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NMU receives grant for Native American project

For Thursday, June 25.

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University has received a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant worth $170,000 to support a Native American studies sustainable online programming project.

Only 14% of the 2,300 eligible applications were funded through a new round of NEH Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act grants, according to a press release.

“Our grant will be used to offset a small percentage of salary and benefits for the Center for Native American Studies faculty and director as we engage in some important work focused on better preparing our curriculum to be delivered in an online environment,” Martin Reinhardt, project director, said in a news release. “Because many of our Native American studies courses incorporate oral traditions and place-based learning, it is challenging to figure out appropriate ways to transform the curriculum from onsite to online.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to be better prepared to continue offering our courses even during life-altering circumstances.”

Reinhardt said the conversion of course material to synchronous video and asynchronous online formats will also help the Center for Native American Studies reach a broader population that may have an interest in its programming, but cannot make the journey to NMU’s physical campus.

The agency’s press release said the NEH received $75 million through the CARES act in March and previously distributed some of that to humanities councils to support local cultural nonprofits and educational programming. NMU is among more than 317 cultural institutions across the United States to share in the remaining $40.3 million.

“Over the past few months we have witnessed tremendous financial distress at cultural organizations across the country, which have been compelled to furlough staff, cancel programs and reduce operations to make up for revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic,” NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede said in a news announcement.

Telemedicine promoted

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed House Bills 5412-5416, which increase access to health care for Michiganders through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services. The governor also signed Senate Bill 940 into law.

“These bills codify significant pieces of Executive Order 2020-86, which broadly expanded access to telemedicine as part of Michigan’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in her signing letter. “Nevertheless, the virtues of telemedicine are not unique to this moment, so Michiganders will benefit from reduced costs, increased accessibility and lower transmission rates of infectious diseases at the doctor’s office for years to come.”

House Bills 5412, 5413, 5414, 5415 and 5416 make up a bill package designed to facilitate the remote provision of health care services. The bills require health insurance companies and group/non-group health care services to cover telemedicine visits without requiring in-person visits.

Senate Bill 940 delays the principal residence exemption application deadline under certain circumstances related to the COVID state of emergency.

E-signatures still allowed

Whitmer on Wednesday signed Executive Order 2020-131, which extends a previous executive order temporarily allowing e-signatures on official documents and remote notarizations to avoid unnecessary in-person contact during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order expires on July 31.

“As we continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and make every effort to prevent a second wave, it’s crucial that we take all measures to avoid unnecessary in-person contact while ensuring documents can be signed or notarized,” Whitmer said in a news release. “Encouraging the use of e-signatures and alternative means of notarization will protect more people during this ongoing public health crisis.”

Under the order, requirements for in-person notarizations are temporarily suspended and transactions that require a notary to be completed via two-way, real-time audiovisual technology are allowed. The order also extends the validity of notary commissions until July 31.

Additionally, it permits the use of electronic signatures in all cases except in rare circumstances when a physical signature is required.

Isle Royale continues

reopening

The National Park Service announced that Isle Royale National Park continues its phased approach regarding reopening.

Beginning Friday, campgrounds, docks and trails will be open except North Desor campground and the Minong Trail from the Hatchet Lake junction to the East Huginnin Trail junction.

Also beginning Friday, the Houghton, Rock Harbor and Windigo visitor centers will open. However, the centers will have reduced hours, reduced capacities and limited services.

Visitors should keep several things in mind:

≤ They should pay entrance fees in advance at www.pay.gov.

≤ Boater overnight permits will be issued by phone and email from the Houghton visitor center.

≤ Backcountry camping permits for seaplane passengers will be issued on the island upon arrival.

Call 906-482-0984 or email isro_parkinfo@nps. gov for more information.

Starting Saturday, Isle Royale Seaplanes will resume operations and provide visitor transportation to the park from Hancock and Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Gasoline and diesel fuel for boaters will be sold at Rock Harbor and Windigo beginning Wednesday. Rock Harbor Dockside Store will open with a very limited selection of camping food and supplies.

With public health in mind, the following facilities and services will remain closed for the summer:

≤ North Desor campground.

≤ Minong Trail from Hatchet Lake junction to East Huginnin Trail junction.

≤ Rock Harbor Lodge: Lakeside Lodge, housekeeping cabins, gift shop, Lighthouse Restaurant, Greenstone Grill, the marina except for fuel sales, fishing charters, sightseeing tours and water taxi service.

≤ Windigo Store, marina and camper cabins.

Passenger ferry service to the island remains suspended.

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

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