COUNTY ROAD 595 ain’t dead yet, not by a long shot.
The Marquette County Road Commission is getting ready to sue the Environmental Protection Agency which rejected the proposed 595 cut-through in northern Marquette County in 2013.
That’s right, a county agency is going to be suing a federal agency
Interesting. And what’s more interesting is that the money behind the lawsuit will be coming from private interests, specifically the timber industry.
State Senator Tom Casperson (Republican) is the man behind this unusual private-public collaboration, and State Representative John Kivela (Democrat), who’s been privy to the talks, fully endorses the suit as well. They insist the EPA was just flat-out wrong in rejecting the proposed road.
Background: CR 595 was proposed in 2011 as a way for Kennecott Minerals to transport its ore from the Eagle Mine near Big Bay down to its mill near the old Humboldt mine–a 22 mile road that would have been a shortcut through wilderness and kept the heavy trucks away from Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming. It would also have been used by other trucks, loggers in particular.
It was a plan that had the full support of city and county officials, as well as US Senators Levin and Stabenow (Democrats) and Congressman Benishek (Republican) and Governor Snyder (Republican). Nearly a consensus.
Not quite. Environmental groups, including Save the Wild UP, opposed it, as did the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community….and ultimately, and most importantly, so did the EPA. The feds ruled that the road would be impinging on wetlands.
So County Road 595 died. Almost. Now its being revived, thanks to the efforts of Casperson and some county officials.
The recent accident involving a mining truck on CR 550 that tied up traffic for hours might generate more support for 595. None of us wants those big-ass trucks anywhere near town.
So the battle is back on. Environmentalists versus a business/government coalition that’s well-funded and, to be honest, probably has more popular support than the environmentalists. Will that be enough to prevail over the EPA in court?
REACTION CONTINUES TO come in from our roundtable discussion about the hospital three weeks ago.
Analytics tell us that more than 20,000 people, the overwhelming majority from Marquette County, have read the blog, which means nearly one in three residents here read it. More than 170 posted comments. It’s fair to say we all care about our local hospital.
It was the first agenda item for the hospital’s Leadership Meeting shortly after the blog was posted. No word on what was said or suggested at the meeting.
Otherwise, hospital executives are offering no official reaction except to say that “internal” discussions are taking place.
Oh, and CEO Ed Banos and Chief Nursing Officer Dagmar Raica brought in Jimmy Johns sandwiches to a group of nurses the day the blog was posted.
And the exodus of doctors from the hospital continues. Dr. Richard Rovin, a neurosurgeon, is the latest to close up shop.
THE TRAGIC ROBIN Rahoi hit-and-run case has been settled in criminal court, and now it appears that it’s nearing resolution in civil court, as well.
In fact, it’ll be settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum. The settlement will not be anything substantial, from what we’re hearing, because there just wasn’t much money to get.
Michael Nelson of Big Bay received a nine month jail sentence, plus two years probation, for the hit-and-run killing of Rahoi, an NMU employee, just about a year ago. Rahoi was walking along a dark road when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Nelson.
The vehicle left the scene. Rahoi was left to die.
Rahoi’s three children had filed the civil suit, not because they were looking for big money or vengeance, according to their attorney Steve Pence, but because they were hoping Nelson would take responsibility for having taken their mother’s life.
Nelson all along has insisted he never realized he had struck a human on that dark night.
So it goes.
WHAT THE HECK happened to Ron’s Taco Shop?
The little diner was in the process of relocating from Third Street to Washington Street downtown when suddenly, amid rumors, the move ground to a halt.
The last posting on Ron’s Facebook page came way back on November 19th when the owners said they were working on the kitchen, the floors and the walls, with an anticipated opening around the Christmas holidays.
Not likely. The landlords at what was to be the new location now say they don’t want to talk about Ron’s.
The landlord at Ron’s old location is still grumbling about unpaid bills.
And those of us who liked the fare at Ron’s Taco Shop are searching instead for our beloved taco trucks.
ONE OF DOWNTOWN’S stalwarts, Moonstone Gallery, is closing up shop on Wednesday, Christmas Eve.
Jeweler Ann Kuhnly says nine years is enough. She’ll still be making her own jewelry and selling it at art fairs and such, but operating a store downtown is just not working for her. The last two years in particular, when we’ve supposedly been recovering from the recession, have been very tough.
Apparently the millionaires and billionaires who’ve watched their stock portfolios soar in recent years aren’t buying moderately priced jewelry in Marquette.
A TOTALLY DIFFERENT story right next door where Spice Merchants opened up just a couple of weeks ago.
Owner Mike Carl, positioned near an overheated cash register, tells us he’s having trouble keeping his spices, teas, rubs, chocolates, soups and gifts in stock. The damn customers keep buying them.
It’s been busier, he’s been told, than even the Spice Merchants store in Traverse City.
We’ll check back with him January 15. Here’s guessing he’ll likely have more time to talk next month. And the month after.
THE OTHER NEW store in town, Great Turtle Toys, may be moving next door into the Childrens Museum.
Nothing’s definite yet but Ben Nye, the store owner, is interested in taking over Sprouts, the less-than-successful store on the first floor of the museum.
Museum director Nheena Ittner would welcome some sort of collaboration with Nye, but the final decision, including the financial arrangements, would have to be approved by the museum’s board.
If something is worked out, Nye’s shop could be in the museum, under a new, as yet undetermined name, by the end of next month.
Nye’s got plenty of ideas and energy. His pop-up store, Great Turtle Toys, has done steady business since he opened up a couple of weeks ago but his quickie lease will expire on January 1st. Now he wants to stay in town.
Seems like a good fit with the museum.
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