DON’T EXPECT A new, revised food truck ordinance to come up before the City Commission anytime soon. In fact, don’t expect it to come up before the new City Commission is seated in November. The issue is all but dead.
At least, that’s the word from the city staff.
They thought they had drawn up a reasonable ordinance–one that would allow food trucks to park in public spaces and would collect yearly fees from them–but a few citizens objected to it at the last meeting, and the Commission ordered a “review” of the ordinance.
That’ll take time, like months. The proposed ordinance was six months in the making. That included three public meetings that took input from residents and businesses, along with research into how other cities were dealing with food trucks.
However, it didn’t pass muster with the Commission.
Too bad. Sure seems like we should be able to reconcile our differences–allowing trucks to operate in public spaces while protecting the bricks-and-mortar restaurants.
After all, we all love food trucks, don’t we? At least, almost all of us do.
HERE’S A SURPRISE. Not.
Another major business in Marquette is filing for a reduction in its property tax before the Tax Tribunal.
This time it’s the Marquette Medical-Dental Center on Fair Avenue. The petition was filed May 22nd. The Med Center is calling for its property value to be reduced from $11.7 million to $7.5 million yearly. Pretty substantial.
And it wants refunds for taxes previously collected.
Yeah, you could say there’s a trend here–the hospital, the power plant, the box stores, and plenty of smaller players have all filed for reductions in recent years. You can’t blame them. They’re in business to make a profit, and if the Tribunal, with a new tax philosophy, is willing to slash their tax obligations, why not?
The problem, of course, is that the massive property tax reductions result in less revenue for local governments. And that means fewer services for the community.
So it goes at time when many Americans consider government to be, at best, a necessary evil.
SOME WOULD SAY the answers to most of our problems lie in the private sector.
That’s where the Innovation Shores Angel Network comes in. The U.P.’s angel investors group got together this week at the Landmark Inn for its initial meeting in hopes of attracting new, deep-pockets investors.
A crowd of 35 showed up for the presentation. Best guess is that maybe 15 of that group will sign on for a yearly fee of $2500. The group also hopes another 10 potential investors who weren’t able to make the meeting will also join.
That should be enough to make the group viable.
What do you get for $2500? Four dinners a year at which three entrepreneurial U.P. companies will make pitches for investment funding. Another name for those pitches before questioning, skeptical investors? Shark tanks.
Best case scenario: The young companies find investors, the companies grow, the investors make money, and the Upper Peninsula prospers.
And maybe at that point, we’ll be able to open our library on Sundays again.
YOU MAY HAVE noticed that Ishpeming, which has long languished in the shadow of Marquette, is showing serious signs of life.
How about this? The Partridge Creek Farm non-profit group joining with Grace Episcopal Church to start an urban farm.
Or this? Cognition opening a new brewery in the old tap room of the Mather Inn.
And the Gossard Building reviving itself with small businesses. And new facades erected for other downtown businesses. And CrossFit 906 moving its gym to a much larger facility.
And Rare Earth goods, which already features specialty foods, craft beers, regional wines, and local arts and crafts, opening a cafe. It also holds a weekly open mic night.
And then there’s this. The Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce, which was non-existent just a few years ago, now boasts 245 members.
Businesses with a belief in the future of the town. The sun is starting to shine on Ishpeming again. Now, let’s just hope Cliffs doesn’t decide to shut down its nearby mines.
THE MINING JOURNAL is losing arguably the best reporter–print, TV or radio–in the U.P.
John Pepin, who’s been with the newspaper for the last 21 years, recently accepted a job as the spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources. He’s finishing up at the Mining Journal this week.
Big loss. Pepin knows his stuff and writes well. His experience is irreplaceable. Fortunately he’ll be staying here in Marquette with the DNR.
Other changes at the Mining Journal. News editor Bill Harris recently departed and was replaced by Mary Heath, and reporter/photojournalist Zach Jay will be leaving as well.
TV6, MEANTIME, HAS found a replacement for sports anchor and reporter Lily Zhao who left the station several weeks ago.
The new guy is Ethan Schmidt, fresh out of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. He recently received his Masters in Corporate Communication.
He starts at TV6 later this month.
Which will come not a moment too soon for Mike Ludlum, the sports director, who’s been working…oh…roughly 25 hours a day, seven days a week since Zhao left.
STILL NO ONE hired to fill the all-important morning weather slot at TV6.
Shawn Householder left to take a job in Georgia a couple of months back, and efforts to land a replacement for him have, for various reasons, fallen short. That leaves Dan Giroux to fill the void temporarily, and it also requires Giroux and chief meteorologist Karl Bohnak to share weekend duties, as well.
A six day work week for both of them for the foreseeable future.
Bohnak, by the way, will take a break from his weather casts next week to attend the International Climate Change Conference in Washington DC.
Bohnak, who’s gained some notoriety here for his belief that man’s not primarily responsible for climate change or global warming, hasn’t suddenly changed his tune. The conference, in fact, will bring together scientists, meteorologists and a few politicians who all reject the notion that man is causing climate change.
Their belief is that natural factors, out of our control, are causing the changes we’re seeing.
Bohnak doesn’t much care for the term “climate change denier” nor does he like the politics surrounding the issue, on either side. He just sees himself as a skeptic and a scientist.
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