WANTED: DIRECTOR OF a tourism bureau in the upper Midwest in one of the most livable communities in the nation, on the shores of one of its most scenic lakes. Summer and winter tourism are growing here. Huge opportunity for the right person. Salary won’t make you rich but you will be comfortable.
Well, the search has been on for several months now and the Marquette County Visitors and Convention Bureau Board has reviewed a few dozen candidates for its executive director position. At last word the board has now come up with a couple of final candidates.
Problem is, neither one of them reportedly has serious tourism experience, neither one of them is local, and one of them, if given the job, would commute to and from Marquette.
The actual ad that the CVB has published calls for three years of tourism experience, significant knowledge of Marquette County, and an absolute willingness to travel 60 days a year and work on weekends.
So what’s the story here? Why are there no qualified candidates? Is there a problem with the search effort? The salary? The benefits? The board members?
The current director, Pat Black, is leaving before the end of the year. She’s got enormous institutional knowledge that she needs to pass along. The learning curve will be huge. Her successor should have been chosen by now, and that person should be a hospitality professional, preferably from Marquette County.
It sure seems like an exciting and challenging job in a wonderful community where good jobs are sometimes rare. Who’s interested?
TIME’S RUNNING OUT if supporters of the proposed boathouse on Lake Superior want to get the plan approved before the November election.
The current commission almost certainly would approve the boathouse–with only commissioner Sara Cambensy likely dissenting–but it has only three more regular meetings before the election, and the Planning Commission still has to give its approval before the City Commission can vote on it.
Three commissioners, all supporters of the boathouse, are stepping down in November. Will their replacements be as sympathetic? Will the boathouse become a campaign issue?
The Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club never thought it would come down to this. They thought the boathouse would be an obvious enhancement to the city, at no cost to the taxpayers…with no serious opposition.
Opponents spoke up. Loudly. They started a petition drive. They wanted no further development of any kind on the shoreline.
So the Rowing Club changed its plans. It scaled back the size of the boathouse, it moved it adjacent to the Hampton Inn where it would be less conspicuous. It offered to raise the money for it, build it, maintain it, open up most of it to the public, donate the facility to the city and then lease it back…and they offered their first born child to the city.
Okay, the last part isn’t true.
But the point is, the club is offering a helluva deal to the city with a minimal environmental impact. It’s hard to believe that this commission, or the next commission, would turn it down.
A BIG SURPRISE at ABC 10.
The newly appointed news director is Greg Peterson, a news veteran who, at one time or other, has worked at all three stations in the market, as well as the Mining Journal.
He’s also worked as a freelancer and he recently started a news blog, Upper Peninsula Breaking News.
He’s a newshound, with forty years in the business.
What’s surprising about the hire is that Peterson is an activist, with plans to make ABC 10 an advocate for open public records and aggressive investigative journalism.
Generally, broadcast TV stations shy away from controversy. They have sponsors to answer to.
It’ll be interesting to see what Peterson is able to do, especially given the limited resources he’ll be dealing with at ABC 10. The station is notoriously underfunded, and is actually run by its parent station downstate in Alpena.
Peterson will also be anchoring ABC 10’s newscast within a few weeks.
AS IF CLIFFS Natural Resources needed more bad news.
Its stock price earlier this week dropped to a 52 week low of $12.73 a share, and yet TheStreet Quant Ratings still lists the stock as a “sell.” Why? Because it has poor profit margins, weak cash flow, high debt management risk, and most notably, a continued slackening of demand in China.
Other than that, things look rosy.
Locally, there’s been no comment from Cliffs after a tumultuous several weeks that saw a hostile takeover of the mining company by the hedge fund, Casablanca Capital.
Casablanca has said it wants to shrink the company and sell off some assets. Does that mean there’ll be changes at the Empire or Tilden Mines? Are any jobs on the cutting block? No one’s talking.
IT MAY HAVE taken Ken and Sue Schauland almost three years to finally break ground on the Nestledown Bed and Breakfast on Lakeshore Boulevard, but they certainly aren’t wasting any time.
Ken and his crew have been out there almost every day in the last few weeks, and the B & B is rapidly taking shape. They’re planning on getting it covered before the snow falls and then finish it up this winter and spring, and be open for guests by early summer.
It’ll feature six guest rooms in the main inn, another one over the garage, and a sauna in the basement. A distinct Scandinavian theme.
Believe it or not, it’ll be the only B & B located in the city limits of Marquette.
Across the street from the beach? Along a walking and biking trail? A half mile from a cute downtown flush with good restaurants and bars? Not a bad location. It sure seems like they won’t have much trouble attracting guests.
NO CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY yet at the much anticipated dinner theater planned for the closed-down Delft Theater on Washington Street.
Owner Tom Vear has the design and financing in place. What he doesn’t have yet are final agreements from all the governmental and quasi-governmental agencies involved in getting the theater built.
Soon, Vear says. Soon.
Maybe within a week or two, but don’t ask about an opening date. Earlier this year, it was supposed to be this fall and…uh…checking the calendar, we see that it’s now…fall.
That’s what you get when you mix heavy doses of business and government, with a touch of optimism.
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