URGENT local action: HPTS Bond Proposal vote tomorrow (Tues, May 2)

Good afternoon, FAM.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 2) is the vote for for the Houghton-Portage Township Schools 2017 Bond Proposal.

I personally plan to support the proposal because I believe that it will allow for necessary infrastructure and facilities updates–not only the much-discussed updates to athletics facilities, but also updates to classrooms, restrooms, and the HS auditorium; to information technology; to heating and ventilation systems; and to the parking lot configuration (I can personally attest to the fact that the current elementary school drop-off/pick-up situation is untenable and unsafe, so I’m really happy to see that a solution is in the works).

Here is the link to the informational brochure about the bond proposal so that you can review it and make your own decision.

Please get out and vote, FAM!

Voting Locations & Hours – All Polls Open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tues, May 2

City of Houghton
Precinct 1 – Houghton Fire Hall (for residents west of Bridge Street)
Precinct 2 – Dee Stadium (for residents east of Bridge Street)

Portage Township
Precinct 1 & 2 – Hurontown Fire Department
Precinct 4 – Doelle Senior Center




March 13 – Daily Houghton/Keweenaw FAM

Hello Houghton/Keweenaw FAM!

Action You Can Take Today & This Week

  • Today there is a meeting about establishing a rotating emergency homeless shelter for the winter in the Copper Country. This is something that does not exist yet, and the weather from the last few days is a reminder of how crucial it could be for some. The meeting is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Hancock (401 Quincy St.)
  • The Houghton County Commission is meeting tomorrow at 5:00 pm in the Conference Room on the fifth floor of the Houghton County Courthouse.
  • The Hancock City Council meeting is Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the City Council chambers at City Hall.
  • Let us know if there are meetings or volunteer opportunities happening locally that should be shared with our group!

Issues at the Local Level
I have attached some images provided on Facebook by Krissy Sundstrom relating to the proposed bond and millage for Houghton-Portage Township schools.

Issues with at the State Level
A bill proposed by Senator Casperson to streamline permitting of small mines has passed the MI Senate, it will move to the house and Representatives Kivela, Dianda, and LaFave all support the measure.

We saw a number of familiar faces at the Count MI Vote town hall. The overall tone of the crowd was positive that change needed to happen to stop gerrymandering (including in our own 110 MI House district!), but it will take a lot of signatures and work to get the MI constitution amended in 2018. Details on the proposal are not yet available, and if you want to have input on the final proposal you can go here or here to learn more.

Issues at the National Level
Call Representative Bergman and say thanks for his seeming reversal from his March 7 town hall position on Great Lakes funding. He has posted that he supports the Great Lakes and has signed a letter to the President in favor of the GLRI funding, but he is going to need both political cover (so call and say thanks), and to have his feet held to the fire when it comes time for voting.


March 8 – Daily Houghton/Keweenaw FAM

Happy International Woman’s Day Houghton/Keweenaw FAM!

A reminder about some of the things you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day can be found here and here. I’m going to try something different today and place some direct actions up at the top, regardless of their scale, and then include local, state, and federal issues that warrant a phone call or a letter down below.

Action You Can Take Today

  • Houghton City Council meets this evening at 5:30, it would be great to have a member(s) at all of the local council meeting. If you attend let me know what you heard!
  • If you took part in Representative Bergman’s telephone town hall last night I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the questions and answers, I am trying to put together at least a summary of the event.
  • The organizers of the unofficial Town Hall for Rep. Bergman in Marquette on April 13th @ 7:00 PM have sent an invitations to all of the representative’s offices via certified mail, so he knows he is invited. The cost for to advertise, rent a venue, send postage, etc. may reach up to $3000. If you are able and interested the organizers would love a small donation via paypal.
  • Let me know if there are meetings or volunteer opportunities happening locally that should be shared with our group!

Issues with Local Impact
With the budget talks looming in Congress one often overlooked but important federal program that benefits our area is the Essential Air Service, which provides subsidies to small, rural airports that may not otherwise be commercially viable, including Houghton County Memorial Airport. See this column in the Daily Mining Gazette for more info.

Issues with State Impacts
A partnership approach has been proposed by the state Superintendent Brian Whiston to avoid closure of 38 schools. This approach would partner local school districts, ISDs, and the state to develop 18-month action plans for low performing schools.
Critics of bills to change state education standards point to a section in the bill that allows parents to opt their children out of any ‘testing that the parent finds unacceptable with no negative repercussions’.
According to survey data from MSU & YouGov, 59% of Michiganders support protecting the environment over ensuring economic growth when the two are in direct conflict (my two cents: good environmental stewardship will lead to long-term economic growth, which is more important than short-term profits). This is good information to use in conversations with neighbors, family, and political staffers.

Issues with National Impacts
A bill introduced into the Michigan State Senate would require candidates for President and Vice-President to make publicly-available 5 years of tax records in order to appear on the ballot. It is currently in the Elections and Government Reform Committee (Senator Casperson is not a member).


State Action: Support House Bill 4090 on school closings

(Michigan Resistance) Support House Bill 4090 – This bill says you can’t shut down schools unless you engage with the local community first and address their concerns.

Representative Kelly (Chair, Committee on Education Reform): (517) 373-0837

Representative Hornberger ( Vice-Chair, Committee on Education Reform): (517) 373-8931

Representative Dianda:  (517) 373-0850

“Hi, I am calling to ask Representative _____________ to stand up for our democracy and SUPPORT bill 4090. If you truly believe in local control for the public education system and support the notion that Michigander have the right to excellent local schools, you need to support 4090.

Students deserve to attend schools in their community that are accessible and accountable, and this bill will create a system where schools are not closed without proper steps taken to protect the students and their families. Communities are supported by their schools, and when schools are closed the community suffers. Please support bill 4090. Thank you.”