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Careless Drunken Man to Blame for Hurley Bomb ScareSubmitted: 04/16/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


HURLEY - A suspicious backpack outside Gogebic Taconite's office in Hurley brought in police, sheriff's deputies, and a bomb squad over the weekend.

Instead of a serious threat, a drunk, careless Ironwood man was to blame.

G-Tac is the company exploring a controversial iron ore mine on the border of Ashland and Iron Counties.

The backpack was wedged between a newspaper stand and the G-Tac office.

"We thought it was suspicious due to the recent controversy between pro-mining groups and environmental organizations against the mine. Also, we had Rep. Sean Duffy due to speak that day at a restaurant just around the corner. Those two things kind of heightened our awareness as toward the backpack," said Hurley Police Chief Dan Erspamer.

Hurley Police evacuated two blocks surrounding the backpack and called in the nearest bomb squad, from Wausau.

The bomb squad used X-rays and eventually opened the backpack.

They found only normal items inside.

Tuesday, we learned they found a name inside the bag and talked to that Ironwood man.

"He indicated that he was extremely intoxicated the night before and did not remember where he had placed that bag. He did not even know it was at the G-Tac building. He didn't know where it was," Erspamer said.

The man said he didn't report the bag missing because it also contained some illegal drugs.

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That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

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