Nursing Four-Year Programs at Community Colleges Clarified, Dingelisms, Soo Locks Get Funding Boost, and Big News for UP Veterans


This Week in Rural Insights

Each week we try to bring you informed brevity. This week we will feature a piece by Michael and John Broadway that explores how some areas in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota have experienced population increases and how insights from those areas can help regional leaders address the population decreases facing the UP.

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Nursing Four-Year Programs at Community Colleges Clarified

Big news for future students. This year’s Michigan higher education funding bill has an agreement in it to fund nursing programs at state community colleges. The community colleges will now be permitted to offer four-year nursing degrees. The state funded this program at $56 million dollars. 

The purpose of this program is to increase the number of nurses with bachelor degrees in nursing, which seems to be the preference of employers of nurses. 

This is an important development for future nurses in rural areas who do not have four-year nursing degrees available where they live or within a reasonable distance.


Happy birthday (July 8th) to the late Dean of the House of Representatives, Congressman John Dingell.

He was a good friend of the Upper Peninsula. He had a reputation for saying some of the most astute, funny and very applicable things that folks called “Dingleisms.”

Here is a sample to make us all smile this summer day:

“Before you sell the bear’s hide, shoot the bear first.” This was a warning not to get ahead of yourself.

“I hear what you are saying, what are you telling me?”

“I just groaned so hard my Life Alert button pressed itself”

There are loads more of these wonderful life advice statements and tweets. Thanks Congressman John Dingell.

Soo Locks Get a Boost in Funding That Boosts the Economy of the Eastern UP and the Entire State

The Upper Peninsula’s Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie are important to international trade and commerce in Michigan.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded $1.068 billion for another new lock, as part of Phase Three of the Soo Lock expansion. Construction will begin this summer. This new lock construction should be completed in 2030. It will create hundreds of new jobs in the Sault Ste. Marie area and add millions to the local economy.

Big News for Upper Peninsula Veterans

This year’s Michigan budget bill includes funding for a new housing facility for veterans living at the Jacobetti Veterans Home in Marquette. It will mean that scores of veterans in the UP will have more housing options available to them in the final years of their lives, when they may need assisted living the most.

This news certainly meets Whispers’ drumbeat that instead of just saying “thank you for your service” we do something concrete to help veterans. This new housing development is “doing” something for veterans–and veterans in the UP. Early plans look just terrific and we will have more on this in future editions of Whispers.

The World Around Us and Facts

Spending at National Parks: More than 3 million visitors to Michigan’s national parks spent $294 million in 2021. 

That’s more than what visitors spent at national parks, historic sites, historic trails and other units of the National Park Service in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana combined. (National Park Service data).

The Upper Peninsula is home to three national parks. The Travel Mitten tells us that our Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Park in 2015 had over 723,178 visitors. In 2020 it had over 1, 212,251 and everyone thought that that was the peak and an amazing record number. Then in 2021 Pictured Rocks had over 1,373,764 visitors. Wow. 2022 should be another record buster. 

Foster Care:

“5% of children in foster care are there for five-plus years.

424,000: the number of children in foster care on any given day. The system already faces shortages of placements, low high school graduation rates, and disproportionately-high rates of incarceration and homelessness.

Questions are being raised about the recent US Supreme Court decision on abortion, and whether it will lead to more births and more children in foster care. (Russell Contreras, Axios, 2022).


“Everything we do makes a difference. And everything we don’t do makes a difference.” Amy Gutman, US Ambassador to Germany. 

“Be curious, not judgmental.” Walt Whitman.

We try to bring you informed brevity. We believe the only way to speak truth to power is to understand both sides of an issue.

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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.

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