Penokee Hills Education Project to Hold Listening Sessions in Hurley, Mercer and Mellen

June 25, 2014 by Barbara With

SOS Protect Our Water from Bodies on the Ice 3.9.14 Credit: David Doering, SunRidge Moving Pictures, LLC.

SOS Protect Our Water from Bodies on the Ice 3.9.14 Credit: David Doering, SunRidge Moving Pictures, LLC.

On Friday, June 27, 2014, the Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) will be holding a series of listening sessions, “Truth and Reality of the Penokee Mine,” in Hurley, Mercer and Mellen concerning the proposed 22-mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills.

Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Mike Wiggins, Jr., will be joined by other PHEP Board Members Frank Koehn and Pete Rasmussen to provide facts about the recent proposal to install a mine in the middle of the Bad River watershed. The sessions will begin at 9 AM in Hurley at Rachelli Park, 803 Maple Street; 12 PM at the Mercer Public Library at 2648W Margaret Street; and 3 PM at the Penokee Deli, 128 S Main Street in Mellen.

PHEP scheduled the sessions in response to the recent propaganda campaign launched by Gogebic Taconite (GTac), which recently held their own one-on-one listening sessions. GTac sessions required reservations; however, people who were perceived as “anti-mine” were denied spots towards the end of their campaign to spread misinformation. In the video below, GTac lobbyist Tim Meyer is heard telling one of the participants that information acquired by Northland College professor and geologist Dr. Tom Fitz was coming from a “witchy” source,  and encouraging her not to listen to it.

Photo: Sandra Nevela

Photo: Sandra Nevela

When asked the purpose of the PHEP listening sessions, Board Member Frank Koehn remarked, “For far too long, GTac has been providing only the information they care to share. The story of the their less-than-honest treatment of facts and reality needs to be corrected. Our goal is to tell the rest of the story, and hopefully the good people of Northern Wisconsin will weigh the facts very carefully and recognize the threat to our water resources, the rivers that feed the Bad River and Lake Superior. At stake are family farmers, the wild rice beds, and a very fragile ecosystem that supports natural sturgeon spawning grounds, and 40% of the wetlands that nourish Lake Superior. And the importance of treaty commitments with our friends and neighbors. These treaty commitments include the right to hunt, fish, and gather – a true sustainable life style.”

Cherie Pero, former Bad River Tribal Council and PHEP board member reiterates that the sessions are about educating people about the threat to the area’s clean water. “Water is a ‘life dependency’— something every living thing needs. It does not matter to the people at GTac, Madison Capitol, or the Crook Brothers because it does not affect them. We are out of sight, out of mind. We need to be deep rooted in someone’s heart to make a difference: a story of survival. We fight for our lives and they fight for that almighty dollar.”

No reservations are needed to attended the listening sessions. All are welcome.

Video: Danielle Kaeding
November 18, 2013
GTAC’s one-on-one meeting with Anastasia Walhovd.

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11 Comments on “Penokee Hills Education Project to Hold Listening Sessions in Hurley, Mercer and Mellen”

  1. thesplendide June 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Hi Barbara,

    May I suggest that the audio is mostly too low to hear, and that dates and names right under the video would be helpful.

    I love these videos, especially the older ones done last winter in which The Boys indecently display disdain and condescension—-everyone should see their faces as they ‘tolerate’ questions.

    Thanks for doing this.

    Karen Kormann

  2. Barbara With June 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    we work with what we have. wouldn’t it be great if all videos were news quality. But sometimes citizen journalism is hard to hear. But yeah to the names and names. will update. thanks for your support.

  3. George W June 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    I thought this was to be at Sharon’s Coffee House. Why the change?? And do you mean Riccelli Park??

    • Barbara With June 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Probably. PHEP was ask to not hold their listening sessions at Sharon’s. She is pro-mining and won’t apparently tolerate any other view. And yes probably Riccelli!

      • George W June 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

        “And probably won’t tolerate any other view” Really?? Why not just tell the truth. Sharon was not even asked if the event could be held there. Yes, she is pro mining. And maybe she would have said no if she had been ask. But, the polite and correct way to do things, is to ask first.

      • Barbara With June 27, 2014 at 7:51 am #

        Sharon was asked and she said no. She was asked before we went widely, as I suggested. The answer was no. We are not hidingh anything or being disrespectful. Really? She should refuse to allow the other side because people wanted to come and spend money in her store and support her business? Please.

      • George W June 27, 2014 at 8:22 am #

        Sharon, or no one in her business, was asked. I know Sharon. She is an honest business woman. It’s the old “he said, she said”, and I believe Sharon. And so do the people of Hurley.

  4. John Davey June 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    So glad to see you publish again! I know it is hard…but I am grateful!

  5. Barbara With June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Let me clarify George. I am not a part of PHEP nor did I plan this event. Before I spread the word via WCMC, I was told it was at the park. If PHEP failed to ask Sharon, that may well have been, but it was not out of disrespect. Oversight, maybe. And I agree, they should have asked her first.

    However, if Sharon does not wish to have the truth in her place, and supports GTac and Bill Williams et al and all their lies, then while you all may respect her, I do not. Now, Frank Koehn, PHEP board member would tell everyone to go to Sharon’s before coming to the listening session, get a cup of coffee and patronize her place. THAT is PHEP.

    I myself have seen too much to believe that Sharon is “respectable” in the sense that she prevents pertinent information about the mine from being talked about in her place, while providing an open door for GTac to spread their lies and misinformation. If she is just ill informed, that is one thing. But she is openly and willingly allowing that to happen.

    For me, I won’t spend a dime in her joint. She has no respect for me or her neighbors or the water. Maybe some day she will come around and understand what she is really supporting. Maybe not. Or it may be too late. Whatever the reason, how incredibly selfish to want to prosper while everything around her dies.

    Good luck in Hurley. Perhaps once you figure out that all those strip joints and women cages are a large part of the real reason for your lack of prosperity, maybe the good people of Hurley will wake up before it’s too late. Maybe not. God bless you all, you will need it.

    • George W June 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      We will never agree about the mine, but I have one last question. When you said that Sharon apparently won’t tolerate any other point of view, isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Like I said, we will never agree.
      Have a good day, Barb!!

      • Barbara With July 6, 2014 at 7:57 am #

        No it’s not what I am doing George. People who support the mine are supporting something that will destroy the air, water, animals, fish, wild rice, and the other economies of the region that all of us rely on. These things are not yours to destroy. There are many ways to economic development, there is no way to restore the damage that mine will produce. I support economic development for Iron County but first you have to face the facts about why you are so poor. An iron mine will not restore your economic health when it is destroying the health of the region.

        Do YOU support making sure your neighbors are not killed by your decision to support a 22 mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine that would be run by people who lie, cheat and steal? It is a much MUCH different scenario. Open your eyes and educate yourself on what this mining mafia has already done to us. Get your head out of the sand about the asbestos, the sulfides, the damage it will do. Because you want a corporate teat to suck on, you are justifying destroying me. Sorry, it will never happen. I have listened to GTac lie for years.. But you and Sharon won’t listen to the truth. Sad. Good luck because you will need it if all you can think about for your economic development is an iron mine that will destroy your neighbors. Because there will be no mine. Mind as well start thinking about how to clean up Iron County and attract the families you need to grow your base. Trust me, an iron mine will not do that.

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