An artist with a message
IT’S HARD TO miss if you’re entering downtown Marquette from the south on Front Street.
A bold, beautiful, new mural with the words, “Evolve & Stay Involved” with clasping black and white hands. Huge, on the side of the LoyalTee’s building owned by Brandon Sayen.
Local artist Chelsea Stafford approached Sayen with the idea, he said “Great” and she got to work.
“It’s just something I believe in,” Stafford says.
Yes, it’s just a a symbol but symbols are important–we pay attention to them, we think about them. And not only that, but the mural is beautiful, a wonderful welcome to our visitors.
SPEAKING OF WHOM.
Most of us saw the photos of the northbound traffic on the Mackinac Bridge over the last few days. It’s encouraging to businesses here that rely on tourism, but a bit frightening to the rest of us. You gotta figure that one out of every ten of those cars coming to the UP has a COVID positive case in it.
And then there are these statistics:
The UP on Thursday registered 18 new COVID cases, the most ever.
Michigan on Thursday counted 543 new COVID cases. Two weeks ago, the number was 74.
The United States is now registering more than 50,000 new cases a day. Three weeks ago, we were at 16,000 .
The surge is upon us, and no, it’s not just because we’re testing more; the percent of people testing positive is also rising. Rapidly.
If the trend continues, we’ll likely see a rollback in the opening of the economy–it’s already happening in other states. And schools this fall? Who knows.
Some have suggested that we just let “herd immunity” take hold so that eventually we’ll all be relatively safe. But what that implies is that we should, for the time being, accept more infections, more hospitalizations, more crises in hospitals, and more deaths. Not a pleasant option.
And now with the influx of tourists, it seems that the UP, and Marquette in particular, may no longer be immune to the spread of COVID-19.
More flights, more volume
MEANTIME, TRAFFIC IS picking up at Sawyer International Airport. That’s the word from airport manager Duane Duray.
It’s not robust by any means, but an improvement over April and May when the total passenger count out of Sawyer was less than 10% of normal. June has been better.
And July will definitely show an increase because both Delta and American Airlines are each adding a daily round trip flight this month. That means there will be four daily, in and out of Sawyer.
At one point, there were five flights out of Sawyer daily.
Whether there’s a surge in COVID cases here and nationally will likely determine whether passengers will again start filling the planes this summer, and approaching normal volume.
Good news? The airport staff are all back at work after some were furloughed during the height of the pandemic.
“WE’RE MOVING FORWARD with the design and planning stage of the project, but it’s going more slowly than we had hoped,” says Anne White, the co-owner of what will eventually be the Honorable Distillery downtown.
Yep, COVID has slowed things down here.
Work crews have done demolition work inside the former Book World (and Nordic Theater) on Washington Street and exposed the ceiling, but no crews have been inside the building for the last few months. That was more-or-less expected, says White, because they needed to get a better idea of what they were dealing with structurally before they began the renovation of the former theater.
But now COVID has thrown White and her partner, Scott Anderson, a curve. “We may need to come up with a new design and economic model,” she explains. “For instance, we don’t know whether we’ll be able to have a tasting room with a large group of people.”
Plenty of unknowns.
Including the opening date. White, at this point, won’t even venture a guess.