MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson is seeking campus-wide input on proposed updates to NMU’s strategic plan that reflect new priorities for the post-pandemic phase.
The revised Investing in Innovation plan includes the additional focus areas of equity in systems and processes, along with mind/body wellness. It also includes two new strategic outcomes: advancing the rural agenda and moving NMU toward carbon neutrality.
“While we continue to work on the many initiatives of the Strategic Resource Allocation project, the new Campus Master Plan and the Big Ideas campaign, the update also identifies a set of post-pandemic priority strategic initiatives, currently grouped as Phase I and Phase II projects,” Erickson said in an email.
Post-pandemic Phase I initiatives have been categorized into three areas: priority facilities, addressing current issues and elevating the student experience.
Priority facility projects include a career tech and engineering facility, for which NMU has received capital outlay funding to proceed, and a new College of Business facility closer to the heart of campus with a rural economies focus.
Current issues to be addressed are reimagining inclusion and equity at NMU and promoting collaborative sustainability. Related to the latter, NMU will create a task force to work on a new energy master plan, as well as develop an overall strategic sustainability plan that goes beyond energy conservation and on-campus recycling.
The university would elevate the student experience by expanding online education options and developing new academic programs. It would also integrate campus health-related and counseling services.
As Phase I initiatives are completed, NMU would begin work on Phase II projects designed to enhance the academic and student experience, as well as campus facilities. The former includes plans to create graduate and honors colleges and enhance career services and internship programs.
New facilities identified in Phase II include a research addition to the Seaborg Complex, a centrally located student union and a fine/performing arts center and amphitheater. Renovations are planned to Harden Hall and in the Athletics and Recreation district.
With all of the post-pandemic initiatives, ongoing campus discussions can identify federal, state, private business and donor funding opportunities to help create a specific priority order. Key stakeholders to be included in the planning process to ensure alignment with university and program goals.
The updated Investing in Innovation said that moving forward with these select strategic initiatives creates a plan for NMU to simultaneously and strategically consider new programs; recruit top-caliber students, faculty and staff; and develop innovative responses to local, regional and state issues and needs, the plan states.
“Obviously, there are many unknowns about the post-pandemic world into which we hope to soon enter,” Erickson said. “As we learn more, we will change our strategic planning as needed. For now, this update is meant to meet the goal of continuing to provide campus-wide guidance for university decision-making and advancement of the institution.
“Planning for the post-pandemic world and higher education landscape has further emphasized the need to invest in innovation, which is the focus of Northern’s strategic plan. The plan’s challenge — to have ‘the vision and courage to lead transformational change’ — has become even more meaningful as our campus emerges from the pandemic to face new realities, challenges and opportunities.”
Erickson said feedback will be accepted through Monday, April 19, at [email protected]. Those who email are asked to type “Strategic Plan” in the subject line.
Musicians entertain at Mission Point
The residents of Mission Point Nursing & Physical Rehabilitation Center of Ishpeming were treated to a band concert on Easter Sunday afternoon to brighten up their day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to organizer Margaret Brumm, the band, which is so new it’s still working on its official name, played a listed set of songs and followed the list with two encores, as residents shouted out the names of songs they wanted to hear.
Local musicians included a set of brothers, Jacob and Seth Milano; a duo of guitarists/vocalists, Noah Bauer and Scott Shippers; two volunteer vocalists, Linda Terentiak and Brumm; and one trumpeter, Madeline Gabka.
The residents listened to music from all eras and genres, including patriotic music such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”; Beatles music; “Leader of the Pack”; classic love songs, such as “I Will Always Love You,” “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”; gospel songs; and “Folsom Prison Blues.”
The residents were so enthusiastic that at the end of the concert they began requesting additional songs, including a second more up-tempo playing of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the songs of each branch of the U.S. military, and country and western music, Brumm said.
The concert was the first entertainment program that outsiders put on at Mission Point since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, she said. Social distancing was observed with the residents gathered in the dining hall with all the windows open, and the musicians playing outside the building.
“This was the first concert for this band since the pandemic began as well,” Brumm said in an email. “Both the musicians and the audience felt the connection that sharing music brings to people.”
FEMA offering funeral assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a fraud alert after receiving reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance.
FEMA said it has not sent any such notifications and does not contact people prior to them registering for assistance.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020.
FEMA indicated it is working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways the agency can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance this month.
FEMA will begin accepting applications for funeral assistance on Monday through its dedicated call center. Individuals may call 844-684-6333 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather certain documentation.
To be eligible for funeral assistance, these conditions must be met:
≤ The death must have occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
≤ The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
≤ The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020.
≤ There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.
Anyone who has had COVID-19 funeral expenses is encouraged to keep and gather documentation. These include an official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
Other documentation involves funeral expense documents, including receipts, the funeral contact and others. They include the applicant’s name, deceased person’s name, amount of funeral expenses and the dates the expenses occurred.
Also acceptable are proof of funds received from other sources, specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA is unable to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance,finan- cial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies or other sources.
Aspirus encourages mammograms
Aspirus Health, which has facilities in the western Upper Peninsula, encourages women, especially those who may have put off seeing their provider during COVID, to get their mammograms.
The timing of mammograms is especially important in 2021 as adult women become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, Aspirus said, noting the timing is important.
Since some patients may experience enlarged lymph nodes after receiving the vaccine, which could hinder an accurate mammogram reading, Aspirus is adopting the recommendations on timing recently issued by the Society of Breast Imaging. The guide states that if possible, and when it does not unduly delay care, women schedule a mammogram prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or four to six weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccines of all types can result in temporary swelling of the lymph nodes, and swollen lymph nodes may be a sign that the body is making antibodies in response to the vaccine as intended.
However, Aspirus stressed that swollen lymph nodes under an arm can also be a sign of cancer. Dr. Samir Kulkarni, lead radiologist at Aspirus and a member of the Society of Breast Imaging, said in a news release, “Enlarged lymph nodes may result in a patient being called back for additional imaging and evaluation.
“Ensuring enough time has passed between COVID vaccines and a mammogram ensures that a patient doesn’t need to have a mammogram re-done for additional evaluation,” when it’s due to a reaction to a COVID vaccine, he said.
Aspirus Health, based in Wausau, Wisconsin, further offers 3-D mammography at all locations, further improving the accuracy of breast cancer screening. During a 3-D mammogram, multiple pictures are taken simultaneously and are essentially stacked. Special computer software then creates a detailed 3-D image of the breast, providing the most comprehensive screening possible.
Aspirus offers screening mammograms to women beginning at age 40 and continuing annually.
Free mammograms may be available to those who qualify. Visit aspirus.org /free-mammograms for more information.
All Aspirus locations have comprehensive safety measures such as universal masking, socially distanced waiting areas, and temperature checks along with other screening questions at entrances.
To find an Aspirus Breast Care & Mammography location, call the Aspirus Customer Contact Center at 800-847-4707 or visit the Aspirus website at hwww. aspirus.org/.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 250. Her email is [email protected].
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