Markkanen talks on importance of voc ed

State House candidate meets with Onto. County GOP

Skip Schulz/Daily Mining Gazette State representative candidate Greg Markkanen, second from right, goes over the importance of vocational education in the western U.P. at the recent Ontonagon County Republican Party meeting.

ONTONAGON — Hancock teacher and state representative candidate Greg Markkanen talked about education issues he is concerned with at a recent meeting of the Ontonagon County Republican Party.

“I see the need to teach young people a trade and skill in vocational education,” he said. “Not everyone wants to go to college. We need welders and other trades to be filled by trained future employees. “With the state allowing experienced instructors with the right amount of experience to teach, even if they do not have a teacher’s certificate, we simply need to get them involved.”

Members of the group brought up the the former Ontonagon School as a potential vocational school site.

“That would be a great location,” Markkanen said.

Dr. Kirk Schott stated the Ewen Trout-Creek district is in the running for a Governor’s Award.

“E-TC is the only school in the running,” said the E-TC School Board president, who also talked about the proposed biofuel manufacturing facility to be located at the former Smurfit-Stone Paper Mill.

Another issue discussed was getting Lake Superior ships into Ontonagon Harbor. Since the harbor is under the management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the issue on dredging is in the hands of the federal government.

Jake Putala of Baraga, representing state senate candidate Ed McBroom, talked about how the harbor is important for the economy of the western UP, not just Ontonagon.

McBroom is a dairy farmer and a former state representative.

“He is a Christian and pro-life. He has also been endorsed by (current state Sen. Tom) Casperson,” Putala said.

Jeff Jacobs of Houghton talked about the importance of getting electric power transmission lines that industry in the Upper Peninsula needs.

The meeting opened up with county Republican Party President Brian Mason talking about a lawsuit involving Bill and Jill Johnson, who are suing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) for its policy of not granting foster parent status to anyone with a state concealed permit license (CPL) and possessing firearms in a residence where a foster child resides.

“This issue has gotten the attention of the New York Times and other national media,” Mason said.

Schott talked about a new business, Foxcom, looking at bringing up to 300 jobs to Michigan. Foxcom has announced it will be manufacturing flat-screen monitors in Wisconsin.

The organization is going to send $100 to Michigan Technological University on behalf of the late Bob Niemela, past president of the county Republican Party.