See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Three women to announce run for Houghton County Commissioner March 17

From Houghton County Democratic Party:

HOUGHTON -- Melissa Davis, Gretchen Janssen, and Dr. Sharon Stoll will announce their candidacies for Houghton County Commissioner, District 2, District 4, and District 5, respectively, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Super 8 Conference Room in Houghton, Michigan. All three candidates will run as Democrats in the November 2018 election. The three candidates will be endorsed on March 17 by Scott Dianda, current Michigan State Representative for the 110th district and himself a candidate for the Michigan State Senate, and by other local office holders. This is the first time that three women have run for Houghton County Commissioner seats in the same election year.

Melissa Davis is known in the Houghton County community for her work as the Energy Manager of the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET). HEET helps residents of Houghton County address the energy issues in the Upper Peninsula and our high electric rates. Davis is also the President of New Power Tour, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the use of renewable, water and energy-efficient technologies in the Copper Country. With the work done by HEET and New Power Tour, which included home winterization and connecting residents to rebates, local residential and business electricity and natural gas usages were decreased by nearly 13 percent each during a two-year period running from 2015 to 2016. For additional information, contact Melissa Davis at

Melissa will use her expertise and her commitment to the community to serve the residents of District 2, which includes Torch Lake, Schoolcraft, Osceola, Franklin, and Quincy Townships. Melissa and her husband are the parents of one son.

Gretchen Janssen has had roots in the City of Houghton since 1968. After graduating from Houghton High School, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Education from Boston University. She has over 17 years of experience as a real estate professional with RE/MAX Real Estate in Houghton County and the surrounding areas.

Gretchen will apply her experience and knowledge on issues such as zoning, property taxes, and property ownership rights to the Board of Commissioners. Transparency of government is a priority for Gretchen and she welcomes the input of the constituents of District 4 in the City of Houghton on the county-wide issues that affect them.

Dr. Sharon Stoll was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula. After graduating from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s in Human Physiology and Political Science, she went on to medical school at Michigan State and completed her training at the LaCrosse Mayo residency program in 2010. She has been serving the Keweenaw as a physician ever since the day she completed residency. She brings her energy and problem solving abilities, as well as an understanding of the healthcare needs of the community, to find solutions to issues confronting the residents of Houghton County, from the Houghton County Medical Care Facility to the County Jail.

Sharon is passionate about people and looks forward to serving the folks of the rugged and beautiful District 5: Chassell, Duncan, Elm River, Laird, Portage and Stanton Townships. Sharon, a mother of three, is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Red Jacket Cycling Club. She has volunteered in the medical tent at many area sporting events, founded a school garden, and served as a coach with the Copper Country Soccer Association.

(Inset photos of Melissa, Gretchen and Sharon courtesy Houghton County Democratic Party.)

Houghton County Master Plan Favors TEA Party: What you can do about it

Recently, there have been changes that favor TEA party positions in the county Master Plan.

Citizens are encouraged to read the proposed plan and make verbal comments along with submitting written comments at a Planning Commission Meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, on the 5th Floor of the Houghton County Courthouse.

The plan is available to read online or download by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Letter: Will mining in the Porkies ever be "safe"?

[Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now received the following letter in February in response to our Feb. 12, 2018, article on Highland Copper's mining exploration in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, aka, the Porkies. See this featured article by clicking on the link in our right-hand column or click here. We regret the delay in posting this letter and other articles. Keweenaw Now's editor is experiencing temporary vision issues, making it difficult to post in a timely manner.]

Dear Editor,

The fact that the Mining Action Group of UPEC (Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition) was consulted before the Feb. 6 press release by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is good news for the public and our environment. They and Highland Copper Co. representatives went to great lengths to assure us they would be on their best behavior this year. The company will have its engineer with the drilling subcontractor; the former, we were told, has the authority to stop drilling should weather conditions lead to thawing of the ground. The DNR said it would have its personnel regularly checking that no new harm comes to the Porkies.

However, I'm left wondering whether the recent press releases from the DNR have been carefully designed to prevent future blow back against the DNR, the state agency that manages the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. When these damages were first investigated and reported, the public responded with outrage -- drilling in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness!? Everyone assumed that the Porkies were safe from mining activities -- unfortunately, that isn't true. Folks are shocked.

The Porcupine Mountains are iconic in the minds of Michigan citizens, but the DNR suggests that copper mines and wilderness areas are compatible. The message from DNR seems to be "Don't worry, the Porkies will retain a pristine surface even if Highland Copper Co. is blasting copper underneath the Park."

Is the DNR trying to convince the public that they want this mine? Mining impacts will include light pollution, mine waste, water quality concerns, vibrations, noise, dust, ore trucks, mine waste permanently stored along the shoreline of Lake Superior, and more. The Copperwood Mine would be across the road from the Porkies -- maybe literally underneath our hiking boots. Who wants that?

Horst Schmidt, President, Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition