AS THINGS CHANGE regarding the coronavirus and our response to it, what we know today may be fleeting knowledge. Nothing about this pandemic follows script, because there is no script.
The same is true with the rollout of the vaccines. With production and distribution processes in constant flux, immunization plans and goals are updated regularly.
So who is getting the vaccine and when?
According to Marquette County Medical Director Dr. Robert Lorinser, as of the end of last week, Marquette County had received 5275 doses, which are being administered by the county health department and UPHS – Marquette.
Regarding how it’s distributed and who gets it, Lorinser says Marquette County is following the lead provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“It is MDHHS guidance for receiving the vaccine that is followed throughout Michigan. Currently the county health department and UPHS-MQT are receiving and distributing it. This will change when more vaccine is available and given to local providers and pharmacies.
“We’re in Phase 1A at this time, and following recommendations from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices,” says Lorinser.
Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
Subsequent phases indicate where everybody else will fall in line to get the shots. So when your phase comes up, what do you do?
According to Dr. Lorinser, the county health department is directly contacting those who are in the initial distribution phase. But as the phases begin to include more people, information will be circulated through traditional media.
So if you haven’t been contacted, hold tight and keep an eye out for more information as it is released. Remember, there’s no script.
To find out what the phases are, go to: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_103214—,00.html
If you want to keep track of distribution numbers, the state’s dashboard is a good place to find that info. You can check that out at:
The Marketplace is on Schedule
FIRST CITED HERE just six months ago as an idea in the works, the 3rd Street Marketplace is progressing towards an anticipated opening of May 1st.
That may sound ambitious, particularly considering we haven’t seen much action around the place. But apparently they’re working on the interior as it’s being redesigned to accommodate as many as six different tenants. Plans for the exterior are mostly in place, so we can look forward to watching how that progresses.
Current renderings give an idea of what the building is going to look like, and it’s safe to say it’s going to be an improvement.
Tenants penciled in at this time include Cognition Brewery, a pie and bakery shop, a pizza place, a specialty ethnic sandwich shop, and the ever popular food trucks in the parking lot.
In addition to being a source of contemporary food and drink, owner/developer Joe Constance (the man behind Iron Bay Restaurant & Drinkery) thinks the Marketplace is going to be a welcomed addition to the area.
“I see it becoming a gathering place… for walkers and bikers, and for new food, beverage and entertainment options.”
As it has stood silent since the closing of Valle’s just a couple years ago, the site has represented a missing link on the north end of Third Street. Six or so new businesses under that one roof can’t help but liven things up down there.
Of course, that doesn’t always make everybody happy. At a recent Planning Commission meeting some of the neighbors weren’t quite as enthused about the prospect of more people, more cars, more noise, etc., that might accompany a brew pub, outdoor dining, and a couple of food trucks.
For his part, Constance indicates they’re not unaware of neighborhood stewardship.
“We are specifically designing and planning it to not disrupt the residential area of the neighborhood and want to work cooperatively with everyone to meld commercial and residential as best as possible.”
We can sympathize with homeowners concerned with quality of life and the value of their property. But North Third Street is and always has been a hybrid mix of homes, shops, offices, restaurants, bars, and more recently, outdoor service.
A strong commercial corridor between downtown and the university is an invaluable Marquette asset. Done properly, as Joe Constance seems to do things, the 3rd Street Marketplace will be an invaluable asset to that corridor.
That sounds pretty good. (As long as it’s not too loud.)
Weekend meals from JJ Packs
THE TERM “food insecurity” became official about 25 years ago when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began publishing statistics as to its prevalence.
Over time, the numbers on hunger go up and down depending on many factors… the state of the economy being the most influential.
And though it’s a bigger problem in communities of color, no demographic is untouched. That includes people… kids, right here in Marquette.
Our local school system provides thousands of meals to students, but only when school is in session. That leaves the weekend. 68 hours when grub might be scarce.
As with many of today’s societal problems, food insecurity gets attention from a variety of sources. One of those is JJ Packs.
Founded in 2014 by two MAPS parents, Habby Vigfusdottir (not a typo) and Kevin Carr, JJ Packs works to fill the weekend void. Operating out of Graveraet Elementary, food packages are assembled every Friday with the help of volunteers, and then transported to each school for distribution.
Currently 230 packs go out each week. Kristen Marchiol, one of three local volunteer co-directors, explains how the program works.
“At the beginning of each school year all of the MAPS schools send home a letter inviting families to sign up for the program. Any family can sign up whether they are low income or not.”
And it’s not just for the kids. “They can get as many packs as the family needs. JJ Packs is not just for school age children, parents can receive packs as well if needed. We don’t turn anyone away.”
Food packages include a variety of foods considered to be healthy and sustaining, with enough provided to help the kids get to Monday morning.
Donations keep the program in business. Econo Foods, SuperOne, the Marquette Food Co-op, Marquette Baking Company and others are invaluable partners. Marquette schools help accommodate distribution.
Volunteers are always welcome, as are donations. To contribute, go to marquette.revtrak.net/jjpacks/.
Other area communities have similar programs. They’re all important. They all make a difference. To find out more about Marquette’s JJ Packs, visit their website at jjpacks.org.
According to Marchiol, the goal is simple. “We do not want people, especially children, to go hungry.” Amen to that.