Monday, May 25, 2015

Conservation District to sponsor Torch Lake Watershed Project meeting May 26

During the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) Apr. 22 annual meeting, Gina Nicholas, HKCD chair, speaks about the District's work with watershed projects. Here she describes the Cliff Mine area stamp sand remediation and historic preservation, part of HKCD's Eagle River Watershed Project. She also announced the upcoming May 26 meeting of the new Torch Lake Watershed Project. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The Torch Lake Watershed Project will hold a meeting from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, at the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Tech.* The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) is sponsoring the meeting, which is free and open to the public.

"We want everybody who's interested in Torch Lake to come," said Gina Nicholas, HKCD chair, who announced the May 26 meeting during HKCD's annual meeting on Earth Day, Apr. 22, 2015:

During the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) annual meeting on Apr. 22, 2015, HKCD Chair Gina Nicholas announces the May 26, 2015, meeting of the Torch Lake Watershed Project group, which will be sponsored by HKCD. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

This meeting will feature guest speakers Bill Rose and Carol MacLennan who will review the geology of Torch Lake and the history of the industries around Torch Lake. The goal is to establish a base platform of knowledge for all who are interested in being involved with the greater project of developing a Watershed Management Plan for Torch Lake. The group is also working toward developing a Watershed Council to help guide the process of writing a management plan. Light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP is appreciated but not required. To RSVP or to receive more information contact Marcy Erickson at or call (906) 482-0214.

HKCD has worked for several years on the Eagle River Watershed Project and Management Plan. As part of that project, they recently worked on stamp sand remediation along with historic preservation at the Cliff Mine site in Keweenaw County. Gina Nicholas spoke about the Cliff project during HKCD's Apr. 22 annual meeting:

Gina Nicholas, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District chair, speaks about HKCD's work of stamp sand remediation and historic preservation at the Cliff Mine site in Keweenaw County.

* Click here to access a map with directions to Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

OPINION: A letter to City of Houghton and Portage Township residents on proposed cell phone tower near Houghton Elementary School

Houghton Elementary School. Concerned parents are discussing a potential Verizon cell phone tower to be built near the school. Some consider it a danger to children's health. Concerned parents and other residents are invited to a meeting to discuss the issue at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

By Krissy Sundstrom*

A major review of health effects from cell tower base stations found that both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found headaches, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, increased risk of cancer, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations.**

Although the science is emerging and not yet definitive, the study recommends as a general guideline that cell base stations should not be located less than 1500 feet from the population and at a height of 150 feet. Verizon has proposed a 75-foot high cell tower base station in Houghton near the Houghton Elementary School.

As a precaution until the science has proven cumulative increases in electromagnetic radiation from cell towers is safe and you would prefer Verizon find another location for their cell tower please click here to sign a petition.

If you have children that go to Houghton Elementary or you are a taxpayer in the district please contact the Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil directly at 482-0451 Ext. 1030 or email

A meeting for parents and community members to gather and discuss the proposed cell tower next to the Houghton Elementary School will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24, in the Community Room, Portage Lake District Library.

A City of Houghton Planning Commission meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, in the City Council Chambers. Please come to show your opposition. the city's only action is a site plan review to make sure it meets the ordinance. It's out of their hands, but your attendance is crucial to show the school board and Verizon that a significant number of people are concerned.


* The author of this article, Krissy Sundstrom, is a concerned parent and resident of Portage Township.

** Click here to read this article by B. B. Levitt and H. Lai: "Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays." Environmental Reviews (2010) 18: 369-395.

Editor's Note: Opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of Keweenaw Now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Green Film Series to present films on production, consumption patterns vs. sustainable economy May 21

HOUGHTON -- The Green Film Series at Michigan Tech will present three short films, produced between 2007 and 2013, that explore our production and consumption patterns, the policies and business practices behind them, and how we can move our economy in a more sustainable direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.

The films -- Story of Stuff, Story of Change, and Story of Solutions -- will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21, in Fisher 135 on the Michigan Tech campus. (Please note the change of location.)

A discussion until 9 p.m. will follow the 60 minutes of films, with facilitators Christa Walck, Michigan Tech associate provost, and Rick Loduha, co-director of the Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center in the Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business.

Entry is FREE. A $3 donation is suggested. Enjoy refreshments provided by the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The Green Film Series is co-sponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Keweenaw Land Trust and Michigan Tech Film Board.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Free public workshop May 18 to offer residents info on solar panels

By Michele Bourdieu

The public is invited to learn about saving money with solar power at this free public workshop, Going Solar in the Keweenaw, Monday, May 18. (Poster courtesy

HOUGHTON -- High electricity rates mean that solar power can be a good deal in the Keweenaw. A workshop, Going Solar in the Keweenaw, will show local residents how to save money on electricity by installing solar panels.

This free public workshop will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, May 18, in Fisher 139 on the Michigan Tech campus. The presenter will be Abhilash "Abhi" Kantamneni, PhD student in Computer Science at Michigan Tech and author of the Michigan Solar Calculator and Guidebook.

Wondering if solar is for you? Abhi has answers to questions like these:

    How many panels do I need?
    How much will it cost?
    How soon can I pay it back?
    What about snow?
    Can I do it myself?
    Are there permits or rules?

This workshop will walk you through everything you need to know about going solar in Houghton: from dealing with snow on panels to utility interconnection agreements. Attendees are asked to bring copies of their electric bills over a 12-month period.

"Abhi" Kantamneni has given several local presentations on solar energy and has worked with the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) on their Houghton County Energy Plan.*

At the April 23, 2015, Lake Superior Celebration of Energy and Sustainability at the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC), Abhi announced this workshop and presented an overview of his reasons for wanting to "Solarize Houghton." He began by explaining how surprised he was when he arrived at Michigan Tech from India and noted the absence of solar energy -- and how he was even more surprised when he received his first electric bill.

Here are some video excerpts from Abhi's presentation at the GLRC:

During his solar presentation at the April 23 Lake Superior Celebration of Energy and Sustainability, Abhi speaks about the high electricity bills in the Upper Peninsula and explains why snow should not be an obstacle to installing solar panels. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Here Abhi demonstrates why Houghton, because of its high electric bills, offers a greater return on solar investment than areas with more sunshine.

Abhi said his hope is to make Houghton County the most solar-friendly county in the United States. He also spoke about his plan for a series of workshops for both high school students and adults -- including this upcoming May 18 workshop -- so that residents can learn about solar and decide for themselves whether it is worth their investment.**

Houghton resident installs vertical solar panels

Just two days after the GLRC Lake Superior Celebration, on April 25, 2015, one Houghton resident celebrated his own installation of an extensive residential solar array -- 36 vertical panels -- by hosting a talk by the engineer who helped him plan the project, which, after only three winter months, was already earning a credit on his electric bill.

This photo shows the solar panel array installed at 1104 Datolite Street in Houghton, an apartment complex owned by Allan Baker, who took the photo during snowfall in early April in order to show that snow does not accumulate on the panels. (File photo © and courtesy Allan Baker) 

Houghton Realtor Allan Baker worked with his friend and consultant, James Malosh -- a Michigan Tech graduate who is a professional engineer with a PhD in mechanical engineering, a founding fellow of the Institute of Diagnostic Engineers and the holder of five patents -- to determine the most economical and scientific way to install solar panels on an apartment building Baker owns in Houghton.

Here are some video clips from Malosh's presentation, "An Engineering Approach to Solar PV Installation":

Engineer James Malosh presents the design criteria he and Allan Baker considered in order to choose the design for the solar array on Baker's property in Houghton. Malosh gives several considerations that led to their decision to choose a vertical design. Click on YouTube icon to view this video on a larger screen. (Videos © and courtesy Allan Baker)

Malosh reports savings on electric bills this past winter through the net-metering with this solar array. He notes the savings for a year would probably equal 10 percent of the costs for purchasing and installing the system -- allowing it to pay for itself in 10 years.

Following the presentation, members of the audience asked questions and shared their own interests in solar panels.

Allan Baker (standing) circulates through the audience with a microphone to allow people to ask questions and make comments.(Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Baker is excited about sharing his experience with others and encourages interested local residents to consider joining a buying group to save costs on solar panels.

"A group of us have formed a solar buying group," Baker says. "We hope to get a wholesale price on solar panels and possibly help one another put them up."

Baker has also attended meetings of the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) and plans to share his ideas with them. He plans to attend Abhi's May 18 workshop and participate in the efforts to Solarize Houghton.

If you are interested in joining the solar buying group, contact Baker at

* Click here to read about the Houghton County Energy Plan.

** For more information visit the Solarize Houghton website.

Recycling specialist to speak on Michigan recycling initiative May 18 at Carnegie Museum

HOUGHTON -- The public and local business owners are invited to a presentation by Brian Burke, Recycling and Waste Minimization Specialist for the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, May 18, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton.

Burke will speak about Governor Snyder's residential recycling initiative to double recycling from 15 percent to 30 percent by increasing access to and participation in recycling programs.* The Copper Country Recycling Initiative, a citizens task force, is investigating how Houghton County can provide more options for recycling to residents and businesses and extend the life of our regional landfill.

Burke will address municipal officials in a separate afternoon meeting and will tour the local transfer station on Tuesday morning. For more information about this event or the Copper Country Recycling Initiative, please email Susan Burack,

* Click here to learn more about the Michigan recycling initiative.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dianda appointed to new Roads, Economic Development Committee

LANSING -- State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) said this week that he is pleased to be one of the Democratic members of the newly created House Special Committee on Roads and Economic Development. On May 14, Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) announced the new committee with five Republican members and two Democratic members.

"The voters spoke on May 5 and said they want the Legislature to get to work and come up with a plan to fix the roads. I am honored to be representing the people of the Upper Peninsula in this important endeavor," said Dianda. "I am ready to work in good faith with my colleagues from across the state to craft a solution that repairs our state’s infrastructure, grows our economy and is based on sound budgetary principles."

Several plans were offered and discussed last year, with Proposal 1 the plan that won enough legislative support to go before the voters. After its defeat at the polls, legislators are now considering ways to generate about $1 billion a year to fix and maintain Michigan’s roads.

"As a former Michigan Department of Transportation employee, I know the department can do more with the dollars it currently receives," said Dianda. "I am ready to come to the table with suggestions that would reduce the department’s administrative costs, increase oversight and accountability, and make sure every dollar MDOT can spare is directed towards repairing road surfaces. That is my first priority in this discussion, and the thing we need to solve before we can move on to other issues."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lake Linden-Hubbell biology students invite public to join them in stewardship project May 15

LAKE LINDEN -- The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative is sponsoring a Community Event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 15, at the Lake Linden Sands.

 Photo from event flyer courtesy Nick Squires.

The public is invited to join 10th grade biology students from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School as they plant Red-osier dogwoods and Dark-green bulrush, write poetry while enjoying disc golf and install birdhouses and bird watch.

Meet the group with their teacher, Mr. Nick Squires, at the beach parking lot near the start of the disc golf course and become a part of this Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative Project.

Click here for directions from Houghton. For more information email

Monday, May 11, 2015

MDEQ to hold Open House on Torch Lake Abandoned Mining Wastes project May 13

By Michele Bourdieu

This partially sunken dredge is a reminder of the copper reclamation industry that left stamp sand and PCB pollution in the Torch Lake Area of Concern. (2012 Photo © Todd Marsee and courtesy Michigan Sea Grant Research Project)

LAKE LINDEN -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and a team of Michigan Tech University researchers have been working to locate and study environmental hazards left by 100 years of copper mining industries in the Torch Lake Area of Concern so they can be cleaned up where possible. Contaminants that cause an immediate threat to human health, such as PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and mercury in fish tissues, are an important subject of two recent projects.

MDEQ Emergency Response and Removal: Abandoned Mining Wastes project

On Wednesday, May 13, Amy Keranen, Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Remediation and Redevelopment Division project manager for the Abandoned Mining Wastes (including PCBs) project at Torch Lake, will host an Open House, free and open to the public, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium. Staff from WESTON Solutions of Michigan will also be on hand to speak with the public and answer questions.

Last summer, the MDEQ began an investigation to identify and characterize mining wastes remaining along the shores of Torch Lake near Lake Linden-Hubbell. The MDEQ sampling crew who conducted on-land and in-lake investigative activities will display some of their equipment, pictures, maps and videos of their findings. The informal Open House will offer citizens the opportunity to drop in to meet the project team and to get their questions answered.

Keranen notes this work is separate from the projects conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Superfund program, which involved capping the exposed stamp sands/tailings and was to require property/resource use restrictions to prevent certain activities in select areas.* Keranen's present project has included evaluating the industrial processes that generated the wastes and various hazardous substances that remain in the area.

Powder-like stamp sands spread through Torch Lake after the original stamp sand was put through a regrinding process to remove more copper and then dumped back into the lake. Electrification used for this process led to the present pollution from PCBs. (See video clips below.) (2012 Photo © Todd Marsee and courtesy Michigan Sea Grant Research Project)

"This work is needed to address two concerns remaining after the completion of the EPA’s Superfund project," Keranen says. "The continued presence of PCBs in Torch Lake is preventing the recovery of the Torch Lake ecosystem and keeps it from being delisted as an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In addition, other potential environmental and human health risks are present which require further evaluation and possible clean-up."

PCBs have been found in the basement of the Calumet and Hecla (C and H) Powerhouse, near the Calumet Stamp Mill site, C and H Smelter, and the coal dock area in Hubbell. PCBs are also in the water, fish and sediment of Torch Lake.

In addition to the presence of organic and inorganic contamination, found through the MDEQ's investigation of the C and H Lake Linden Operations Area, physical hazards such as metal and porcelain-like debris can be seen here at the Hubbell Beach near the old town dump. These wastes can be seen in the shallow water near the swimming area. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen)

"In the Hubbell Processing Area, PCB contamination is present in debris, charred waste materials, waste piles, soil, and groundwater," Keranen reports. "These materials are subject to migration to Torch Lake via erosion channels on the ground surface that lead to holes in the former coal dock bulkhead. PCBs were also detected in groundwater suggesting the potential for movement of PCBs through the groundwater to the lake. Offshore sediment sampling confirmed that PCBs are present in Torch Lake sediment in front of the former smelter and coal dock."

This map shows Torch Lake and several sites of abandoned mine waste in the Lake Linden and Hubbell areas. (Map courtesy Weston Solutions of Michigan, Inc.)

Keranen adds the investigation is moving down the shoreline to include the C and H Tamarack City Operations Area. Her team has completed historic archival research, compiled and evaluated the previous studies and reports for the Tamarack City area, and conducted underwater mapping (via side-scan sonar) to develop a soil sampling plan beginning this week.

"Studies in the lake will start in late May," Keranen says. "The work will continue in a phased manner, allowing us time to look at preliminary data and get back out to fill in any data gaps later in the summer."

Carol MacLennan, Michigan Tech professor in Social Sciences, has worked with MDEQ on the Abandoned Mining Wastes Project, Keranen said.

"She conducted historic research regarding the industries in the Lake Linden-Hubbell, the Tamarack City and the Mason areas," Keranen noted. "We used Carol's research to confirm where our samples should be -- targeting areas of waste streams and disposal areas."

On September 25, 2014, MacLennan gave a presentation on "Creating the Torch Lake Industrial District and Its Environment" for the Fourth Thursday in History Series, sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park.

1947 photo of the Torch Lake Industrial District. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives and Carol MacLennan)

Using historic photos, MacLennan pointed out how the Torch Lake shoreline between Lake Linden and Mason was once the largest industrial site in the Keweenaw copper district. An enormous powerhouse, eight stamp mills, a smelter, and three reclamation plants lined the Torch Lake shoreline, and the lake bustled with ships delivering coal and taking copper to market. She demonstrated how processing mined rock, reclaiming copper-rich stamp sands from the lake and from scrap metals, and experimenting with new copper oxide products consumed the attention of the Calumet and Hecla and Quincy mining companies in their later years.

Historic photo of Calumet and Hecla stamp mills in Lake Linden. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

"History is a critical tool for figuring out mine waste pollution," MacLennan said. "Without our investigation into Torch Lake, we would not be able to untangle the PCB problem there."

MacLennan's research has helped to identify sites of hazardous mining waste, including PCBs. Here are some video clips from her presentation:

Carol MacLennan, Michigan Tech University professor of anthropology, speaks about her historical research for the Michigan Sea Grant Torch Lake Integrated Assessment project on Sept. 25, 2014, at Lake Linden-Hubbell High School. The presentation was hosted by Keweenaw National Historical Park. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Here Carol MacLennan shows photos of some of the buildings and equipment used in reclamation of copper from the stamp sands as well as the facilities for regrinding, leaching and refining it -- processes that left pollutants in the environment.

Carol MacLennan speaks here about the electrification that led to PCB contamination in and around Torch Lake.

This chart from Carol MacLennan's presentation shows the waste products and contaminants left from several industrial facilities near Torch Lake.**

Potential health hazards from exposure to PCBs include cancer, neurological disorders, skin lesions and liver problems. Additionally, PCBs can be passed from mothers to children during pregnancy and
through breast feeding. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of PCBs than adults.**

During the question-answer period following her presentation, Mac Lennan pointed out that the Torch Lake Area of Concern is larger than just Torch Lake.***

"We still have a long way to go with delisting it as an Area of Concern," she said.

MacLennan has also done historical research on the Torch Lake Area of Concern through the Michigan Sea Grant project titled Torch Lake Integrated Assessment. On this project she worked with two other Michigan Tech professors and student researchers, again helping identify the sources of contaminants through her study of industrial sites in the area.

Michigan Sea Grant Project: Torch Lake Integrated Assessment

In 2012 MacLennan, along with Noel Urban and Judith Perlinger, Michigan Tech professors in Civil and Environmental Engineering, received funding from the Michigan Sea Grant (federal funding through the State of Michigan) to study the environmental and historical effects of the intensive copper mining that took place on the Keweenaw Peninsula from 1845 to 1968. Their project is titled the Torch Lake Integrated Assessment.

Michigan Tech professors leading the Torch Lake Integrated Assessment -- Noel Urban (foreground), Judith Perlinger (right) and Carol MacLennan (third from right) -- are pictured here opposite the Quincy Smelter, along with student research assistants Emma Schwaiger (far left) and Ankita Mandelia. (2012 Photo © Todd Marsee and courtesy Michigan Sea Grant Research Project)

"The purpose of this project is to assemble all the existing information regarding problems in Torch Lake," Urban explains. "The most important part was the information on PCBs. As a result of our findings we convinced the DEQ, the EPA and the PAC (Torch Lake Public Advisory Council) that there is ongoing contamination from PCBs."

Urban and Perlinger found data indicating that concentrations of PCBs in Torch Lake sediments, water and fish were much higher than those in nearby waterways. The highest concentrations -- hot spots -- are near the western shore of Torch Lake, where industrial activity was intense.

While swimming and boating in Torch Lake are considered safe, humans can be exposed to harmful effects of PCBs from eating fish with high levels of PCBs in their fatty tissues and from contact with contaminated soils. The local municipal drinking water, which comes from groundwater wells, is not contaminated with PCBs.

On July 4, 2014, Professor Noel Urban took groups of visitors on a boat ride aboard Michigan Tech's research vessel, the Agassiz, and explained various aspects of the pollution in the sediments and the fish of Torch Lake. Passengers were invited to ask questions during the sessions. Here are some video clips from one of his presentations:

On Michigan Tech's research vessel Agassiz, Noel Urban, Michigan Tech professor of environmental engineering, speaks about the stamp sands in Torch Lake during a community education event in Lake Linden, Mich., on July 4, 2014. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Urban estimates it will take 800 years for the sediments at the bottom of Torch Lake to recover naturally:

Michigan Tech Professor Noel Urban explains why nothing can grow on the bottom of Torch Lake, where sediments are still contaminated with stamp sand from industrial reclamation of copper in the area. He is speaking on July 4, 2014, during an educational boat ride on Michigan Tech's Agassiz research boat.

Aboard the Agassiz research boat on July 4, 2014, Michigan Tech Professor Noel Urban explains how electrical transformers contained PCBs that contaminated the soil and how fish in Torch Lake are contaminated with both PCBs and mercury. He points out that Amy Keranen of MDEQ is working to locate the PCBs so they can be cleaned up.

Michigan Tech Professor Noel Urban answers questions about contamination of Torch Lake from copper mining and reclamation. Here he discusses contaminants in the sediment and the fish. Agassiz Captain Steve Roblee asks about the safety of well water. 

As Noel Urban noted in his presentation, fish consumption advisories prohibit eating certain fish from Torch Lake because of mercury and PCBs that bioaccumulate in fish tissues.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (now known as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) is working on the problem of Torch Lake's contaminated fish and has issued fish consumption advisories for Walley, Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. Michigan's Health Department toxicologists are also working on evaluations of risk from toxic contaminants around Torch Lake.**** 


* The EPA has defined the Superfund Site as the upper six inches of stamp sand and slag in certain areas of Houghton County and any soil cap and vegetative cover applied to these areas. It has also included a "no-action" remedy for lake sediments. The Superfund program continues to monitor this remedy.

** Click here to learn more about the PCBs in and around Torch Lake and potential health hazards they pose to humans. Click here for more details on toxic metals in and around Torch Lake. Learn which government agencies and community groups are working on Torch Lake issues in the Michigan Sea Grant publication, "Who Is Doing What at Torch Lake?"

*** Click here for a map of the Torch Lake Area of Concern.

**** Click here to see fish consumption advisories for your area of Michigan.  Click here for Michigan Health Department reports on the Torch Lake Superfund site and surrounding areas.

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles including Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz used for community education programs during 2014. See also our July 22, 2014, article, "Adults and kids learn about Great Lakes research, fish food web, marine robotics, more ..."; our Aug. 4, 2014, article, "Photos: Copper Harbor celebrates Lake Superior Day 2014 with R/V Agassiz excursions, ROVs, canoe races, picnic, more .."; and our Nov. 17, 2014, article, "Geology expert notes concerns about arsenic in Gay stamp sands as DEQ accepts comments on stamp sand removal proposal."

Thursday, May 07, 2015

PUBLIC NOTICES: Hancock 2015 Spring Cleanup

HANCOCK -- For City of Hancock Residents ONLY: Two Public Notices by the City of Hancock announce upcoming Spring Cleanup events:

General Debris

General Debris, such as old furniture, lumber, small metal items, etc. can be brought to the Public Works Garage (DPW), 1601 Tomasi Dr., Hancock between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9. Proof of residency, such as a driver's license, will be required at the DPW Facility.

General Debris Terms and Conditions: The DPW storage site will have restricted access and the site will be closed for debris drop off except for the above published times. Any debris left at the gate area will be treated as a littering offense by the City. The City is limiting the amount of material to four cubic yards per household or facility. Only two box springs or mattresses will be accepted per household or facility. Debris is limited to debris generated in the City.

WHITE GOODS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY THE CITY including refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers and microwaves.
Scrap Metal -- Steel, iron, copper, brass and aluminum will be accepted -- including bicycles, lawn mowers, and snow blowers.

Curbside Leaf and Branch Pickup

The City of Hancock will be picking up curbside leaves, grass clippings and small branches on Monday, May 11, and Monday May 18. Leaves and branches should be placed at curbside prior to 7 a.m. The City will only pickup leaves and grass clippings if they are placed in the clear (green) biodegradable bags purchased from the City of Hancock. The city will not pickup leaves along city curbs or streets.

The City sells the bags at City Hall, 10 bags for $5 or 25 bags for $12. Biodegradable bags with leaves or grass can be brought to the City DPW (1601 Tomasi Dr) during regular business hours throughout the summer or fall.

Small branches less than 4" in diameter, can be put on the curb for the City to pickup during the above listed dates. Small branches should be bundled with string for easy handling by City workers.
Residency is required for participation 

Click here for the City of Hancock Event Calendar for May 2015.

"Portraits" exhibition opens at Community Arts Center May 7

HANCOCK -- "Portraits," the new exhibition in the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery, includes portraits of people and animals in photography, color pencil, watercolor, pen and ink, marker, charcoal, acrylic, oil, watermedia, fabric collage, and pastel.

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, May 7, in the Community Arts Center. The exhibition continues through May 30.

Artists participating in the exhibition are Madhura Mehendale, Kanak Nanavati, Abigail Tembreull, Clyde Mikkola, Sandra Norris Palmore, Miriam Pickens, Bob Dawson, Marianne Brokaw, Ray Sharp, Cynthia Coté, Paula  Jacobs, Kris Raisanan Schourek, and Joyce Koskenmaki.

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 Saturday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Exhibitions are supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affiars with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information call 482-2333 or visit the website:

Conservation District to hold annual Tree Sale May 9

Sue Haralson, former Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District administrator and now volunteer, prepares plants and trees for sale at HKCD's ONE-DAYTREE SALE to be held Saturday, May 9. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will hold a ONE-DAY TREE SALE: First Come, First Served from 8:30 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, May 9, at the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Office, 711 W. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton.

New varieties have been added this year. Also, you can help Monarch butterflies by purchasing and planting milkweed ($3 per plant, 4 for $10). See Meral Jackson's article, "The Mighty Monarch: How can we help them survive?" and check out the trees and plants for sale in the HKCD 2015 Tree Sale catalogue on their Web site.

A wide variety of trees, plants, berries and more will be available at the May 9 Tree Sale. First Come, First Served.

If you wish to help with the tree sale, HKCD will appreciate any time you can spare from now through Saturday, May 9. For more information on work session times and dates call HKCD at (906) 482-0214 or (906) 370-7248.