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Lakeview Arena reopening is delayed: Coronavirus concerns cited

MARQUETTE — The reopening of Lakeview Arena has been delayed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli wrote in a letter to city commissioners that he and Mayor Jenna Smith have decided not to move forward with Lakeview Arena’s normal schedule of ice use and rentals at the arena.

The original plan was to begin the ice-making process around Sept. 1, with ice rental, which includes youth hockey, to begin around Sept. 21.

“However, because of the local current COVID situation, it seems prudent to delay this opening and not allow ice use until we are comfortable that we will not overly risk the spread of the virus,” Angeli said.

The new plan, he said, is to re-evaluate the situation on a two-week basis beginning on Sept. 21. Then a decision will be made whether to begin making ice at that time to open the arena for ice rental use on Oct. 5. If the arena won’t open by Oct. 5, the situation will be re-evaluated on that date, and so on.

“This decision will probably cause some dissent from some ice users, but I believe it is the correct course of action at this time,” Angeli said.

Smith said in a Facebook video that it was purely a “health and safety decision.”

“While it’s a delay, at this point we have not canceled the hockey season or the ice season,” she said.

COVID-19 numbers reported

Marquette County is considered medium-high risk for COVID-19, according to the MI Safe Start Map website.

As of Wednesday, Marquette County had 158 confirmed and 14 probable COVID-19 cases, with 11 deaths.

A total of 16,943 diagnostic tests and 705 serology tests had been performed as of Wednesday, according to data from michigan.gov/coronavirus.

The seven-day average positive test rate for COVID-19 was 1.4% in Marquette County as of Sunday, according to the MI Safe Start Map website.

As of Monday, UP Health System had three COVID-19 patients with one in the intensive care unit, according to michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Business webinar planned

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in continued legislation from the state and federal government such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Businesses from across the Upper Peninsula may have questions or concerns about how this legislation will impact them as an employer.

To assist the U.P. business community and answer legal questions, InvestUP, the Lake Superior Community Partnership and local economic partners from across the region will provide an informational webinar as a resource for U.P. businesses.

The webinar will be at 9 a.m. Aug. 20.

This webinar, titled “Understanding the Implications of the FFCRA,” will bring the expertise of the attorneys of Miller Canfield to answer questions related to an employer’s obligation under the FFCRA legislation.

Lending their legal expertise will be Megan Norris, principal at Miller Canfield with three decades of experience representing employers, and Nhan Ho, associate at Miller Canfield in the Employment and Labor Group. They will take questions during the 60-minute webinar from participating businesses.

Participants are urged to ask questions in advance to better ensure that they are addressed by the panel. They may be submitted until 5 p.m. Wednesday to invest@investupmi.com

Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP, said in a statement, “This conversation is extremely timely with schools now transitioning back to in-person learning in some forms across the Upper Peninsula, and with how thin small businesses throughout the Upper Peninsula are stretched with the varied challenges they presently have before them.”

There is no charge for the webinar. Registration can be completed at https://attendee.gotowebinar. com/register/ 1747326695552501003.

Score Card released

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy was continuing to grow but was losing ground in comparison to other states, according to the newest annual Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card.

The Score Card, released by Michigan Celebrates Small Business in collaboration with the Small Business Association of Michigan, evaluates the state’s performance in the areas essential to a successful entrepreneurial economy: climate, change and vitality.

The 2020 Score Card showed Michigan remains a top performer among Midwest states, based on data showing the economy has grown at a rate exceeding its neighbors for the last six years.

That data is from Michigan’s Coincident Index, which evaluates employment and wage/salary data monthly.

“While we have seen some progress in Michigan, we know that if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind and the risks of complacency have never been greater for entrepreneurs,” SBAM President Brian Calley said in a news release. “This Score Card gives a clear and accurate view of how Michigan ranks compared to other states and must be used carefully to create a pathway forward.”

Results include:

≤ Michigan is ranked 22nd, down from 17th on last year’s Score Card, for its entrepreneurial climate, including factors that support the entrepreneurial economy.

≤ Michigan ranks 26th, down from 23rd last year, in entrepreneurial change, which is a measure of the direction and momentum of growth in the entrepreneurial economy.

≤ Michigan ranks 36th, down from 35th last year, in entrepreneurial vitality, which compares the level of entrepreneurial activity to other states.

“While Michigan has come a long way since this Score Card was first developed more than 15 years ago, we still have a long and difficult climb to becoming a top 10 state for entrepreneurs,” SBAM CEO Rob Fowler said in a news release. “Our economy certainly has taken a hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this Score Card gives us insights we can work on to make a difference for entrepreneurs in our state.”

The Score Card also showed areas where Michigan is currently among the top 10 states: physical science and engineering workers, workers’ compensation premiums, business tax burden, homeownership rate, foreign business employment growth, patents per innovation worker, industry research and development, high-tech manufacturing employment, ACT scores, four-year technical credentials, business liability costs, university research and development, US News & World Report top graduate programs, export intensity growth, lack of health insurance and voter turnout.

Michigan ranks among the bottom 10 for: malpractice costs, law enforcement employees, bridge quality, university spinout businesses, hate crimes, public high school graduation rates, cultural institutions, next-generation internet, increase in high-performance firms, prime working-age residents, manufacturing capital investment growth, unemployment insurance costs and unemployment insurance tax structure.

The Score Card is released annually by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, a nonprofit serving the state’s entrepreneurial community. Analytics and methodology for this analysis were developed by Dr. Graham Toft of Growth Economics Inc.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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