Finlandia Closing, New Veterans Home Location Announced, FOIA and Ethics Legislative Reforms, and New Ice Cream

Photo credit: Finlandia University
Photo credit: Finlandia University


This Week in Rural Insights

On Tuesday we’ll be republishing an article by The Brookings Institute on the gender-based wage gap in public schools that gives in-depth analysis on the issue. And Wednesday we’ll be publishing an article by Michael Rutledge about the Together With Veterans program, which aims to reduce rural-veteran suicide rates and how Marquette was selected to be one of the first initial “hubs” for the program.

Watch for these articles Tuesday and Wednesday!

Finlandia U Closing–Impact and Causes

A big loss for Hancock and for the entire Upper Peninsula. This small university had a big impact on the lives of thousands of alumni and local people. Some interesting questions are now being thrown out there concerning what will happen to the campus property and the scholarships provided by donors.

Very good news about FU working closely with UP colleges and universities as well as with local communities. More will come out in coming weeks.

New Veterans Home Location Announced

A new and larger home for veterans will replace the current location of the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans in south Marquette. The site will be on the 2000 block of Lakeshore Blvd, which for decades has been known as the Cliff’s Dow property.

The State of Michigan, the City of Marquette and State Veterans Agency are all working together to get this project going and completed.  Lots of site clean up and administrative steps to get done but hopefully construction will start soon.

The award winning Oscar Johnson Veterans Hospital in Iron Mountain and the Marquette Veterans Home are two shining stars for veterans in the Upper Peninsula. Hopefully we can see the beginning of more local and regional services for veterans in the UP that will make the Upper Peninsula an even better place for veterans.

Lots of good stuff going on in our UP communities for veterans and thanks to all the people who make all these services possible.

After publication, we received the following information from a Michigan Veterans Affairs official: “Michigan Veteran Homes, along with the State of Michigan, are looking at several different sites in the City of Marquette/Marquette Charter Township that may be candidates for the construction of the new Michigan Veteran Homes D.J. Jacobetti. As we look to build our third new Home in Michigan, we are currently having preliminary discussions with the city to determine if this property would be suitable to provide care to our U.P. veterans.”

Michigan Sunshine Week Brings FOIA and Ethics Legislative Reforms

This past week the Michigan Legislature began work on updating and expanding the state Freedom of Information (FOIA) law and state ethics reform.

Michigan is only one of two states that exempts the Governor’s Office and the Legislature from FOIA. That is about to change. The ethics changes will include voter approved financial disclosure requirements for public officials.

We might see changes in FOIA requirements for nonprofits and other entities like university foundations. More to come and we will keep you posted on these important changes and improvements in the transparency laws in Michigan.

From the World Around Us

Child care availability and cost continues to be a problem in the UP.

An analysis by University of Michigan Poverty Solutions counted roughly four children for every available child care spot in Michigan. The Poverty Solution Center created a website that helps child care providers understand recent changes to Michigan laws regarding child providers and new subsidies available.

Go to:

New Ice Cream

Just read that there is a new ice cream: ranch dressing-flavored ice cream. I think I will pass. You?

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“The freedom to speak and the freedom to hear are inseparable; they are two sides of the same coin.”  -Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

“The goal in life is not to be successful. The goal is to be valuable. Wake up each day and focus on how to add value–value to your family, neighbors, community and ultimately the world.”  -Brigitte LaPointe-Dunham, CEO, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Newly-appointed member of the NMU Board of Trustees.

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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. Jim Dahl on March 20, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Is Hancock really closing? Your headline reminds me of another unintended message on a business sign in Houghton several years ago, which read:
    “Welcome Back MTU
    and FU Students.”

  2. Dave Brown on March 20, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    David, What is the building pictured?
    From the angle of light reflected it looks like there are a few windows missing.
    But as I study the picture of freshly plowed snow, and the flag proudly flying, this wouldn’t make sense. So it must be used by someone (organization) for some purpose.
    (This doesn’t need to be added to the string and published, just an answer please, to add meaning to your article.)

    • Kristin Ojaniemi on March 20, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      Dave Brown – to answer your question. The building pictured is Hirvonen Hall, owned by Finlandia University. It was the former Hancock Middle School or High School that wasn’t being utilized for many years – just as storage I believe. Finlandia actually just started renovating and using the building for classes within the last year or so.

      • Dave Brown on March 20, 2023 at 12:58 pm

        Kristin, Thanks, that explains the architecture history, as it did look like a UP High school, (resembles Ontonagon HS where my mother taught in the 1930’s). Glad to hear that Finlandia was repurposing the building for classes, sad about their demise.

  3. David A Wirth on March 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    I agree with you on Ranch Dressing flavored ice cream, yuck.

    Re: Finlandia students, I read in one of the Detroit papers that NMU was going to admit with no requirements. If so great.

    • John Marten on March 21, 2023 at 8:59 am

      David, this is true. NMU has partnered with Finlandia to help transition their students so they may complete their degrees. It is wonderful that NMU is making it as easy as possible to admit students and help transfer credits so they aren’t starting over at square one through the teach-out method.

  4. Bobbie Young on March 20, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Perfect news, the site of the Jacobetti Veterans Home. It’s where it should be. A quiet,residential feeling.

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