IT’S SUFFERED A couple of setbacks in the last week but the nonprofit Partridge Creek Farm isn’t backing off on its plans to expand its operations in Ishpeming.
Quick background: The Ishpeming City Council told the nonprofit’s founder, Dan Perkins, that he was growing crops on city property without authorization and he had to stop it after this year’s harvest. Then some yahoo on an ATV came in at night and vandalized some of the crops.
A tough couple of days for the Partridge Creek Farm volunteers and supporters.
Perkins, however, plans to shake it off and start a three-pronged campaign: 1) Enlist legal help from the Michigan Small Farm Council 2) Promote a petition drive for the farm, and 3) Start an education campaign stressing that there’s plenty of under-utilized city property in Ishpeming that could be put to good use by the farmer-citizens and would actually “beautify” the city.
It’s been done very successfully in Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, and in towns and cities up and down the East and West coasts.
To be fair, Ishpeming officials aren’t turning thumbs down to the project. Anything but. Both Mayor Mike Tonkin and City Manager Mark Slown say they endorse urban farming; they’re just saying, “Don’t start planting your crops on city land without getting the city’s approval. We’ve got regulations and codes to abide by, and other citizens to answer to.”
Seems eminently reasonable.
Perkins is a visionary and idealist who’s less than thrilled with bureaucracy but he’s worked with the city in the past. Here’s a guess that he and his legal counsel will figure out a way to work with a city that wants…and needs…to work with him and the Partridge Creek Farm volunteers.
WONDERING WHAT’S HAPPENING with the brand new Aspen Dental building that’s been sitting vacant for the last few months? You’re not alone.
The word from the dental network’s headquarters in East Syracuse, New York, is that the building is set to go, but staffing hasn’t been completed. In fact, if you check their website, you’ll see that they’re advertising for a dentist to come to Marquette.
When will Aspen Dental open here? “Soon,” says a customer service rep in East Syracuse. Nothing more specific than that.
Aspen Dental is a fast-growing chain of dental offices serving more than 20 states across the U.S. It’s run into some legal and public relations difficulties over the years.
A lot of complaints. Lawsuits.
It’s been characterized as serving lower income, older patients. Sounds good–poor folks need dental help–but then there’s that litany of complaints that you can read about on the web.
But for now it’s a moot point because…well…they need a dentist.
ONE OF THE classiest gift shops in the U.P. is closing down after 41 years.
The Einerlei in Chassell–you pass it whenever you go to the Keweenaw–will be closing its doors this fall. Owners Bill and Nancy Leonard are retiring and are trying to sell the building.
It’s a shame. Great store, filled with art, books, kitchenware, and anything that enhances your home and your life. And most of it is regional stuff.
Some gift shops can be kind of tacky. The Einerlei never was.
If you make it up to the Keweeenaw this summer, stop off, thank the Leonards for what they brought us, and maybe pick up some bargains. They want to sell off their inventory.
THE SCAFFOLDING IN front of the Children’s Museum and its neighboring stores should come down late next week and most of the construction will be done by then.
It’s going to look nice–tan siding with green and rust-colored accents. Museum director Nheena Ittner says it’ll look something like the Hampton Inn and will fit in nicely with some of the more handsome, older buildings in town.
The cost? $200,000.
What many may not know is that virtually the entire renovation is being paid for by the county’s two mining companies–Cliffs and Lundin (Eagle Mine).
With Cliffs, a longtime corporate citizen, of course, there’s no controversy. But not too long ago, the museum’s board hesitated before grudgingly accepting any money from Eagle. It was controversial. Eagle was despised by environmentalists.
Eagle still isn’t beloved by them but the mine is now established, it’s operating, and Ittner feels no compunction whatsoever about accepting the mining company’s money and thanking them. Without them, the long overdue renovation would never have happened.
She feels the same way about casinos and tobacco. If they’re legitimate and legal businesses and they want to help the community, who’s to judge them?
It’s hard to dispute that. Help the kids, and fight your battles elsewhere.
THEIR COACH, JACK Curtin, calls it shocking. At the very least, you could say it was surprising and disappointing.
What he’s talking about is the local press coverage of the championship recently won by the Marquette Soccer Academy’s girls U12 team at the USA Cup in Minnesota.
The girls beat teams from all over the U.S. and Canada to win the championship in what some consider to be the premier youth soccer tournament in North America. Teams from overseas even participated.
The reaction here as the girls triumphantly returned? Well, ESPN radio and Local 3 played it up, but TV6 gave it only a brief mention and, according to Curtin, it got coverage in the Mining Journal only because a parent paid for it as an advertisement.
What the hell?
This was a big deal, and Marquette County prides itself on loving sports and honoring its youth, and yet the championship was little more than a blip to Marquette’s two major media outlets.
And of course it was ignored by that gossipy little blog, Word on the Street…until now. Congratulations, girls. You did us proud.
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