U.P. delegation in Lansing continue to fight for relief

An Upper Michigan delegation is continuing to fight to get the U.P. much-needed emergency relief funds.

Following the coldest winter in 35 years, the frost levels in many U.P. communities has pushed past the 10-foot mark. This causes all sorts of trouble.

First off, all the frozen water pipes have cost those communities money they didn’t have. Digging, repairing, thawing; it’s cost Marquette county $1.5 million and the U.P. $5.1 million.

Despite the glaring need for help and budget numbers plunging into the red, the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and HOmeland Security Division denied the U.P.’s pleas for help.

So, the delegation brought the issue to the transportation committee. Testifying on our behalf were: Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch, Marquette County Emergency Management Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach, Marquette City Commission member Fred Stonehouse, Marquette County Board Chairman Gerald Corkin and Ishpeming Public Works Director Jon Kangas.

Transportation committee chairman Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, ran the case and said the hearing was helpful to paint a realistic picture of what’s happening in the U.P.

We urge Gov. Rick Snyder to answer this cry for help with state emergency funding. We feel the Upper Peninsula has proven it demonstrates the required “widespread or severe damage,” already.

Needless to say, once the weather improves and temperatures climb above freezing, there will be melting, runoff and likely flooding issues to exacerbate the existing problem.

It’s time for the state to pony up the dough and help us Yoopers through this emergency.