Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Articles written by Tom Laventure


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  • Zoning committee discusses covenants

    Tom LaVenture|Oct 21, 2021

    HURLEY — The Iron County Comprehensive Planning, Land and Zoning Committee discussed the topic of broken covenants on Tuesday. The topic arose when the committee delayed approval of a conditional use permit for the construction of a 2,560 square foot accessory building in an residential-recreation (RR-1) zoned district at Camp Nokomis Estates on Sand Lake Road in the town of Mercer. The committee acted 4-0 to wait for the Mercer town board recommendation for or against the permit. Committee members John Sendra and Brandon Snyder were not...

  • Marijuana business appeal denied

    Tom LaVenture|Sep 21, 2021

    IRONWOOD — An adult use marijuana establishment business seeking to operate a retail outlet in Ironwood was denied an appeal regarding its place in the scoring in the ranking process at the city commission meeting on Monday.  The city commission 4-0 affirmed the city manager’s review finding that stated there were no reasons to change the scoring result in June for Cultivatd LLC, which was used among the recommendations to the city commission for tentative approval of licenses to the top two scoring companies in each of eight license...

  • Mercer Library holds outdoor celebration

    Tom LaVenture|Sep 21, 2021

    MERCER - It may have been planned out of concern for public health, but patrons and supporters of the Mercer Public Library said moving the annual fundraiser banquet outdoors was a refreshing change. "It's really, really been perfect," said Beth Wetzler, president of the Friends of the Mercer Public Library. "I think it's so nice because it's a lot more available to more people." The library typically has an annual dinner and silent auction. This year, the event was free to include food and...

  • Civic center nearing completion

    Tom LaVenture|Sep 9, 2021

    IRONWOOD — A strong epoxy smell will prevent people from performing other work at the Pat O’Donnell Civic Center for the duration of ice rink floor painting. In her report to the Civic Center board on Wednesday, manager Michelle Rigoni-Sivula said a company specializing in painting rink floors has completed the initial three coats. There is some paint separation in a few areas that will need to be redone prior to the painting of the lines and circles of the hockey rink. “It has to cure for a week,” she said. The goal is to be completed...

  • DOT approves new airline service

    Tom LaVenture|Aug 20, 2021

    IRONWOOD - The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the new Essential Air Service provider for Gogebic-Iron County Airport, according to a Wednesday announcement from the agency. Denver Air Connection was selected as the low-bid and community preferred EAS to replace Boutique Air Inc. with a two-year contract from Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2023, according to the announcement. The airline will fly six weekly nonstop flights to Chicago O'Hare International Airport using the 50-seat...

  • Gov. Whitmer visits Ironwood

    Tom LaVenture|Aug 19, 2021

    IRONWOOD - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist were in Ironwood Tuesday to kick off their U.P. Jobs Tour across the Upper Peninsula. The governor's delegation visited with owners of Jacquart Fabric Products and Cold Iron Brewing and toured the facilities. She said the pandemic prevented a 2020 visit, along with many aspects of her normal routine. "It's great to be up here," Whitmer said to the Globe on Tuesday while touring Jacquart. The U.P. is an important part of the...

  • No mask mandate at Hurley school

    Tom LaVenture|Aug 18, 2021

    HURLEY — The Hurley School Board modified its back-to-school policy concerning coronavirus contact quarantines on Monday, but will continue optional rather than mandated face coverings to start the fall semester. The school board 5-0 approved adopting the current recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding close contact with persons exposed to COVID-19 positive persons. Going forward, the policy requires vaccinated individuals to be monitored for symptoms and tested in three to five days after exposure,...

  • Motorcyclist injured in Hurley crash

    Tom LaVenture|Aug 18, 2021

    HURLEY - A 74-year-old Marquette area woman was injured Monday following a crash with a pickup truck in Hurley. The crash occurred at approximately 3:21 p.m., when a pickup truck driving west on U.S. 2 attempted to make a left turn onto U.S. 51, according to information from Iron County Sheriff Paul Samardich. The temporary intersection is part of a detour around the construction of a roundabout to be completed this fall. A sheriff's office deputy who was stopped on U.S. 51 while waiting to...

  • Pat O'Donnell Civic Center opens its doors

    Tom LaVenture|Aug 6, 2021

    IRONWOOD - A first look at the new Pat O'Donnell Civic Center was too good to pass up during a soft opening on Wednesday. "We had a very nice, steady stream of people all afternoon and were encouraged by the turnout," said Michelle Rigoni-Sivula, civic center manager. As a former hockey parent who is accustomed to cold arenas, Jim Pawlak, of Ironwood, said the heaters above the spectator area are a nice touch. "That is going to help us out tremendously," Pawlak said. The "newness" of the...

  • Iron County sales tax revenue up

    Tom LaVenture|Jul 3, 2021

    HURLEY — Iron County sales tax is up and it may be due to online shopping, or at least its ability to track purchaser origin for tax purposes, according to reports at the county board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday. The monthly sales tax for June was $230,834, according to the report from county clerk Michael Saari. That is a $66,992 or 29% increase over the June 2020 total of $231,834. Every month of 2021 so far has a double-digit increase over the previous year. “That is really good,” Saari said. County Board Chair Joseph Pinardi sai...

  • Pat O'Donnell Civic Center could open in July

    Tom LaVenture|Jun 11, 2021

    IRONWOOD - The city could assume temporary occupancy of the Pat O'Donnell Civic Center in early July, according to reports at the Monday board meeting. With the final list of items for contractors to revisit to complete or repair the work to complete the arena that started construction in the spring is nearing completion, according to board member reports, Dennis Hewitt, the former city assessor and building official who was involved in the construction process until his retirement in December....

  • EDC pleased with business growth

    Tom LaVenture|Jun 4, 2021

    IRONWOOD — The Memorial Day weekend offered a glimpse of a city emerging from a pandemic and excited to be open again in time for the summer, according to members of the Ironwood Economic Development Corporation at their Thursday meeting.  John Wyssling, EDC chair, said Memorial Day weekend was interesting with new and existing businesses opening downtown. He was providing a tour for a group from Chicago and said they were impressed.  “They enjoyed the new park (downtown city square) and seeing the businesses open and the new places,” W...

  • Veteran receives honorary diploma

    Tom LaVenture|Jun 4, 2021

    BESSEMER - There was a senior among seniors at the A.D. Johnston High School commencement exercise this past Friday in Bessemer.  Bessemer Area School District presented an honorary diploma to Charles Tirpik, a Bessemer resident who forwent the remainder of his senior year of high school in 1967 to enlist in the U.S. Army.  This is the second consecutive year that Bessemer Area Schools has honored a veteran who left high school before they were able to get their diploma, said Daniel Niemi,...

  • ATV-UTV Rally opens summer riding season

    Tom LaVenture|May 27, 2021

    HURLEY — Local and visiting all-terrain and utility vehicle riders will converge on Iron County this weekend for the Memorial Day ATV/ UTV Rally from today through Sunday as the kick-off event of the summer trail riding season. The annual rally parade route will change from downtown Hurley to Saxon this year, according to the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce. The parade is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. The parade is possible with the support of the Iron County Fair Board, the town of Saxon, the Iron County Sheriff’s Department and the...

  • Northwoods Manufacturing holds open house

    Tom LaVenture|May 22, 2021

    HURLEY, Wis. - The students of the Northwoods Manufacturing program at the Hurley K-12 School opened their doors on Thursday for the first public event at the wood and metal shop since the $1.3 million building expansion dedication in the fall of 2019. The event was to showcase some of the projects the students have created after mastering the various industrial tools and equipment for wood and metal crafting. It was also a chance to sell items in a school store and silent auctions.   "This...

  • Miners Park adding new maintenance facility

    Tom LaVenture|May 13, 2021

    IRONWOOD - Work started Tuesday with preparing the site where a maintenance facility will be placed at Miners Memorial Heritage Park in Ironwood.  The project, made possible by the Friends of Miners Memorial Heritage Park, along with the private and business donations of cash, equipment, materials or labor, will provide for a heated building for storing trail maintenance equipment, according to a press announcement. The 900-square foot garage is from the Davey's Motel in Ironwood that is...

  • Montreal studies revenue streams

    Tom LaVenture|May 13, 2021

    MONTREAL, Wis. — Finding new ways to fund growing streets and infrastructure costs was the main topic of discussion at the Montreal City Council meeting on Tuesday. In a transportation utility study presentation Jeff Seamandel, a project manager with the engineering firm MSA Professional Services, said that some Wisconsin municipalities are transitioning from the special assessment fee to areas specifically benefiting from street maintenance and other infrastructure improvements to a community-wide transportation fee system. The...

  • Mercer PRAT will still need legislative approval

    Tom LaVenture|Apr 27, 2021

    MERCER, Wis. — The town of Mercer held its annual meeting on Thursday, where John Sendra, town board chair, asked the nearly 20 residents present to contact their elected state officials to ask their support for the town’s Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) request. Mercer voters approved PRAT on April 6. A municipality with at least 40% of its equalized assessed property value in use by tourism-related retailers, would qualify for PRAT. A municipality at less than 40% tourist driven value must have a PRAT request authorized by the state...

  • Mercer students work in loon and lake study

    Tom LaVenture|Apr 27, 2021

    MERCER, Wis. - Students of the Mercer School District are getting a first-hand experience with wildlife field research through a county program. Mercer School eighth- and ninth-graders are continuing the annual participation in the Iron County Loon and Lake Study, in support of the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department, according to Sarah Engler, the middle and high school science teacher at Mercer School. The project involves three field trips to the nearby Fox Lake and Deer Lake....

  • Mercer voters approve PRAT

    Tom LaVenture|Apr 8, 2021

    MERCER, Wis. - Mercer voters approved a half-cent consumer tax to help pay for roads and infrastructure costs in Tuesday's spring election. The voter approved the Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) with 278 votes (59.7%) for the proposal and 187 votes against. This contrasted the previous PRAT attempt in the 2019 spring election when the proposal lost 507-264. Mercer is eligible to utilize PRAT as a municipality with at least 40% of its equalized assessed property value in use by tourism-related...

  • Mercer to decide on PRAT tax in Tuesday election

    Tom LaVenture|Apr 2, 2021

    MERCER, Wisc. — Town of Mercer voters will decide whether or not to pass a half-cent consumer tax to pay for roads and infrastructure spending in an Election Day referendum on Tuesday. Voters may choose yes or no to the ballet question, “Should the Town of Mercer levy 0.5% (one half cent on the dollar) sales tax on tourist related retailers, as described in Wisconsin State Statute 66.1113(1)(d) to pay for transportation and public safety infrastructure?” The question posed is a proposed Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) that Mercer is eligib...

  • 'Seeds of Change' demo set for First Friday 

    Tom LaVenture|Mar 30, 2021

    IRONWOOD — The First Friday Committee is planning one more virtual event for the pandemic with a seeding demonstration from master gardeners to help residents with planting in their gardens. “Seeds of Change” will be a Facebook Live First Friday event from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 2, at facebook.com/events/ 239335811206992. Members of Range Master Gardeners will live stream a demonstration on seed starting from Northwind Natural Foods Co-op. In his report to the Downtown Ironwood Development Authority on March 25, Tim Erickson, city...

  • Hurley School expands syrup program

    Tom LaVenture|Mar 20, 2021

    HURLEY - Hurley K-12 School students have made maple syrup for years, but funding now makes it possible to expand into a larger and more comprehensive learning experience. High school science students and the Northwoods Manufacturing program are involved in establishing a tap system for 200 trees using gravity to move sap through tubes to storage tanks to be transported and processed, said Troy Puisto, science teacher. It's the "ground floor" of a something that is expected to continue...

  • GRWA readies for Wakefield decision

    Tom LaVenture|Mar 19, 2021

    RAMSAY — As the city of Wakefield prepares for a decision on assuming control of the Indianhead Water system, the board of the current operator, Gogebic Range Water Authority, sought to learn more about the option at its virtual meeting on March 11. G Jean Verbos, water authority administrator, presented details of the Indianhead Water system to the board. This included a description of the customer base by meter size, commodity rate, readiness to serve rate, debt retirement and a profit and loss statement. There will be a more in depth...

  • Specialists to pinpoint water break

    Tom LaVenture|Mar 4, 2021

    IRONWOOD - Specialists have joined the city of Ironwood Public Works Department in pinpointing a water break on Ayer Street. On Wednesday morning crews were still looking for the precise location of a water main break before they started digging. The break occurred on Friday but city crews were unable to narrow the search to a specific area, according to Scott Erickson, city manager. A resident in the 600 block of Ayer Street reported to city officials hearing "a running water sound in their...

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