SO WHAT HAPPENED to winter?
60 degrees in November, barely a hint of snowflakes, no major snowfalls on the horizon.
Here’s weather guru Karl Bohnak’s take: The weather is unusual but not unprecedented. In the early ’50s, we had no snow here until just before Christmas. In the winter of ’94, we had snow in November but it had all melted by Christmas.
Welcome to the U.P.
This year, we did have one day of measurable snow in mid-October–an inch or two in most places–but that melted almost immediately. And since then, nothing.
This corresponds, by the way, to what Bohnak and the other weather experts have been telling us: that the El Nino phenomenon (the warming of the equatorial Pacific) will result in a warmer and drier winter for the Great Lakes.
Seems to be happening, and there’s nothing in the next ten days or so, according to Bohnak, to give snow-lovers much hope. Don’t bother waxing your skis or snowboards just yet.
WHICH BRINGS US to Marquette Mountain.
General Manager Jesie Melchiori says from the looks of it, they will not be opening the slopes by the Friday after Thanksgiving, their usual target date.
Why? Well, first of all, (duh) there’s no snow. Second and more important, they need a solid week of temperatures in the 20s at night and 30s in the day to make snow with their snow guns. Otherwise, it’ll just melt. A waste of time and money.
Her reading of the long range forecast tells her those kinds of temperatures might not arrive here until around November 30th. Then add a week of snow-making on to that, and maybe the slopes can open in early December.
Or maybe we get a blizzard tomorrow. Such is the U.P.
In any case, once the cold temperatures finally arrive, Melchiori says they’re ready to go. They have three times as many snow guns as last year. They’ll build up the base fast.
And once they can reliably identify an opening date, they’ll start some serious hiring. Right now, they’ve got 10 employees. At peak season they’ll have 120.
YA GOTTA FEEL for the news staff at ABC 10.
They’re working their butts off to get their newscasts on the air despite being woefully undermanned, and yet when they go on the air, they’re frequently unwatchable.
On some evenings, the TV signal freezes. Repeatedly. Like every 30 seconds or so.
News Director Jerry Taylor knows this but doesn’t complain publicly. Just pushes forward. WBUP’s operations director says it’s a microwave problem that they’ve been struggling with, but they’re expecting to resolve the problem by the end of the year by installing fiber-optic cable.
Let’s hope so because what we’re seeing now is sad–a waste of time, energy and talent. The station owners should be ashamed.
MEANTIME, OVER AT Local 3, the search goes on for a new 11 pm anchor.
Gabe Caggiano (remember him?) was ousted about seven months ago but his successor still hasn’t arrived. Station manager Mark Nebel says the search goes on and maybe they might be close to hiring someone. Or maybe not.
Until then, news director Cynthia Thompson and reporter Kylie Khan are splitting the anchoring duties at 11 pm.
So why the difficulty in luring an anchor to the U.P? Here’s a guess. Reporters here (college-educated) make about as much money as an assistant manager at a fast food franchise. Newly arrived anchors here will earn just a wee bit more.
Might make you re-think your career path.
THAT FACADE RENOVATION at Third Street and Bluff should be completed within a couple of weeks. That’s the building that houses Synergy Fitness, Swick Media and a couple of agencies.
The facelift includes repairing and painting the bricks, installing new doors and windows, and just generally making it pretty again.
The project is partially funded by a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation which requires that the businesses, in return, hire new employees. Win-win.
Vango’s used the same matching grant for its recent renovation and expansion. Downwind Sports is next in line for the grant and renovation.
MARQUETTE’S VERY OWN pilot gig took to the waters of Lake Superior the other day.
What’s a pilot gig? It’s a long rowboat–32′ long, 5′ wide–that was used on the treacherous, rocky English coast in the old days. When captains navigated their ships close to harbor, they needed help from a local “pilot” to take them the rest of he way in. So the pilot would be transported out to the incoming ship in a…pilot gig. Got it?
So much for the history lesson. Back to Marquette.
About a half dozen local boat afficionados handcrafted this pilot gig over the last couple of years, along with the oars and the trailer…and now they want locals to use it. In Lake Superior, even when it’s a little rough. The boat is strong, hardy, stable and safe.
Nine people–six oarsmen, a cox’n, and two others– handled the boat beautifully on Tuesday, and most of them were inexperienced. They loved it.
There are about 20-30 of these pilot gigs in the U.S., more being built every year, and cities and clubs are staging competitions with them. Sounds like a U.P. kinda thing, doesn’t it?
Rowers here, by the way, have their own Facebook page–“Marquette Pilot Gig Rowing.” They’re looking for more oarsmen and oarswomen.
The pilot gig shoves off from the cinder pond again this Sunday.
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