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The City of Hancock Agrees to Help UPSET Combat Hard Drug Use in the Copper Country

Last night Finlandia University President, Dr. Philip Johnson, thanked the Hancock’s City Council for their continued support in building up the Finlandia community. The school celebrates their 125th anniversary this year. And Johnson extended invitations to the council and public to help the university celebrate this achievement. Dr. Johnson also presented to the council an update on current student enrollment and what the new school year has in store for the school year.

Dr. Johnson also provided an update to COVID-19 and campus. About 72% of students are vaccinated on campus. Students that have not gotten the vaccine are required to test weekly. Right now there has been only one positive case among the student body, that student is located off campus and is quarantining until they test negative. Dr. Johnson said that these adjusted protocols will help keep students and the community safe.

The City of Hancock will join the effort to combat drug use in the Copper Country. Last night in a vote of 6 to 1, with Will Lytle as the only nay vote, the city decided to donate $5000 to the UPSET West drug enforcement program. Chief Donnelly of the Houghton Police Department presented the case for Hancock to make a donation to the team.

They’ve been very successful with that. Of all the UPSET Teams, the West team has lead at the federal level, getting people incarcerated. So its not on our local system, but the federal system and stopping that push. – Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly

The pledge by the city will go toward this fiscal year. And the pledge will remain on future proposed city budgets for the next 4 years. The UPSET program works to combat the use of hard drugs like meth and heroine in the Upper Peninsula. The UPSET West team works in Baraga, Houghton, Ontonagon and Keweenaw counties.

The City will also receive a match payment from the MEDC for the new Dog Park. The city’s fundraising goal was met earlier than expected, and raised $24,000. The MEDC will add another $20,000, bringing the total amount of funds for the development of the Dog Park to $44,000.

Hancock will also increase the budget for the Fire Department’s stipend to $1,600 and raise the stipend for the Fire Chief to $350 per month. The duties of Fire Marshall will also be transferred to the Fire Chief. Previously the Fire Marshall duties were conducted by the Police Chief. But the council feels that it makes since to switch over the duties, given the pay raise. The council also agreed that with the additional work and how tough the summer has been on the fire department, Chief Lepisto and crew are in need of more funding.  

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