BIG CHANGES ON M-553, just north of Marquette Mountain.
If you’ve driven by recently, you’ve probably noticed a major construction zone. Thirty seven acres, soon to be the Rippling River Resort, alongside the Carp River.
The project was approved a few months back, and now you can see that it’s going to change the neighborhood a bit. Until now, it’s just been the ski hill, lots of trees and hills, and not much more.
Curran and Company, which is developing the property, will be adding 14 year-round cabins, about 100 sites for RV’s and tents, an office and store, a bathhouse, and a swimming pool and jacuzzi.
Mark Curran, the president of the company, says the site was originally a gravel pit. Kinda ugly. He insists the resort will be an upgrade, providing plenty of space between campsites and blending in well with the Marquette Mountain area.
He expects it to open in late summer.
Predictably, there’s been some pushback already on Facebook. Not everybody’s thrilled with new development in the county. Hikers and bikers are worried that their terrain is being gobbled up.
Curran says no. Once construction’s completed, he says hikers, bikers, dog-walkers, kayakers and fishermen will all be welcome in and around Rippling River.
Sounds reasonable enough.
And there’s little doubt there’s a need for another RV and tent campsite near town. Marquette’s changing, whether we like or not.
VAST IS GETTING vaster.
Yep, VAST, the largest insurance agency in the U.P., is taking over City Insurance, the second largest insurance company in Marquette. The deal was announced this week.
First, a couple of rumors need to be shot down. VAST did not buy City; VAST’s parent, Acrisure, did. More important, the partners at City Insurance actually initiated the deal. They put the agency up for sale with a broker. The broker approached Acrisure, and Acrisure, after consultation with their local VAST partners, consummated the deal.
And contrary to a rumor or two, there was no massive bloodletting in the sale. Three of City’s 16 employees, including the partners, left voluntarily, three were let go–because of redundancy, according to VAST–and the other 10 are becoming part of VAST.
Operations will be totally merged within 60 to 90 days. Everyone will be working at the VAST office on Front Street. City Insurance’s building on West Washington will be abandoned.
Bottom line for clients of City Insurance? According to VAST officials, you’ll still have the same policies and work with the same agents. You’ll just have to come to a different office.
VAST, by the way, will now have more than 50 employees.
A BIG VOTE in Congress in the next week could impact the Great Lakes.
In the vote to continue funding the federal budget–April 29th is the deadline–the administration is proposing to cut $50 million that had already been allocated for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for rest of this fiscal year. The fiscal year ends in September.
This is in addition to the proposed elimination of the $300 million budget for the Great Lakes Restoration in the next fiscal year.
It’s a big deal for the Great Lakes states. The money for the last seven years has been used to fight invasive species in the lakes and safeguard the water for drinking in many localities, and for fishing and boating everywhere.
Think Asian carp and algae blooms and a $10 billion tourism industry.
Hard to believe that that money, for this year and next, could just disappear with a Presidential signature.
NOW TO A smaller lake and an intriguing issue.
Teal Lake in Negaunee, and gas-powered boats.
They’ve long been prohibited from using the lake–the objections are pollution and noise–but now the City Council is taking another look at the issue.
Years ago, Teal Lake was used as a drinking water source but that’s no longer the case, and now some are saying that allowing gas-powered boats would bring a lot more people out on the lake.
It would make the city more appealing. It might spur economic development in a town that needs it. Badly.
On May 11th, the issue comes up for a second reading at the Council, and if you want to speak up about it, you’ll be welcome.
Is Negaunee ready to overturn a longstanding policy on what is arguably its most important and attractive resource? We’ll see.
FURTHER IRREFUTABLE PROOF that Marquette is the greatest place on earth to live (Okay, a wee bit of exaggeration).
The website onlyinyourstate.com just posted a story, “8 Reasons to Drop Everything and Move to this One Michigan City” and, you guessed it, that city is Marquette.
“Cost of living is 10% less than the national average and it’s home to Northern Michigan University–making this place ideal whether you’re headed toward retirement and need to stretch those dollars or you’re a young co-ed looking for a fun place to pursue your undergraduate degree.”
“You have full access to the rugged beauty that is the U.P. where you can partake in countless mountain biking routes…”
“At the same time, you’re still close enough to the bustling of a thriving little city so you’re not totally lost in the woods…”
And about the weather….Oh, never mind.
ONE OF THOSE former NMU “co-eds” (Is that politically correct these days?) is pursuing her dream in Marquette.
Her name’s Anna Hemstock, and for the last nine months, she’s been running her one woman business, Escape Marquette, on the bottom level of Masonic Square downtown.
Getting rich? Not quite. Making a go of it? Yep, absolutely.
And she’s providing us with a fascinating form of entertainment: an escape room. Escape rooms started in the Far East and Europe seven-eight years ago, and spread to the U.S. about five years ago. They’re big in some cities.
What are they?
Well, you and your group of up to 8 people are locked into a theme room (“1963” or “Mummies” or “Third Grade Class”) stuffed with furnishings, pictures and and various other items. You’re then given clues to solve riddles and puzzles in the room. As you solve one, you move to the next, and the next…and eventually you learn the code to escape the room.
It’s been a big hit with birthday parties and company get-togethers. Ages 5-100.
It’s fair to say that some of us dimwitted folks are still scratching our heads and working on that first confounding clue.
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