WUPPDR Hosts 44th Annual Meeting

BARAGA, Mich.– The Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) held its 44th Annual Meeting in Baraga County at the American Legion Post 444 Monday night.

Mike Koskinen, Baraga County Board Chairman, welcomed approximately 45 attendees to Baraga County. WUPPDR Associate Planner Lori Hauswirth introduced attending political representatives and guests, including Amy Berglund (Senator Levin); Dr. Kirk Schott (Senator Casperson); and Simon Nish (Rio Tinto).

Once guests and WUPPDR staff were introduced, Hauswirth presented the agency’s Year in Review. The presentation highlighted a number of activities the organization has been involved in over the past year, such as providing technical assistance for the Region’s heritage routes and national scenic byway; events for the Community Adjustment Investment Program (CAIP) grants including the UP BioFuel workshop; application for the UPLink project; management of several Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) programs; and administration of numerous Economic Development Administration and Michigan Economic Development Corporation projects.

The presentation was followed by keynote speaker Simon Nish, Director of Community and External Relations with Rio Tinto.Nishprovided information on the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine Project inMarquetteCountyand its impact on theUpper Peninsula.

The evening also included the presentation of the Oreste “Chip” Chiantello Public Service Award.  The 2012 award recipient was Ed Jenich ofHoughonCounty. Houghton County Commissioner Paul Lehto honored Jenich for his decades of exemplary service to the Western Region serving on numerous boards in multiple capacities, including: Houghton County Board of Commissioners since 1999, Nutrition Director for BHK Community Action, WUPPDR Commission from 1999-2010, Chairman of Main Street Calumet, and Vice Chairman on the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital Board.