Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dr. Martin Reinhardt to speak on "Anishinaabe Treaty Rights and Education in Michigan" Feb. 27 at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON -- Dr. Martin Reinhardt, Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, will present "Anishinaabe Treaty Rights and Education in Michigan," at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, in Alumni Lounge, Room 107 of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on the Michigan Tech campus.

Please join Dr. Reinhardt for an in-depth discussion about the treaty relationships between the Anishinaabe tribes of Michigan and the United States with implications for the State of Michigan. The event is free and open to the public.

Michigan Treaty Map. (Map courtesy Dr. Martin Reinhardt)

This guest lecture is co-sponsored by the Indigenous Issues Discussion Group, the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Michigan Tech departments of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Inset photo: Dr. Martin Reinhardt. (Photo courtesy Dr. Reinhardt)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great Lakes Showcase celebrates local and regional artists -- opening Feb. 26

Quincy Dredge in Winter, by Peter Jablokow. (Photos courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts are pleased to present the 2015 Great Lakes Showcase (GLS), an annual month-long, juried exhibition of fine arts and crafts.

Opening on Thursday, Feb. 26, and continuing through March 31 in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, the Great Lakes Showcase is a celebration art that brings together both local artists and others from the around the upper Midwest region. The Showcase features paintings, photography, drawings, collage, ceramics, textiles, and works in wood by local and regional artists, juried by a group of professional artists. The show will feature 92 artworks in a range of media, including woven textiles, ceramic, paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media, wood-turning, bronze sculpture, and installation pieces.

Winter Sun, by John Hubbard.

Free and open to the public, the exhibit is located in the Rozsa Art Gallery, in the lower level of the Rozsa Center. Visitor parking is available at meters adjacent to the Rozsa Center. (NOTE: The gallery is closed on weekends.)

The opening will feature the announcement of awards for outstanding work in several categories. This year the reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. In addition to beautiful artwork and a chance to meet the artists, the reception will feature appetizers and a cash bar, as well as live music provided by local folk band "What the Folk," performing from 5:30 p.m.- 6:15 p.m.

Dyed rubbed vase, by Marc Himes.

Artworks are available for purchase; visitors are encouraged to support their favorite artist by making a Great Lakes Showcase artwork part of their home or office. Most of the pieces are for sale and can be purchased in person at the show or at the Central Ticketing Operations office in the Student Development Complex. 100 percent of proceeds go to the artists. A Ticket Office representative will be in the gallery on Opening Night to assist with sales, and purchases can be made through March 31. Artworks purchased will be available for pick up after March 31 at the conclusion of the exhibition.

According to show coordinator Sarah Fayen Scarlett, "This year, we received almost 190 entries from 65 artists -- a 15 percent increase over 2014. Artists hail from throughout the UP as well as downstate and neighboring regions. Visitors will see returning artists as well as newcomers."

 A Study in Romance, by Greg Green.

The judge for the awards this year is Beth A. Zinsli. Dr. Zinsli is Curator and Director of the Galleries at the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Best in Show carries a cash prize of $1000, supported by the MTU President’s Office. The Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts and the University Provost support the first place prizes in the 3D and 2D categories. 2nd place prizes and Honorable Mentions are also awarded. During the course of the show, visitors can vote for the Community Choice Award. The winner will be announced on the GLS website at the close of the show on March 31.

For more details, please contact Sarah Fayen-Scarlett, 906-487-2420, sfscarle@mtu.edu.

Superior Wind Symphony to present midwinter concert, "II: Day Into Night: II," Feb. 28

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University’s Superior Wind Symphony, under the direction of Mike Christianson, will perform a concert at the Rozsa Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.

Titled "II: Day Into Night: II," the concert presents music for winds that deals with the ideas of night, day, moon, and light. Listeners will find it perfect for the deep midwinter time in the UP.

Christianson describes the performance as a mirror of the beauty to be found in spite of the harsh winter elements: "Morning, noon, night, winter, storm, moon, sunshine, primeval heavenly light, and eternal darkness. Music to remind that darkness, too, can contain beauty -- and light is something we can look forward to."

The evening’s music is composed by: Percy Grainger, J.S. Bach, J.C. Heed, Ron Nelson, Gustav Mahler, Steven Bryant, Bruce Yurko and Libby Larsen.

According to Christianson, "Libby Larsen's piece about the moon features eight different "moon poems," by Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Mother Goose, Lorenz Hart, Kahlil Gibran, Langston Hughes, Thomas Moore and Ralph Waldo Emerson. These "poems" are performed by: Dollcie Webb, Kathryn Van Susante, Trish Helsel, Willie Melton, Anna Ehl, Jared Anderson, Katie Plummer and Chris Plummer.

Also available the night of the performance is a "VPA Livestream" of the music at http://vpa-live.mtu.edu, for those who are not able to be present for the event. (Please note: this link will not be active until the time of the event.)

Tickets are $13 for adults, $5 for youth (17 and under), and free for Michigan Tech Students with the Experience Tech fee. To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times. For more details, please contact Michael Christianson, 906-487-2825, mchristi@mtu.edu.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DNR Chief approves mineral rights exchange with Graymont but delays decision on 10,000-acre land transaction; residents, groups express opposition to Graymont project

By Michele Bourdieu

Art and Dorothy Mills of Rexton in Mackinac County made this "No Mining" sign on the property of Al and Kathy English, residents of Trout Lake in nearby Chippewa County. Residents in this area of the eastern Upper Peninsula are concerned about a proposed 10,000-acre sale of public land to Graymont Inc., whose Rexton Project proposes both underground and open-pit limestone mining. (Photo © and courtesy Kathy English)

LANSING -- Art and Dorothy Mills of Rexton, Mich., who have been enjoying their retirement in a beautiful area of the eastern Upper Peninsula, have recently been making "No Mining" signs for themselves and their neighbors -- because of their concerns about the potential Graymont Rexton Project, a proposed limestone mining operation to include 10,000 acres of public land, centered in their township.*

"I was born up here," Art Mills told Keweenaw Now in a phone interview. "I love it up here. I have kids and grandkids living here."

Art, who spent many of his working years doing construction and laying pipes, says one main concern is that the limestone purifies their well water. If Graymont removes the limestone, the impacts to their water supply -- and to the land, forests, wildlife and plants -- could contaminate the water and upset the environment they know and love -- threatening their quality of life and that of their children and grandchildren.

Graymont Inc., North America's second largest supplier of lime and lime-based products, now in the process of applying to the Michigan Department of Natural Resource (DNR) with their land transaction proposal, has already received mineral rights for the project in an exchange with the state.

At the Feb. 12 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Committee (NRC) in Lansing, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Keith Creagh approved a mineral exchange with Graymont.

The action exchanges 1,700 acres of mineral rights in Chippewa County, in the eastern Upper Peninsula, that are currently owned by the state and are beneath land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The action achieves a major DNR goal, which is to unify surface and mineral ownership where possible. The exchange does not guarantee that mining will take place on the Graymont minerals. In approving the exchange, Director Creagh pointed out that Graymont would have to work with the Forest Service before mining could occur.

A historical marker in the Hiawatha National Forest marks the site of a Depression-era federal project, the Civilian Conservation Corps. The marker is near the home of Al and Kathy English, whose property borders on federal land where state-owned mineral rights were recently exchanged with Graymont. (Photo © and courtesy Kathy English)

Creagh delayed a decision on a separate land transaction proposal from Graymont for a limestone mining operation in Mackinac County near the town of Rexton involving about 10,000 acres of state-managed public land. The transaction had been slated for a decision by the director at the Feb. 12 NRC meeting. However, in order to allow the public and the DNR to thoroughly review a revised proposal from the company, the director will now make a decision on the land transaction no earlier than the March 19, 2015, NRC meeting in Roscommon.**

This photo from June 2014 shows an old quarry just west of CR 393. This is the northeast side of the 1,005 acre North Hendricks Tract ("Tract A" in the proposal) which Graymont proposes to purchase from the State of Michigan.** (Photo and caption © and courtesy Steve Garske, Save the Wild U.P. board member)

At the Feb. 12 meeting, DNR Forestry Resources Division Chief Bill O'Neill updated the commission on Graymont's proposal. The department has received over 1,500 public comments to date and public comment remains open on the land transaction application that has not yet been decided. The comments include letters from environmental and tribal groups opposed to the Graymont project.

Save the Wild U.P. objects to Graymont proposal

"We are disappointed by the DNR’s approval of the mineral rights exchange," said Kathleen Heideman, president of grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP).

According to Steve Garske, biologist and SWUP board member, "Upper Michigan environmental organizations, including SWUP, have submitted extensive written comments outlining our serious objections to the Graymont proposal, including the exchange of mineral rights. This DNR decision fails to serve the DNR’s mission of conservation, protection, and public enjoyment of public natural resources. It benefits a foreign mining company at the expense of Michigan’s environment."

In July 2014 Garske published SWUP's statement opposing the original Graymont proposal in the Marquette Mining Journal, noting DNR staff opposition to the proposal.

In that article, Garske writes, "The DNR staff review is highly critical of the sale because it would dispose of some of the state's most productive and diverse forest land, fragment state forest land ownership, limit access to adjacent state lands and make them harder to manage, threaten wildlife populations and cold-water trout streams, reduce hunting and other recreational opportunities, and cost millions in logging revenues."

This wetland is just east of Borgstrom Road, near Rexton. Wetlands cover most of the northern and eastern portions of the proposed underground mine area ("Tract D" in the Graymont proposal).** (Photo and caption © and courtesy Steve Garske)

Garske adds, "Consolidation of political power in state government has resulted in a situation where the director of the Michigan DNR, Keith Creagh (a Snyder appointee), has sole authority to decide whether or not to sell this land to Graymont. If MDNR gets away with selling over 10,000 acres of prime state forest land to a private company, any state land could be sold."

Jon Saari, SWUP vice president, notes the multiple revisions in the proposal make it difficult for the public to comment.

"The Graymont proposal has become an administrative circus," Saari said. "First introduced in 2012, the proposal gets revised a bit every time objections are raised, including most recently a week before a decision was to be made by the DNR Director! How are we in the public supposed to comment on this moving target? Which proposal? The original one? The final one? The final final one? This is no way to conduct public business. It is a joke. The Graymont proposal should be thrown out for toying with the DNR and the public."

Repeating SWUP's request in their earlier comments that the DNR reject the Graymont proposal and urging the public to oppose the project, Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP interim director, notes, "The proposed sale would fail Michigan’s taxpayers, tribes, the Eastern Upper Peninsula’s growing sustainable forest and tourism economies, and especially Michigan’s environment, sacrificing critical habitat and rare species."

Maxwell adds, "The Graymont proposal includes lands currently open to the public for hunting and recreational trails, lands supporting wildlife, and lands managed for timber -- contiguous forest lands considered 'some of the most productive forest land in the Eastern Upper Peninsula' by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. Graymont’s Land Transaction Application has yet to be decided though, and there is still time to make your objections heard."***

Residents question benefits of project

Art Mills, who has been aware of the proposal since it was first introduced to his community with the promise of four to six local jobs, now increased to about 45, says he doubts the project will do anything to benefit the local population, despite gifts being made by Graymont to schools and community groups.

"Somebody's got to stick up for Mother Nature," he said. "Money's not everything."

Dorothy Mills adds that the area is mostly a retirement community and, while some people are reserved about giving their opinion on the project, many residents are opposed to the project, as evidenced in a door-to-door survey taken recently.

"Each of us has chosen our home for its natural beauty," Dorothy Mills said. "This is where people come to escape the noise and hustle and bustle of the city."

Looking north down Borgstrom Road. If Graymont's proposal goes through, this part of the southeastern U.P. will never be the same. (Photo and caption © and courtesy Steve Garske)

Like Art and Dorothy Mills, Chippewa County resident Kathy English of Trout Lake expresses concerns about loss of limestone that filters their well water and about potential impacts to the land.

English mentioned the rare alvar communities scattered through the area could be destroyed by limestone mining. According to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, alvar -- a grass- and sedge-dominated community occurring on broad, flat expanses of calcareous bedrock (limestone or dolostone) covered by a thin veneer of mineral soil, with scattered shrubs and sometimes trees -- is classified as an S1 natural community because of its extreme rarity. Alvar communities occur in only three areas of the world: the Baltic region of northern Europe; Counties Clare and Galway of northwest Ireland; and the Great Lakes region south of the Canadian Shield, which includes this eastern area of the Upper Peninsula.****

"We're real concerned about the destruction of our water table -- but we're also concerned about the land, the peace and quiet," English told Keweenaw Now.

Potential blasting for the limestone could occur near the Michigan American Legion Wilwin Lodge in the Trout Lake area, a facility that helps veterans and has a program for those with post-traumatic stress syndrome, English explained, noting her concern that blasting could have negative effects on that program.

This photo shows an autumn 2014 scene on Wilwin Road near the Michigan American Legion Wilwin Lodge, a veterans' facility that could be impacted by potential blasting from limestone mining. (Photo © and courtesy Kathy English)

English said a survey in Trout Lake Township showed 96 percent of those who returned the survey were opposed to the Graymont project. Many retired residents have built nice homes on nearby lakes and they bring support to the community, she noted.

As for the promise of 45 jobs, English is dubious about the local benefit.

"The jobs just aren't going to be there," she said. "They're going to bring people in from the outside."

A second "No Mining" sign on the English family's property is opposite a cabin, right, and a garage that are part of a two-acre parcel recently purchased by Graymont. Kathy English is concerned that the company plans to use the buildings (also including a workshop) for an office and possibly a bunkhouse for non-local workers. (Photo © and courtesy Kathy English)

English notes the main industry of the area is tourism, which would suffer if the limestone project is approved.

"To me it's kind of ludicrous -- all the money that's been spent on the 'Pure Michigan' (tourism) campaign --  and now they're going to destroy it," she said. "The land does not belong to the state or the DNR or the federal government. It's not theirs to sell or destroy. It belongs to the people."

Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) oppose land sale

In a recent letter to DNR Director Creagh, Linda Rulison, president of FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw), on behalf of the FOLK Board of Directors, asks Creagh to oppose the proposed Graymont project because it would have too many negative impacts -- both environmental and economic -- and because the state lacks knowledgeable staff and funding to regulate such a project.

"Public need for open lands is in no way diminishing with current rates of population growth," Rulison writes. "Pressure on northern forests will only increase with the exhaustion of available private lands near population centers. The true need we have in Michigan is of acquiring more land through a program of strategic purchases of contiguous areas of public land and closure of roadways. If allowed by you, Graymont's proposal will create in-holdings that will break up contiguous wildlife habitats, and create more disturbed edge effects.

"Sale of public land is furthermore inappropriate, because in principle it must be assumed to be a permanent loss and public control over further development is compromised. There have been too many examples of mining claims being thinly veiled land grabs masking other development interests, as is occurring in the Yellow Dog Plains where the Eagle Mine proposes to further compromise the watershed."

Native American groups say Graymont project would violate treaty rights

In a Feb. 4, 2015, letter to DNR Director Creagh, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) expresses their opposition to Graymont's proposal:

"If approved, the Graymont transaction would set an alarming precedent for yielding massive amounts of public land across the state," the letter states. "Lands dedicated for the public support numerous wildlife, ecological, recreational, tourism, subsistence and cultural values."

The letter also notes the importance of access to public lands for exercising Native American treaty rights, including hunting, fishing and gathering -- which are guaranteed by the Treaty of 1836 for territory that includes the Graymont site.

"This particular treaty was negotiated with the federal government before Michigan received statehood," the letter continues. "Article 6 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution upholds such treaties as 'the supreme law of the land.'"*****

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians also opposes the Graymont project.

Catherine Hollowell, elected tribal Board of Directors member representing Unit 2, which includes the Rexton / Newberry area, said the Sault Tribe passed a resolution in opposition to Graymont's proposal a year and a half ago.

"We are 100 percent opposed to Graymont's proposal to DNR," Hollowell told Keweenaw Now.

She also mentioned the importance of the 1836 Treaty, which guaranteed the tribe the rights to hunt, fish and gather on undeveloped land that was ceded to the federal government. The area of Graymont's proposed land sale is within the tribe's ceded territory. The state, however, doesn't take those rights into consideration, Hollowell explained.

"We rely on the public land to exercise our treaty rights," she added.

Linda Cobe, a member of the Lac Vieux Desert Tribe who lives in Garnet, near Rexton, is also opposed to the Graymont project.

"I'm against it because it infringes on Native American treaty rights and because of the harm it can do to the environment," Cobe said.

Graymont now claims on their Web site that the "initial phase of the project is expected to create up to 50 direct jobs in local mining and transportation operations, plus up to 100 indirect jobs in the region."******

Graymont most recently revised their application to the DNR in early February.

The DNR held a public meeting in Newberry on Jan. 28, 2015. The DNR presentation at that meeting can be viewed here. It includes maps of the project area and lists DNR concerns, including wetland protection, the royalty rate and local economic benefits.

Notes:

* Click here to see the Land Transaction Map on Graymont's Rexton Project Web site.

** Click here for the DNR's page of links to documents concerning the Graymont Land Transaction Proposal.

*** You can email comments on the proposal to DNR-GraymontProposalComments@michigan.gov or mail them to the Roscommon Customer Service Center, ATTN: Kerry Wieber, 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon, MI 48653.

**** Click here to learn more about alvar communities.

***** Click here for KBIC's Feb. 4, 2015, letter to the DNR.

****** Click here to read Graymont's description of their Rexton Project.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Carnegie Museum to host lecture, discussion on "Indigenous Culture and Elements of Keweenaw and Isle Royale" Feb. 24

Michigan Tech Professor Emerita Susan Martin, expert on prehistoric archeology and ancient copper, will present a lecture and discussion on "Indigenous Culture and Elements of Keweenaw and Isle Royale" on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Carnegie Museum. (Poster courtesy Carnegie Museum)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech Professor Emerita Susan Martin, expert on prehistoric archeology and ancient copper, will lead a discussion about ancient cultural elements of our region from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. She will be joined by Seth dePasqual, cultural resource manager at Isle Royale National Park. The museum will open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments.

The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, held at the Carnegie Museum. The discussions are aimed at the general public, but discuss current research and science.

Professor Martin explains her discussion: "My discussion will center on the long human history of the Keweenaw Peninsula, with side trips to other parts of the Lake Superior Basin. I will discuss the many cultures that made the UP their home, and introduce some of the raw materials, including stone (lithics) and copper, that they used to build their liveways. I will be joined by Seth dePasqual of Isle Royale National Park, who will bring us up to date on current Isle Royale archaeological research." 

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is located at Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the recently restored Community Room on the ground level of this historic building. Lectures are free, open to the public, and barrier free (wheelchair accessible). For further information please contact the Museum at 906-482-7140.

Portage Library to host Family Science Night Feb. 24

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites all K-6 students and their parents for an evening of fun and science with the Michigan Tech Family Science Night program from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Families will have two hands-on activities to work on. In "Ooey, Gooey Slime!" participants will mix up some common household items, conduct experiments and see what happens. "Starry, Starry Night" will give participants a chance to explore the cosmos and create their own constellation.

Family Science Nights develop children's curiosity and their ability to solve scientific challenges. These activities also provide an opportunity for parents and their children to learn together while having fun and making scientific connections to everyday life.

This event is coordinated by the Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education and Michigan Technological University.

Library programs are free and everyone is invited. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org and www.wupcenter.mtu.edu.

NOSOTROS to hold Latin dance, salsa lessons TONIGHT, Feb. 21

Poster courtesy NOSOTROS.

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS, Michigan Tech's Latin American students' organization, will hold a dance from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. TONIGHT, Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Memorial Union Ballroom (MUB). Salsa lessons will be offered from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. followed by open floor dancing from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. It is absolutely FREE and FUN! So, bring all your friends along. Invite people to attend this event! All are welcome!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra to explore music of Shostakovich during Stalin’s Soviet regime Feb. 21

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts will host the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and their performance of "Shostakovich and Stalin: A Soviet Artist’s Creative Response," at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21. Come and listen as the KSO interprets the creative struggles of the Russian composer Shostakovich in reaction to disillusionment and persecution under Stalin’s Soviet dictatorship.

Tickets for adults are $19, youth tickets (17 and under) are $6, and Michigan Tech student tickets are free with the Experience Tech Fee. Presented by the Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

According to KSO Conductor Joel Neves, the evening will present "A musico-dramatic and audio-visual exploration of the repressive climate that Stalin imposed upon artists in the 1930s, and how this shaped Shostakovich’s musical output. The Fifth Symphony -- the composer’s greatest masterpiece -- embodies Shostakovich’s creative response to Soviet demands for 'socialist realism' in classical music."

For tickets, go online, or call Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), (906) 487-2073, or visit in person at 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours prior to show times.

For more details, please contact Dr. Joel Neves, DMA, Music Director, Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, jbneves@mtu.edu or (906) 487-2859.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Closing reception for Finnish textile artist Aino Kajaniemi's exhibit is Feb. 19 at Finlandia Gallery

Textile art by Finnish artist Aino Kajaniemi. A closing reception will be held at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Feb. 19, in the Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- A closing reception for Finnish textile artist Aino Kajaniemi’s "Dreams and Memories" exhibit is from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Finlandia University Gallery in the Finnish American Heritage Center.

Anita Jain, director of Common Strands, a non-profit International fiber art exchange organization based in Minneapolis, will present a talk about Aino Kajaniemi's work beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Aino Kajaniemi, Finland's 2010 Textile Artist of the Year. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Aino Kajaniemi, Finland's 2010 Textile Artist of the Year, uses the historic Scandinavian textile tradition as a medium for exploring contemporary individual and community emotion and memories. In her adept hands, the traditional tapestry medium -- one with a rich cultural history -- is transformed into something simultaneously both familiar and cutting-edge.

"My textiles are my way of thinking," says Kajaniemi. "I want to produce the objects of my wonderings into something concrete, so that I could understand them. The subjects of my works usually originate from the inmost of a human being: sorrow, joy, uncertainty, guilt, tenderness and memories."

Next at the gallery

The next exhibit at the gallery will be the annual Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibit, beginning with an opening reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26. It will continue through March 24. More details on the upcoming exhibit will be released soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tech Theatre to present Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of "Antigone" Feb. 19-21, 26-28

HOUGHTON -- The Tech Theatre Company will present Antigone, a contemporary retelling of the ancient tale of conflict between the political terror of dictatorship and the vision of humanity at its very best. In spite of the sham and lies, the twisting of facts and rewriting of events, truth finds a way in this conflict of opposing visions of humanity, depicted by Jean Anouilh.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 19-21, and Feb. 26-28 in the McArdle Theatre, in the Walker Center for Arts and Humanities on the Michigan Tech campus.

General admission is $13, youth tickets (17 and under) are $5, and Michigan Tech student tickets are free with the Experience Tech fee. To purchase tickets, call 487-2073, go online or visit Ticketing Operations located in the SDC. Tickets will also be available at the McArdle Theatre box office, located on the second floor of the Walker Center for Arts and Humanities, prior to the show.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Michigan League of Conservation Voters releases 2014 Lame Duck Scorecard for legislators on conservation, environmental issues

ANN ARBOR -- Today, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (Michigan LCV) released their 2014 Lame Duck Scorecard. This special-edition Scorecard offers a non-partisan window into the voting records of Michigan’s State Representatives and State Senators on conservation and environmental issues during the busy last few weeks of the 2013 - 2014 legislative session.

"We saw serious attacks waged on Michigan’s land, air and water, including bills that promoted air pollution and denied the scientific management of public land, all in the span of a few weeks," said Lisa Wozniak, Michigan LCV executive director. "We also saw strong bipartisan support for clean energy legislation that promotes the reduction of energy waste. Lame Duck legislative sessions are often overlooked, but Michigan LCV members took action to stop bad bills and move good policy forward. Today, we are proud to release a complete description of all that took place in the waning days and hours of the legislative session, and hold elected officials accountable for their actions. Did they or did they not work to protect the natural resources that define our Great Lakes State?"

Upper Peninsula constituents should not be surprised at the following scores for our local state legislators:

State Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba -- (R, 38th District, most of the U.P.) and chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes -- received a 2014 Lame Duck session score of 40 percent, up from his original 2013-2014 score of 0 percent, giving him an overall score of 20 percent for 2013-2014. That ties Casperson with House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Andrea LaFontaine (R, District 32), who also received an overall score of 20 percent. Both score in Michigan LCV's "No" category (scores of 0 to 49 percent) on their performance for land, air and water issues. Casperson sponsored three of the Lame Duck session anti-environment bills scored by Michigan LCV.*

State Rep. Scott Dianda of Calumet (D, 110th District) received a Lame Duck session score of 47 percent, down from his 2013-2014 score of 64 percent, giving him an overall new score of 56 percent for 2013-2014. That score puts him in Michigan LCV's "Maybe" category (scores of 50 percent to 74 percent) for his legislative performance on conservation and environmental issues.

Here are the scores of state representatives from the Marquette/ Menominee area:

State Rep. John Kivela of Marquette (D, 109th District):
Lame Duck score: 62 percent
Original 2013-14 score: 56 percent
Overall 2013-14 score: 59 percent ("Maybe")

State Rep. Ed McBroom of Vulcan (R, 108th District):
Lame Duck score: 10 percent
Original 2013-14 score: 51 percent
Overall 2013-14 score: 31 percent ("No")

Michigan LCV’s 2014 Lame Duck Legislative Scorecard scores votes on six bills, including committee votes and votes on the floor of the House and Senate. It also includes bill sponsorship for three bills introduced during the Lame Duck session that would have expanded and strengthened Michigan’s commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Finally, for the first time the Scorecard also includes a count of a conservation majority in the state legislature.

Click here for a full summary of the 2014 Lame Duck Scorecard, including brief descriptions of the lame duck bills.

"The Lame Duck session clearly illustrates that our elected officials in Lansing are sorely lacking a core conservation commitment, which is counter to the assumption held by the majority of citizens in this state. Our Pure Michigan is a shared value among citizens from Detroit to Marquette. Those who represent us in Lansing must understand that their constituents expect strong leadership to protect both our world-class Great Lakes and the amazing outdoors that define our state," said Wozniak. "The legacy of the 2014 Lame Duck session will live on this year, and we look forward to working with Michiganders and state legislators to move Michigan forward."

Click here for the 2014 Lame Duck Legislative Scorecard. See p. 8 for the list of Lame Duck session bills and scroll through the following pages to see how your State Senator and Representative voted.

* See Senate Bills 78, 891, and 910 summarized here.

Backroom Boys Jazz Band to entertain TONIGHT at Michigan House Café Mardi Gras party

Mardi Gras poster courtesy The Backroom Boys.

CALUMET -- It's Mardi Gras, and the Michigan House Café at 6th and Oak in Calumet invites you to bring your beads and masks to the Mardi Gras party TONIGHT, Tuesday, Feb 17. The Backroom Boys Jazz Band will jam it up from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., and the Boys will probably insist on a "second line" parade around the place to finish off the Carnival season.

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!" says Backroom Boys' musician Oren Tikkanen.

Just to let you know -- Tim is making his chicken and andouille sausage gumbo for the Mardi Gras observance TONIGHT. If you want him to save you some, call 337-1910 tout de suite for a dinner reservation.