A Correction, NMU Alumni Grumble on Football Losses, Election Time in the UP, Minimum Wage Effort, Transparency in Michigan Legislature, and More

Photo credit: Northern Michigan University
Photo credit: Northern Michigan University


This Week in RI

On Wednesday we will be publishing our latest episode of the Rural Insights Podcast. In this episode David talks to with Robert Hilton, current Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Army and Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Make sure to read, watch, or listen to this episode!


In our last edition of Whispers we wrote about homeless veterans in the Upper Peninsula. We incorrectly wrote that 91 homeless veterans live in Marquette. That should have said 91 homeless veterans live in the Upper Peninsula with 27 of them in Marquette County. The remaining are spread throughout the Upper Peninsula. Our apologies for the error.

NMU Alumni Grumble On Football Losses

Grumble, grumble, grumble. There is lots of alumni unhappiness around the fact that the NMU football team thus far has not won one single game. Further grumbling has been the huge scores that other teams have gotten against NMU. Lots of Monday quarterbacking going on here but this situation appears to not be getting better. Many who are supportive of the team are saying that with a new coach in his first year here at NMU he ought to be given more than one season to work things out. We shall see how this all plays out in coming months.

A historical reminder is appropriate at this point. During the 1974 season the NMU football team was 0-10. Yup, you read that correctly, zero wins and ten losses. One year later, 1975, the NMU football team went on to win a national championship. Their one and only national championship, but they went from a season of zero wins to the next season where they were national champions. So hope springs eternal. Remain positive and keep hoping and supporting the team!!!!

The good news is that other women’s and men’s athletic teams at NMU are doing well this Fall season–alumni and other fans are really excited about that fact.

Election Time in the Upper Peninsula

This week throughout the Upper Peninsula (and the rest of Michigan) there will be elections for many local offices. Don’t forget to get out and support your local governments. In some locations there are local mileages also. Find out what is on the ballot in your community before you get to the polls. Read up on what is on your local ballot. And if you feel so inclined, vote!!!

What is Going On With the $15 Minimum Wage Effort?

Advocates for a $15 minimum wage ballot question have been denied the ability to advance it by the State Board of Canvassers. They will now appeal that decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Transparency in Michigan Legislature and Governor’s Office

The Michigan Senate and House are working on some bipartisan bills that expand the transparency for what legislators and statewide officials must report on their financial activities.

“The legislation as introduced requires officials to disclose all income sources that exceed $1,000 as well as askew, stocks, bonds, unearned income and liabilities exceeding $10,000.” (Bridge Michigan).

Advocates for transparency are calling to include disclosure of travel paid for by nonprofits that are often created by legislatures and external lobbying organizations.  Advocates are also calling for the reporting requirements to include spousal financial data similar to what their elected spouses are required under the bills to report.

The bills are SB 613-616. You of course can find them online if you want more information and detail.

Election of Trustees at the Big Three Universities

The Upper Peninsula’s State Senator Ed McBroom, as we have previously reported, has proposed a constitutional amendment to require the boards of the so-called big three universities, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University to no longer be elected by the voters but rather to be appointed by the Governor. The other 11 public universities already have their boards appointed by the governor versus popular election.

There has been considerable controversy around the university boards that are popularly elected and little of the similar controversies at the appointed university boards. Advocates believe that the quality of board members will improve if appointed versus elected, as would the scrutiny of the actions of the boards.

More to come in coming weeks about this issue as it moves through the legislation or does not move through the legislation. We will keep you posted.

Michigan Growing Together Council Work Group Recommendations Popping Up In Public

Members of Governor Whitmer’s council are looking at recommending increases in taxes to fund public schools, roads and local governments. We’ll see how the Council’s task forces issue their reports and how it plays out with the voters. More to come.

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“Rage often does the work of evil, and produces some of the same effects.” Lance Morrow.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Talk To Us

Keep your raves, laurels, rants and darts coming. Send them to us at david@ruralinsights.org. We love to read them. 

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Rural Insights connects policy, information, news and culture to raise topics and stories/information you might have not seen or overlooked. We bring you original writing from Rural Insights and other researchers, change makers, and storytellers, as well as our latest research and analysis.

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Ken Raisanen on November 6, 2023 at 8:26 am

    When a reporter asked the coach if he was optimistic about the season after going 0-10, (“It could not go worse, right?”), the coach replied, “Well, we play 11 games this year…”

  2. DM on November 6, 2023 at 9:19 am

    Seneca quotes are very welcome.

  3. Russell LaBeau on November 6, 2023 at 9:44 am

    I think NMU ought to D/C football! The sport is too expensive to maintain. Soccer is a healthier sport, and much less costly. Hockey probably pays for itself, and most of the other sports are not too expensive.

  4. Tom on November 6, 2023 at 10:29 am

    Football. Why everyone goes to college.

  5. Robert Hilton on November 6, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Sounds like an amazing podcast 😉

  6. Sherri Viau on November 6, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Documentary: Put Your Hand On the Line is being shown tonight at Bay College in Escanaba at 7 pm

    A remarkable documentary film about a college football team that in 1974 lost every single game, then turned it around with a bunch of no name players to win the National Championship in 1975.

    For Tickets: https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/baycollege/3755/event/1354700

  7. Rocky on November 6, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    College sports are such a conundrum. Tuition, room, and meals for a freshman in Michigan is now $30-40K per year. The top administrators are certainly aware of how elitist the college experience is becoming, and they are trying tweaks to help the kids from families of modest means. I hear all the time from parents of kids still in primary schools around Marquette that they hope their kids will want to go to trade schools instead of college, because they doubt the value proposition and fear their own indebtedness. I had to borrow money (fortunately through a home refi at 3%) to help my son through Mich Tech, and I may take that debt into retirement. That isn’t unusual – parents are now facing paying part of their kids’ college debts in retirement, or forestalling retirement because of those debts. First-world problems? Yes, but…when you’re 60 and you’ve put in 40+ years in the working world it’s a lot to defer those golden years/months/weeks of rest and relaxation as the window on life is closing, particularly if you have challenging health conditions.

    And I think the cost of college is one of the unspoken issues a lot of the voters that support populist politicians (the ones that want to get rid of the IRS and any regulations) are so unhappy about. Health care and college costs are major stressors for parents, and for students who are borrowing a lot of money in their earliest adult years. “It’s the economy, stupid” is still real and it is probably about the household economy for the majority of voters who feel like they are being left behind or buried by the cost of things that were a lot more affordable when they were young adults, and college is at the top of that list.
    The ways we can finance college are regressive and it hurts the “donut-hole” parents the hardest (not rich enough to fund college from savings, but not poor enough for their kids to get subsidized federal loans or other need-based aid), but every year the Board votes on how much tuition and fees will rise because they are in a battle with all of the other similar colleges to provide new buildings, more amenities (maybe a lazy river greenway) and better food, more administrators and faculty pay raises, and the almighty sports programs that build esprit de corps – or frustration if you’re an NMU football fan.

    Darts and arrows indeed.

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