“What are the major problems and challenges the community faces, what would you like to accomplish in your community, and if money was no object, what would your dream be,” asked Gail Anthony, CEO of the Community Foundation of Marquette County. The Community Foundation secured a grant through the Council of Michigan Foundations to help facilitate development in the county. The grant helps find funding from across the state that will then go to projects in the community. “So while there are no dollars that are being expended right now, the plan is in the future to really see where the community foundation should be placing their dollars,” said CEDAM executive director Jamie Schriner. Community members at the focus groups consisted of city officials, service providers, business owners, and youth and educational professionals. The most common issues brought up by the groups were blight issues, education, a need for community pride, and above all else, housing.
Community Foundation of Marquette County provides funding to support the maintenance of the Big Bay Pathway Ski Trail
Three component funds of the Community Foundation came together on June 5, 2018 to support the Powell Township Recreation Network. Health and Wellness Fund, Community Advised Big Bay Fund and the Robert Cowell and Kathleen Olivier Donor Advised Fund provided $500.00 grant each for a total of $1,500.00. The grant proposal was submitted to the Marquette Spring Program 2018.
Powell Township is reinvigorating its activities in relation to trail development after 8 years of development of two parks in the township– Thomas’ Rock Scenic Overlook and Burns Landing. The investment in used equipment is necessary to move forward to maintain existing trails and to create an access trail for the youth from Powell Township School.
Pictured: Bob Cowell (Community Advised Big Bay Fund and Robert Cowell and Kathleen Olivier Donor Advised Fund) presents the grant to Lucy Wilcox (Parks and Rec Committee) and Sven Gonstead
Healthy living will continue in Marquette County schools, preschools and day cares this year all thanks to a 100,000 grant from The Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA), and The Superior Health Foundation and the Community Foundation will be using the money to ensure the continuation of the PE-Nut Expansion Project (P.E.P).
The program is targeted at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity of students in nine local elementary school and Early Childhood Programs in Marquette and Alger Counties.
As part of an in classroom component of the program a health educator visits the schools several times a year to ensure simple consistent messaging to motivate students. Students also get the chance to build their own healthy meals in those classroom settings.
The foundation’s CEO, Gail Anthony, is confident the lessons will provide a unique spin on health education.
“They introduce them in a fun way, hands-on activities, it is increasing the use of healthy foods in the home,” said Anthony. “It’s a fun activity and it’s a good outcome for the families.”
A new feature of P.E.P. is the addition of a new target audience of four-year-olds and their parents, along with an increased role for area grocers and produce departments. They are calling it the “Healthy Heroes” component of the grant. Pre-schools will start distributing punch cards that entitles each child to one free fresh fruit or vegetable per month for six months at participating grocers.
Families of the pre-schoolers will have access to a P.E.P. web page that links the fruit or vegetable of the month with recipes, resources and fitness/activity ideas. Cards will be punched for all 6 months and turned in for one of five “Healthy Heroes” grocery store gift certificates in the amount of $100.00.
Five major grocers have committed to partnering with MARESA. Participating grocers include Tadych’s Econofoods, Marquette, Super One, Negaunee, Jubilee Foods, Ishpeming, Larry’s Foods, Gwinn and Family Fare Supermarket, in Munising.
The Negaunee Public Library has installed a remote dropbox at the Negaunee Township Hall along M-35. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday. The dropbox was made possible by grants from the Community Foundation of Marquette County, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Phyllis & Max Reynolds Foundation, as well as the hard work of the Friends of the Negaunee Public Library and the Negaunee Township staff. Patrons will be able to drop off their books and other materials at the new dropbox, which will be emptied on a weekly basis.
In the above photo, Library Director Jessica Holman cuts the ribbon on the new dropbox while Negaunee Township Supervisor William Carlson, Negaunee Township staff, Friends of the Negaunee Public Library, and Deb Biggs of the Library of Michigan look on.
About 50 kids got free new backpacks Wednesday evening at the St. Francis Connection Center in K.I. Sawyer. The kids, who were all grade schoolers and middle schoolers, were able to select the backpack of their choice once their number was drawn by one of the center’s leaders, Father Al Mott.
“Today was about getting kids excited about going back to school and helping parents to do that,” Father Mott said.
It certainly worked on Scott McConnell. The Gwinn Middle School 7th grader was proudly showing off his backpack, which was camouflage.
“It does actually bring out the school spirit in me,” he said. “Go Gwinn!”
McConnell says getting enthused about returning to school can be a challenge for both students and teachers.
“Sometimes school can actually be hard on the student and the teacher,” he said. “Therefore, it makes it harder for both to actually get happy to go back to school.”
The backpacks were made possible by donations from parishioners and the American Legion, as well as a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Marquette County. All in all, Father Mott feels the mission of the event was accomplished.
“Well, it was great, we had lots of volunteers, and we had good food, and root beer floats, which everybody seemed to love,” Mott said, laughing. “So it was a great success.”