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Local News Archives for 2020-05

Newscast Friday, May 29, 2020

Traffic on U.P. highways is down during the COVID-19, so are the number of crashes but 1st Lt. Gregg Cunningham with the Gladstone State Police Post says impaired driving problems are up. He says Troopers are handling an increase in drunk and drugged driving.


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Bonifas Arts Center in Escanaba was one of 176 arts and cultural organizations in Michigan to receive Emergency Relief Fund grants to help with the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonifas Director Sue Roll says the $3,000 grant will help the art center do more online.


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Newscast Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Normally a beacon of safety, lighthouses open to the public on the Great Lakes are struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Charles Lindquist, president of the Delta County Historical Society, says some lighthouses need to stay open to pay their bills. However, Lindquist says lighthouses weren’t built for crowds so not designed for social distancing. The Sand Point Lighthouse and Delta County Historical Museum is closed for the summer because of the Coronavirus.


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Newscast Tuesday, May 26, 2020

What school might look like in the fall is still unclear. Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School Superintendent Doug Liesenring says they have not received guidance from the state yet on how to the proceed. The current rules, he says, just won’t work.


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Newscast Thursday, May 21, 2020

As businesses get ready to reopen tomorrow in the Upper Peninsula after a two month shutdown, Delta County Economic Development Alliance Director Ed Legault says what business owners don’t know is if customers will feel comfortable eating out, shopping or visiting the office.


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Newscast Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Vickie Micheau says businesses in the Upper Peninsula are ready to open Friday after weeks shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She represents businesses in Delta County as executive director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce. Micheau says business owners were asking for a chance to show they can open.


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Newscast Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Retail stores, offices, restaurants and bars in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula will be allowed to reopen Friday under an executive order signed yesterday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer says those businesses can reopen at 12:01 a.m. Friday because the number of COVID-19 cases have not been as prevalent in the northern part of the state.


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Lawmakers in the Upper Peninsula were not notified that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was going to allow businesses in the U.P. to open separate from other parts of the state. 


State Sen. Ed McBroom says there was “zero communication” from the Governor’s office before the announcement.

Newscast Monday, May 18, 2020

Delta County Commissioners voted Friday night to keep the county campgrounds closed and let the state legislature’s lawsuit challenge the Governor instead of taking a stand against her executive orders and open Pioneer Trail and Fuller Parks. The parks were scheduled to open today. The county board considered opening despite an executive order for campgrounds to remain closed. After two meetings last week, Delta County Chair Pat Johnson says they decided to follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ruling.


Listen toe Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Friday, May 15, 2020

The Delta County Board of Commissioners made no decision last night on the fate of Pioneer Trail and Fuller Parks set to open Monday before the stay home order expires on May 28.  The board voted before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay home order to open the parks Monday.  But Public Health Officer Mike Snyder says to do so would would be in violation of the order.


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Newscast Thursday, May 14, 2020

The cause of the fire at the Delta Inn Motel in Escanaba two weeks ago has been ruled as undetermined but Escanaba Public Safety says smoking and a portable oxygen device may have contributed to the cause.


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The fire killed two people and injured three.


Killed were Daniel Lehman, 72,  and Hunter Gauthier, 17,  both residents at the Delta Inn Motel.


The fire started in room 107. Capt. Darrin Hunter says William Hermes pulled a person from the room just before it became fully engulfed in flames. 


Public Safety credits Angel “Chino” Lozada with saving lives at the start of the fire. He and his wife were driving by the motel when they notice black smoke coming from a lower level room. He stopped and went door to door to get people out. Flames roared above one room as he helped a tenant out. He also helped those trapped on the roof get to safety.


Joseph Hiller helped Donald Balthazore, 66, to safety on the roof. Balthazore was air lifted to St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee with burns over 25 percent of his body. Hiller, 50, fractured his back when jumping from the roof. He underwent surgery at U.P. Health System Marquette.


Edward Smart, 74, was treated for minor burns at OSF St. Francis Hospital.


The fire started at 12:40 p.m. on April 30.

Newscast Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Surgeries and interventional procedures are now being scheduled at OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group in Escanaba, including surgeries that were previously cancelled or postponed. OSF St. Francis President Dave Lord says they have been working to develop procedures that will allow patients to receive care previously postponed or have been unable to schedule.


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Catholic Social Services says they expect the demand for mental health and substance abuse therapy will increase due to isolation and anxiety created by the stay home order that is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Kyle Rambo says one area of concern is that the Catholic Social Services child welfare team is not getting the referrals they normally receive to help at-risk children.


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Monday May 11, 2020

The Island Resort and Casino delayed re-opening on May 6 to determine how to respond to a threat from the attorney general’s office to cite employees and customers who violated the governor’s stay home order. 


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Newscast Friday, May 8, 2020

A divided city council rejected a housing development in Escanaba last night that council members felt was not a good fit for the community. The vote was 3-to-2 on all the items before the city council on the proposed Bay de Noc Apartment complex on North 26th Street near Walmart.


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Newscast Thursday, May 7, 2020

Delta County Administrator Emily DeSalvo says there were big plans for the Delta County Airport until air travel was so drastically affected by efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Passenger numbers were up, funds were available for runway upgrades and facility expansions were planned such as a rental car wash. Now, few people are flying.


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Newscast Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Heidi Erickson of Escanaba says she was angry when she was told she had COVID-19. It was not what she was expecting to hear despite being very sick with what she thought was the flu. She first went into the hospital on Wednesday, March 25. She was tested and sent home. By Friday night, she says she started to feel much worse. Breathing became very difficult.


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Newscast Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District received guidance from the state last week on how it might continue to serve early childhood and pre-school students. Although not part of the K-12 system, ISD Superintendent Doug Liesenring says the programs are important to continue.


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Monday, May 4, 2020

The Island Resort and Casino will begin reopening in phases starting Wednesday. The casino closed March 21st due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It will reopen on May 6 at 8 a.m. Eastern time. General Manager Tony Mancilla says they have been working with the Nevada and National Indian Gaming Commission standards and procedures to safeguard its customers and employees.


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Newscast Friday, May 1, 2020

Fire killed two people yesterday and injured three at the Delta Inn Motel in Escanaba. A resident on the first floor said he heard an explosion as fire broke out on the second floor of the building. Escanaba Public Safety says residents climbed up onto the roof and escaped over to the adjacent Hiawatha Motel. 


Listen to Craig Woerpel's full newscast



Flames fully engulfed the front of the building and broke through the roof when firefighters arrived. High winds fueled the fire. Traffic was re-routed on Ludington Street and U.S. 2 and 41.


One man said he lost everything he owned. Another woman escaped with a cart of clothes. Firefighters removed two bodies after fighting the fire for three hours. They used foam and an aerial unit from Escanaba Public Safety and platform unit from Escanaba Township to battle the second story blaze and save the Hiawatha Motel. A 72-year-old man and 17-year-old male died in the fire. Both lived at the motel.


A 66-year-old man was transported to the St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee with severe burns. A 60-year-old man was transported to U.P. Health Systems Marquette for a fractured spine as he jumped to safety from the building. A 73-year-old man was treated and released at OSF St. Francis for minor burns.


The fire occurred just after 12:30 p.m. It is being investigated by the State Police Fire Marshall.



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