NORWAY — Roads — specifically road repairs — have been a hot topic in Lansing for a while now, but one road has been on the State House of Representatives’ radar for another reason. U.P. legislators are among those working to rename a portion of US–2 in Dickinson County to honor the memory of a fallen police officer.
“If you were alive in 1971 and lived in Norway or the surrounding area, you can ask anybody that was at that time where they were or if they knew about this, and they can tell you almost to the second what they were doing when they heard about his death,” said Mari Negro, sister of Patrolman Kenneth J. Moraska.
At 26 years old, Moraska, a patrolman for the Norway Police Department, died by gunfire while responding to a domestic disturbance on May 23rd, 1971. The recently introduced House Bill 5205 would designate the portion of US–2 that runs through Norway as the “Kenneth J. Moraska Memorial Highway” to help honor his memory. The idea came after Negro observed similar legislation being used to honor veterans and police officers elsewhere in the state.
“It just kind of occurred to me one day, ‘why not do this for my brother?’ So I got a hold of Ed McBroom, and he was gracious enough to agree to sponsor a bill,” said Negro.
“It’s a fairly simple process to see a highway named after someone,” said McBroom, “but I need to have the support of the local community, and then you have to find folks who are willing to pay for the sign. The family then went to the City of Norway and they discussed it, and then [the city] passed a resolution asking for me to proceed with the legislation.”
The hope is that this dedication will keep the memory of Moraska’s sacrifice alive for future generations.
“I wanted that to be remembered,” Negro added, “and this is a good way to ensure that his memory will always be living here.”
“It provides a great opportunity to provide a community with some recognition and a chance to recognize local folks,” said McBroom. “It’s one of those good things that we get to do.”
The bill, which was co–sponsored by all three U.P. representatives as well as one from downstate, is currently in the hands of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. While the timing of its adoption depends on what the legislature has on its plate, hopes are high that the highway will bear Patrolman Moraska’s name by the anniversary of his passing in May.