Recall petition language OK’d

The Marquette Election Commission approves the language of a petition to seek the recall of Michigamme Township Supervisor William Seppanen Thursday. From left: Elizabeth Howe-Koenig and Seppanen. (Journal photo by Randy Crouch)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Election Commission approved language on a petition to recall Michigamme Township Supervisor William Seppanen Thursday.

The commission allowed the petition to go ahead with a 2-1 vote, with Probate Judge Hon. Cheryl Hill and County Clerk Linda Talsma voting yes. County Treasurer Jacqueline Solomon voted no.

The commission heard arguments from Michigamme resident Elizabeth Howe-Koenig and Seppanen.

The recall petition comes after the controversial removal of a gazebo from a parcel of land used by the Marquette County Road Commission as a right-of-way and the subsequent relocation of the gazebo to a park on the east side of Lake Michigamme. Some residents, including Howe-Koenig, say that the gazebo was frequently used by area residents and referred to the area as a “pocket park.”

Seppanen said that the road commission asked for the parcel of land to not be referred to as a park due to the area being used by the road commission as a right-of-way and that the area wasn’t meant for “lounging, sunbathing or picnicking.”

“What do you do in a gazebo but lounge?” said Seppanen during the hearing.

The petition, filed by Howe-Koenig, says that Seppanen “Took actions that resulted in the E. Lake Street/S. Max Street gazebo being removed from a public access site in reprisal against people who were opposed to giving part of lake frontage right-of-way to private property owner. This greatly degrades public access to the lake for township people.”

Seppanen has the option to appeal the decision before signatures can be collected to make a recall vote official.

Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is rcrouch@miningjournal.net.


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