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Baraga voters OK road millage

August 8, 2012
By STEPHEN ANDERSON - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

L'ANSE - In the county with the highest unemployment rate in Michigan at 15.8 percent, even standard millage renewals are far from a sure thing, but every millage proposal on Tuesday's primary ballot passed, including a countywide road millage.

The 2 mill, five-year levy "... to make necessary improvements and construction of primary and local roads in the county road system, including streets in the village of L'Anse and the village of Baraga ..." passed 59.8 to 40.2 percent (752-505 votes), with a 22 percent voter turnout.

"You see a lot of the communities struggling, and we do appreciate the support of the people," Baraga County Road Commission Engineer Doug Mills said. "It was about 60-40, and we are really pleased with that. ... It's a renewal in which we hope people can see progress in the road system."

Mills noted Baraga County's unique tax base with state, federal and tribal-owned land and about 25 percent of property on the tax rolls.

"A half mill in some counties will go farther than two mills in our county," Mills said.

Baraga Township's 1.5-mill, two-year fire operating millage passed by the slimmest margin of any proposal, 310-256 votes. The township passed an ambulance millage by 368-205 votes.

Arvon Township's ambulance service and EMT fund proposal (84-19 votes), and L'Anse Township's ambulance renewal (323-151) and fire renewal (281-188) also passed.

At the county level, no candidates faced any opposition, but commissioner candidates incumbent Democrat Bill Menge and Republican Calvin Koski will square off in November.

Most township races were also uncontested, but results for those that were are as follows, by township.

In Arvon Township, Republicans Keith Erickson (60 votes) and Karl Gipp (51) edged out Homer Elmblad (30) for two trustee positions, which are finalized since there was no Democratic opposition.

In Baraga Township, two Democrats faced off for the supervisor position, which is also now finalized due to no Republican opponents. Amy Isaacson defeated Donald Takala 385-107 votes for the position.

In L'Anse Township, Democrats John Robillard and Jennie Nordstrom faced off for the constable position, with Robillard just edging Nordstrom 191-153 votes.

Baraga and L'Anse townships both featured trustee races involving two candidates from the same party. They will both advance from Tuesday's primary, but in Baraga Republican Jerry Dompier collected five more votes than Glenn Juntunen (79-74), and in L'Anse Democrat Shelley Lloyd out tallied Herbert Tollefson 185-168 votes.



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