Thursday, September 13, 2018

Olé at the Rozsa: Food, Music and Laughter on Saturday’s Parade of Nations Menu

This year's Parade of Nations will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, in Hancock. (Logo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Cyndi Perkins*
Posted Sept. 11, 2018, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted in part here with permission
2017 Parade videos and photos by Keweenaw Now

Guitar playing and juggling require nimble fingers, and the audience will witness both when Parade of Nations headliner -- the madcap international act Olé! -- performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 15), at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

The performance caps off a day of festivities that begin when the 29th annual Parade of Nations steps off at 11 a.m. Saturday in Hancock. The flag-flying procession -- including floats, horses, marchers in the traditional ceremonial clothing of their countries and the Huskies Pep Band -- makes its way across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Dee Stadium on the Houghton waterfront.

Michigan Tech's Pep Band kicks off the 2017 Parade of Nations in Hancock. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

At the Dee, the Multicultural Festival features 11 international performances on the main stage and 22 food booths serving cuisine from around the world at affordable prices. Pony rides, a book sale and art projects from local youth add to the fun. Outdoor dining will again be available this year to ease traffic congestion, and a projection screen is designed to make viewing activities on the main stage more accessible. Trivia contests and prizes will be awarded throughout the day -- the biggest of which is a drawing for a Chicago getaway package.

Indian students show off some of their lively modern dances -- a favorite performance at the Multicultural Festival.

More videos and photos of the 2017 Parade of Nations:

Participants in the 2017 Parade of Nations assemble on the Quincy Green in Hancock. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Japanese students from Finlandia University, in elegant dress, pose for a photo with their English instructor, Janice Cox-Adolphs.

Cindy Miller, second from left, teacher of Spanish and French at Calumet High School, regularly participates in the Parade of Nations with her students.

Gustavo Bourdieu and friends display the Argentine flag as they cross the Portage Lift Bridge. A group from Bangladesh follows.

Chinese students display their float and dragon as they approach the Judges' Table at the Parade.

Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) sing and dance during the 2017 Parade of Nations.

During the 2017 Multicultural Festival following the Parade, Betty Chavis, co-founder of the Parade of Nations in 1990, expresses her thanks to the community for continuing the event, now in its 29th year.

Click here for Cyndi Perkins' full story on the 2018 Parade of Nations.

* Guest author Cyndi Perkins is an award-winning editor, journalist and columnist who writes feature articles for Michigan Tech University.

** For more photos of the 2017 Parade of Nations, see our Slide Show here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Finlandia's Festival Ruska to bring Nordic culture to Copper Country

Finlandia University's Festival Ruska will celebrate the Copper Country's fall color season with events beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 5. (Logo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- As the leaves start turning in the Copper Country, Finlandia University’s Finnish American Folk School's Festival Ruska provides an equally awesome lineup of cultural programming, this year featuring two remarkable artisans and a pair of Finnish-themed concerts.

This year, events get under way at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, with a one-night-only performance by the up-and-coming Finnish band Steve ‘n’ Seagulls at Michigan Tech University’s Rozsa Center with their unique style of playing American hard rock songs with a bluegrass sound. The band rose to fame after being discovered on YouTube and has since developed a worldwide fan base that enjoys their quirky stage presence. Tickets for this concert are available by calling (906) 487-2073 or visiting This concert is sponsored in part by the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Upper Peninsula Chapter.

Two weeks later, the Folk School will welcome noted birchbark weaver John Zasada to the Finnish American Heritage Center for a two-day workshop creating a bread basket. A retired U.S. Forest Service employee, Zasada has devoted much of his adult life to the use and management of birch in northern forests and is eager to share his expertise with would-be artisans of any skill level. The class takes place Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), with personal instruction from Zasada, who has taught many similar classes at the North House Folk School in Minnesota. Space in the class is limited to eight students, so early registration ($150 per person) is encouraged. All materials will be provided. To reserve your place in this workshop, call (906) 487-7549.

Then, in early October, the international performers of the traveling ensemble Beethoven and Banjos will lead a Nordic folk music workshop at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. Any musician who plays a stringed or other folk instrument is encouraged to join the workshop; for only $10 per person they’ll receive hands-on instruction from talented Nordic musicians who specialize in fiddle, nycleharpaa, banjo and much more.

Later that evening, the Beethoven and Banjos ensemble will take the stage at the FAHC for a 7:30 p.m. concert. They encourage you to "come as you are, pay what you can" and enjoy this stop on this group’s annual Upper Peninsula tour. Headlined by well known and longtime U.P. musicians Evan and Laurel Premo, the group also includes musicians from other parts of the U.S., as well as Norway and Sweden.

Finnish American Folk School programming will conclude its Ruska season with a four-week class in Finnish-style boat making, held in conjunction with the woodworking class at Calumet High School. Led by veteran boatmaker Alex Comb of northern Minnesota, the class will include several Calumet High School students, but is open to the general public as well ($400 per patron includes all class sessions). Comb will provide direction into the art of building a Finnish-style rowboat, similar to that seen at the Salolampi Language Village in northern Minnesota. For more information about how you can be a part of this unique opportunity, call (906) 487-7549.

Festival Ruska is Finlandia University’s annual celebration of the fall color season in Michigan’s Copper Country. Finnish American Folk School programming is sponsored in part by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and is managed by the staff of the Finnish American Heritage Center. For more information about the center and its mission to preserve and promote Finnish culture in North American, visit

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

4th Annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest against Line 5, Water is Life Festival to be Sept. 1 in Mackinaw City

During the 2017 Pipe Out Paddle Protest, Native and non-Native water protectors gather near the Mackinac Bridge with their kayaks and canoes, display their banners and sing songs about the water. This year the event will take place Saturday, Sept. 1, followed by a Water is Life Festival, both in Mackinaw City. (2017 file photo © and courtesy Miguel Levy)*

MACKINAW CITY -- Two events to protest Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac and to celebrate the water will be held this Saturday, Sept. 1, in Mackinaw City.

The 4th Annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest against the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 1, at Huron St. and Nicolet Ave. in Mackinaw City. A flotilla of dozens of kayaks and canoes will gather offshore from Mackinaw City, raising signs and calling for the shut down of Line 5. Bring your own kayak or rent one onsite. Please RSVP and see the schedule here -- and learn more about getting there, camping, and renting a kayak. This is a free, family-friendly event.

Water is Life Festival poster courtesy Oil and Water Don't Mix.

The Water is Life Festival will follow from noon to 6:30 p.m. at Conkling Heritage Park in Mackinaw City. Lunch will be served at noon, and then all will gather to celebrate water through music (Hip Hop, folk, and native musicians), poets, speakers on Nestle and Line 5 from Flint and Detroit, and also tribal leaders and elected officials. One of Michigan's favorite musicians, organizer Seth Bernard, is the emcee. Bring a chair or blanket for sitting in the grass and a water bottle to use at the hydration stations. This is a free, family-friendly event.

Click here to see the festival schedule and RSVP.

* Click here to see our article on the 2017 Pipe Out Paddle Protest in Mackinaw City.

Monday, August 27, 2018

MDEQ to hold Abandoned Mining Wastes Project Open House Aug. 29 in Lake Linden

Poster for the Aug. 29, 2018, Abandoned MiningWastes Project OPEN HOUSE. (Poster courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Remediation and Redevelopment Division)

LAKE LINDEN -- The MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) Abandoned Mining Wastes Project OPEN HOUSE (originally scheduled for June 20 and postponed because of the flooding) will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, AUGUST 29, at the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium. The project team consists of staff involved in the planning, fieldwork, cleanup, and reporting for the project -- along with the On-Scene Coordinator Brian Kelly, from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Emergency Response Branch (ERB), who is managing three projects in the area. The team will share their findings with the community with maps and photos to display where they conducted their work, what they have found, and what they have planned.

This informal open house will provide the public with the opportunity to drop in, meet the project team and get any questions answered. Contact Amy Keranen, MDEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division, at for more information.

Recent projects include the following:
  • 2017 sampling in former mining ruins in the Mason area, which identified the presence of widespread asbestos and abandoned containers at three of the five properties that make up the area.
  • Evaluation of the PCBs found in the reclamation areas of Lake Linden and Hubbell and connecting them to the presence of PCBs in the tissue of Torch Lake fish.
  • Assistance from the EPA Emergency Response Branch to address the contaminated sediments at the Lake Linden Recreation Area site.
Near-shore sediment sampling in 2017. (Photos courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division)
  • Investigation indicating the presence of widespread asbestos containing materials, residual wastes and abandoned containers throughout the Quincy Mining Company Mason area, including those at the Quincy Mill ruins west of M-26, which is frequented by recreational users. The EPA is in the process of evaluating existing information and planning a potential removal action.
Quincy Stamp Mill No. 1 ruins in Mason.
  • Calumet and Hecla (C and H) Mineral Building waste piles and asbestos cleanup.
  • Calumet Stamp Mill asbestos removal.
Calumet Stampmill foundation after asbestos removal was completed and the area seeded and mulched.
  • Tamarack Sands waste seep removal.
  • Hubbell Smelter Area shoreline drum removal.
This photo shows drum removal from beneath the cap at the water’s edge.
  • Cleanups at the Hubbell Coal Dock property, where PCB containing scrap was burned. 
  • Side scan sonar survey at the Quincy Mining Company operational areas from Dollar Bay down to the Portage Lift Bridge.
The team is planning further projects for 2018.

Click here for details in the Spring 2018 newsletter, "Notes from the Desk of Amy Keranen."

Click here for the Abandoned Mining Wastes Web site and more info.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hey! Ho! Come to the Houghton County Fair Aug. 23-26

By Michele Bourdieu

This year's Houghton County Fair Carnival and Midway rides will open at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, and will run from noon until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 24 and 25, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. (2017 file photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Hey! Ho! this "town crier" rooster says it's time for the Houghton County Fair with entertainment and events for the whole family:

(Video by Keweenaw Now)

The 2018 Houghton County Fair will be held from 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, through 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Fairgrounds, 1500 Birch Street in Hancock.

In addition to the Carnival and Midway rides, some highlights of this year's fair include Whispering Pines Mobile Zoo, Kevin Kammeraad Copperfly Puppet Show, The ATV Big Air Jumpers, Canines in the Clouds, Livestock shows and competitions, musical entertainment, a Youth Talent Show, Horse shows, exhibits, a beekeeping demonstration, Motocross, Monster Trucks, Demolition Derby and more.

Senior citizens, don't forget the special events for seniors from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday in the indoor arena -- including entertainment, prize drawings and a free lunch!

Gustavo loves the fair! (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Click here for the brochure, including ticket prices, events and a map.

Click here for the schedule of events.

More videos, photos of the 2017 Houghton County Fair:

Exhibiting their lambs are, from right, Eva, Bailey and Kyla.

During the 2017 sheep and goat show, some frisky lambs present a challenge to their young owners. However, with persistence and a little help from judges, the contestants in the competition manage to get their charges lined up. (Video by Keweenaw Now

Can you guess the breed of this cute little brown and white goat? Its owner explains below ...

Posters like these show how young farmers have done research on the animals they are learning to raise. Click on photo for larger version. (2017 photos by Keweenaw Now)

Meanwhile, in the sheep and goat livestock pavilion, it's lunchtime for some of the animals ...

During the 2017 Houghton County Fair, a quiet alpaca is distracted by a noisy sheep neighbor eating his lunch. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Monday, August 20, 2018

DEQ to hold public hearing Aug. 21 on Humboldt Mill permits for Eagle Mine; public comment periods announced

Aerial view of the Humboldt Mill Wastewater Treatment Plant and the north end of the Humboldt Pit Lake, referred to as the "Humboldt Tailings Disposal Facility" (HTDF). (2017 Photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye)

MARQUETTE -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding a consolidated public hearing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at Westwood High School auditorium, 300 Westwood Drive, Ishpeming, Michigan 49849, to hear comments regarding the following:

(1) The MDEQ’s proposed decision to grant a request submitted by Eagle Mine LLC to amend Mining Permit MP 01 2010, issued under Part 632, Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, for approval to add additional tailings to the Humboldt Tailings Disposal Facility to a higher elevation than previously authorized. For additional information, contact Melanie Humphrey, MDEQ Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49855, 906-250-7564.*

(2) The MDEQ’s proposed decision to modify an NPDES discharge permit issued to Eagle Mine, LLC, Humboldt Mill. The applicant proposes to discharge treated process wastewater, treated laboratory wastewater, treated water treatment backwash, treated sump water, and treated storm water to a new outfall through a pipeline directly to the Middle Branch Escanaba River.
Address of permittee: Eagle Mine LLC,
4547 County Road 601
Champion, MI 49814
Location of mining area: Sections 2 and 11, T47N, R29W, Humboldt Township, Marquette County.

Participants in the hearing will be asked to fill out attendance cards at the entrance of the auditorium indicating intentions to speak. Following opening remarks at the start of the hearing, participants will be called to speak in the order of cards received. Presentations will be limited to three minutes. Opportunities for additional time to speak may be offered if time allows.

Written comment deadlines: Sept. 18, Aug. 31, 2018

The DEQ will accept written comments on the Mining Permit Amendment Request from date of the hearing until 5 p.m. September 18, 2018. Comments may be mailed to MDEQ/OGMD, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49855, or E-mail comments to with "Humboldt Mill" as the subject.

The DEQ will accept written comments or objections to the proposed NPDES permit modification until August 31, 2018. The written comments or objections will be considered in the final decision to issue the permit. Persons wishing to submit comments regarding the NPDES permit modification should go to and click 'Add Comment,' enter information into the fields, and then click 'Submit.' Inquires should be directed to Renee Pionk, Permits Section, Water Resources Division (WRD), MDEQ, P.O. Box 30458, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7958; 517-284-5573;

Documents available

Documents pertaining to the Humboldt Mill Mining Permit Amendment Request and proposed decision may be accessed at the following web page under "Humboldt Mill Permit Amendment":,4561,7-135-3311_18442-359902--,00.html

Copies of the NPDES permit application, public notice, Antidegradation Demonstration, basis for decision memo, and draft permit are available for review at or at the WRD’s Upper Peninsula District Office located at 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan 49855; telephone 906-228-4853.

* Editor's Note: For background see our Jan. 2, 2018, article, "Environmental groups, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community question Lundin Mining's permit amendment request for Humboldt Mill tailings disposal."

Friday, August 17, 2018

Old Hancock High School listed in National Register of Historic Places

The former Hancock Central High School, now part of Finlandia University, was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The former Hancock High School building on Quincy Street, next to the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, and now owned by Finlandia University, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Hancock City Council learned of the listing during their meeting on Aug. 15, 2018, from a letter to Hancock Mayor Lisa McKenzie from Brian D. Conway, State Historic Preservation Officer.

The letter states, "I am pleased to inform you that the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, has listed the Hancock Central High School, Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan, in the National Register of Historic Places. The Keeper of the National Register listed the property on July 24, 2018.

"The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Nominations of Michigan properties to the National Register are made by the State Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. Information on the National Register and related SHPO program can be found at

"While listing in the National Register does not place any legal restrictions on a property, it does allow for consideration in the planning for federal or federally assisted projects; provides eligibility for federal tax benefits; qualifies properties for federal assistance for historic preservation, when funds are available; serves as a catalyst for economic development; and promotes heritage tourism. Additionally, some granting organizations require or look favorably upon National Register-listed properties."

Finlandia University President Philip Johnson said Finlandia is very happy about this historic listing for the building.

"Achieving recognition for the old high school on the National Register is one more piece in Finlandia's desire to honor this building's iconic status," Johnson told Keweenaw Now. "Finlandia's commitment is to retain the missional purpose of this wonderful building: education. We continue to plan for its restoration and renovation with the goal to have it serve as Finlandia's College of Health Sciences. Our priority is to 1) preserve, even restore its historic character; 2) turn it into a truly collegiate instructional space; and 3) design or preserve those spaces that can be used for community and cultural activities such as performing arts, recreation, and continuing education."

The present building replaced an 1875 junior/senior high school that was destroyed by fire in 1922. The new school was built in 1923-1924, and elementary, junior and senior high students attended it over the years until 1970, when elementary students were moved to other schools. A new elementary school was built in 1989. A new high school opened in 1999 on Campus Drive, and students in grades 6-8 remained in the old building on Quincy Street. Junior high students then moved into a wing of the new high school in 2010, when the Hancock School District gave the old building to Finlandia University.*

* Click here for the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, with historic photos of the old high school and descriptions of the building.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

WATER exhibit, community benefit at Kerredge Gallery through Aug. 31

WATER: A Waterfall in the Forest, by Paul Osmak. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) invited community artists to respond to the theme of WATER for an exhibition in the Kerredge Gallery. The CCCAC will donate its portion of the sales to the Keweenaw Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, which benefits those who are working to put their lives back together after the disastrous June 17 flood. The gallery is filled with paintings, photographs, and drawings, as well as baskets and fiber depicting soothing images of water. The exhibit opened Aug. 14 and continues through Aug. 31.

WATER: Paddlers' Paradise, by Kevin Breyfogle. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

Artists taking part in this exhibition include: Brenda Anttila, Leona Blessing, Kevin Breyfogle, Eunice Carlson, Cynthia Coté, Bob Dawson, Phyllis Fredendall, Joyce Koskenmaki, Nancy Kromer, Donna Lenard, Madhura Mehendale, Clyde Mikkola, Eric Munch, Paul Osmak, Sandra Norris Palmore, Miriam Pickens, Kris Raisanen Schourek, Bridget Riversmith, Toivo Salo, Daniel Schneider, Judith Saunders, Barbara Summersett, Fredi Taddeucci, Abigail Tembreull, Karen Tembreull, Rod Waara, and Christa Walck.

The public is invited to celebrate the healing power of art at a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24. Refreshments will be served. Purchasing a piece from this exhibition will support a local artist and help the CCCAC help our community. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information call (906) 482-2333.