A TOUGH COUPLE of weeks for State Representative John Kivela.
He was arrested on November 9th while driving erratically, with an open container in his pickup, just north of Lansing. Spent a night in jail, now charged with being “super-drunk.”
A nightmare for anybody, but especially for a respected, elected official.
Kivela’s at home now, embarrassed for himself and his family. He’s completed a five day, medically supervised detoxification program, and has also enrolled in a Great Lakes Recovery program.
In Lansing, he’ll be attending regular meetings of others who’ve struggled with alcoholism.
He’s an alcoholic, he readily concedes, and it’s a problem that has steadily worsened through adulthood, though he’s hidden it from many of us. He’s never before been arrested for a DUI, he says.
The Lansing lifestyle hasn’t helped–lots of nighttime functions with food and drink–but Kivela said the problem resides in only one place: himself.
He, alone, is responsible for his drinking, and with a tight network of family and friends, both in the U.P. and Lansing, he’s convinced he’ll come out of this nightmare a better man.
He’ll return to Lansing early next month, having missed only one day on the floor, determined to continue pushing his legislative agenda–most notably, fighting the meth crisis, and working for tax fairness with the so-called “dark stores.”
He’s heard from more than 200 well-wishers, many of whom he didn’t even know, since his embarrassing downfall, but he’s also had to face the critics. Some have been cruel. It’s understandable.
His future, both personal and political, is up to him.
THE LATEST ON the Rowing Club’s controversial plans to build a boathouse near the Hampton Inn? It’s no longer a sure thing.
Turns out it’ll cost a lot more to build it there than had been expected.
Quick background: The Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club originally proposed to build a boathouse near Founders Landing, until it ran into protests from anti-development activists. It then moved to a more acceptable site near the Hampton Inn, it shrank the size of the boathouse, it reiterated that the boathouse would be open to all the community, including the handicapped, and it changed the contract so that the city would actually own the facility. All privately funded.
And the City Commission gave its resounding approval.
The UPRCC just had to raise the money to build the boathouse. Original estimate? Maybe $700,00 or so. Do-able.
Well, now. Consultants are now saying the club will have spend a lot more money on site preparation–removing a lot more soil–and the total cost will actually come in at more than $1 million.
That’s a lot of fundraising for a small club in a small town. It’s still do-able, the club says, but they’re now looking at alternatives, specifically buying a large space at the multi-level garage that’s soon to be built near the Hampton Inn.
There are other options out there, as well, and club members will be discussing them at their December meeting.
They insist the boathouse will still happen–with access for the public and the handicapped–but they’re just not sure where or when. And fundraising has been paused.
DON’T EXPECT ANYTHING new out of the old, nearly vacant Marquette Mall anytime soon.
Dagenais Enterprises, which owns the mall, now says maybe in spring they’ll begin partial demolition and redevelopment of the mall, but then again, they said precisely the same thing last winter.
Nothing happened, of course, except another tenant or two vacated. Big Lots is leaving by January which will leave the Secretary of State’s office, Jim’s Music, the Dollar Tree, and Riverside Motors.
That’s it. Just a big, ugly building that’s outlived its time, and a vast, nearly empty parking lot. This, in one of the most visible locations in all of Marquette County.
Back in 2008, the website deadmalls.com listed the Marquette Mall as a “dead mall.” That was seven years ago. What is it now? Deader than dead?
IF YOU’VE GOT family or friends planning a visit to Marquette next summer, you might want to tell them to skip the first week of August.
That’s when the Midwest Shrine Association is bringing at least 1500 Shriners to town, maybe more. They’ve already booked 800 rooms for them–that’s out of a total of 1300 hotel rooms in the entire county.
Not only that, but there’s a good chance another 500 Shriners will show up which means they’ll need more rooms, possibly at NMU or in private homes or at campsites.
It’ll be crowded here but it should be fun.
Expect parades in both Marquette and Ishpeming, a block party on Washington Street, another party at the Commons, and a huge dinner at the Superior Dome, along with packed bars, restaurants, and sidewalks for at least three days, maybe more.
It’s safe to say that during that week, you may have to wait a little longer for a dinner reservation…or an empty bar stool.
A BIG WRITE-UP in this month’s ESPN The Magazine on Chris Mosier, the NMU grad who’s one of this nation’s best triathletes.
He’s also trans-gender, an activist who’s leading the way for other such athletes.
Much of the article deals with Mosier’s recent return to his alma mater, a place he hadn’t visited in 12 years. He was never quite comfortable during his time here.
Quoting: “I was always moving from group to group, never getting too close. I didn’t want to have strong relationships because I was uncomfortable with myself. Everyone else was questioning what I was, who I was, but I never put the time into figuring that out. I didn’t identify with female, but I didn’t have the language to understand what that was for me.”
Now he knows exactly who he is: a married man, an activist, a world class athlete.
Quite a journey.
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