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Friday, July 31, 2020

Janet Metsa, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 110th State House District, speaks on economics, environment, education, energy

By Michele Bourdieu

Janet Metsa, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 110th State House District, outlines her background and platform priorities for supporters during her June 29 fundraiser in Calumet. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- At an outdoor patio fundraiser in Calumet on June 29, Janet Metsa, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 110th State House District, welcomed supporters, spoke about important issues and answered questions.

She first introduced herself as a Copper Country native, born in Houghton County and raised on the farm her grandparents established during the Finnish migration in the early 1900s. Metsa summarized her impressive educational and scientific background -- she went from Chassell schools to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- and described starting up her first business in the local area.

Janet Metsa, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 110th State House District, addresses supporters during a June 29 fundraiser in Calumet. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Metsa also pointed out how her environmental experience, combined with an educated work force -- experts and students from Michigan Tech -- plus her own determination and high-speed Internet helped her make her business a success. She noted the importance of protecting a healthy environment with a healthy economy and mentioned the local Smart Zone support of businesses as a model.

Candidate Metsa speaks about the four pillars of her platform: education, environment , energy and economy. She also notes her experience working with the Houghton County Democratic Party and why she considers herself a strong candidate, able to defeat the incumbent (Republican Greg Markkanen).

During the question-answer period following her presentation, Metsa replied to a question on Line 5:

Metsa explains why Democrats are in favor of shutting down Line 5, Enbridge's controversial 67-year-old pipeline that delivers some propane to the Upper Peninsula and also passes under the Straits of Mackinac, threatening the environment in the event of a potential catastrophic oil spill.

Another question from the audience concerned Metsa's vision for future businesses in the 110th district.

Pointing out her experience working with KEDA (the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance) and the Smart Zone, Metsa explains that most economic development in this area is home-grown. She notes the importance of Michigan Tech and a young educated work force.

Supporters at the June 29 fundraiser

Following her presentation, Janet Metsa took time to speak individually with supporters, including David and Giselle Shonnard, Portage Township residents.  

Jerry Mitchell:

Calumet resident Jerry Mitchell spoke about his Democratic values and his belief that Janet Metsa will fight for those values.

Scott Dianda:

Former 110th District State Representative Scott Dianda spoke in support of Janet Metsa as a strong Democratic candidate.

During the June 29 fundraiser, Scott Dianda, former 110th District State representative, spoke of his faith in Janet Metsa and endorsed her candidacy.*

"She's a great, solid person," Dianda said. "Her roots have been here for generations -- just like my family. I think Janet has the ability to understand what we need for the 110th District, from one end to the other."

Dianda added that Metsa's background in science and business, as well as her understanding of the importance of famiily and education, make her an excellent candidate.

Mark and Amy Wisti:

Mark Wisti -- retired Houghton County judge and attorney, and his wife, Amy Wisti, former aide to former 1st District US Congressman Bart Stupak -- are pictured here at Janet Metsa's fundraiser.

Active Democrats Mark and Amy Wisti of Houghton both commented on Janet Metsa's competence for the 110th District Michigan House seat.

"I thought she had a very sensible answer to the Line 5 issue," Mark Wisti said. "She seems very knowledgeable on the economic and the environmental issues. Given her background in science, she has a real understanding of the technical issues regarding the pipeline."

Amy Wisti added she believes Janet Metsa is "absolutely" qualified to represent the 110th.

"I've known Janet a long time and worked with her through the years and when she was chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party," Amy Wisti said.

Lisa Nelson:

Houghton resident Lisa Nelson told Keweenaw Now she is very impressed with Metsa's breadth of knowledge.

"She's clearly aware of the current issues and the pros and cons for different solutions," Nelson noted. "I feel like she's really researching options to find common-sense solutions."

Nelson, who works in education at Michigan Tech, said she would "definitely" vote for Janet Metsa.

"I think she's a really good candidate for this area -- she grew up here," Nelson said. "She's also got a wider lens. She's done a lot of things in her life. Her experience broadens her perspective."

Elo Wittig:

Welcoming supporters to the fundraiser, Elo Wittig, campaign aide for Janet Metsa, accepts a donation from Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry and interim Chemistry Department chair.

Elo Wittig, Janet Metsa's campaign aide, brings a strong educational background to his position. He is a graduate of Macalester College and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

"I meet a lot of interesting people doing this," Wittig said.

Metsa told Keweenaw Now she was very happy with the turnout at this fundraiser.

"I've been extraordinarily pleased with the enthusiastic response of people in Houghton County to my campaign," she said.

Metsa has received several endorsements from notable supporters, as indicated on her Web site.*

More recently, Janet Metsa held an online fundraiser via Zoom. Mike Prusi, former 3-term 109th District State Representative and 2-term State Senator for the 38th District, joined the Zoom discussion and announced his endorsement of Janet Metsa at that online event.

Prusi states the following:
"I’ve known Janet Metsa for nearly twenty years. The first, and in my view, the most important thing you learn about Janet is that when she takes on a task she makes sure that it’s done and done right. Whether it’s running her business, serving her community in an appointed role or volunteering in her church or political party, her organizational skills and willingness to work hard are valued by the people around her. They recognize that Janet sincerely cares about them and about the issues they are resolving. Caring and sisu are what she was taught by her Finnish forebearers when they immigrated to the Copper Country. We share that Finnish heritage and that sisu. I am proud to call Janet my friend and to offer her my endorsement as she seeks the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the 110th State House District."

* Click here to see additional endorsements on See also Friends of Janet Metsa on Facebook.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Governor Whitmer amends MI Safe Start Order to limit indoor gatherings, save lives

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo courtesy

LANSING -- On July 29, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8.*

"As we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Michiganders cannot afford to drop our guard. We must take every step possible to saave lives, protect the brave men and women on the front lines, and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system while we continue to combat COVID-19," said Governor Whitmer. "After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave."

COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake (downstate) over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)

Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70 percent of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.

Under the governor’s orders, Detroit casinos will also be allowed to open on August 5, but their occupancy will be limited to 15 percent capacity. Casinos must also, among other things, conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, temperature screening. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.

Executive Order 2020-160 will rescind Executive Orders 2020-110, 2020-115, 2020-120, 2020-133, and 2020-143.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below:

EO 2020-161 Emerg order - Workplace safeguards.pdf

* Region 8 includes the following counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Images from Detroit Institute of Arts Permanent Collection on display outdoors in Hancock

The Trappers' Return, by George Caleb Bingham, part of the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit outdoors in Hancock, will be unveiled at a special event July 30 in Porvoo Park. (Image courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The City of Hancock was chosen through a competitive application process to host the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Annual Inside|Out program, which brings high-quality reproductions from the DIA’s collection to outdoor venues in communities throughout the state of Michigan. The local outdoor exhibition is a partnership of the Copper Country Community Arts Center, the City of Hancock, and Hancock Public Schools and is the only venue in the Upper Peninsula.

Seven full size, framed images will be installed throughout town in parks and green spaces on Quincy Street, Hancock Street, and Porvoo Park -- all within walking distance. An interactive map is available at the Copper Country Community Arts Center, City Hall, and other locations.

This map shows the locations of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Inside|Out images in Hancock. Click here for a larger version of the map. (Map courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

A series of programs and activities will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition, which continues through the end of October.

Unveiling: Voyageur songs in Porvoo Park Thursday, July 30

Everyone is invited to an unveiling at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 30, in Porvoo Park, 200 Navy Street, Hancock. Dave Bezotte and Evan Dixon will perform French Voyageur songs in homage to George Caleb Bingham's image of The Trappers’ Return, which will be located at the park. People are encouraged to arrive by water in canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards in keeping with the theme of the painting.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works of art. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art. The Inside|Out program is a component of the DIA’s community engagement efforts focused on providing a unique way to engage with residents and visitors by bringing art from the DIA into the communities in which they live. Over the past 10 years, the museum has partnered with more than 100 communities and engaged tens of thousands of residents with art in places where they live, work, and play.

For more information about the DIA Inside Out art installation in Hancock contact Cynthia Cote, Executive Director of the Copper Country Community Arts Council at (906) 482-2333 or or visit the website: