Cancellations, closures, virtual events abound


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE –Adapting to a virtual future is part of a new way of life for the foreseeable future in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern Michigan University’s College of Business is pursuing a virtual path to wrap up its New Business Venture Competition, with the event to take place on Thursday.

“When we pulled together our technological and human resources — coupled with the desire and commitment of the students, judges and faculty — it was a resounding ‘Yes’ for hosting the event,” said Dean Carol Johnson in a news release.

The finalists this year are Michael Cole, a medicinal plant chemistry major whose company is Cannoptics, and the team of marketing major Max Steele and computer science major Jonathan Damon, with their company OccuDec.

Johnson said the plans could include using ZOOM to enable participants to present their business plans to judges, who will be able to interact with the students, score their presentations and select a winner for that part of the competition. Competitors also will submit a video of their five-minute “Big Pitch,” which can be viewed by others on MediaSite Live. A crowd favorite will be awarded based on that video.

The competition allows NMU students to submit plans for new businesses and compete for cash prizes as well as business counseling services.

In other NMU corona-virus news, Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Invent@NMU announced that in accordance with NMU, the state of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policies, it is making updates to its programs and business procedures.

NMU is keeping its campus open, although some of its services are being offered remotely or online, a decision that affects the Invent@NMU office where Innovate Marquette SmartZone also is located. Clients and community members should plan to communicate via phone, email and video conferences, and are asked not to visit the offices, located along Presque Isle Avenue, until further notice.

The offices can be reached at 906-227-6253 or invent@nmu.edu. Anyone looking to submit an idea or get started with the Invent@NMU program may visit https://invent.nmu.edu/ get-started.

Its next Business on Tap event scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday will be offered in a webinar format. Erica Maki, senior engagement programs manager of LogMeIn/GoTo, will be the guest presenter. She will share stories, tips and recommendations for working remotely and finding remote work. People may visit register.gotowebinar.com to take part in the event.

Other changes

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore announced that the Munising Falls Visitor Center is closed until further notice. Where it’s possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, all outdoor spaces will remain open to provide options to the public such as snowmobiling and hiking.

The National Park Service said it will notify the public when full operations are resumed.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is waiving the need for a Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations. However, it stressed that if people visit state parks and recreation areas, state forests and other outdoor areas, they should stay at least six feet away from others.

Marquette Mountain announced that it’s closing its doors for the season, and will use the few extra weeks to tackle a list of projects. It also said limited uphill use still is allowed and encouraged for season-pass holders.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the call-up of the Michigan Army National Guard to help the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with assembling and loading critical personal protective gear, such as gloves, gowns and face shields. Once packaged, MDHHS will deliver the supplies to various local health departments.

The Michigan Bankers Association is notifying the public that banks will remain open during the pandemic. The MBS is monitoring the situation closely, noting that banks have contingency plans designed to address potential impact.

MBA President and CEO T. Rann Paynter said in a news release that banks are encouraging their customers to use drive-through windows, ATMs, online banking and other mobile options. Customers who need to visit with bankers are encouraged to call them and set up an appointment to visit by phone if possible, or in person if the need is urgent.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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