Soo Locks Reconstruction, Nurses, Health Care and Patient Care in the UP, Finlandia Closure Continues, and Banned Books



This Week in Whispers

On Wednesday we’ll be publishing an article by Michael Broadway that takes a look at the implications that declining school enrollment has on the Upper Peninsula. This is an important issue for the UP.

Soo Locks Reconstruction

With spring and summer arriving, along with the ice melt, work will begin on the reconstruction of the 100-year old locks. Marie. The cost of this construction will be about $1.3 billion. The total project is expected to be finished in 2030. All of this work and construction spending is expected to have a very positive impact on the Sault Ste. Marie and Chippewa County economies–not to mention on the locks.

Nurses, Health Care and Patient Care in the UP

We have all read about nursing shortages in the Upper Peninsula, in Michigan and nationally. Here in the UP it is even more critical of an issue at rural hospitals.

University of Michigan researchers surveyed Michigan nurses, and 9,000 nurses responded. They found that 40% say they intend to leave their jobs over the next year. (Bridge Magazine, 4.10.23). The researcher said that they have never seen such high frustration in a particular field.

All three Upper Peninsula universities have BSN programs that help with the nursing shortages in some hospitals. “Gogebic Community College has signed a collaboration agreement with Northern Michigan University School of Nursing that will “offer seamless opportunities for nurses with associate degrees to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in nursing without leaving the community college campus.”  (GCC). A very similar program exists at Bay de Noc Community College.

Finlandia Closure Continues

A reader asked us this question: What happens to the scholarship money currently at Finlandia that was given by donors? Where does it go?

Banned Books

Libraries and public schools are being reported to be banning certain books in their collections. They are being removed from their shelves. Some reports of really confrontational public sessions of libraries and school boards have resulted all across the country.

If you know of any Upper Peninsula public libraries or schools having debates about book banning or have actually banned books please do let us know and we will report it back to our readers.

By the way, a Vero Beach, Florida High School has banned the book “Anne Frank’s Diary.” That is just one example.

Have you read a banned book recently? Which one?

From the World Around Us

A recent poll by Gallup Polling, one of America’s most respected national polling companies, showed that “a record low 47% of Americans said they have “a great deal” or  a “fair amount” of trust in the US Supreme Court. That is down from 2020 by about 20 points.

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you.” Senator John McCain and former prisoner of war.

“Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other options.” Abba Eban, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel and former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.

Books Recommended by Our Readers

“An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford.” Richard Norton Smith. 2023.

Talk To Us

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

About Us

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. Bruce Carlson on April 24, 2023 at 7:20 am

    Hello David,

    I’m Justin’s Dad. Good work.



  2. Mark Hartman on April 24, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Goid Morning David, I appreciate your page and your time to get the information out to us.

    Huge respect Sir

  3. Sara Basso on April 24, 2023 at 8:43 am

    Reading The Comedians now, authored by Graham Greene in 1965, banned by Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier, a person with whom current book banners in this country share values.

  4. Cindy Dutcher on April 24, 2023 at 8:43 am

    in the 1970’s there was a shortage of Drs in rural areas, and there were tuition incentives for medical school that required the new Dr to practice in a rural area for 5 years. Seems like we may need to do this again and for nurses and other medical professionals too. Another problem with the nursing shortage was the elimination of the 8 hour shift, when you took away the third shift you left the “pool” of available trained nurses by 1/3, plus it leads to burnout in a big way. I think a 36 hour workweek is plenty for full time in such a demanding field.

  5. MaryEllen Hyttinen on April 24, 2023 at 9:50 am

    I would have liked to see the reasons why such high frustration. Is it the hours, wages, or administrative reasons? Knowing why our nurses are leaving could help solve the issue

  6. Jodi Cornwell on April 24, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Nothing has been said about the shortage of dentists in the UP and the Eastern end of the peninsula in particular. Are others finding this to be a problem or is this just localized here?

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