- Associated Press - Monday, June 3, 2019

The Mining Journal (Marquette). May 30, 2019

Young people should pursue teaching

A story that we ran in Tuesday, May 21’s Mining Journal out of Lansing said only 25 percent of Michigan teachers recommend the job. On Sunday in The Mining Journal, Bryan DeAugustine, NICE Community Schools superintendent, wrote an op-ed in defense of a career in education.

We agree with Bryan that education is an important and personally fulfilling job. We also believe that when you look at the entire financial package that teachers receive, the profession has one of the best pay and benefit packages of any profession. We recognize that the starting pay compared to some other professions is low, but when you look at someone who has 20 years of teaching behind them, and then you add in the benefits for health care and pensions they receive, teachers are very well compensated.

We urge students thinking about going into teaching to do their homework and get the facts straight when making their decision. Talk to someone in teaching and see if they are willing to share with you how they are compensated with their total pay and benefit package. We checked on the pay and benefit package for someone with 20 years tenure at Marquette Area Public Schools and we found that a teacher with two decades on the job would average a pay and benefit package of close to $116,000 per year. When you consider the average family income in Marquette County is $48,491, that tells you teachers are very well compensated compared to many other professions locally. The average family income does not take into consideration pension and health care benefits like we show in the total compensation for teachers.



Teaching is a very important job because our teachers are helping to structure our future for our youth. Many teachers will also tell you just how rewarding a career in teaching can be. Bryan DeAugustine’s op-ed talks about that. Just like any other profession there will be teachers that love their job and others that are dissatisfied. We believe when you look at the profession in its entirety that teaching is one of the most respected and important jobs a person can choose to go into.

Another thing to be considered is the time off that comes with teaching. We know during the school year that teachers put in many hours, just like people do in other professions. But when you consider the summer vacations for schools plus the Christmas and spring breaks, you will see that teaching also offers more personal time off than most professions.

Consideration of the amount of personal time off should be added into the equation for anyone considering teaching as a profession.

The bottom line is that we have great respect for teachers and we also feel that they are fairly compensated compared to many other professions. We hope students that are looking at teaching as a career do their homework and check out all the details that come with being a teacher. Teaching is a respected career with a strong pay and benefits package and should be looked at as an excellent profession to pursue.

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The Alpena News. May 30, 2019

Anxious to see what new DNR office means

In Wednesday’s edition came the news that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has created a new office within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that aims to focus on the outdoors not just as a natural resource worth preserving, but also an economic resource worth promoting.

The new DNR Office of Outdoor Recreation and Industry will “will work in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. . to build awareness of businesses in the outdoor recreation industry, promote outdoor recreation activities across the state, identify emerging recreation trends, and encourage the stewardship of the state’s natural resources,” the News’ Crystal Nelson reported.

The director of the office told Nelson that the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments has already reached out to ask how they might be able to work together, and Mary Beth Stutzman of the Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau called the new initiative “nothing but positive.”

We’ll reserve judgement until this new office gets up and going.

Certainly, Michigan’s lakes, rivers, beaches, forests, wetlands and wildlife are some of the state’s greatest treasures, drawing tourists by the thousands every year to places such as Northeast Michigan. Spending by those tourists is a sizable part of our economy, and we value any efforts to promote and preserve such treasures.

But is a new government office necessary to do so? Didn’t the DNR already work on preserving and promoting nature? Didn’t the state already promote tourism through its Pure Michigan campaigns?

Perhaps the new office is just the ticket, but the answers are not obvious. We’re anxious to see what Gov. Whitmer’s team adds to the state’s efforts.

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Grand Haven Tribune. May 28, 2019

Grand Haven’s housing future? Look to the past

Let’s face it: Grand Haven is growing up.

The city has nowhere to grow but up, with taller buildings and higher-density housing - an inevitable outcome in Michigan’s fastest-growing county.

Many locals view this trend with panic. The city is already losing its small-town feel, they say, and can’t afford for apartment buildings and parking garages to crowd the sidewalks and block views of the water.

But Grand Haven’s housing future is not a ploy to destroy the city’s character. Increasing housing density can welcome a return to the past, when people lived closer to the products they consume, broke bread with their neighbors and relied less on cars for every transportation need.

Discussing the topic at a recent City Council meeting, Councilman Josh Brugger and Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Fritz each shared memories of their childhoods in Grand Haven, when a loaf of bread was a short walk away and single-family homes were smaller and affordable.

“The future looks something like the past,” Councilman Bob Monetza added. “People were more on foot. People lived in somewhat tighter neighborhoods.”

Residents have attended meetings in recent months to rail against proposed developments they view as “monolithic” and designs they’ve compared to the Soviet Bloc. But they’re missing the point.

Ryan Kilpatrick, executive director of Housing Next, showed the council how a city in the Netherlands transformed from a dangerously congested traffic hub to a city built around its pedestrians. Bike lanes were given ample space, as residences and retail were blended to put purchases a short distance from home.

It takes a little imagination, but Grand Haven is ripe for some of these features. As a state-designated Redevelopment Ready Community, the city is primed to attract developers who have the desires of modest renters and buyers in mind. The city is currently reworking its Zoning Ordinance to consider requiring fewer parking spaces for developments and allowing greater variety of housing types in neighborhoods.

It’s not such a scary future for Grand Haven. We have confidence that city leaders will keep the city’s character at the forefront of changes, while making it a more inclusive place to live. Affordable and high-density housing is not just a component of future planning: It’s a key part of returning Grand Haven to its humble roots.

Grand Haven is growing up. We hope residents prepare to do the same.____

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