HEAVY HEARTS IN Marquette these last several days, but for the city commission, its time to get back to business.
Among the first items on the agenda? Filling a vacancy on the commission. Again.
Looks like they’ll go through the same process they used last month in replacing Sara Cambensy, who left her position to become our state representative in Lansing.
That is, they’ll put out a call for applicants, let the applicants make their pitch, and then vote among themselves on whom they want to replace Tom Baldini (who, of course, will be irreplaceable).
The process proved controversial last go-around. Many thought Tony Ghiringhelli, the first runner-up in the November elections, should have been appointed to the position. Instead it went to Jenna Smith.
It’s not the most satisfying or democratic solution, but then again, these are unusual times.
YOU MAY HAVE seen them around town this week. We haven’t, at least not yet.
A national camera crew, shooting a Honda commercial, the theme being winter driving. Yeah, they found the right place.
Wednesday, we’re told, they shot video at Contrast Coffee and Zero Degrees on Third Street. Why a coffee shop and an art gallery in a car commercial? We’ll have to find out when the commercial shows up on our TV sets. Contrast Coffee manager Alex Fields says he was told it would air in two weeks.
So how much of the coffee shop and art gallery footage will actually show up in the commercial? The current over/under in Las Vegas is 9.5 seconds.
NOBODY’S HAPPY WITH the new rule on glass recycling that went into effect at the start of the year.
The rule, basically, is Don’t recycle it because the Marquette County Landfill isn’t accepting glass recyclables. There’s no market for it anymore. No profit. It’s cheaper and easier to make brand new glass out of sand than it is to recycle old glass containers.
This isn’t just a Marquette County problem. It’s something communities all over the nation have been dealing with for the last couple of years.
So does that mean we’ll have just bury our bottles and jars from now on?
“We don’t want to do that,” says city manager Mike Angeli. “Everybody agrees this is an important problem that we have to address.” He says there are options out there to consider.
For one, commissioner Fred Stonehouse plans on asking the city manager how much extra it might cost the city to have Waste Management continue picking up glass containers separately.
Then it might become a question of how much extra we, as residents, would be willing to pay to keep the glass out of the ground.
WE HEARD A few months ago that Lyft was looking for new drivers to start up operations in Marquette.
Well, they’re up and running with their app and their drivers.
Architect Dax Richer hailed Lyft (digitally) over the holidays. They showed up within two minutes, he said, and took him home. Cheap and easy.
Further evidence of Marquette’s embrace of the New Economy.
NO GREAT SURPRISES from November’s Nielsen ratings book.
Just further confirmation that TV6 news remains a colossus.
The Morning News (5 am) was rated #3 nationally in terms of its dominance in the market. The Early News (6 pm) was also rated #3. The News Tonight (7 pm) was #1. And the Late News (11 pm) was #2.
It’s tough for the other stations to compete when TV6 has such a huge advantage in terms of funding, staffing, and overall resources.
SPEAKING OF TV, one of ABC 10’s greatest strengths–sportscaster Sam Ali–is leaving town.
He’s headed toward a bigger job in Duluth. Duluth is TV market #140, Marquette is #180.
Ali has been quirky, unconventional, and entertaining, but competent and professional. He’s also helped his TV audience here in the UP better understand his Muslim faith. Not something you’d normally expect from sportscasters.
His last day on the air is Friday. His successor will be Rachel Zerbe.
LOOKS LIKE THE “Closed” signs and fences around what’s unofficially known as “Lighthouse Park” will be coming down this summer. The public will be invited in.
It’s taken a while.
The city actually was deeded the property a year and a half ago after a land trade with the Coast Guard, but ever since, the city has been studying exactly what to do with the nearly 6 acre lakeshore park and the buildings on it.
Here’s what we’ll likely see: The lighthouse itself, built in 1866, will remain open for guided tours. The lighthouse keeper’s house will become a short term rental owned and operated by the city. The old station house will become a community building of some sort, possibly available for event rentals. And the bike path will be rerouted off of the road, to separate bike and auto traffic.
None of that will happen immediately, of course, but we will, at long last, finally be able to stroll the grounds of Marquette’s newest park.
A FURTHER SIGN of the New Economy in Marquette
Two sisters, both with good jobs, opening up an online women’s apparel business. Something for them to do on the side, to make a little money, maybe a lot, maybe grow the business.
It’s called Lumi, and the sisters are Mandy Swanson, a school teacher, and Michelle Walters, a radiation oncology therapist.
Swanson says they’re creating “lifestyle” women’s clothing–something you can wear for work and play.
“We wanted something with a simple, classic design,” she explains, “but also something that was comfortable and durable.”
It’s a two woman operation at this point and they’re slowly ramping up production.
Swanson and Walters are both graduates of the Smartzone’s Boot Camp last year, and have worked closely with Invent@NMU in getting their business plans together.
FEELING COLD AND dreary?
How’d you like to trade places with that forlorn Russian tanker still sitting outside on the tarmac at Sawyer International Airport?
Yep, it’s still for sale, and occasionally, potential buyers will come in to kick the tires, but so far there’s been no deal, so there it sits. It’s been there since 2009 when it landed and got caught up in an ownership squabble.
It’s still racking up daily ramp fees which the airport is still collecting, according to Steve Schenden, the director of operations.
But you gotta wonder when somebody will finally take pity on the hulk, get it airworthy again, and mercifully fly it to a place that’s warm and welcoming.
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