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Attitude Wellness' special-use permit for La Cabana site OKed
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EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—Attitude Wellness/Lume Cannabis Co., which is suing the City of Menominee over the way the city awarded marijuana retail licenses, received the Menominee Planning Commission’s approval Tuesday to proceed with plans to open a marijuana store where La Cabana restaurant is located on 10th Street.

The planning commission needed to approve a special-use permit for the site, which is in a C-2 commercial zone because of its proximity to the waterfront, for Attitude Wellness/Lume’s retail license to be fully approved. At the suggestion of the Marijuana Selection Committee, the Menominee City Council approved the company’s medical marijuana retail license on the condition the company receive the special-use permit.

The five planning commission members in attendance Tuesday voted to approve the special-use permit with the condition the plans be approved and necessary permits be granted by the State Bureau of Construction Codes and the City of Menominee. Two commission members—Tyler Uecke and Gina Sorensen—were absent from the meeting.

Kris Rusch was elected commission chair at the meeting because former chair, attorney Kim Coggins, resigned last month due to a conflict of interest, according to minutes from the last meeting. Other members present were Carol "Cookie" Kramer, Peter Mayhew, Mike Menor and Brian Nutter.

Before voting on a motion to approve the permit, the commissioners heard public comment from seven people, including Menominee City Council member Frank Pohlmann, who represents the 4th Ward and sits on the Judicial & Legal/Personnel & Labor Committee.

Pohlmann urged the planning commission to “establish a very high bar in granting any special-use permit” for a waterfront location because the waterfront wasn’t in discussion when the city council passed the marijuana ordinance. “It was clear no marijuana establishment should be located there,” Pohlmann said. Pohlmann said he didn’t want the planning commission to set a precedent that would allow other marijuana stores in C-2 districts.

Logan Stauber, co-chief executive officer of Fire Station Cannabis Co., which received licenses for a marijuana store and processing center in Menominee, opened the public comment period with a rebuttal to a five-page letter Lloyd Flanders President John Warren Juliano wrote to the planning commission that referenced “many reasons why Lloyd Flanders is so concerned” about marijuana stores opening near its facility. The letter described a video showing over 1,000 cars reportedly lined up to use a marijuana store in Negaunee, Mich. It also raised concerns about parking and crime.

Stauber said, “The video was taken at our facility on 4-20. That is a cannabis holiday where there are lot of users.” It is from 2019 when Fire Station was the only cannabis store and operated out of an 800-square-foot facility with a very small parking lot. The store the company plans to build will be 8,000 square feet and more efficient. “In that building, we had two cash registers. In the building we’re proposing, there will be 12 cash registers,” he said.

He also addressed a concern raised in the letter about how the amount of cash might make the new store a target. “It’s unusual for us to keep cash in our facility for long periods of time,” he said. The store uses armored trucks to pick up the cash.

Derek Butler, plant operations manager from Lloyd Flanders, which is located near the proposed site, spoke about the company’s safety concerns over a marijuana store being located on 10th Street, which is also U.S. 41. “Our employees—98% of them—have to cross 41,” Butler said.

“The settings on the actual stoplight are not set to our plant time when our employees enter and exit, so there is a safety concern,” he said.

Menominee attorney Randall Philipps, one of the attorneys representing Attitude Wellness/Lume in its lawsuit against the City of Menominee, said the prior zoning recommendation was not binding. “In order to avoid controversy and limit your liability, when someone comes forward that is consistent with your ordinance, you shall approve it.”

Philipps also disputed the notion the store would attract 10,000 cars per day and instead said 100 cars per day would be more likely. “In no fashion will this facility be an undue burden,” Philipps said.

Joe Dulak, a realtor and a property owner of 4.8 acres of undeveloped property adjacent to the site, said Lloyd Flanders is operating in an obsolete building that’s past its lifetime. “Sometimes you’ve got to change with the times,” he said.

Dulak said he visited Fire Station, Lume and Rize stores in other cities “to see what it’s all about.”

“It’s a highly regulated business. It’s got great security. I was impressed at the professionalism,” Dulak said.

Mark Pontti, an Iron Mountain business consultant who works with Lume, spoke about the company’s presence in other areas. “Lume beautifully restored a dilapidated building in downtown Iron Mountain across the street from a soon-to-be-built hotel complex. They don’t overpromise and under deliver.”

A Lume employee, who described himself as a manager, spoke of the “upwards of 30 jobs” Lume plans to bring to Menominee with full benefits, including a 401k retirement plan with company match. “These are jobs you don’t find, especially in retail,” he said. “It’s hard to find an employer that’s going to commit to these jobs … They provide a good life for me and my family,” he said.

Pohlmann said also spoke of his concern about the proximity to Spies Athletic Field. Youth athletes going to Spies are routinely dropped off at the La Cabana parking lot. “I can see this use is not necessarily a great combination,” he said.

Architect Kyle Blomquist of Blomquist Architects in Iron Mountain, Mich., presented Attitude Wellness/Lume’s plans for the site and said, “We understand marijuana use carries a certain stigma.”

The design of the proposed store is discreet. The sign won’t say cannabis, Blomquist said. “It presents itself as a professional office building. It could be a cosmetics company’s home office,” he said.

“The proposed development site was deemed an ideal fit,” Blomquist said, because it provides easy access, has a beautiful backdrop in the Bay of Green Bay and is a distance from residential housing.

Details and architect renderings of Attitude Wellness/Lume’s plans for the site were reported by the EagleHerald Oct. 19. The story is available at EHExtra.com: https://www.ehextra.com/news/menominee-planning-commission-chair-resigns-after-lume-s-use-permit-stalls/article_123356aa-edd6-5bbc-81ce-6f317caa73b9.html.

Before voting to approve the special-use permit, Rusch encouraged Attitude Wellness to consider working with the city on an easement for a public walkway along the waterfront.

Commissioner Carol Kramer said the location of Spies Field, which is only used for sports for part of the year, shouldn’t be an issue. “I would hope parents would discipline kids to not go to Lume until they are of age and understand what they are doing,” she said.

She said she was concerned about uprooting La Cabana restaurant, but hoped it would be replaced with another family restaurant on the site.

“We have lost many restaurants, and I really am going to miss La Cabana, but the economics of the new business takes priority over my restaurant preference, so maybe sometime in the future if you want to work with us, you could build us a new restaurant somewhere. That would be a great idea,” said Kramer. “I could definitely forward” the suggestion to the company, Blomquist said.


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Families get taste of reading at library night

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—Central School teacher Mikayla Kewley brought her 7-year-old cousin Isla Beckman to a Reading Adventure Night Monday at Spies Library to encourage her to enjoy reading. “We were having a read-a-thon at school,” Kewley said. During the program, Isla built a stuffed bear to take home and read to nightly. She named it Snuggles.

The program included a story read aloud by children’s librarian Abbey Hoijer, which Kewley appreciated. “You get a lot of kids who don’t know how to hold a book when they come into school. This is teaching them how to read, the tone, the inflection of voices,” Kewley said.

Children also made an edible craft from candy corn and Oreo cookies, played bingo and received a free book to take home. “This is a format we’ve done with (the Intermediate School District) ISD for several years now,” Hoijer said. “The goal is early literacy; getting kids to read.”

The Menominee County Intermediate School District Great Start collaboration worked with Spies Library to present the hour-long Reading Adventure Night. “The Great Start collaboration has been working with the library for years on literacy programs,” said Sarah Hanson, director of the Great Start program. It was put on hold during COVID.


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Town of Peshtigo residents push for installation of new PFAS warning signs
  • Updated

EagleHerald Staff Writer

PESHTIGO—The lack of adequate signage could be putting community members at risk of PFAS exposure, representatives of the Town of Peshtigo said during their Nov. 4 Water Committee meeting.

Following the launch of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) investigation into the PFAS contamination from Tyco Fire Controls, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, Inc., JCI/Tyco installed warning signs around drainage ditches and surface water locations in the Town of Peshtigo and City of Marinette to alert community members of potential PFAS exposure.

Water Committee member and retired hydrogeologist Jeff Lamont said in an interview with the EagleHerald, however, that the signs have been an issue since 2019 when they were first installed. In particular, some community members have been dissatisfied with their placement and verbiage, saying that the language and design of these signs don’t clearly communicate that there is a potential hazard.

The DNR, City of Marinette Alderperson Doug Oitzinger, Marinette resident Andi Rich, Lamont and a mediator from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) met in a virtual meeting about six months ago to discuss community members’ concerns regarding the signs. Following the meeting, Lamont and Oitzinger made a list of over 30 suggested locations for additional signs and sent the list to the DNR and DHS.

But the new sign locations and designs that the DNR and DHS presented at the Oct. 20 listening session were not what Lamont and others had envisioned.

“The DNR’s suggestions didn’t cover near the number of sign locations that we wanted,” Lamont said. Lamont added that the town wasn’t happy with the proposed language for the signs. “It was an improvement, but it’s still not what we think it should be,” he said.

DNR Complex Sites Project Manager Alyssa Sellwood said the suggestions presented in the listening session and in the DNR’s Sept. 9 letter to JCI/Tyco requesting improvements to the signs were meant to be a starting point. She said that JCI/Tyco can make changes to the signs based on community input.

It seems that communication between JCI/Tyco and Town of Peshtigo residents regarding the signs is moving in a positive direction. Water Committee member Chuck Boyle said he has spoken with a representative of Arcadis, the engineering company that works on behalf of JCI/Tyco, who had communicated to him that JCI/Tyco is open to redesign and discuss additional placements for the signs.

In terms of the reduced number of sign locations, Sellwood said that some of the suggested locations were removed along branches of Ditch A because those areas were not found to have levels of PFAS above the recommended threshold of 20 parts per trillion. In addition, Sellwood said locations that the DNR understood to be private single resident properties were omitted.

Lamont and Sellwood both expressed the hope that new signs will be installed in the next few months. They noted, however, that this may be challenging because of the onset of winter. Installation may therefore be delayed until the spring.

The sign improvements that Water Committee members are hoping to see are as follows:

  • Increased size of the signs
  • Possibly adding a QR code that links to more information about PFAS
  • Changing the verbiage of the signs to convey information more directly and clearly (Chairperson Cindy Boyle said the Town Board will review suggested verbiage at the Nov. 16 Town Board meeting)
  • Changing the look of the sign to be more colorful and clear
  • Increasing the number of sign locations

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MAPS hires MLI to help in superintendent search

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The search for a new permanent superintendent for Menominee Area Public Schools has formally begun. The Board of Education selected the Michigan Leadership Institute (MLI) to help in their search, and heard from MLI’s John Scholten during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

“This is probably the most important job you guys have as a school board, selecting the next superintendent,” Scholten said, “and I am honored and pleased that you’ve selected us to assist you in this process.”

Scholten met with teachers, staff and bus drivers Monday and Tuesday in focus groups to provide input on what qualities they would like to have in the next superintendent. “The intent with the focus groups is to put together a profile for the district as to what type of leader you’re looking for,” he said.

Scholten put together a preliminary timeline for filling the position sometime in January. He said the position is currently posted and has been sent out to both MLI’s Wisconsin and Minnesota affiliate groups, and potentially would be sent to the Illinois affiliate as well. He also suggested the board add a Dec. 3 deadline, as he would plan on bringing all of the applicants to the board during the Dec. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting for the board to review.

During that meeting, Scholten said the board would have the opportunity to go into a closed session to protect the confidentiality of the potential candidates. “Their candidacy is a private matter until you select to interview them. Once you decide to interview them, then it’s public,” he said.

Scholten said as of Monday, three people have already started the application process. “We’re going to stir up some interest, there’s no question about it,” he said.

Scholten also helped the district put together a short, three-question survey that is open to the public to answer. The survey asks about key skills and characteristics a superintendent should have and what strengths and challenges the district currently has. The survey can be accessed on the district’s website. The online survey will remain live through Monday.

Those interested in filling out the survey may go to https://www.gomaroons.org/article/580437.


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