Media Advisory: NMU 120th Anniversary

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – April 28th marks the 120th anniversary of Northern Michigan University, which first opened in 1899 as Northern State Normal. A suggested interview contact for a potential story on the anniversary is Russell Magnaghi, NMU historian and professor emeritus. He can discuss the origins, with the first classes held at old City Hall, etc., as well as his recent efforts to update his encyclopedia of NMU and make it available online for public access. He can also discuss a new book by Ted Bays on the first six presidents of Northern. Magnaghi can be reached at 361-7877.

Walmart and Sam’s Club partner with Feeding America West Michigan to Fight Hunger in the U.P.

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – Walmart and Sam’s Club have partnered with Feeding America once again to fill the plates of neighbors facing hunger in the Upper Peninsula through their Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign. From April 22 to May 20, proceeds from the purchase of select items at all Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the food bank’s 40-county service area will provide one meal to those in need, while each dollar donated at the register will provide four meals.

All meals will be distributed through Feeding America West Michigan’s network of partner agencies – including nonprofit organizations like churches and social service providers – 130 of which are in the U.P.

Since the campaign’s start five years ago, Fight Hunger. Spark Change. has raised $75 million to fight hunger nationally. Supporters in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula alone raised enough funds to distribute the equivalent of 114,000 meals through the campaign in 2018, a number the food bank hopes to top by 10,000 or more this year. These meals stretch far in the Upper Peninsula, where 14 percent of residents and 19.2 percent of children face hunger and the health issues it brings. Fewer jobs and greater distance from grocery stores amplifies rural communities’ risk.

Kristen Corbiere, who coordinates Mobile Food Pantries at a school in Sault Ste. Marie, has seen first-hand how rural hunger affects her neighbors: One mother drove an hour north just to attend the Mobile Pantry to feed her family with the produce, protein and shelf-stable foods distributed.

Feeding America West Michigan’s partnership with Walmart is more than monetary; last year, the company donated nearly 2 million pounds of food as well. Corporate donors like Walmart enabled the food bank’s partner agencies to distribute more than 21 million meals throughout its service area in 2018, but there’s still more work to do. It would take 48.6 million more meals to fill the plates of all those in need in the food bank’s service area. Campaigns like Fight Hunger. Spark Change. – and the generosity of those who take action – are essential to helping Feeding America West Michigan fill this meal gap and end hunger in all corners of West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Those who wish to support the food bank’s efforts are encouraged to visit their local Walmart or Sam’s Club store between April 22nd and May 20th to take part in the campaign, or visit to give directly.

Marquette DDA Blueberry Festival Poster Contest

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – The Marquette Downtown Development Authority invites residents of all ages and skill levels to submit original artwork for the 2019 Blueberry Festival Poster contest. The selected design will be reproduced as a full-color, limited edition poster for the 2019 Blueberry Festival taking place in Downtown Marquette on Friday, July 26. Original artwork in any medium is welcome but should not be larger than 11 x 17 inches and must not have been previously reproduced.

The winning entry will be determined by a combined score based on an online vote open to the public and a panel of judges comprised of local artists, downtown business owners and public officials. Voting will take place Monday, May 20th through Friday, May 31st at All entries will be on display at a location to be determined at a later date.The artwork will be on display during the voting period for those who would like to view and vote for the artwork in person. In exchange for the rights to the selected artwork, the winner will receive $150 in gift certificates to downtown businesses and 10 posters. The winning poster will debut prior to the festival, which is scheduled for Friday, July 26. Selected winning artist will be notified no later than Friday, June 14, 2019.

The entry deadline is Tuesday, May 14. There are two ways to enter:
Complete the online submission form at AND mail or drop off your original artwork at the Marquette Downtown Development Authority office (337 W. Washington St., Marquette, MI 49855) before Tuesday, May 14. A digital file (either emailed or delivered on CD or jump drive) of the original image must be submitted as well. Online submissions received without original artwork will not be considered.

Submit a paper application with original artwork by mail or drop off your original artwork at the Marquette Downtown Development Authority office (337 W. Washington St., Marquette, MI 49855) before Tuesday, May 14. Applications can be downloaded here ( Blueberry Festival Poster Contest Application) or picked up from the Marquette DDA office.

Let Run Cancelled in City of Negaunee

April 25, 2019

Negaunee, MI – The City of Negaunee has issued a Let Run Cancellation. Any resident who was on a Let Run Order to prevent freeze ups are instructed to stop their Let Run and go back to normal usage as soon as possible. Normal billing will go into effect May 1st, 2019.

Marquette DDA Director Announces Retirement

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – The Marquette Downtown Development Authority (MDDA) Board of Directors announces the retirement of Executive Director, Mona Lang, effective September 30th, 2019.

In her letter to the board, Lang stated, “It has been both my privilege and my pleasure to serve as the organization’s Executive Director and it is with mixed emotions that I step down from my role. The time that I have spent leading the organization has been rewarding and I trust that I have had a positive impact on the Downtown, the City, and the region. I have had the honor to work with many wonderful people and appreciate the support that the Board of Directors has afforded me during my tenure.”

Lang has served as Executive Director of the organization since 1998. According to Board Chair, Tony Retaskie, “under her (Lang’s) direction there has been many positive changes.” During her time with the MDDA, she has overseen nearly $12 million in public improvement projects, secured over $5 million in grant funds, and downtown property values have more than doubled. Retaskie expressed the Board’s appreciation for Lang’s service, “the Board congratulates Lang on her retirement and thanks her for her dedication and tireless advocacy for Marquette’s Downtown.”

Lang will be replaced by current Assistant Director, Rebecca Salmon. Salmon, who holds a master’s degree in public administration from NMU, has more than ten years of experience with the MDDA. Lang congratulated Salmon and went on to state, “I know that I leave the future of the MDDA organization and the district in capable and dedicated hands and I look forward to watching as the downtown continues to flourish.”

Questions can be directed to Mona Lang, Marquette Downtown Development Authority Executive Director, at (906) 228-9475 or

Ruiz Named Student Commencement Speaker

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – Tristan Ruiz has been selected as the student commencement speaker for the May 4th graduation ceremony at Northern Michigan University. Originally from Houston, Texas, Ruiz came to NMU to study biochemistry.

“I decided to study biochemistry because not only is it an interesting topic, but it helps people understand other topics as diverse as health, disease, genetics, evolution and DNA,” said Ruiz. “Deciding to study it at NMU was an easy decision, given the school’s amazing science programs, the Honors Program and affordable tuition.”

During his time at NMU, Ruiz was a member of ASNMU student government for three years, serving as vice president for one semester and president for two years. He also was involved in the Student Leader Fellowship Program, ROTC and Superior Edge programs, and was on the board of directors of The North Wind student newspaper.

“After graduation, I plan on attending medical school in the fall and am waiting to hear back from a few schools regarding my acceptance into their programs,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz said the main theme of his commencement speech is reminiscing on a student’s time in college and looking ahead to the future.

“I’m going to talk about remembering our time at NMU, remembering the people who support us, making the most of the time we have, and sharing our abilities with the world,” said Ruiz. “I think that adequately describes it.”

The graduation ceremony will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 4th in the Superior Dome. It will be broadcast live on WNMU-TV and streamed online at

NMU Offers Career Exploration Camps

April 25, 2019

Marquette, MI – Registration for Career Exploration Summer Camps for grades 7-12 opens May 6th. The camps will take place July 8-10 and July 17-19 and will be held at Northern Michigan University’s Jacobetti Complex.

At these camps, students will receive hands-on experience exploring various careers in auto and small engine repair, culinary arts, cosmetology, industrial maintenance, bicycle repair and maintenance, crime scene investigation, welding and forestry.

With half-day and full-day camp options available, students will get the opportunity to explore areas of interest with guidance and instruction from NMU faculty and professionals from around the community.

For more information, visit or contact Continuing Education & Workforce Development at 227-2103.

Land use Agreement with the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club, Inc.

April 25, 2019

Negaunee, MI – The City of Negaunee and U.P. Rowing are pleased to announce that both entities have entered into a land use agreement. The two-year agreement allows for the rowing club to access part of the Teal Lake shoreline near the old waterworks building to store some of their rowing shells. The club will be working to develop interest in this sport in the Negaunee area. “This is a great opportunity to partner with an organization that offers a unique type of water sport that can be supported on Teal Lake, City Manager Heffron said.

Teal Lake is unique, it does not allow for motor boats to be operated except specific circumstances. “I have been approached by many residents that want to find other ways to use Teal Lake for everyone to enjoy. This is just the start,” Heffron said.
U.P. Rowing is a non-profit all-volunteer club. Since 2004 U.P. Rowing has provided public group outdoor recreation in the sport of rowing in the Marquette area. Volunteers provide specialized training, access to equipment, and safety measures to the public and its members to experience group rowing.

Programs are open to adults ages 18 and over who are interested in sweep rowing and sculling. They also run a youth program for high school students. Some of these youth have gone on to row with collegiate crews and the Summer World University Games.
The club hosts an annual regatta each September on Teal Lake where approximately 100 rowers participate. “In working with the Club, the City wants to find ways to develop the regatta into a day-long family event that everyone can enjoy. “This event is just another way to showcase beautiful Teal Lake,” Heffron commented.

“Our hope is to work with the City to establish a core of rowers on Teal Lake. We feel this is a great opportunity for our members and those who want try rowing”, commented Sally Davis, a board member of U.P. Rowing.

According to Davis, there are already a number of rowers that utilize Teal Lake for single sculling. Having a dedicated storage and launch venue will allow the club to expand rowing in the immediate area. The Club will store their equipment on the shoreline for several months and will remove it during the Pioneer Days annual fireworks show and at the end of the season.

To learn more about rowing on Teal Lake, contact the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club at A Learn to Row program will begin in June. Those interested can attend a Meet and Greet on May 21st at 6pm at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette.

Questions concerning this release may be directed to the attention of the City Manager, Nate Heffron at (906) 475-7700 ext. 11, or Sally Davis at 906 226-3621.

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