City Notes – January 2009

Edited by Kristy Basolo


Dear editor

As we ring in the New Year, I want to thank you for your continued commitment to Public Radio 90. Thank you for helping us to remain an institution so many listeners trust and turn to for quality, inspiration, entertainment and reliable news and information.
Thank you for your high expectations and feedback that helps us bring you a blend of local and national public radio programming unique to our Upper Great Lakes listening audience. You do good work.
During 2008 your financial contributions made it possible for us to bring you in-depth news and analysis from National Public Radio, the BBC and our own Public Radio 90 newsroom.
You make our eclectic mix of music programming possible—including our own local talent on “Superiorland Concerts” featuring classical music recorded across our listening area, “In the Pines,” featuring traditional music recorded at the annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival and “Highlights from the Marquette Area Blues Festival.”
In addition we’re able to bring you internationally acclaimed orchestral and operatic performances, jazz, blues, folk, international and traditional music, storytelling with Dick Estell, the Radio Reader, giggles with the Car Talk guys and Garrison Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion,” along with a variety of programming unique to our area like 8-18 Media, April Poetry, Media Meet and Holiday Readings and Remembrances, as well as special programs throughout the year to celebrate special days and remember those who made a difference.
Listeners gave above and beyond their annual memberships to help us secure matching dollars to replace our aged transmitter with a new, digital high definition radio transmitter and gave Public Radio 90 the capability of adding additional digital side channels.
Thanks for sticking with us through our challenging transition from satellite to Internet distribution…and all the glitches that have gone with it.
Your unwavering commitment gave us the confidence to invest nearly $20,000 in engineering and legal fees to apply for three new FM frequencies across the Upper Peninsula, 89.3 FM in Marquette, 88.9 FM in Houghton and 89.5 FM in Iron Mountain. These are full-power protected frequencies and if successful will provide listeners with a dramatically improved listening experience. This is a lesson in patience as it could take up to three years before we know if we will be awarded the licenses.
This past October, WNMU found out our booster translators at 107.1 in Escanaba, 91.3 in Menominee and 107.3 in Stephenson were causing interference with a new full-power station, The Point at 107.2. By law, Public Radio 90 is required to take translators off the air if they cause interference with a full power station, even if we were there first. The Point is working with our engineers to locate an alternative frequency that will work. The next hurdle is getting the FCC to allow us to move our translator location since there is a freeze on all new translator applications. We’re trying to get them to consider this a move from an existing translator to a different frequency rather than a new application.
All in all, we’ve had a pretty good year, but our work isn’t done. We need to raise close to $500,000 every year from listeners and regional businesses just to sustain our operations. Your membership dollars do make a difference. We know that the more listeners we have providing financial support, the more self-sufficient the station can become thus reducing our reliance on vulnerable state and federal funding.
0901cn1To keep Public Radio 90 running strong we need more than justyour annual support. We also depend on your feedback about the programs you value as well as suggestions for future improvements and changes. We also count on you to convince other Public Radio 90 listeners of the importance of their financial gifts.
With continued strong support of listeners, I have confidence that Public Radio 90 will be here for many years. We look forward to serving you with even more of the best of what public radio has to offer. From all of us at Public Radio 90, Happy New Year.
Evelyn Massaro

Dear editor
While economic news across our nation is gloomy, we need to focus and build on the positive developments here in Marquette County.
Depending on your business sector, things may be “lean” or they may be moving along smoothly. If you are facing some uncertainty, it may be time for a business “physical” also known as “fiscal Fitness.” Let the LSCP and its experienced partners take a look at your current business health. Perhaps we could identify opportunities or suggest solutions to the challenges that you are facing. Pull out your business plan and your financials and let us take a look. Do not wait until it is too late. Let us work with you to keep your business on track.
For those whose business sector is strong or expanding, the LSCP and our partners are here for you too. Looking to expand? Add new products? Open another location? Give us a call. We can help maximize your efforts by bringing additional resources to the discussion.
I continue to challenge all of you to stay positive during these times of economic downturn and maintain your confidence in the Marquette County economy. There are a lot of good things happening.
If you do know of a business/company in need of assistance at this time, please remind them that the LSCP is just a confidential phone call away.
Amy J. Clickner


Twentieth Marquette ball drop set for New Year’s Eve

Ring in the New Year at the twentieth annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. This family-friendly event encourages families to stop by the corner of Washington and Front streets and watch the lighted ball drop from the Savings Bank Building.
0901cn2Mona Lang of the Marquette DDA confirmed that the process to get the permit from the city began in mid-December. The city agreed to cap the charges for the event at $3,000. The Board of Light and Power and Downtown Eye Care signed on as sponsors. The DDA looked for additional sponsors from downtown restaurants and pubs. The money raised is used to pay for police protection and closing of the streets.
The DDA thanks JP Electric for contributing labor and helping put on the event year after year.
The streets will close at 11:30 p.m. to set up for the event. The event is alcohol-free. Restaurants and bars are encouraged to remind patrons to leave containers and alcohol inside.


Club Indigo prepares for Finnish twist in January

Club Finndigo is the annual January Club Indigo—now in its seventh year—as part of the Finnish celebration of their midwinter solstice (at Finlandia University). Each year the group selects a good Finnish film and finds a good Finnish chef. It has become as popular with Club regulars, as with the Finnish community.
On January 16, Club Finndigo presents A Boy and his Lynx, a touching film from Finland about a young boy who lives in a nature preserve and adopts a lynx as his pet. Trouble comes when there are people who want to kill the normally wild animal. Beautifully filmed in northern Lapland, you’ve never seen any countryside so stunning in all seasons.
An all-Finnish buffet from Chef Eric Karvonen of the MTU Dining Service will take place at 6:00 p.m., with the movie at 7:15 p.m. Cost for the buffet and movie is $17. Cost for the movie only is $5. Kids are welcome at half-fare. To assure a place at the buffet, call the Calumet Theatre at least a day in advance: 337-2610.


Operation Action U.P. hosts annual meeting January 16

Operation Action U.P.’s annual meeting will be held in the Great Lakes Rooms of NMU’s University Center on January 16. The day will begin with a continental breakfast at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn after lunch.
The day’s program will focus on Upper Michigan companies, business development in the region and issues that can impact the economic well being of the area. The meeting also provides an opportunity during the day to network with other business leaders from around the region.
Operation Action U.P. will recognize outstanding achievements in economic development. The 2008 OAUP Excellence Awards will be presented to four deserving businesses or major institutions, employers that have contributed to the economic well being of the Upper Peninsula.




Local YMCAs announce Biggest Loser Competition

The Biggest Loser is coming to the YMCA. January 19 could be the start to a healthier you. The YMCA Biggest Loser program is open to both men and women ages twelve years and older.
This twelve-week guided exercise and nutrition program is designed to help people learn to make positive changes in eating and exercise habits. Participants are weighed confidentially and measured for body fat percentage, body mass index and waist circumference at the start, Week 6, and at the end of the competition. Weekly, nutritional support and personal training programming will be included.
The cost of this program is $89 for YMCA members and $129 for nonmembers. Grand prize will be an individual full-year membership to the YMCA. Preregistration is required by January 12. For details, call Jenna at 227-9622 or e-mail


Landmark Inn hosts inauguration luncheon buffet

Area residents have an opportunity to enjoy a buffet lunch while watching the historic swearing-in of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth President of the United States on January 20 at the Landmark Inn’s Harbor Room.
The Landmark plans to have television coverage of the inauguration ceremony projected on a large screen so people can view the incoming president’s speech and related activities from the nation’s capitol.
The buffet meal begins serving at 11:30 a.m. and costs $12.95. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling Michelle Cook at 315-8143 by January 16.


Friends of Library host Wild and Wooly Used Book Sale

Book-lovers will find great bargains at the Friends of Peter White Public Library Wild and Wooly Used Book Sale held January 29 through February 1 in the Peter White Public Library Community Room.
The event features a wide selection of paperback and hardback books for children and adults. Most items are priced between fifty cents and $2 each. A silent auction will be held for a few select items. The group also will be selling a number of secondhand wild and wooly sweaters. People who wish to attend the Thursday night presale pay a $5 entrance fee. Admission is free Friday through Sunday. Hours for the sale are:
• January 29: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
• January 30: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
• January 31: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• February 1: 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. (bag sale—$2 for a bag of books)
All proceeds from the sale will be used to support the library’s programs and collections. For details, call Claire at 228-7434 or visit



Bullying workshop advocates community-wide approach

It is estimated that nearly thirty percent of youth in the United States—about 5.7 million children—are involved in bullying, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center.
While solutions that target individual bullies rarely are effective, community-wide approaches, like the model used in the Bully Free: Circle of Support for Learning workshop, have been shown to reduce bullying, harassment and other forms of peer-to-peer a
ggression by up to 83 percent.
The two-day workshop will be held on January 28 and 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the MARESA offices in Marquette. Cost is $199 for GLCYD members and $299 for nonmembers.
For details or to register for the workshop, visit or call (877)339-6884.


Blues society solicits annual logo contest entries

The Marquette Area Blues Society announced its annual logo contest for the 2009 Marquette Area Blues Fest, to be held Labor Day weekend 2009. The deadline for logo contest submissions is February 1. All area artists, students, and blues enthusiasts are encouraged to enter. One logo will be chosen as the winner, with the judge’s decision being final.
For details, visit or call 226-5704.


MGH named in nation’s top cardiovascular hospitals

For the third consecutive year, Marquette General Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals for cardiovascular care by the health care business Thomson Reuters. MGH is one of ninety-one hospitals out of 426 in the nation, over a ten-year period since 1998, to receive the award for three or more consecutive years.
The annual study examined the performance of 970 hospitals by analyzing clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks, and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and angioplasties. The 2008 winners were announced November 17 in Modern Healthcare magazine.


Local high schools take part in poetry recitation contest

The Michigan Humanities Council announced that students from thirty-two Michigan high schools will participate in the Poetry Out Loud program, including L’Anse, Houghton and Big Bay de Noc (Cooks).
Each participating school will receive standards-based curriculum materials to use. These materials include print and online poetry anthologies containing nearly 500 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, and a CD of recitations by well-known actors and writers.
More high schools are participating in Poetry Out Loud this year than previous years. During the next three months, Language Arts/English teachers from the schools selected to participate will earmark class time to prepare students for the school competition, advancing to a state competition on March 7. Michigan’s champion will compete at the National Finals on April 26 through 28 in Washington, D.C.
Scholarships and school stipends totaling $50,000 will be awarded at the national finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud national champion.


Local schools can still get program grants

The Michigan Humanities Council announced up to $500 is available to Michigan K-12 schools and libraries involved in the Picturing America program to help pay costs to one of twelve partnership museums during the 2008-09 school year.
The grants are available only to Michigan’s nearly 1,000 schools participating in Picturing America, a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative that helps students gain a deeper understanding of American history through the study and understanding of its art.
Students gain firsthand experience with American art through museum visits and in-class programs from the state’s leading art museums. Programs are customized to the Picturing America curriculum. To date, twenty-six schools will receive grants for programming this school year, including Calumet and Ontonogan high schools, and 1,702 students will participate in the programs. Funding remains available for additional Picturing America schools to participate. Applications guidelines are available by contacting the council or visiting
The twelve museum partners for Picturing America in Michigan include DeVos Art Museum at NMU.


House Dems pass plan to help more attend college

House Democrats passed a plan to help Michigan students afford college by establishing tax breaks for individuals or groups who buy prepaid tuition as donations through the Michigan Education Trust (MET) and enabling agencies or charities to set up scholarships through the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP).
MET allows anyone to prepurchase undergraduate tuition for a child living in Michigan for any Michigan public university or college. MESP is a tax-deferred college savings program. Currently, both the MET and MESP require a beneficiary to be designated. The plan now heads to the Senate.


MAPS seeking chairperson for senior citizens committee

The Marquette Area Public School District (MAPS) is seeking a volunteer chairperson for its senior citizens involvement committee. The committee represents the needs and perspectives of senior citizens.
The committee provides quarterly reports to the superintendent and board on needs, progress and achievements. It is comprised of volunteers from, but not limited to, the following organizations and programs: Commission on Aging, Clergy Council, multiple local service clubs, veterans (local group organizations), senior housing, MAPS Community Schools, MSHS and townships.
Senior citizen volunteers are needed throughout the Marquette Area Public Schools to visit, read, play games and share life experiences with our students. Senior citizens ages sixty and older can enjoy free admission to nonreserved seating district-sponsored student programs and athletics contests.
For details, call MAPS at 225-5410.


More than $100,000 awarded for Humanities Programs

The Michigan Humanities Council announced seven organizations from across Michigan will receive $101,379 to help support public humanities programs. The grants are part of the Council’s “Michigan People, Michigan Places…Our Stories, Our Lives” program, which emphasizes collaboration among cultural, educational and community-based organizations.
NMU will receive $15,000 to help support “Stories in the Wood,” a traveling exhibit about the storytelling tradition of folklorists and scholars in the Upper Peninsula. The exhibit will open at NMU in September 2009 and complimentary K-12 school programs will supplement its display through April 2010. The exhibit will tour the U.P. from 2010 through 2014.


Tribute to historian Fred Rydholm DVD now available

A Tribute to Fred Rydholm DVD now is available, with partial proceeds benefiting the community. The DVD will be available at Superior View and at
Some of the proceeds from this DVD will go to the Kaufman Auditorium Courtyard restoration project in Rydholm’s name.


NMU board updated on internationalization, other issues

In a report to the NMU Board of Trustees at its December 12 meeting, Provost Susan Koch outlined Northern’s efforts to increase the number of international students on campus, calling the current figure “extraordinarily small” for an institution of this type and size.
Canada is the country of origin of about one-third of the international students at Northern. It ranks fifth among foreign nations in sending students to the United States, but Koch said NMU has not yet tapped the full recruiting potential of other countries at the top of the list: India, China, South Korea and Japan. She added that Marcelo Siles, director of International Programs, and Z.Z. Lehmberg, professor of English, are in China to reinforce existing partnerships, explore new collaborations and recruit students.
The remaining portion of the board’s focus discussion revolved around preliminary graduation rate data on NMU students pursuing “less than baccalaureate degrees”—diplomas, certificates and associate degrees.
In other action, the board:
• Approved the revised negotiated agreement between NMU and its technical and office professionals union, UAW Local 1950, which runs through June 30, 2011.
• Approved the appointment of Kimberly Champion to the board of the Walton Public School Academy, which is chartered by NMU.
• Accepted $2.5 million in external grants and $6,180 in gifts.
• Granted emeritus status to the following retired professors: Meredith Kulisheck, mathematics and computer science; Robert Kulisheck, political science/public administration; and Robert Myers, mathematics and computer science.
• Received a report that the Superior Dome turf is in need of replacement, based on testing conducted earlier this year by Astroturf Inc. and visual/functional signs of wear. The turf was installed in 1991 and has exceeded its original life expectancy of ten to twelve years.
• Recognized three departing trustees: Samuel Benedict and chair Mary Lukens, whose terms are scheduled to expire Dec. 31; and Alan Ackerman, who submitted his resignation. The governor will appoint new trustees at a later date.

Experience Works seeks those in need of employment
Start your new year right—learn new job skills to help find employment with Experience Works. If you are age fifty-five or older and have a limited income, Experience Works may be able to help you.
Experience Works, a national nonprofit organization, provides paid training and job-placement services to low-income seniors. If you are laid off, retired or even if you never had a job, Experience Works may be able to help you find employment. To learn more, call 346-9410 or (800)772-5550, or visit
Experience Works is an equal opportunity employer.


U.P. Choral Leadership award nominees sought

The Marquette Choral Society is seeking nominations for its 2009 UP Choral Leadership Award. The deadline is February 9.
Nominations must be submitted in writing, and provide evidence that the nominee has at least ten years service to choral music in the Upper Peninsula, and has demonstrated excellence in teaching, conducting or support for quality choral music in the Upper Peninsula.
The award may be presented posthumously, and a maximum of two awards per year may be granted.
Submit nominations to: Marquette Choral Society, P.O. Box 862, Marquette, MI 49855.


Choral Society rehearsals begin for spring concert

Rehearsals for the Marquette Choral Society spring concert begin on January 12 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the choral room of the Thomas Fine Arts Building on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
The spring concert will feature an all-Dvorak program, including his Mass in D for choir and organ. Concerts will be on April 25 and April 26 at Reynolds Recital Hall on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Singers may join any time during the first three rehearsals. No audition is necessary. There will be a nominal charge for music and membership, which can be paid on arrival.
The Choral Society is directed by NMU music professor Dr. Floyd Slotterback. For details, call 277-2308, e-mail or visit


Higher learning commission seeks comments on NMU

Northern Michigan University is seeking public comment on the quality of the institution and its academic programs in preparation for a comprehensive evaluation by its regional accrediting agency.
Accreditation is the stamp of approval from the governing body that reviews all federally funded colleges and universities. NMU is formally re-evaluated every seven years.
Public feedback will be accepted through February 25 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Agency representatives will visit NMU March 25 through 27 to assess the university’s ongoing ability to meet accreditation criteria.
The Higher Learning Commission requests that comments address substantive issues related to the quality of NMU or its academic programs. Submissions must be in writing and signed; they cannot be treated as confidential. Comments should be addressed to: Public Comment on Northern Michigan University; The Higher Learning Commission; 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400; Chicago, IL 60602.
For details, visit

Survey reopened to allow more public input

The Medical Care Access Coalition (MCAC) is conducting a short survey of the community. The survey is designed to help better understand knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of MCAC, and the information provided will be used to help guide MCAC as it makes decisions about new projects and future direction for organization. Take the survey at: www.surveymon

Trust fund board recommends projects, acquisitions

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees recommended to Governor Granholm that eighty-one recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $48.5 million be funded for 2008. The board had considered 159 applications for projects and acquisitions totaling $83.5 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the board.
This is the largest amount the MNRTF board has recommended for grants in the history of the program. The next step is for Governor Granholm to forward the recommendations to the Legislature for appropriation of the funds from the MNRTF.
A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board for the U.P. is as follows:
• City of Ishpeming, Iron Ore Heritage Trail, $354,800.
• Powell Township (Marquette County), Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook, $319,100.
• City of Sault Ste. Marie, Rotary Park development, $299,700.
• Marquette County, Perkins Park improvements, $198,400.
• Crystal Falls Township (Iron County), Gibson Lake Park improvements, $179,500.
• City of Iron Mountain, Millie Mine bat-viewing site trail, $158,400.
• City of Wakefield, Sunday Lake Trail and Eddy Park improvements, $147,700.
• City of St. Ignace, Chief Wawatam Park development, $134,000.
• City of Gladstone, Van Cleve Park Harbor Point revitalization, $100,000.
• City of Ironwood, Hiawatha Rotary Skate Park, $46,300.
• Calumet Township (Houghton County), Lions Club Park Nature Trail, $20,400.
2008 acquisition project recommendations in the U.P. include:
• DNR, Superior Forest partnership project, $3 million—This project will acquire a working forest conservation easement on approximately 14,560 acres of forestland in northern Marquette County. This funding will be part of a project that ultimately will acquire the easement on 25,000 acres of working forest.
• Grant Township (Keweenaw County), Hunter’s Point Park Phase II, $720,000.
• DNR, Upper Peninsula eco-regional land consolidation, $500,000.
• Republic Township (Marquette County), Republic Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead, $32,300.
• City of Houghton, East Houghton Greenspace Property, $22,000.


New prenatal care approach offered at FamilyCare

FamilyCare Doctors, a service of Marquette General Health System, is teaming up with the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program to offer CenteringPregnancy—an innovative approach to health care for pregnant women.
Pregnant women opting to enroll in CenteringPregnancy will participate in group prenatal care instead of going to individual prenatal appointments throughout their pregnancy. CenteringPregnancy is designed to bring together groups of eight to twelve women, all with similar due dates. Women first meet when they’re twelve to sixteen weeks pregnant, and continue with the group once a month for the first four months, then twice-a-month until birth, and once more for a reunion postpartum to meet the “group babies.”
CenteringPregnancy incurs no additional cost since it’s billed to insurance companies as equivalent to the traditional model of individual prenatal visits with a physician or midwife.
CenteringPregnancy is open to pregnant women, whether they have a low- or high-risk pregnancy. For women without complications, CenteringPregnancy covers all prenatal needs. If women have certain existing medical conditions, or develop complications in their pregnancies, they may need additional follow-up exams scheduled separate from their CenteringPregnancy group sessions.
The first CenteringPregnancy group at FamilyCare Doctors will begin in January 2009 with an opportunity to enroll monthly thereafter. For details, call 225-3864 or visit


Pathways fund allocation forces service reduction

Due to budget constraints, the Pathways Community Mental Health’s board of directors voted at its November 3 meeting to implement a plan that will discontinue services to some individuals who do not have Medicaid, but whose services are being paid through general fund dollars.
General fund dollars are designated to pay for local in-patient psychiatric treatment for non-Medicaid customers who are indigent or have insurance with limited benefits. General funds also are legally designated to pay for all state psychiatric hospitalizations, regardless of whether the individual has insurance or Medicaid benefits.
As a result of limited dollars, Pathways also has been forced to institute a waiting list for consumers served with general fund dollars. There is never a waiting list for those with Medicaid.
Pathways will continue to provide all legally required general fund services and will continue to offer toll-free twenty-four-hour, seven-day a week crisis support to all citizens in Alger, Delta, Luce and Marquette county, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Crisis support can be accessed by calling (888)728-4929 or the local Pathways office.


LSCP representatives attend conference, receive award

Four Upper Peninsula economic development professionals recently attended the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Of the 1,400 attendees from forty-eight states and sixteen countries, the four Upper Peninsula representatives in attendance were Amy Clickner and Lois Ellis of Lake Superior Community Partnership, Carlton Crothers of Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation Smartzone and Phil Musser of Superior Economic Development Services.
The 2008 annual conference theme of “The Next Billion: Mobility, Flexibility, Agility, Livability” provided a forum to share ideas, learn from experts and practitioners, ways to increase economic vitality in communities and an opportunity to hear from industry experts. Sessions provided new ideas, models and best practices in dealing with a changing world. In addition to learning and networking, attendees visited the Exhibit Hall where the Excellence in Economic Development award winning projects, promotional materials and successful partnerships were displayed from communities across the globe; including the Lake Superior Community Partnership Foundation’s honorable mention award for “Partnerships with Educational Institutions.”


Education Foundation grants presented to maps educators

Numerous MAPS Education Foundation grants were permitted to MAPS educators at a recent meeting of the MAPS Board of Education.
• “Use of Digital Recorders to Assist Student-Teacher Audio-Podcast Creation,” submitted by Francine Darling of the MAPS technology department, was awarded $950.
• “Building a Global Vision Through the Eyes of Our Community,” submitted by Graveraet fifth-grade teacher Kathryn Russell, was awarded $2000 to cover costs for Kaufman Auditorium support fees, lighting, sound and custodial support, speaker stipends, materials and equipment for presentations.
• “Digital Photography for the Digital Student,” submitted by Marquette Alternative High School teachers Cynthia DePetro and Mike Shelafoe, and manager of technology Craig Lindstrom, was awarded $2,224.15.
• “From Generation to Generation: An Oral History Seminar Project and Partnership with the Marquette County History Museum Restoration of Street Car 20,” submitted by Jean Lawless and Bonnie Willcock, seventh and eighth grade teachers at Bothwell Middle School, was awarded $2,500.
• “Kids on the Air,” submitted by Graveraet fourth-grade teachers Sandy Jurkovich, Cindy Perrin and Shirley Menhennick, was awarded $1,955.


NMU teacher education earns exemplary rating

Northern Michigan University’s teacher education program has received an “exemplary performance” rating from the Michigan Department of Education.
NMU is one of seventeen colleges and universities to earn the state’s highest level of distinction. Twelve schools were at the second level of satisfactory, one was identified as at-risk and two as low-performing.
Rod Clarken, director of the school of education, said one of the strongest performance areas for NMU was the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). Students are required to take the MTTC in their respective content areas. Ninety-five percent of NMU students passed on the first attempt.


Michigan school board leaders honored in January

Governor Jennifer Granholm and the State Board of Education have named January 2009 as School Board Recognition Month. The Marquette Area Public School District joins 552 local and fifty-seven intermediate school districts across the state in thanking these volunteers for their dedication to public education.
The foundation of school leadership is ensuring equal learning opportunities for all students. School board members serve many hours ensuring the effectiveness of public education. In a climate of change and challenge, public school board members develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and impact individual students. They provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, funding and facilities, and consider the needs of children and families.


Protect pets from winter woes; adopt for New Year

Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.
• Don’t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision.
• No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. If your dog is an outdoor dog, however, it must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in its body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw.
• Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and not frozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
• The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates its mouth.
Probably the best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship.
Ring in the New Year with a new pet from the Marquette County Humane Society (MCHS) during its New Year, New Shelter Pet adoption promotion.
Throughout the month of January, MCHS will be offering special adoption rates to new adopters in an effort to find as many caring “forever homes” as possible, for homeless pets.
If you adopted an MCHS shelter pet this past November or December, you will receive twenty percent off any new adoption of another MCHS pet during January. Adopters receive a free ID tag, a four-pound bag of pet food, and a free Animal Planet Training DVD.
For details, call 475-6661 or visit


DNR announces 2008 firearm deer season estimates

The DNR announced the preliminary estimate of the white-tailed deer harvest during the 2008 firearm season. Statewide, an estimated 272,000 deer were taken during the firearm season. About 157,000 were antlered bucks and about 115,000 were antlerless deer. That compares with a 2007 estimated harvest of 273,000. However, there were significant shifts in where deer were taken.
In the Upper Peninsula, the early estimate is that hunters took about 32,000 deer, down twenty-two percent from last year’s harvest of 41,000.
The preliminary harvest estimate is based upon early check station results, license sales, employee reports of hunter effort and processor observations. Final figures, which are based on a mail survey of more than 50,000 deer hunters, along with surveys submitted by hunters who report on the DNR Web site, will not be available until July. To report your harvest online, visit


Local authors corner

• Inevitable Sentences by Tekla Dennison Miller focuses on Big Bay Point Lighthouse, on Michigan’s Lake Superior, which has illuminated rocky shoals for more than a hundred years. Transformed into a safehouse, these days the stout old tower shelters women and children from emotional turbulence. Celeste Brookstone, as new owner and director of the safehouse, has found a satisfying life mission following the murder of her daughter, Pilar. Celeste also is taking full advantage of the proximity of the light house to the new man in her life, retired prison warden, Max Whitefeather. That the shelter is so close to Hawk Haven Prison, where Pilar’s murderer is serving a life sentence, seems immaterial to Celeste. After all, she has played a part in seeing Chad Wilbanks locked away in maximum-security isolation. Or is he? For details, visit
• Did you know that St. Therese Church in AuTrain was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp building in its former life and that the first church in Menominee was built when a group of Catholics decided they would no longer take a hand-operated ferry boat across the Menominee River to Marinette to attend Mass? These and other interesting “tidbits” are included in the diocesan history book, Seasons of Faith: A Walk through the History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette 1900-2000, written by Angela C. Johnson of Ishpeming. Seasons of Faith is available at a discounted $14.31; the two volumes of History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette are available for $9.54 each; and the complete three-book set for $28.62. Shipping and handling are free. Mail your order with a check made payable to the Diocese of Marquette to: Diocesan History Books, Diocese of Marquette, P.O. Box 1000, Marquette, MI 49855 or call Sheila at 227-9131.


Tidbits from the desk of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

• U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) announced passage of legislation that will provide a seven-week extension of unemployment insurance to those who have exhausted their current benefits and still cannot find work. States like Michigan, with a six-percent unemployment rate or higher, will be given an additional seven weeks of benefits, for a total extension of thirteen weeks. This legislation comes on the heels of a recent report by the Department of Labor citing Michigan’s latest unemployment rate at a staggering 9.3 percent.


News from the desk of U.S. Senator Carl Levin

• Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) made the following statement regarding the Department of Energy’s decision to build a Facility on Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State: “A massive effort to highlight Michigan State University’s unique capability paid off for MSU, Michigan and the nation. At a moment in our history when Michigan needs signs of hope, today’s decision by the Department of Energy to build the Facility on Rare Isotope Beams at MSU fills the bill. It is the best news for Michigan in a long time. …Isotope research offers the possibility for major scientific breakthroughs with potential for commercial spin-offs in areas like advanced medical technologies that hold enormous promise for improving lives and fueling economic growth.”


Cliffs News & Notes

• Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc., announced its 2009 production plan has been set for its Empire and Tilden mines in Michigan. Production estimates call for the Tilden Mine to produce four million tons of iron ore pellets and the Empire Mine to produce 2.7 million tons. Those numbers reflect production curtailments versus the mines’ rated annual capacity of eight million tons for Tilden and 5.5 million tons for Empire. In addition, plans announced earlier in 2008 for an expansion of the Empire pit operations and increased pellet production will be deferred until steel industry and iron ore market conditions improve.
• Cliffs provided an update on its current production levels in its North American Iron Ore, North American Coal and Asia-Pacific Iron Ore business segments. Cliffs indicated it is executing plans to reduce production at its six North American iron ore mines to a current annualized rate of approximately 15 million equity tons, with total production at an annualized rate of 22 million tons. This compares with expected 2008 production of approximately 23 million equity tons, with total production of approximately 36 million tons. For 2009, Cliffs said it has contractual obligations for about seventy-five percent of 2008 expected sales volumes of approximately 24 million tons. However, the Company noted that based on current market uncertainties and corresponding blast furnace capacity utilization in North America, it will continue to monitor the marketplace and adjust its production plans up or down as needed. In order to affect the lower production levels, Cliffs is idling temporarily various pellet furnaces and initiating workforce adjustments at each of its North American Iron Ore mines. Cliffs indicated its Asia-Pacific Iron Ore business segment is maintaining production at a current annualized rate of approximately 7.5 million tons.


Local business news…in brief

• Northern Initiatives announced the addition of Scott Byrnes as manufacturing consultant; Byrnes will be responsible for providing LEAN services, standardized work development, and operational improvement projects including facility layout analysis and inventory storage optimization.
• Rev. Mr. Benjamin Hasse of American Martyrs Parish in Kingsford and Rev. Mr. Michael Chenier of Holy Family Parish in Flat Rock in Gladstone were ordained to the diaconate as transitional deacons; their ordination as priests is June 5.
• Jeffrey’s (formerly Tommy’s) celebrated its grand opening in Marquette with a ribbon-cutting ceremony; Jeffrey’s is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Erickson.
• Jeffrey M. Martin has joined U.P. Catholic Credit Union as information technology manager.
• Dr. Thomas Noren has been named chief medical officer for Marquette General Health System; Noren’s primary responsibilities are quality management, teamwork among physicians, medical education, regional physician communication and clinical and financial best practices.
• NMU art and design students won recent awards in creative competitions. Adam Trebel, a junior from Laurium, received a special recognition award for “Red Cross”; Ethan Przekaza, a senior from Marquette, honorable mention for “H2OME”; and Sara Melvinson of Vaxjo, Sweden, silver award for “Hidden City.”
• Donald Simila, FACHE, director of regional operations at Marquette General Health System, recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for health care leaders.
• At a recent Michigan Economic Developers Association board meeting, Joe Esbrook, director of business and community relations for Michigan Works! The Job Force board, was elected the 2009 vice president of the board and president elect for 2010.


Editor’s Note: Questions or comments are welcome by writing MM or at

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