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Marquette County to receive recovery assistance grant

MARQUETTE — The Economic Development Corporation of the County of Marquette will receive a $550,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to administer a revolving loan fund to make loans to small businesses in Marquette County to support their recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said its Economic Development Administration is awarding $5.7 million in grants through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security Act.

“Marquette County’s economic development corporation and other EDCs are lifelines to our resilient small businesses in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula,” said 1st District U.S. Rep Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, in a statement.

With the Department of Commerce’s announcement on the CARES Act investments, Bergman said local employers and employees “will be poised to overcome the pandemic’s obstacles and lead our nation’s economic comeback.”

Compact created

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with governors from several other states, has announced a bipartisan interstate compact to expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whitmer, as well as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, announced the compact with the Rockefeller Foundation, with the initial agreement possibly including additional local governments, cities and states in the coming days and weeks.

With the agreement, the states are in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel — the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that have already been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — to purchase 500,000 tests per state, for a total of 3 million.

The purpose of the interstate compact is to detect outbreaks more quickly, and expand long-term testing in congregate settings such as schools, workplaces and nursing homes, according to the announcement from Whitmer’s office.

This interstate cooperative purchasing agreement will provide a platform to purchase tests and associated supplies in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. In addition, the states will coordinate on policies and protocols regarding rapid antigen testing technology.

Directive strengthened

Whitmer also signed Executive Directive 2020-08 to direct state departments and autonomous agency heads to review allocation of their resources to ensure that enforcement of COVID-19-related laws — such as limitations on capacity and the requirement to wear a mask when entering a Michigan business — is a priority.

Cases have risen over the past month from a rolling seven-day average of about 15 cases per million in mid-June — the low point since the peak in April — to about 50 cases per million in late July.

Under the directive, directors and agency heads should assign elevated priority to enforcement of COVID-19-related laws in categories of establishments where transmission is well documented, including, but not limited to nursing homes, meat processing plants and agricultural housing.

Michigan Mass Timber Summit now virtual

The Michigan Mass Timber Summit, which was postponed due to COVID-19, is going virtual.

The summit, originally planned for April, is now a series of three web-based sessions set for 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 22, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.

One summit highlight will be a virtual tour of Michigan State University’s new $100 million Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, Teaching and Learning Facility. It’s the first building in Michigan to use mass timber, a system where the load-bearing structure of buildings is constructed from engineered wood. Panels of durable, lightweight cross-laminated timber are being used for floors and ceilings in the 120,000-square-foot building near Spartan Stadium.

Individuals can learn more about the conference, schedule and speakers at MiFBI.org. To register, visit MichiganMassTimberSummit.Eventbrite.com.

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