Jim Edberg of Felch is this year’s Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his Army service in Vietnam, and he’s served as the Felch VFW post commander for more than 20 years now.
Jim entertains veterans at the Oscar Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain and at nursing homes by singing and playing his guitar.
“I’m not all that talented, but (it’s great) to see how they react just to somebody spending time with them,” Edberg said. “Music is magical. There’s memories in music. That’s what I call the little thing that I do when I go and sing and play.”
Governor Rick Snyder, Congressman Dan Benishek and most of the U.P.’s legislative delegation also presented him with several accolades. Another person was honored on Honored Citizens Day by receiving ‘honorary yooper’ status.
Emily Brewster is the associate editor at Merriam-Webster who worked with Delta County Prosecutor Steve Parks to include ‘yooper’ in the Collegiate Dictionary.
You’d never know just by looking at the cover of the latest edition that ‘yooper’ is in it. There’s a decal on the dust jacket labeled ‘New Words for 2014’, and the decal is covered with many of those words. ‘Yooper’ isn’t on the decal, but it is inside the book between the words ‘yoo-hoo’ and ‘yore’.
“Our oldest evidence of the word ‘yooper’ comes from 1974, and it’s just taken a lot of time for the rest of the country to become familiar with the word,” Brewster said. “The yoopers themselves know, and have known for a long time, just what a unique and remarkable place this is and what a unique and remarkable group of people they are.”
She says she’s overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity she’s been shown in the Upper Peninsula. Brewster even gave Parks, Governor Snyder and State Senator Tom Casperson copies of the dictionary with ‘yooper’ included.
Thursday at the fair also features the annual Governor’s Luncheon.
“We can do more marketing in Wisconsin and Minnesota, spreading the word in those parts of the country about how this is a great place to be,” Governor Snyder said.
The governor spoke of how energy will be a concern for the Upper Peninsula in the years ahead.
“We’ve seen (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) take actions, (the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which is the Midwest’s regional power grid) take actions,” Snyder said. “We need to keep talking to them, and we need to probably be even more assertive in terms of what we think are appropriate answers. That’s some discussion we need to have, and we need to work with the community up here, because affordability and reliability are two key measures we need to improve on.”
Another Michigan Republican made a campaign stop at the fairgrounds. Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is running for the U.S. Senate. She and her staff asked supporters to sign their tour bus in honor of their pledge to put Michigan first.
“We need good-paying jobs here in Michigan; we just heard the governor talk about that and his plan for Michigan,” Land said. “He needs a partner, and we also need to make sure businesses can grow, that they have taxes that are fair, simpler and easier to understand.”
She visited Manistique Thursday morning and followed the fair with a trip to Marquette in the evening.