L'ANSE - Four Baraga County board of commissioner races, like many other county races, will be uncontested, but District 4 voters will have to choose between Democratic incumbent Bill Menge and Republican challenger Calvin Koski.
As detailed in a July 31 Daily Mining Gazette article (tinyurl.com/bjghvwf) before the Aug. 7 primary election, Menge, who was a local businessman for almost 50 years, is now retired and running for his third two-year term.
Menge's primary goal is to bring jobs and industry to Baraga County, especially in light of the 13.6 percent unemployment rate in the county, the highest in the state as of September's figures. He thinks that can be solved by communicating with state government officials to return a fair share of tax dollars to the county.
"I've enjoyed working with a lot of the people around the state who are more than anxious to get something going around the U.P.," Menge said in a July interview.
He also believes the county has some of the best recreational opportunities in the region, which can be used to better enhance tourism opportunities.
Koski is a lifelong Aura resident, graduate of L'Anse High School and Michigan Technological University, and Baraga County Memorial Hospital employee for 34 years. He supervised the nuclear medicine department at BCMH for 26 years and at Ontonagon Memorial Hospital for 22 years.
He believes his experience on a variety of boards, including the Aura Community Hall board and Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association board, has prepared him to serve on the county board of commissioners.
If elected, he would like to work toward changing property tax laws, taking advantage of the county's natural beauty and better engaging the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
"Maybe I can put some freshness into this board. It seems like it's not doing much and has gotten stagnant," he said in a July interview.
Gale Eilola (District 1), Mike Koskinen (2), Paul Tesanovich (3) and Bill Rolof Jr. (5), run unopposed, with Tesanovich assuming the seat currently held by Pat Reilley, who is not seeking re-election.
Other uncontested county races include Wendy Goodreau (Republican) for clerk/register of deeds, Anne Koski (R) for treasurer, Bob Teddy (Democrat) for sheriff, Joseph O'Leary (R) for prosecuting attorney, Patrick Osterman (R) for mine inspector and incumbent Timothy Brennan as probate judge.
Township, village and school board races
Three people will be vying for two spots on both the Baraga Township and L'Anse Township board of trustees.
In Baraga Township, Republican Jerry Dompier (12 years on township board, previously 12 years on Baraga village board) says his primary goal is to decrease expenditures to lower millage rates and Republican Glenn Juntunen (three-term trustee who has been a village trustee, township constable, village police officer and Baraga fire chief) says he wants to keep spending under control. Democrat Ralph Sackett (lifelong township resident who has worked at the Baraga Correctional Facility for 18 years and as Keweenaw Bay fire chief) wants to expand fire and ambulance protection services and county tourism.
In L'Anse Township, Democrats Herbert Tollefson (12 years on township board and retired); will strive to keep fire and ambulance services up to date while maintaining a balanced budget. Shelley Lloyd (born and raised in L'Anse, Baraga County Sheriff's Department corrections officer for 15 years) said incentives for businesses to move in are key. Peter Magaraggia (four years on township board and previous Downtown Development Authority board member) wants to maintain solid township financial management and continue to develop recreation opportunities.
All other races in Baraga, L'Anse, Covington, Spurr and Arvon Township are uncontested, as are races for president, clerk, treasurer and trustees in the villages of Baraga and L'Anse. William Jondreau and Ralph Sackett are running unopposed for two four-year terms on the Baraga Area Schools board of education, and Anne Koski and Jason Ayres are running unopposed for two six-year terms on the L'Anse Area Schools board.
Voters will have a say in an Arvon Township Schools operating millage proposal, a renewal of 18 mills for four years "to provide funds for operating purposes" assessed against non-homestead and non-qualified agricultural property, which would collect $506,009.97 in 2013. It is required for the school district to receive its per-pupil revenue guarantee.
The only other local proposal in Baraga County is a request for an increase of 0.19 mills for five years "to provide one half expenses of the Michigamme Lakeview Cemetery, raising an estimated $4,180.00 in the first year."