Changes at Room at the Inn
AFTER 3 YEARS AS Executive Director of Room at the Inn and overseeing the operation at the Warming Center, Nick Emmendorfer has announced that he is leaving the post for another job here in Marquette.
Emmendorfer took over RATI in January of 2019 and has put his passion for helping the homeless to good use, addressing one of our area’s more visible needs. As the city’s churches turned over sheltering responsibilities to RATI, the Warming Center has become the focus for addressing the needs of our homeless population.
What began as a place to gather, out of the cold, the Warming Center now also serves as a short-term residence and service center for those with no place to call home. Emmendorfer has been instrumental in seeing that guests at the center are not just given a warm bed and something for their bellies, but are also offered counseling services to help them regain their footing and return to a more productive lifestyle.
Community support has been strong during Emmendorfer’s time as well, as his stewardship of the mission has been recognized among residents who share his concern for those less fortunate.
“The last three years as Executive Director for Room at the Inn has been nothing short of an incredible experience. My goal was for Room at the Inn to create a permanent shelter for our community’s most vulnerable population, and together, our community has accomplished just that, and so much more. It is my hope that our community continues the work that has been done to take care of our neighbors who experience homelessness. After all, I grew up in Marquette and this is a community that is all about caring for one another. Having an organization like Room at the Inn is essential if we truly want to be the caring and loving community we identify as. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the journey, and I look forward to what the future holds in store for RATI as it continues its mission.”
In other Room at the Inn news, the tentative plan to move the Warming Center from its current location on West Washington to the Great Lakes Recovery Centers facility on Wright Street is no longer tentative… it ain’t happening. It seems Northern has swooped in and purchased the building and property for their own use, presumably for a purpose yet to be determined.
It would have been a good move for the Warming Center, but it’s understandable that Northern would covet the property, seeing that it’s adjacent to their land around the Superior Dome. According to Emmendorfer, there’s another potential site already on RATI’s radar. Hopefully a new facility in a new location turns out to be something that works for them AND the community.
Petunia Pandemonium… Paused
Looking forward to planting petunias on South Front again this summer? Well… you can put away your gloves and trowels, at least for another year.
MDOT strikes again, as this summer they’re rebuilding South Front Street from the base of Shiras Hill to the round-about. Similar to last year, when the bypass was redone, the street is going to be torn up for the balance of the summer and fall, and with that… no petunia pandemonium.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee, visitors get a first impression of Marquette that gives the rest of the city a lot to live up to. Begun in 1989, and spearheaded then and since by Barb Kelly and husband Pete, Petunia Pandemonium has become a regular sign of summer, and something that allows green-thumbers a chance to finally get their hands dirty.
According to Jill LaMere, Beautification Committee president, support is always welcome, but seldom in short supply. Apparently, our locals appreciate the beautiful entry to the city as much as our guests. But, although volunteers can take the year off from planting, the fundraisers have a new challenge.
LaMere indicated that the irrigation system is going to be ripped up along with the highway, and will need to be replaced. So, even though you won’t be spending a morning on your hands and knees this year, maybe consider writing a check to help pay for the new irrigation system. Your contribution will be money well invested.
Going, going, gone… Green!
Harkening back to the past, and currently to the passed, green burials are becoming more and more popular with people who want to leave this life in a more natural fashion and setting.
A green burial is different than a traditional burial in that the body is not embalmed or placed in a vault, but rather is buried in a biodegradable casket or shroud. Advocates of green burials, including the Green Burial Council, suggest green burials are “a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact.”
With green burials, bodies are returned to the earth and serve as nourishment to surrounding plants and animals, in contrast to traditional methods which include considerable amounts of chemicals and processed materials.
Jodi Miri, of Green Renewal Caskets in Big Bay, suggests that the idea of a more natural interment is something that’s not only good for the environment, but also for the soul. “The green burial movement is helping families have more control over their end of life decisions. It’s about leaving your legacy in a way that feels true to you. And beyond that, returning our body’s energy back to nature has spiritual significance for many of us.” You can find more information about this local supplier at GreenRenewalCaskets.com.
Marquette approved green burials for the city’s Park Cemetery in 2019 with the first taking place in October of that year. Although there was initial resistance, after learning more about the process and seeing its growing acceptance nationwide, it was decided to accept the practice here.
According to sexton Dan Carter, Park Cemetery has set aside 250 sites designated for green burials, with all environmental issues addressed and approved. Green burial sites here will be without headstones or markers, but Carter says a monument of sorts will be erected to help people identify the location of loved ones. The green burial area has been named Prairie Mound and is located just south of the community garden.
Other than the idea of “returning to nature,” green burial benefits typically include less costs than traditional burials as interment materials are more natural and designed to break down along with the body.
Concerns about the environmental impact of green burials in Marquette were addressed in a report to the city commission written by Paul Albert, the sexton at the time the issue was raised. According to his report, “Bodily fluids are quickly absorbed by the soil and do not make their way to either surface runoff or ground water.”
Green burials can take place year-round, but interment should take place within 48 hours of passing. If you’re interested, more information about green burials is available at greenburialcouncil.org and at our local funeral homes.