Governor Jennifer Granholm tours Calumet's "Main Street"
CALUMET -- For Laurium resident Lynn Alsen and her four children, Wednesday,
August 20, 2003, was no ordinary end-of-summer day. It was a historic event --
the day they had the opportunity to shake hands and speak with Michigan Governor
Jennifer Granholm on Fifth Street in Calumet.
"The kids are excited about her coming here," said Alsen, whose
oldest son, Dillon Gherna, 15, is vice-president of his Calumet High School
|During her tour of Calumet's downtown "Main
Street" district on Wednesday, Aug. 20, Michigan Governor Jennifer
Granholm shakes hands with Jordan Gherna, 12, of Laurium, and greets the
rest of the family, pictured clockwise: John Gherna, 12; Mom Lynn Alsen;
Dillon Gherna, 15; and Katelynn Gherna, 10.
While Dillon is especially interested in politics, Alsen's twin 12-year-olds,
Jordan and John, and her daughter, Katelynn, 10, seemed just as anxious to shake
hands with the first woman governor in Michigan's history. Granholm, mother of
three children, has made the education of Michigan's younger generation one of
her top priorities.
Granholm has also demonstrated concern for historic preservation and vital
downtown communities as opposed to unhealthy sprawl. Calumet Village officials,
along with Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP) staff and commissioners, led her on
a tour of historic Fifth and Sixth streets, pointing out buildings that have potential for
preservation and revitalization under the new Main Street Program designation,
known now as Main Street Calumet!
|Gov. Jennifer Granholm chats with Frank Fiala,
Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP) superintendent, during her tour
of Calumet's Fifth Street on Aug. 20. Also accompanying the Governor on
the tour are Sue Cone, left, Calumet Village comptroller and KNHP
commissioner, and Tom Tikkanen, far right, director of Main Street
Calumet! (National Park Service Photo by T.M. Baker © 2003.)
The Main Street program seeks economic development through historic preservation.
Calumet Village and Calumet Township received the designation in June 2003. Administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Main Street is a downtown revitalization program that offers year-round assistance in strategies designed to create jobs and stimulate investment in downtown communities.*
"The preservation part is very key to the whole program, and is why Calumet is such an excellent candidate for
it," said Tom Baker, KNHP Park Ranger for Interpretation and Management
Assistant. "With the preservation-minded community leaders and the collaborative assistance of
Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet was nearly a shoe-in."
|Tom Tikkanen, second from right, director of Main
Street Calumet!, tells Governor Jennifer Granholm about
plans to rehabilitate older buildings in the downtown district. Also
pictured are, from left, Sue Cone, Calumet Village comptroller and
Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP) commissioner; Frank Fiala, KNHP
superintendent; and (far right) Matt Johnson, director of the Governor's
Upper Peninsula office in Marquette. Granholm is holding flowers
presented to her by Sandy Johnson, owner of Calumet Floral and Gifts on
Calumet native and Village Trustee Paul Frederickson, a member of the Calumet
Heritage Celebration Committee and owner of Affordable Funeral Planning Group,
was among the Calumet Village officials accompanying Granholm on the tour, which
was the first stop on her August 20th visit to the Copper Country.
"It's nice to see that the Governor wants to be here and see what we
have," Frederickson said.
Other local residents greeted the Governor as she walked along Fifth Street
and then over to Sixth Street for a visit to the Calumet Theatre and Village
Melvin Fraki, a retired Detroit teacher, was born in Calumet and is now
retired here. He introduced himself to Granholm and chatted with her.
|Governor Jennifer Granholm pauses in her tour of
Calumet's Fifth Street to shake hands with Melvin Fraki of Calumet.
Standing next to Granholm is Matt Johnson, director of the Governor's
Upper Peninsula office in Marquette.
"I've heard a lot about her," Fraki said about Granholm.
"She's done a great job. I'm so glad she's coming to the Copper Country. I
think it's wonderful she's here, and it's such a beautiful day for her."
Among the local business owners who greeted the Governor were Ed and Karen La
Bonte, owners of Herman Jewelers.
"We have the oldest family-owned business in the U.P.," Karen La
|Governor Jennifer Granholm poses for photos in front
of the Calumet Village Offices, located in the historic Calumet Theatre
building on Sixth Street. Also pictured with her are, from left, Tom
Tikkanen, director of
Calumet's Main Street Program; Sue Cone, Village comptroller and Keweenaw
National Historical Park commissioner; and Frank Fiala, KNHP
superintendent. On the steps are, from left, State Senator Mike Prusi
(D-Ishpeming); Matt Johnson, director of the Governor's
Upper Peninsula office in Marquette; and Gov. Granholm's security
During Granholm's visit to the Village Offices, Tom Tikkanen, director of
Calumet's Main Street Program, thanked her for the Michigan Main Street designation,
which allows organizing a community to become more eligible for resources such as grants, state and
federal programs and low-interest loans.
Granholm replied, "Your group had an application that was off the
|In the Calumet Village Hall, Governor Jennifer
Granholm speaks with Sue Cone, Village comptroller, and Tim Bies,
Village president, about some of their concerns, including snow removal
needs. On the table is a gift of historical items from the Village to
Granholm. Not pictured, but also present, were Calumet Township
Supervisor Paul Lehto and State Senator Mike Prusi, who spoke to the
Governor about their concern for de-listing the Torch Lake Superfund
The Rev. Robert Langseth, a member of the KNHP Advisory Commission, offered
the Governor an enthusiastic welcome.
"I have one word to say -- Yahoo!" said Rev. Langseth, delighted at
Granholm's visit to Calumet.
Houghton County Sheriff Brian McLean, was also on hand, along with Calumet
Village Police Chief Craig Plante, for some back-up security, while the
Governor's own security personnel accompanied her on the tour.
|Pictured here on Fifth Street in Calumet, Houghton
County Sheriff Brian McLean, left, and Calumet Village Police Chief
Craig Plante follow the Governor's Calumet tour for
"perimeter" security. Gov. Granholm was also accompanied by
her own security officers.
Sheriff McLean said he thought it was good that the Governor was getting to
know people of the Copper Country.
"I think it's great. It's always good to see someone from Lansing come
up here," he said. "People here are easy to get a liking to. When she
gets up here and gets to know us, she'll have a liking for us."
Jim Lowell, Calumet Theatre executive director; Eve Lindsey, Calumet Theatre Board chair, and Carole Baranowski, Theatre
Board member, welcomed Granholm to the historic Calumet Theatre.** Also greeting
her in the Theatre were Calumet Village Trustees Abe Voelker, Paul Frederickson
and Jim Flood.
|In the center of the Calumet Theatre stage, Governor
Granholm is joined by, from left, State Senator Mike Prusi
(D-Ishpeming); Frank Fiala, KNHP Superintendent; Sue Cone, Calumet
Village comptroller and KNHP Advisory Commission member; and Eve
Lindsey, Calumet Theatre Board chair.
"What a great building!" Granholm commented as she walked from the
stage up the
aisle of the Theatre toward the balcony.
The Calumet Theatre, at 340 Sixth Street, opened on March 20, 1900. At that
time, during the heyday of the copper mining industry, Calumet Village had a
population of 4,000; and more than 30,000 people lived within walking distance of
the Theatre. It is now a cooperating site of Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP).***
KNHP Superintendent Frank Fiala accompanied Granholm on her Calumet tour.
"We're delighted to be able to showcase Calumet with the Governor,"
After her downtown tour, Granholm's August 20 schedule included a visit and
tour with the Michigan State Police, Calumet Post; lunch with friends and supporters
at Gino's in Hancock; a tour of BHK Child Development Center in Houghton; a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for GS
Engineering, Inc., in Houghton; and Constituent Office Hours with Keweenaw Area Residents.****
Her schedule for Thursday, Aug. 21, is as follows:
9 a.m. -- Roundtable Meeting with Executives at Smurfit/Stone Paper, 1 Superior Way,
11:30 a.m.-- Lunch with friends and supporters at LaPanetteria, 202 South Sophie, Bessemer;
1 p.m. -- Tour of Jacquarts, 1238 Wall Street, Ironwood;
1:50 p.m. -- Tour of Ironwood Plastics, 1235 Wall Street, Ironwood;
3 p.m. -- Tour of Gogebic Community College, E4946 Jackson Road. Tour begins at Solin Center for Business Education, Ironwood;
4 p.m. -- Stop by the Gogebic County Economic Development Board Meeting, Gogebic Community College, Room B-22, Solin Center for Business Education, Ironwood;
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.-- Constituent Office Hours with Western U.P. Residents, Gogebic Community College, Room B-22, Solin Center for Business Education, E4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood.
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