THE NEXT CHAPTER in the tragic case of Tysen Benz begins next week.
The 13 year old girl charged with sending digital messages to Tysen that encouraged him to commit suicide has her probable cause hearing in juvenile court on Monday. The judge will consider the evidence that prosecutor Matt Wiese and his team have gathered in the bizarre, horrific case that’s captured national attention.
Many are calling for “justice,” the maximum allowed under law.
But what exactly does that mean in a case with a 13 year old defendant?
First of all, she hasn’t been charged with felonies; just two misdemeanors, relating to using a cell phone to commit a crime. In a normal case, a conviction might result in very limited jail time for the defendant.
But of course, this isn’t normal. Except in the most extreme, violent cases, we don’t lock young teenagers up.
Exactly what strategy the girl’s attorney and the prosecutor will employ isn’t yet clear. Her attorney could ask for a trial–though that seems unlikely.
More likely, what will happen is that there will be a plea, the girl will go on probation, and she’ll be required to undergo extensive counseling for a given period of time.
Somehow, that seems woefully inadequate given the gravity of what happened, but we are talking about a juvenile here. A juvenile who allegedly made a horrible, hateful mistake, and seems to be in dire need of help.
So will this court case bring us “justice?” Probably not.
What it will do, though, is continue to hammer home the message that cyber-bullying, pranking, taunting–call it what you want–is a real and present danger to vulnerable young people in our community.
And adults–parents especially–need to put down their own phones and iPads, and take control.
“I’M GONNA PUMP the brakes.”
So says Tom Dolaskie, one of the partners in Yoopy Brews, the brand new brewery scheduled to open late this summer in Munising.
What he means is it won’t be happening this summer, after all. Next summer, in 2018, is more like it.
Why? Well, for one thing, he and his team have been pushing very hard over the last several months to, first, open the Roam Inn, then Tracy’s (the restaurant), and finally start demolition work on the old building that will eventually become Yoopy Brews.
Pretty damn ambitious. Maybe getting a little ahead of their skis.
But there’s another reason for the year’s delay, one very familiar to restaurant and pub owners throughout the UP: Getting a liquor license expeditiously, even under the best of conditions, is almost impossible. It took nine months to get the license for Tracy’s.
So Dolaskie will wait, along with Munising, for the next addition to the city’s brewing scene.
What Dolaskie’s done, though, is move his other business, Deployed Technologies, into the top floor of the building that will eventually house Yoopy Brews.
Deployed Technologies is a story unto itself. A company that installs and maintains technology in luxury hotels all over the world, from the U.S. to Dubai to Bangkok. It’a 10 years old, with a staff of 27.
With an advanced digital infrastructure, Dolaskie is able to live in Munising, of all places, while his partner, Darrin Hubbard, keeps his home in Texas, both of them conducting business around the world.
So it goes in the 21st century.
Most important, the business makes money–the kind of money that allows you open a hotel, a restaurant, and eventually a brewery in your hometown.
THINK BACK TO a couple of years ago when one of the hottest controversies in Marquette was the proposed boathouse on Lake Superior. The talk, at times, was heated. We heard accusations of selling out the citizens of Marquette, of ruining the shoreline of Lake Superior.
Well, that hot controversy has now been reduced to a few dying embers and a puff or two of wispy smoke.
The Upper Peninsula Rowing Club, which was granted approval to build the boathouse on the shore near the Hampton Inn, has almost–but not quite–given up hopes of building the boat house there.
The reason? Money.
The structure itself and the required remediation of the soil, which is anything but pure next to the shoreline, would cost about $1.5 million. Too rich for the pockets of the club which numbered 122 members last year.
Is there an “angel” out there with an affinity for rowing, and a pocketful of dollars? Maybe, but it’s unlikely.
So the rowers will continue their search for a permanent boathouse location–on an inland lake or river, maybe?–that might be less expensive and yet still convenient for its members, most of whom live in Marquette.
No easy solution. In the meantime, the homeless rowers are getting ready for the summer season and calmer waters on Lake Superior.
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