Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County board passes anti-hate statement

HURLEY — For much of their tenure, the teen members of the Iron County Youth Leadership Council who sit on the Iron County Board of Supervisors have taken a smaller role in meetings — listening to discussions and voting at the appropriate times.

On Tuesday, however, the county board passed a statement the youth leadership council played a key role in developing.

The Iron County Board of Supervisors Statement of Community Integrity and Respect highlights that Iron County is a great place and a community that takes pride in “small town values” such as safety, belonging, integrity and respect.

“The Iron County Board of Supervisors upholds the laws that protect the rights of everyone. In order to feel protected, residents and visitors need to feel safe, accepted and respected,” council member Jackie Bradley said during the meeting, reading from the statement.

In the statement, the county board: opposes any form of hate, encourages community members to hold themselves and their neighbors accountable for building awareness of hateful behaviors, empowers members of the community to engage in constructive and respectful conversations on the topic and commits to work with communities to create partnerships that further inclusion and collective integrity.

The members of the youth leadership council have been meeting weekly since early July, according to Neil Klemme, Iron County’s 4-H youth development educator with the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Klemme provided the board with some background on how the statement was crafted and said the kids had been working on it even though COVID restrictions had been preventing them from attending meetings in person until Tuesday.

“The kids worked really hard on it. Like I said before, to get high school kids to show up every Thursday night and talk about something like this shows they really cared about the issue and they really wanted to do something about it,” Klemme said after the meeting. “I threw out a bunch of ideas for them, this is the one that kind of stuck out to them that they could tackle.”

He praised the participants for how thoughtful they were while working on the statement’s wording and their effort to avoiding being confrontational or politicizing the issue.

“We want people to love Iron County and want (them) to visit here, like we love it,” Klemme said.

In other action, the board approved:

—A resolution supporting Enbridge’s Line 5 relocation project.

—The sale of two properties the county had taken over — one on Oak Street in the city of Hurley and one in the town of Knight — for $500 each.