Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Articles written by Charity Smith


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  • Bessemer DDA to seek concrete removal bids for south end of Sophie Street

    Charity Smith|Jun 11, 2022

    BESSEMER - The Bessemer Downtown Development Authority is seeking bids to have the concrete removed between the curb and the sidewalk between East Sellar Street and East Colby Street on South Sophie Street. DDA staff person Samantha Dorr said that funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development only covered the concrete demolition up to the southmost point of Sophie Street and cannot cover the north three quarters of the street. According to Dorr the city can pay for the...

  • Planning Commission discusses ordinance for short term rentals

    Charity Smith|Jun 9, 2022

    BESSEMER – The Bessemer Planning Commission went over a draft ordinance to regulate short-term rentals during its regular meeting on Tuesday night. “It’s very thorough, there’s no question about it,” said councilman and committee member Terry Kryshak. The ordinance will require all short-term rental companies provide the city with a local agent. City manager Charly Loper said this person would have to be available to accept phone calls on a 24-hour basis, have a key for the property and be able to get there within 60 minutes. The ordinance...

  • Bessemer detour to begin May 31

    Charity Smith|May 21, 2022

    BESSEMER - Construction season is fast approaching and Bessemer is gearing up for the second phase of its two large construction projects: a rebuilding of U.S. 2 through town and the city's water and sewer project. The Michigan Department of Transportation and city officials have announced that a detour of eastbound U.S. 2 traffic along city streets south of the highway will take effect May 31 and last through early September. "This summer is going to be hectic. There are a lot of good things...

  • Students perform at District Solo and Ensemble Festival held at Bessemer

    Charity Smith|Mar 22, 2022

    BESSEMER - The A.D. Johnson Junior-Senior High School in Bessemer was flooded with the sound of music on Saturday morning, as roughly 50 students competed in the District Solo and Ensemble Festival. The students, who represented both the Bessemer Area School District and the Ironwood Area School District performed various solo and ensemble pieces for both band and choir. The students performed one or two selections and then received feedback from Dale Smith, of the Wisconsin School Music...

  • Washington Elementary to hold vaccine clinic

    Charity Smith|Dec 15, 2021

    BESSEMER — Washington Elementary students will have an opportunity to get their COVID-19 vaccines on Friday. The school is hosting a vaccine clinic for its students to get their first dose from 9 a.m. to noon. The clinic is offered in conjunction with the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District and the Western U.P. Health Department, which will be on site to administer the vaccine to the students. Principal Mark Switzer said it is not required for anyone, but if they want to get vaccinated, they can with parental permission. “I’m not s...

  • Hurley School Board grants funds for hockey players

    Charity Smith|Nov 17, 2021

    HURLEY, Wis — The Hurley School Board awarded the Hurley/Ashland co-op hockey team a $500 grant per player during its regular meeting on Monday night. The district has been participating in the co-op for four years, and every year participation has increased. According to Brooke Gilbertson, the team was formed with five players from Hurley. In its second season it had six, in the third season there were eight players, and there are now nine Hurley players on the team. She said she expects to have at least nine next year as well, possibly m...

  • Bessemer enacts freezing water lines policy, eliminates ordinance

    Charity Smith|Sep 9, 2021

    BESSEMER — A policy to reimburse residents some of the cost for freezing water lines was enacted, and an ordinance dealing with the same issues was repealed, following a public hearing during Tuesday’s Bessemer City Council meeting. The new policy will reimburse residents for 50% of their expenses to thaw frozen water lines, up to $100. In order to qualify for the reimbursement, the property owner must have observed any let-run directives, have a structure that is heated and regularly inspected, and left snow above the water line. The pol...

  • Bessemer mulls funding for trailhead

    Charity Smith|Sep 4, 2021

    BESSEMER — The Bessemer Recreation Commission discussed ongoing plans for a new trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail behind city hall on Thursday evening. The commission heard from city manager Charly Loper that the Bessemer Area Historical Society and Tom Kangas, a resident historian, had agreed to help draft a letter of the historical significance of the railway to the area and the importance of preserving it with the trailhead. The letter will be used as part of a Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund application. “We just need a let...

  • Bessemer Area Schools hold open house for students, parents

    Charity Smith|Aug 21, 2021

    BESSEMER - The Bessemer Area School District held an open house at both Washington Elementary and A.D. Johnston Junior/Senior High School on Thursday afternoon. According to science teacher David Rowe and special needs instructor Jamie Stiffarm, the annual event helps students with anxiety over the start of the school year, by allowing them the opportunity to meet their teachers and possibly some classmates, go over their schedule ahead of time and find the location of their classes. "Some of...

  • Indoor mask use required at GCC this fall

    Charity Smith|Aug 17, 2021

    IRONWOOD — Gogebic Community College officials announced Friday that the college will require face masks to be worn indoors. The decision follows the recommendation of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Both organizations recently announced that masks should be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. “The expectation at GCC at this time is to wear masks indoors,” said GCC president George McNulty. “With the uptick in COVID-19 variants both locally and nationa...

  • GCC holds open house

    Charity Smith|Aug 5, 2021

    IRONWOOD — Prospective students took a closer look at Gogebic Community College on Tuesday at an open house on the Ironwood campus. The event started in the courtyard outside the Lindquist Student Center and included visits with staff, campus tours, and refreshments. Kari Klemme, GCC marketing strategist, estimated they had more than 100 people in attendance. Campus tours were provided by students in the newly formed GCC Student Diversity Group, she said. Kathy and Peter Tofson drove three and a half hours from Portage, Wisconsin, to tour t...

  • GCC looking to fix bridges on Mt. Zion nature trail

    Charity Smith|Jun 12, 2021

    IRONWOOD - Behind the ski chalet of Mt. Zion lies a hidden gem - a nature walk through the woods, over a small stream, covering approximately a mile. The walk has been used year round for hiking, snowshoeing and fishing, and even Frisbee golf, said a Gogebic Community College spokesperson. However, in 2016 a great "hundred year flood" severely damaged the two wooden bridges along the path. College officials plan to repair the bridges. "Imagine how nice this would be if these bridges were...

  • Bessemer 4th of July is a go

    Charity Smith|Apr 8, 2021

    BESSEMER — The Bessemer City Council gave the organizers of local Fourth of July festivities its “blessing” Monday to go ahead with plans for this year’s events. “I’ll be happy with absolutely anything that we can have just to bring our hometown pride back. Bring the community back together and just celebrate the Fourth of July. So anything that we can possibly have, I am grateful for,” said Linda Nelson, president of the Fourth of July organizing committee. Nelson said normally at this time of year they would be finalizing plans, howeve...

  • Council approves resolution for flexible meeting platforms

    Charity Smith|Apr 3, 2021

    BESSEMER — The Bessemer City Council approved a resolution to allow flexibility in meeting platforms during its first in-person meeting in over a year on Friday. The special meeting was called in order to address the issue of whether or not to meet in person in the future. “That’s the state of Michigan for you. It kind of contradicts the COVID-19 rules. I talked to our attorney and we have to have this meeting in person in order to decide whether Monday, and future meetings, will be in person,” said City Manager Charly Loper. Loper said th...

  • Slimed for a cause

    Charity Smith|Apr 3, 2021

    BESSEMER - Students at Washington Elementary got to pour slime on Mark Switzer, the school's dean of instruction, on Thursday, as a reward for the kids' fundraising efforts in the Kids Heart Challenge for the American Heart Association. The annual challenge encourages students to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, drink water instead of drinks with sugar, and show acts of kindness. The students set up profiles on the Kids Heart Challenge website and raised money for the American Heart...

  • ADJ learns about autism

    Charity Smith|Apr 2, 2021

    BESSEMER - Students and staff at A.D. Johnson Junior-Senior High School spent Thursday learning about autism in preparation for Autism Awareness Day today. "The theme for world wide autism is to also work with kindness," said teacher Jamie Stiffarm. "So, the acceptance and kindness towards others." To help educate students, the school held an hourly contest Thursday where questions on autism spectrum disorder were read every period and students had the time in between classes to drop their...

  • GCC medical coding, billing program lauded

    Charity Smith|Apr 1, 2021

    IRONWOOD — Gogebic Community College was singled out for having one of the best medical coding and billing degree programs in 2021 by intelligent.com, an online magazine that rates post-secondary education programs. GCC president George McNulty told board members at their Tuesday meeting that the program was also praised for being “academically rigorous.” He said the magazine provides “unbiased” research that helps students make decisions on higher education. GCC was selected from an assessment of 1,280 accredited college and universities, acco...

  • Mercer Library offers variety of online activities

    Charity Smith|Mar 31, 2021

    MERCER, Wis. - While the Mercer Library is open, the staff continues to offer a variety of online events as they are not hosting any in-person gatherings due to social distancing concerns. "We are trying to focus mostly on things that people can take home from the library to work on or online events," said library director Teresa Schmidt. The library gives out craft kits twice a month. The kits are appropriate for kids, families, and even adults, Schmidt said. The latest craft project kit was...

  • Watersmeet Bible Church has new pastor

    Charity Smith|Mar 20, 2021

    WATERSMEET — For the first time in many years the Watersmeet Bible Church has a permanent pastor. Robert Yerks was officially appointed to the position on March 1. “His love of Jesus Christ, people, and the beauty of creation make him a great pastor for the Watersmeet community and area,” said Carol Mason Sherrill of Watersmeet Bible Church. Prior to Yerks’ arrival as an intern in 2019, the church has had some difficulty maintaining a permanent pastor, he said. According to Yerks after a couple pastors came and left, the congregation was “ve...

  • Area schools earn scholarships through blood drives

    Charity Smith|Mar 19, 2021

    IRONWOOD - Four area schools will host blood drives over the coming weeks. The American Red Cross blood drives could provide scholarship opportunities. "The Red Cross offers these schools a scholarship program that if they get their students engaged to volunteer, contact donors, try to recruit their fellow students," said Christine Luxton, account representative for the American Red Cross. The program credits the students for the units they collect through the school year The program runs from...

  • Washington School kitchen heats up

    Charity Smith|Feb 12, 2021

    BESSEMER - Bessemer school officials were able to turn on the heat in the Washington Elementary School kitchen for the first time in months Wednesday as a repairs were made to the building's heating system. A crew of heating technicians spent four hours on Wednesday repairing the part of the system that controls the heat in the kitchen. According to head cook Brandy Babich, the kitchen has not been properly heated since the start of the school year. She said that the heat would come and go...

  • Bessemer parks and rec holds outdoor meeting

    Charity Smith|Oct 3, 2020

    BESSEMER - The Bessemer parks and recreation committee held its first meeting since March on Thursday afternoon at Bluff Valley Park. This was the first time that any of the city's sub-committees and groups have met in-person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was held under the pavilion with committee members wearing masks and bundled up with coats and hats, maintaining their social distancing by sitting at separate tables. Terry Kryshak, mayor pro-tem and a member of the...

  • Bruce Crossing VFW gets new sign

    Charity Smith|Oct 2, 2020

    BRUCE CROSSING - VFW members in Bruce Crossing recently erected a new sign in front of the post on M-28. The sign, which cost more than $1,000, according to Roger Anttilla, commander of the Henry A. Holappa VFW Post 9345, was placed in front of the post last week. "One night at a meeting I said, I don't like that old sign and we should do something about it and everyone agreed. It was as simple as that," said fellow member Jimbo Jorgensen, who Anttilla credits with getting the ball rolling on...

  • MSP honors Rockland man

    Charity Smith|Sep 11, 2020

    ROCKLAND - The Michigan State Police awarded a Rockland man with the "Distinguished Citizen Award," on Wednesday evening - the highest honor it can give to a civilian. The award was presented to Bruce Racine for rescuing his neighbor, Caryl Miilu, 85, from a house fire on June 3. "It is an honor and a privilege to recognize your high degree of civil duty that was displayed while assisting in the lifesaving of another," said Eighth District Commander Captain John E. Halpin in a letter that... Full story

  • Bessemer seeks input from residents for master plan

    Charity Smith|Sep 5, 2020

    BESSEMER — The city of Bessemer mailed a survey to all residents on Tuesday to gain their input for the city’s master plan, according to city manager Charly Loper. This three-question survey is designed to help the city figure out the “why” portion of the master plan, said Loper, aiming to answer, “Why we work to continue the improvement of our community.” The questions include: — “What worries you the most about our future as a community?” — “What excites you the most about our future as a community?” and — “What are unique and special thin...

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