Farmers market to open Saturday with COVID protocols in place

MARQUETTE — The first Saturday morning outdoor market of the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market’s 22nd season will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at The Marquette Commons, with COVID-19 guidelines in place.

Customers can expect to find a more robust market compared with the 2020 season and new market vendors and resources, the DMFM said. Market shoppers, however, are expected to follow the market’s updated COVID-19 Safe Shopper Guidelines to ensure a safe shopping experience.

Updated guidelines are in place for market staff, vendors and shoppers. A full list of guidelines can be found on the DMFM website at www.mqtfarmersmarket.com/safeshopperguidelines.

The following changes have been made as of Wednesday:

≤ All market vendors are required to wear a face mask/covering regardless of vaccination status.

≤ Face masks are optional for fully vaccinated market shoppers.

≤ Face masks are required for non-vaccinated market shoppers.

≤ No eating or drinking is allowed in the market. Patrons are asked to enjoy their purchases in the designated eating area or at home.

There will be a COVID-19 Pop-up Vaccine Clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the market, with no appointment necessary. The Marquette County Health Department will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. A valid driver’s license will be required, and vaccines will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

The DMFM will welcome 45 local vendors each week to its outdoor Saturday morning market this season. While the DMFM is still not operating at full capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, it noted that shoppers can choose from fresh, locally grown, seasonal produce, baked goods, locally raised meat and eggs, kombucha, coffee, bread, hot sauce and more. Artisans will offer handcrafted goods such as soaps, lotions, jewelry, woodworking products, knitter products and others.

New product offerings include hydroponically grown micro-greens, locally made cider, handcrafted teas, pottery, cold-brew coffee, ceramics, hot sauce and more.

New this season is The Community Table located just outside the market’s main entrance next to the information booth. This table is reserved for local businesses, nonprofits and groups to connect with the Marquette community and local groups such as Social Justice For Us, Start the Cycle, Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency Health Education among others.

The new Interactive Market Map allows shoppers to search for vendors and products and learn more about the vendors. Links to these resources can be found on the market’s homepage at www.mqtfarmersmarket.com.

Governor releases school Blueprint

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday released the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery, guidance to help districts and schools create recovery plans that provide every Michigan student with resources to thrive post-pandemic.

The Blueprint provides evidence-based recommendations to address challenges across wellness, academics, school culture and climate, family and community engagement, and post-secondary education.

“The most pressing challenges schools face aren’t new, but they have been exacerbated by the pandemic, resulting economic hardship and social divisions,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That is why I am so proud of the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery that the advisory council has created. It will not only help local education leaders comprehensively address immediate challenges, but it will also move us towards an education system that works better for all of our children.”

“The Blueprint lays out a multi-year plan for the holistic, whole-child recovery for Michigan’s students,” said Kevin Polston, superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools and chair of the Student Recovery Advisory Council, in a statement. “Every recommendation is supported by leading research and designed to support Michigan students by those that know them best, leaders in education, health care and child services from right here in Michigan.”

According to the governor’s office, the Student Recovery Advisory Council was created to identify the critical issues facing students and staff that must be addressed and to build resources to help local education leaders in developing and implementing a multi-year, evidence-based and equity-driven recovery plan.

The Blueprint indicated that despite their best efforts, data confirms that many Michigan pre-K-12 students have experienced substantial disruptions to their schooling during the 2020-21 academic year because of COVID-19 and that these disruptions have impacted some students more than others.

“We now know that the consequences on student well-being based on limited in-person instruction go beyond academic disruptions; this is particularly true for the students who are most traditionally under-resourced,” the Blueprint reads.

Goals include determining comprehensive needs of students and key stakeholders in school communities, strengthening relationships and trust through planning with stakeholders and implementing structural changes, expanding student supports and addressing staffing needs to foster evidence-based teaching and learning while providing resources that students need.

To view the governor’s Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery, visit Michigan.gov/studentrecovery.

Governor signs bipartisan bill

Whitmer on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 118, which will reduce penalties on school districts for employing individuals in violation of certification and other credentialing requirements.

“I am excited to sign this bipartisan legislation, because it is a great example of what we can achieve when we work together,” Whitmer said in a statement. “School districts had to hustle during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this bill recognizes that and provides them with necessary flexibility to ensure adequate instruction for students.”

Under the School Aid Act as amended by Senate Bill 118, school districts will not be penalized for the amounts paid to employees without proper certification and credentialing requirements from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

This bill was sponsored by state Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township.

Car show postponed

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township announced that its annual Antique Automobile Exhibit will once again be postponed this summer as a result of the pandemic.

The Father’s Day event has been ongoing for 30 years, but will be postponed due to staffing and orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The museum will reopen on June 2 with reduced hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information, call 906-475-7857.

More households eligible

for food assistance

The number of Michigan families eligible for additional food assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will increase this month with everyone who is eligible now receiving an increased amount, the MDHHS announced.

An additional 350,000 families will receive the extra food assistance under approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, bringing the total in Michigan receiving extra benefits due to the pandemic to more than 700,000.

“Michigan has made great progress towards getting ‘Vacc to Normal’ thanks to the safe, effective vaccines and efforts by millions of Michiganders who have gone above and beyond through the pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “However, many families are still facing food insecurity due to the health and economic challenges of the last 14 months.

“No one should go hungry in Michigan, especially in the midst of a pandemic, and I am proud of this step we are taking to continue helping families put food on the table.”

Beginning this month, all households that receive food assistance benefits will be eligible for the additional amount, the MDHHS announced. Previously, families already receiving the maximum monthly amount of assistance were not eligible for additional benefits, while others received an increase, bringing them to the maximum monthly allotment.

Now all households will receive an increase of at least $95 monthly, even if they are already receiving the maximum payment or are close to that amount. Households that received over $95 to bring them to the maximum payment for their group size will continue to receive that larger amount.

Michigan previously approved the additional food assistance beginning in March 2020, which is being extended this month with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in this month to bring all current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cases to the maximum monthly allowance for that group size. This change only applies to customers not currently receiving the maximum benefit amount.

Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card through Tuesday. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance provided earlier in the month.

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


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