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Great Lakes Islands to hold first ever summit

Nancy Magnusson

The first ever Great Lakes islands summit will be held September 25-26 on Beaver Island to discuss issues specific to island communities.

The Great Lakes Island Summit will be attended by residents from 12 islands from across four states.

Pam Grassmick lives on Beaver Island and is helping to organize the summit. She said the summit will help island communities explore solutions to the specific set of problems they face.

“So education on islands is quite unique and has unique needs, many of us broadband and cell service is a struggle, aging and place for our communities is another topic that has been discussed here on Beaver Island as well as healthcare and emergency services.”

Grassmick said the idea for the meeting came from a visit to Maine’s Island Institute, which works to support and grow island communities.

“Once we were exposed to that we said how can we do that for our island community.”

Grassmick said it is essential to make sure island communities are getting the support they need.

“This is really a remarkable opportunity for all of our islands recognizing that islands are fragile and if we fail to support the populations that inhabit them they can go away.”

The goal of the summit is to build an island network for the long term.

Grassmick said the summit will also consider the need for a Great Lakes Islands Coalition to promote policies specific to islands.

The summit is planned for  September 25th and 26th on Beaver Island

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