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Administrators: Sturgis schools developing education plan
Source:  News - Sturgis Journal - Sturgis, MI
Friday, 10 July 2020 22:21

By Dan Cherry Journal staff writerSturgis Public School administrators said this week a back-to-school team is working diligently to establish a "road map" for how the 2020-21 school year will unfold later this year.Superintendent Art Ebert and assistant superintendent Nicole Airgood, in a joint statement, said the plans are in development and final details will be released after those proposals are finalized.The plans take into consideration the COVID-19 [...]

Michigan Children Behind In Routine Vaccines
Source:  Keweenaw Report
Friday, 10 July 2020 04:37

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan’s children are falling behind in routine vaccines, out of postponed doctor visits.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has urged families to get their children and adolescents caught up with all needed vaccines as quickly as possible.

Decreases in immunization rates puts people at higher risk for disease outbreaks.

Data from Michigan’s Care Improvement Registry, showed less than half of the state’s 5 month olds were current on all recommended vaccines, which is down from ⅔ of children from 2016-2019.

The registry also reported that only 53 percent of the state’s 19-35 month old children were fully vaccinated.

Michigan’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, stated it was concerning to see so many children behind on vaccinations, and susceptible to preventable diseases.

Parents are urged to contact their healthcare provider, to schedule a visit, to get caught up on vaccines.  

The post Michigan Children Behind In Routine Vaccines appeared first on Keweenaw Report.

Hancock Salvation Army Ready To Help Families Affected By COVID-19 Monday
Source:  Keweenaw Report
Friday, 10 July 2020 04:32

Beginning Monday, the Salvation Army in Hancock, will be ready to assist area families adversely affected by COVID-19.

Help with such things as auto repairs, medical assistance and child care among other things, will be available to families that can prove hardship due to COVID-19.

You must be able to prove you have exhausted all federal and state resources that apply to your situation.

Contact the Hancock Salvation Army for more information.

As a reminder, the Food Pantry is still available Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 11am-3p, energy assistance is still available through MEAP and in-person worship services have resumed on Sundays at 11am. 

The number to call is 906-482-3420.

The post Hancock Salvation Army Ready To Help Families Affected By COVID-19 Monday appeared first on Keweenaw Report.

EGLE Finds Portage Lake, Portage Canal And Torch Lake Are Toxin Free
Source:  Keweenaw Report
Friday, 10 July 2020 04:26

No blue-green algae in the Portage Lake, Portage Canal or Torch Lake in Houghton County.

This from a press release issued by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department late yesterday.

Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy analyzed samples from all three bodies of water, and found none of them had harmful toxins.

Based on the negative results, the advisory which was issued on July 1st, has been lifted.

Algal blooms in this area are rare, however, warmer than usual water temperatures with lots of sunlight, may have been a factor.

Local beaches are tested weekly for E Coli by the health department.

A link to view test results is here.  

The post EGLE Finds Portage Lake, Portage Canal And Torch Lake Are Toxin Free appeared first on Keweenaw Report.

Authorities search for ‘Glee’ star believed to have drowned
Friday, 10 July 2020 03:52

Authorities planned Friday to renew the search for “Glee� star Naya Rivera, who is believed to have drowned in a Southern California lake while boating with her 4-year-old son.

Rivera, 33, disappeared after renting the pontoon boat for three hours Wednesday afternoon and taking it out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The lake an hour’s drive from Los Angeles was searched by dozens of people, most of them divers, with help from helicopters, drones and all-terrain vehicles. The search to recover Rivera’s body continued into the night Thursday before ending for that day.

The area where the boat was found is about 30 feet (9 meters) deep. Murky waters heavy with plants made it difficult for divers to see more than about a foot ahead of them, sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said Thursday.

“If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up,� Donoghue said.

Rivera played Santana Lopez, a singing cheerleader in 113 episodes of the musical-comedy “Glee,� which aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. She also had recurring roles on “The Bernie Mac Show� and “The Royal Family.�

Rivera, a Los Angeles resident, had experience boating on the lake in Los Padres National Forest, Donoghue said.

Surveillance video taken at about 1 p.m. Wednesday shows Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, leaving on the rented boat.

When the boat failed to return, its vendor found the vessel drifting in the northern end of the lake late Wednesday afternoon with the boy asleep on board. He told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming and he got back into the boat but she didn’t, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement.

The boy was wearing a life vest and another life jacket was found in the boat along with Rivera’s purse and identification.

Rivera is believed to have drowned “in what appears to be a tragic accident,� the statement said.

The boy, Rivera’s son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and with family members, authorities said. The couple finalized their divorce in June 2018 after nearly four years of marriage.

She called the boy, her only child, “my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him� in her 2016 memoir “Sorry Not Sorry.�

The most recent tweet on Rivera’s account, from Tuesday, read “just the two of us� along with a photo of her and her son.

It appeared increasingly likely she would become the third major cast member from the show to die in their 30s.

Co-star Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Cory Monteith, one of the show’s leads, died at 31 in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin.

Rivera was engaged to rapper Big Sean in 2013, but their relationship ended a year later. The pair met on Twitter and collaborated musically, with the rapper appearing on Rivera’s debut single “Sorry.� She married Dorsey a few months later.

As schools scrap fall field trips, focus turns to ‘Blandford 3.0’
Friday, 10 July 2020 03:14

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Uncertainties swirling around whether and how schools will restart in the fall are already leading to cuts at Blandford Nature Center.

“We already are hearing from some of the local school districts that we might as well not count on field trips this fall and perhaps even this spring, and so we’ve really had to rethink how we operate as an organization,â€� said Jason Meyer, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids nonprofit.

The pandemic hit as Blandford was gearing up for its busiest time of year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued her first executive order limiting gatherings a week before the nature center’s 50th Sugarbush Festival, which is a “huge revenue generator,� according to Meyer. Blandford canceled the event and closed all its facilities.

(A Blandford Nature Center sign announces the cancellation of the Sugarbush Festival.)

As school classrooms closed, students stopped coming to Blandford. About half of roughly 300 school field trips were canceled, according to the nature center’s CEO.

“Our busiest school field trip months are March, April and May. And so those are the months that we lost. And of course, again, that’s only counting what we’ve lost so far. That’s not projecting into the future. We’ll see even more losses as we move through the fall,â€� Meyer said.

Blandford was one of the first groups to also scrap summer camp. Health checks and guidelines posed a logistical challenge with no guarantees of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“We believe in science and as we watched the data early on, we saw that, that this wasn’t something that was going to end quickly. In fact, probably not even until the vaccine was available,â€� Meyer explained. “And so we decided the responsible thing to do this year was to lay low and see what the future brings.â€�

Between cancellations and lost admissions, Meyer says Blandford lost about $300,000 — about a quarter of its budget.

“But more importantly to us, that’s several thousand children that aren’t going to get that experience out in nature that we firmly believe every kid needs to have,â€� Meyer said.

(A toad hides in grass at Blandford Nature Center.)

He said declining urban green space and a more digitally focused society make it even more important.

“As kids spend more time on screens, we’re seeing that loss of a connection,â€� Meyer said. “You ask a kid today where a carrot comes from and the answer is ‘the store.’ They don’t know what the step before that is. And so if we lose our ties to the land, we’re going to be in trouble.

“If we’re not connecting to nature, we’re not connecting to really the thing that keeps us all alive,â€� he added.

(A deer walks through the foliage at Blandford Nature Center).


Faced with less revenue, Blandford Nature Center had cut about half of its 40-person workforce, including education staff and some maintenance workers and administrators.

A Paycheck Protection Program loan of up to $350,000 allowed Blandford to bring back all staff in early May to focus on maintenance projects and creating virtual field trips. But it was a brief reprieve, ending last week.

“The first round of layoffs, we knew it was a temporary layoff situation. This is more of a permanent layoff situation because we don’t know when we’ll be able to bring folks back,â€� Meyer said.

He said the decision was necessary but devastating.

“To look at people and say, ‘You don’t have a job…’ These are people who are underpaid, they’re working a vast amount of hours to do something good for our community. And then at the end of the day, they have to go home and figure out what to do with their own expenses and their own families. And that’s what weighs on leaders of organizations,â€� he explained.

(A July 2020 image shows the sign greeting visitors to Blandford’s new natural area, The Highlands.)

Blandford is also delaying some projects, including building a pavilion at the site of the former Highlands Golf Club in Grand Rapids.

Still, Meyer says the nature center has survived hard times in the past 50 years and ill be here after the pandemic.

“We’ll be OK. We’ve been doing everything that we can over the past five years to grow our endowment and our financial reserves. We’ve been building new relationships in our community that will allow us eventually to reach deeper into sectors of the community that we haven’t reached before. We just need to think differently,â€� he added.


Blandford Nature Center’s indoor facilities started welcoming guests again June 15 — more than two months after they closed because of the pandemic. This week, the organization restarted in-person programs, albeit on a smaller scale.

(A turtle greets visitors at the wildlife center at Blandford Nature Center.)

“We’re really excited to start getting folks back out through our programs,â€� said Meyer.

Blandford is stepping up facility cleaning, limiting people inside visitor and wildlife centers and temporarily reducing hours. Workers are wearing masks and all visitors are expected to as well.

(Visitors wear face masks as they view animals at Blandford Nature Center’s wildlife center).

“We are requiring people to wear masks indoors and we’re not afraid to ask people to leave if they’re not,â€� Meyer said.


Meyer says while the nature center faces a lot of unknowns, one thing is certain: “Blandford 3.0� is going to look different coming out of the pandemic.

“We see that we have an incredible resource to offer from a health and wellness perspective. And so as we think about new programs or new ways to promote our property, you’re going to see a lot more come out of Blandford about the physical and mental (benefits),� Meyer said.

Blandford’s CEO says the pandemic is proving the importance of time outdoors for well-being. Since COVID-19 restrictions set in, traffic on Blandford’s trails have tripled, volunteers estimate.

(A July 2020 photo shows visitors heading to Blandford Nature Center’s trails.)

“Basically you can see the stress melt away as folks start to connect with (natural) things, breathing fresh air… really the benefits of being outdoors are just so expansive, I couldn’t sit here and list them all,â€� Meyer said.

At least 250 employees from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital are taking advantage of those benefits through free yearlong memberships provided by Blandford.

(A July 2020 photo shows the tree canopy at Blandford Nature Center.)

“As we continue to go through the COVID pandemic, we recognize the incredible stress, both physical and mental, on our healthcare workers here in the community. And so as we wondered what we could do to give back to those heroes?� Meyer explained.

Meyer said Blandford is now reaching out to other health care providers with the membership offer.

“We hope at the end of the day that those folks that are giving it their all on that side of things can take a few moments with their families to come out to Blandford and get a little bit of respite,� he added.

(Bicyclists coast down a trail at Blandford Nature Center.)


Community members can show their support for Blandford starting with donating or purchasing a membership.

“That’s huge, too. Knowing that the community is there to support us, keeps us going,â€� Meyer said.

Staffing cuts also mean more volunteers are needed.

“Whether it’s trail maintenance or helping out at the front desk, you know, as folks start to come back into the visitor center, helping behind the scenes, we have all sorts of volunteer opportunities,â€� he added.

If time and money are tight, Meyer said visiting Blandford and sharing your experience helps.

“Find your physical and mental health and well-being here,” he said, “because those are the stories and those are the connections to our community that will sustain us well into the future.â€�

(A July 2020 photo shows the sign greeting visitors to Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids.)


Mark L. Knight, 65
Source:  Petoskey News-Review - gaylord
Friday, 10 July 2020 02:00

Mark L. Knight, 65 Mark L. Knight, 65 of Gaylord passed away July 4, 2020. A full obituary will be updated. Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service. ...

Michael G. Andrews, 59
Source:  Petoskey News-Review - gaylord
Friday, 10 July 2020 02:00

Michael G. Andrews, 59 Michael G. Andrews, 59, of Gaylord, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 4th, 2020. A Gaylord resident since 1999, Mike left a legacy of love, fun and humo...

Bruce I. Fasel, 65
Source:  Petoskey News-Review - gaylord
Friday, 10 July 2020 02:00

Bruce I. Fasel, 65 Bruce I. Fasel, 65 of Otsego Lake Township, passed away at home on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 surrounded by his family. Born on November 13, 1954 in Traverse City, he was the...

Patricia L. Sadler, 87
Source:  Petoskey News-Review - gaylord
Friday, 10 July 2020 02:00

Patricia L. Sadler, 87 Patricia L. Sadler of White Lake, passed away with her family around her on July 1, 2020 at 87 years of age. She peacefully finds herself in the loving arms of her late h...

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