Thursday, December 08, 2016

From Offense to Prayer: Vets change their mission at Standing Rock

Pow wow at Standing Rock, honoring the veterans with a feather ceremony. Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo © and courtesy Kellie Stewart. Reprinted with permission)

By Barbara With*
Posted Dec. 8, 2016, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted here in part with permission

When veterans Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. organized Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a deployment document was created and distributed through social media. In it were instructions for veterans to meet up at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on December 4, 2016, and stand as protectors of the water protectors there.

The North Dakota governor had just issued an emergency eviction order for the camps, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had set a deadline for the protectors to leave the area by Monday, December 5. Water protectors had already been subjected to violent responses from the Morton County sheriff’s department and more was expected as the day of eviction approached. ... Click here to read the rest of this article on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

*Editor's Note: Author Barbara With is a citizen journalist and water protector from La Pointe, Wis., who traveled recently to North Dakota to visit the Standing Rock water protectors. Keweenaw Now appreciates the reports, photos and articles she shares with us. Photographer Kellie Stewart has been traveling with Barbara With and recently posted some interesting photos of the weather there on her Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

New Slide Show: Christmas in Calumet 2016

Stopped in front of the Vertin Gallery in Calumet, Mich., on Dec. 3, 2016, Dean Nolan of Rocking W Stable in Eagle River, Wis., offers wagon rides during the Christmas in Calumet celebration. He will again offer rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on two more Saturdays, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- Our new slide show features Christmas in Calumet on Dec. 3, 2016: Photos from the Poor Artists Sale, gallery exhibits on Fifth Street, and Santa at the Vertin Gallery.

To view the photos as a slide show, click here for the album. Then click on the first photo and follow the right arrows. To see the captions click on the info icon in the top right corner.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s statement on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision against easement

Flags from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, left, and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe are among hundreds of flags representing Native American water protectors at Standing Rock. Barbara With -- an independent journalist and water protector from northern Wisconsin, who arrived at the Standing Rock camp on Dec. 4 -- took this photo and learned of the U.S. Army Corps decision to deny an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe. (Photo © and courtesy Barbara With)*

CANNON BALL, N.D. -- The department of the Army will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016:

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner -- and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes. Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.

Learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at For incremental updates please follow our Facebook page at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or follow us on Twitter @standingrockst.

* Editor's Note: 
Journalist Barbara With reported today, Dec. 5, 2016, on the gathering of veterans at Standing Rock, organized by Wesley Clark Jr, veteran and son of Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe NATO. See her article, "Wesley Clark Jr Apologizes to Leonard Crow Dog for US Military Treatment of Indigenous People," posted today on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. The article includes a video of the ceremony, attended by 500 veterans.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Letter: Proposed SB 1187 to undo wolf protection is attempt to undermine will of Michigan voters

Michigan Wolf. (Photo courtesy Wolfwatchers)

Dear Editor:

Senator Tom Casperson has just introduced a new bill, SB 1187, which authorizes the unelected Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species and open a trophy hunting and commercial trapping season on them, should their federal Endangered Species Act protections be removed. But, as readers will remember, Michigan voters already voted on almost precisely the same measure just two years ago (Proposal 2), and rejected it in a landslide, with every single county in the Lower Peninsula voting against it (along with Chippewa County in the U.P.). The Michigan legislature should honor the expression of the will of the people and not countermand their very explicit judgment (64 percent opposed the Proposal 2).*

Please contact your Michigan legislators (find them at and ask them to vote NO on SB 1187. In your correspondence with legislators feel free to use any of the following points:
  • In the November 2014 general election, in addition to rejecting the idea of turning over a wolf hunting decision to the Natural Resources Commission, voters also rejected wolf hunting as authorized directly by legislators. Michiganders opposed that measure by a double digit margin. In short, Michigan voters rejected, by wide margins, two wolf hunting laws that were submitted as referendum Proposal 1 and Proposal 2. These were the first two public votes on the issue of wolf hunting in the nation, and as a result, Michigan lawmakers have the best data set to support the argument that the public does not support sport hunting and trapping of wolves.

  • Wolves in the Great Lakes region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) are currently under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act, and cannot be hunted or trapped for recreation. However, if wolves were delisted in the Great Lakes again, two Michigan laws, PA 290 and PA 318 of 2008, authorizing the removal or killing of wolves attacking livestock or pets, would go back into effect. In addition, even while wolves remain under Endangered Species Act protection, the U.S. Code does authorize the killing of wolves that are even perceived to be a threat to humans. In short, ample protections already exist for any wolf conflicts. There is no reason for Michigan to authorize wolf hunting while federal law forbids that activity.

  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) already provides the state’s ranchers with fencing, fladry, and guard animals to protect livestock from native carnivores, and has stated that these methods are highly effective.** Michigan livestock owners are also compensated for confirmed or even suspected losses to wolves. Still, cases of wolves killing livestock in Michigan are extremely rare, amounting to just .0005 percent of livestock deaths in 2015. This percentage is even lower than the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) nationwide statistics, which put wolves at the very bottom, at .2 percent, of the list of hazards to livestock that include respiratory, digestive, and calving problems, weather, disease, lameness, injury, theft, even vultures. Moreover, scientific studies have amply demonstrated that indiscriminate killing of wolves by hunting is not only ineffective at mitigating conflicts with livestock, it could even make those few problems worse by dispersing packs and sending inexperienced juvenile wolves out on their own.

  • Wolves are shy and avoid humans as much as possible. On the rare occasion when wolves have been spotted in populated areas of the U.P., it was typically the result of humans drawing them into town by feeding deer, wolves’ preferred prey. But even in those instances, wolves did not threaten or harm humans. Even when wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they can still be killed by officials if they are even perceived to be a threat. Further, recent stories of wolf sightings on private property in some U.P. towns have not been substantiated, nor were official reports of those incidents filed with the Michigan DNR as is required.

  • Nor have accounts of negative impacts on Michigan’s deer population by wolves been substantiated. The Michigan DNR recently reported that even after years of harsh winters, its 2015 deer hunt showed that "Hunter satisfaction was up this year across all categories measured -- number of deer seen, number of bucks seen, overall hunting experience and deer harvested."

  • The recovery of wolves also provides essential benefits to Michigan’s ecosystem. As recently underscored by a Michigan DNR/University of Notre Dame study, wolves play a significant role in the Great Lakes ecosystem by reducing densities of deer, beavers, and other species, even protecting timber stocks and agriculture crops by reducing deer overbrowse. And by controlling deer populations, wolves can also help to mitigate the risk of car-deer collisions. Thus, wolves can benefit agriculture, public safety, water quality, and ecosystem health.

  • A virtual flood of scientific studies in the past few years have made it abundantly clear: there is no justification for killing wolves simply for trophies, out of hatred, to protect livestock, or in a misguided attempt to boost prey species for hunters.***
With all of this in mind, Michigan legislators should respect the mandate from the people of the state of Michigan that was rendered in the 2014 general election, and reject SB 1187, which tramples on that public sentiment.

Jill Fritz
Director, Wildlife Protection
The Humane Society of the United States

Editor's Notes:

* Click here to read the proposed SB 1187. Sen. Casperson introduced this bill on Dec. 1, 2016. This bill is in the Senate Calendar posted for this Tuesday, Dec. 6. Click here and scroll down to p. 11, Item 129. It could possibly be moved to the top of the agenda. Click here for the Humane Society's action alert to help you with a phone call or message to legislators.
UPDATE: You can also call Governor Snyder at (517) 373-3400 and urge him to veto any wolf hunting bill.

** According to Wikipedia, "Fladry is a line of rope mounted along the top of a fence, from which are suspended strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a breeze, intended to deter wolves from crossing the fence-line."

***  See our Oct. 27, 2014, article, "Wildlife Expert John Vucetich: Why he is voting 'no' on Proposals 1 and 2."
See also our Nov. 2, 2014, article, "Video report: Wolf hunt based on politics, not science -- why vote 'NO' on Proposals 1 and 2."

Thursday, December 01, 2016

First Friday Art Walk, Christmas Tree Lighting begin Christmas in Calumet holiday events

Art by Donna Lenard. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

CALUMET -- Christmas in Calumet, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, and the First Friday, Dec. 2, Art Walk begin a weekend of holiday activity in Calumet. During your visits to the new art exhibits Friday evening, take time for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. next to the Calumet Theatre. Everyone is welcome to join in singing carols outside and enjoy refreshments in the Theatre Ballroom afterward.

Galerie Bohème and Copper Country Associated Artists: Watercolor Artist Donna Lenard

Galerie Bohème, 423 5th St., will host an exhibit by Donna Lenard, watercolor artist, with a reception from 6:30 p.m.- 9 p.m.on First Friday, Dec. 2.

Art by Donna Lenard. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

Lenard grew up in Arlington Heights, Ill., and took a few art classes in high school. She is a self-taught watercolor artist and has been painting everyday for the last 15 years. When she moved to the Upper Peninsula Lenard started drawing detailed birds in pencil. She lived in Rockland ,Mich., for seven years. Besides enjoying canoeing and snowshoeing, Lenard started to experiment with watercolors. Her life dream was to live in Alaska so she moved to Fairbanks, joined the Fairbanks Watercolor Society and received good guidance as a fledgling artist.

Lenard currently resides in Hancock and participates in The Poor Artists Sale, the Keweenaw Art Affair and Copper Harbor's Art in the Park. Lenard now teaches her techniques in both painting and drawing at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School, the Calumet Art Center, Copper Country Associated Artists, Holistic Center in Chassell and at her studio.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. For more information or a viewing appointment please call 906- 369-4087.

Calumet Art Center: Artist Jim Dee, holiday gifts

Celebrate First Friday with the Calumet Art Center, 57055 5th St., open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2. Stop in and meet Artist Jim Dee, who has 10 years’ experience teaching high school art and 8 years as a professional artist. Jim will have some of his work on display and will be offering painting classes in the new year!

The Center has an incredible assortment of new items for your holiday gifting. You will find new unique one of a kind clay bells, a trio of clay sleigh bells dangling from red willow, new 906 ornaments, Christmas web ornaments, wool pillows filled with balsam, fresh green wreaths and much more. Local artists have come together to donate miniatures for sale as fundraisers. Elsa Mugford has generously donated some of her latest clay works as well.

Paige Wiard Gallery: Art inspired by nature

On Keweenaw's Eastern Shore. Art by Susan Robinson. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

Local and regional artists have been asked to create works of art inspired by nature that will be on display in the Paige Wiard Gallery, 109 5th St., for the month of December. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Gallery. The public is invited to get inspired by the beauty of nature and see unique takes on the classic theme of nature. For more information please contact the gallery at or 906-337-5970.

Café Rosetta: Photography by Brita Caroline

For December Café Rosetta, 104 5th St., is featuring Brita Caroline photography -- local nature scenes captured at the lake -- nautical, flowers, leaves, etc. Check out the art and enjoy Poetry with Renee at 6:30 p.m.

Hahn Hammered Copper: Unusual items, hand-crafted soap, more ...

Stop in at Hahn Hammered Copper, 203 5th St., this First Friday evening to see what’s Merry and Bright! Rochelle D. and Mrs. Grimm have decked the halls with shiny copper and unusual items like Rochelle’s original Sphericals and Mrs. G.’s ornamental found objects. Check out the lovely fragrant soaps hand-crafted by Jones on Smith Avenue, Folk Artist Jerry Hammes’ winter scenes, plenty of antiques, and many cool re-purposed pieces. As always, Hahns will have their own fabulous hand-hammered copper and vintage copperware made by well-known Copper Country coppersmiths!

Calumet Floral and Gifts: Wreath Decorating Workshop

Calumet Floral and Gifts, 221 5th St., is holding a hands on wreath decorating workshop from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Reservations are needed to secure supplies! Each participant will receive a fresh evergreen wreath to decorate. A variety of ribbons and trims will be available to choose from. Designers will be on hand to help and teach as needed. Experience the joy of design!! Cost: $25 per wreath. RSVP to 337-1711. The store is also dressed for the holidays and loaded with gift giving ideas and gift making supplies!

Vertin Gallery and Antiques: Artist and Musician Justin Plichta

The Vertin Gallery, 220 Sixth St., presents "A Christmas Story" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for First Friday, Dec. 2. The Vertin has a broad selection of beautiful art, estate finds, and amazing treasures to make your Christmas story one they'll remember for years to come. Featured artist Justin Plichta is a Keweenaw native raised in Houghton. He earned a bachelor's degree in Scientific and Technical Communications from Michigan Tech and currently owns and operates Jj Video Productions located in Hancock. Justin has also written, produced, and performed music locally over the last decade. Sketching and painting portraits and figures with charcoal, oil, watercolor, and acrylics has become his latest creative outlet.

December brings the joy and magic of the holiday, and Main Street Calumet is bringing Santa and his elves from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturdays Dec. 3, 10 and 17 along with gorgeous Clydesdales pulling Santa's carriage to The Vertin, where you'll find authentic and reflective antiques, modern mid-century furniture, fine art, jewelry, lamps, bar cabinets and accessories, plus sophisticated and kitchy decor for your home. The Vertin is a co-op family of artists and lovers all things old and unique. Currently open for consignment of Artwork, Vintage, Antiques and quality furniture. Pre-estate planning and consultation available. Call 906-934-2655. Open Friday and Saturday noon - 6 p.m. or by appointment.

Copper Country Associated Artists: Holiday Open House

Copper Country Associated Artists, 205 5th St., will hold a Holiday Open House from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. This year the gallery artists have added a few more of their works of art for this gift giving season celebration. Refreshments will be served. Call 337-1252 for more information.

Cross Country Sports: Local artists' new work, Open House

Cross Country Sports, 507 Oak Street, will hold a Holiday Open House from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec.2. Enjoy holiday cookies and refreshments while shopping for unique gifts in a warm and inviting downtown setting! For the month of December, Cross Country Sports will feature new works by local artists: Metal prints and 2017 calendars by Jeremy Rowe - Night Sky Photography; jewelry by Annele Sakari—Hello Starling Designs; nature inspired jewelry by Jackie Ellenich - Designs by Jak; new water color prints and cards by Barbara Flanagin - Amorosi Artworks; jewelry and cards by Nina Ollis; pottery mugs and bowls by Elaine Eikenberry and slip pottery vessels by Jess Kane! 

While you are here, check out the great selection of cross country skis, snowshoes, snowbikes and outdoor apparel -- everything you need for a healthy and happy new year!   For more information call 337-4520, or Facebook.

Christmas in Calumet Schedule:

Christmas in Calumet wagon rides begin Saturday, Dec. 3. (Photo courtesy Main Street Calumet)

In addition to the First Friday Art Walk and Christmas Tree Lighting (see above) here are some Saturday events:

Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, 17: free horse drawn wagon rides from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., throughout downtown Calumet. Wagon stops at Keweenaw Coffee Works, Copper World and the Vertin Gallery.

Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24: Santa will be at the Vertin Gallery from from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3: Keweenaw National Historical Park will be holding a Holiday Open House at the Visitor's Center from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Children can create a tree ornament and refreshments will be served. Everyone will also enjoy 10 percent off at the Visitor's Center Bookstore.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Keweenaw Coffee Works is having an Ugly Sweater Party with in- store specials.

Saturday, Dec. 3, is the Annual Poor Artists Sale at CLK Schools. (See our right-hand column)

Saturday, Dec. 10: The Copper Dog Kids Rides event will be held in Agassiz Park from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Kids can pet the dog, go for a ride and enjoy refreshments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Keweenaw Climate Community to hold 4th Climate Café Dec. 1 at Orpheum Theater; video report on October, November KCC events

By Michele Bourdieu

To open the Nov. 3, 2016, Climate Café event -- third in the series on "What's the Deal with Climate Change?" -- twins Lewis and Catherine Vendlinski, 8, of Houghton, prepare to illustrate suggestions from the audience on what to do about climate change. Assisting them are Robert Handler, left, of Michigan Tech's Sustainable Futures Institute and his twin brother, Stephen Handler, U.S. Forest Service climate specialist. The Handler twins co-hosted the event, organized by the Keweenaw Climate Community (KCC). (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- TAKING LOCAL CLIMATE ACTION, the fourth and final Climate Café event in the series "What's the Deal with Climate Change?" will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Orpheum Theater, 426 Quincy Street in Hancock. This is a FREE information and discussion event from the Keweenaw Climate Community (KCC), which sponsored the first three events in the series in September, October and November.*

You need not have attended those discussions to join this one and consider these questions: How can we make local changes now? What should the next steps be for the KCC? Discussions will be led by several climate-focused community leaders. FREE pizza and drinks will be served. All are welcome to attend including kids. There is no admission charge, but donations to help cover food and space rental costs will be accepted. The series is organized by the KCC, sponsored by the local chapter of the American Chemical Society and the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Tech.

Pictured here during a small-group discussion on climate change solutions at the Nov. 3 Climate Café in the Orpheum Theater are, from right, Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry and climate change researcher; Sarah's husband, Floyd Henderson, taking notes; Parth Bhatt, Michigan Tech graduate student in forestry; and Nancy Langston, Michigan Tech professor of environmental history.

The first three Climate Café events were well attended by diverse community members, educators, students and families. Following presentations by experts on climate issues and general question and answer sessions, the audience was asked each time to break up into small groups to discuss some questions on a climate topic and then report on their discussions or submit comments in writing. KCC also began a Facebook Page for added information and communication among those interested in the topics.**

In September the discussion began with an introduction by Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry, who has done extensive research on climate change. Audience members then discussed their own ideas on climate change in small groups and reported on their discussions. In October Fred Quivik, retired Michigan Tech professor of environmental and technological history, presented human causes of climate change from a historical perspective. The November session was led by Robert Handler of Michigan Tech's Sustainable Futures Institute and his twin brother, Stephen Handler, a U.S. Forest Service climate specialist.

October Climate Café: "How did we get here?"

During the Oct. 13, 2016, Climate Café, historian Fred Quivik displayed this graph showing world use of different types of energy from 1850 to 2000. 

On Oct. 13 Fred Quivik, historian and retired Michigan Tech professor of environmental and technological history, traced the history of human interaction with the planet, demonstrating how machines eventually replaced manual labor, thus requiring energy from wood and then coal and other fossil fuels -- leading to the current crisis of climate change from too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Fred Quivik, retired Michigan Tech professor of history, opens the October 13, 2016, Climate Café on causes of climate change with questions for the audience on types of energy. Keweenaw Climate Community (KCC) member Erin Pischke draws images of their answers. Click on YouTube icon for larger screen. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

In this video clip Fred Quivik demonstrates how industrialization with coal developed, beginning with the use of coal for heat and cooking in 16th-century England. In his presentation Quivik refers to The Subterranean Forest: Energy Systems and the Industrial Revolution, by Rolf Peter Sieferle.

Using this table on land use in England and Wales, Quivik discusses how forest land continued to be reduced -- first by conversion to pasture land and then by agricultural use.

Following his talk on climate change from a historical perspective, Fred Quivik reads questions from the audience for general discussion.

One comment on the effects of eating meat led Quivik to display this graph comparing  amounts of CO2 produced in various types of food production.

During the Oct. 13, 2016, Climate Café event, following the small-group discussion, participants comment on energy uses that are within our control in the Keweenaw. Kathy Halvorsen, Michigan Tech professor of natural resource policy and KCC organizer, leads the discussion.

Mike Schira, district educator for Michigan State University Extension, had a positive reaction to the discussions.

"When we talk about food production that's a core of vital use of our energy as opposed to recreational or casual use," he said.

Enjoying one of the small-group discussions during the Oct. 13 Climate Café are, from left, Mary Ackerman of Cody, Wyoming (and Baltic/Misery Bay): Karen Johnson of Baltic; and Karen's sister-in-law, Shan Laitila (married to Bill Laitila, former Hancock mayor) of Hancock and Cody, Wyoming.

November Climate Café: Solutions

"What can we do about climate change?" was the question for discussion at the Nov. 3, 2016, Climate Café. Robert Handler of Michigan Tech's Sustainable Futures Institute and his twin brother, Stephen Handler, a U.S. Forest Service climate specialist, hosted the event, asking the audience to come up with possible solutions.

To begin the third Climate Café event on Nov. 3, twin brothers Robert and Stephen Handler ask the audience for their ideas on what to do about climate change. Twins Lewis and Catherine Vendlinski, with Robert's help, illustrate the ideas -- ranging from "abandon New Orleans" to electric cars to public transportation and renewable energy. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Enjoying the free pizza during the Nov. 3 Climate Café at the Orpheum, Lewis and Catherine Vendlinski are pictured here with their parents, Jim and Andi Vendlinski of Houghton. 

Robert Handler, standing, and his twin brother, Stephen, foreground, asked the audience to consider two possible concepts in dealing with climate change -- mitigation and adaptation.

Stephen Handler introduces the twin concepts of mitigation (to slow down climate change) and adaptation (to soften the blow). Robert then talks about mitigation -- reducing or preventing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Here Robert Handler of Michigan Tech's Sustainable Futures Institute discusses energy efficiency and ways to mitigate climate change. When he compares reducing fuel efficiency in vehicles to reducing vehicle use by half, Richelle Winkler, Michigan Tech associate professor of sociology and demography, comments on why the second choice is better.

Stephen Handler fields audience questions and comments on the importance of what we do now for the climate health of both present and future generations.

Among the younger members of the audience on Nov. 3 were these Michigan Tech students -- from left, Sam Dix of L'Anse, student in mechanical engineering; Kelsey Carter of Knoxville, Tenn., Ph.D. student in forest science; and Jeremy Luebke of Chicago, student in environmental engineering (celebrating the Chicago Cubs World Series victory with his hat).

During the small group sessions on Nov. 3, audience members were invited to write down suggestions of solutions to climate change on post-it notes under general categories such as infrastructure, water quality, renewables, energy conservation, forests, agriculture and more. Since then Robert Handler compiled these brainstorming ideas into a long list which he posted recently on the KCC Facebook page. Click here to see his Nov. 25 post with the list attached.

"We will be building on these ideas to talk about local actions that our group wants to work on," Rob Handler writes.

He encourages everyone to attend the next Climate Café this Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Orpheum. The KCC wants to gather a community of interested people who will help plan the future priorities for their grassroots organization. Thursday's meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with a few five-minute presentations from local people who are developing responses to climate change. Then the audience will break into groups according to interests and start making plans.


* See our Oct. 10, 2016, article: "Keweenaw Climate Community to hold second Climate Café Oct. 13 at Orpheum Theater; large turnout at Sept. 8 event."

** Click here for the KCC Facebook page.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Meeting on National Popular Vote Compact to be held Dec. 8 at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- The recent presidential election was the fifth time in the nation’s history that the popular vote winner was not the winner of the election. The National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact, a "way around" the Electoral College, will be examined in a program by The League of Women Voters of the Copper Country to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, in the community room of the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

The US League of Women Voters has had a position calling for abolishing the Electoral College since 1970. In 2008 the League conducted a study of the NPV Compact proposal. The 2010 Convention amended the national position to support the National Popular Vote compact as another method of selecting the President until such time as the Electoral College is abolished.
  •  States sign a compact with each other to give all their electoral votes to the candidate with the most votes across the entire nation (the popular vote winner). Is it legal?
  • It goes into effect when states holding 270 Electoral College votes have signed on. What if they back out?
  • Already states holding 165 votes have signed the compact. What about Michigan?
Attend this meeting to learn more about this issue, the Electoral College and where it stands today. The meeting is free and open to the public. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, grassroots, issue-oriented, political organization open to women and men. Information is available at and See also

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thanksgiving Tale: Michigan Tech EMT Student Saves His Father's Life

Michigan Tech student EMS volunteers who helped during Mark Calabria's heart attack. From left: Theodore Kretzmann, Mike Sommers, Kyle Huyser, Ramandeep Rekhi, Ross Michaels, Jesse Olson, Mario Calabria, Jackson Burek. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Director of News and Media Relations
Posted Nov. 21, 2016, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted in part with permission

HOUGHTON -- At first, Mario Calabria thought it was a joke. The whole family was mountain biking on the Tech Trails, riding slowly on a flat part of the trail, when his father suddenly fell off his bike, hitting a tree as he slumped to the ground.

Mark Calabria was a fit 56 and an active outdoorsman. "I thought he was messing with us, pretending to be someone who didn’t know how to ride a bike," Mario recalls.

Then the fourth-year mechanical engineering student at Michigan Technological University noticed that his father’s eyes had rolled back into his head.

As his younger sisters screamed, Mario transformed into something he had spent 224 hours training to become: an emergency medical technician (EMT). Within 30 seconds, he had his brother’s girlfriend calling 911; he found a map posted on a tree and identified exactly where on the Trails they were; he called Travis Pierce, assistant director of the Michigan Tech Emergency Medical Services (as well as Mario’s mentor and friend). Within two minutes, he had checked his father’s pulse, found that he didn’t have one, flipped him over and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). ... CLICK HERE to read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.