Welcome to 2024, Former UP State Rep Awaiting Charges, LSSU Reveals Banished Words List, Good News for Michigan, and Schools of Choice Grow

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This Week in RI

On Wednesday we will be publishing Dr. Russell Magnaghi’s latest piece, “Yankee Influence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” Magnaghi discusses the significant influence of Yankee (New England) settlers and culture on the development of the UP, highlighting their migration patterns, economic activities, and cultural impacts from the colonial period through the 19th century.

Don’t miss this fascinating article this week!

Welcome to 2024

UP buckle up. Lots of things are happening in the next 12 months: national and state elections, local elections, global wars and lots more.  We can also expect many unknowns will surprise us this coming year.

Happy New Year.

Former UP State Rep Awaiting Charges

Lee Chatfield represented the eastern end of the UP and some counties below the bridge. He was a rising star and was elected to the powerful position of House Speaker.

Michigan Bridge reported on 1.4.24 that “Chatfield, a Republican, who is currently being investigated for potential misappropriation of finances–as well as sexual assault–after his sister in law told police he sexually assaulted her for over a decade beginning when she was 14 or 15 years old and a student a Michigan Christian Academy in Burt Lake.”

Chatfield was a teacher there and his father was Superintendent.

Two of Chatfield’s aides were recently indicted with charges related to this case. They pleaded not guilty.

LSSU Issues Annual Banished Words for 2024

Every year our UP university in Sault Saint Marie gets national coverage of its banished words lists. Always fun to read. Three of the banished words this year are: Hack, Impact and At the End of the Day.

You can read the entire list online.

I would add a couple of my favorite phrases to banish: Breaking News and With All Due Respect.

Send us your suggestions and we will publish some of your recommendations. What are your favorite words to banish in 2024?

Good News for Michigan

After five years of population decline, according to the US Census Bureau we had a growth spurt in 2023–4,000 new Michigan citizens. It’s a start and the state is working on plans to continue that growth.

Schools of Choice Grow

We have seen it across the UP–families utilizing the schools of choice for their children. Michigan Advance reports that rural areas have seen a growth from 1 in 6 students in Michigan choosing to go to school in a different district than where they live or to go to a charter school, to 1 in 4.

School districts are facing a decline in enrollment and this change often makes a big difference financially to a rural school district. Losing students means less state aid.

UP Residents Still Burdened With High Housing Costs

We are hearing from community leaders across the UP that housing costs–both rental and purchase–are still burdening local residents.   Residents say when you combine housing costs and child care costs that not much is left for food and other costs.

The Michigan League for Public Policy says that 25.9% of Michigan Families are burdened by high-cost housing.


“Tax policy shows what a society values.” Heather Cox Richardson.

“Your zip code is more important than your genetic code for your health.” Dan Gilmartin.

Talk To Us

Keep your raves, laurels, rants and darts coming. Send them to us at david@ruralinsights.org. 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. Joe on January 8, 2024 at 9:30 am

    I would banish “follow the science” and “ insurrection “

    • D. Neal on January 8, 2024 at 5:16 pm


  2. Perry G. on January 8, 2024 at 9:53 am

    Hello David –
    I love these quick reads.
    Hope all is well.

  3. Carl N. on January 8, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    Banish ‘decry’ please.

  4. Rich Cook on January 8, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    Is “bespoke” already banished?

  5. D. Neal on January 8, 2024 at 5:16 pm

    I vote to ban “Let me be clear”. So tired of hearing it!

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