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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Supporters of Dana Ferguson, 1st District Democratic Congressional candidate, learn about his U.P. values, issues, more, at musical Friendraiser in Hancock

By Michele Bourdieu

Dana Ferguson, Democratic District 1 Congressional candidate, is pictured here with his wife, Kristi, during the Feb. 21 Friendraiser for his campaign, held at The Orpheum Theater in Hancock. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- An enthusiastic crowd of about 75 supporters filled The Orpheum Theater in Hancock on Feb. 21 to hear from Dana Ferguson, Democratic District 1 Congressional candidate, and to enjoy listening and dancing to two local bands at a Friendraiser for the candidate.

The Thimbleberry Band, led by Oren Tikkanen, center, played music for dancing while supporters gathered to meet Candidate Dana Ferguson at the Feb. 21 Friendraiser in The Orpheum Theater in Hancock.

Ferguson introduced himself as a native Yooper with progressive working class values and spoke about growing up in Negaunee, attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette and working as union laborer in construction and carpentry:

During the Feb. 21 Friendraiser for his campaign, District 1 Congressional Candidate Dana Ferguson outlines some of his ideas for building a strong economy for the District, which includes the Upper Peninsula and parts of Northern Michigan. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Ferguson then spoke about another issue important to him and his family -- health care:

Dana Ferguson speaks about the high cost of health care and why he believes in a single-payer system to make health care affordable.

Ferguson concluded his presentation by pointing out that none of the issues really matter if we don't address the reality of climate change now and embrace the Green New Deal, which offers an economic opportunity to prevent negative effects of climate change.

Dana Ferguson notes the importance of addressing climate change and realizing it offers an opportunity for change and economic progress. He concludes by asking those in the audience to support his campaign with actions as well as donations.

Valorie Troesch, a member of the Houghton County Democratic Party, organized the event for Ferguson along with several other volunteers, including Barb Turuc-Mills, Janeen Stephenson, and Horst Schmidt.

"Dana is exactly what we are always looking for in a political candidate," Troesch told Keweenaw Now. "He is a native Michigander; he's lived, worked, and raised his family in the UP; and he knows better than any other candidate in this race what matters most to the people here. I don't think we can find anyone more sincere and authentic. He is eminently electable. He is the most progressive candidate running for Congress in the 1st District, and he isn't from Wall Street."

Candidate Dana Ferguson pauses for a photo with Valorie Troesch, right, and Barb Turuc-Mills, both members of the Houghton County Democrats. Turuc-Mills assisted Troesch in organizing the Feb. 21 Friendraiser event.

"Equally important to people of my generation, Dana represents the future," Troesch continued. "We complain that young people are not getting involved in politics and here is Dana. His values and the policies he supports -- single payer health coverage for everyone, recognizing that the climate crisis is both urgent and an unparalleled economic opportunity for the 1st District, among others -- are the policies that the next generation will fight for and enact. Dana is our candidate. I hope that voters in this district support him in the primary election in August and then do so again in the general election in November."

Troesch added her appreciation for the many people who helped make the Friendraiser a success, including Mike Shupe and The Orpheum, the musicians of the Cheap Therapy and Thimbleberry bands, emcee Bill Fink, the sponsors and hosts of the event, the dessert makers (for the silent auction), and the committee who helped put it all together.

"Everyone was so willing to contribute in whatever way we asked," Troesch noted.

Janeen Stephenson, Houghton resident, who also helped Troesch organize the event, expressed her strong support for Ferguson's values and his campaign.

"I have witnessed how much energy and commitment Dana Ferguson has as he campaigns for Michigan's First District for the U.S. Congress," Stephenson said. "I am confident he will work tirelessly for expanded health care, fair taxes, economic opportunity and the progressive values I hold dear if he is elected. Let's support him in the primary and as our voice to beat Jack Bergman."

Following his presentation, Ferguson fielded some questions from the audience at the Friendraiser:

Dana Ferguson replies to audience questions on the economy and environment, infrastructure, communication, and voter turnout.

Mike Lahti of Hancock, former Democratic State representative for Michigan's 110th District, attended the Friendraiser as a supporter and expressed his endorsement of Dana Ferguson for the 1st District U.S. Congressional seat.*

"I think he's a straight-talking native of the U.P. who's concerned about the District having good-paying jobs and a good environment," Lahti told Keweenaw Now. "He would give us quality representation in Washington."

Mike Lahti, former Democratic State representative for the 110th District, and his wife, Sharon, both Hancock residents, attended the Feb. 21 Friendraiser for Dana Ferguson in the Orpheum Theater. Seated behind them are Ami Wisti, left in background, former aide for former 1st District Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, and Ruth Wisti. Judge Mark Wisti (Amy's husband and Ruth's son) is recovering from surgery.

Following the question session, the Cheap Therapy band provided lively dance music for the remainder of the evening.

Cheap Therapy musicians play a variety of popular songs and dance tunes during the Feb. 21 Friendraiser for Dana Ferguson. Both bands, Thimbleberry and Cheap Therapy, volunteered their performances for the event.

Tom Collins, second from left in the photo above, a member of the Cheap Therapy band and a Calumet resident, was enthusiastic about Ferguson.

"Dana is coming from his heart and Upper Peninsula life experience," Collins said. "He is a good choice to represent us in the US Congress!"

Linda Rulison, Houghton County resident, who attended the Friendraiser with her husband, Dave, commented on the success of the event.

"Dana's event at the Orpheum was both fun and informative," Linda Rulison noted. "The turn out and support for him was overwhelming. We got to hear not only Dana's personal story that has brought him to this point but also what he wants to accomplish for Northern Michigan and the U.P. He is a U.P. native who lives here, raised his family here -- and he understands what it means to be a Michigander, unlike our current U.S. representative in Congress."

Hancock resident Linda Belote was very impressed with Ferguson and his values.

"I was so pleased to meet Dana Ferguson and to have a chance to explore his views," Belote said. "He is a thoughtful, caring person who does not dodge hard questions but gives straight answers in a strong but humble manner. It was so refreshing to hear him talk about things I care about. I am hopeful we can replace President Trump's 'yes-man' Jack Bergman with a person who will genuinely represent us, his constituents, and will vote for women's rights, and work to protect our precious environment for the benefit of generations to come."

On his Web site, Ferguson has expressed how growing up in the UP shaped his values.

"This is where I learned what is important to me," he writes. "It’s where I learned my work ethic, my love of nature, and my respect and appreciation for a simple life."

Ferguson also notes his campaign does not accept corporate or PAC money.

To learn more about Dana Ferguson and his campaign, visit his newly updated Web site at

* Editor's Note: While individual Democrats have endorsed Dana Ferguson in his campaign for Congress, the Houghton County Democratic Party does not officially endorse a candidate until after the Primary Election of Aug. 4, 2020.

Michigan Tech University travel restrictions extended to South Korea

From: Office of the President, Michigan Technological University
Posted Feb. 27, 2020, on Tech Today

HOUGHTON -- A community outbreak of the respiratory illness, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, COVID-19, has continued to spread to multiple countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor developments and has issued a Warning Level 3, for South Korea. This warning instructs travelers to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea.

Consistent with the CDC recommendation, Michigan Tech is issuing a University-wide travel restriction for the entire country of South Korea. The restriction applies to faculty, staff, and students. If you have essential travel to China scheduled, please contact the Office of General Counsel at 487-2318.

At this point in time the CDC lists both China and South Korea as Warning Level 3. The University is still restricting travel to the entire country of China. Previous communication regarding travel restrictions to China was issued on Jan. 31.

The University administration continues to monitor the situation for developments and will update the campus community as necessary. For Michigan-specific information on the coronavirus, please visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services webpage.

More information -- including a Feb. 26 email to Michigan Tech students, staff and faculty from Scott Wendt, Michigan Tech manager of Health and Safety, Environmental Health and Safety -- and all Michigan Tech University updates are available here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

AG Nessel, MDHHS issue warning to consumers regarding coronavirus scams

LANSING -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today warned Michigan residents to watch for scams related to the coronavirus disease 2019. These scams include websites selling fake products, and fabricated emails, texts and social media posts used to steal money and personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips along with phony information about cases in residents’ neighborhoods. They may also ask for donations to victims, provide advice on unproven treatments or contain damaging attachments.

"While the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 is real, there have been no confirmed cases in Michigan," said Nessel. "Do NOT fall for these scams. In fact, this is the perfect example of criminals preying on people’s fears. Don’t give a single piece of personal information to anyone reaching out to you regarding coronavirus."

The Federal Trade Commission has offered the following tips to help you avoid these scammers:
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know;
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus;
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations; and
  • Be alert to "investment opportunities."
"While the current risk of COVID-19 in the United States is low, we are working with our local and federal partners to make sure our public health system is prepared," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. "The best way Michiganders can stay healthy is to wash their hands often with soap and water, cover their coughs and sneezes, stay away from people who are sick and stay home if they are not feeling well. For accurate, up-to-date information, visit the CDC’s website or the MDHHS’ webpage."

Regardless of who they claim to be, people who text or email asking for personal or financial information should be treated as potential thieves who may be trying to steal someone’s identity. Resist their believable scenarios and confirm the identity of a contact by independently speaking with the identified source. Do NOT provide any personal information to people who call or email seeking it. Remember, identity thieves are crafty, and they may attempt to contact people numerous times using various aliases.

For more information and tips, please read this Consumer Alert from the FTC.

Consumers are encouraged to file consumer complaints online with the Michigan Department of Attorney General or call 877-765-8388.

Inset photo: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. (Photo courtesy