Ontonagon Republicans talk development

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette Ontonagon continues to be in the “running” for a possible Biofuel refinery at the former Smurfit-Stone Paper mill site.

ONTONAGON — On a night when the nation was focused on the special Alabama U.S. Senate race, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones, the Ontonagon County Republicans talked in-depth about economic development in the county.

“While we have not heard a lot about Highland Copper, I have heard that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state Senator [Thomas] Tiffany have been in communication with prospective mining companies,” said Kirk Schott, Michigan 110th state representative candidate.

Thorough discussion was also done on a possible Biofuel plant at the former Smurfit-Stone paper-mill property. The SynSel website has had Ontonagon as the first choice, while at other times, Ontonagon went down on the list of proposed plants.

According to the SynSel website, the Elmhurst, Ill., corporation locates its biorefineries and ‘Enviro Industrial Parks’ near an abundant source of waste wood and forest residue.

That brought the discussion to an idea of a manufacturing process for Kitty Litter made from waste wood, a concept that is expected to be brought up at a future Ontonagon County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors meeting.

The idea of focusing the Ontonagon County Republican Party monthly meetings on Economic Development was started by the late Bob Niemela. Niemela passed away this summer.

The emphasis on discussing economic development was carried on by Pastor Brian Mason.

Mason’s term as Ontonagon County Republican Party Chairman ended at the meeting. He did not seek re-election. The new chairman and officers will be confirmed via notification to the Michigan State GOP.

It was a unanimous decision by everyone at the meeting that the organization’s Facebook page administrator is to be a local active member of the Ontonagon County Republican Party.

The group decided to move its monthly meetings to the fourth Monday of each month. The next meeting will be Jan. 22, 2018.