McBroom named a Michiganian of the Year, veteran issues, Rural Insights employs student and faculty researchers, VRBO regulations, and “Definitely Not Fritz Erickson” Twitter account

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This Week in Rural Insights

This Wednesday we’ll be releasing a new episode of the Rural Insights Podcast, where David talks about technology and cybersecurity with Lois Ellis, Executive Director of the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance, Evan Rice, Vice President of Information Technology at CCI Systems, and Doug Miller from the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute.

Watch for this podcast Wednesday morning! And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the Rural Insights podcast on an of the major podcast platforms, or on the Rural Insights YouTube channel.

McBroom Selected As One of the “Michiganians of the Year”

Every year the Detroit News publishes a list of Michiganians of the Year–people who have stood out that year due to their unique accomplishments.

It is very rare that you would see them name anyone from the Upper Peninsula–I can’t remember ever seeing a name from the UP (if you remember one please send it to us and we will publish it). Maybe it is more than I think.

Well, this year they named the Upper Peninsula’s State Senator Ed McBroom. The conservative Detroit News credited him for standing up to pressure from the former President and his supporters on the issue of voter fraud in last year’s national election and in Michigan.

The national magazine, The Atlantic, had a major article about Senator McBroom and his work on the issue of Michigan election security. So, surprisingly, The Detroit News included a Republican, State Senator from the UP’s 38th Senate District as one of their Michiganians of the Year.

Congratulations to Senator Ed McBroom. 

Do you like the word Michiganian versus Michigander? I vote for Michigander. You?

Veteran Issues

If you have not yet read last week’s article on the Rand Institute’s study on funding of veteran services and citizens’ willingness to pay more taxes for needed services, you should really take a look (“Americans are Willing To Pay Higher Taxes for Improved Care for Veterans”).

It is an excellent article with great data and charts by our student researcher Clay Postlewaite. He is also a Marine Corp veteran with two combat deployments to Afghanistan. Make sure you take a look.

In the coming weeks we will feature articles on veteran mental heath issues and services, including suicide rates and other related issues. 

By the way, only 7% of living Americans have served in the United States military. That is an all time low number. 

Rural Insights Employs Student and Faculty Researchers

We are very proud that we now have eight student researchers working on projects for us, and three NMU faculty members doing research for us. We provide financial support for this work.

We appreciate the assistance by NMU faculty members identifying students who are interested in doing research. They are among the best and the brightest.

If you are not an NMU student or faculty member and you have some research or an article for us to consider, please send it to us and we will take a look. We are interested in looking at all.

State House Takes Short Term Rental Regulation Away From Local Government

House Bill 4722 is the bill that strips local governments of the power to regulate short term rentals like VRBOs, Airbnbs, etc.

Whisperers tell us that support for this bill was led by realtors and other special interest groups. Local governments have for several years been effectively working with their citizens on how to best regulate these short term rentals in their communities, not one size fits all but rather regulation community by community. 

The bill now moves onto the State Senate. So if you are interested in this issue give your state senator a call or email. 

New Twitter Account Called “Definitely Not Fritz Erickson”

Lots of interesting posts about the recently-fired NMU president and the current NMU Board of Trustees/Foundation involvement with the former Marquette hospital site on College Avenue.

This Twitter account does not say who the author is of all these posts or who owns the Twitter account. Huge amount of speculation as to possible authors, including the author of this newsletter/blog–me.

As I have told the scores and scores of people who have asked me–it is not me. I am not the author and do not know who the author is. If you know and want to tell me, send me a note. LOL.

If you are not a Twitter user, here are a few of the posts that will give you an idea of what is going on on that page:

“Just to recap, we learned at the NMU Forum last week that the NMU Foundation isn’t really buying the old hospital; they won’t actually own any property when all of this is said and done. They are just acting as an investment vehicle for someone else.”

“In what boardroom could such a scheme be cooked up? Invest UP is looking pretty sus. CEO Marty Fittante (husband of NMU Trustee@LFiffante, Chairman Bob Maheny (NMU Trustee/Veridea CEO), Gar Atchinson, UPHS/Marquette CEO, Brad Canale NMU Foundation.”

One more post was: “Word on the street is that if you trick or treat at UPHS/Marquette dressed as a NMU Board Member, they’ll give you a full size payday.”

Whew, some big stuff about NMU and NMU Foundation involvement in getting the former Marquetter hospital demolished. Big costs and big impacts for all involved. More to come I am sure.

What Happened To Free Community College Tuition in DC?

Looks like this issue has been dropped from the human infrastructure bills in Congress. Free community college tuition will most likely not be available for the many Americans who cannot afford college and university tuition without assuming big student loans. 

Could change in the next week or so, but right now looks like it will not be included.

What Are The Priorities For The Upper Peninsula?

For many months we have been hearing from Whisperers about what they think are the most important priorities for their communities in the UP and for the UP overall.

Those issues with the biggest numbers are: childcare availability and costs, inflation, school funding and education reform, higher education costs/tuition and jobs and wages.

This collection is completely unscientific–just priorities from some of our readers. We have not done a poll.

So please continue sending us your priorities for your UP community and priorities that might be UP-wide. We will continue to report on this listing of priorities as you send them to us.

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves.” Senator John Glenn.

“We are unprepared, unsure, and often uncomfortable trying to manage a younger generation that is more radical, demanding and impatient for change.” Ann-Marie Slaughter.

How Are We Doing?

We are eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and our articles, podcasts, videos and research. What should we be covering in this newsletter and in Rural Insights that we aren’t currently? What are we getting wrong? Please send them to

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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. DarrylM on November 8, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for the weekly, interesting UP matters. I find it very useful and entertaining.

    To write that many words about an anonymous Twitter account did cause me to skip past that section (though the full size payday comment was quite funny). Until Twitter (and all of the other social media apps) requires a real authentic identity it is are a waste of time

  2. Frank Malette on November 8, 2021 at 10:13 am

    There is not and never has been such a thing as a Michiganian.

    • R on November 8, 2021 at 10:55 am


  3. John Saarinen on November 8, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Michigander – I believe Abe Lincoln first used the term. If it’s good enough for him….

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