Chocolay Senior Center members tour Journal

Facility offers monthly outings

Chocolay Senior Center members visit The Mining Journal’s newsroom on a tour last week. Newsroom editorial assistant Renee Prusi explained how the newsroom operates and how advances in technology have changed the newspaper industry to the group and answered questions about the day-to-day newsroom operations. The tour was one of the center’s monthly Thursday outings, which give members an opportunity to tour local attractions and get a behind the scenes look at the operations of local businesses and agencies. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown

MARQUETTE — Chocolay Senior Center members toured the offices of The Mining Journal in Marquette last Thursday. The tour showed attendees the inner workings of the local paper’s many departments.

The group visited The Mining Journal’s various departments, including the newsroom, advertising, circulation, classifieds, as well as a much-anticipated visit to the pressroom, where they got a up-close look at how the daily paper is printed and assembled.

In both the pressroom and the newsroom, group members learned how technological advances affected the making of the newspaper, impacting everything from how stories are written, to how pages are designed and how the paper is actually printed.

Many of the group’s members found this to be one of the most interesting aspects of the tour.

“The printing process was the part that was most interesting, to see how it was all put together,” Judy White, a Chocolay Township Board Trustee who was part of the group tour. “There’s a lot more to it than people think.”

Bob Mercure, coordinator for the Chocolay Senior center, said he was also impressed and surprised by the printing press technology used. Mercure explained he was surprised to see that the printing press plates were aluminum and imprinted digitally, instead of having the letters on each plate manually set.

The visit to The Mining Journal was one of the center’s monthly outings, which are held on the second Thursday of each month. During the outings, the group visits two places then they have lunch at an area restaurant, or even hold a picnic during outings in warmer months. Mercure said the center has visited close to 75-80 places since the trips began in 2015.

Places the group has visited include the Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, the Moosewood Nature Center in Marquette, the National Weather Service in Negaunee, the new Grandview apartments in Marquette and the Raptor Center in Harvey, as well as many other locations.

The variety of places visited by the senior center give the program wide-spread appeal, with interests such as art, history, nature, science, business and travel explored on the monthly trips. In March, the group will visit the DeVos Art Museum and the Beaumier Heritage center on their afternoon outing.

Besides the monthly outings, which many of center’s members attend, birthday celebrations are held on one Tuesday a month and potlucks are held on one Thursday a month. Beyond these three scheduled monthly activities, 1 to 4 p.m. meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays offer attendees a chance to socialize, play cards and work on crafts.

Mercure said a major goal of the center is to provide a “social activity that’s close to home” for Chocolay-area senior citizens. This is a particularly important offering during long U.P. winters, as poor driving conditions can make travel from Chocolay Township to Marquette and other surrounding towns difficult.

White said the Chocolay Township Senior Center got its start about four years ago, when White, a trustee of the Chocolay Township Board, wanted to see if anyone would be interested in starting and helping to run a senior center. White said Mercure, now coordinator of the Chocolay Township Senior Center, stood up and said he would love to help with creating a senior center. Mercure, a retired educator who had experience working with seniors also addressed concerns about the cost of running such a center — he felt that the senior center could be a service offered at no cost to taxpayers.

This lead to Mercure agreeing to help begin the Chocolay Senior Center, as he was confident that the center could be largely self-sufficient — all they needed was a room.

“Having been involved with community schools and senior citizens, it was an easy task, you just give them a room…(they) can basically provide entertainment for themselves,” Mercure said.

The activities of the senior center are completely member funded and provided at no cost to Chocolay Township, as Mercure asks each member to bring a dollar when they come. Those dollars add up fast, providing funding for snacks and transportation to the monthly outings.

“When I was a kid…you provided your own entertainment, and that’s all we’re basically doing right now..providing our own entertainment,” Mercure said.

The Chocolay Senior Center offers a wide variety of social activities for local residents, but the best part might be the opportunity to meet and connect with new friends, White said, noting that many close bonds and friendships have been formed among the members of the Chocolay Senior Center.