The Rural Insights Survey, a National Treasure in the Upper Peninsula, Veterans in Michigan and the UP, Bigger Planes Come to the UP, & Transparency in State Gov. and Public Universities



This Week in RI

On Wednesday we will be publishing an article by Bill Vajda on artificial intelligence and what he believes we can expect as AI becomes more widely adopted and utilized in the Upper Peninsula.

The Rural Insights Survey

Thank you to all of you who took the time to complete this survey. We care about what you think and how you prioritize issues. We had responses from all corners of the Upper Peninsula.

We will publish more of the survey soon but for now here is a quick overview of some of the survey results:

  • The top four issues for our readers (of the issues we listed) were:

    • Health care costs

    • Availability of medical specialists

    • WiFi/internet availability and cost

    • Affordable housing

  • 90.8% of survey takers said they regularly vote in federal, state and local elections.

More to come. Watch Whispers and our website for more information on the survey.

A National Treasure in the Upper Peninsula

The Soo Locks of course in Sault Ste. Marie. They are important to our national and regional economy and to our national priorities. Over 10,000 ships pass through the locks each year. They carry iron ore, limestone, grain and other products.

The federal government is spending $700 million to build one additional lock. This new construction adds to the Upper Peninsula’s international city–Sault Ste. Marie. (Wall Street Journal)

Veterans in Michigan and in the Upper Peninsula

Among the many issues confronting our military veterans who volunteered to serve their nation and risk their lives for the fellow citizens is the issue of homelessness..  The state estimates that there are 2,443 veterans in Michigan. 91 of these veterans are in the Upper Peninsula.

Interesting to note that one-third of all Michigan veterans live in the UP. That of course speaks to the number of homeless veterans in the UP. The UP has a very high level of enlisting by residents in the branches of the military.

As cold weather comes upon us all the impact on homeless veterans and other homeless people weighs very heavy and is very dangerous for them.

Bigger Planes Come to the Upper Peninsula

If you fly out of the airports in Dickinson and Delta Counties you are going to fly on bigger planes. The airlines announced that the new planes will have 70 seats instead of the current 50 seat planes. No word on the other UP airports.

Transparency in State Government and Public Universities

Senator Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, has introduced two constitutional amendments that he would propose the legislature put on the November 2024 ballot. He would replace the elected boards of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University with boards appointed by the Governor with the “advice and consent” of the Michigan Senate.

Currently the other 11 public universities have appointed boards and McBroom believes that having the same for the UM, MSU and WSU will improve governance and transparency at those institutions.

The second proposed constitutional amendment would bring all Michigan public universities fully under the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act.  They are currently partially exempt from the OMA based on a Michigan Supreme Court decision of 1999.

Two-thirds of both the Michigan House and Senate would have to vote to put the proposals on the ballot.

The legislature has also been discussing the efforts to bring the Governor’s Office, the Michigan Senate and the Michigan House under the Freedom of Information Act and more public disclosures of financial dealings of legislatures and the Governor.

Michigan has a very low transparency rating as compared to other states.

Quotes That Make You Go Hmmm

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” Thomas Payne.

“If you don’t know where you’re gong, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra.

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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TWITTER: Follow us @ruralinsightsUP.


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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. Robert Hilton on October 23, 2023 at 10:59 am

    I think there is a math problem here, or maybe a missing digit regarding the number of veterans in the UP. 91/2443 would not be one third.
    “The state estimates that there are 2,443 veterans in Michigan. 91 of these veterans are in the Upper Peninsula. Interesting to note that one-third of all Michigan veterans live in the UP.”

  2. Betsy on October 23, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Yup. There is something missing in that sentence. “The state estimates that there are 2,443 veterans in Michigan. 91 of these veterans are in the Upper Peninsula.” nuh huh

    ALSO, while we are at it, it was not “where you are gong” You seem to be having spelling problems, too.

  3. Jim Dahl on October 23, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    Time to re-write that piece about veterans. A freshman at NMU could write better. There are more that 550,000 vets in Michigan. How many in the UP? How many homeless vets in the state? How many homeless vets in the UP?

  4. Ann Fisher on October 23, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    This is another column where even a cursory reading would see that the numbers can’t be right. I don’t know what’s going on here, but if you can’t find an editor, you need to at least send these column to a friend who can do a quick read before you send them out.

  5. Renee m on October 24, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Geez – give the guy a break. So he made a mistake. How about you volunteer to write a column or two?

  6. Lillian M. on October 26, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    The paragraph is a bit confusing, but the way I read the sentence with 2,443 is that the total amount of homeless veterans in the state is 2,443 and that 91 of those veterans are considered homeless in the UP. And separately, 1/3 of all veterans in Michigan, housed or not, live in the U.P.

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