Battle of Midway
Midway, Proctor residents Voice concerns, opinions at hearing
Thirty residents of both Midway Township and the city of Proctor stated their opinions regarding the proposed annexation of the township, during a public hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Duluth City Hall chambers.
There were over 50 residents in attendance.
Judge James LaFave presided over the proceedings.
The vast majority of those who spoke were Midway Township residents who were against the annexation.
Most cited a potential loss of freedoms, such as hunting and gun rights; due to different ordinances in Proctor law, a loss or significant change in emergency services like fire and ambulance, a loss of geographical identity and the prospect of higher taxes.
Two Midway Township residents who were against annexation of any kind, said if annexation did happen they'd rather be annexed by Proctor than Duluth.
"I can't understand how an un-American law as annexation can be on the books. Let us continue to live the good lives we've chosen," said Midway resident Larry Sillanpa.
Keith Anderson of Midway lives on a gravel road and said St. Louis County does snow removal and if Proctor takes over, that will no longer happen.
"Let Midway take care of Midway," he said.
Several Midway residents said the city of Proctor has been hostile in the annexation process.
"No matter what our efforts are, they want to take it by force. I don't want to be annexed by anybody, said 42-year Midway resident Dave DeFoe.
"I don't want to live with this kind of hostility. Midway is a wonderful township. I don't want to be part of Proctor," said Janet McCloud.
"(If annexation happens) Midway Township residents will be very unhappy. This is a hostile
takeover," said Lois Hoffbauer. “They can't take care of their own businesses in Proctor,” added Hoffbauer – who Proctor helped open a Farmers Market, without charge, when Midway made it difficult and expensive for her to do so.
Hoffbauer also noting she has been boycotting Proctor businesses. She also wondered if other neighboring townships may be next for
"I have no faith or trust in Proctor city government," said Tod McCannell. Other Midway residents who own century farms said they can't see being able
to afford to stay on their property if annexed.
"The township's in better shape than its ever been," said 38-year Midway resident Jeff Line.
Midway resident Vance Okstad said he likes where he lives, but he's seen poor leadership from both sides on this issue. "Why do Midway residents have to boycott Proctor,?" he asked.
Proctor residents Dan, James and Janice Rohweder spoke in favor of annexation. "We've always acted like one community working together. I think it would be good for both communities. We're all one huge family, I think. I don't think this is the ugly scenario they're making it out to be," said Dan Rohweder.
"The truth is we're like one community. We get along great, except for annexation," said James Rohweder.
Midway resident Melanie Musick later asked how many residents there are in Midway Township, and received an answer of 1,400. She then asked how many signed the petition to oppose annexation, and received an answer of 600. She was told only those 18 and older were allowed to sign the petition, leaving roughly 60 percent of remaining residents who signed the petition.
Midway resident Rebecca Brenna said she almost didn't come to the public hearing Wednesday as she received a postcard from the township that she said
stated all Midway residents are invited to state their opposition to annexation.
She thought that was unfair language and should have said those who wish to state their opinion about the matter should come to the hearing.
"I question the validity and fairness of this hearing," she said.
Judge LaFave said he would enter the post card as Exhibit 400 in the case.