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Columns

Something for you to think about

A group of 12 politicians from both parties were asked to suggest how to make us better educated as voters. Here are the results: 1. Learn by carefully listening - logically, without emotion - to each candidate to hone and confirm your values by recognizing those of each of them. 2. Teach ...

Schools shut, but education continues

On Sept. 24, the Western U.P. Health Department asked for an emergency meeting with all of the local school superintendents because they were concerned with the growing number of COVID cases in Houghton County. The meeting was arranged within a few hours and was attended by every local school ...

The importance of keeping our K-12 Schools open

Researchers at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard found that a child’s most important educational experience occurs before the age of six. By then, 90% of their brain development will have occurred. At that age, they are developing more than one million neural connections each ...

What would Lincoln do?

In the lead-up to the presidential election, the Republican and Democratic parties held remote conventions, giving voters the chance to see alternative visions of the nation’s future. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) presented plans to combat COVID, revitalize the economy, reform ...

Time to wake up, accept COVID is here

There was a point in time this summer where I was speaking with a local parent. He told me that the Coronavirus was not here, so sporting events could go on as normal, at least here anyway. While that wasn’t really the case then, it certainly isn’t now. We were at 227 cases in Houghton ...

Questions answered

It was Thomas Edison who got his ears boxed by his teacher for asking, “Why is the sky blue?”  Pity. Q: So, why is it? A: The Short Answer: Gases and particles in Earth’s atmosphere scatter sunlight in all directions. Blue light is scattered more than other colors because it travels ...

It takes a village

We have all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is going to ring true more than ever this school year. I feel very fortunate to live and work in the Copper Country. The community has always been very involved in the education of our area students and I’m ...

Parent and Community Support needed as we reopen K-12 schools

On March 12 at 11 p.m., Gov. Whitmer held a news conference announcing that all K-12 schools in Michigan would be closed to face-to-face instruction beginning on Monday, March 16. It was first thought that this would last 14 days or so. Now, six months later we will return to face-to-face ...

Time for some transparency in local policitics

In the Thursday, Aug. 13, edition of the Daily Mining Gazette, the paper ran an article citing Commissioner Mr. Roy Britz stating, “Discussions had been on hold pending the results of the August Primary election for Sheriff, as one of the candidates opposed building a new jail, Commissioner ...

Helping kids be comfortable wearing masks

A face mask is a simple thing, yet it's one of the best tools we have to help protect one another from COVID-19. That's why public health experts say almost everyone should wear a mask-including children as young as two years old who live in certain communities. "Many areas have mask mandates ...

Vote for America’s future

As the November presidential election rapidly approaches, we are once again at a crossroads. Do we continue down President Trump’s path, or strike off in a new direction? Most people care about health, security and economic well-being for themselves and their families. These basic needs are ...

Getting government to respond

Once you’ve filed your request, there are a lot of ways a government agency can respond. The best-case scenario is that a clerk or FOIA coordinator promptly turns over what you’ve requested, or even more. It does happen, but isn’t typical. Sometimes you’ll get a response that seems ...

August tidbits

Over the years, each month has developed a character all of its own, and August is no exception. The following are a few tidbits to help you enjoy it just a little better. If you live in Europe, if’s likely you’re taking an extended holiday during August. If you live anywhere in the ...

How to write a FOIA request

There are two things to figure out before beginning to write a Freedom of Information Act request. The first is to whom you’re addressing the FOIA request. Local governments and state agencies are typically required to designate a “FOIA coordinator” who handles all the requests sent to ...

Career & Technical Education update 2020

In August 2017, Copper Country voters passed a Career & Technical Education millage. At that time, I promised to give the public an annual update of what we are accomplishing with those millage dollars. The most important statistic is the number of students who are participating in CTE ...

But what to request?

Even with the Freedom of Information Act, asking the government for information isn’t as simple as walking in and saying “I want information on road maintenance”, because you would receive far too many files (and that’s only if you could pay for the copies). Alternatively, you could ask ...

Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act

Spend a little time reading in-depth news articles and sooner or later you’ll come across some mention of the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, and requests made through it. FOIA is the name of the federal law, and is used as a shorthand term for similar laws in each state, too. It’s the ...

Fund what serves, defund what doesn’t

The recent wave of protests following the murder of George Floyd have focused national attention on racial discrimination and many other serious flaws in American law enforcement. In seeking remedies, the slogan “Defund the Police” has gained popularity. While the meaning of these three ...