Tourists, Tourists, and More Tourists, Governor’s Growth Commission, Baraga County Veteran Services, Back to School in the UP, New Education Department, & More



Tourists, Tourists, and More Tourists

As we head into the end of the tourist season and into Labor Day, we are still seeing big crowds of tourists all over the Upper Peninsula. Reports continue of high hotel occupancy rates in UP hotels and busy restaurants.

We recently drove downstate and saw license plates from Ohio, New York, Quebec, Minnesota, Jalisco, Wisconsin–and more. Lots of traffic in both directions and long lines at the Mackinac Bridge. Good news for economic development and small businesses revenue. Still a few weeks left to enjoy the beautiful UP summer weather.

Governor’s Growth Commission–“Growing Together”

Governor Whitmer continues to appoint members to the Commission’s Task Forces on various topics. Two UP members were appointed to the Higher Education Task Force: Dave Nyberg, NMU Executive Director of Business Engagement, and Richard Koubek, MTU President. Both excellent appointments.

We have not seen any other UP names on the other Task Forces being appointed. More to come we are sure. The Governor’s UP Czar, Jeremy Hosking, is working hard on all this and is widely respected in Lansing and in the UP.

Baraga County Veteran Services

Baraga County Memorial Hospital is now offering in-house Veterans Affairs Assistance. If you are a veteran in Baraga go check in out and see what they can do for you. Another great new UP service for veterans.

Back to School in the UP

Thousands of K-12 students will return to school in the next couple of weeks. This year there is funding to make sure ALL students get free breakfast/lunch at school. No more pay to eat and lists of who did not pay. Also increased K-12 funding on the way to all schools from the Governor And the legislature.

UP colleges and universities are getting ready to open their campuses to new and returning students in the coming weeks. These campuses are big economic drivers in the UP and their students and families spend lots and lots of money in our communities.

This is a good time for all of us in the UP to say thank you to classroom teachers and education administrators for all that they do to provide a quality education to our children and adults in K-12 and higher education. Thank you all.

A New Education Department for Michigan?

Michigan has a new state department called the Department Of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential (miLEAP). It was created to “streamline lifelong education in the state from pre-K, to higher education, to workforce development.”

The constitutionally created State Department of Education is asking the Attorney General for clarification on the powers of the new Department vis a vis the Department of Education.

Seems like the Department of Education is not happy with the creation of the new Department and its powers.

Unhappy at Work

Feiler Research reports that their survey shows 70% of Americans are unhappy with their job/work. 75% plan to look for a new job this year, according to Feiler. Let us know what you think about this. Are you going to look for a new job? Unhappy at work? Quiet quitting?

World’s Largest Holocaust Museum Being Built

Nope not in the UP, although that would be great. It is being built inside one of the planet’s most popular video games, Fortnite. According to Axios PM, “the virtual building, called Voices of the Forgotten Museum, will let players walk its halls to read plaques describing the genocide against Jews in Nazi Germany. They will also see photos of resistance fighters and heroes who sheltered Jews.” (Stephen Totilo, Axios PM, 8.7.23).

One of Best Midwest Holocaust and Genocide Collections

Right here in the Upper Peninsula. The Olson Library on NMU’s campus has one of the best collections in the midwest on this topic. Really worth checking it out. Quite an amazing collection. Check it out online or in person. Any of the helpful librarians over there can point you in the right direction.

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“Enough is plenty.” Old Italian saying.

“Every fall begins with a lean.” Old Hasidic proverb.

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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. Joan Miller on August 21, 2023 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for the information about NMU’s Holocaust collection at its Olson library. I was unaware.

  2. Bob Cook on August 21, 2023 at 10:38 am

    Pictured Rocks stats show visits running slightly below last year’s pace, which is pretty impressive considering that this is the first full year since 2019 that international travel is viable, and that people aren’t specifically seeking out socially distanced outdoor vacations.

  3. Lois Kallunki on August 21, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    Hello! What information do you have indicating that the Department of Education is unhappy with the new miLEAP. I have not heard of any conflicts.


  4. Bruce Otte on August 22, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    As much as I understand the boon to locals from tourists/ tourism, I would caution that you can “succeed too much” witness explosive real estate price hikes & “investor clubs” sucking up housing to own, flip or VRBO.. please refer to the Italian quote” on this post.
    We love the UP! Please don’t “blenderize” it to be just another set of copycat shops from anytown USA.

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