Delta County Veterans Food Pantry, Lack of Available Internet for Rural Students, and Returning to School Too Soon?

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Rural Whispers, Noise & Rumors is a weekly column that gives you the inside scoop on the rural happenings in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Delta County/Escanaba Veterans Food Pantry

A mobile food pantry free for all veterans will take place August 28th from 10:30 am to 3 pm at the Rapid River School, 10070 US 2, Rapid River.

This is for veterans only, no exceptions. You must have a veterans ID, or a copy of your DD214 form, or a Veterans Administration ID, or a DL Enhancement Card.

You will drive up and will not have to get out of your vehicle. You will not need to bring a box or a bag to receive the food, it will be provided to you.

Remember that this is for veterans only and you MUST bring an ID.

Returning to School Soon?

Around the UP, K-12 schools are getting ready to either open or not open for the school year beginning in September, and UP universities are opening in August to begin their Fall semesters.

According to a recent poll, 51% of Michigan parents believe that it is unsafe to send their children to in-person instruction at their local school.

One issue we are hearing NOISE about is that many areas of the UP and other rural areas are lacking available internet for students whose parents choose the online option for their classes this fall.

Unequal access is a major concern to parents and educators. One parent told us that now they want to see if policymakers get that unequal issue in rural areas.

What will they propose? Some parents say they don’t want to have to make the choice to risk COVID infection for their children in school because of poor internet availability in their area.

It’s estimated that there are 1 million Michigan residents without local internet service. Northern Michigan University’s EAN internet program is assisting many rural areas with internet access.

Same with providing home schooling, which many say is more easily available to parents with more economic options, and much more difficult to avail this option for families that face economic challenges and are in lower wage employment.

Whisperers are saying this across the UP and they are waiting for their local school boards and administrators to tell them what are the plans in their schools to keep not only students safe from COVID, but also to learn plans to keep teachers, bus drivers, office staff, maintenance staff, etc., safe.

UP universities are opening in the coming weeks and they have been announcing plans on how they will operate in class instruction on their campuses.  Northern Michigan University begins classes on August 17th; Michigan Technical University classes begin on August 24th and Lake Superior State University began on August 10th.  Over 16,000 university students will flood back into local campus communities raising local citizen concerns about  COVID exposure and related issues.  Universities have been releasing plans to the public for COVID testing and safety procedures on campus and off campus for their students and staff.

The universities have been working closely with local and state public health officials to reduce risks as they open their campuses.  Plans for each university are available online.  We shall see what the results are on the campuses.

Book Suggestions

Do you have one to suggest to us and our readers? Please send us the title, author name and publication date. Send them to david@ruralinsights.org.

None of the book suggestions we will publish are endorsements of the book or the author, just suggestions for you to consider.

Recent suggested reads from subscribers:

“Trade is Not a Four Letter Word.” Fred Hockberg. 2019.

“Gathering Prey.” John Sanford. 2020 (This fictional action novel takes place predominantly in the U.P.)

“Upper Peninsula of Michigan: A History.” Russell Magnaghi. 2019.

What’s On Your Mind?

Tell us what you would like to see us research and write about in Rural Insights. Are there issues or ideas that you think are important to the Upper Peninsula that we should explore?

We can’t guarantee that we will research every issue or idea that you send us, but we will take a hard look and see what we can find out–is there enough data and facts for us to publish, etc. Let us know what you are thinking about. Send your ideas, issues and thoughts to david@ruralinsights.org.

Quotes (That make us go hmm)

“Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Progress is more important than perfection.” Simon Sinek.

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David Haynes

Professor David Haynes is a tenured Professor of Public Administration and teaches in the MPA graduate program at Northern Michigan University, where he previously served as President. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.

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