Meet the Candidates
IRONWOOD, MI - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - Only three of the seven candidates for Ironwood's City Commission election in November participated in this year's Candidate Forum. Candidates Eva Smith-Furgason, Brandon Tauer, and Monie Shackleford handed their responses in before the October 09, 2011 midnight deadline. Candidate George Goerig refused to participate, and Candidates Joe Cayer, Jr., Rick Semo (Incumbent), and Kim Corcoran (Incumbent) didn't submit their answers.
The Candidate's responses are posted verbatim exactly the way they were submitted, and are posted based on the order they were received. The questions were posed by readers of the Superior Chronicle "Let's Talk" Facebook Discussion Board.
Seven Candidates to Vie for Five City Commission Seats In November
IRONWOOD, MI - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - Seven of twelve candidate nominating petitions issued for Ironwood's City Commission election in November were returned to the City Clerk's office by the Tuesday, August 16th deadline. All seven candidates qualified and their nominating petitions were verified by Karen Gullan, City Clerk.
Chronicle Moves "Let's Talk" Discussion Board to Facebook
IRONWOOD, MI - Monday, August 22, 2011 - The "Let's Talk" Discussion Board, previously driven by Echo, was closed down this morning due to the fact that the software for the program is no longer supported. As a result, we have established a new "Superior Chronicle 'Let's Talk'" Facebook group. Being connected to the largest social network in the world has its advantages, and we urge our readers to check out our new Facebook group. Thanks to everybody who has participated in our discussions in the past, and we look forward to hearing from you on our new Facebook "Let's Talk" group.
To go to our new Facebook "Let's Talk" group, please click on the link below:
PLEASE NOTE: In order to access our new group you will need to establish a Facebook profile. If you want to post to the group and participate in the discussion, you will need to join the group. If you simply want to view the posts without participating in the discussion, group membership is not necessary.
Wasting Money on "Beautiful Parking Lots" Won't Fix Our Downtown
EDITORIAL - by Jim Albert - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - Back in 2009, the City of Ironwood and the Downtown Ironwood Development Authority (DIDA) hired a consulting firm, HyettPalma, to examine the City's downtown and to create a plan to revitalise it's struggling business district. The cost to the taxpayers for these services was over $30,000. Half of the expense was picked up by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) as part of the Blueprints for Michigan's Downtowns initiative. The remainder was paid through local taxes.
When You Violate a Priviledge...
You Deserve to Lose It!
EDITORIAL - by Jim Albert - Friday, May 20, 2011 - The City's ATV map clearly shows that Aurora Street is "off-limits" to ATV traffic, yet the ATV pictured below demonstrates that the owner (or user) has no regard whatesoever for the City Ordinance. I don't expect Ironwood Public Safety to spend too much of their valuable time on such matters, but there has been enough evidence presented on this site alone to question whether or not ATVs should be allowed on our City streets.
Recently photos were posted in or Let's Talk section showing an ATV zipping up and down Suffolk Street (another street that is supposed to be closed to ATV traffic), weaving back and forth from street to sidewalk and back again. This is a dangerous situation that could easily lead to an innocent person being seriousy hurt or even killed. I urge the City Commission to reconsider their position on ATVs on our City streets. Something needs to be done now... we don't need to wait until something terrible happens before we take action.
I Never Thought I'd Say It...
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - by Steve Frank - Sunday, May 15, 2011 - But I'm feeling envious about an ATV Trail. Today I walked about 1.5 miles of Wisconsin Trail 17 from
Dupont Road to Hurley. The trail is in fantastic condition and the views are impressive. Along this stretch there were only four side trails, two of them
official and two not. The two unofficial side trails appeared to be seldom used and did not branch like those in Ironwood. Below are some photos of the trail along with
contrasting views from Ironwood.
The first official side trail leading to the Bear Den.
An unofficial side trail.
An official side trail leading to the Amoco Station.
The second unofficial side trail.
Two views from the bidge.
Approaching Hurley from Ironwood on Trail 2.
This is how ATVs are routed from Trail 77 or Trail 2 to Trail 17. It's pretty obvious from the setup that Hurley functions
as a hub between Trails 77 and 17. Trail 2 is not really emphasized.
The first business to advertise along Trail 2.
Within yards of crossing into Ironwood.
We have a different idea of spectacular views in Ironwood.
There's an ATV going wherever he wants.
Here's his dust cloud. He was going a lot faster than 15 mph.
And here are the tracks he made in the grass.
I know there are responsible ATV operators who truely love their sport. They aren't riding on the Ironwood portion of Trail
2. We have a handful of teenagers and drunks who enjoy vandalizing public and private property. We also have leaders who are
too spineless to insist that our laws be enforced. Remember last year when we were assured that ATVs would never be allowed
downtown? Walk through the alleys and count how many ATVs there are. I guarantee they weren't trailered there.
Freshman Pens Book on Mercer School History
MERCER, WI - Saturday, April 30, 2011 - As part of her project-based history class and project-based English class, Kassie Wiedower, a freshman at Mercer School, has finished a book about the history of Mercer School, titled History of Mercer School, Memories & Moments.
She made a book of interviews from past graduates of Mercer School and informational pages about each decade. Wiedower got all of her information from interviewees and old yearbooks from Mercer School.
Kassie Wiedower started this project in the beginning of September and has finished it at the beginning of April. "It was a very long project, but I had a great time doing it," Wiedower said.
Kassie would like to thank Mr. Grant Nelson, her English teacher, Mrs. Debbie Hohner, her history teacher, and all of the people she interviewed. She could not have done this project without any of them.
While working this project, Wiedower learned all about the changes of Mercer School. There were many changes to the building, classes, enrollment, teachers, and learning. "Mercer School has had a lot of history and changes, I am glad I got to explore them and inform others about them," she quoted.
Anyone interested in learning more information or obtaining a copy of History of Mercer School – Memories & Moments, please contact Connie Swanson at 715-476-0100, ext 250.
Setting the Record Straight
EDITORIAL - by Jim Albert - Friday, April 29, 2011 - Lou Bonagura is at it once again! His "report" of the yesterday's Downtown Ironwood Development Authority meeting is inaccurate and statements he claims were made simply were not made. I have included his report in this editorial to make it easier to present the truth. Statements made in Bonagura's article are indented.
The Downtown Ironwood Development Authority met yesterday to consider a light agenda. A lack of a quorum nearly made the meeting a non-meeting. A phone call was necessary to drag one more member to the table so the Authority could go about its business.
There was a bit of confusion about our regular meeting due to the fact that we had a special workshop last week. Nobody was "dragged to the table" as Bonagura states.
The Authority's new rules limiting donations affected two items that were discussed at the meeting. The Miner's Memorial Mural organizers requested a $100 donation for the mural to be painted downtown. The authority members voted on a measure that allowed the purchase of a $50 brick instead of the $100 brick requested. The only member voting against the Miner's Memorial was James Albert, owner of the downtown pool hall.
According to the donation request form submitted by the Miner's Memorial Mural Committee, a request was made for the DIDA to purchase either a $50 or a $100 brick. Board member Tom Williams suggested that a $50 donation be made due to the fact that the DIDA has only a total of $400 in its budget for donations and a $100 limit per donation limit. I voted against the donation because I don't feel it is appropriate for the DIDA to make such donations with taxpayer's money. The DIDA's sole purpose is for downtown redevelopment. We are not the Chamber of Commerce or the Tourism Council.
Our entire budget for the year amounts to just over $12,000. The DIDA has been in operation for over 30 years. That means a total of over $360,000 in taxes over that period has been generated for downtown improvements in that time. Because of wasteful spending on non-tangible items such as advertising, donations to events, and sponsoring of dances, etc., it would be very difficult for anybody to point to anything with pride and say, "The DIDA made this improvement to the City's Downtown business district."
A second request for a donation came from the Ironwood Festival Committee. Albert asked if they had requested funds from the visitor's convention center. "They have much deeper pockets than we do" he said.
The Visitor's Bureau collects a "pillow tax" from all lodging facilities throughout the Western Upper Peninsula. It is their job to use those funds to promote tourism. Festival Ironwood draws a lot of people to Ironwood's Downtown. There is no doubt about it. It is not the DIDA's purpose to bring people to the Downtown Business District. It is our job to make the downtown an attractive and inviting place for people to come to.
Leeann Garske, co-owner of Coleman Engineering was acting chairperson at the meeting. "I really support what they do, they only do it once a year and it does draw people downtown" she said. "I don't look at it as advertising for DIDA , more for supporting their efforts."
After a lot of confusion over the item could in fact be voted on, Albert made a motion to approve the application as it was submitted. He then voted against it stating that he didn't think it was a worthy cause. The measure passed none-the-less.
I never said that I didn't think Festival Ironwood wasn't a worthy cause. In fact, I stated the exact opposite. I said I voted against the donation because it isn't the DIDA's place to donate taxpayers' money to such causes. If the taxpayers want to support such events they can do so at any time on their own. The money entrusted to the DIDA is supposed to be used for tangible improvements to the downtown.
DIDA has limited operating funds that are generated through the city's property taxes. The Downtown Development Area does not have its own source of funds such as TIF money. And unlike other communities all city taxpayers are paying for the redevelopment of the downtown area. At one time Ironwood was alleged to have a TIF but it was discontinued.
The DIDA is funded through a DIDA tax that is assessed to all taxpayers in the former TIF district not to all taxpayers as Mr. Bonagura claims. It is true that Ironwood let is TIF District go dormant, however, and the DIDA is working towards re-establishing the TIF. But to say that all City taxpayers contribute to the DIDA's budget simply isn't true. Property owners in the Downtown Business District pay a special DIDA tax that is used to support the DIDA's efforts. The general population of taxpayers does not contribute to towards downtown redevelopment.
DIDA funds should be used to buy benches, waste recepticles and tangible items that make the Downtown Business District a better enviromenment for patrons of downtown businesses. I believe these funds have been foolishly wasted since the DIDA was first established, and because of that, our Downtown has become run-down and is not a very attractive place to visit. I would love to see Downtown Ironwood filled with murals similar to that of Ashland. Ashland is a beautiful city and their murals are a big part of that beauty. I will gladly, independently support the mural project with my own money, but I feel it would be irresponsible of me to vote to spend taxpayers' money on that project.
Festival Ironwood draws a large number of people to the area, and I think that's wonderful. And, once again, I would gladly support their efforts on a personal level. However, it is not up to the DIDA to promote tourism, and I will not vote for anything that doesn't make a long-term positive physical impact on the Downtown Business District. I welcome your thoughts.
Bessemer Auto to Close It's Doors April 29th
Racovitis to Retire - Body Shop to Remain Open
BESSEMER, MI - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - The Bessemer Auto Company, one of the areas longest running businesses is closing for business on April 29, 2011. John "Rocky" Racovitis, who with his wife Faye Racovitis, have been a part of Bessemer Auto since 1973 announced the closing on Tuesday.
"April 29th will be the last day of business at the garage," John Racovitis said, "but, Faye and I aren't going anywhere."
Rumors of the closing have already begun circulating, but, according to Racovitis, those rumors have included some details that are not true. "You name it, I've heard it. But, the truth is, I'm retiring. We're not moving away, we haven't sold our house, we're just closing down the garage, and I'm going to spend more time with our new granddaughter."
"Also, The Body Shop is not closing." Racovitis said, referring to his auto body repair business on Industrial Access Road in Bessemer. "Cal Shirkey will continue to manage The Body Shop, and business there will continue as usual. Cal has been with me for 11 years and does excellent work."
One of the oldest continuously operating business in Gogebic County, Bessemer Auto Co. moved into its current location at 102 East Lead Street on September 1, 1925. Prior to that "Bessemer Auto Service" was operated out of the Selin Building in downtown Bessemer. "Rocky" and Faye Racovitis purchased Bessemer Auto from Faye's father Silvio Parolari in 1980.
The loss of the business will be felt by many residents.
"It's definitely sad to see Bessemer Auto close." Racovitis said, "We've had a lot of dedicated, loyal customers and employees over the years. I've always worked hard to be supporter of the community and the great people here." Racovitis isn't ready to completely disappear, however. "I'm keeping my dealer's license, so I'll still be able custom order vehicles for people. I'll be working out of an office at the Bessemer Commons building.” For several years the former Super Value building housed Bessemer Auto Company's new and used vehicle sales. The building is undergoing remodeling and will soon feature a coffee shop, motorcycle license testing, a automotive custom shop and other businesses. Greg Vinci, of Vinci Auto Sales, who has operated at the Bessemer Auto location since the fall of 2010 will also be relocating his used auto dealership to the "Bessemer Commons" building at 509 West Lead Street.
There will be an auction of mechanic equipment, tools, computers, office furniture and equipment on June 15, 2011 at the business location at 102 East Lead Street in Bessemer, Michigan. Rocky and Faye would like to thank their customers, friends, and both present and past employees for their continued support and friendship.
Secretary Johnson, Lawmakers Unveil Proposed Gift of Life Michigan License Plate
Pictured left to right - Ryan Kanneth, 8, of Lapeer, who received a heart transplant when he was just three weeks old; Rebekah Harbin, 14, of Swartz Creek, who received a heart transplant in October 2008; Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; and Iszabel Wiegand, 6, of Lake Orion who received a new heart at age 4.
Representative Daley among those sharing personal stories of donation
LANSING, MI - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today joined lawmakers and advocates in unveiling a proposed license plate design to benefit organ donation efforts statewide.
"I applaud all those using innovative approaches to increase awareness of the need for organ donors," said Johnson. "With 3,000 people in Michigan waiting for an organ, we need to continue to take any and all steps to help save lives."
Johnson was joined by Senator John Gleason (D-Flushing) and Representative Kevin Daley (R-Lum) at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. They and other organ donation advocates spoke about the importance of joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and new initiatives designed to expand the list. A contest would determine the actual design of the license plate, should it be approved by the legislature.
This event marks the first time Daley is speaking publicly about the death of his son Thomas in a recent farming accident.
"Signing up to be an organ donor means that in the midst of a time of grief and sorrow, someone else can experience joy and renewed hope," said Daley. "My family and I remain comforted that Thomas' vibrancy lives on through the gift of his organs. In honor of my son, I encourage everyone to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry."
Johnson announced last week that time permitting, Secretary of State branch employees are to ask customers if they would like to join the registry. She also noted that anyone who is interested may also sign up at the Secretary of State website at www.Michigan.gov/sos. Those who sign up will receive a red heart sticker for the front of their license or state ID card.
Additionally, a newly designed Michigan driver's license, which began being issued this month, will signify registered donors with a permanent red heart on the front of their license. Signing the back of your driver's license no longer enrolls residents in the donor registry.
"It's nice to know we have a champion in the SoS office who understands the importance of organ donation," Gleason said during the news conference. Gleason received a kidney from his sister in 2001.
"Secretary Johnson, your work really will save and improve lives," said Tim Makinen, Gift of Life Michigan corporate communications director, at the Flint news conference.
"The gift of organ, tissue and eye donation can literally transform the lives of their recipients," said Lisa Langley, executive director for the Michigan Eye-Bank. "Since January 1, 257 people have had their sight restored thanks to the compassion of eye donors and their families, including seven in Genesee County alone."
The registry contains about 2 million names, or roughly 28 percent of the state's 18 and older population. Age or existing health conditions shouldn't deter anyone from adding their name to the donor registry. A transplant physician evaluates organs and tissues for their suitability.
For more information about Gift of Life Michigan, contact the agency at (800) 482-4881 or www.giftoflifemichigan.org.
For more information about the Michigan Eye-Bank, call (800) 247-7250 or visit the organization's website at www.michiganeyebank.org.
For more information about organ donation and the Secretary of State's Office, visit its website (www.Michigan.gov/sos), and sign up for the official Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/Michsos) and Facebook updates (www.facebook.com/Michigansos).
Gogebic Resource Advisory Committee to Consider Funding for Secure Rural Schools Title II Projects
IRONWOOD, MI - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - The third meeting of the Gogebic Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, 2011, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (CST) at the Marenisco Town Hall in Marenisco, Michigan. This meeting is open to the public.
Agenda items include consideration of projects on the Ottawa National Forest that enhance forest ecosystems, restore and improve land health and water quality, and improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure. Project proposals were received from the public, RAC Committee members, and Forest Service employees. The Gogebic RAC will make recommendations on how to spend nearly $230,000 of Title II funds. This federal government funding is made available to Gogebic County through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Public Law 110-343.)
The public is invited to view project proposals and provide comments prior to or during the May 19 meeting. Project proposals can be viewed at the Ottawa's Supervisor's office or on-line at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or via facsimile to 906-932-0122. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying.
The committee is meeting as authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Pub.L 110-343) and in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Klaus, RAC coordinator, USDA, Ottawa National Forest, E6248 US Hwy. 2, Ironwood, MI, (906) 932-1330, ext. 328; e-mail email@example.com.
UpNorth Tea Party Patriots to Meet May 5th at GCC
IRONWOOD, MI - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - The next UpNorth Tea Party Patriots meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gogebic Community College campus, Room B-22.
According to their website, "The Tea Party is against excessive spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure our government to be consistent with our three core values:
Constitutionally Limited Government
Fiscal Responsibility: We believe governments should collect taxes and spend public funds only with the consent of the taxpayer. This means that budgets will be balanced. Revenue will equal government expenditures and no money will be borrowed for present or future government spending. No money will be spent for goods and services which can be provided by the public sector, or by charities, as a last resort, by a lower level government.
Constitutionally Limited Government: We are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. Like our founders, we support states' rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all others matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the law. We reject the idea that the Commerce Clause gives the Federal Government carte blanche right to pass any law as it sees fit. The States are the legitimate authority for all regulations save those regarding national defense, tariffs, and treaties. Particularly onerous are Federal regulations passed on to the states that include no funding for implementation.
Free Markets: A free market is the economic result of personal liberty. Our current government's interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.
We urge members to engage fully on the social issues they consider important and the politicians aligned with their beliefs.