative that the trustees unify to place patient care above personal agendas, redeem their fiduciary responsibilities and build public trust,” he said.

Two four-year terms are sought by Gunther Williams, Paula Calceterra and Jane H. Carlson

Gunther Williams, Grangeville


Gunther Williams

“It is important to me to give back to the community I live in,” Williams said. “There was an opening on the board and I was approached to fill the spot. It has been a challenge and I still have a lot to learn about the medical industry, but I think I bring business experience to the table that is the same for all companies’ both financial and employee well-being to build a strong company.”

He is a high school graduate who also has some college under his belt through Boise State University and University of Phoenix in computer management systems degree programs. He has lived in Idaho County for the past 12-plus years. He is the CEO of Idaho Sewing for Sports, a business that has been around for 40 years that he grew up in. Previously he worked in computer support services.

Williams has served on the Ida-Lew board, finishing his four-year term as president in 2014. He has also served on the Northwest Intermountain Manufacturer’s Association board and finished as vice-chair in April 2014. He said managing growth is one area he sees as a challenge facing Syringa.

“That and all the new regulations that seem to be changing consistently year to year, as well as rising costs and lower reimbursement rates,” he added.

Paula Calceterra, Harpster


Paula Calceterra

Calceterra has lived in Harpster for the past eight years. She has been in healthcare for 45 years of her adult life, working as an RN and an Advanced Practice RN(APRN). She has managed a cancer treatment center and been a clinical educator as well as at a residential nursing faculty. She is a retired college dean of nursing and allied health where she administered multiple educational programs across three campuses. She is currently a visiting professor at Chamberlain University where she teaches nursing at the baccalaureate level and graduate nursing faculty at Grand Canyon University.

Calceterra was appointed to the Syringa Hospital Board in 2015 to complete Dave Green’s term when he was transferred out of the area.

“I believe as nurse and an educator, I bring a distinctive skill set to the board. I have a unique perspective with my specialized knowledge and know I have a great deal to offer,” she said.

She stated that an alarming number of Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) are closing throughout the country, and those survive are seeking affiliations and partnerships.

“It is the consensus among leaders in the healthcare industry that organizations that do not form affiliations or partnerships are doomed,” she stated. “We need board members who are educated on industry trends and understand the significant changes health care is undergoing.”

Jane H. Carlson, Grangeville


Jane Carlson

Jane H. Carlson has lived for 16 years in Idaho County, the majority of that time spent in White Bird. She has been in Grangeville for the past year and one-half.

Carlson worked as a general contractor, running her own business (Jane Carlson Custom Homes) for the past 25 years.

“My work included relating with customers, banking institutions, building officials and sub-contractors,” she explained. “I think my associates would say I am straightforward and an honest person. In addition to my building experience, I had the privilege of driving the school bus for the Grangeville School district for 10 years.”

Carlson said she believes her management skills would be an asset to the board.

“Construction and health care are not related but I have learned, through my work, how to be a team player,” she said. “I believe being a good listener is as valuable as being able to communicate well.”

Carlson said these are “unsettling times in the health care industry.”

“In order to survive, our small hospital has decided to join forces with Kootenai Health. I look forward to the challenges and rewards of this new venture,” she said.

One two-year term seat is sought by Ted Sellitti, James H. May and Chad Jungert.

Ted Sellitti, Kooskia


Ted Sellitti

Ted Sellitti resides in Kooskia and has lived in Idaho County for more than 12 years. He has double bachelor of science degrees in business administration, an MBA and a post-graduate degree in organizational behavior/organization development. He has worked as a corporate consultant in several high tech companies for more than 25 years as a domestic and international consultant assisting senior management in organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, organizational restructure/design, team building, performance planning, management/executive development and other strategies and interventions with focus on maximizing the organizations’ human resources in areas that enhance organization well-being.

“Years of research in the behavioral sciences have proved that the people in organizations are their greatest resources and interventions that maximize the use of their energies and knowledge benefit the organization in attaining its goals,” he said.

Sellitti said there are several challenges facing Syringa Hospital and Clinics both in the near term and future that will shape the hospital’s ability to survive and prosper. This includes advances in technology, patient treatment and care, training of both medical and management in the areas of trauma, disaster and emergency services.

James May, Kooskia


James May

James May and his wife, Ruth, have lived on the Southfork of the Clearwater River for 22 years as owners of Reflections Inn. May is retired from the Ohio Public Education system with 30 years’ experience as a teacher; high school counselor; vocational-technical school director; and assistant director for testing and counseling for Ohio Department of Education. He graduated from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio; obtained master degrees from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, in educational counseling and vocational-technical education. He completed additional PhD level work in group counseling at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and servant leadership at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash.

May served on Clearwater Valley Hospital Foundation Board for five years, three years as foundation board president, and worked as St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital’s director of foundation development for more than seven years.

“Providing consistent excellent healthcare is critically important to our aging population,” he said.

May stated smaller, rural hospitals can no longer stand alone; they must constantly seek out mutually beneficial and collaborative relationships to remain viable.

Chad Jungert, Grangeville


Chad Jungert

Chad Jungert has a bachelor of science in pharmacy from Washington State University (1992). He is the owner of Irwin Drug and has lived in Grangeville since 2006.

“I feel like it’s time to serve my community by serving on the hospital board,” Jungert said. “I want to give back to the community that’s given so much to my family and me.”

Jungert said the biggest challenge facing Syringa is “remaining a small-town hospital in a small-town community; keeping local people and local businesses involved, and being 100 percent transparent to the community which it serves.”


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