Mild winter affects long-established businesses

MILD WEATHER ABOUND–A lot in front of the L’Anse Motel & Suites that is typically full of snowmobiles has none. With one of the warmest winters on record, we go another year without ice on the bay, without snowmobilers on the trails. Businesses that rely on winter for a great deal of commerce are hurting more than ever this year. From restaurants to motels to logging, the mild temperatures are worse than you might think.

by Porter Davis
As most Yoopers could tell you, winter is never consistent in northern Michigan, but rarely is it so tame as it has been this year. Most people would consider a mild winter to be a blessing, and perhaps in most places that is true, but here where we’re so accustomed to cold winters, most businesses plan their best times around the darker months. When faced with a winter that hardly leaves snow on the ground, decades old establishments are  struggling to find ways to operate. Beyond ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing,  there exists the restaurants that feed us, the hotels that provide a warm bed, and the shops with fishing supplies. The bay is devoid of the dozens of ice shacks that typically dot it in the heart of February. Snowmobile trails are practically nonexistent and thus tourism is taking a huge hit. With March right around the corner, we may yet get a big storm or two, but the likelihood that our winter is already over is all too apparent. Beyond commercial industries that everyone is familiar with, the warm weather brings an even greater threat to the state economy. Logging has been a part of life in the UP since the land was first  settled. Logging with modern machinery and vehicles typically requires the logging  companies to adhere to strict rules and regulations to preserve the land for further use and relogging over time. When the ground freezes, heavy equipment doesn’t damage the  ground and loggers are able to do some of their most profitable work in the winter. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.


Road commission engineer honored

Doug Mills


by John Raffel
The County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan Engineering Committee presented its
2023 Engineering Awards at the annual County Engineers Workshop held on Feb. 6 in Manistee and Doug Mills, engineer-manager with the Baraga County Road Commission, was presented with the Rural Engineer of the Year Award. Tim Brown, Saginaw County Road Commission, was named Project Manager of the Year. “CRA’s Engineer of the Year Awards honors those who have dedicated their careers to the pursuit of engineering excellence,”
CRA CEO Denise Donohue said in a statement. “Doug and Tim have positively impacted their county road and bridge system. They are hardworking and integral members of their road commissions.” To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.


Sacred Heart celebrates Catholic Schools week

HELPING HANDS–Students at Sacred Heart School (SHS) in L’Anse celebrated National Catholic Schools week Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, with fun activities for students and faculty alike, including a school-wide service project and giving appreciation for the work teachers do every day. The week ended with a celebration on Friday of the school’s teachers, with the Home and School Association providing coffee and goodies for the teachers in the morning and an afternoon free of lesson plans with the entire school spending the afternoon skating at Meadowbrook Arena. Pictured are (l-r) hockey player Roman Brennan (grade 6) assisting classmate John Holcomb (grade 5) with his skates.

by Christy Miron  Sacred Heart School Principal
National Catholic Schools Week was celebrated by staff and students at Sacred Heart
School (SHS) in L’Anse who participated as part of the nationwide celebration of Catholic education. The event took place Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, with fun activities for students and faculty alike, including a school-wide service project and giving appreciation for the work teachers do every day. “Catholic Schools Week is a favorite for all each year,” said SHS  Principal Christy Miron. “Students had the opportunity to put aside their uniforms for the
week and dress according to each day’s theme.” To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.


Otter Lake Fishing Derby has great results

ICE FISHING WINNER–Robert Aho of Tapiola caught the biggest fish at the Otter Lake Fishing Derby on Jan. 27, 2024. His fish was 34 and 3/4 inches long, garnering him $360. The fishing derby saw 76 contestants out on the ice, which stayed solid despite the warm temperatures.

by Porter Davis
The Otter Lake Fishing Derby has been going on in Tapiola for many years now, bringing people from all over the western Upper Peninsula to go out on the ice. The fishing derby is a day of ice fishing on Otter Lake, where fisherman and kids compete to catch the biggest fish. Beginning at sunrise, fisherman haul in fish all day long using poles and tip-ups. Some people sat around the drilled holes with friends or family, while others drilled multiple holes and waited to see the flags from their tip-ups swing up across the lake. Regardless of  method, most fished in groups and enjoyed the warmer weather. The derby took place on
Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. This year, the only fish measured for the contest were Northern Pike. Fisherman had until the morning of the derby to sign up and were allowed to fish until 4 p.m. Afterwards, a weigh in took place at 5 p.m. Most people came in a little early and
fish measurements were submitted throughout the day. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.

Elmblad presented with Quilt of Valor

QUILT OF VALOR–Clyde Elmblad was presented with a Quilt of Valor at the L’Anse American Legion on Jan. 16, 2024, honoring his service in the Korean War. The quilt is a way of comforting veterans and giving thanks for their sacrifices. Elmblad was nominated by his niece Lynn Kubit, and the evening was organized by Jim Sullivan and Kristina Waara of the L’Anse and Alston VFWs. Kristina Waara presented the quilt to Elmblad, who afterward enjoyed pics and a pleasant evening with his friends and family. Pictured with Clyde above are Matt Elmblad, Gwen Elmblad, and David Elmblad.

by Porter Davis
A Quilt of Valor was recently presented to local man and Korean War veteran Clyde Elmblad. The quilt that Elmblad was given was hand-made and specially embroidered with
his name. These quilts aim to provide comfort and peace to those touched by war. Presented with his quilt at the L’Anse Legion on Jan. 16, 2024, Elmblad enjoyed an evening of appreciation for his service and time with friends and family. The legion was filled with chatter and laughter while everyone ate dinner with Clyde, showing their appreciation by simply being present. The hosting of the presentation was done by the L’Anse Legion  alongside the Alston and L’Anse VFWs. Kristina Waara, L’Anse VFW Commander, presented Elmblad with the quilt itself, alongside Jim Sullivan of the Alston VFW, who helped to get the evening set up. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.

Area teacher saves dog trapped on the ice

CANINE SAVIOR–Mariah Dunham, a teacher at Baraga Area Schools, pictured with her own furry friends, was walking her dog on Jan. 3, 2024, when suddenly another walker’s dog fell through the ice near the pow wow grounds. Braving the cold water, she smashed a path through the ice to get to the animal and brought it to safety.

by Porter Davis
“I considered it just an act of human kindness”. That was the very first thing that Baraga Area Schools’ Teacher Mariah Dunham said when she was asked to share her daring rescue of a dog trapped on the ice. Risking life and limb (literally) to save another, Dunham  attributed her actions to just being in the right place at the right time, but her story proves otherwise. Wednesday, Jan. 3, was just any other day for Dunham, a walk by the pow wow grounds with her dog, enjoying the decent weather before last weekend’s snowstorm. A friend had suggested Dunham go on the road towards the beach, and she met some people walking their own dogs along the path. The dogs all greeted each other, and the walkers went on their way. Dunham kept on walking and was nearly to her vehicle when she heard
screaming from behind and felt a compulsion to run back. Before she did, she secured her dog in a vehicle and spotted a tow strap. Dunham felt an intuition that she couldn’t entirely explain, saying it was, “Just some divine intervention. We never go down that path and we just happened to be there, and something told me to grab that tow strap and put my dog away.” To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.

Little Eagles promotes partnering with families

A LITTLE GAME–of duck/duck/goose is going on here and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community College’s (KBOCC) Little Eagles, Migiziinsag, students are enjoying the fun time, though are also learning while playing.

by Melissa Newland

With the year almost halfway over, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community College’s (KBOCC) Little Eagles, Migiziinsag, staff, students and their families continue to prepare for next year when the students attend kindergarten. “It’s crazy that our year is almost at the halfway
mark,” noted teacher Melissa Paulson. She stated the Little Eagles program continues
to partner with each family to help their child prepare for kindergarten, with  social/emotional skills being a crucial element of a child’s growth. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.

Baraga Fire Department’s Area Children’s Christmas Party

From the smile on her face, Briella Lytikainen had a good visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus during the Baraga Fire Department’s (BFD) Baraga Area Children’s Christmas Party held Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023 at the BFD, and is definitely on the ‘nice’ list this year, so no coal in her stocking. According to the department, approximately 190 children attended the party where kids were able to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, get a candy bag, register for gifts, have a fire truck ride, and cook smores.

To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.


Baraga County lights it UP

FESTIVE FLOATS–Businesses from the area compete in a float contest during the Light Up Baraga County parade. Starting on top of the North Main Street hill, people handed out candy and wished spectators happy holidays. In first place was the Baraga Community Memorial Hospital, Abbey Pine in second, and in third was a float by the Roys, Lindgrens, Doves, and Baril families.

by Porter Davis
The annual celebration of the holiday season known as ‘Light Up Baraga County’ turned into another great night in town. Nearly the entire afternoon was devoted to Christmas festivities. Businesses from all over the county took part in building floats and walking in the parade, passing out candy to kids along their route. The Light Up Baraga County events ran from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, covering the skating show at  Meadowbrook Arena, a visit from Santa at the American Legion in L’Anse, and the parade
from the skating rink to the intersection at North Main and Broad Street. After the parade, the Christmas tree was lit up by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The weather was unseasonably warm, with many remarking on the previous years’ snowy weather as the norm, when it had in fact rained early in the morning. Several cautious people brought umbrellas instead of winter boots this time, though the rain held off all evening. Regardless of the conditions,  yoopers are famously ready for anything, and still showed up in droves to watch the parade. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.

The giving goes on at L’Anse Methodist Church

FREE MEALS–Giving out free turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day were the volunteers at L’Anse Methodist Church. According to coordinator Sally Klaasen, approximatlely 380 out of the 400 prepared-for meals went to those in need, either picked up or dropped off, with about 20-30 volunteers giving up their time to help out. Pastor Terry Langston of Bethel United Pentecostal Church started the community event along with his small congregation over 20 years previous for anyone alone, shut-in or in need at Thanksgiving, with Klaasen taking over the organization of the event four years ago noting she felt there was a need.

by Melissa Newland
Giving never gets old for the volunteers who planned, prepared, and presented the free
Thanksgiving meals at the L’Anse Methodist Church (LMC) on Thanksgiving Day. The dinner takes many months of preparation beforehand by volunteers, along with generous donations given by businesses, organizations and individuals, and organizer Sally Klaasen stated 380 fullcourse  turkey dinner meals went out to those in need this year. “Operations commenced at 7 a.m., and with a crew of about twenty wonderful people from the church and the community, meals were cooked, boxed, bagged, and picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” said Klaasen about the operation. “Meals were also delivered to area businesses and organizations such as law enforcement, gas
stations, and hospital ER, to provide meals to working employees who might otherwise miss a holiday meal.” To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.