Former Houghton County Administrator Returns, Shuffling of Upper Peninsula Presidents, & Marshfield Clinic Moves Into Central UP,



Former Houghton County Administrator Returns

Ben Larson returned to his former job as Houghton County Administrator that he left a few years ago to work in the private sector. Mr. Larson was considered a very successful and respected public administrator. Welcome back Mr. Larson.

Speaking of returning public administrators, as we reported in our last edition of Whispers, former Marquette City Manager Bill Vajda has also returned to the Upper Peninsula to be the cybersecurity guru at Northern Michigan University.

Are we seeing a trend of returning leaders to the Upper Peninsula? The Upper Peninsula is a wonderful place to be, a hard place to leave and a wonderful place to return to work and live.

Shuffling of Upper Peninsula Presidents

We have read in recent weeks of the departure of the presidents of Finlandia University, Lake State University, Gogebic Community College and Bay de Noc Community College.

Interesting note is that makes the President of Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan University the senior presidents in the Upper Peninsula. NMU’s president Dr. Brock Tessman has only been on the job since early February. He has hit the ground running.

Lots of higher education presidential searches will be going on in the coming months and they are time consuming and expensive–but necessary obviously.

Marshfield Clinic Health System Moves Into Central Upper Peninsula

First the mega Wisconsin Health System moved into Iron Mountain and established a relationship with their hospital and doctors. Now we see they have moved into Marquette and established a relationship with the Marquette Internal Medicine and Pediatric Associates.

A big development in the Upper Peninsula health care world. Marshfield Clinic will be providing some serious competition for Lifepoint who owns Marquette General Hospital–and other hospitals around the UP.

Will we see more services being offered by Marshfield Clinic in Marquette, Houghton, Escanaba, etc.? Will the University of Michigan Health System develop a stake in the Central and Western Upper Peninsula, as they have in the eastern Upper Peninsula at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie?

More to come from Rural Insights soon.

From the World Around Us

Homelessness in the United States has increased by 25% since 2017, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Our neighboring state Wisconsin broke a record this month. They had the most expensive judicial election in American history. Their state Supreme Court race in April had $40 million in spending on the race.


“It is a truth as old as humanity: one way we sustain the values of our community is by criticizing those who violate them.” Kwame Anthony Appiah.

“Appeasement is the policy of feeding your friends to a crocodile, one at a time, in hopes the crocodile will eat you last. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Books Recommended By Our Readers

“Nine Black Robes.” Joan Biskupic. 2023.

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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. Jacob on April 10, 2023 at 7:35 am

    *It’s Lake Superior State University

  2. Robert Thompson on April 10, 2023 at 9:16 am

    The worst outcome for the UP, the western and eastern halves, is to let big health systems cherry pick locations based on short term benefit calculations of the systems.

    The UP (there isn’t one UP, geography matters a lot) has a history of inability to coordinate efforts to establish, preserve and develop critical services across the remoteness of the UP. This will take political leadership and business leadership — which has been missing in action for the past several decades.

    The sooner Marquette shows Lifepoint the door, the better.

    • Grant Holmstom on April 17, 2023 at 4:00 pm

      Finlandia University’s president is departing before their closing?

  3. Paul Sturgul on April 10, 2023 at 10:16 am

    The ongoing acquistion of health care systems in the UP by outside mega corporate interests is alarming.
    At a recent Town Hall meetig in Marquette (Monday, April 3rd 2023), hosted by Rep. Jenn Hill, I addressed the issue of the corporatizion of health care in the UP.
    According to Becker’s Hospital Review., Apollo Global Management, a New York City-based private equity firm, made a $1.6 billion gain by selling its stake in Brentwood. Tenn.-based LifePoint Health to itself. [Alia Paavola, July 29th, 2021, citing Bloomberg.].
    Last I looked, isn’t Life-Point a co-ower of UP Health Systems? I inquired at the Town Hall as to how the public purpose is served by a hedge fund ownership of a health care system.
    We need an Ida Tarbell to iinvestigate today’s American Medical Industrial complex.

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