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Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings!
Dave Emmel
It has been a very busy and remarkable year! As we close out 2022 and prepare to ring in 2023, I would like to take a moment to recognize the hard work and dedication of the NLEA team, Jessica, Buck, Sam, Chris, Sara, Eric, and Sarah whose hard work and dedication continue to shine through their impact on every community in our region.

I would also like to extend a special thank you on behalf of the NLEA Team to the members of the NLEA Board. These individuals volunteer their time and talents to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties. The communities, businesses, and industries they represent have, and will continue to benefit from their unwavering passion for our region and our collective impact.

Looking forward, I am excited for what this new year will bring as we continue to strengthen the resilience of our communities led by strong business and industry leaders in every sector of our economy. There is much in store for 2023 and we will kick of the year with the hope and optimism of a strong and growing economy to accelerate our region into the future!

– David Emmel, NLEA President
Holiday Office Hours
The staff at the NLEA have been working hard this past year and are looking forward to holiday time with their families. Our office will be closed December 23-26 and December 30-January 2 in honor of the Christmas and New Year holidays. The staff at NLEA will be available on a limited basis December 27-29. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and prosperous New Year!
Challenge the Broadband Map
To ensure an accurate map is used for funding decisions, all challenges must be submitted by January 13, 2023.
broadband map michigan
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a new National Broadband Map. Since high-speed internet is not accessible to many rural businesses and homes in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties, the NLEA is urging residents in its four counties to check their home and/or business addresses on the preliminary broadband map (see link for map and how to check your location) to ensure it accurately reflects their level of internet access.

Our NLEA office and Michigan High-Speed Internet Office personnel are working to challenge the map too, but it’s important for everyone across our region to know how to view and challenge the map to possibly secure future Federal funding for high-speed Internet.
The lack of FAST Internet services is a steep challenge confronting businesses, home-based businesses, residents, and students in Northern Michigan.

What has been discovered during and after the pandemic is that the development of the region’s mostly-rural broadband (“Internet”) infrastructure still lags behind not only more- populated areas of Michigan, but that Michigan itself is in the bottom 15% of states with rural Internet access.

Why this matters:

Maps that have been drawn were assembled by a group under contract to the Michigan State Government, but those maps are far from accurate. Therefore, the FCC is providing residents and businesses with an opportunity to “challenge” the maps.

Once maps are successfully challenged and “corrected,” the amended areas can become eligible for federal funding given to the states to construct or upgrade new areas of Internet service.
NLEA Seeking 2023 Summer Interns
Know someone looking for a paid internship?

Tell the college students and/or recent graduates in your life that NLEA is seeking applications for interns who are passionate about Northern Lower Michigan to work as paid interns through NLEA/DTE Energy Foundation Summer Intern Program.

The 2023 intern project will focus on developing social media content and strategy to target young adults (18- to 30-years-old) and market the region’s economic, cultural, and natural assets. Interns will work in a team with the goal of capturing stories from local businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, and events that highlight what makes Northern Lower Michigan a desirable place to live, work, and play. The aim is to share the region’s “cool factor” and cultural assets to attract and retain talent and business. Ideally, interns would develop a structure to make this marketing campaign continue after their position ends.
Thank You Pete Garwood
Long-Time NLEA Board Member and Antrim County Administrator Retires

After more than 30 years serving the residents of Antrim County, County Administrator Pete Garwood retired on December 16, 2022. In his capacity as administrator, Pete served on the board of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance when Antrim County joined in 1985 (at the time, it was known as the Antrim-Charlevoix Growth Alliance).

David Emmel, President of the Economic Alliance noted; “When I began my role as the fourth president of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Peter was one of the first people to not only welcome me but also to open the door to a relationship which has provided me great insight to the organization and steadfast guidance in navigating the complexities and challenges of leading our public-private partnership.”

NLEA board members and staff often looked to Pete for guidance due to his long tenure on the board. Jim Rummer, NLEA board member and 2022 Board Chair, recalls “the historical perspective he was able to give our board regarding countless situations over the years was invaluable.”

Click to read more of Pete's attributes and contributions to NLEA. Thank you Pete!
Match on Main Grants Reinvest in Northern Michigan Communities
Boyne City downtown January
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that 35 Michigan communities will receive $807,673 in grants to go to local businesses through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Match on Main grant program.

The cities of Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Sault Ste. Marie were among the grant recipients, all receiving $25,000 for local businesses to help strengthen the downtown areas.
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