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Crews are continuing to try and contain a wildfire that has burned 1,500 acres in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. According to the U.S. Department of the interior, the fire is south of M-28, west of M-77, and just north of the fishing loop located on the refuge. The fire is believed to have triggered by a lightning strike stemming from a large storm system that moved through the U.P. Sunday. By the time it was discovered on Monday the fire covered about 60 acres and within hours, roughly 600 acres had been burned. Three amphibious tracked engine crews, three type 6 engine crews, and brush trucks are all battling the fire. No structures are threatened at this time. The refuge, located in northern Schoolcraft county, is 95,238 total acres.
A Wisconsin man is facing a preliminary exam early next month after breaking into a home and damaging vehicles outside a mobile home park in Marquette. 24-year old Jesse Homa of Sayner, Wisconsin was arraigned in Marquette County District Court on one charge of first degree home invasion. Police say Homa was banging on the door of the mobile home in the Birchgrove community early Tuesday looking for another individual then began damaging vehicles. Homa was shot in the legs by the homeowner with a 22-caliber pistol when he kicked in the side door of the residence and entered the home. He then fled the scene. Police say Homa was found a short time later and taken to Marquette General Hospital, where he was treated and released. He’s being held in Marquette county jail on a $25,000 bond.
To help make travel easier, the Michigan Department of Transportation is lifting traffic restrictions on 94 of 132 projects statewide during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday and continuing until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29, M-DOT is suspending road work wherever possible. The following work zones will remain active in the Upper Peninsula: US-41 in Marquette County, will be reduced to three lanes between M-28 in Harvey and the Carp River in Marquette, with one lane open in each direction and a center left-turn lane. US-2 in Iron River will have a temporary traffic signal at 9th Avenue. And US-2/US-41 north of Gladstone will have one lane of traffic open in each direction on the bridges over the CN Railroad.
Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to provide better wireless Internet access in rural areas. Senate Bill 499, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, will allow easier access for telecommunications companies to install facilities along state-controlled rail-trails – former railway lines converted to walking and bicycling paths. Companies will pay not more than $500 in application fees to the Department of Natural Resources, plus a one-time fee of 5 cents per linear foot used. Revenues will go into the Michigan Trailways Fund or the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The bill now is Public Act 138 of 2012.
Northern Michigan University will guarantee in-state tuition for all eligible U.S. Military veterans who want to pursue a college degree. The Marquette school has announced the NMU veterans scholarship which covers any tuition costs beyond NMU’s’s in-state rate that are not addressed by veteran’s benefits and the school’s participation in the federal yellow ribbon program. NMU interim president David Haynes, who is a U.S. Air force veteran says “we want to make it easier for veterans to get a college education, regardless of their home state.” Active-duty military, their spouses and children also automatically qualify for resident tuition, but must supply documentation of active-duty status. The veterans scholarship is available to individuals with an honorable discharge.