THIS ISN’T EXACTLY what the Marquette County YMCA needs at this time. A lawsuit.
The Y is being sued by G.A. Haan, the downstate development company that remodeled the old Phelps School in Ishpeming, and converted it into Phelps Square, a combination housing complex and community center.
Here’s what happened. Haan worked closely with the YMCA on the $5 million project with the understanding that once the renovation was completed, the YMCA, signing a long term lease, would open up an early child care development program in the building.
Haan claims it spent $500,000 customizing the building for the Y.
Everyone–the YMCA, Haan, and Ishpeming–was excited. They held a grand opening for the program. Parents were told they could enroll their children. And then a few days before it was to open for business, the YMCA suddenly said the deal was off.
Of course, we all know why. It was during this time that the YMCA’s Board of Volunteers learned that the Y, with its ambitious expansion plans, was experiencing serious financial problems. So serious, that they ousted CEO Lisa Coombs-Gerou and had the national YMCA come in to conduct an audit.
And now here’s the rest of the story: The YMCA, in its legal response to the lawsuit, claims that Coombs-Gerou signed the Phelps agreement without authority and without fully notifying the Board of what she was doing. In fact, they say she misrepresented the facts of the lease to the Board.
Further, given the likelihood that Community Action Alger-Marquette now expects to fill that empty space with a children’s program later this year–but at a lower rent–the YMCA says it’s willing to pay the difference between what Haan was expecting to get from the Y, and what it’s now going to get from Community Action.
Sounds reasonable enough.
Maybe this mess can be resolved without a prolonged legal battle. And without further damage to the YMCA.
A Haan spokesman didn’t want to discuss the lawsuit except to say the company was “devastated” by the YMCA’s unexpected, last minute pullout.
The good news in all this? The Y continues to operate normally for its thousands of members. Just not at Phelps Square.
THE LATEST NEWS out of Cliffs is wonderful for the company but doesn’t do a thing for the Empire mine which continues its mournful march to a shutdown later this year.
Cliffs has announced a new agreement to supply iron ore pellets to ArcelorMittal for the next ten years. Ten years. That’s stability.
Maybe there’s a future for the industry after all.
Investors liked the deal. They started buying Cliffs’ stock immediately and boosted the share price 36% within a few hours. Somebody made a few quick bucks.
Now, about the 400 miners being laid off here….
MARQUETTE SMARTZONE PIONEER pioneer Jeff Nyquist s undertaking an ambitious summer campaign to raise funds for his virtual reality business, NeuroTrainer.
He’s hoping to raise $1.8 million dollars over the next few months to take the business to the next level–hiring sales and marketing people, taking a NeuroTrainer van on the road, and spreading the word about his business across the nation.
He’s at it seven days a week–talking to crowd-funders, hi tech investors, billionaires.
NeuroTrainer’s focus is on making athletes more alert, more aware, more effective, and more productive through their work with the virtual reality system.
Nyquist now has a contract with an elite Iowa high school basketball team, and is in negotiations with both the NMU athletic department, and the Nashville Predators NHL hockey team to get them under contract as well.
He’s convinced the science behind NeuroTrainer is rock solid and more and more clients will sign up, attracting big time investors.
From there, the sky would be the limit.
MARQUETTE’S VERY OWN Major League umpire Adam Hamari made some news and created a little controversy last week.
After the Mets’ star pitcher Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind batter Chase Utley, Hamari immediately tossed Syndergaard from the game. To Hamari, it had been a “message” pitch, a deliberate attempt to hit Utley who had angered the Mets during a playoff game last year.
Hamari subsequently tossed the Mets’ manager, as well, for disputing the ejection.
Some analysts and players claimed that Hamari over-reacted. Others, including the umpires’ crew chief, backed him.
Sure seems like a pitch behind a batter was not just a mistake. It was intentional. And sure seems like a 99 mph fastball could do some serious damage to a human body.
SOMETHING TO GET excited about. Marquette will be hosting a film festival in October.
No, not one of those hoity-toity, artsy festivals with subtitled films and all.
No, this one will be the Fresh Coast Film Festival, featuring documentaries about the outdoor lifestyle we celebrate here in the upper Midwest. You gotta figure skiing, surfing, kayaking, fishing, ice-climbing, hiking and such will all be part of it.’
What better place to hold that kind of event than Marquette?
Promoters are promising that they’ll be showing adventure docs from all over the world. They’re still looking for entrants. You got a film? Send it in.
They’re also looking for sponsors and volunteers.
The Fresh Coast Film Festival hits town October 13-16.
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