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Lightning from December thunderstorm stops the presses in Ironwood

No one is surprised when the Upper Peninsula is hit by heavy snow in December.

But thunder, lightning and rain?

"Buckets and buckets of rain," said Sue Mizell, publisher of the Ironwood Daily Globe, about the rare 12th-month thunderstorm that hit the Gogebic County city on Monday evening.

But rain wasn't the problem for the Daily Globe, a six-day-a-week paper with 4,500 subscribers. It was a lightning strike that hit the newspaper's printing press about 8 p.m. It put the press out of commission and forced the newspaper not to publish for the first time in Mizell's five-year tenure there and in her 30 years in the newspaper business.

Mizell knew within 20 minutes of the lightning strike that printing Tuesday's paper would be a no-go, she said. Her crew had just finished printing the U.P. Catholic and were about to begin printing the Ontonagon Herald when the lightning hit.

Daily Globe personnel moved all of their content to the newspaper's website, Mizell said, and she got word to local radio stations to let subscribers know they wouldn't be getting the paper in the mail on Tuesday. The newspaper doesn't use carrier delivery.

By late Tuesday morning, the problem had been isolated to a relay switch, and Mizell said she was confident the presses would be running in time to print both Tuesday's and Wednesday's papers in time to get in Wednesday's mail.

Meanwhile, the rain soon gave way to more typical Upper Peninsula December weather, Mizell said: 8 inches of snow by Tuesday morning, and up to a foot more expected by Wednesday morning.

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