Duck, Duck — Goosed


    What will House Speaker RickJohnson get in his Christmas stocking this year?

    It just might be a lump of coal.

    “What goes around comes around,” said PeterSecchia, referring to Johnson’s 11th-hour arm-twisting during last year’s lame duck session of the legislature to get bills passed in favor of casinos.

    This year, Senate Majority Leader KenSikkema, R-Grandville, led the charge to have a vote on the compact for a tribal casino in Wayland rescinded in the legislature.

    Secchia, a longtime opponent of the Wayland casino and supporter of the anti-casino PAC 23 Is Enough, applauds Sikkema’s move and sees it as “tit-for-tat.”

    Johnson, for his part, told the Associated Press in a Nov. 26 interview that he doesn’t treat the lame-duck session any differently than the rest of the year.

    “I’ve always said you serve until the end of your term. You’re going to be held accountable for what you do in lame duck or what you’re doing the first year or the second year. … I fight to the end. I never quit. If I had a chance to do something more with charter schools or laptops in lame duck, I would go after that. That’s just my style.”

    Apparently, it’s just not a style that sits well with many West Michigan Republicans.

    • If it works in Grand Rapids … Well, that must be the thinking in the Windy City these days as the Tribune Co. mulls hosting rock concerts at Wrigley Field.

    Locals might remember a successful event last August at Fifth Third Park when WillieNelson and BobDylan put on a pretty awesome show amid the Whitecaps’ baseball season.

    Now the Cubs are thinking along the same lines, with JimmyBuffett as the star performer. “If we did anything in the future, which is a big ‘if,’ there’s a lot of questions we need to answer first,” AndyMacPhail, team president, told Crain’s Chicago Business.

    MacPhail should feel free to call LewChamberlin at the Whitecaps for a few pointers. The number’s listed.

    • Tis the holiday season, and for many companies that means an annual party. According to the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC, if you’re planning festivities at your workplace, be sure to take precautions and protect yourself from the legal consequences that could result from serving alcohol.

    “Normally, an employer who provides alcohol at a company function isn’t held liable for damage or injury caused by employees who become intoxicated, since the proximate cause is the employee’s overindulgence — not the employer who provided the alcohol,” said KarlaMcKanders, a labor and employment attorney with the firm. “However, employer liability is an issue if employees are required to attend the event, are acting in the course of their job or are underage.”

    Miller Canfield offers several precautionary steps to help employers avoid a legal hangover, including holding your event off company premises to eliminate any implication that work is being conducted before, during, or after the party; making it clear to your employees that their participation is voluntary; and letting employees know that they are relieved of duty during the hours of the party.

    Also, McKanders said, consider implementing a ticket or chit system that limits each employee’s alcohol consumption to two drinks. Of course, the free enterprise system might override this suggestion.

    • Ever wonder what it must have been like to be a lighthouse keeper?

    For a small fee, qualified volunteers can spend a week or two at one of the nation’s best-preserved and most comfortable lighthouses — the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, at the tip of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. Keepers do minor chores around the isolated facility, which now does double duty as a historical museum, but their main task is to help the hundreds of visitors who stop in to look at the place and wander through its elegantly restored interior.

    “We’re mainly looking for people who are outgoing and willing to meet with the public,” said MikeConnolly, the museum’s program director. “It’s not hard work, but the days can be pretty long, especially in summer when you can get 300 to 400 visitors in a day. The spring and fall isn’t as busy, but then you might be painting or fixing walls or things like that.”

    The U.S. Forest Service, which has a similar program involving ranger posts in and around national parks, finds the endeavor to be successful and rewarding.

    Established in 1850, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse is one of the oldest lights on the Great Lakes. It occupies a lonely point of rocky coast (now the site of a state park) marking the outer edge of Grand Traverse Bay, with sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the distant Manitou and Fox islands. After the Coast Guard closed the facility in 1972, lighthouse aficionados banded together to purchase the property and restore it as a museum.

    “There are few lighthouses that have keeper programs which offer participants the experience of living for a week or two in a historic lighthouse,” said museum curator StephanieStaley. “Working as a keeper can be rewarding. The magnificent view from the tower is amazing.”

    Would-be keepers pay $195 a week to live in an apartment of the lighthouse. The program was tried for the first time during the 2004 season and was “quite a success,” said Connolly. Some slots for the summer of 2005 filled up as soon as they were posted, he said, but there are still openings available in the spring and fall months.

    For more information contact the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Foundation at (231) 386-7195.   

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