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Feb. 19, 2017

 As the IRS begins releasing refunds for taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit, the tax agency reminded taxpayers that they should not expect refunds to be available in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. The additional time is due to several factors, including weekends, the Presidents Day holiday and the time banks often need to process direct deposits.

Many of these refunds had been held since the filing season started in late January due to new requirements the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.

Find out the status of your refund on by visiting the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.  “Where’s My Refund?” will be updated Feb. 18 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. Before Feb. 18, some taxpayers may see a projected date or a message that the IRS is processing their return. The IRS added that “Where’s My Refund?” is only updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check it multiple times per day.

Here are a few important things to know about tax refunds:

  • Nine out of 10 refunds are issued in less than 21 days.

  • IRS customer service representatives cannot provide individual refund information before the 21 days has elapsed.

  • The filing season started later this year, on Jan. 23. Although taxpayers could submit returns with a software provider or tax preparer in early January, the return was not filed with the IRS until the filing season opened.

  • “Where’s my Refund?” can also be accessed through the mobile app, IRS2Go

  • “Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily. Checking the tool multiple times each day will not produce new information or different results.

  • The Get Transcript tool will not reveal a tax refund status, despite the social media myth to the contrary.


Feb. 15, 2017

The Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council is scheduled to discuss several interesting topics – ranging from supplemental deer feeding triggers to an off-road vehicle route proposal in Mackinac County – when the panel meets Thursday, Feb. 23 in Newberry.

“The council meetings give the public an opportunity to provide input and learn what’s new on DNR topics important to the Upper Peninsula,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “There’s always a great deal of information provided at council sessions and plenty of available council members and DNR staff to answer questions.”

The Eastern U.P. Citizens’ Advisory Council and its western U.P. counterpart meet alternating months throughout the year.

This month’s session in Luce County will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. EST in the conference room at the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft (LMAS) Health Department, located at 14150 Hamilton Lake Road in Newberry.

Additional topics to be discussed include the U.P. Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, DNR forest road inventory, existing rules for modified vehicles and a council self-evaluation survey review.

The public can participate in the session by offering comments to the discussion during two specified periods at the meeting (for instructions on comment procedures, see

The DNR’s eastern and western Upper Peninsula citizens’ advisory councils are designed to provide local input to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies, identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive and offer insight and guidance from members’ own experiences and constituencies.

The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation interests. Agenda items are set by the council members and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

Anyone interested in being considered as a future council member should fill out the application form found on the DNR website at For more information, contact the DNR Upper Peninsula regional coordinator’s office at 906-226-1331.


Feb. 9, 2017

Effective March 15, the Paradise Branch of Soo Co-op Credit Union will be closed. SCCU sent the following statement to members:

"We continuously evaluate our products and services, hours of operation, security and technology, staff and branch locations so as to ensure that we are always doing what is best for the membership and the credit union. It is with great regret to inform you that we will be closing our Paradise Branch effective March 15, 2017. The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. As technology continues to advance, the demand for electronic services continues to increase. Growth strategies based on branch development have shifted to satisfying the membership's demand for electronic delivery."


Hours of operation until the closure are : Feb. 10 - 24, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


March 1-15 (through the end of the business day): Wednesdays only, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


None of the other branches will be impacted by the closure.


AARP will provide free tax preparation on Fridays in February and March to Seniors and others, by appointment. Call 906-632-8368 for more information and to make an appointment.



Feb. 12, 2017

The Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority board of directors, the bi-national body that supervises operations of the International Bridge, heard reports on upcoming bridge projects at the board's regular meeting last Thursday.


Plans by the International Bridge Administration to replace bridge components and complete painting projects in 2017 were reviewed and discussed.


"We've re-evaluated the bridge's overall business plan with regards to timing of future capital projects and we've started a more aggressive preventive maintenance program," said IBA General Manager Peter Petainen. "We plan to be more cost-effective by completing certain projects in-house and integrating new or alternate technologies."

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Feb. 11, 2017

Secretary of State offices and the Office of the Great Seal will be closed in observance of Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 20.  Residents can utilize the online services at, which allows you to renew your tabs and driver’s licenses, get a duplicate registration, duplicate title, change their address and register to be an organ donor. The Print ’N Go feature lets you renew your driver’s licenses and tabs for your vehicles, motorcycles or boats, print their receipt and drive legally until they get their card or sticker in the mail. On their eighth year, you do need to visit a branch to get a new driver’s license so you can pass a vision test and get an updated photo.


The Secretary of State’s Office mails notices to motorists 45 days before their driver’s license or license plates expire to give them ample time to renew. Licenses and plates that expire on a day when state offices are closed, such as a holiday or weekend, can be renewed the following day without penalty.


License plate tabs can also be renewed at Self-Service Stations, many of which are available around the clock. Visit the Branch Office Locator at to find a Self-Service Station near you.


With the exception of holidays, offices are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Smaller offices may close for the lunch hour. On Wednesdays most offices are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with those in city centers open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  PLUS offices and SUPER!Centers are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.  SUPER!Centers also provide Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to noon.


Feb. 10, 2017

IRON MOUNTAIN – Veterans and their families are invited to Veteran Town Halls in Brimley, Sault Ste. Marie and Saint Ignace, on Wednesday and Thursday, March 8-9..  The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center will be hosting the town halls on March 8 at the Horizon Conference Center at the Bay Mills Resort & Casino at 2 p.m. and at American Legion Post 3 in Sault St. Marie at 6 p.m.  The town hall in St. Ignace will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 9 at the VFW Post 5144.  The town halls are open to all Veterans and their families and friends. 

Leaders from the VA medical center, Escanaba Vet Center, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, and area Veteran Service Officers will be on hand to provide a presentation on VA benefits and services, discuss updates to the Veterans Choice Program and other initiatives to increase access to VA healthcare, and listen to Veterans’ comments and concerns. 

“We have done a number of these Veteran Town Halls and found them to be very beneficial in our understanding of Veterans’ concerns and helping them to resolve any issues they may have,” said Brad Nelson, Public Affairs Officer at the Iron Mountain-based VA Medical Center.

In the last four years the VA medical center has conducted 35 Veteran Town Halls throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. 

Any questions can be directed to VA Public Affairs Officer Brad Nelson at 800-215-8262, extension 32001.


Feb. 12, 2017

Once again the 2017 Black Lake sturgeon season in Cheboygan County was a quick one, lasting just over an hour. The Department of Natural Resources announced the results of this year’s season, with the recreational harvest limit of seven fish being attained, along with the additional harvest of one fish.

The fishing season, which includes spearing and hook-and-line fishing, was scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, through Wednesday, Feb. 8, or until the harvest quota had been reached.

Based on quick communications from on-ice personnel, the sturgeon fishing hotline was updated at 9:07 a.m. DNR law enforcement officials and other department personnel were embedded in the on-ice fishing communities and were able to quickly report harvested fish, as well as to quickly contact lake sturgeon anglers on the ice and close the season.

There were 332 registered anglers on the ice Saturday, up from 261 in 2016. Angler registration since 2010 has ranged from 197 to 332. Most anglers pre-registered Friday, Feb. 3, allowing for a more streamlined process.

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Feb. 13, 2017

BRIMLEY —  GKN Driveline, a global leader in driveline technologies, has announced it has opened a 10,000 square-foot winter test facility at the Smithers Winter Test Center (SWTC) in Brimley.


The new facility will allow GKN Driveline's North American customers to test All-Wheel-Drive and eDrive systems for longevity, safety, power and torque performance in low traction driving conditions. It is an important tool in GKN Driveline's drive to develop the next generation of technologically advanced systems for the global auto industry.


The facility is adjacent to the Smithers Rapra winter test track and features a main bay with four vehicle hoists and three private garages. Each garage features its own entrance, ensuring privacy and security for GKN Driveline Customers.


The SWTC facility gives GKN Driveline three winter test facilities around the world. The company currently operates winter test facilities in Sweden and China.

"All-wheel-drive technology continues to grow in overall consumer acceptance and demand and has emerged as a key product differentiator for vehicle manufacturers," said Gavin Streather, senior director, Global Engineering Processes and Systems at GKN Driveline, who will oversee the facility's operation. "The private facility will allow our engineers to collaborate with customer engineering teams to develop and tune all-wheel-drive systems that meet unique brand characteristics for a variety of vehicles."


Located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the SWTC is a world-class facility ideal for testing and evaluating vehicles under the special challenges of extreme cold and hazardous road conditions. The facility features more than 750 acres of snow, ice and bare pavement and is ideal for testing a variety of vehicle types ranging from small automobiles to Class 8 trucks.


"Smithers Rapra is thrilled that GKN is expanding their presence at the winter test center," said Jim Popio, PhD., vice president, Smithers Rapra. "We look forward to engaging with them for years to come as they continue to test their driveline technologies."


Feb. 15, 2017

The Michigan State Police Sault Ste. Marie Post will be hosting another Citizens Academy, slated to begin on March 20 and end on May 8.


During the eight-week academy, citizens will become familiar with the mission and operation of the MSP, understand the procedures troopers follow, increase their awareness of law enforcement's role in to community and get to know personnel at the Sault Ste. Marie Post, Newberry Detachment.


Participants will also learn patrol and dispatch procedures, get an introduction to first aid, personal safety, traffic safety, the legal system, criminal investigations and drug awareness. 


The academy will meet in Luce County at the EMS building on Monday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. A graduation ceremony will be held on May 8.


Individuals who are interested in attending the Citizens Academy should contact Trooper Nathan Grenfell of the Sault Ste. Marie Post at 906-632-2217 or via email at to get an application.


Feb. 17, 2016
Bay Mills Health Center was recently awarded the MCIR (Michigan Care Improvement Registry) award for excellence in utilizing MCIR to enhance immunization practices.

The MCIR award is given to sites that exceed the state percentage in vaccinating children in the community. Bay Mills Health Center was nominated by the Chippewa Health Department for their percentage of children vaccinated in the community and being a place where people want to go to receive vaccinations. The award was also given for their timeliness of reporting to the MCIR system.

One of the keys to the success of the Health Center is the input of data into the system on a timely basis. This requires coordination of Emmy Cygan, LPN, the MCIR lead,  who keeps track of all inventory and storage of the vaccines. She is assisted by Karen Harlukowicz, LPN; Sheree Weems, LPN; and Katie Clow, LPN; Brenda Brining, LPN; Betty Jahnke, RN; Marilyn Hillman, RN; and providers, Dr. Maloney, MD; Dolly Furr, FNP; and Amber Rivard, FNP. As a result, the group has been able to exceed state percentages.

Bay Mills Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center and a Primary Care Medical Home that offers services to the tribal community as well as the public.“Please congratulate all our nurses and providers for achieving this award; without their passion and dedication it wouldn’t have been possible,” said Abby Kaunisto, clinic coordinator.


Pictured above, from left to right, are: Sheree Weems, LPN; Karen Harlukowicz, LPN; Emmy Cygan, LPN and MCIR lead; and Katie Clow, LPN.

Every Month Bay Mills News publishes a monthly edition you can download. To have the link sent to you each month, simply fill out the form below!



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