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News from the Greater Munising Area

Another new spring day dawns

Jaymie Depew, communications and special project assistant, Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership for Commerce Development, Munising Downtown Development Authority and Munising Visitors Bureau

Several robins gathered in my front yard the other day, searching the cold ground for earthworms or insects. A sure sign that spring has arrived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While residents in our state are currently mandated by the governor’s office to stay home and safe due to the coronavirus pandemic, seeing those beautiful birds out my front window was a reassuring moment that life still goes on even though it may feel like time came to a screeching halt.

Thanks to the Munising School Public Library archives, I read a briefing recently that was published on Nov. 29, 1918 by The Munising News during the 1918 flu pandemic. The headline read: “DULL THANKSGIVING,” and the content as follows:

“Thanksgiving in Munising this year was the quietest in history of the community, according to old residents. With the ban on church service, social activities, and public assemblage … it was indeed in marked contrast to the usual Thanksgiving we have been used to. Few people stirred out and people spent the day quietly at home. All business places were closed but one mail delivery was made.”

Fast forward to a century later, with Easter just around the corner, and we’ve found ourselves coping with another global pandemic. Schools and universities have resorted to online teaching. Public assemblages of people are banned. Businesses and organizations have shuttered their doors to the public unless deemed “essential” to everyday living. Essential businesses, according to the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order, includes grocery stores and markets, health facilities, gas stations, public works departments, and so on.

This is a peculiar point of time in history, there’s no doubt about that – but there’s still a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost are all employees at the forefront every day working with the public. Thank you.

Something else to be thankful for, perhaps, is modern technology and forms of communication. We’re fortunate to have mounds of information readily available with the simple tap of our fingertips. As a former newspaper reporter, I still favor print media, but it’s nice to have options that those living in 1918 didn’t have. In 1918, people were not “video chatting” their families and friends – which I suggest doing if you’re able to.

While staff at our office have been working remotely this month, we’ve created a page on our website that contains general information about the coronavirus and resources for small businesses and residents in Alger County. The page can be found at https://algercountychamber.com/cvid-19 and will be updated regularly.

As always, stay safe – but also, please don’t leave your home unless necessary to ensure the wellbeing of our community members.

Editor’s note: Jaymie Depew is the communications and special project assistant for the Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership for Commerce Development, Munising Downtown Development Authority and Munising Visitors Bureau.

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