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Ski jumping tourney format changed: LMAS continues vaccinations, NMU reports positive case

Niko Loytainen flies through the air before landing his jump during the 133rd Annual Ski Jumping Tournament held by the Ishpeming Ski Club in 2020. The 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament was originally planned for Jan. 21, but has been rescheduled for March 6-7 in an altered format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — Although the Ishpeming Ski Club postponed the 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament on Jan. 21, it still plans to hold the event, and is even conducting a fundraising campaign to make up for financial losses.

Since that original announcement, the club — which rescheduled the tournament for March 6-7 — has developed a comprehensive plan to host a junior tournament, making the safety of athletes, their families, club staff and the community its top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Copenhaver, vice president of the ISC, said the March event will be a junior tournament, although it’s not officially labeled as such.

“We don’t want to miss a consecutive year,” Copenhaver said of the 134th annual event.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no foreign or national skiers, although the junior participants will compete on the 13-, 25-, 40- and 60-meter hills.

Participants, Copenhaver said, will come from Central Division Ski Jumping, which includes clubs in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“It’s really sad, but (it’s) just kind of the theme for this year,” he said of the COVID-19 situation.

In keeping with Michigan COVID-19 protocol, the ISC has decided to forego public spectators at the event held at the Suicide Ski Bowl in Negaunee Township.

Additionally, one of the hills — the K90 ski jumping hill, also known as Suicide Hill — will not be prepared for the competition due to the limited availability of athletes.

The ISC, a nonprofit organization, said it relies primarily on funds generated from the tournament, and lost revenue from this year’s competition will place a serious financial hardship on the organization.

The club said it had been making major mandated updates to ISC facilities and operational programming prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased the financial strain placed upon the club.

The ISC has organized a comprehensive fundraising effort to help offset the financial burden during what it called “this exceptional time of need” and asks the community to support its youth ski programs, trails and facility updates.

Anyone interested in making a donation may visit these links:

≤ ishskiclub.com/donations;

≤ facebook.com/Ishskiclub; and

≤ instagram.com/ishskiclub/.

Copenhaver noted that the ISC, which is run by volunteers, provides subsidized and free programs to kids.

LMAS continues vaccinations

Much of the conversation about COVID-19 has moved to vaccine distribution and administration since mid-December, noted officials with the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department.

Its four local hospitals, the Sault Tribe and two local pharmacies have been working to schedule clinics, and get first and second doses administered to those in the current vaccine priority groups.

The response from those wanting the COVID vaccines has been greater than supply, officials said, but each week LMAS has continued to vaccinate those in the priority groups as identified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

However, a “greatly reduced” number of individuals have been getting tested for COVID-19 in the LMAS counties and across Michigan, officials said. Testing, identifying where the virus is, and then isolating those infected and quarantining those exposed is the first best defense in protecting the residents and businesses in the counties, the department said.

Without testing, the district cannot identify those who may be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms attributed to the weather or sinus trouble, it said, stressing that what may be mild to one person could spread to another and cost them their life.

COVID testing is available at the hospitals within its four-county area. With COVID variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Michigan, LMAS reminds people that they cannot let their guard down. The variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, has been shown to be more easily spread, which will lead to more cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The health department said that initial studies of the two vaccines approved for use in the United States, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, indicate some protection against this variant.

However, it said vaccines are only one tool in the battle against COVID-19, and recommended the following ongoing actions: getting tested, wearing a properly fitting face mask over the mouth and nose, washing hands often, not gathering with people outside the immediate household and staying home when sick.

NMU has positive case

After about a week of no active positive COVID-19 cases reported, Northern Michigan University has indicated there is one active case, which is an off-campus case.

According to NMU’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard, found at nmu.edu/safe-on-campus/dashboard, there have been 43 positives — 28 off-campus students, 10 on-campus students and five employees — from Jan. 4 through Monday.

Health department to hold meeting

The Marquette County Health Department will meet electronically at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The link to join the webinar is at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89566657357; the webinar ID is 89566657357.

To call in via telephone, call 646-558-8656 or 301-715-8592.

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

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