Newsmakers: Mining in Northern Wisconsin – Mellen Mayor Joe Barabe
Mellen Mayor Joe Barabe is asked this question every day: When are those mining jobs coming? Mayor for 23 years, Barabe grew up in the 1950s hearing promises that mining the iron in Ashland and Iron counties would help the region. He’s still waiting, although he’s more hopeful this year, since Gogebic Taconite has a specific plan for a giant open-pit mine a few miles from Mellen. But, Barabe said in a Mellen City Hall Newsmakers interview on Oct. 10, he’s frustrated that no one in the Capitol can show him a draft of new mining laws — laws that he says must protect Mellen’s water supply. A draft of those changes Barabe saw months ago would have given Mellen only $100,000 — not even close to the contingency fund needed to deal with any emergencies, Barabe added.