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Former NACDS counsel Kocot to join law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP has announced the S. Lawrence Kocot has joined its national Health Care Group as senior counsel in its Washington, D.C., office.

Kocot, the former senior advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, practice focuses on strategic business advice, public law, and policy and health care regulatory issues.

While at CMS, Kocot served as a member of the senior executive team responsible for managing policy and operations for the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs and the 92 million people they serve.  He also was a key member of the management staff responsible for the launch of the new Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) and led several high profile initiatives, including pharmaceutical delivery in disaster response.

Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, where he was responsible for all legal matters and represented the industry to Congress, state legislatures and state and federal regulatory agencies.

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Rite Aid-sponsored walk raises more than $600,000 for diabetes association

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA More than $600,000 was raised for the American Diabetes Association Saturday as men and women from across the country climbed more than 1,000 stairs and walked 10 miles throughout Philadelphia in the first Step Up to Fight Diabetes fund-raising challenge that was sponsored by Rite Aid. The Step Up event raised mondy for research, education and advocacy efforts of the association.

During Step Up, participants went on a “climbing tour” of Philadelphia beginning at Temple University’s Liacouras Center and ending at the well-known Philadelphia Museum of Art—running up those steps was immortalized by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky.

“Diabetes is the fastest-growing disease in America and the incidence of the disease is four percent higher in Philadelphia than the national average,” stated American Diabetes Association chief executive officer Larry Hausner. “Our hope is that Step Up can spread awareness about diabetes and raise money for a cure.”

Other Step Up to Fight Diabetes sponsors included Merck, AstraZeneca and the Temple University Health System Transport Team.

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Spartan announces plans for acquired Felpausch stores

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores is focusing on integrating its newly acquired Felpausch grocery stores into its network during the second half of its 2008 fiscal year.

Spartan expects the Hastings-based, 20-store Felpausch acquisition in June to add about $85 million in sales during the fiscal year. About $4 million to $5 million will be spent, with five store remodelings during the next two quarters.

During last week’s conference call, which discussed the company’s second quarter earnings, officials told analysts that they plan to spend $1.5 million to $2 million for merchandise changes, store remodeling and employee training in its third and fourth quarters.

Spartan, known as the country’s 10th-largest grocery distributor, with close to 400 independent grocery stores as customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, also owns 88 grocery stores in Michigan and 14 drug stores in Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, Glen’s Markets, Felpausch Food Centers and The Pharm.

Spartan plans to renovate the stores and rename them either Family Fare or D&W, depending on market demographics.

Spartan reported that its net sales for the quarter reached a six-year high, with $627.1 million, or a 13.5 percent increase over the $552.6 million for the same time period last year.

Net earnings for the second quarter reached $9.1 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $9.3 million, or 44 cents per share last year.

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