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UPPCO to Increase Retail Base Rates in January

Houghton, MI - December 17, 2009

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has approved a rate increase for Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO). Overall, the company's retail base rates will increase approximately 7.0% beginning January 1, 2010.

While the net effect of the rate increase on customers will vary by rate classification, the average residential customer in UPPCO's Integrated System using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will see an increase of approximately $7.33 per month. An average residential customer in UPPCO's Iron River System using 500 kilowatt-hours a month will see an increase of approximately $8.42. The effect on business customers will vary by usage and rate classification.

Increased business costs are the primary reasons for the increase, including:


  • Hydroelectric facility upgrades
  • Cost of capital
  • Low sales growth

UPPCO also received approval to recoup 80% of bad debt charges that exceed those already included in customer rates. The company agreed to return 80% of any unused bad debt expenses, as well.

In addition, the Monthly Customer Charge that was included on electric bills will now be a Daily Customer Charge, which will help UPPCO more accurately bill customers for a partial month of service.

"It's been three years since our last base rate increase," said Keith Moyle, UPPCO Vice President & General Manager. "We know that our customers are already stressed by the poor economy, so we did what we could to control costs internally. Despite our efforts, our previous rates did not reflect today's costs to provide retail electric service."

UPPCO customers will learn more about the proposed rates in their January bills and online at

Helping You Manage Energy Use and Costs Controlling your use is one way to lower electric bills, and UPPCO has suggestions on its Web site that may help. Visit Saving Energy at for tools and information to help you understand your electric usage and find ways to manage it.

UPPCO also offers a Budget Billing payment plan that helps keep electric bills manageable all year by dividing your bill into 12 equal payments. You can enroll in Budget Billing online at or by calling 800-562-7680.

Finlandia University Strengthens Role in Finnish and Finnish-American Scholarship
Finlandia University has strengthened its intellectual role in Finnish America by becoming the host university for the Journal of Finnish Studies. The first issue of the Journal generated at Finlandia University, Vol. 13, No. 1, is now in print.
HANCOCK, MI – December 17, 2009

"The Journal of Finnish Studies has been roundly welcomed by Finlandia University," said Finlandia Paloheimo Scholar Beth Virtanen. "The move of the Journal to Finlandia reflects Finlandia’s central role in Finnish studies scholarship in North America."

The journal’s transition to Finlandia was supported by a grant from Finlandia Foundation National.

The latest Journal contains ten peer-reviewed articles by Finnish and American scholars. The articles, of two types, examine contemporary literary studies as well as scholarly papers presented at the summer 2009 conference, "Finnish- American Immigrants in Transition," hosted by the Institute of Migration at the University of Turku.


Recall Vigilantes Disclose Finances
Ironwood - December 17, 2009

The Recall Vigilantes of Ironwood Township have filed their financial disclosure forms in accordance with Michigan’s Campaign Laws. The group that called themselves "Township Citizens for Change" didn’t change much except to their reputation and their member’s checking account balances.

There were little surprises in the filing either. Everyone knew that the group was spending a lot of money to garner the few votes that they would receive, and they thought correctly. The Simmons fiasco cost his seven friends and himself $4769.


Township Approves Modest Budget
Ironwood - December 17, 2009

Monday evening the Township Board of Trustees passed the 2010 fiscal budget. We hope you didn’t read the Globe and show up on Tuesday night. Strangely enough the Globe was in such a hurry to put the Budget in their headlines, that they forgot what day the budge meeting actually was (or wasn’t).

Now how do you suppose the Globe got it wrong? After all the Township paid $300 bucks to the Globe to advertise the meeting correctly. Of course this is the same newspaper that still has Ice Skating at The Colonial listed on it’s calendar.

In any event, the good citizens of Ironwood Township should be very pleased with the new budget. Large, very large reductions were managed through restructuring the employee’s health care coverage. Other savings were derived at holding back on several salary increases.

The only significant increase in either the expected revenues or the expected expenditures was in the Fire Department account. Last November the voters approved a millage increase for the purpose of purchasing a new(er) addition to their fire fighting equipment. The exact pricing for the truck is yet to be confirmed nor the means of financing the truck.

The Board of Trustees have been receiving "A"’s on the Township Financial Audits and continue to maintain an affordable and balanced budget for the Township Taxpayers, unlike their city counterparts at the City of Ironwood, which is the most heavily taxed municipality in the Upper Peninsula.


December GCC Board of Trustees Meeting

Ironwood - December 16, 2009
By Jeanne Graham, Director of Admissions and Public Information

The Gogebic Community College Board of Trustees met in regular session last night. In a brief agenda, the Board approved a new fee for off campus students. All off campus students will be assessed $50 per person per semester to support additional services.

In other action, the on- and off-campus adjunct faculty for the Spring 2010 semester was approved. Also, the Board approved initiating the search for the full time position of the Director of Institutional Development. This position becomes vacant at the end of December with the resignation of Carrie Miljevich.

President Jim Lorenson reported that the fall semester classes were completed last Friday, final exam week is currently underway, and that the campus offices will be closed starting December 24 through January 3. Mt. Zion opens for the season this Saturday, December 19, and the Lindquist Student Center will be open for various hours which will be posted on the college website.

Finnish Independence Day 2009

December 10, 2009
On Sunday, December 6, at 2:00 p.m., the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center hosted its 92nd annual Finnish Independence Day program. The program celebrates the anniversary of the date Finland gained its independence in 1917.




Frick "n" Frack Night at City Hall

or Who's Private Privy Is It Anyway?

December 14, 2009

Tonight was a typical night at Ironwood’s Council Chambers. Perhaps, there were no more illegal council meetings, but then again perhaps there was. This time the city council attempted to hide their sneaky ways by having a "Closed Session" at the end of the night’s circus.


above - video of former Councilwoman, Suzanne Toth, explaining how Ironwood City Council violated the City Charter. The Council then violated the Open Meetings Act to discuss the Charter violation. The councilhas been avoiding the subject ever since.



Junior High Quiz Teams
Move On To Finals

By Lori Hendges

LL Wright High School was, once again, the host site for our local Junior High Quiz Bowl Competition held on Monday, November 23rd. Bessemer’s junior high team, coached by Lori Hendges, took first place and Wakefield-Marenisco’s team, coached by Dan Obradovich, placed 2nd. Placing 1st or 2nd allowed these teams to move on to the UP Finals held at Bark-River Harris Schools on Saturday, December 5th, where both teams placed third in their respective brackets. All the students represented their schools and communities well and a good time was had by all.

above - Bessemer Jr High Quiz Bowl Team at  Regonals - October 29th. held at Gogebic Community College - IronwoodInfo File Photo


Niemi Exhibit
Opens  at Finlandia!

Hancock - December 9, 2009

For the first time in several years the Gallery at Finlandia University is hosting a sculpture exhibit. The exhibit is the latest of the terrific art brought to the Western U.P. By the University.

The exhibit showcases the fantastic work of prominent sculptor Bruce Niemi, an extremely accomplished artist from Kenosha Wisconsin. To say that this exhibit is exciting would be a gross understatement. The most often heard word at last Thursday’s opening was "WOW" . A word used by both the young students and the more senior aficionados attending the evening’s reception.      READ  MORE...

Black Bear Bowling

White Pine - December 2, 2009

There is a new leader in the Wednesday Night Women's League. The Peninsula Graphic team won all four of its games against the Porkies team and moved into first place.

Simmone Zatirka had a great night for the PGs, bowling a scratch game of 180, and a 433 scratch series. The S&S team which had been in first place for several weeks fell to second place after losing three out of four games last night.

As a result of the four losses to the PGs, the Porkies Team slipped from fourth place into fifth place.

The big winner last night was the Bowling For the Cure Fund. The ladies have saved $900 this year as a result of their weekly 50/50 bowling raffle. It may be too early to speculate but the Ladies think that $3000 miy be raised for this year's fundraiser.

Pictured above the members of the Flower Garden Team.

In the Men's Monday Night League, Pestka Construction had the high scratch game at 841, the high scratch Series of 2242 and the high handicap game, 937. But, it wasn't enough to stay in the top spot.

White Pine Electric Power won there series and moved into first place for the first time this season.


Santa's Headquarters Ready to Go

Ironwood - December 10th, 2009

Today the memorial building in Ironwood will serve as this year's headquarters for Santa. The event will again provide presents for 500 of the area's children. Each child will receive hats, mittens and blankets. They will also receive one major toy and two or three stocking stuffers. The children's family will also receive a $20. food certificate. The major sponsors of the event are the Kawanis Club and St. Vinnies. According to volunteer, Jim Mildren this is a community wide event with all churches participating. Jim also told us of one gentleman who came and donated 5 twenty dollar bills. It takes all year to bring the event to fruition.

When we visited the Memorial Building Auditorium we found Jim and co volunteer Garson Ross. They told us that a third volunteer, Pat Niksich was out out for a while. Monday, the kids from A.D. Johnson and the ROTC were on hand to help get things ready for today. The doors to Santa's Headquarters open at noon.

filephoto above Garson Ross  and Jim Mildren