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Baraga, Delta county moves understandable but may prove unhelpful

In the same week that coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300, officials in two Upper Peninsula counties have spoken out in opposition to the shutdown regulations.

First, the Delta County Board of Commissioners on Monday announced it passed a resolution making Delta County a sanctuary county for businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

In a Facebook post, Commissioner David Moyle said he spoke on the phone with Delta County Sheriff Ed Oswald.

“I’m not advocating the formation of a militia to settle things with violence,” Moyle wrote.

The “fight we need to fight,” he said, is in Lansing and needs legislative involvement. “The fight will be best fought on paper not with bullets,” Moyle said. “Forming a militia was never my intent.”

The resolution, as posted by Moyle, states that a citizen of the United States cannot be compelled to follow “an unconstitutional law,” referring to state orders limiting business operations on places such as bars, taverns and restaurants.

“Be it resolved therefore the duly elected members of the Delta County Board of Commissioners serve the citizens of Delta County and shall support no endeavor financially, or through ordinance that will in any way single out, harm or discriminate against any business owner that opens their establishment with the responsible PPE (personal protective equipment) and social distancing,” the resolution reads.

It also was stated that the resolution does not have the power of Michigan Compiled Law and cannot be used to avert the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and state health department.

In addition, Baraga County officials on Monday signed a letter, titled “Baraga County Manifesto,” in which they put the state of Michigan on notice that “we have no intention of participating in the unconstitutional destruction of our citizens’ economic security and liberty.”

The letter also reads, “We further declare our intention to take no action whatsoever in furtherance of this terribly misguided agenda.

“Finally, we call upon the Michigan Legislature to exercise their co-equal authority by adopting constitutionally sound measures which limit the unchecked exercise of executive power, which restore individual responsibility and accountability, and which return Michigan to the ranks of freedom-loving governments everywhere.”

The letter was signed by Baraga County Sheriff Joe Brogan; Wendy Goodreau, clerk and register of deeds; Lyle Olsen, District 4 commissioner; William C. Rolof, District 5 commissioner; Will Wiggins, District 2 commissioner; Gale Eilola, District 1 commissioner; Joseph P. O’Leary, Baraga County prosecuting attorney; Dan Robillard, District 3 commissioner; and Jill Tollefson, treasurer.

As a small U.P. business ourselves, we understand very well how difficult the past year has been, but these measures are going to prove to be counterproductive. We recognize this struggle, but if COVID-19 case numbers increase in these regions, businesses aren’t going to be able to get back on track any faster. We now have a vaccine, which was fast-tracked in an international effort to get past this pandemic. We have all come this far, and it doesn’t make any sense to just toss our hands in the air and give up now. To act like we are the only place that is experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic is simply ignorant, and throwing caution to the wind isn’t going to help get us where we want to be.

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