Students in field

Update from President Johnson on active Keweenaw emergency flash flood situation

June 19, 2018

Below is an e-mail that was sent out by President Philip Johnson to all Finlandia employees. At the end of that message are updates that were given during a press conference involving local emergency officials.

Dear Colleagues,
Yesterday we all received the note from Dr. Fredi deYampert that offices would once again be open today and work would resume.  But we return to our offices distracted and it is hard to concentrate on office work alone. We all know colleagues, former colleagues, neighbors, and friends whose lives have been severely tested since Sunday morning’s flash floods. As we return to our offices today I want to reach with this brief note to acknowledge our collective grief and concern and suggest a collective response. But first let me offer some information and a few updates from campus.

  • Finlandia’s board of trustees has been informed and updated on campus conditions. Yesterday morning, Finlandia’s response team (MT, Security, and Facilities) met to fully assess security and facility conditions.
  • Jim Harden/Campus Safety and Security (370-7307) is the contact point for all inquiries related to the flash flood event’s impact on campus.
  • Jim has reached out to local law enforcement to inform them that Finlandia can provide temporary office space in the Jutila Center, beds in Finlandia Hall, and meal support for those staying in the Hall. We can also provide free temporary storage space.
  • The campus has been inspected by security and maintenance. Minor water damage requiring minor fixes and clean up generally characterizes the needed  follow up. It needs to be said, however, that close inspection of every space in every building continues during clean up. If significant additional damage is  found, it will be passed on.
  • All those currently staying in Finn Hall are safe and have reported no concerns.

Today our colleagues in marketing and communications and other leadership are reaching out to local authorities to identify a project that needs attention for which a team from Finlandia would provide helpful and timely assistance. I encourage all of us to look for email updates regarding this project and reply with your availability.

The need is great. I know that many of us, individually, have already been helping neighbors and friends. I also know that some of us are overwhelmed due to the work required to address damage on our own property.  Recognizing these strains, I still remain confident that there are those among us who are able to join hands in a shared Finlandia community effort that can make an enduring difference for those around us.

Our Copper Country communities will emerge stronger.

Finally, if you or any other member of our Finlandia community is in extraordinary circumstances and your needs are not being met, please reach out to local authorities and call our own Jim Harden at 370-7307.  Finlandia wants to help in any way possible.

Dr. Philip Johnson
President


Safety Notes from County Emergency Personnel

Below you will find updates that were given during a press conference on Tuesday, June 19 involving local emergency officials.

  • Local emergency has been declared.
  • State emergency has been declared.
  • The process to declare a federal emergency has started.
  • If your home sustained damage please call 2-1-1 to have the damage assessed. This will help in the federal emergency process. They have 40 people assessing the damage caused by the storm. They will not go into your home.
  • There has been one injury and one fatality.
  • There was a four-block area (80 to 90 homes) in Hubbell evacuated on Sunday.
  • 80 roads have been washed out.
  • 40 roads are still impassable.
  • M-26 between Dollar Bay and Hubbell is limited to local traffic only.
  • US-41 is limited to one lane in many areas.
  • Please don’t go to the damaged areas that are being worked on, it will only slow the recovery process.
  • Remember that roads are still being assessed and washout along the side of the road could be an indication of a more serious issue.
  • Emergency shelters were in place over the weekend, with four people using them the first night and zero people using them last night.
  • If you smell gas please call and report it right away. Gas companies are working to sure up exposed gas lines.
  • The health department has been out inspecting restaurants. Make sure to call ahead because some restaurants are closed.
  • Three area sewers overflowed.
  • All beaches are closed.
  • You should avoid contact with water in the Portage Lake water system (examples: fishing, boating, swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking). Test results for the water will be in on Wednesday.
  • You can also call 2-1-1 to ask for volunteer help.
  • The city of Houghton is coordinating donations for rakes, shovels and work gloves.
  • Verified places to donate money right now include Portage Health Foundation (note that it’s for flood relief when filling out the form) and Keweenaw Community Foundation
  • State Representative Scott Dianda is in the area, Congressman Jack Bergman was in the area Monday and Governor Rick Snyder will be in the area today to assess the damage. 
  • An additional press conference will be hosted on Friday at noon with more updates.