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Boom — like that: Biofuel plant gets financing terms

ONTONAGON — After months of waiting, Synsel Energy announced on Thursday that financing terms for construction of a biofuel plant at the site of the former Smurfit-Stone paper mill have been finalized. The $300 million refinery will create second-generation biofuels from pulp and waste wood ...

Issue goes south: Houghton County Board asks Ala to resign

HOUGHTON — The Houghton County Board voted Thursday to send a letter asking Commissioner Scott Ala to resign and clarify his residency status, the first in a series of steps in recommended procedure to remove him from office. Ala, who represents Houghton, has been physically present at one ...

Zoning variances for jail addition OK’d

HOUGHTON — The proposed Houghton County Jail expansion project received zoning variances from the Houghton Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, as did two properties on Sandpiper Drive. A side-yard and rear-yard variance were approved for the jail site, where a planned 60-bed expansion ...

Hancock City Council declines to investigate member’s residency

HANCOCK — A motion to investigate whether City Council member Ted Belej is legally a resident was denied Wednesday at a special meeting of the council. The question of Belej’s legally defined residency was raised by council member John Haeussler, who expressed concerns over possible legal ...

Houghton denies another rental

HOUGHTON — The Houghton Rental Housing Board denied a rental request for 106 W. Douglass Ave. Wednesday, because the owner failed to make necessary improvements to the site and had apparently rented the house illegally. Sufficient parking had not been installed on the site, City Manager ...

Hancock City Council sends back plan for tweaking

HANCOCK — Recommending changes for clearer wording, intent and message, the City Council sent the master plan back to the Planning Commission with requested changes. Council member John Haeussler led the effort, with a suggestion to clarify the relationship between the master plan and ...

Village: Blight is hazardous to community

CALUMET — Blighted and dangerous buildings in the village are not only unsightly but also a hazard to the public, according to the chairwoman of the Downtown Development Authority. Leah Polzien made these points recently to the Village Council in urging it to enforce the blight and ...

Erosion seen in lake-level forecast

HANCOCK TOWNSHIP — The six-month Lake Superior water level forecast is out, bringing with it bad news for shoreline residents. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, projections released this month, the levels will likely remain higher-than-average into October. Lake Superior is ...

Calumet restaurant owner disputes blight designation

CALUMET — A village property owner has been trying to sell a former business for two years, and only this month did she learn the building was added to a blight list that includes six other buildings. Julie DePaul-Johnson, owner of the former Evergreen Restaurant on Fifth Street, addressed ...

Houghton recruits JROTC program

HOUGHTON — A Junior Officer Reserve Training Corps (JROTC) program will launch at Houghton High School this fall. The Houghton-Portage Township Schools Board unanimously approved adding the program at its meeting Monday, weeks after the Hancock Public Schools Board cut its JROTC program ...

Blight panel recommends enforcement

CALUMET — Leah Polzien, chairwoman of the Calumet Village Downtown Development Authority, wants the Village Council to hire the law firm of Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy and Larson, referred to as Kendricks, to assist the DDA in enforcing blight and dangerous building ordinances, she ...

Now not time to burn: DNR

HOUGHTON — Smokey says that bonfire will have to wait. Due to a heightened fire risk, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has designated the entire Upper Peninsula as a no-burn zone. The central and western portions of the peninsula are the highest risk, particularly inland areas, ...

Construction on H-PT bond projects underway

HOUGHTON — Construction projects approved by Houghton-Portage Township Schools District voters are on their way to completion. Voters approved a $10.9 million bond proposal in 2017, which included a new football and track field and also an access road for the elementary school. Greg ...

Classic car catches fire in Calumet

CALUMET — Emergency vehicles were dispatched Friday afternoon to douse a car fire involving a 1976 Chevy Corvette Silver Anniversary model on Veterans Memorial Highway. “It’s done,” said the driver and owner, who was on scene. He said the car was insured. He guessed fuel ignition or ...

Carrying Water: Local 6K walk raises awareness of access

HOUGHTON — From Peru, China and Spain to the Keweenaw Peninsula, walkers and runners around the world Saturday joined in World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. “We’re participating with what’s going on globally today here locally. So even though we’re just the tiny, little U.P., we ...

Mroz discusses binding ties of Tech, community

HOUGHTON — Schools such as Michigan Technological University create community outreach programs that often might go unnoticed by the local community. But even if that unwanted consequence occurs, Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz, who is stepping down from the position effective next ...

Ontonagon couple becomes DIY identity theft consultants

ONTONAGON — Faced with identity theft and no legal protection, Bob and JoAnn Hartle took matters into their own hands. The couple now works to educate others on identity theft prevention and responses and will host an upcoming seminar planned for 6 p.m. May 23 in the Ontonagon Michigan ...

Foundation presents community awards at Keweenaw Gold dinner

HOUGHTON — Several people who had improved the community, whether through volunteer work or philanthropy, were recognized at the Keweenaw Community Foundation’s Keweenaw Gold dinner. Volunteer of the year was Leah Polzien, executive director of Main Street Calumet. Jim Vivian, executive ...