Innovation + Job News

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Marquette's taco truck wins national award

It should come as no surprise to those who have dined upon the tastiness that is the Dia de los Tacos food truck in Marquette, but for the second year in a row they have been named the best taco truck in the country by

The truck, owned and operated by Marquette native and long-time chef Mike Walker, serves up a small variety of different tacos, all of which are outstanding in their own right. And for those in the know, there's even a secret menu that will allow some darn tasty alterations on those tacos (like Getz's style, or ordered with crispy cheese).

In second place, again, was Lloyd's Taco Truck in Buffalo, New York. We here at U.P. Second Wave traveled through Buffalo last year specifically to try the No. 2 taco truck in the nation and while we may be slightly biased, it really didn't hold a candle to the offerings at Dia de los Tacos (biased media? Nah!).

For those who haven't had the opportunity to try Walker's tacos, you can catch the truck during lunch hours at Pathways Community Mental Health (Monday), University BP (Tuesday and Friday), Valle's Corner Store (Wednesday) and the U.P. Medical Center (Thursday). You can also snag some at the Ore Dock Brewing Company and Blackrocks Brewery during dinner time on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Not sure what to order? Try the Selma with no herb garnish, extra cheese (crispy) and make it Getz's style for a little added awesomeness.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Dia de los Tacos

Food system grants boost meat, egg production in U.P.

Among a recent round of Michigan agriculture projects awarded expansion funds from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are two Upper Peninsula companies.

The grants, under MDARD's competitive Value Added and Regional Food System Grant Program, are aimed at adding growth, revenue and jobs within regional food systems and totaled nine awards for more than $1 million. That was out of 62 grant proposals.

Rainbow Packing, a meat processing company near Escanaba, was awarded $100,000 in order to expand their facility. The move is in answer to increased meat processing needs in the U.P., according to MDARD.

"An expanded facility and the additional equipment will allow us to serve more farmers in the region, as well as the space needed to expand into other marketing channels," says Sue Sicotte, owner of Rainbow Packing.

The other U.P. grant awardee was Kitz's Koop, an egg farm near Sault Ste. Marie. They got $19,400 to work on expanding their egg production in the eastern U.P.

"Kitz’s Koop Family Egg Farm supplies farm fresh eggs to the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan," says Ryan Kitzmiller, owner of Kitz's Koop. "The value-added grant is going to allow us to expand operations and provide a safe, wholesome, healthy product to a broader network of consumers."

The other grant funds went to Campbell Milarch Vines in Copemish, Chestnut Growers Inc. of Clarksville, Food Labs Detroit in Detroit, Growing Hope of Ypsilanti, Indian Brook Trout Farm of Jackson, Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City, and Sprout Urban Farms of Battle Creek.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Boss Snowplow develops new snow shovel

When it comes to snow, there aren't a whole lot of places more accustomed to being buried in it than the Upper Peninsula.
That's why it makes so much sense that the U.P. is home to a company like BOSS, which is based in Iron Mountain and is known for building some of the best snow plows in the business.

But even the folks at BOSS know you can't just use their plows anywhere you need to remove snow. And that is exactly why they have expanded their snow-removal offerings with a new product -- the Snow Plow Snow Pusher high-performance snow shovel.

The shovel, which BOSS touts as being "tough, durable" and designed "for the abuse of the season" comes in sizes of 28, 36 and 48 inches in width.

Each shovel has a D-grip handle to help fit gloved hands, a reflective strip to add safety for those clearing snow near traffic, as well as a fiberglass reinforced handle and easily replaceable components.

The snow shovel is available for purchase at most BOSS snow plow dealers.

Writer: Sam Eggleston

A Streetcar named Desire? How about a Fat Bike named Marquette.

It's no secret that biking enthusiasts across the Upper Peninsula have started to become a bit fixated on winter biking thanks to the fairly recent boom of "fat tire" bicycles.

Now, thanks to a company based in Minnesota called Framed, Yoopers can ride a fat tire bike that is named after a snow-biking mecca right here in the Upper Peninsula. The Marquette bike comes in both an alloy and a carbon frame and is designed to take the vigorous demands of riding in a U.P. winter and over the cross country trails throughout the region.

"The Marquette is completely internally routed with an optional front derailleur mount. The frame is set up with a rear brake post mount, threaded bottom bracket shell, and two water bottle cage mounts. This timeless design is sure to have you hammering trails with the component group of your choice to your heart’s content," the company's description of the Marquette bike reads.

This bike is available as a custom order and can be purchased at most bike stores that offer fat tire options.

Writer: Sam Eggleston

MDOT taps Johnson for top U.P. spot

The U.P.'s regional Michigan Department of Transportation office has a new administrator, Aaron Johnson.
Johnson has been with MDOT for 18 years, most recently managing the Ishpeming Transportation Service Center. His new title is Superior Region engineer, replacing Randy Van Portfliet, who has been at MDOT for nearly 40 years.
His new duties will include overseeing 1,900 miles of state trunkline across the Upper Peninsula, 187 employees, and managing both capital and maintenance budgets for the region.
Johnson is originally from Bruce Crossing and is a graduate of Michigan Technological University. He's served as an operations engineer, traffic and safety engineer, maintenance engineer and bridge design engineer with MDOT, after a stint as a U.S. Army officer. He's also chaired the U.P. Traffic Safety Committee, and served on several statewide transportation teams.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Transportation

Northbound starts production of second season

The web series Northbound, filmed in the U.P., announced it will start producing its second season, thanks to a successful fundraising campaign.
The official start date of production is November 29 for the next four episodes of the post-apocalyptic show, which is available online at GeekNation.
The producers say the community support through Kickstarter, arts support from Dickinson County Community Theater and Wild Rivers Realty, and sponsorships they landed from several national brands including GoPro, allowed them to start filming this fall.
Northbound is produced by Lullskull, Ltd. and A Street Films, and began life as a webseries attached to a feature film titled Northstar. The eight-episode second season's storyline is designed to lead directly into Northstar, say creators Seth and Nathan Anderson and producer Jason Hagen in the announcement.
Filming is planned for Iron Mountain, Norway, Channing and KI Sawyer, with the new episodes slated for premiere on GeekNation in the spring of 2017.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northbound Productions

Wise Owl hires new employee

Wise Owl Technologies in Sault Ste. Marie hired its first employee recently.
A family-owned and run computer business in the Sault area since 2010, Wise Owl is expanding in its downtown location with the hiring of a new office manager.
She is a Sault Ste. Marie resident and will be overseeing administrative and customer service roles for Wise Owl. Wise Owl offers services including data management, servers and networking, web, email and cloud services, computer repair and service, and even pickup and delivery. It serves the entire eastern U.P.
Wise Owl is located in downtown Sault Ste. Marie at 211 Osborn Boulevard.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Wise Owl Technologies

Buy Local app hits Marquette County

The Marquette Chamber of Commerce recently launched a new promotional program designed to encourage local shoppers to connect with local businesses.
The Be Local, Buy Local program offers up a mobile app on Apple and Android platforms, similar to national shopping apps, that allows shoppers to register their purchases from participating local businesses and get rewards.
Those include a weekly $300 giveaway, and a seasonal $1,000 giveaway. According to the Chamber, the app is meant to help support local Marquette County businesses, and reward patrons for their local buying habits.
Among the participating businesses are 906 Sports Bar, Border Grill, Campus Pharmacy, Down Wind Sports, Getz's, Jandron's, Lawry's, Marquette Food Co-op, Midtown Bakery, Ralph's Italian Deli, all the local Snyder Drugs, TruNorth Federal Credit Union, Valle's Market, and a long list of others across the county.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Marquette Chamber of Commerce

VAST adds four new hires

Four new hires are on board at insurance company VAST in Marquette.
The firm announced Colleen Posey, Molly Strohm, James Gwinn and Alison Neumann all have been hired recently, all Northern Michigan University grads.
Posey and Strohm will serve the company as benefits accounts managers, both licensed in accident, health and life insurance. Posey is from Naperville, Illinois and graduated in 2012, while Strohm is from Gwinn and graduated in 2010.
Gwinn and Neumann both were hired as commercial lines account managers, and are licensed in property and casualty insurance. Gwinn is from Marquette, a 2014 NMU grad, and Neumann is from Alpena, with a degree in business management.
VAST is located at 300 S. Front Street in Marquette and provides solutions for insurance and risk management.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: VAST


Rubin is new VP for Marketing Department

The Marketing Department, a full-service marketing firm in Houghton, announced a new addition to their staff, as Kyle Rubin joins them as VP of account services.
The hire was made, says CEO Karyn Olsson, to help the firm's clients grow and support their successes so far, and increase the company's reach.
Rubin comes to the Marketing Department as a Michigan Technological University grad, and has experience as an educator, an organizational marketer, and in technical communication.
"Kyle's experience and style is very relevant for most of our clients, especially our manufacturers and tech companies," says Olsson.
The Marketing Department provides marketing strategy and planning, research, branding, promotion, graphic design, copywriting, website design, social media, lead generation, customer service training, photo and video.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: The Marketing Department


New ER doc joins UP Health System-Marquette

A new doctor will be seeing emergency patients at UP Health System - Marquette.
Dr. Sean Hendren comes to the area from Kalamazoo, where he recently finished a residency in emergency medicine at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine. He's also been a flight physician for West Michigan Air Care, medical control physician for the Kalamazoo County Medical Control Authority, and served as a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at WMU.
He earned his medical degree with a teaching distinction at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, in Iowa City. Hendren is board eligible by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and is licensed and certified in cardiac life support, trauma life support, pediatric and obstetrics life support, critical care support, and disaster life support.
Writer:  Kim Eggleston
Source: UP Health System


Downtown Sault crowdfunds community mural project

Crowdfunding is the way to get public projects done--the new iteration of community fundraising.
Sault Ste. Marie's downtown, along with state help, is launching a new crowdfunding campaign to put up four large murals in touchstone locations around the downtown. They'll be painted by local artists and appear in locations such as near the Lake Superior State University campus, near the downtown farmer's market, and as a public space between the Soo Locks and the downtown.
"The city already has a rich, diverse arts culture, and this dynamic artwork will only serve to showcase that further," says MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer. "We see these pieces engaging the community in a new way with the added benefit that visitors will be able to experience them, too."
The project will be on the state's crowdfunding platform for local communities, Patronicity. Its goal is to raise $16,000 from the community in order to get a matching grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
To find out more about the murals or support the project, visit it online here.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Sault Area Chamber of Commerce


New staffer joins Dickinson Ear, Nose and Throat

Patients at the Dickinson Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic have probably been seeing a new face around the office. That's Aaron Lanning, a certified nurse practitioner who joined the staff at the clinic recently. 

Lanning, who hails from metro Detroit, will be working with Dr. Ray Cameron at the Dickinson clinic. 

The clinic, which is part of the Dickinson County Healthcare System, is focused on medical conditions of the ears, nose and throat as well as testing and treatment of inhalant allergies. Dr. Cameron also specializes in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Dickinson County Healthcare System

Dia de los Tacos, Slows BAR BQ set to fuse flavors in summer event

When you ask foodies about their favorite place to eat in Marquette, odds are more than a few of them are going to name the award-winning Dia de los Tacos food truck. Ask the same question of Detroit fare, and you're likely going to get the same response about Slows BAR BQ in Corktown.

In a collision of tastes that could quite likely destroy the fabric of space and time, Slows and Dia de los Tacos are planning a fusion for a single event on August 13 at 5 p.m. at Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette

Dia de los Tacos owner Mike Walker was employed at Slows when the restaurant first opened its doors in Detroit. He and Slows owner/chef Brian Perrone have been friends for about 15 years, and Walker said he and Slows chef Mike Metivia have been talking lately about collaboration.

"Chef Mike Metivia and I have been talking for a bit about smoking a pig together," says Walker. "Once that ball started rolling, we thought it would be fun to do it as Slows meets DDLT."

So later this summer, the chefs and some of the Slows crew will be making the trek north and getting the smoke rolling.
"We'll smoke a pig together, and turn it into delicious BBQ-inspired tacos," Walker says.

Keep an eye on the Dia de los Tacos Facebook page for a time and place.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Dia de los Tacos


Trenary Toast fans rejoice -- a new flavor is here

Fans of the popular Trenary Toast from Trenary Home Bakery are in for a real treat, and a very rare one at that. The company, located right in the heart of Trenary in Alger County, has a brand new product that will be hitting the shelves in the near future.

With the wide success of their cinnamon and sugar Trenary Toast, the owners of the bakery have announced that they will be producing Trenary Toast Cardamom.

Currently the product is available only by stopping by the bakery itself or by contacting them and having a special order mailed to you. But, no worries if neither of those options are quite your style -- according to the Trenary Home Bakery Facebook page, they'll be up and producing it for distribution soon.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Trenary Home Bakery

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