Upcoming parking deck engagement night, contact tracing coming up short, and launching new Calumet coverage

Front Page, week of 9/25/2021

Editor’s note: Feeling under the weather at the end of this week, but with no other employees, I’m still here to publish the Front Page for you. I did my best, but please excuse any sloppiness as temporary. There was also another story I wanted to publish today but didn’t as I want to write it when I’m at my best. I figured you’d understand, as Late Edition has really been all about quality over quantity. Thank you.

Details of parking deck engagement night announced in short Houghton City Council meeting

Houghton City Council, Sept. 22, 2021

At a lightning-fast 22-minute council meeting (there just wasn’t much on the agenda), the Houghton City Council heard from a citizen unhappy about the dog park location, approved funding for a new police vehicle, and learned details of the public engagement event surrounding the lakeshore parking deck.

Summary and links

Parade of Nations announces scavenger hunt winners

From the Parade of Nations committee:

A number of teams played hide-and-seek in this year’s Parade of Nations scavenger hunt. Winners were announced at the Parade in Houghton last Saturday, Sept. 18, and the top three teams took home cash prizes.

First place was a team representing the Elaine Bacon Literacy Program. Team members were Denise Heikkinen, Dejlah Mezeel, Jan Handler and Beth Flynn. They won $300.

A team that calls itself RAAJ won $200 for second place. Team members were Cassy Tefft de Muñoz, Jannah Tumey,  Liz Fujita, and Cody Kangas.

The Puzzle Lovers won third place, receiving $100. Team members were Zazil Santizo Huerta, Hongjing Xie, Jacob Blazejewski, Yasasya Batugedara and Dananjani Dissanayake.

The Parade of Nations scavenger hunt involves teams that hide clues to a country or cultural heritage and other teams that use those clues to find out what country or culture they represent. Like the Parade itself, the scavenger hunt celebrates the cultural diversity of the Keweenaw.

The annual Parade of Nations is sponsored by Michigan Tech and Finlandia University.

WUPHD tracing capacity exceeded once again

From the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (emphasis added):

Due to the rising number of COVID cases in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon Counties, you may receive a delay in receiving a response to your call. For general questions related to COVID, please call the MDHHS Hotline: 888-535-6136 or email COVID19@michigan.gov.

Effective immediately, the WUPHD has made the decision to concentrate our efforts on controlling potential outbreaks by prioritizing case investigations and contact tracing related to schools, the elderly, and nursing homes.

The public can take steps to prevent further outbreaks by masking in indoor spaces and distancing from others. In addition, if you have not received your COVID vaccine, please do so. The COVID vaccines are safe, effective, and work to prevent serious illness. You can find a vaccination location at https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.

Please visit https://www.wupdhd.org/ for our COVID-19 information page to find information on the spread of COVID-19 throughout the district. For resources on how to stay safe during the pandemic, visit https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

This is very similar to a press release that the department had to release last fall as cases spiked and the limited staff at the department was overwhelmed. I’ve been wearing a mask in many of the public places that I go despite being vaccinated, but in light of this announcement, I’ll be stepping it up even further. If I’m not careful, I could infect the governing boards of three or four municipalities within about a week.

I also intend on doing some more reporting on the local COVID-19 situation soon. Are there any angles or sub-topics you’d like me to investigate?

What and Where is Ontonagon? (Final Part)

Written by Bruce Johanson

Bruce’s introductory series about Ontonagon and how he came to live there wraps up this week with an overview of Ontonagon’s last 100 years. If you don’t know much about Ontonagon, this is a great primer.

Read more

Launching Calumet Village Council coverage

While I haven’t reached my subscription goal yet, I was able to rearrange my schedule to allow for covering the Calumet Village Council. This is a big step, as it will be the first time I regularly work in Calumet, and will hopefully lead to more regular coverage of news and events in north Houghton County.

This month, their initially scheduled regular Tuesday night meeting was not able to be held due to a lack of village councilors. Only two were in attendance. They rescheduled for Thursday, but to make a long story short, I wasn’t able to make it.

I did, however, get this nice photo of their new Village Manager, who starts on Oct. 1.

I’ll be picking up coverage again next month, with Goodman’s first meeting as manager. She has a lot of work ahead of her!

Other News (aggregated, not sponsored)

//Click on the headlines to read the full story.

Frustration grows over traffic backups in Houghton/Hancock

By Jesse Wiederhold, Upper Michigan Source

We’ve all been experiencing this frustration. Even if you don’t have to cross the bridge, the backups create traffic issues throughout Hancock and Houghton. Jesse talked to MDOT and Mercy EMS about the ongoing issue. Solid reporting.

Fritz Erickson fired as president at Northern Michigan U.

The Associated Press

It seems the NMU governing board lost faith in their president over the last year. They met in a special meeting and voted 8-0 to dismiss Fritz Erickson, who still had two years left on his contract. I’m keeping an eye on the North Wind for more details.

Top Michigan health official Khaldun leaving for new job

By David Eggert, The Associated Press

Dr. Joheigh Khaldun, who has stood by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through many press conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced she’s leaving for a job in the private sector. Another person joins the exodus from public service.

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

By The Associated Press

Falsified Supreme Court rulings, misinterpreted medical journals, and plain old FAKE NEWS; debunk them all by reading one of my favorite weekly reads, Not Real News.