McBroom on election security, wind turbine discussion, and WUPHD presents about the New Points program
Houghton County Commissioners meeting, June 15, 2021
I meant to record the full video, but I’m afraid that due to a technical SNAFU, I missed the first fifteen minutes. Most of what happened during that time was routine, but if you’re interested, we’ll have to get the recording from someone else. My apologies. Here’s the rest of the meeting, with documents, notes, and video bookmarks following.
The county administrator, after months of pressure, finally posted some actual documents as part of the information packet. It’s fairly complete, but there are still a couple of things left out of it. One thing left out was a correspondence the board received from the Michigan Press Association lawyer, at my request. Since the county didn’t choose to share this with their board packet, I’d like to share it with you. I had it sent to the board of commissioners after May’s regular meeting. More about this letter and my work for transparency in Houghton County in The Inside Scoop, the editorial and opinion section I’m debuting this week that will be the paid portion of Late Edition in the future.
Senator Ed McBroom attended the meeting via Zoom from his office in Lansing to talk about the commission investigating election irregularities and possible fraud. The commission, which he is the chairperson of, is expected to release their full report next week. He specifically addresses Mike Lindell’s supposed evidence during the meeting. At least one person still requested a forensic audit, possibly privately funded, before the meeting ended.
You can watch the entire presentation he gave, but he gives shorter, clearer answers while taking questions.
Comments from the public got quite heated during the discussion of the development of wind turbines in Adams and Stanton townships. People commented on their concerns about the longevity and effectiveness of the turbines, the impact on the local lifestyle and tourism industry, and the damage to property values and the environment.
The commissioner’s response, particularly Commissioner Tom Tikkanen, was similar to that in Baraga County during the L’Anse Township wind turbine issue. It’s a zoning issue, and zoning is handled by townships, cities, and villages. Permits are granted based on whether a planned project adheres to existing strictures, not the government or public’s opinion. Tikkanen did encourage opponents of the turbines to do everything within their legal rights to stop the turbines.
Representatives from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department presented about the New Points Program, a ‘syringe service program’ or needle exchange that was recently established locally within the department. The response they received was not positive. At the tail-end of the meeting, one person proposed “reducing” the health department.
During Kate Beer’s report on the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and local COVID-19 cases and deaths, Commissioner Tikkanen asked some clarifying questions about the expiring pandemic restrictions. While most are expiring on July 1, MIOSHA rules will remain for employers and employees.
The commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 21-10, which was not on the agenda or in the board packet posted on Friday. (I’ll attempt to acquire a copy of the resolution to follow up). It sold a portion of Houghton County land to the Copper Island Academy. The entire discussion lasted less than 30 seconds.
Editor’s note: Resolution 21-10 is in an updated version of the board packet posted to Houghton County’s website before the meeting. It’s now also available here.
The commissioners also unanimously approved a tax millage increase of .2268 mills, the summer property tax levy, and to establish an “Enduring Gifts Funds Program” to accept charitable donations on the county’s behalf.
Commissioner Tikkanen offered an update on the 5th Street fire cleanup and recovery. He included an effort to “dispel some rumors”, including saying there was no insurance on the buildings lost in the fire.
During the airport manager’s report from Dennis Hext, he made an interesting observation about the availability of rental cars this year, with a “word to the wise” recommending early reservations.
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