Friday, September 14, 2007

Climate change exhibit opens at Omphale Gallery Sept. 15

CALUMET -- For people living in the north woods of Upper Michigan and Wisconsin, the almost-record low levels of Lake Superior have provided a vivid question mark as to whether something in our weather or climate is amiss. Add recent hot, dry summers and variable winter snowfalls and temperatures, and the question mark about climate change gets even bigger.

"Paradise Lost? Climate Change in the North Woods," a traveling art and science exhibit will be on display from Sept. 15 to Oct. 25 at the Omphale Gallery in Calumet. The public is invited to attend the opening reception at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15. It will feature a presentation by Sarah Green, Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University, about the effects of climate change on Lake Superior. Refreshments will be provided, and the program is free.

The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Additional showings may be arranged during the open hours of Artis Books and Antiques (next door to the Omphale) or by appointment by calling 337-1534.

The exhibit is the culmination of more than a year’s work involving 20 artists, seven scientists, six educators and numerous partner organizations. It includes paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, poetry, prose and music. Scientific findings accompany the artwork.

For more information about the schedule and project, call Terri Daulton at 715-776-0081 or visit the project's website:

This project is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin- Madison with funding from the University of Wisconsin-Baldwin Endowment Awards and the Wisconsin Arts Board. The Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education at Michigan Tech worked with project staff to bring the show to Calumet with funding provided by the Wege Foundation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Parade of Nations to celebrate diversity Sept. 15

Ezequiel Medici, left, and Gustavo Bourdieu help lead the 2006 Parade of Nations. Representatives of many countries line up alphabetically in front of the Hancock Middle School for the annual event celebrating diversity in the community. Argentina representatives plan to lead the parade again this year -- unless Albania gets there first. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © Michele Anderson)

HOUGHTON -- The Parade of Nations, now in its 18th year, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, as a celebration of diversity in this community and on the Michigan Tech campus. The Parade begins at 11 a.m. in front of the Hancock Middle School, crosses the Portage Lift Bridge into Houghton and ends at the Dee Stadium where visitors enjoy multiethnic performances, authentic cuisine from many cultures, vendors’ cultural offerings and free pony rides for children.

Young Native American dancers perform a shawl dance as drummers and singers provide Native musical accompaniment on their float during the 2006 Parade of Nations. (Photo © Michele Anderson)

The theme of this year's parade is "Smiles Have No Borders."

By popular demand the award winning Cass Tech High School Marching Band will make a return performance in the Parade and at the Dee. Cass Tech, a Detroit magnet school famous for its challenging science curriculum, also enjoys one of the top high-school bands in the state.

The public can also view the Cass Tech Marching Band on Friday, Sept. 14, while it hosts a clinic for area high school bands from 12:15 to 2 p.m. at Sherman Field. In the event of rain, the clinic, which is free, will be held in the Wood Gym at the SDC.

The Cass Tech High School Marching Band of Detroit performs with high energy despite a drizzly rain on Shelden Avenue in Houghton during the 2006 Parade of Nations. They plan to return for this year's Parade Saturday, Sept. 15. (Photo © Michele Anderson)

After the parade the Multicultural Festival in Dee Stadium features 37 vendors offering foods from throughout the world, as well as ethnic arts and crafts and a variety of international musical entertainment. Visitors are cautioned to come with hearty appetites, since so many wonderful cuisines are represented.

Buses will be at the MUB on the Michigan Tech campus from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. to take students FREE to Hancock.

One of the youngest participants in the 2006 Parade, Grace Choi, 3, of Korea, wears a colorful traditional dress along with her mother, Eunyoung Yim (green and pink outfit), whose husband, Byung Kyu Choi (not pictured) is MTU assistant professor of computer science. (Photo © Michele Anderson)

Participants should be at the Hancock Middle School on Quincy Street in Hancock by 10 a.m. to pick up flags and should be lined up for the Parade by 10:30 a.m. Flags will be at the school wall. 4-H students will be available to carry flags and/or signs for countries that need more representatives.

Longtime Hancock residents Dick Storm, left, radio announcer and musician, and his wife Mary Tuisku, retired former Hancock City Councilwoman, joined Finnish students from Michigan Tech and Finlandia universities during the 2006 parade. The couple had just returned from a trip to Finland, Estonia and Russia. (Photo © Michele Anderson)

For more information, contact Betty Chavis, 487-2920.

Watch video highlights of the 2006 Parade of Nations and see more photos on the MTU Web site.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DEQ hearing in Marquette: 112 against sulfide mine; 14 in favor

MARQUETTE -- According to Save the Wild UP, the first DEQ hearing on Kennecott Minerals' proposed Eagle Project sulfide mine, held at Northern Michigan University on Monday, Sept. 10, had such a large turnout that it was extended two hours beyond the 9:30 p.m. scheduled ending. Comments totaled 112 opposed to the sulfide mine and 14 in favor of it, they noted on their Web site today.

"More than 100 individuals stood before the MDEQ on the first day of public hearings and sent a resounding message – the Kennecott Eagle Mine is not welcome here," the site reported.

Visit Save the Wild UP for details and a map to the West Branch Community Center at the old K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, where more hearings will be held Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 13, 14. See our previous post for the complete schedule of the hearings and address for mailing written comments.

Monday, September 10, 2007

DEQ Public Hearings: Video clip

MARQUETTE -- The first of five days of public hearings on the Kennecott Minerals Eagle Project -- a proposed nickel and copper mine on the Yellow Dog Plains near Marquette -- was held today, Sept. 10, at Northern Michigan University. Marquette's Channel 6, WLUC-TV, has posted a video clip taken at the hearing. Visit their Web site at

to view the video clip. More hearings will be held to take public comment Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the West Branch Community Center (old K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base) in Forsyth Township and Friday at the Lansing Center in Lansing. Written comments will be accepted through Oct. 17, 2007. For details see our previous post.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Keweenaw Krayons to hold birthday fundraiser Sept. 10

MOHAWK -- Not only is Monday, September 10th, the 65th birthday of Carol Rose, Keweenaw Krayons founder and current Director of Marketing, but it’s also the birthday of the non-profit arts agency’s director, Susan Hallwachs. And the two are throwing a huge birthday party/fundraiser!

"Because of the State’s current budget problems, Keweenaw Krayons is in financial trouble," said Rose.

A sign on the blackboard in the Renee’ Stemler Memorial Art Room testifies to that. "No more drop in ‘til further notice!" it reads.

"Drop in is probably our most important program," Rose said. "It gives kids of all ages a place to come -- to do just that -- drop in -- do art, homework, visit with their peers in a mentoring environment."

It’s also how Keweenaw Krayons began. Kids began dropping in at the Ramblin’ Rose Garden Gallery in Mohawk and one thing led to another and Keweenaw Krayons was born. For more than nine years, the non-profit arts organization has offered free or low cost art and education activities to the area.

"What we’d both like as a birthday gift is the knowledge that Keweenaw Krayons will indeed stay open and stay affordable," said Hallwachs. "So we decided to throw a Birthday Party Fundraiser."

As a result, on Monday, Sept. 10, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Mohawk School will be the scene of a potluck, art sale, sweepstakes, music, flower bulb sale, photos with Oreo the Skunk and membership drive. The event will be held in the gym and the Keweenaw Krayons’ classrooms.

Rose said musicians have offered their time and talents for the event.

Don Rupp will play the harmonica, with Len Novak on drum, at 6:30 p.m.; and Gail English and Rob Fritz will offer an hour’s worth of their gentle listening music from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fiddlehead musicians Oren Tikkanen, Matt Durocher and Libby Meyer will entertain from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you can't make the event and still want to give Carol, Susan AND Keweenaw Krayons a wonderful gift, you can send your tax-deductible donation to Keweenaw Krayons, PO Box 191, Mohawk, MI 49950.

Much of the Drop-in costs had been paid by the Strong Families/Safe Children Program. However due to the State of Michigan budget problems, decisions were made, at the state level, to change eligibility factors for spending this money. Contracts across the state have been terminated where the Michigan Department of Human Services is not the referral source for state-funded programs. The Keweenaw Krayons Youth Program, which included the Drop-in aspect as well as a Teen Graphic Arts and Marketing Training Program, was terminated as a result of the funding decision.

The funding ended in June but Keweenaw Krayons was able to keep the Drop in program open throughout the summer months with monies raised in various fundraisers, including a photo shoot at the Copper Harbor Art Fair, with Delaware Mine’s Oreo the Skunk, and face painting at both the Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor Art Fairs. Several Mohawk residents also hosted garage sales, donating a percentage of the sales to Keweenaw Krayons and Calumet’s AmericInn has hosted a couple fundraisers.

Plans are also in the making for a weekly "coffee house" at the AmericInn. These will include music, art, art classes and possibly catered food.

Pablo "Pig" Casso, the agency’s traveling paper mache piggy bank, continues to generate some income. He recently arrived back in Mohawk from his stay at the Berry Patch in Copper Harbor and will be at Monday’s birthday party fundraiser.

"And money continues to arrive in the mail," said Hallwachs. "A little here -- a little there. It all helps."

The agency is hoping to raise more than a little money on Monday and urges the community to come have a good time and show their support.

"One thing we want the public to know is that we serve the entire area -- not just Keweenaw County," said Rose. We have people coming from Baraga, Atlantic Mine and South Range; and in the summer we serve the tourist population as well.

Local groups to participate in Michigan Coastal Cleanup on Keweenaw beaches Sept. 15-16 (Updated Sept. 13)*

AHMEEK -- It's time for the annual Michigan Coastal Cleanup (MCC), which is part of an international effort to pick up trash from the world's shorelines. The MCC, coordinated locally by the North Woods Conservancy (Jane Griffith, 337-0782) will take place on Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, at several local beaches. Not only is trash removed but the types and amounts are tallied, yielding important information about litter sources and resulting in things like the bottle recycling/refund law.

Jane Griffith, left, of North Woods Conservancy and her daughter Kate collect trash and record numbers of items for the Keweenaw beaches' tally at Seven Mile Point during the 2005 Michigan Coastal Cleanup. (Photo © 2005 John Griffith and courtesy North Woods Conservancy)

Many individuals and groups have cleaned up certain beaches for years. Here is a list with the beach captains and phone numbers you can call for details if you would like to participate: Trout Unlimited and Keweenaw County (Mouth of the Gratiot River County Park -- Jim Baker, TU); the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (Bete Grise South and Dan's Point -- Sue Haralson, 482-0214)*; Hunter's Point and Porter's Island (Gale and Fred Jamsen, 289-4296); Michigan Nature Association (Black Creek Preserve -- Jim Ziemnick, 337-1332); Gratiot Lake Conservancy (Gratiot Lake -- Bonnie Hay, 337-5476); the Seven Mile Point Property Owner's Association (Seven Mile Bay -- private); and of course the North Woods Conservancy (Seven Mile Point -- Sandy Britton, 337-2881; Gratiot River North -- Jane Griffith, 337-0782).

*The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District will sponsor two beach cleanups: From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 15, they will be picking trash at the Schoolcraft Township Day Park at Big Traverse. On Sunday, Sept. 16, also from 9 a.m. to noon, they will start at the Bete Grise Preserve on the Gay/Lac La Belle Road around 9 a.m. and then pick up trash at Bete Grise North followed by the Lizzadro Preserve (Dan's Point).

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District volunteers collect trash at Bete Grise South during the 2005 Coastal Cleanup. Pictured are, back row: Sue Haralson (standing, left), Eloise Haller, Virginia Jamison, Anita Campbell, Glenda Campbell, Bruce Wagner; front row: Nick Wilson and Dorothy Jamison. (Photo © 2005 and courtesy Gina Nicholas)

Be sure to contact the listed "Beach Captain" to find out when and where to meet (dates and times may vary). Other groups and any interested parties are encouraged to "adopt" favorite public beaches in Houghton or Keweenaw County (or private beaches, if you own it or have permission).

Areas in need of "adoption" include (clockwise around the Keweenaw): Stanton Park, Freda, The Sands (North Entry), McLain State Park, Calumet Waterworks Park, Eagle River, Great Sand Bay, Eagle Harbor, Horseshoe Harbor, High Rock Bay, Keystone Point, Point Isabelle, Oliver Bay, South Entry, Portage Lake, Torch Lake, or ANY OTHER BEACH in Houghton or Keweenaw County.

If you'd like to be a Beach Captain for a new site, or do a "solo cleanup" yourself at a small site, you can sign up and pick up the needed materials (trash tally forms, pencils, rubber gloves, special coastal cleanup garbage bags) at the Ahmeek Streetcar Station (four miles north of Calumet on US 41) Monday through Friday (Sept. 10-14) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., or Sunday, Sept. 9, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

*Update: Materials are available at the Streetcar Station this coming weekend, too: from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16.

"Many people who do areas in Keweenaw County drop by the Station the morning of their cleanup to pick up the materials, then do their cleanup, then drop the completed forms back the same day (saves making an extra trip if you are driving by anyway)," said John Griffith.

Completed forms can be dropped off at the Streetcar Station or mailed to the North Woods Conservancy (PO Box 124, Calumet, MI 49913).

According to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the 2006
Adopt-a-Beach Volunteers for Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan collected 19,645 pounds of trash. The Top Trash Collected included 159,426 Smoking-Related Items; 109,014 Food-Related Items; and 7,570 Balloons.*

Its fun to spend a few hours outdoors on the lakeshore, and just think – with enough people, we could cover the entire shoreline of the Keweenaw! Please call the North Woods Conservancy (Jane or John Griffith 337-0782) if you have any questions or need more information.

*See the 2007 Adopt-a-Beach Newsletter for details.