Bummer. That’s about all we can say about the news that the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Race has been cancelled… for the second year in a row. The unsurprising announcement came yesterday in a press release from U.P. Sled Dog Association President Darlene Walch.
“This is a difficult decision to make after the months of work already put in by mushers, volunteers, sponsors and our board.” said Walch. “Thank you to everyone for your flexibility and understanding and we hope to see you at Festival of the Sled Dog!”
Fortunately, all is not lost. “Festival of the Sled Dog Powered by NMU” will take place on Friday, February 16th in downtown Marquette. According to the press release, “The arch will be up, the streets will be filled with snow for sledding and there will be sled dog demos, meaning… there will be sled dogs! There will also be live music and other activities.”
It looks like the mythical snow god Heikki Lunta, coming to Negaunee this weekend, is arriving just a little too late this year.
Ores on the Shore
Frequent users of the bike path through Founders Landing have probably noticed the many long boats lined up by the shoreline, seen above, during the summer months. It doesn’t take an experienced oarsman to know that’s an unsuitable place to store these fragile and expensive watercraft. That’s why the UP Rowing club is making the effort to put up a structure designed to give the boats a shelter more appropriate to their use.
At last month’s Board of Light and Power meeting, the club presented their proposal to use a part of the former Shiras Power Plant property in south Marquette for the structure. You may recall, the BLP has indicated their desire to repurpose the property for community use, conditioned on BLP approval.
The club had previously tried to get the go-ahead to construct a storage building at the Founders Landing beach area, but without success. The BLP’s willingness to open up space for projects such as this has given the effort new life.
According to the proposal, the roofed structure would utilize shipping containers and various rack configurations to facilitate their long boats as well as smaller craft, like kayaks and canoes. Since the club intends to secure the estimated $150,000 for the project, members would get priority storage rights, but the public will also be granted use of the structure for their human powered watercraft.
It looks like a great idea for beginning the process of returning that property to public use. Other than informal talk of a dog park, this is the first official proposal the board has entertained. It appeared the board was generally in favor of the project, but it was pointed out that any proposal must be vetted to ensure it will be consistent with any other future developments.
The proximity of the storage facility to the lake itself, as well as to the popular south beach, seems to make this a no-brainer. The club has nearly a hundred members and also works with a group of Northern students, who would also find value in a secure storage facility.
This would be nothing new for the Marquette Board of Light and Power. Several BLP properties around town are currently being co-opted with recreational facilities that benefit all kinds of activities. I can say, being at the meeting, it was nice to see the board and BLP staff open to such a proposal, and hopefully more in the future.
Technical Difficulties – Please Stand By
Football fans who were watching last weekend’s NFL playoff games were no doubt disappointed they were unable to see the end of the Baltimore Ravens – Kansas City Chiefs game on the local CBS affiliate, WZMQ. Technical difficulties caused the station to lose the signal with just a few minutes left in what turned out to be a seven-point game. Spoiler alert… Kansas City won.
According to Brian Trauring, Lilly Broadcasting Vice President, “The issue was interference with the satellite feed caused by an isolated weather event. We have added more back-up procedures, staffing and equipment to avoid future program interruptions.”
With the Super Bowl airing on CBS, and WZMQ being a major sponsor of next weekend’s Meijer State Games, they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves, as long as they provide us with an unblemished slate of entertainment and activities. Regarding the technical difficulties… stuff happens. And that’s okay, as long as it doesn’t happen during the Super Bowl.