RECORD NUMBERS AT Marquette’s Farmers Market.
Fifteen hundred shoppers have been stopping by on recent Saturdays as long as it wasn’t raining. That’s huge, more than the 1100, on average, who attended last year, and far, far more than when the market first moved to the Commons in 2007.
The vendors are clamoring to get in, too. Fifty-eight, four more than last year, is the number allowed in right now…and another 30 are on a waiting list, hoping to get in at least occasionally.
Myra Zyburt, the farmers market manager, points out that it’s not just the market vendors who are benefiting from all this traffic. The Marquette Farmers Market is currently taking part in a study that has so far revealed that market shoppers actually end up spending twice as much at downtown shops and restaurants on Saturdays as they do at the market.
Equally important, there’s the market’s enormous intangible value to downtown. It’s the center of activity on Saturdays–food, crafts, music, friendships, and the leisurely sun-splashed strolls from booth to booth.
LAST WEEK’S RAID on undocumented workers by Border Patrol agents, with the aid of Marquette Police, was highly unusual. We shouldn’t be expecting these on a regular basis. At least police don’t think so.
Here’s what happened, according to Detective Lieutenant Greg Kinonen.
The Border Patrol out of the Soo had a tip on an illegal in Marquette. They came to town, spotted him in car, stopped the car, and found that all four occupants were illegal. They allowed the four to go collect their belongings at their rental residence in town, and while they were there, agents discovered another three undocumented workers.
That made seven. All of them were taken back to the Soo, a first step toward possible deportation.
Detective Kinonen emphasized that local police were called in at the last minute only for support in the incident. They didn’t initiate the arrests.
However, he did add that when Marquette Police make a stop for any other possible crime or violation, and they then discover the suspect is illegal, they do contact the Border Patrol.
One final note: it’s well recognized that construction activity–and we have a frenzy of it–tends to attract illegal immigrants. (Hard-working ones, we might add.)
BIG DOINGS AT Super One.
All summer long they’ve been revamping the store–the liquor department, produce, the deli, the outside facade and parking lot, everything.
It was long overdue. Store manager Ed Czenkus says the market hadn’t been renovated since 1992. It’s part of a 30 store chain, and the Marquette Township location was one of the last to get the major face lift.
It was scheduled all along, Czenkus says, but you’ve got to think the renovation comes just in time as the brand new Meijer, just down the road, starts to take shape in preparation for its opening next year.
To say nothing of Walmart and Target, just a stone’s throw away.
A tough market but Super One is hoping that its longtime history here and its emphasis on customer service will see it through some challenging times.
FOR THOSE WHO think that solar power is just a niche industry, especially here in the sometimes sun-deprived UP, Peninsula Solar begs to differ.
Ian Olmsted started the company in Marquette eight years ago with just one job. It’s grown every year since, like 50% yearly growth. He’s now hired five employees.
Last year, he took in $500,000. This year, it’ll be at least $750,000, including the designing and building of the solar garden for the Board of Light and Power. Last year he built a project for L’Anse Water Treatment. He’s got other major projects in the works for municipalities and businesses.
A growth industry.
Even more promising–he’s now able to install batteries in homes to store solar power so that residents can use it later.
YOU MAY NOT have noticed but Garden Bouquet and Design changed ownership earlier this year. And they’re changing direction ever so slightly.
Flower design is still the core of the business along with local art, but on the second floor of the building, they’re moving in a “metaphysical direction,” as co-owner Maggie Finwall puts it.
Energy healing, reiki, tarot readings and such.
Finwall and co-owner Abigail Manson feel Marquette is ready for it.
We’ve already attracted tattoo shops, piercing parlors and yoga studios, so they’re probably right. Marquette is getting more cosmopolitan and counter-cultural by the day, it seems.
HERE’S HOW TO get students involved in their town.
Assign them a project that will actually add to the community. Make it better, enhance it.
That’s what teacher Karen Bacula did with her Environmental Biology students at Marquette Senior High School. With the blessing of the City Commission and the Superior Watershed Partnership, she had her students over the last two years research, write and design two interpretive signs that have now been erected. One is at Mattson Park in the Lower Harbor, and the other is on Presque Isle near the breakwater.
They tell visitors and locals about the lake and life in the lake. Informative, attractive. They’ve already drawn crowds.
Bacula, who just retired, says she’d like to get more students involved, and more signs put up. Why not? Free labor. A meaningful education. A source of pride for the city.
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