Joe's Woodshed

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Picture of woodshedSome of you may remember when the word "woodshed" conjured up a place you were taken by your father to receive a "strapping" as punishment for some deeds you should or should not have done. Joe's Woodshed is my Internet equivalent - only the strapping will be done verbally.

Joe's Woodshed will be used primarily for me to comment on life in and around Marquette, Michigan, but also my observations in general. I suspect the news media will be mentioned. As these are my personal views, you may not agree. Sorry about that! Please feel free to write to me whether you agree or not. I will read your email, but I may not respond because of time constraints. I will not use names should I comment on email received but reserve the right to paraphrase. Note that I may revise comments written weeks prior. Suggestions for improving this site are truly welcomed. Be nice, please!


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10 Oct 09    I'd like to think you'd like some updates. Well, they're coming and soon. Fishing season is winding down so tune in again in a week or so.

27 Feb 08    Smooth Coasters. Drink coasters are often smooth and look nice with pictures of neat things. Then you pick up your cold drink and the coaster invariably comes up with it because of the condensation from the glass. Next the coaster slides off the glass onto the floor if you're not paying attention. Why don't they make coasters with a rough or absorbent surface so that doesn't happen?

6 Feb 08    Charter Cable Increase Unjustified. I just received notice that my Charter cable bill is increasing 20.2% next month. Their reasoning is "...enhanced programming, more choices, superior quality...and increased value of these services..." Well, let's see what they did in the last 3 years. Hmmmmm, no new channels but they did keep their old duplicate channels and poor quality sound and video. Oh yeah, they swapped channels 2 and 22. In other words, they have done nothing, absolutely nothing to justify an increase, let alone a 20.2% increase. Another consumer rip-off!

5 Feb 08    The Ugly Doors Are Gone. As I drive along the Lake Shore, I think back to last year when we had all those ugly "granma doors" visually polluting much of the lower harbor area and some on Wright Street. The thought may have been good but it was an inappropriate setting. A considerable number of doors were just junk, said meaningless things, and on top of that, were an ugly color. I sure hope our City Commission doesn't permit something like that to happen again this year.

4 Feb 08    Blood Donations. One of my goals for 2007 was to have a lifetime total of 300 blood donations. Well I hit 301. Some were whole blood but most were platelet donations at the Marquette Regional Blood Center. Donating at the Blood Center is a voluntary thing, not to be confused with the Biolife Plasma Services that pays for products. Donating whole blood usually takes under 15 minutes, platelets from 45 minutes to double that. Consider donating by calling (906) 225-4610 or just walk in to the Center located at the corner of Hebard Ct. and College Ave. If you'd like to know more, here's a link to their web site.

3 Feb 08    Kicking a Junkyard Dog. I've been remiss in keeping up my Woodshed but the recent $25,000 raise by the Marquette Board of Light and Power (MBLP) kicked me and woke me up. It's now time for this junkyard dog to bare some teeth. I'll dedicate a portion here to the MBLP.

10 Apr 07    You're the First One to Have That Problem. Don't you just love it when something breaks or fails or just doesn't work like it should and you go to the dealer or manufacturer who tells you you are the first person to have that problem and they have received no similar complaints? Well, that's usually a crock and invariably you're not the first. They just don't want to admit there's something wrong with the item and have to fix or replace it and to make you feel as though it's your fault.

17-21 Feb 07    Free Property and No Taxes, Come One, Come All - Ask Marquette. A developer, Boreal, wanted the City to donate 10 acres to permit building a call center which will supposedly employ 500+ employees. On top of that, Boreal wanted property tax abatement for 12 years. In exchange, they’d put through 7th Street (cost or magnitude of that project is unknown). Ah, but here's the kicker. Boreal was going to do all this with various government grant moneys. Isn't that beautiful? And they wanted this on a fast track for approval. Well, a couple City Commissioners looking into this deal found out Boreal didn't even qualify for most of the grants and were apparently ill-prepared to even make such an offer. I was really impressed by those Commissioners as I attended a small work session to discuss this issue. As a result, Boreal is likely to ask to be removed from the Commission agenda. Now you watch, some people will no doubt say that Marquette overlooked a good deal and doesn't encourage new business. And they'll say that not knowing (or caring) that the Commissioners did their homework and did protect our interests against a shoot-from-the-hip outfit.

A couple of questions arise from this event. Do we have a City policy on tax abatement or is each request handled individually? Prospective businesses should know where we stand. I'm against tax abatements as there are considerable doubts about their effectiveness. The Michigan Municipal League is against them. Perhaps a policy adopted to permit a negotiable 2 or even a 3-year tax abatement but no way 12 years. Fairness is also a big issue. Why would we do this for Boreal (or others) and not Argonics, not that I thought the latter should have gotten relief? How fair is it not to offer some tax relief to other businesses in town but offer it to someone who has not even established a business yet? Then there's the precedent set by a 12-year tax abatement which would be a killer in future negotiations with businesses wishing to locate in Marquette. Try to say no once you’ve said yes to tax abatements. Another question was did they arrive at the value of $250,000 for the 10 acres? Gee, that's prime land in a prime location and even not knowing much about appraised values, that sounds a little too good to be true. The real value of various City properties which might be offered up for sale would certainly be a good thing to know before any serious deals are negotiated.

9 Nov 06    Marquette County Board of Commissioners Eyes another Taxpayer Giveaway! The Mining Journal article today said the Board voted unanimously to fund the start-up for the Wabash Wheel and Brake Inc. at Sawyer. This venture will depend on tons of  tax dollars from various government units, totaling over 5 million dollars that we know about. Are they nuts? Did they not learn a thing from the roughly $750,000 kick in the taxpayers shorts from the Board commitments to B3 Computers, which went belly up recently? This is not courting an existing or established firm but is a start-up. The Board apparently has a different concept of matching funds, that being if you waste $750,000 on a con-outfit a few months earlier, match it by wasting another $750,000 of local money on a start-up firm. Once again I've got to be missing something.

10 Oct 06    Marquette Board of Light and Power Board Unaccountable? I attended the 10 Oct 06 MBLP Board meeting and during public comments, asked what was the justification for their recent purchase of a GPS system for their vehicles. Click here to see my presentation and questions. I was completely rebuffed by the Board. They stated they had sufficient justification to buy the system but offered no specifics to me. None of my questions were answered. It was made very clear to me when I asked to see any justification the Board saw, that I would not have access to that data as it was for internal use (their counsel reaffirmed that). The chairman further stated none of their staff would meet with me (I didn't ask them to nor do they have to do that, but it would have been nice) later to explain the justification as he didn't want to waste their time as they had already presented the information to the Board. I was remanded by the Board chairman stating the Board could not function if they had to explain every transaction they approve. Their reactions make  me think there was a lack of sufficient justification to buy that system. As I noted, their minutes did not reflect any specifics. Apparently some of these elected officials feel no need to explain their actions to taxpayers and seem generally feel they are unaccountable to the people who elect them. After being treated like that, I would think other taxpayers and customers with questions of the Board might be hesitant to ask. Here's a extract of the minutes from that meeting which I feel corroborates my comments above.  So much for the democratic process! Stay tuned, I suspect there'll be more on this later.

2 Oct 06    Where are the TV Crawlers? Today, the Internet, a lot of email, and some cellular phone services were out in our area. A lot of people thought it was their equipment and/or were very confused, not to mention frustrated. Wouldn't you think TV6 would have a crawler telling people there was a problem? After all, we get crawlers for just about everything else from mosquitoes warnings to waterspouts (ok, I'm being facetious), or so it would seem. Even the evening news didn't make it a feature story and my guess is this outage affects a heck of a lot of people. Hello TV6!

20Sep06    Leaf Magnets. Maybe it's just my paranoia but every time I open my garage overhead door, leaves swirl and dance straight into the garage, even when there's little wind. There're more leaves inside than out. I wonder if there is a leaf magnet hidden in there someplace.

19Sep06    Waterspouts? Possibilities of waterspouts was in our local weather forecasts a few days ago. Basically, waterspouts are tornadoes over water. What do you think the likelihood is one will occur here this time of year, or even any time of the year? Is this a danger even worth mentioning in the forecast. To me it comes off as kind of a joke because maybe the current weather isn't exciting enough for reporting so they throw in waterspouts.

7Sep06    I Approve My Message. I'm tired of hearing politicians saying they approve their ads. However, is making that statement necessary when the politician is actually doing their own ad? There might be a good reason for doing that but it appears stupid to me. Now I could understand if a candidate were to say he disapproved of his opposition's ad!

2Jul06    Expensive Convenience. I just received my property tax notice from the City of Marquette to help me celebrate the 4th of July holiday. That's fine but enclosed is a flyer that says we can now pay our tax bills over the Internet. It goes on to say several paragraphs later that the fee for this convenience is 3% of the payment amount. Wow! For some people, that fee could amount to from $25 to $200 or more. You've got to be kidding Marquette. I can't imagine many taxpayers willing to pay that much for a "convenience" that really is probably more work than writing a check and putting it in the mail. They better look into alternative means of payment. By the way, the City doesn't get the 3%, a company named OPC contracts to do this and they get the money. Oh, and the 1% administration fee Marquette charges in addition to the taxes is just a money-grabbing ploy as I thought assessing taxes is part of what cities do.

11May06    For the Good of the Party, Not the Country. Yesterday a national politician on TV said to the effect "...as a Republican, it is my mission and obligation to cut taxes..." I was super mad when I heard that because it sums up so well what I feel is the crux of many of our Nation's financial problems. In essence he was saying it was a Republican Party objective, irrespective of what is good for our Nation overall. I used to think of the Republican party as being conservative and fiscally responsible. Boy was I wrong! Their primary objective now seems to be cut taxes, especially for the wealthy, and then cut them some more, and spend incredible amounts of money on pork along the way and don't ever look to see that revenue matches expenses. Pork barrel spending has never been higher and I don't see any efforts to cut that back. Shouldn't that be first and foremost? Cutting taxes is good according to the  Republicans, never really addressing its impact on the financial health of United States of America. Supposedly, cutting all these taxes will stimulate the economy more. What ever happened to fiscal responsibility - striving for a balanced or even close to balanced budget? Unfortunately, the Democrats often appear to go along with this tax cutting and spending binge, both at the Federal and State level.  At the current rate of spending and increasing tax cuts, I think we have much more to fear as a Nation to implode financially, than from the dangers from terrorism. Do we not have any leaders that will stand up and say (and mean it) that the United States has to manage its budget they way it tells its citizens to manage theirs? I profess to be neither Democrat or Republican but rather a responsible conservative citizen, which few politicians seem to represent lately. Voting by politicians for or against issues because it's the Democratic or Republican position is a huge problem to me. How about thinking of what is good for our Country instead of what is good for the Party? I'm frankly sick of politicians.

26Apr06    USPS Stamp Denominations Hard to Read. I wonder if there's a good reason why US Postal Service stamps often have tiny, hard to read, and sometimes no value on them. With the recent mailing rates increase, I ended up with several pages and books of  leftover stamps. However,  I could hardly tell what the various stamps were worth. The value of stamps, when present, is often so tiny it requires a magnifying glass to see it. Then there's the current $.39 blue bird stamps with no value printed on them. The ink colors used for the value often provide little contrast with the background and out comes the magnifying glass again. Is there something wrong with printing a legible value on the all stamps? Well, at least we don't have to lick them anymore.

15Apr06    Illogical Mining Journal Editorial on Wright Street Extension. I found yesterday's editorial, Wright Street Extension a Welcome Project, most confusing. Ignoring their incorrect use of "affect" instead of "effect", the editorial mentions how Wright Street handles thousands of vehicles and acts as an east-west artery. It goes on to say "Lakeshore Blvd. is also heavily traveled, especially during summer months by people using Presque Isle Park and other lakeshore recreation areas." That apparently was their explanation of why this project is welcomed. I feel they are actually arguing against this extension by recognizing it will funnel more traffic onto an already heavily traveled road. Of course they failed to mention Lakeshore Blvd. is in poor condition and not designed to handle heavy traffic. They say this is a major traffic improvement that will help traffic flowing during peak driving times and it's a major traffic improvement. Dumping more traffic on an already heavily traveled road? What kind of logic is this? If there is a positive side to this project, wouldn't you think they would cite it?

7Apr06    Passenger Drop-offs at Store Fronts. I find some drivers to be most inconsiderate and even ignorant by stopping directly in front of a store or mall entrance to drop off or pick up their passengers. They often park right in your path when they can clearly see you're walking towards the entrance or leaving, so you have to walk around their vehicle. I find that most rude when they could just as easily stop before or after the entrance. No problem if the passengers are handicapped, but most are not.

12Mar06    Global Warming – Maybe It’s The Cars and Other Things. There seems to be considerable disagreement amongst scientist as to the causes for global warming. Most say it’s carbon dioxide. However, I don’t hear any talk about the heat given off by vehicles and buildings. Frankly, I can’t comprehend the incredible number of cars, trucks, planes, and so on that give off this heat. Consider just the heat generated from your own vehicle, winter and summer. The heat used for passengers is but a small portion of that generated by the engine, the bulk being dissipated directly into the atmosphere (and ultimately passenger heat is too). Now multiply your vehicle by hundred of millions of vehicles. Add to that all homes, industries, and businesses being heated. Don’t you think vehicles and home heating are a very big factor? Lastly, a world population of around 6.6 billion has to generate a lot of heat. I don’t think carbon dioxide is the primary cause, but what do I know?

1Mar06    Mandatory Phone Music and Ads on Hold. It seems more companies and businesses are now playing music and promoting their businesses while placing you on hold. Invariably the music is louder than a normal voice, is rarely my choice in music, and is sometimes downright obnoxious. Of course, you're forced to listen while waiting. Lately, I use my speakerphone so I can move about and get some distance from the mandatory music and ads. What are these companies thinking - that we need music to entertain us while we're waiting? I usually mention my objections to the music to the person I'm talking with but I doubt my complaints ever reach those who should know or can stop it. Wouldn't it be nice if companies added Press 5 to kill the music and ads, and a Press 6 to get me off hold quickly and talk to me? Wasn't that why the call was made in the first place?

23Feb06     Discombobulated DVD Remote Controls. Can they make DVD remote controls (and others) any more confusing and tiny? Invariably the most-used button, play, is tiny, hard to read, and placed in the middle of several similar buttons. Of course, it is not close to the tiny fast forward or reverse buttons, also often used. Then there are all the other tiny buttons that never get used and for which I, and I suspect many other people, have little or no use. The usual circle or arrow buttons which have become somewhat standard for TV controls with volume sideways and changing channels would be perfect for DVDs, with sideways fast forward and reverse, up and down to change chapters. Add a decently-sized button in the middle for play and put the stop button nearby, that that should cover about 90% of our use. Lastly, there is no standardization between DVD remotes. Is it that complicated to design something for humans, especially older ones?

17Feb06    Lombardy Poplar - Winner of the Ugliest Tree Contest. I think if there was such a contest, the non-native Lombardy poplar trees as planted along Lakeshore Blvd would win hands down. Half of those trees are dead and the other half dying and they’re all just plain ugly. They often don’t grow with a single trunk. Instead they’re sprouting up like weeds, blocking our view of the Lake and presenting a risk to people and cars from falling branches. I find nothing attractive about these trees and suspect any number of other trees, native to our area, would be more attractive, less obtrusive, at least turn colors in the fall, and live a lot longer. Our City doesn’t need the added expense of continually trimming and maintaining these ugly trees. Let’s get over the nostalgia for these trees, phase them out and plant some nice trees.

13Feb06    Tip Jars at Counters? What’s with tip jars on business counters? I can’t imagine why any retail business would expect customers to tip them or their clerks. Is selling now considered a service like waiters provide in restaurants? Several people have told me they picked up food orders for takeout and on the bill was a 20% gratuity charge. I'll elaborate more when I get some details. As to the tip jars, I’ve actually seen money in them but I don’t think it came from customers, but is instead seed money to make customers think it did.

27Apr05    Marquette's Yellow Bikes - Yikes! The City of Marquette hasn't enough fiscal and legal problems without this goofy plan to provide 100 yellow bikes around town for anyone to use free? This issue breezed through the City Commission 25 April meeting like it was a "done deal" and seemed to lack adequate consideration of their impact, including potential liability to the City, lack of provisions for riders to wear helmets, bike maintenance, distribution around town, and just the practicality of the whole thing. Who are the bikes for? Most kids have their own bikes. One can just imagine the vulnerability of these bikes to vandalism. How many adults will use them, not being able to count on them being where they are going to ride to or return from. Can you see someone juggling a bag of books on a yellow bike returning from the library? The City just implemented a vehicle parking ordinance to prevent random parking in front yards and make the City look better. Now we'll have yellow bikes around. Well, maybe MarqTran can put bike racks on the back of their buses so their many non-riders will have a bike when they need one and take them to their outlandishly humongous maintenance facility for any needed repairs and then bill the City. I wonder if Bonnie Hoff would have advised the Commission not to do this, if for no other reason than avoiding possible liability.

11Apr05 Remote Door Openers and Horn Blowers. Twice some time back I inadvertently pushed the button on my vehicle door opener that causes the horn to blow. Not only was that embarrassing but was no doubt aggravating to others. I taped over that button and the tape finally wore off and I accidentally set it off again. This time I took the remote apart and ground the button so it was very difficult to set off. My questions is why do they even make these buttons? If it's to call for help when being mugged, the last thing I want to do try to find the control and that button and thinking that'll save me. Who would pay attention? It seems every few days I hear a vehicle horn bleating from being accidentally triggered. I believe most people pay almost no attention except to look to see who the embarrassed person is. Why don't they just eliminate those remote horn buttons. Last but not least, if you're planning to stop a mugger by pressing the horn button, you'd better be within 150' of your vehicle, their average range.

3Apr05 Commissioner Recall Efforts. I find it amazing the four Marquette City Commissioners don't seem to understand why a recall effort is underway. It's not by accident the City Attorney Hoff works for the City Commission. That's in consonance with the fundamentals of our Country - separation of power. Hypothetically, if Attorney Hoff advised the City Manager (and possibly those City Commissioners who appeared to be in the Manager's pocket) that a certain course of action wasn't proper, the City Manager couldn't fire her. I think the general voting public felt such advice was given and the City Manager, and probably some of the Commissioners didn't like it. Perception is oftentimes reality.

If the Commission had good reasons to dismiss Attorney Hoff, then that case had to be made extra clear to the public because they were removing someone put there to protect us. Just the opposite was done by the Commissioners with apparent violations in protocol precluding adequate discussion. It flat out smells and the public, who elect the Commissioners, is not stupid. I think there was this basic mistrust amongst the voters for quite a while that there wasn't sufficient independence between the City Manager and certain Commissioners. I also feel the two women Commissioners were largely voted in on the assumption they would be independent thinkers and not sheep. I think many voters felt very misled and betrayed by those women. I'll end this with a comment on the Mining Journal front page coverage of former Mayor Leadbetter, being critical of the media coverage. Who cares what Leadbetter thinks and says? Certainly not me!

30Mar05 Age discrimination. I understand the Supreme Court  has just ruled age discrimination doesn't have to be intended, just practiced to violate the laws of the land. What about senior citizen discounts? How can they be justified when they're obviously based on age. Not only that, but morally it seems inconsistent that when 70% of the assets in this country are owned by people over 55 year of age, seniors should get a discount. Why should the young people, most struggling with minimum wages, have to pay full price? Something is really wrong here! It wouldn't be the voting power of the seniors would it?

24Mar05 Sleaze TV. Does not the news media have any respect for Terri Schiavo's dignity? Showing her in a state that really doesn't need to be shared with the world seems insensitive and reeks of sensationalism.. It looks more like TV and the media has an agenda. God forbid any of us end up like that. Would we want our picture plastered all over the media? I doubt it. Then there's Congress getting involved. I think they too have an agenda. I understand they pass that resolution knowing it would get shot down by the courts. That way, the judicial system would get blamed and Congress could say we tried. Slime? Don't they screw up enough stuff without meddling in peoples' personal lives? I think I'll change my living will to include no pictures allowed. Then there's the casino ad where the guy on the bench lies about liking dogs because a good looking woman is the dog's owner. Is that a good message about how to start a trusting relationship? But then he feels lucky. Last but not least it the CellularOne ad with the boyfriend counting minutes. It's a super aggravating ad played over and over to where muting is not enough for me. I switch channels most of the time. I could go on and on (as you probably could too) but won't.

15Jun04 Caller ID vs. Answering Machines. Increasingly, I receive calls from people I called that don't have answering machines but do have caller ID. When their caller ID shows  I called, their presumption is that I want them to call me back when in fact I wanted to talk with them at the time but did not necessarily want them to call me back. If they would use an answering machine (inexpensive and easy to use), I would have the option to tell why I was calling, perhaps including telling them a call back wasn't necessary. That would save us all time and unnecessary calls.

3May04 Disgusting Political Ads. Recent Republican TV ads cite Kerry as not voting for war funds, emphasizing some of those funds were for parts manufactured in Michigan. Since when is that a reason to vote to fund a war? I am deeply insulted and disgusted by the implications of those ads. I'm Joe Buys and I disapprove of their message!

14Apr04 Livable Community. Marquette County was selected as one of 30 most livable communities in the country but I would rather we weren't. Why this intense push to be selected? Nearly all of us who live here already know how great it is. Do these supporters of the selection believe we'll become even more livable if we're selected by drawing more people here? I don't think so! Just more people and more traffic which in my opinion, won't improve our quality of life one iota. We need good jobs, not more people. Years ago we used to visit friends in Punta Gorda, Florida, a great town and community. They won a very similar award and when we went back, it was not the same. Traffic was unbelievable and the cost of housing had soared through the roof, not to mention all the other adverse changes in that town. Talking with locals and snowbirds, the consensus was their livable community award had turned them into an unlivable community.

28Mar04 Lower Math Advertising. The current OfficeMax flyer shows slim jewel CD cases that "store twice as many CDs in half the space of regular cases." This same erroneous statement is made on the product. Well, seeing as they're one half and not one quarter the thickness of the regular cases, one might store twice as many in the same space or the same number in half the space but not twice as many in half the space.

16Mar04 Erroneous Reporting Goes Uncorrected. On 14 February 2004, The Mining Journal published an article on a bill that would require cars to use lights in rain and snow. That article erroneously stated "...Currently, headlights must be on from half an hour before sunset until half an hour after sunrise..." I also found an article on the Detroit News 12 Feb 04 saying that very same erroneous thing. The State of Michigan booklet "What Every Driver Must Know" says on page 101  "...headlights must be on one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise..." That happens to be the legal definition of night time. I wrote both the Detroit News author of the article and The Mining Journal about this misinformation. I have heard nothing from either and have not seen a correction published. Pretty irresponsible I would say.

19Jan04 Lazy Drivers. It's scary to see the number of lazy drivers that don't clean their windshields, rear windows, headlights and taillights of snow. Funny, in the summertime the police will stop cars for only one headlight but I never see any of these idiots looking through a peep hole in their windshield get pulled over, their headlights and taillights nearly invisible. One of these days there'll be a bad accident attributed to this laziness and maybe then there'll be some enforcement.

16Jan04 Storage Systems. Did you notice how storage containers of every shape and size are displayed in several isles in major stores? This tells me there is a huge market to sell these containers to people that can't part with all the stuff (junk?) they most likely will never need and will instead pass on to their heirs to deal with.

7Jan04 Much Ado About Nothing. I can't take it anymore. Here's the verbatim NWS forecast afternoon 6 Jan 04, issued as a warning. "Heavier lake effect snow showers will develop from the Huron Mountains to Big Bay this evening and then continue into Wednesday morning before diminishing in the afternoon. Expect accumulations from the Huron Mountains to Big Bay to range from 3 to 5 inches tonight and 2 to 4 inches on Wednesday. Locations south of the Huron Mountains will receive little snowfall." Who cares? What does this forecast cover - 40 miles of largely barren shoreline? Best of all, besides no through roads, how many people live there? Maybe a couple hundred people? It seems half the winter forecasts refer to the Huron Mountains. That goes for TV6 weather too. Heavy sigh!

28Dec03 Kewadin Advertisement Sends Wrong Message. A TV Kewadin casino advertisement the past few weeks shows an individual in front of a food dispenser that goes berserk and opens all its doors and spills its money. The ad goes on to refer to this as a lucky day and shows the individual helping himself to all these goodies as though he was entitled to them. Isn't that stealing? What kind of message is this sending to viewers, especially kids?  Does that mean if items in a store are not locked up that people can just take them? This is a bad advertisement and should be pulled.

15Dec03 Saddam TV File Footage. I'm delighted they caught Saddam but how many times can the TV news coverage shows a doctor going through his hair and looking into his mouth? They keep repeating the same disgusting shots on all the networks hundreds of times a day. Enough! Show something else - please.

14Dec03 Droppin' the "g" and subbing  "ta". Notice how many times people, and that includes some pretty prominent people, drop the "g" on words ending with "ing". Fishing has become fishin', going has become goin', and so on. Then there's "ta" replacin' "to" as in I'm goin' ta the store. It doesn't seem limited to yooperspeak.

15Oct03 County Commissioner Fiscal Mentality. Last night on the news was County Commissioner Bill Nordeen expressing he was disappointed because the money they wanted was generated at Sawyer and in essence, should be spent there. What happened to it being Marquette County's taxpayer income and expense? What kind of logic is that? What about all the millions that are spent at Sawyer? How do County residents share in that when it's all our money? And then there's the Sheriff that proposes to first cut off the road patrols, knowing full well that will sit worst with the residents. I don't recall hearing much discussion about administrative positions being considered as a first option. More politics!

3Oct03 Michigan Vehicle and License Fee Rip-off. So our illustrious cash-strapped State of Michigan has raised trailer license plates to a one-time $75. That should provide a shot in the State's financial arm but placing a disproportionate burden on the backs of trailer owners. And of course those plates won't transfer if you sell or buy a trailer. Among new increases there's now a $7 late fee for operator driver's licenses renewed after expiration. That is a real rip-off and penalty for something that doesn't cost the State any more to process if it's after the expiration date or before.

27Sep03 Idling and Unattended School Buses. After a recent story on TV about all the unnecessary pollution school buses cause, on occasion I've observed a number of times when school buses idle for extended periods when they likely might better be turned off, especially while the weather permits that. By reducing idling, children would be exposed less to all the carcinogens in diesel exhaust and costly fuel could be saved. Notice UPS turns off their diesel engines for sometimes less than a minute, hundreds of times a day. On a similar note, last week I observed an empty school bus in front Vandenboom school with the door open and the keys in the ignition. Can that be a safe practice? I don't think so!

24Sep03 TV Weather Crawlers and Warnings. I see this morning a big weather icon and High Wind Warning Wind Advisory, plus a crawler going across the bottom of the screen with that same warning. Does that information need to be on all the time? At all? I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know what do to to protect myself from high winds except not to use an umbrella nor climb high ladders.

9Sep03 Overpriced Halogen lights! It seems those little tube-like halogen light bulbs just don't last very long and are way overpriced. Even at Wal-Mart, they were $6 for a 3" 100 watt bulb. The only bulbs offered at Wal-Mart were made by GE (Menards has other brands). I wouldn't be surprised if GE sold halogen light fixtures for cost or less so the can make a big  profit on bulbs. I've seen various light fixtures with two bulbs for $10 at Menards. How can that be? Sounds a lot similar to computer printers where you can buy one for $50 but a replacement ink cartridge cost $35 and doesn't last long. Enough of this expensive propriety stuff! Good ole flood lamps for me.

1Aug03 What did he die from? A few days ago, TV headlines showed Bob Hope died from pneumonia at 100 years old. With all due respect to Bob Hope, is that important to cite what he died from when he was 100 years old? How about dying from old age? With fair frequency, I hear of people in their 90s dying and invariably someone will ask, what did he or she die from.

27Jul03 Shoreline funding logic. The 23 July Mining Journal editorial cited a 1981 study showed the erosion problem was caused by the breakwater. Therefore, the Federal government should pay $4 million for erosion abatement along Lake Shore Blvd. Well, it seems most everyone wants Uncle Sam's money (now we all know whose money it really is.) I find it ironic that all the benefits we've had over the years from the breakwater are rarely mentioned. Are all these money-seeking proponents in effect saying that if we had to do it again, we would not have permitted the breakwater to be constructed? Blaming someone else, even if it happened in 1935, is just part of the current  tendency to blame someone else and hit them up for money. We don't need to spend $4 million along that stretch. It's been fine for many years. Just knock a foot or two off the top of the current rocks so we can see our precious Lake and fix up the road. I think the City just wants the bucks so they can advance their development plans for Iron Bay and the old Cliffs Dow property and spruce up the road. Leave our quaint and scenic road where it is.

10Jul03 FEMA Fiasco. First I want to say what a great job our local government and attendant fire and police and rescue agencies did during our recent flooding disaster. Restoration work near CR550 looks super. Then there's FEMA who can't shake loose a few million dollars to help us, a relatively small community with very limited resources. Ironically, the U.S. Government recently gave, I believe to Pakistan, $3 billion to help them out. We won't get into all the other give-aways.  Perhaps the U.P. would do better if we put in a claim as a foreign government. 

25Jun03 NMU Football Coaches and Advertising. Does Coach Sams on TV car ads make you want to buy a vehicle? I don't and I don't get the connection. Maybe NMU doesn't pay the coach enough and he needs the extra cash. Oh, and now we have Coach Kyle advertising in a hot tub. Now that's ugly! Anyway, I think it's dumb and perhaps even demeaning to the positions.

17Jun03 Tow Away Zones. What's with all the tow away zone no parking signs on Hawley and near the CR550 bridge? Each time I've gone that way it seems a car is nearly stopped on the bridge looking at what the flood has wrought. Wouldn't it be safer to let cars park on each side of the bridge and people could walk around to look? Most everyone just wants to look but these signs just seem like overkill and a hazard in their own right. Of course there shouldn't be any parking on the bridge. Note: on 18 June, signs were all removed but I'm sure it wasn't because of my comments.

14Jun03 Annoying TV Tones. Do the local TV stations really have to transmit that annoying and loud tone when they're warming up before broadcasting? How aggravating to turn on the TV, only to get blasted by the tone! Wouldn't music work to warm up...or how about silence?

11Jun03 Godfrey convinced to be new NMU AD. My take is that Mr. Godfrey, per the Mining Journal article yesterday, had to be talked into taking the $100,000 per year athletic director position after losing his $70,000 position at the Dome. That must have really been difficult, don't you think?

10Jun03 Big leap in garbage fees. I just received the Marquette 2002 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report in which an article under the title "Rate Change Notice" says the July  garbage rates will increase from $6.47 to $9.42 monthly (not mentioned is that it's a 45.6% increase) associated with special collections. This is a classic illustration a slight-of-hand treatment for a significant tax increase . For example:

9May03 Goodbye Judy Bailout. Wish I had coined that title for her. I'm so happy for us but can't help wondering what Western is thinking about. However, yippee! NMU former president Judy Bailey gets credit for getting me out of my Woodshed hiatus, but I also appreciate all those that bugged me to get it going again.  So many topics, so little time!

22Jun02 Stop light signal sensor pads. Someone told me the other day about two cars at the US41/M28 intersection that stopped short of the stop light signal pads embedded to tell the light that traffic is waiting. The signal light of course didn't know cars were there and so several cycles passed without the light turning green. This individual telling me this said he got out of his car and suggested both drivers pull up over the pads. They did and the stop light magically changed to green shortly thereafter. Well, I saw this happen yesterday at the Wal-Mart and Target light. Eventually, the car moved up and the light changed - after quite a while passed. I'm not sure of the solution to this apparent periodic problem, except perhaps an article in the local paper might inform those who are not aware of the purpose of these sensors.

21Jun02 Mandatory receipts for payment. Today, I stopped by Waste Management to dispose of an old toilet. I paid $2 in cash and was asked if I needed a receipt. I said no. I then stepped back to observe whether the money was rung up properly. It looked like it was but I couldn't read the register. Without a register that can be read by the customer and/or a mandatory receipt, internal controls are weakened. How do I, the City, or Company, know that money was accounted for? I know the City doesn't run the transfer station but we contract with them to do so.

20Jun02 Nasty dogs in City Parks. About two weeks ago, I was at the Cinder Pond Marina and Mattson Park (I think it should it be named Spear Park) parking lot when two young guys in their early 20s came by with two of the nastiest Pit Bull dogs on leashes I have ever seen. Even though those guys were muscular, they were straining to hold back those dogs as they walked around the parking lot. Then one guy handed his leash to the other guy who now had two gnarly, nasty dogs to restrain. My questions are why would anyone want a dog that is largely bred to kill and secondly, should dogs like that be allowed in a public area, especially an area where kids are playing (our City's largest playground is nearby) less that 150' away? What if those dogs got away? Should people fear for their lives while in public places? I didn't get out of my vehicle while they were there.

6May02 Elusive Toaster Can it be that difficult to manufacture a toaster that toasts items consistently?

28Apr02 Sawyer Airport's Underutilized Loading Bridges. I don't recall exactly how much money was spent (I think over $500,000, much of it tax/grant money) but I do remember all the accolades given to Sawyer for installing connecting bridges for keeping passengers out of the weather. Well, since their installation, I have heard people grumbling they were not able to use them. Well, it seems first there were mechanical problems with the bridges, then not enough trained people to operate them, then winds over 25 mph so planes couldn't use them, then conflicting airline schedules so only one plane could use a bridge, and so on. Now Sawyer is trying to change the airline schedules so they can more fully use the bridges. Another big eh, eh and a huh for all this super planning!

25Apr02 Where is Harvey? No, Harvey isn't an invisible rabbit. It's really a rather large community starting approximately 1 mile southeast of Marquette's city limits and apparently extending to the south east for several miles. Generally, it's quite well hidden from U.S. 41. I've lived in Marquette all my life and am kind of embarrassed to say I don't know the boundaries of Harvey, let alone most of the streets. Often when I drive in that area I'm amazed at all the streets and houses I didn't know existed. We're talking lots of people there. I often wonder that, with such a sizeable community that is much larger by far than, e.g., Christmas, Michigan, why don't they at least have their own ZIP code? It doesn't seem right, and maybe it isn't, to write someone's address in Harvey, several miles out of our City as addressed to Marquette, Michigan 49855. Huh?

15Apr02 Flood Warning Hype. Last night flood warning crawled across my TV screen and this morning at 5:00 a.m., my weather alert radio sounded its obnoxious alarm and the highest alert red light was on. Do we really need this level of alert, and need it at 5:00 a.m.? Basically, only a few rivers are significantly affected. The Chocolay, and other several other smaller rivers in the U.P., have flooded many times over the years and those who live along those rivers pretty much know they're high again this year. In fact, this may be one of the worst years ever. However, do we need TV- hype crawlers and weather alert sirens to tell people they're high? It's not like there is a wall of water headed down the river. I think water pooling on the highways from runoff, not necessarily from overflowing rivers, presents a bigger danger due to cars hydroplaning than high rivers. Enough hype NWS. Save these warnings for a real threats to life or limb or people will tune you out.

8Apr02 Sawyer Spinning. Today's Mining Journal front page caption was Wells Fargo to close Sawyer bank. The reason given for closing was not that there wasn't enough business at that thriving installation for the two bank employees but "The Sawyer store (bank) does not fit into the matrix that we have." And what's with referring to the bank branch as a store? Is there something wrong with using plain English? Are references here to a store instead of a branch supposed to be more acceptable to the reader? Eh, eh!

6Apr02 Useless Washington Street Zig Zags. I see our City is doing repair on the sidewalks in the 100 block of Washington Street. Frankly, I wish they would just straighten the street and curbs out and eliminate those useless zig zags. I don't think they make the area look any more attractive than a straight street, they eliminate several needed parking spaces, and are a real pain for the City crews to remove snow.

5Apr02 Badly Placed Price Tags. Not to ride herd on our merchants but I find it very aggravating how many times price tags are placed over information I want to read about a product. Ironically, there is often a bare spot they could put the tag but somehow, it invariably is put over something meaningful.

23Mar02 Cash Register Receipts You Can't Read. I'm tired of some businesses that rarely change the ink ribbons in their cash registers and provide nearly illegible receipts My most recent such receipt was from, of all places, OfficeMax. Wouldn't you think an office supply retailer would have new ribbons? Besides sometimes needing a magnifying glass to read receipts from these lax businesses, leave these receipts sit in the sun for a day or two and you can forget about reading them at all. Also, copying the receipt as recommended before sending in for those annoying rebates is the ultimate challenge. Come on you guilty businesses, let's watch the store and give us a receipt we can read.

14Mar02 Introductions and Name Exchanges - Almost. I've had several occasions recently (but this has happened a number of times before) where I either met someone I may have met before or met a new person and I introduced myself but got no name from the person. Each said the equivalent of glad to meet you and that was it - they didn't tell me their name. Probably it's more an oversight on their part than a discourtesy but it's awkward for me.  I'm terrible at remembering names and suspect some others are too so I usually give my name, even if they indicated we've met before. Now when this happens I usually say something like "you have me at a disadvantage in that I told you my name, would you mind telling me yours?" I don't like to do have to do that!

20Feb02 Snowmobile accidents are seldom reported unless fatal. My guess (SWAG) is there are probably 20 or more serious snowmobile accidents to every fatality reported in the news media. To more accurately gauge snowmobile safety and impart to the public the need for safety and to not drink while snowmobiling, I believe the media should report accidents as well as fatalities, and their cause if known.

8Feb02 Why does camouflage or advertising on merchandise make the item more expensive? For example, if you look at a canoe with Budweiser written on it, chances are it'll be more expensive than an identical one with no advertising. Same for hats, shirts, all kinds of stuff. Shouldn't we pay less to advertise for a company rather than more? Same goes for items in camouflage. They're often considerably more expensive than attractive items. Should we pay more to buy something uglier than sin? Does it cost the manufacturer more to make. I doubt it.

30Jan02 Introspection Time. How many of you reading this have boxes and boxes of mostly junk stored at your parents, even though you moved out years and years ago?

21Jan02 Sawyer Business Soaring Or Spinning? On the front page of the 9 Jan 02 Mining Journal is a headline "Sawyer airport business soars" and just below it is a headline "American Eagle drops weekend flights." Looks like Sawyer is another candidate for a spin doctor award.

12Jan02 Marq-Tran Out Of Control. Marq-Tran recently got $1 million grant for new facilities or equipment. According to the 10 Dec 01 Mining Journal, a new facility could cost upwards of $4 million, because with 60 employees and 30 buses, they need space to grow. Grow? Do they mean we need more buses and people? $4 million is a lot of money, the bulk of which will probably come from local taxes. And that's only the facilities. Operating costs will no doubt increase too. On top of that, Marq-Tran would like some prime City property for its facilities, property which would come off the City's tax rolls. I think Marq-Tran is out of control. Look at any bus at any time and count the people on it. I'll bet you don't see but a couple of people in those big, costly buses. Does this make economic sense? Wouldn't it be incredibly cheaper to provide commercial taxis for those who need a ride?

New Year Predictions for 2002.

My New Year's Resolutions.

Joe's Spin Doctor Awards for 2001

In memory of the souls lost in the World Trade Center 11 September 2001.

4 Sep 01 Activation of Sawyer Tower is a Waste of Money. I think the County Commissioners are dreaming about all the traffic activating the tower will bring. All this at a huge cost with the idea it will be mostly Federal funding. After all, Sen Levin and Congressman Stupak got us a $300,000 fiscal dog bone to get it started. Please read my presentation to the County Commissioners at their meeting tonight. Needless to say the tower activation was approved. 

2 Sep 01 Marquette 3rd Worst on Top 10 Bad Weather List. Cited in today's Mining Journal, I feel this is a wonderful story to put on the media, e.g., the Farmer's Almanac. The more people that believe this, the less people that come here and I think that's wonderful! To those of you that are already here, no offense. In my mind, there is no way that more people coming to Marquette will improve our quality of life. Spread the word that this is an awful place for weather. Pssssst! I personally don't believe it. 

25Jul01 Public Meeting Discipline. Last week I attended a City Planning Commission meeting at 3:00 that I believe ran to around 8:00. That's ridiculous. The problem was and often is at public meetings, people love to hear themselves talk. An official for MAISD went on for probably 30 minutes with extraneous and unrelated background that contributed little. A private citizen spoke about her work history and her daughter's ordination. In addition to the extraneous litany, there's all the repetition of both their own words and what others have said. I think the chairperson is largely responsible for permitting this to happen. Speakers drifting to unrelated topics should be asked to focus on the topic or step down. Meetings that last that long are a terrible strain on everyone, but especially the Commission members. Agenda items near the end may suffer fair presentation because time has run down everyone is tired. Perhaps the Chairperson should remind everyone to stay on topic and avoid repetition at the beginning of the meeting.

24Jul01 Pre-Concealed Weapon Permit Venting. I must confess I've lately been extra liberal in giving dirty looks and an occasional honk to some of the idiot drivers that don't signal, don't stop, or just plain do stupid things. I figure there's around a month or two before concealed weapon permits enable the 5% fringe element that shouldn't have guns at all to routinely carry them under their car seat. Venting my spleen should then be discontinued.

8Jul01 Noisy Vehicles. Is it my imagination or is there an increasing number of vehicles, including motorcycles, that seem to have no mufflers, not to mention those with those ear-deafening radios? Some are incredibly loud and offensive. I can remember when tickets were issued to people for not having a muffler, and they didn't seem to make as much noise then.

8Jul01 Front-end Loader Road Competition. Lately it seems there is more heavy equipment on the roads than ever. These slow moving monsters impede traffic where once they were transported to the job site via trailers, they now use the City streets at will. They also used to pull off unto the shoulder of the road which they seldom do anymore. I keep looking for licenses like I have to buy to drive but I never see them. Maybe I should buy a front-end loader to drive around town?

9Jun01 It's Humminbird, not Hummingbird. I noticed at Gander Mountain most of the price tags and the like for Humminbird radios, graphs, etc., read "Hummingbird". There is no "g" in the Humminbird company name.

5Jun01 Forecasts Wind Direction Confusing. Today's wind forecast is Northeast wind at 5 - 10 mph, becoming on-shore. I have always considered a Northeast wind to be on-shore. They said the same for a Northwest wind forecast the other day. So what direction is it changing to?

27May01 Wasted Lights and Energy. Driving around after dark I sometimes question the need for various streets lights that serve no apparent purpose. I think of the energy and costs associated with each 300w - 500w light that burns automatically every night, regardless whether anyone ever sees it or needs it. I figure roughly 400 watt/bulb/11 hours/day/$.08/per KWH/365days/year amounts to $128 per year - for one light. (Yes I realize government units pay less per KWH than its citizens but it's still energy used and money spent.) I then wonder we are doing to save energy in and around Marquette and the rest of the Country for that matter. I'm not referring to most of the wonderful street lights we have in Marquette. Rather I'm referring to lights at intersections and other places that serve no apparent purpose safety-wise. Collectively, unnecessary lights use tremendous amounts of energy, not withstanding costs associated with their replacement and maintenance. Car headlights have never been better so why are all these lights needed where people almost never walk? I have an entrance light front and back of my house but I don't leave them on at night. Most people don't. I have a sensor that turns them on only when needed. We're fortunate in Marquette and surrounding areas to have a Board of Light and Power (and other providers too) provide us with cheap electricity but that doesn't mean we should not do our part to save energy, money, and the environment. I can hear the squealing already should the usefulness of any of these lights be questioned. Questioning is coming however and sooner is better than later.

26May01 Croutons are useless. I don't see what all the excitement is about croutons in salads. They're basically dried bread squares that don't have much taste and you can't eat them easily with a fork because they crumble when you spear them. I think they're pretty lame.

25May01 Unneeded Stop Signs on Pine. Please click here to see a copy of my letter as published in the 25 May 01 Mining Journal.

30Apr01 Dumb Design of Car Air Conditioner Controls. Did you ever notice that your air conditioner comes on in the defrost mode whenever the outside temperature is above around 50 degrees? On most cars it's automatic so you don't have a choice - even if the A/C button is off, the air conditioner will come on. A lot of people I have told this to didn't realize this but realized it after listening closely and/or reading their auto manual (sometimes clear as mud on this issue.)  I feel this is a bad design for several reasons, primarily it's a safety hazard, waste of fuel, and causes unnecessary wear and tear on the A/C.

Picture this example as I've seen it often. It's around 60 degrees and Fred's windshield is steamed up so Fred set his controls to defrost. What happens is the air conditioner comes automatically. Fred may or may not set up the heat control. If he didn't turn up the heat, the windshield will clear fairly well because the air conditioner is running and is pumping very cold, but dry air to the windshield. Now, when Fred turns off the defrost, the windshield is colder than the outside air and steams up all over again, sometimes worse than when he started. If Fred did turn up the heat and the windshield clears and he turned off the heat but left it on defrost, he now has the air conditioner running and cold air on the windshield. The minute he turns off the defrost, foggy windshield. Confusing eh? Say Fred leaves his vehicle in a heated garage and it's 10 degrees above zero. Yup, his air conditioner comes on in defrost mode until the sensors detect it's cold outside, sometimes quite a while later. I think it's crazy.

To me it's rather evident this is a dumb design, probably done for cars used in Florida where it's warm and humid, not here in the U.P. or even much of the rest of the country. I think it's rather obvious that forcing drivers to continually adjust their heater controls, especially when their windshields are unexpectedly fogging up again is a hazard. Not to mention, a waste of fuel and wear and tear not needed. Ah, you may ask, what is the solution? Well, the solution is as simple as an A/C switch that is off when it says off, and on when it says on, not a defrost control that turns on the A/C whether you want it to or not. Is that so complicated?

24Apr01 Game Winning Score. It really bugs me when I hear that a sports player got the game winning score, as though he or she won the game. What about the other players that scored? Did theirs count for less? How about that super shot early in the game? The poor player that misses with 3 seconds to go gets blamed for losing the game but the player that missed an easy shot in the second quarter is just as responsible for losing the game. Are we forgetting the meaning of the word "team" and now it's all individualistic performances while playing as a group?

24Apr01 Jury Selection Process. I don't understand why over the years some people are picked for jury duty numerous times and others are never chosen. Ironically, it seems the people that are not chosen would love to serve while those that are chosen, are too busy or just don't want to do it. I question why the same people I know are picked several times over the years and others are never called. It doesn't sound very random.

9Apr01 NWS Flood Warning? Give me strength! My weather alert radio went off two days ago with a red light and flood warning message. Come to find out, it's the Chocolay River rising in the Spring, just like it usually does. Now the TV news stories have picked up on it. Does the NWS think we're stupid by telling us to "head to higher ground if we're in the area?" Not a bad idea if you have water lapping at your feet standing along the river. However, this is not a flash flood danger. I think warnings like this remind me of crying "Wolf". Although we'd all like to get rid of the snow quickly, this year seems ideal what with moderate temperatures to slowly melt the near-record snow. I think of the times we had major storms scheduled in last winter with TV crawlers warning us but my weather alert radio didn't go off then. If it did, maybe the message would be "Go South."

30Mar01 Curing excess vehicle speeding. I am tired of hearing about all the people who speed in their vehicles and things that can and were done to slow them down, but seldom mention of using police and tickets. For example, we have installed two stop signs on Front that merely force people to stop, burn extra fuel, then resume their normal speed(ing). Those signs were installed to slow traffic down. Do they? No. Do we see police ticketing speeders? No. Studies have shown stop signs are ineffective in slowing down traffic. If it were contrary, wouldn't you have stop signs on every corner? I propose we eliminate those two stop signs on Front and save everyone the costly fuel and brakes and time it takes to stop unnecessarily. I almost never see anyone walking or crossing the streets or kids playing near either stop sign so what is their purpose? If it's speeding, then let the police start ticketing speeders and get traffic slowed down and money in our City coffers. The word will get around quickly.  Now the Pine Street residents say widening the street "will cause speeding." What? Traffic flow is a favorite topic of mine. More on this issue later.

29Mar01 College Heating Costs Up. According to the 28Mar01 Mining Journal article, "...school administrators decided to turn down thermostats from 73 degrees to 71 degrees to help compensate for the rise in natural gas prices..." Don't you love it? My thermostat has been on 68 degrees for 30 years and I'm OK so far. Maybe it's because I pay for my own heat, believe it's healthier, and I'm energy conservation conscious. I presume these schools will close if they can't afford heat and the State doesn't help them out. Yeah, right!

5Mar01 Governor Engler unresponsive. On 8 October 2000, I wrote a letter to Governor Engler on some of my concerns. I received no acknowledgement so I called Brian, Governor Engler's assistant in Marquette. I was told it was election time but I would eventually get a response. On 18 December, I called Brian again, only to be assured I would get a response. I mentioned I had also sent Gov Engler an email on an unrelated subject but received no acknowledgement from that either. I forwarded a copy to Brian of my 8 December letter to permit him to track it down. Well, here it is 5 March 2001 and I have received nothing from Governor Engler's office.

When I spend several hours composing a letter to the Governor, I would like to think I would hear from him. I would even like him to agree with me but don't expect it. I just want acknowledgement that I'm heard or maybe what I suggest will be taken under consideration. Is that asking too much of our Governor? Apparently it is.

5Mar01 Locked or defective shopping carts. Yesterday at Menards (but this has happened any number of other places), I tugged and pulled on all four rows to free a push cart resulting in one cart finally loosening, only to find a wheel was broken. In frustration, I finally jerked another cart very hard and got a decent one. I felt like throwing a bucket of water on all the carts like they were dogs locked in mortal combat. Can it be that difficult to design, or at least maintain decent carts for the customers that are readily available and have good wheels?

18Feb01 Our dear Island deer. Shooting deer at the Island has raised a furor disproportionate to its importance. This furor is consistent with society generally wanting to blame someone else for everything that happens, and never blaming themselves. I feel it is us, the Island visitors initially wanting, and then feeding the deer, who are primarily responsible for this overcrowding. Granted, the DNR or whomever caused the fencing and other fiascos but fencing and feeding by us is the primary cause - period.

There seems to be far too much emotion and too little reasoning with this topic. The Marquette City Commission had to make a very tough decision. Don't you think they, and the Parks and Recreation folks, and others, didn't try to come up with alternate ways to resolve the overcrowding to avoid all the heat they are now getting? It's easy to blame the Commission. I do it myself sometimes. It's easy to propose alternate solutions that are for a number of reasons, not realistic or even legal. I doubt most of the public knows of all the time spent and options considered on this one issue by the Commission, Parks folks, and others.

We are a society who has generally elevated pets to near human status. One recent letter to the editor related deer herd reduction to pro abortion. Can you believe it? On a related topic, I see "pet lovers" with dogs so old they are blind or crippled or can't hold their bowels and have to be carried up and down stairs. Yet, these people consider themselves animal lovers. I think it's cruelty. I also think it's cruelty to let this overcrowding of deer which we caused result in starvation and death. I jokingly comment to various pet owners that their pets get better medical care than their kids or the owners and you know, most agree. Deer are wild animals, not pets. However, feeding wild animals across the whole country has caused untold problems as noted in a recent Mining Journal insert magazine.

The Mining Journal has managed to keep this issue alive by almost daily front page articles on the kill count and publishing every letter on the topic. I guess that's their business to pump up sales but I think it's a little irresponsible. It's time to move on, accept we screwed up years ago in handling our deer, and take action to correct it. By the way, I am not a pet hater and I do not like the fact we have to reduce our deer herd by shooting.

5Feb01 Snowmobiling. While pulled over to the side on a trail last Saturday, we observed 3 snowmobiler accelerate by us at a very high speed and drift to the outside of a blind curve. Had someone been coming the other way, we would probably have observed a fatality. It's tragic a few idiots like that jeopardize others and the sport like that. This is not the first time we have seen this behavior.

I jokingly thought there might be a hidden strategy to siphon off money we pay for trail maintenance to boost law enforcement, thinking the trails would be so rough that snowmobiles would have to slow down. Well , they're often rough but some idiots still don't slow down. In fact, they make newer machines (not mine) so they can go must faster when it's rough. Ironically, so far this year I haven't seen any law enforcement. I have doubts they could stop the idiots anyway. What would a ticket be for, over the centerline? Too fast for conditions? What are odds of even catching such unsafe behavior before an accident occurs?

On another note, I'm not sure what started the practice of approaching snowmobilers holding up their fingers to signal the number of snowmobiles behind them, as a warning. The last person shows a closed fist. Frankly, I think it's a very unsafe practice when approaching another snowmobile and sometimes only inches between machines, to have only one hand steering. Additionally, the last guy might signal he's the last in his group but doesn't know other snowmobiles may be behind him. So why bother? How about everyone driving as though others are approaching and keep both hands on the handlebars? Hope I don't offend anyone by not signaling back.

1Feb01 Charter Cable TV Rates Sux. That's it in a nutshell. We're now at $40 per month and the few programs I like are often reruns. Who is asking for all these new, useless channels? Charter so they can charge more? A recent Mining Journal article about their rate increase cited $24+ or close per month, never $40. Most people I know pays the $40 for the higher tier. Was the article a little misleading? I think so. Charter cited all the investment they had to make in new cable and equipment but I haven't noticed a single improvement. Perhaps it is to support their internet service which should have nothing to do with us cable TV users. Maybe it's time to have a municipal cable service.

1Feb01 Lets (SIC) Go Wildcats. The NMU electronic board at the Berry Events Center flashes "Lets Go Wildcats" and sometimes "Lets' go Cats". Shouldn't this read Let's, a contraction? Higher education?

10Jan01 Inconsiderate drivers packing driveways. I'm guessing I heard 5 people complain this week alone about neighbors, friends, and others that will drive over snow and snow banks in their driveways before they can clean them out. Drivers are using their driveway as a turn around or to park closer to the house to save a few steps. A friend puts a no parking sign in his driveway before he gets it cleaned out. His brother-in-law was upset but my friend said last week his brother-in-law had to put his truck in 4-wheel drive to get over the snow bank in his driveway. I can't believe I kept a straight face but it was funny.

10Jan01 Store Deliveries. We had an item picked up for repairs Monday and they delivery guys were right on time and I thanked them and told them that jokingly I was surprised at their timeliness. One guy said he was too and laughed. He said they would be back Thursday or Friday. Well, today (Wednesday) the doorbell rang and they had our item. No call or other notice. Nice as they were, we find such practices as hard to understand, with presumptions we were home, prepared for the item, etc.. Is there something wrong with calling first? This also was not the first incident like this.

4Jan01 City Official Travels to Study Winter. According to a Mining Journal January 3rd front page article, Marquette taxpayers are funding a City employee to travel to British Columbia and Sweden to see how those cities cope with winter. Give me strength! Is this kind of saying Marquette has the worst winters in the whole United States and we have to leave the country to find worse? Huh? Frankly, I think our City does an overall excellent job of dealing with winter. What on earth do you suppose we'll find out - some panacea to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars by buying equipment made in Sweden? I doubt it! Perhaps new techniques for moving, salting, sanding, plowing, packing, blowing, moving, hauling, melting, and who else knows what to snow and ice? Yeah, right! Once again, I'm not seeing the big picture!

19Dec00 NMU Reprisals. I recently received the most interesting call from an acquaintance. He received a nasty letter from NMU basically stating he was cut off from alumni services. This letter followed a call to him from NMU soliciting a contribution to the alumni association. He said he told the caller they didn't need the money if they could afford to give president Judy Bailey a $42,000 raise. I encouraged him to pursue it to see if this was policy and what caused this to happen. Two days later he said he had talked with NMU and was actually told their instructions were to remove from their mailing lists those alumni that spoke adversely about president Bailey. He jokingly asked if they wanted his degree back too.

I have since been informed by a reliable source it is not policy to blatantly remove someone from the Alumni contact list that is critical of NMU unless that person asked to be removed. My guess is, there was a miscommunication or misinterpretation of policy that has allegedly been corrected. I hope so. Universities have always been in the forefront for freedom of speech. Besides, most would agree it would be most unwise to cut off potential future donors automatically.

13Dec00 OfficeMax and other Bait and Switch Businesses. Yesterday I went to OfficeMax to pick up an item on sale in their flyer. Guess what - they were out. I asked whether they had a rain check but they said no, they no longer provide them and suggested I keep calling the store to see when the item is in. I suggested I have better things to do and that  I had made a trip to the store for an item they advertised, only to find they didn't have it. I found no statement in their flyer about limited quantities except for one item, clearly implying only one item in their flyer was in limited supply. Of course, they had the same type item in stock at a considerably higher price. I asked for the manager but was told she was not available at the time. I called her later and was basically told this was an on-going corporate problem, including suppliers that can't deliver.

I have found this practice of advertising things not in stock to be more and more common. Menards pulled the same thing yesterday and ABC Hardware is famous for their line "we can order it for you." I don't know if this practice is illegal but I thought it was. It's even worse that rain checks are not offered. The Better Business Bureau has a policy addressing Baiting and Switching, part of which says "An advertiser should have on hand a sufficient quantity of advertised merchandise to meet reasonably anticipated demands, unless the advertisement discloses the number of items available or states "while supplies last." You can visit their site at www.bbb.org.

28Nov00 Charter Cable - No more channels and fee increases please. And fix the volume between channels. I don't want any more cartoon and other useless channels added to my cable so Charter can further jack up my rates for channels I don't want or need. It's out of hand. They can manage to jack up the rates real fast but can't seem to control the radical volume levels between channels so you're continually playing with the controls between channels. I guess we're not paying enough for them to do that.

28Nov00 People that don't return phone calls. This is a classic and probably the guiltiest are contractors and business people. My neighbor struggled to get a plumber during deer season, heaven forbid, and couldn't even get a return call to say they were not available. My experience has been that contractors seldom return calls or show up when they say they will. Recently I had to call a contractor 5 times to get him to give me a bid on an item and another never called me. That's nuts! Is there something wrong with returning a call and saying "I can't do it or even I won't do it?" I can deal with it but I don't think they think I can. At least I'd know and could move on to someone who can help me!

28Nov00 Menards perpetually out of stock. I just returned from Menards empty handed again for advertised and items that should be stocked. For a company that proposes to be computerized, my luck has been they very often don't have in stock common and/or advertised items and it takes forever for them to come in. Some savings if you have to make a risky trip on that dangerous highway all for naught.

14Nov00 More on President Bailey Raise. Click here to see a copy of my letter to The Mining Journal editor published 27 Nov.

31Oct00 MAISD doesn't get message from public. Marquette-Alger Intermediate School District (MAISD) is hell-bound to build a new office when schools and student enrollments have been and are projected to continue shrinking in size. See our letter to The Mining Journal Editor.

23Oct00 Where am I weatherwise? When I watch The Weather Channel here in Marquette, I see conditions listed as "Marquette-Sawyer". Where is that? Ironically, the temperatures and conditions I believe come from the former airport near Negaunee, neither Marquette nor Sawyer. Current conditions on that channel don't even show Marquette but show Houghton and Escanaba. When using a pull down a weather menu on the Internet I get Gwinn as a choice but not Marquette. Well folks, we're here in Marquette and the weather and temperatures are usually radically different that Sawyer, Gwinn, or the former airport. How about reporting conditions in Marquette where I and many others live?

15Oct00 The Mining Journal Tackles Important Issues. I feel recent editorials on President Bailey's raise and now MAISD's closed meetings and proposal to build were well presented with excellent points. The Mining Journal should be commended for addressing and questioning these important issues.

8Oct00 NMU's President $42,000 raise is disgusting. The Mining Journal was right on in their scathing editorial about President Bailey's huge raise being unjustifiable. Nearly everyone I talked with expressed these same sentiments. The responsibility for this decision lies squarely with the NMU Board of Directors. Since we don't have any choice as taxpayers to select these people, I wrote a letter to Governor Engler, who appoints them, expressing my disgust. Please click here to see a copy. Governor Engler has not responded yet (as of 28Nov00). I'm a little disappointed to say the least.

Since when do you give merit raises for just doing the job you're hired to do? I would like to think the Board of Control hired President Bailey because she was expected to be innovative and raise money for NMU. Was this ridiculous raise given for performance so far above those reasonable and hopefully agreed upon understandings to warrant an increase of that size? Yea, right!

7Oct00 No Headlights Drivers. Legally, headlights in Michigan are required from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise. Common sense would say there are lots of other times they should be on...fog, snow, heavy overcast, rain, and so on. Yet there seems to be a fair number of drivers that won't turn their headlights on until they can't see where they are going, apparently not thinking they're difficult to be seen. Nearly as bad is turning on parking or running lights (not driving lights) thinking they help. I don't know where that idea ever got started. I wonder if those people with parking lights on ever look at other cars with parking lights on on a snowy day and realize they do nothing to help others see them. With all the traffic around here these days, I would think being easily seen by others can only be a good thing.

30Sep00 Useless Railroad Crossing Signs. As I drive around Marquette I see buses and tanker trucks stopping for railroad crossings that are missing tracks, paved over, abandoned, and obviously will never to be used again. Examples are Hawley Street, east Fair, Presque Isle park, and several other places around town. I realize getting these signs removed requires dealing with perhaps the ultimate bureaucracy - the federal government and probably Michigan too. However, it's ridiculous permission to remove these signs cannot be obtained more promptly than the 5 -10 years that have already passed. Not only would these eyesores be removed, traffic would be speeded up, fuel saved, and danger from accidents lessened.

5Sep00 Propane Rip-off. I am told by April 2002, the law requires 20# propane tanks have automatic shutoffs, new screw-on connectors, etc. Most new propane grills and appliances have these new tanks. I first filled my new tank a few months ago, then weighed it to find they put 17#, not 20# of propane in it. I called the manager of All Star Gas and mentioned it was 3# or 15% less than I paid for. That's $1.03 worth of propane I paid for but didn't receive. He told me they charge for filling the tank, regardless of how much they put in. Also, the new tanks shut off automatically so they have no control over it. I said they do have control - they can charge less if they give you less. I was led to believe it was not uncommon for the new tanks to prematurely shutoff. Today I filled my tank again and had them weigh it before and after. This time I got 16.5 pounds (17.5% under filled) and again got charged for 20 pounds. At today's charge of $9.65 to fill, that's $1.69 out of my pocket into theirs with nothing received in return. Guess what, I again got the same reaction from the company. Now what if you went into a gas station with your vehicle and you asked them to fill up your 20 gallon tank and they said that would be $30 before they put the gas in, what would your reaction be? Next time you fill a new type propane tank, ask them to weigh the tank afterwards and subtract the tare weight to see how full the tank is.

Charging a fixed price to fill a 20# propane, even if the tank was half full when you brought it in, has been practiced at most propane filling stations for many years. My experience was that old tanks generally contained 20# when refilled. I've never been told how much it took to fill it on the rare occasions I filled a partially full tank. I don't wish to generalize too much on the likely premature shutoff and possibly shortchanging propane on all new tanks based on my limited experience of just one tank and the intimation by a manager that premature shutoffs were not uncommon. I would like to know of other people's experience in filling new tanks. Please with your results filling a new type tank if you wish.

This situation has ticked me off for several reasons. First of all, I wonder how many people think they're buying a full 20# tank of propane but are unaware of sometimes getting shortchanged? I'm betting very few people realize this. You seldom see a gauge or scale so you'd know how much you received. Next, I'm mad at the politicians who created this law requiring new-type tanks, under the guise of "a safer design", probably because of a few isolated accidents caused by people filling old tanks that never should have been refilled by anyone or badly mishandled tanks. I'd like to think there will never be accidents with the new tanks but sure wouldn't bet on it.  I suspect the propane and tank manufactures lobbies worked full time and greased more than a few palms to pass this law. Remember, after April 2002 you'll need a new type tank by law and will ultimately have to dispose of your old tanks safely. Last but not least I'm tired of new and improved which really means more expensive and often not working as well, especially dictated by politicians. Remember the breakup of Bell Telephone? Deregulation of utilities? The list goes on.

31Aug00 Increasing NMU Enrollment. A front-page 24August MJ article said NMU is looking to increase enrollment around by 3,000 students to 11,200. This is to gain more money from the State (us taxpayers) based on minimum per student rates. This apparent "economy of scale" goal is presumptive that more money is the best and only solution. How about reducing expenses? Now there's a new concept! I am quite unconvinced sufficient effort has been made in that direction, e.g., recent NMU revamping and repaving at great expense, campus roads and parking lots which were not that old to start with. Wouldn't it have been better to use those millions to reduce tuition rates? I am unconvinced too there are not any number of operational and capital expenses that couldn't be trimmed significantly. Besides, I really don't want another 3,000 students in Marquette. I can't get across Third Street now!

As an aside to the above article, NMU's president said they would have to be "innovative" not to have to build more facilities as the dorms were full. No mention of all the dorms converted over the years at great taxpayer expense to faculty and staff offices.

29Aug00 Juicy Dew Points. Listen to the WLUC TV6 weather and you'll hear Karl use this unprofessional term to describe what I used to think of as high humidity. Does juicy sound like a meaningful word to describe weather conditions? It doesn't to me. And what's with all this dew point stuff lately. The term has been around for many years but I don't know of any people who use it and personally, I can't relate to dew points. Relatively humidity I understand.

17Aug00 Technology Convoy. Can you believe the president of NMU drove to Green Bay to lead a shipment of laptop computers to NMU? Add to that some NMU vice presidents on motorcycles and I think we come off as small town hicks who have not seen or used computers in Marquette before. It would seem the president of a university would have more important things to do than lead a "procession" of semis to Marquette in a green Camaro convertible. While this may be a significant event, I'm a little embarrassed to think the president's office may have temporarily lost its dignity and prestigious status for a little sensationalism and front page coverage.

2Aug00 Inconsiderate People Parking at Gas Stations. Did you notice that some people will park their vehicles right in front of the door to the gas station store, almost blocking the entrance? Some will park so close as to be able to tumble into the store, restricting access to the pumps, when there are parking places on either side. Several times I have seen people park at the fuel pumps, walk into the store, and not even buy gas. Now that's inconsiderate!

30Jul00 Road Hogs Don't you just love to meet drivers that insist on driving down the middle of the street where there are cars parked on one or both sides, forcing you to wait? I'm not sure whether these road hogs think they need 8 feet on either side of them or just think they're entitled to the road first.

18Jul00 Airport grumblers not appeased. The Mining Journal July 18 editorial said "New road should appease airport grumblers." Well, I didn't think of myself as a grumbler but if a grumbler is someone who objects to moving a perfectly good and handy airport at great taxpayer expense, then I guess I am. And I am not appeased by this latest $1.6 million expenditure of tax dollars for yet another road that must be maintained and plowed at our expense.. The MJ article said "County residents have been divided of the issue of moving the airport to Sawyer since it was first proposed..." Well, I don't think there is much division as I believe the overwhelming majority of residents and users did not want it moved. In addition, I never thought the move was "proposed" as the County Commissions just did it without regard to taxpayer input.

12Jul00 Planning Commission showed courage and wisdom to the deny MGH parking lot expansion. I was very proud of our Planning Commission for their denial of the proposed MGH lot. The impact on the surrounding residents (and taxpayers) would have been devastating. I have personally appeared before the Planning Commission in the past...and lost but I still have a lot of respect for the Commission members. As volunteers who take their jobs very seriously, putting in long hours of study and handling very controversial topics that need to be addressed, is something we should all be grateful for. Does anyone actually believe that MGH doesn't have a plan for the future? Of course they do and they should share it with the Planning Commission, City Commission, and the Marquette residents and tax payers, especially those near MGH likely to be affected by those plans.

30Jun00 Too Late With Too Little – The 27 June 2000 Mining Journal editorial headlines were “Blood plasma business a poor fit on Lakeshore.” Where have you been Mining Journal when this building and the development of an industrial park in general was rammed through in a rush a short time ago? I wrote a letter to the editor as well as others expressing concern about the development of businesses on the lakeshore. What was the purpose of this editorial after the building is up? Good points were made in the editorial but fine time to say it now. Something is radically amiss here with the timing of this editorial! Closing the barn door after the horse is gone comes to mind. Hellloooo Mining Journal! Wake Up! Why didn’t you address why the City ignored the Lakeshore Taskforce recommendation not to run Wright Street through to Lakeshore and its recommendation not to have the industrial park streets enter Lakeshore Blvd? Maybe mention that next year after it's a done deal!

The editorial also spoke to the need for increasing the tax base in Marquette. I think using our lakeshore for businesses when there are other options is a poor way to go about it. Perhaps NMU and MGH should pay something to the City for all the property they take off the tax rolls and services the City provides to them.  And they’re continually attempting to take more off the rolls. Enough of this “we provide lots of jobs” stuff. It takes money to run the City. Providing jobs for lots of people who live out of Marquette is noble but doesn’t pay the City bills...the City residents get the bills for that. Maybe we need to see a breakdown of how many employees actually live in the City.

30May00 Fuel costs hamper Coast Guard effort. Those were the Mining Journal headlines. Can you believe the Coast Guard is running short of fuel money so they may stop patrols? Given we have a large Federal budget surplus, does it make sense not to provide add ional funding for fuel rather than have all these costly resources sitting there, not performing their duties which include saving lives and many other critical things? Come on Congress, get with it.

28May00 Bikers and Hikers It often appears bikers and hikers believe they have a universal right-of-way, seldom stopping, let alone looking for traffic, before crossing intersections. This morning, a couple of bikers, one pulling a kid in a cart behind the bike breezed across Hawley Street at Lake Shore Blvd, without ever looking. I was pulling a boat and had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting them. And that is one of the places that has walker YIELD signs on both sides of the street. I see that a lot both there and other places where it's not marked but it seems awfully foolish not to look before crossing. I have a feeling that one of these days something bad is going to happen to one of these bikers or hikers and it will be the drivers fault...regardless. Does it matter if you're dead right or dead wrong?

24May00 "Brisk" Weather Forecast I see the National Weather Service (NWS) increasingly using the word brisk by itself in their forecast. The other day the forecast was "Brisk and Cool" and more recently, just brisk. That is pretty meaningless to me as I always thought the word was normally used as an adjective e.g., brisk winds, brisk temperatures, etc. They apparently don't mean brisk temperatures or they wouldn't say brisk and cool. They must mean brisk winds, but I wonder how many people perceive it that way? I wrote the NWS and they saw nothing wrong with using the word by itself. Is it asking too much to say brisk temperatures or brisk winds? How about a more professional and meaningful forecast?

10May00 News Contests I'm getting tired of tuning in to the local news, whether morning news or evening, and getting snippets or questions of, e.g., "is it going to rain tomorrow or not - stay tuned until the TV-6 News in 45 minutes..." Guess what - they have the forecast but don't want to tell us until they are ready. Or for example, how about the announcer saying "Did the Red Wings win the critical game? Tune in for the 11 o-clock news." Or, the news anchor saying the feature story is whatever, only to find out the "whatever" is held out for the very last part of their news. Well, who is the news for? Is this a contest or the news? Are the news media so insecure they don't want to tell us what we want to know for fear we won't be exposed to all their commercials? Is their concept of the news a series of commercials, filled with news in between? Once again I am confused as I thought they were there to provide the news to us but really the plan is to dole out the news in a manner to expose us to the maximum amount of commercials. Wouldn't it be innovative to just give us the news in the same length of time it takes to ask us to stay tuned for a couple of hours, instead of jerking us around ? Heaven forbid we should find out the news when it's convenient for us and not the TV station!

3May00 Another Man's Treasure It's that time of year when Marquette residents have an opportunity to put items and rubbish they wish to dispose of on the curb. It's fun to watch people driving around trying to be cool but really looking for freebie treasures. What could be better recycling and saving our landfill? We are however, disappointed our sink out front has not gone yet as it's in great shape. I think I have it hidden to well and better make it easier to spot. Too bad more people don't clean their yards, including junk vehicles (of course the City won't pick them up). 8May00 Update We looked out the window and someone picked up the sink. Yea!

27Apr00 MarqTran Buses It seems every time I see a MarqTran bus in town, there are are usually less than 3 people on it, often there's one or none. It costs us taxpayers a lot of money to run these huge, near-empty buses. Wouldn't it make sense to use much smaller buses or vehicles such as vans?

23Apr00 WJPD Weekend Weather Reports This early morning the WJPD forecast consisted of "sunny and 50..." but no mention of wind or anything else, let alone a marine forecast. I'm sorry but just mentioning temperature is pretty useless as wind is extremely important whether you're a boater or not. For example, try having a picnic when it's 70 degrees but with 35 mph winds! I've called and written the station several times but get no response. They have great forecast during the week but weekends, when I think most people would want to know a complete forecast, it's pretty lousy.

23Apr00 WLUC-TV "Pump Patrol" In reporting various gas prices around the UP, the station misleadingly includes Lanse where the Indians don't pay State taxes on fuel. For example, while everyone else is shown paying $1.43 per gallon, Lanse shows as $1.30. I wouldn't give them the free advertising. What if no one paid road taxes? Why don't they collect and pay State road taxes?

16Apr00 City Leaves and Brush Disposition Site Isn't it wonderful to have a place to bring our leaves and brush? That ole saying "It's the little things in life" sure applies to this service. I think a lot of the City residents find the drop-off site just wonderful. Nothing high tech about it...just a place to get rid of your leaves and brush. The City gets an A+ in my books on this one.

5Apr00 Rocky View on Lakeshore Blvd. I can't walk or drive along Lakeshore Boulevard by the Cliffs Dow area without getting upset about the City blocking our view of Lake Superior. Nor do I know anyone else who isn't upset. These rocks were put there several years ago by our City administration for twofold reasons, to stem the erosion along the road and save the City money on disposition of the rocks that came from infrastructure work on City streets. I don't question those motives but I cannot believe those rocks had to be piled that high and cannot be knocked down to a level to permit everyone passing to see the Lake. Here we are as a City trying to obtain maximum Lake frontage and then blocking our view along one of the most scenic stretches. This is crazy! Click here for a view of what we see driving along the Lake.

I have met with our City Manager on two occasions asking the rock piles be reduced in height by only a few feet but he gave me no satisfaction. I suspect the City will take credit for "protecting" the road when we haven't really had a powerful 'nor'easter in several years. Besides that, the water level has been low for sometime. I kept hearing the argument about the road being closed and the mess it is to clean up. Well, I don't remember it being closed but a few times the past several years and then there was no impact because people living on north Lakeshore Blvd have an alternate route. Besides, so what if the City has to run a front-end loader to clean up the road once or twice a year. Big deal! How much can that cost? That equipment might as well be used to maintain a drive most anyone who has been to Marquette cherishes. Know anyone who wouldn't want their City to spend a few bucks on that? I am embarrassed our City doesn't address this issue. Knock the top off these rocks by just a few feet and give us our view back. We'll have virtually the same protection!

I believe the City has an agenda to move Lakeshore Blvd in from its current location. Click here to see my letter to the Mining Journal in November 1999. Be wary! I believe such a move is intended to support their commercial development on the Cliffs Dow property, not improve our view of the Lake. The City has already applied for grant money but was turned down. So how much do you want to bet the City would be willing to spend a million bucks to move the road but complains it cost a thousand to clean up the current road after a biannual storm? Know anyone who wants that road moved away from the Lake? I don't. Correction - certain City leaders do.

I've been told the City got DNR permission to put those rocks there. However, I'd bet they didn't obtain permission to dump snow with debris along the rocks during the winter with all the sand, salt, plastic, junk, metal, and who knows what else is in there. Talk about ugly! Click here for a picture of Lakeshore Ugliness! You can't convince me dumping snow and trash here protects the road and that it isn't environmentally a very poor, if not illegal practice. With all that Cliffs Dow property the City owns, wouldn't it make more sense to dump it there?

31Mar00 Dogs & Cell Phones Yesterday, I saw a driver in a small car with two huge dogs, one in the back seat and one in the front seat and the driver was on a cell phone. I find it ironic that we have seat belts laws to reduce personal injury to drivers and passengers in an accident, yet thoughtless drivers with pets on the loose, barking and blocking the driver's vision, and cell phones hanging out of drivers faces who are likely to cause an accident are never ticketed, not that I propose to legislate common sense.

28Mar00 Wright Street Speed Limit 25 Any reason Wright Street isn't 35 mph vs. 25 mph from Lincoln Avenue to past the Cemetery? It's all wide road, almost no pedestrians and few entrances. Washington Street near Cole's Hill is 35 mph and it's a lot more congested with entrances and traffic. Add to this Baraga Avenue past the transfer station as a candidate for 35mph. I also question why all the sewer and other covers in the roadway are not recessed so your wheels are not thumping constantly or at least placed in other than the vehicle wheel lanes? Lastly, all the pushing for Wright Street to be a feeder road and now NMU tells the City there will be a traffic light at Sugarloaf. Who runs this City? We've gone traffic light and stop sign nuts.

23Mar00 Local Weather Forecasts. I believe the USA is a world leader in technology, especially computers and all that. Then why does TV6 (Karl) keep referring to the "European Weather Models?" Are their forecasts better than ours? Are they really concerned with weather in the U.P.?

20Mar00 The Weather Channel. Did you ever hear worse background music? I wonder who chooses their music! Why isn't Marquette on the "Current Weather Conditions" screen? Why do they call it Marquette weather when conditions are cited from the old and new airport, up to 20 miles away and often 20 degrees different?

19Mar00 MJ Letter on Berry Events Center. To see my letter to the Mining Journal published 17Mar00 on the Berry Center and why I think it stinks, click here . Please use your browser return button when finished.

18Mar00 MJ Headlines "City to Count Road Traffic" The article said "For example, the city stationed counters a year or so ago near the intersection of East Fair and Pine to help determine driving habits." The article didn't mention that four-way stops were put in and a final recommendation made by the City traffic officials to remove 2 stop signs but the City Commission overruled them and we now have a permanent four-way stop. Brilliant! However, my real question is how accurate will the information will be in March and April? How about July when most the tourist are here? How about a study winter and summer, especially when NMU is in session?

2Mar00 MJ Headlines "Superior outflow cut back to raise other lake levels." Well, my little pea brain tells me Lake Superior drains into the lower lakes and therefore, cutting back the Superior flow to those lakes will raise Lake Superior or at least stem its decline and more likely lower, not raise, the other lakes. Perhaps they need to do a little more research.

My Background: I'm a third generation Marquette resident, now retired. While my primary interests are boating and fishing,, I'm also interested in promoting and preserving our Marquette quality of life. I receive no ad or other support moneys for this web site and therefore am beholden to no one.  Suggestions are welcome.

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