175 years and counting: State legislators honor Ontonagon

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette State Rep. Scott Dianda presents a resolution honoring Ontonagon’s 175th year to Village President Ken Waldrop at Monday’s Village Council meeting.

ONTONAGON — “The village has endured, fire, flood, wind and withstood the passage of 175 years,” read state Rep. Scott Dianda.

On Monday Dianda presented a resolution to the Village Council honoring Ontonagon in its 175th year signed by himself and state Sen. Tom Casperson.

As the oldest and first permanent non-native settlement on Lake Superior’s south shore, the year was determined using the arrival of the first such settler, James Kirk Paul. Paul arrived in early May of 1842.

“We’re very proud of your heritage. We’re proud of where you’re going in the future,” said Dianda, referring to potential developments like the biofuel plant and a potential copper mining operation.

The resolution was met with applause from the packed room of community members.

Later in the meeting, new leaders were appointed to continue to move Ontonagon towards 200 years.

Dan Szymanski was unanimously appointed to the Planning Commission. He also serves on the Blight Committee and has been involved with project Rising Tide, said Village President Ken Waldrop.

“He seems very civic- and community-minded,” Waldrop said.

Stacy Colgen was appointed to the Downtown Development Authority, also unanimously, with her computer and social media experience listed as valuable skill sets.

For the Recreation Committee, Dawn Miller was re-appointed and Donna Nethery was appointed to fill a vacancy.

Miller has been serving on the committee for many years said trustee Tony Smydra and is a “real asset.”

He also had high praise for Nethery. “She is very dedicated to the community, has great ideas for recreation,” Smydra said, also noting her residency on Rose Island, a key future recreation spot.

Both were unanimously approved.