If you’re one of those shoppers desperately hoping for news that Costco is expanding into Marquette, sorry, this ain’t it.
No Costco sightings yet.
However, two property owners on US 41 in Marquette Township report that they were recently approached by a representative of Meijer, the superstore from downstate, to see if they’d be willing to sell their land to Meijer.
One was told that Meijer was looking into three possible locations in the U.P. and this would certainly be one of them.
No word on the whether the property owners would be willing to sell.
Again, these were just inquiries, and Township Manager Randy Girard says his office has had no official communication with Meijer.
The Meijer chain, which is headquartered near Grand Rapids, boasts more than 200 “hypermarkets” or “supercenters” in five Midwestern states. The stores are a combination grocery and department store, sometimes with a gas station. Kinda like a Walmart, certainly not a Costco or Sam’s Club.
Marquette Township may have lost the hospital sweepstakes but it certainly seems to be winning the hearts of the box stores.
MICHIGAN’S HALF-ASSED, half-hearted medical marijuana law may be facing a challenge here in Marquette.
A new marijuana dispensary, the Green Room, has opened up on West Washington Street in the last month, even though a state appeals court ruled that such dispensaries are illegal.
If you walk into the Green Room, you’ll be told by a man sitting by the phone that he can’t tell you anything unless you’re a member of the “private club.”
Go to their website and they’ll tell you to get a medical marijuana card and then you can become a member of the “private club.”
How do you get a card? Get a doctor to stipulate that you might be helped, medically, by marijuana. Easy-peasy. Some doctors dispense permission slips like candy on Halloween.
Then you pay a fee to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program and, bingo, you get a card. 146,000 Michiganders now have such cards.
Which brings us to the state law that some sadistic lawyer drew up and we the voters approved. We decided we didn’t want to continue an outright ban on pot–that would have been too backward–nor did we opt for straight legalization–that would have been too progressive–so instead we got this silly, complicated, legally questionable mess.
The law says stores or dispensaries can’t sell pot. Nope. Not doctors either. Just “caregivers” who are allowed to grow up to 12 plants in their basements or other enclosed areas. “Patients” find “caregivers” and they make a deal. Patients get their pot, caregivers make their money. A drug deal, in other words.
It’s no secret that the majority of the patients are recreational users. So what? We drink alcohol too.
The last we heard, pot-smokers weren’t starting many bar fights nor were they beating their wives and girlfriends.
But we’re apparently not yet ready to make the step toward full marijuana legalization, which leaves us with this crazy law and leaves the Green Room in legal limbo.
Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese is aware of the Green Room’s existence. On its face, he believes it’s illegal under current Michigan law. But until he has substantive evidence against it, he won’t bring charges. He won’t say whether a case is in the works.
So for now, that means the Green Room can continue to dispense its medicine.
YOU MAY HAVE noticed that construction has resumed at the Founders Landing condo complex.
They’re laying the foundation for the parking garage of the Gaines Building which will be completed next summer.
Nine units, all told. Five have been sold.
Once Gaines goes up, that leaves only one more building to finish up the project which generated controversy early on because of the buildings’ height, but which has been supported by the city because the condos provide property tax revenue.
And the buildings–from the lakeside, at least–you have to admit, are attractive.
Next up for the partners in the Founders Landing project is the building that’ll be erected just north of the Hampton Inn.
That’ll be two levels of parking with 230 spaces, topped by up to four levels of retail, residences and offices.
Financing, according to one of the partners, Ron Thorley, should be wrapped up within a month. Construction should start within a year.
SPEAKING OF CONSTRUCTION, what’s next for the soon-to-be abandoned Marquette General Hospital?
That’s what the city would like to know. Duke LifePoint owns the building complex and will almost certainly sell it…but to whom, and for what purpose, and when?
So far Duke LifePoint isn’ t tipping their hand.
Possibilities? Turn it into residential apartments or condos. Or NMU housing. Or make it mixed use–retail, office, and residential. Tear it down and build single family homes and apartments.
Or how about this idea? Move the Jacobetti Home for Veterans to the hospital? It’d be a bigger and more modern facility for our vets.
Regardless, the city would like to know what lies ahead. What it doesn’t want is a monstrous, abandoned building in the middle of town.
AMID ALL THE the controversy over the proposed boathouse for the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club, local builder Mike Potts has a suggestion.
He says we should be thinking less about the sleek racing shells and sculls of the rowing club, and more about hardier longboats, which are far better suited to the frequently rough waters of Lake Superior.
Just so happens he has such a longboat, actually a 32 foot Cornish pilot gig. He and some friends and fellow builders have built it over the last five years. It’s now lying under a tarp outside Fred’s Rubber Stamp Shop on Lakeshore Boulevard.
He’d like to see it used more. At events. By a rowing club. For races. For coastal outings. For anyone who just wants to get out on the water, even in the spring and fall. Potts insists the boat is extremely safe.
He’d like to see another one built, maybe by alternative high school students. It sure sounds like a project that technically-minded kids could get into.
Potts says these longboats are becoming very popular on the east coast and in England. Why not here? They have a history to them, they have tradition. Sounds like something Marquette could embrace.
Imagine this: Longboat races between clubs in Marquette, Munising and Houghton, cheered on by crowds on the shore. And after the races, retire to the nearest brew pub for a raucous award ceremony, some hearty camaraderie, and a drink or two. Yeah, sounds like Marquette.
YOU GOTTA HAND it to Cliffs Natural Resources.
The mining company has perfected a magic trick. You invest money in its stock and…Presto!…your money disappears.
Cliffs shares started the year at $27. Now they’ve sunk below seven dollars.
And this just in! An analyst for Credit Suisse has just downgraded his stock price estimate for Cliffs from $10 to $1.
One dollar, as in four quarters. Ten dimes.
A few years ago, Cliffs was trading at $100 a share.
All in all, a dandy year for Cliffs: managerial ineptitude, a hostile takeover, layoffs, facilities closed, others for sale, plunging demand, excessive debt.
One bright spot: The Empire mine, previously set for closure, was saved earlier this year for a couple more years. That saved 600 jobs.
That’s something to celebrate for the New Year while we nervously await the next vanishing act.
MARQUETTE’S GETTING MORE love from the national press.
This time from The Week, a well-regarded British magazine that puts out a U.S. edition.
The December 26th issue features a story on “fat bikes” in Marquette. Those are the bikes with fat tires, lightly inflated, that more of us are riding in the snow these days.
It’s the latest wintertime trend, and Marquette’s in the vanguard of the sport. The article points out that the Noquemanon Trail Network now has a 15 mile snow bike trail considered one of the best in the country.
Of course, fat bikes can be expensive. A good one will cost you about 100 shares of Cliffs. But act fast, because tomorrow the price could go up to 500 shares of Cliffs.
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