Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keweenaw Now says thanks for 2008 award

From the Editor, Michele Bourdieu:

HANCOCK -- As 2008 draws to a close, Keweenaw Now would like to thank the Floyd and Martha Heart and Hands Society for selecting us for their 2008 award, a stipend of $1000 for the local non-profit of our choice. This award went to Save the Wild UP (SWUP) for their work in educating the public about the risks of uranium and metallic sulfide mining, especially in the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior watershed.

This small statue of heart and hands is kept for one year by each award recipient, whose name is engraved on the base. (Photo by Gustavo Bourdieu)

We chose to end the year with an article on the latest updates from the SWUP Web site and their new publication, The Splash. We feel this environmental issue is extremely important for the future of our beautiful area, and we urge our readers to get involved in contacting decision-makers. Keep up the good work, SWUP!

The Floyd and Martha Heart and Hands Fund is a permanent endowment of the Keweenaw Community Foundation. It is awarded on July 4 of each year by Terry Kinzel of Churning Rapids to a persons or couples who have given of themselves in the service of peace, justice or the environment in the local community. Thanks, Terry, for approving our choice of a recipient for the stipend.

Save the Wild UP offers updates on mining issues

By Michele Bourdieu

At the annual meeting of the Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) in October 2008 in Baraga, Teresa Bertossi, public outreach coordinator for Save the Wild UP (SWUP), presents an overview of the potential threat to the Lake Superior watershed posed by Kennecott-Rio Tinto's proposed Eagle Project for sulfide mining near Marquette. "We're mostly concerned about acid mine drainage," Bertossi said. SWUP members introduced the first issue (November/December 2008) of their new publication, The Splash at the FOLK meeting. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild UP (SWUP), a non-profit group organized to inform the public about the risks of uranium and metallic sulfide mining, now publishes The Splash, a newsletter inserted in the free Marquette Monthly publication and also on line through the SWUP Web site. The recent January/February 2009 issue (No. 2) of The Splash (in the January 2009 Marquette Monthly) offers updates on Kennecott-Rio Tinto's proposed sulfide mine -- its "Eagle Project" -- for the Yellow Dog Plains near Marquette as well as articles about similar mining issues on public lands in Utah and on Native American reservations in Minnesota and Ontario.*

In this issue of The Splash, an article titled "Kennecott, Buying Hearts for the Mine in Marquette County," tells how Kennecott has been encouraging township and county officials to support the mining proposal because of supposed economic benefits. A few years ago some of these local government officials had requested an independent hydrologic survey of the Yellow Dog Plains and had written to Governor Granholm about their concern that sulfide mining threatens drinkable, fishable water in Michigan.

However, more recently, according to the article, Eagle Project Manager Jon Cherry has been working with Marquette County Administrator Steven Powers and Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP) CEO Amy Clickner on "an agreement between the county, townships and Kennecott, focusing on organizing economic projects and increasing the county's tax base." **

Another article, "Public Land Threatened Yet Again," concerns Kennecott's prospecting on two large public recreation areas in Salt Lake County, Utah. In 2007, while this county was in the process of purchasing the 1,700 acre Rose Canyon Ranch -- used for hiking, biking and horseback riding -- for $8.7 million, Kennecott filed 70 mining claims on the property, based on the fact that the federal government, not the landowner, owns the subsurface mineral rights and on the 1872 Mining Law that, according to this article, allows "any person or corporation to trespass, prospect, file a mining claim and a plan for a mining operation without the landowner's permission."

Scott Bouma, right, SWUP research and technology specialist, speaks on mineral rights at the October 2008 FOLK meeting. "If you don't know who owns your mineral rights, research it," Bouma advised. Also pictured are SWUP's Teresa Bertossi and Chuck Brumleve, geologist working with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), one of the groups involved in a contested case against the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for granting mining permits to Kennecott. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

While Salt Lake County has petitioned the Bureau of Land Management for mineral rights to prevent future mining exploration, Kennecott announced they would begin prospecting in Yellow Fork Canyon, another county-owned recreation area. The article notes Kennecott owns and operates the nearby Bingham Canyon Mine, "considered the second most toxic active mining operation in the United States."

This article also draws a parallel between Kennecott's actions in Utah and its projects in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Kennecott's surface use lease on 120 acres of public land on the Yellow Dog Plains includes Eagle Rock, a site considered sacred to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). The article notes a double standard on the part of the State of Michigan: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has denied KBIC's application for a land use permit to continue using Eagle Rock for traditional ceremonies because they may "'conflict with other approved uses and activities in the vicinity.'" At the same time, the article concludes, "The DNR does not consider Kennecott's multi-decade lease (until 2042) to conflict with other uses, including public recreation and traditional ceremonial use ... or (the effect of that lease) on KBIC's internationally recognized treaty rights, considered the highest law of the land."

Eagle Rock on the Yellow Dog Plains, a potential site for Kennecott Minerals' proposed Eagle Project sulfide mine, is a sacred site for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. (Keweenw Now file photo © 2007 Sue Ellen Kingsley)

An article on efforts of First Nation activists in Ontario, "Community Unifies to Defend Their Rights: The Success of the KI6," also points out the problems that arise when outdated mining laws (e.g., Ontario's 1873 Mining Act), still in effect, fail to recognize Treaty rights of indigenous peoples.

An editorial in this latest issue of The Splash, "The Kennecott Eagle Story: Fact or Fiction?" is written by former miner Jack Parker of Houghton, who has degrees from Michigan Tech in mining and geological engineering and who has worked, unpaid, on research related to Kennecott's Eagle mine since April 2006. Parker gives examples of suppression of expert testimony on weaknesses in the Kennecott application for the sulfide mining permits. He points out how the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the DNR have ignored the omissions and deceptions in the application.

In her presentation at the FOLK meeting, Teresa Bertossi projected these quotes from Stephen Chester, Michigan DEQ Director: "We simply don't have the kind of funding we need to adequately implement the laws we're required to implement....The bottom line is we simply don't have the resources to get out and inspect all of these facilities ... in some cases we'll have to rely on people's honesty and integrity."

* Read these and other articles on mining in the Jan./Feb. 2009 issue of The Splash on line.

**
See the Dec. 8, 2008, article, "Humboldt Township Board Lends Kennecott Support," on Save the Wild UP's Web site.

Other updates from Save the Wild UP

Matt Johnson, former director of Governor Granholm's Office for the Upper Peninsula, has resigned from his post and now works for Rio Tinto, the parent company of Kennecott Minerals, according to a November 2008 article by Gabriel Caplett of Save the Wild UP.

"Johnson is now involved with government relations for the company. Prior to working in the Governor’s office, Johnson was Congressman Bart Stupak’s Upper Peninsula district administrator," Caplett writes.

He notes Johnson was formerly the Governor’s contact on metallic sulfide mining in the UP and assisted in coordinating the Governor’s involvement in the formation of Michigan’s new nonferrous metallic mining laws. He kept her informed on updates from the DEQ, the company and citizens, including "contentious issues related to Kennecott’s project."

In this article on Johnson's new role as lobbyist for Kennecott, Caplett refers to statements by Joe Maki, a geologist with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), who testified at a recent contested case brought against the DEQ by opponents of Kennecott's Eagle Project -- the National Wildlife Federation, the Huron Mountain Club, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Maki "acknowledged that the DEQ did not apply a central tenet of Michigan’s metallic mining law in considering Kennecott’s application," Caplett states. "Maki affirmed that neither he, nor his mining team, required Kennecott to provide a mine plan that 'reasonably minimizes actual or potential adverse impacts on air, water and other natural resources,' a legal requirement."***

Another SWUP article by Gabriel Caplett, "Aquila Representative Faces Criticism at Public Meeting," cites critical reactions to a presentation on acid mine drainage given in Menominee, Mich., by Aquila Resources, the Canadian junior mining exploration company that recently sold its Humboldt Mill facility to Kennecott-Rio Tinto. Aquila also supplied Kennecott with state mineral leases for the proposed Eagle Project mine over a decade ago.****

On Dec. 16, 2008, SWUP posted the following Expected Time Line for Major Decisions:

Mid-January or beyond -- EPA Draft decision on Kennecott-Rio Tinto's injection permit is expected. Public hearing dates will be announced at that time. Hearings are expected to be scheduled 60 days from the draft decision.

Mid-April -- USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) will announce whether or not the Coaster Brook Trout, found in streams that could be impacted by the Eagle Project, qualifies under the Endangered Species Protection Act. Read more on this issue and how it relates to the EPA decision ...

Anytime -- A recommendation is expected from the administrative law judge in Lansing, Richard A. Patterson, based on evidence and testimony presented by the National Wildlife Federation, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Huron Mountain Club over the course of last summer. His recommendation is sent to Michigan DEQ Director Stephen Chester for a final decision.

February 12 -- Rio Tinto has announced that due to the sagging global economy, some of their projects, including Eagle, could be axed. Kennecott is proceeding into the future with caution.

*** Read the rest of this article on SavetheWildUP.org. More statements made by Joe Maki at the contested case hearing appear in Save the Wild UP's first issue of The Splash, (November-December 2008) available online.

**** Read about acid mine drainage, a by-product of the sulfide mining process, that pollutes thousands of miles of streams and rivers every year.

Editor's Note: See also Layla Aslani's Daily Mining Gazette article, "Controversial Kennecott Mine addressed," on Teresa Bertossi's presentation at the Oct. 23 FOLK meeting.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pancake Breakfast at Masonic Lodge Jan. 3 to benefit Community Arts Center

HANCOCK -- Copper Country Masonic Lodge #135 will host a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3. All proceeds will benefit programs at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock.

The pancake breakfast will be held at the Copper Country Masonic Lodge, located on US 41, 2.2 miles from the blinking light on top of Quincy hill. The Lodge is on the right-hand side headed north. Look for the sign. Call the Copper Country Community Arts Center at 482-2333 for more information.

New Year's Eve Run/Walk to offer fitness laps in Hancock

HANCOCK -- Join Portage Health and the Copper Country Running Club for a non-competitive run/walk beginning at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008, in the Main Lobby of Portage Health in Hancock.

The event is geared toward people of all ages and fitness levels. Kids are welcome! Runners and walkers will set out from Portage Health for two-mile laps in Hancock. You may complete as many laps as you like. For each two-mile lap you finish, you’ll earn a raffle ticket. Prizes include athletic equipment and fitness gear to help you keep your healthy resolutions in 2009.

Participants may register right before the event, from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The entry fee is $5.

After finishing your run or walk, please join the sponsors for complimentary refreshments in the Portage Health Café.

For more information visit http://nyefr.eventbrite.com/ or call 483-1149.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peace on Earth ...

Keweenaw Now wishes all our readers a very peaceful holiday season. May you all enjoy peace, health and happiness in the approaching New Year! May 2009 be a year of hope rather than fear, a year of community rather than isolation, a year of thinking and acting globally for a better world. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hancock Post Office faces possible downsizing

By Michele Bourdieu (Photos by Gustavo Bourdieu)

HANCOCK -- The Hancock City Council, at their Dec. 17 meeting, approved sending a letter to the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Representative Bart Stupak and Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin concerning a proposal to significantly downsize the Hancock Post Office, redeploying up to 12 employees to the Houghton Post Office.

The Hancock Post Office, located in the center of downtown, is convenient and accessible to residents and non-residents alike. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said the downsizing was scheduled to be implemented in January but is now on hold.

"It's on hold because of union issues -- nothing else," Anderson explained. "Employees of both post offices are in the same union, but if Hancock employees change to Houghton there would be seniority changes, and that's what's holding it up."

Anderson said downsizing plan would leave only three employees at the Hancock Post Office, for the service counter. The post office boxes used by the public would also remain.

"Are we going to take this lying down?" Mayor Bill Laitila asked the Council.

The councilors were unanimous in their support of sending the letter.

"I know a lot of people who don't even live in this area who come to the Hancock Post Office for the ease of [access] and doing business," Councilman Rick Freeman noted.

On Dec. 24, just before noon, when the Hancock post office was about to close for the Christmas holiday, Keweenaw Now interviewed some local residents as they came out of the building. None of them seemed to be aware of the potential downsizing.

"I go to Houghton a lot, but I prefer the Hancock Post Office," said Keith Koski of Hancock. "It's much quicker."

On Dec. 24 Keith Koski of Hancock offers his views on the potential downsizing of the Hancock Post Office.

Koski noted while Houghton has better hours (It's open a bit later on Saturdays, for example), Hancock doesn't have the long lines that Houghton has.

Marge (last name withheld) of Laurium said she comes to the Hancock Post Office almost every day for her work and also uses it for personal mailings. She said she is always happy with the service.

"I don't want any of our post offices to be closed," she said.

Russ Hanson of Hancock said he prefers the Hancock Post Office for several reasons and would not want to see it closed.

Russ Hanson of Hancock discusses his preference for the Hancock Post Office.

"It's a lot closer to home," he noted. "You don't have to cross the bridge. I have a lot of correspondence. I drop in two or three days a week."

Hanson also commented on the good service and the available parking at the Hancock Post Office.

Robert Vincent of Mason has a post office box in Hancock and is willing to pay for it even though he could have one at no charge in Dollar Bay.

Robert Vincent of Mason has a post office box in Hancock and prefers it to Dollar Bay.

"I'd have to change everything," he explained, referring to the paperwork that would be required if he changed his post office box address.

Hancock Postmaster Robert Allen said he had told Anderson before the Dec. 17 City Council meeting that nothing was happening with the downsizing proposal.

"It's all on hold," Allen said. "I don't know when it's happening or if it ever will. I've had no more word on it."

Allen compared the downsizing proposal to cities talking about combining police forces.

"Every business is looking to save money," he said.

However, Anderson said when he checked with Congressman Bart Stupak's office he learned of a conversation about merging lots of post offices in the Upper Peninsula.

"Hancock was going to be first," Anderson noted.

However, he added, Senator Levin's and Senator Stabenow's offices were unaware of the proposal until he spoke to their representatives about it.

"It's an anchor draw for the downtown," Anderson said of the Post Office. "My fear (the City's) would be if they eliminate all the carriers and have only three service employees left, they wouldn't stay."

Anderson said he saw no documented savings in the potential downsizing other than the possibility of reducing the postmaster's salary, which could not be done until two years from now. Since the redeployed mail carriers would retain their present routes, but start and end in Houghton, the public would not really notice the change until the "beginning of the end," he added.

"For the first two years it would cost more money, the way I see it," Anderson noted. "They'd have longer routes."

The following is the text of the letter from the City of Hancock addressed to Congressman Bart Stupak. Residents or non-residents of the area who use the Hancock Post Office are urged to write similar letters of support to the Congressional Delegation (see addresses below).

Congressman Bart Stupak
2352 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

RE: Hancock Post Office

Dear Congressman Stupak:

On behalf of the Hancock City Council, I am writing to strongly oppose efforts by the U.S. Postal Service to significantly downsize the Hancock Post Office by up to twelve (12) employees and redeploy them to the Houghton Post Office.

The proposed downsizing in Hancock and increasing the Houghton operation will not provide any savings to the U. S. Postal Service. The downsizing will create uncertainty among post office employees, lead to extra traffic and staff parking concerns in Houghton, and cause potential route scheduling conflicts to the affected carriers.

Postal representatives have advised the city that the post office would keep the service counter open and staffed in Hancock, but our concern is that transfer of the 12 employees to Houghton would be the beginning of the end of our post office.

The Hancock Post Office has a reputation of friendly and professional customer service, quality, and efficient delivery carriers. It has almost the same mail volume, similar carrier and rural routes, as the Houghton Office.

The only saving offered is that after two (2) years the postmaster pay level could be reduced for the Hancock position. Any savings of postmaster pay would be absorbed by the higher operating costs and additional fuel purchases for the longer routes that would be required by utilizing the Houghton Office.

The Hancock Post Office is a key draw for our core downtown and any change could hurt our downtown business environment. In addition, the large U.S. Postal Service owned building would be severely underutilized with only customer service provided.

The entire proposal seems illogical to us and we urge your help in stopping this misguided plan to significantly downsize the Hancock Post Office from fifteen (15) employees to three (3).

We certainly understand the need to be financially responsible, but to simply relocate employees for unsound operational reasons does not make sense.

Your help in stopping this effort is requested.

Thank you for your understanding of this important request for assistance.

Sincerely,

William Laitila, Mayor

cc: Paul Trybon, UP Operations Mgr.
U.S. Postal Service, Menominee

Tom Baldini, Regional Representative, Cong. Stupak's Office
Amy Wisti, Area Representative, Cong. Stupak's Office

Editor's Note: This letter is reprinted with permission of the City of Hancock. The following are addresses for Senators Levin and Stabenow and a Fax number for Paul Trybon, UP Operations Mgr. of the Postal Service.

Senator Carl Levin
269 Russell Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2202
Phone (202) 224-6221
Fax (202) 224-1388
Email from Sen. Levin's Web site at http://levin.senate.gov/contact/
See Sen. Levin's Web site for other office addresses.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
221 W. Lake Lansing Road, Suite 100
East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: (517) 203-1760
e-mail: senator@stabenow.senate.gov

Paul Trybon, UP Operations Mgr.
U.S. Postal Service, Menominee
Fax: 906-863-2640

Friday, December 19, 2008

Copper Harbor's "Extraordinary Event": Part 2, "Babette's Feast"

By Michele Bourdieu

COPPER HARBOR -- Chef Malcolm Hudson's Dec. 13, 2008, version of "Babette's Feast" at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge would have to be called Keweenaw's most extraordinary event of the year. Not only did Malcolm imitate the feast presented in the film of that title -- course by course, with a perfectionism learned and refined during his own years of cooking in France -- but his labor of love attracted a whole community of volunteers who worked together to make it a successful fundraiser.

"I had some of the best aid and help in the kitchen I've ever had in my life," Malcolm said. "This is about community. We're all in this together."

video

Here is a scene in the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge kitchen during the countdown for Malcolm Hudson's fundraising version of "Babette's Feast," held in the Lodge on Dec. 13, 2008. Our video clip shows various volunteers on the kitchen staff assisting Malcolm and Peg Kauppi of the Mariner North, one of his chief organizers for the event; filmmaker George Desort in action; and photographer Jillian Betterly of Houghton. (Video clip © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

Peg Kauppi, co-owner of the Mariner North and one of the organizers of the event, who worked with several of her own staff helping Malcolm in the Mountain Lodge kitchen, commented on working with Chef Malcolm.

"Malcolm Hudson is a complicated and amazing person," Peg said. "His respect and love for community family borders the intense. Working with him, one can see he is talented and appreciates the efforts of others, while he obviously considers straying from the genuine to be a desecration. Unforgettable!"

Peg Kauppi, right, co-owner of the Mariner North and one of the chief organizers of Malcolm's feast, works on salad preparation with Isabel Wescoat of Copper Harbor as Malcolm puts finishing touches on one of the main courses. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Malcolm and his team spent not just hours but long days on the dinner preparations. He said he had actually started the puff pastry for the main course the previous Sunday in order to be ready for this meal. Friday, Dec. 12, was "a big day" of about 16 hours.

"We made a lot of progress yesterday," Malcolm noted. "I've got a good team -- people doing a really good job. I'm so pleased."

Chef Malcolm gives last-minute directions to his wait staff just before the serving of his version of "Babette's Feast." Pictured here, from left, are Isabel Wescoat, Rachael Slagh, Tony Schwenn, Sam Raymond, Photographer George Desort (behind video camera in background), Aaron Rogers, Malcolm, Greg Mielcarz (in background, right) and Kristen Kauppi. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Joe Kirkish, a connoisseur of both film and gourmet cooking, said Malcolm had previously made this feast, was itching to do it again and found a good reason -- in the fundraising effort to raise a match for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. If awarded, the grant would allow Keweenaw County and the Copper Country Trails Club to acquire up to 1900 acres of land adjacent to the Mountain Lodge to be used for silent sports trails.*

The $100-a-plate gourmet meal at the Lodge was held the same day as Copper Harbor's first annual tree lighting ceremony, bazaar and bake sale in town.

State Representative Mike Lahti presided over both the tree lighting in town and the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the trails near the Mountain Lodge. Lahti and his wife Sharon also stayed to enjoy Malcolm's feast, which was preceded by the showing of the film Babette's Feast in the new Conference Center addition to the Mountain Lodge.

State Representative Mike Lahti, left, and his wife, Sharon, right, shared a table at the feast with Ole Van Goor of Eagle Harbor, second from left, owner of the Dapple Gray Inn, and Andy and Marilyn Murtagh of Rabbit Bay. Not pictured, but also at the table were Ole's wife, Ruth Van Goor, and Diane Eshbach. Charlie Eshbach was busy taking photos of the event. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

The film, a contrast in cultures, based on a story by Isak Dinesen, tells the story of Babette, a Parisian chef who prepares an incredible, ceremonious French meal for the rather straight-laced residents of a remote Danish village.

Joe Kirkish, center, chats with guests enjoying their apéritif in the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge lounge before the showing of the film Babette's Feast. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

"I introduced the film to about 100 eager people, who watched as the French chef built her meal in great detail," Kirkish said. "Finally, everyone moved from the community room to the dining room, and the feast was held as closely as possible to match what was seen just minutes before."

In the new community room of the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, dinner guests watch the Danish characters in the film Babette's Feast, learning to enjoy French food and wine from Babette, a former Parisian chef. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Several guests commented on the mouth-watering effect of seeing the film before the actual dinner.

"I loved seeing the movie and then having such an elegant meal that so closely resembled Babette's," said Elizabeth Flynn of Hancock Township. "I was really hungry watching the movie, but the actual feast was truly worth the wait."

Before the meal, violinist Libby Meyer, Copper Country Suzuki Association director and instructor, plays classical pieces in the Mountain Lodge dining room. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

More raves of appreciation came Jay Green of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, accompanied by his wife, Phyllis Green, Superintendent of Isle Royale National Park.

"Fabulous dinner!!" Jay said. "I didn't expect it to be the same and look the same as the feast in the movie, but it did except for the Beluga caviar which was wisely substituted with a delicious cold smoked lake trout. I can't wait for Chef Malcolm's next fundraising dinner."

Malcolm's meal began exactly like the one in the film -- with Potage à la Tortue -- Turtle Soup -- accompanied by an Amontillado -style sherry.

"Nothing short of superb!" Kirkish noted.

Besides working hard as one of the main organizers for this "Extraordinary Event," Sam Raymond, Copper Harbor Trails Club vice president, joins the kitchen staff to help out by mincing shallots for the beurre blanc sauce for the blinis. (Photo © 2008 Jillian Betterly of JB Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

Next came Blinis Demidof -- Buckwheat Blinis with Caviar, including smoked Lake Trout in honor of Lake Superior, served with a Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc.

On his Web site Malcolm's culinary notes written in advance of the meal indicate he made a slight variation on the Blinis of the film, since the actual Blinis Demidof (blini, beluga caviar, chopped egg, chives) -- "vaguely Russian" -- does not exist in France, Babette is French and the Beluga whale should be protected.

"And while it is indeed decadent and seems sophisticated, it is in no way elegant; in fact, it is inappropriately odd considering Babette’s sensibilities," Malcolm writes.

Malcolm notes his substitution is beautiful and easy to serve.

"And the flavors, in proper balance, should explode on the palate," he adds.**

The main course, Caille en Sarcophage -- Quail in Puff Pastry with Truffles and Foie Gras -- has the same preparation as the center-piece of the film, he notes, with a small modification of the stuffing.** At the Lodge, this was served with a Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.

Greg Mielcarz, foreground, of Copper Harbor, a cook from the Mariner North and volunteer for "Babette's Feast," and Jim Wescoat of Copper Harbor work together preparing the puff pastry for the main course, Quail in Puff Pastry with Truffles and Foie Gras (Photo © 2008 Jillian Betterly of JB Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

In truly French fashion, the salad -- La Salade Pelligrine -- followed the main course. Kirkish notes it had "a subtle, delectable dressing."

Anitra Bennett, who cooks for the Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock, mixes the roasted garlic and shallot vinaigrette dressing for the salad. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Les Fromages (Selection of Cheeses) followed (with some authentic refills of Cabernet in some cases since in France one is expected to finish drinking the wine before the salad but to continue red wine with fromage). Malcolm's notes add these cheeses were imported from Hirt in Detroit.**

The dessert was Baba au Rhum avec Figues (Rum Cake with Fresh Fruit and Figs), served with nothing other than champagne.

Enjoying the dessert, Baba au Rhum avec Figues (Rum Cake with Fresh Fruit and Figs), with champagne are, from left, Tom and Sandy Collins, part-time residents of Lac La Belle; Don Keith, Keweenaw County Board chair; Carol Rose, Keweenaw County commissioner and founder of Keweenaw Krayons; Jane Van Evera of Calumet; Jim Billings of Copper Harbor; and Felix and Virginia Fournier of Laurium. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"Baba au Rhum, mounded with fresh cut fruit effectively neutralizing the sweet cake, is a winter tradition in Nordic lands," Malcolm writes; and so he followed the tradition.**

The champagne was also part of an after-dinner toast to Malcolm, followed by nothing other than a standing ovation -- these last two additions added by a very joyful crowd of 90 or so guests. Winners of the silent auction -- based on donations from local business sponsors of the event -- were announced at this time.

Appreciative diners offer a toast to Chef Malcolm Hudson, standing, right, with his co-organizers, Peg Kauppi of the Mariner North and Sam Raymond, Copper Harbor Trails vice president and owner of the Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

It was an important event for the Mountain Lodge, which, up to now, has only been open in the warmer season. With the recent addition of the Conference Center, it will soon be open year round.

"This is really exciting," said Cormac Ronan, manager of the Lodge. "There's a lot of energy and a lot of support here tonight. All those folks are volunteering their time."

Darlene Bjorn, assistant manager and banquet manager of the Lodge, noted she, Carol Autio and Carolyn Stevens had decorated the Christmas tree in the dining room.

Darlene Bjorn, center, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge assistant manager and banquet manager, poses with Carol Stevens, left, and Sara Autio, next to the Christmas tree they decorated for this event -- the first Christmas tree ever in the Lodge. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"The three of us decorated the first Christmas tree ever at the Mountain Lodge," Bjorn said. "We bought it at the Mohawk Superette at 9 p.m. last night."

Paul and Bobbie Freshwater of Eagle Harbor sent some after-dinner comments on the feast via email:

"Our comment would be that 'Babette's Feast' was a tour de force by the Copper Country Trails Club and their supporters. The movie, introduced by Joe Kirkish in his usual engaging way, was a welcome change of pace from the 'faster and louder' film genre so popular today. And the recreation of the feast by Chef Malcolm Hudson was the culinary highlight of the season, for which he received a standing ovation at nearly midnight. The planning and hard work of the Trails Club and their supporters was evident by donations of food, labor and venue which cut their costs to almost nothing and yielded more than $9,000 in matching funds for trails grants. This exceptional evening, together with the day's earlier dedication of the new trails and the illumination of 50,000 holiday lights in Copper Harbor by Representative Mike Lahti, made us proud to live in Keweenaw!"

Actually, according to Sam Raymond, Copper Harbor Trails Club vice president and one of the event organizers, the total amount raised could exceed $10,000 once all has been tallied.

"When combining the proceeds from the dinner, silent auction and donations from people who could not attend, we should be in the neighborhood of +/- $10,000 by the time it's all squared away," Raymond said. "Definitely a great start to the fundraising campaign and a significant amount we can build upon!"

Carol Rose of Mohawk -- newly elected Keweenaw County Commissioner, artist, photographer and Keweenaw Krayons founder -- said her $100 for the dinner was an investment for future generations.

"I'm just so glad we're claiming the land for the people and making it accessible for the Keweenaw County residents and visitors," Rose said. "I could not NOT afford $100 toward a land trust for my children and grandchildren. I have four grown kids, so at Christmas time each one is going to get a card from me saying their gift is part of my contribution to preserve the land for them and my grandkids."

Avid mountain biker and Copper Harbor Trails Club board member Tony Schwenn, who volunteered with the wait staff, summed it up for his generation: "This is awesome, seeing all this going on."

Mac Marzke, a member of the Keweenaw County Trails and Recreation Committee, was equally enthusiastic.

"I think it's just a phenomenal event," Marzke said, "and probably the most rewarding is the sense of community that everyone has."

Christa Walck of Houghton commented on adding another memory of the Mountain Lodge to her Keweenaw experiences.

"I love the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge--it was the first place I ever stayed in the Keweenaw before I moved up here," Walck said. "It was wonderful to see it used for such a gala holiday fundraiser. We need more events like this to get people out."

Film buff and critic Joe Kirkish concluded the "Extraordinary Event" was so successful the idea of another similar evening for next year is burgeoning.

Table with candlelight at the end of "Babette's Feast." (Photo © 2008 Joe Kirkish. Reprinted with permission.)

"I have a few suggestions, from the hilarious, slightly naughty Like Water for Chocolate to the Japanese satire Tampopo," Kirkish said. "Wonder if Malcolm could top this one with one of them?"

Kirkish -- who, like many of the guests, spent the night in Copper Harbor rather than driving home -- said Malcolm could be found the next morning chatting with Lodge Manager Cormac Ronan at the Pines Restaurant.

"He was relaxed, still basking in the glory of his success and raring to try it all over again -- next year," Kirkish said.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the Trust Fund grant application is April 1, 2009. Anyone wishing to donate to the funds for the local match can send a check to the Copper Harbor Trails Club at the following address:

Copper Harbor Trails Club
Attention: Land Acquisition Fund
PO Box 37
Copper Harbor, MI 49918

Editor's Notes:

* See Part 1 of this series of two articles, "Copper Harbor's 'Extraordinary Event': Part 1, Trail Dedication," posted Dec. 15, 2008.

** Visit Malcolm Hudson's Web site, The Community Table, for more comments on his version of "Babette's Feast."

Thanks to photographers Joe Kirkish and Jillian Betterly of JB Photography for contributing some of their photos of this event. Visit Jillian's Web site to see more of her photos of "Babette's Feast." She is also currently featured on coppercountry.com.

The volunteer organizers of this event -- Malcolm Hudson, Peg Kauppi and Sam Raymond -- wish to thank the following volunteers:
Kitchen: Cory Osienczonek, Anitra Bennett, Jim Wescoat, Greg Mielcarz.
Bartenders: Jeff Gilmore, Don Kilpela, Jr.
Wait staff: Kristen Kauppi, Isabel Wescoat, Rachel Slagh, Amanda Weis, Alissa DuPuis, Sam Raymond, Aaron Rogers, Tony Schwenn, Brian Cygnan.
In-House Printing: Carol Meilahn.
Silent Auction: Diane Eshbach.
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Personnel: Cormac Ronan, Darlene Bjorn, Sara Autio, Karita Latvala, Steve Baasto.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hancock City Council to hold public hearing on land sale, hear report on sand / gravel survey Dec. 17

HANCOCK -- A PUBLIC HEARING on the proposed sale of a .21 acre parcel of City-owned land, which includes 54 feet of Portage Lake Frontage located along Navy Street, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, preceding the regular Hancock City Council meeting in the Council Chambers, City Hall. The parcel is located in Section 35, T55N, R34W; and the price is $40,500.

Also on the Agenda, as part of the Administrative Report, will be a presentation from Ron Haataja, PS Licensed Surveyor, on a gravel estimate process for Government Lot 5.

In October, the City received a letter from Patrick Thornton, president of Superior Sand and Gravel, Inc., concerning an agreement between the City of Hancock and Superior Sand and Gravel, Inc., in which the City agreed to sell and his company agreed to purchase material from a portion of Government Lot 5 located above the 730 ft. contour.

The area is included in what some Council members and many residents consider to be a park that includes a portion of Swedetown Creek. The agreement between the City and the company was made in 1980.*

Swedetown Creek, located in Government Lot 5. This photo was taken on Nov. 1, 2008, from the hiking trail on the west side of the creek near its mouth at the Portage Waterway. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

"Since it has now been determined that the material was never the city's to sell, it is our attorney's opinion that the City is in breach of its contract," Thornton writes in this letter, dated Oct. 22, 2008.

Thornton notes also in the letter that he instructed Haataja of Hitch, Inc., to survey the parcel in question before the onset of winter so that the results can be used in financial calculations. Thornton proposes sharing the cost of the survey with the City (Each would pay $1000).

In this Oct. 22 letter, Thornton states that is considering these options:

"1. Determine the value of our lost profit resulting from mining and selling the material and ask the City for that amount.

"2. Determine the value of our lost profit and apply it towards the acquisition of other property within the City."

Thornton also says in the letter he is open to discussing other suggestions.

A letter from Hitch, Inc., dated Oct. 20, 2008 states that they understand both Superior Sand and Gravel and the City of Hancock would like to know the volume of material above the 730 foot contour line in Government Lot 5, Sec. 28, T55N R34W.

At their Nov. 19, 2008, meeting the Hancock City Council approved a motion to invite Haataja to the December meeting to discuss the survey, scope of work and content of the report.

The Agenda for the Dec. 17 meeting also includes an item that the Council consider participating with Superior Sand and Gravel for ½ cost of the gravel material survey for Government Lot 5.

For several months citizens have been waiting for the City Council to act on the Council's Swedetown Creek Ad Hoc Committee recommendation that Government Lot 5 be recognized as a park.

At the Nov. 19, 2008, Hancock City Council meeting students from Heather Bradway's Hancock Middle School science class present a report on their study of the water quality and environmental aspects of Swedetown Creek this fall. Their slide reads: "How Does This Affect us? What we do in the Swedetown Creek watershed will also affect Lake Superior and eventually the entire Great Lakes watershed." Council members Lisa McKenzie and Tom Gemignani are pictured at left. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Last May, Lori Underwood, Land Use specialist for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), wrote to Councilor Tom Gemignani, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, stating, "The State of Michigan retained the mineral rights for this parcel, including sand and gravel, as described in the enclosed (1941) deed. In 2003 when the reverter clause on the public use deed was released, the minerals were not included. As such, any sand and gravel, or other mineral extraction, will require approval from the Department of Natural Resources."

At that time, Thornton told Keweenaw Now he was not aware of the DNR letter. He did express his willingness to work with the community and his support of recreational activities near Swedetown Creek.*

Council members Lisa McKenzie and Tom Gemignani, both members of the Ad Hoc Committee, have said that the Council has been reluctant to vote on confirming the park status of Government Lot 5 because of the sand and gravel issue and also some ownership issues concerning a house and a shed located on the property.

The Hancock City Council discussed the Swedetown Creek/ Government Lot 5 issue in a closed session, but they have not released the content of that discussion to the public.

According to City Manager Glenn Anderson, release of that information would require a vote of the Council.

Editor's Notes: * For background on the Swedetown Creek / sand and gravel issue, see our May 20, 2008, article "Hancock's Swedetown Creek 'issues' include mineral rights."

Newly elected Hancock City Council Member John Slivon, representing Ward III, expressed his strong concern for conserving public recreation land in Hancock, giving the example of the Government Lot 5 issue, in a
Viewpoint article published on Oct. 28, 2008 on Keweenaw Now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Copper Harbor's "Extraordinary Event": Part 1, Trail Dedication

By Michele Bourdieu

On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, State Representative Mike Lahti cuts the ribbon for the dedication of a new 9 K cross-country ski trail near the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Also pictured, from left, are Keweenaw County commissioners Don Keith, Carol Rose and Frank Stubenrauch; former State Representative Paul Tesanovich, representing State Sen. Mike Prusi; and Dr. Steve Rowe, trail designer and builder. In the background, from left, are Don Kauppi, Keweenaw County Trails and Recreation Committee chairman; Sharon Lahti; and Tom Collins, board member of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District. The event marks the beginning of a fundraising effort to acquire a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for acquisition of 1900 acres of recreational land in Keweenaw County. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

COPPER HARBOR -- The "Extraordinary Event" to kick off fundraising for the purpose of acquiring, through a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, 1900 acres of land for recreational trails near the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge began with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 13. The dedication took place at the trailhead of a new cross-country ski trail built near the Lodge this summer.

Acquisition of this land is contingent on a Trust Fund grant worth more than $800,000, 25 percent of which needs to be raised by the local community. The trail dedication preceded a fundraising dinner, "Babette's Feast," modeled on the film of that title and prepared by Chef Malcolm Hudson and a volunteer community staff.*

In the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge kitchen, Chef Malcolm Hudson prepares a foie gras stuffing for Quail in Puff Pastry with Truffles and Foie Gras, the main course of the very French $100-a-plate fundraising dinner that followed the trail dedication on Dec. 13. Watch for a STORY ON THE DINNER, coming soon. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

State Representative Mike Lahti was on hand to cut the ribbon, officially opening a 9-kilometer cross-country ski trail, six kilometers of which are in the woods and three on the golf course. The trail has five loops.

"It's another big day for the Keweenaw," Lahti said. "What they do in Keweenaw County really makes the Keweenaw a great place to live and a great place for tourists to visit. It's a beautiful setting here -- a 9-K course. It's set up well."

Lahti expressed thanks to the builders of the trail, particularly Dr. Steve Rowe, who designed and built it this past summer.

After a quick ski on the new trail, Dr. Steve Rowe, second from left, designer and builder of the trail, and Sam Raymond, left, vice president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club, chat with State Rep. Mike Lahti, right, and Keweenaw County Commission Chair Don Keith during the dedication of the new trail near the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"It's going to be another attraction for winter business here in Keweenaw County and for our whole area," Lahti added. "It's nice to be here for this dedication."

The symbolic ribbon cutting represents the potential of purchasing -- for additional silent sports trails -- an area of land located primarily between the Mountain Lodge, owned by Keweenaw County, and the State-owned land at Lake Manganese. It includes about 93 acres of land currently owned by the Fort Wilkins Gardens Conservancy. The proposed trails will be used for hiking and mountain biking in the non-snow months and cross-country skiing (both classic and eventually skate-ski trails) and snowshoeing in winter.

Former State Representative Paul Tesanovich represented State Senator Mike Prusi at the trail dedication.

"I work for Senator Mike Prusi," Tesanovich said, "and I just like coming up here."

Tesanovich, now a resident of Herman, near Baraga, Mich., noted he first came to the area in the spring of 1976, when he worked at the Mountain Lodge cleaning cabins, weeding the garden, raking and getting the golf course ready -- and fighting black flies.

Originally from Gary, Ind., Tesanovich said he knew then that he wanted to live in the Upper Peninsula. Eventually he was employed by Michigan Tech University and served as District 110 Representative in the 1990s, the position later held by Rich Brown (D-Bessemer) and presently by Mike Lahti (D-Hancock).

Three Keweenaw County Commissioners -- Don Keith, County Board chair, and Commissioners Frank Stubenrauch and Carol Rose -- were on hand for the dedication.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Stubenrauch warm up in the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge as they await the trail dedication ceremony on Dec. 13. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Stubenrauch said he wanted to commend all the volunteers who put so much work into building the trail.

"I hope they get a lot of use since they've put a lot of effort into it," he noted.

Sue Ellen Kingsley and Terry Kinzel of Hancock Township, both avid cross-country skiers and owners of the Churning Rapids trail at Maasto Hiihto, skied on the new Copper Harbor trail on Dec. 13 and attended the dedication and dinner celebration.

"The trails are wonderful," Kingsley said, "narrow enough that you feel you're enclosed by the woods and you're eager to see what's around the next curve; and at the same time the curves are never too difficult (no sudden turns at the bottom of inclines); and the hills are exhilarating, never overwhelming. We were lucky that Saturday was pretty still, which meant that the perimeter trail around the golf course was clear. If there's a wind, I'm sure it would be covered with snow, but it has a nice long hill out in the open that was delightful that day. Steve Rowe has done a tremendous job laying out these trails and we thank him."

The trails also accommodate beginning or novice skiers, according to Gina Nicholas, board member of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District, who skied there with her family on Dec. 13.

"Rex, Nick and I skied some of the new trails on Saturday," Nicholas said. "It was Nick's first time out and my first time in 15 years or so. The trails were beautiful, and even as novices we all had great fun. As soon as we finished, Nick was asking when we could do it again."

Jay Green, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club board member, who also skied the trail on Dec. 13, noted "no real steep ups or downs except one down swoop on an open section of the trail; mostly nice rolling terrain, perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers."

The Copper Harbor Trails Club is working with Keweenaw County on the Trust Fund grant application and fundraising for the match.

Aaron Rogers of Copper Harbor, the Club's president and summer trails coordinator, said he designs and builds all the hiking and biking trails (separate from the ski trails built by Steve Rowe). Rogers is the Club's sole paid employee and works full-time.

Aaron Rogers, Copper Harbor Trails Club president, points to an area on the map that potentially would include more recreational trails, should the Trust Fund grant make the land acquistion possible. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"I'm a snowboarder," Rogers said. "I do cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In the summer I'm a mountain biker by choice."

Rogers said the club now has 150 members, most of them from outside the area.

"We've been building our mountain bike customer base in the last few years," Rogers explained. "The mountain bike population has grown exponentially in the last two years."

Rogers said the mountain bike trails are used for snowshoeing in the winter.

Lori Hauswirth, associate planner for the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) and also a member of the Copper Harbor Trails Club, is assisting with the grant application process. She mentioned that volunteers from outside the area also help with trail building; for example, a trail care crew from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) built a trail near Copper Harbor last summer.

"They did a two-day trail-building school here," Hauswirth said. "It included a classroom session at the Copper Harbor Community Center and a trail-building session at the Michigan Nature Association Garden Brook Preserve."

Houswirth noted the group re-routed an existing trail between the Mountain Lodge and Copper Harbor so it would be more sustainable.**

Meg Vivian North, former Grant Township supervisor, who teaches science at the Horizons High School in Mohawk, praised the work of the Copper Harbor Trails Club.

"As a resident of copper Harbor I've seen what the Trails Club has done for Copper Harbor," North said. "When I'm skiing or hiking on the trails, there's never really enough of an opportunity to say thanks; and to be part of an evening like this gives you a chance to do just that. They're responsible for the trails that allow me to step out the back door and enjoy the Keweenaw on skis, and that is pretty much my dream. That is why we live here."

Tom Collins, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Board member, and his wife Sandy also attended the ribbon cutting for the new trail. They are part-time residents of Keweenaw County, spending much time in Lac La Belle.

"Hopefully it's the beginning of a wonderful start to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge winterization project and promotion," Tom Collins said.

"And," added Sandy, "enjoying our beautiful Keweenaw."

Cormac Ronan, manager of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, said the goal is to have the Lodge open year round. Right now the Lodge is open during the day on weekends -- from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through December and January. Some menu items and hot drinks will be available.

"We're doing that to test the waters," Ronan said. "The trails will be open seven days a week -- as late as people want to ski. Those trails are beautiful. I walked the trails when Steve was building them this summer."

Dan Dalquist of Hancock, president (for life) of the Keweenaw Trekkers, a group that meets weekly for cycling or snowshoeing, also commented on the Copper Harbor trails.

"We really are blessed with a marvelous system of trails," Dalquist said. "What's happened to Copper Harbor in the last five years is amazing. "We've got a world-class system of trails for year-round access -- biking, snowshoeing, all that fun stuff."

Anyone who wishes to support the future the Copper Harbor Human-Powered Trail System (for silent sports) with a donation to secure land acquistion projects, please send contributions to:

Copper Harbor Trails Club
Attention: Land Acquisition Fund
PO Box 37
Copper Harbor, MI 49918

Editor's Notes:

*Watch for Part 2 of Copper Harbor's "Extraordinary Event," an article coming soon, on Malcolm Hudson's $100-a-plate fundraising dinner served at the Mountain Lodge the evening of Dec. 13.

** See photos of the IMBA trail building session in Copper Harbor on the IMBA Web site. Visit the Copper Harbor Trails Club Web site for more information about the trails and the Club's activities.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

American Red Cross: Letter of Thanks to donors for Haiti

Editor's Note: At the request of Michigan Tech's NOSOTROS organization, Keweenaw Now reprints this letter of thanks to those who contributed to the American Red Cross for Haitian hurricane relief this fall through the NOSOTROS fundraiser. The list of donors follows the letter.

From the American Red Cross
Together, we can save a life
November 10, 2008

NOSOTROS
Michigan Technological University
c/o Jessie Vital
1400 Townsend Drive, 106 MUB
Houghton, MI 49931

Dear NOSOTROS:

Since late August, major storms -- including Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike -- have drenched Haiti. These storms claimed lives, blocked roads and destroyed scarce farmland. Through this donation, NOSOTROS is helping the American Red Cross and our partner, the Haitian National Red Cross Society, work to meet the urgent needs of survivors including water, food, medical assistance and shelter.

Thank you for your generous gift of $1,500 to the American Red Cross on September 25, 2008, which will help provide relief in Haiti from the destruction caused by this succession of storms. This contribution enables the Red Cross to offer three types of help: staff, supplies and financial assistance. We deployed disaster relief specialists to lead an international team to conduct assessments and provide relief supplies -- hygiene kits, buckets, mosquito nets, and kitchen sets -- from our pre-positioned stocks in Panama. We are also contributing financial support to purchase and distribute shelter kits and replenish the warehouse stocks, so that we can be prepared for the next disaster to strike the Caribbean.

The American Red Cross has a long history of working with the Haitian National Red Cross Society. We worked together during disasters including Hurricane Jeanne that claimed 3,000 lives in Gonaives, which has again been devastated by the recent storms. We also work together to lead health programs, including fighting malaria. Our 15-person office in Haiti makes this work and our close partnership possible.

Your compassion will help us deliver relief to those in Haiti who need it most in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. Thank you for helping the American Red Cross to provide comfort and hope.

Sincerely,

Lauri Rhinehart
Vice President, Development Operations

This letter serves as the tax receipt for your gift. The American Red Cross is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code for 1984, as amended. Our tax identification number is 53-0196605. Adequate records will be maintained and made available to the IRS upon request. In accordance with IRS regulations, no goods or services were provided by the American Red Cross as part of this contribution. Your gift may be recognized in future Red Cross publications. If you prefer your gift to remain anonymous, or have questions about your gift's designation, or would like to learn more about the services that the Red Cross is committed to providing, please call 1-800-797-8022.

List of Donors to whom this letter is addressed:

Forestry, Amanda, Weiwei Mo, Colin Casey, Madhu Vahle, Jeff Hilss, Rudiger Escobar, Alejandro Otero, Klaydson Celino, Jerin Varghese, Silvia Espino, Jennifer Fernandez, Haobo Ma, Essa Gross, Alex Herescu, Luis Blau, Cara Shonsey, Sean Heath, Adam Salzer, Wayne Abraham, Robert Van Selus, Jing Liu, Ananyo Bandyopadhyay, Scott Yager, Timothy Eisele, Jeff Valensky, Joe Burnett, Anna Colvin, Brian and Rima Carlson, George Dewey, Miriam Sanchez Rios, Joe Hernandez, Pedro Augusto, Lakshman Kumar Vanga, Seth, Jascha Doke, Reena Thomas, Brian Weisner, Jason Keith, Collen, P. Murth, L. Bohmann, Xi Lin Csissi, H. Nunnemacher, J. Perlinger, Qiaoyu Lu, Sam Clancey, David Watkins, Sean Bulger, Animish, Gloria Melton, Lago Lucas, Liu Chen, Aly Farahat, Dominic Winkelman, SherAaron Hurt, Chen Li, Henry, Lijuan Xie, Pat Heiden, Nahir Amitabh, Mahesh Gupta, Gujarathi Rohit, Sunand Santhanagopalan, Michele Bourdieu, Linda Belote, Mark and Lauren Rowe, Leland, May Kim, Shazeu Rizvi, Ashley Johnson, Adam Coursin, Lakshmi Krishna, Atakan Altinkaynak, Abbygaiel Blair, Terry McNinch, Shreenari, William Rose, Tomisin Haastrup, Zhengming Li, Dave Fritz, Rudy Luck, Patty Lins, Na Hu, Ruben Otoniel Matias Gomez, African Student Organizations, Martin Auer, Asheshinde, Roco Garcia and Jorge Kurita, Yeliana, Toro Vegara Claudia, Lapite Ayola, Fernandez Anton Clara, Tarte Andres, Pintar, Bethany Broeders, Julio Rivera, and several anonymous donors.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MTU Indian Student Association holds vigil for Mumbai victims

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Indian Student Association held a vigil Thursday evening, Dec. 11, to offer condolences to the families of those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai (formerly Bombay, India), and to show their support for peace.

video

During the Dec. 11 vigil in MTU's Memorial Union Building Commons, students from the MTU Indian Student Association show photos of some effects of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Video © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)


Participants heard testimonials from students who spoke of their reactions to the tragedy. Some were from Mumbai and have family members there.

One student mentioned his wish that "the power of love" could replace "the love of power."

Students showed photos of the evidence of the terrorist attacks, and participants lit candles and held a moment of silence in memory of the victims.

Participants light candles during the vigil for Mumbai victims. (Photos © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Mahesh Gupta, MTU professor of mechanical engineering and faculty advisor for the Indian Student Association, said more than 200 students from India attend Michigan Tech. Gupta spoke at the end of the vigil, thanking those who participated for their solidarity at this tragic time.

Mahesh Gupta, MTU professor of mechanical engineering and faculty advisor for the Indian Student Association, speaks during the Dec. 11 vigil for victims in Mumbai.

According to various news reports, more than 100 people, many of them foreigners, were killed and nearly 300 injured during the Nov. 26-28 attacks, blamed on Muslim militants whose guns and grenades targeted two luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station, a Jewish center, a movie theater and a hospital. The terrorists also took hostages at gunpoint.*

Glenn Mroz, Michigan Tech University president, and Lesley Lovett-Doust, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, both attended the vigil.

* See articles in the New York Times and on MSNBC.

Stupak supports bridge loans for automakers; House-passed bill now awaits Senate action

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) voted to provide $14 billion in bridge loans for the Big 3 domestic automakers to help them weather the current credit crunch and financial crisis. H.R. 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 10 by a vote of 237-170 after more than five weeks of negotiations between Congress, the White House, auto executives and labor leaders.

"These loans are critical for the survival of our domestic automakers, our entire manufacturing sector and the American middle class," Stupak said. "The bill passed today not only provides immediate loans for the Big 3, but also requires a commitment on the part of auto industry executives, employees, labor unions, dealers, suppliers, creditors and shareholders to participate in the restructuring efforts that will ensure the long-term viability of an industry that helped create this nation’s middle class."

In the 1st Congressional District, the dramatic drop in demand for new cars and trucks is already taking a toll on the steel industry and parts suppliers. Reduced demand for iron ore to produce steel for the automakers has led to the layoff of 350 workers at Cliffs Natural Resources’ Tilden and Empire mines in Marquette County. The closure of the Dura Automotive Systems plant in Antrim County, layoffs at Lexamar in Boyne City, Northern Tool in Mio, H and H Tube in Cheboygan and more than a dozen other suppliers to the automakers across northern Michigan are the result of the current economic crisis.

"These bridge loans will help mitigate the loss of auto-related jobs in the 1st District," Stupak said. "It is my hope that, as the automakers implement restructuring plans and the economy improves, these loans will have laid the groundwork for the recall of laid-off workers and the creation of new jobs."

One in 10 American jobs are linked to the auto industry, with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors supporting about five million American jobs. More than one million American workers and retirees are directly employed or supported by the major automakers, with two million Americans receiving health care benefits through the auto industry. An estimated three million jobs would be lost in the first year if the American automakers collapsed -- nearly three times the jobs lost nationwide this year.

The Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research estimates that inaction by Congress would cost the American taxpayers more than the $15 billion bridge loans. The loss of an estimated 2.5 million jobs over the next year from the collapse of the domestic auto industry would cost government at all levels $50 billion next year and $108 billion over the next three years.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Stupak said. "We cannot sit back and witness the collapse of an iconic American industry that has helped drive the American economy through good times and bad, particularly while the Treasury Department continues to handout hundreds of billions of dollars to the financial sector. The bill passed today is a loan, not a bailout. It includes strong protections for the taxpayers, and I have every confidence the loans will be paid back. The result of these bridge loans will be a stronger auto industry and a stronger American economy."

H.R. 7321 calls for the creation of an "auto czar" to administer the loan program. Taxpayers will receive stock or other financial stake in the companies receiving the loans. The bill prohibits golden parachutes for executives and eliminates bonuses for the 25 highest paid employees at the companies receiving loans. All other financial obligations and liabilities of companies receiving the loans will be subordinate to the loan, the taxpayers being given first priority for repayment.

The bill passed the House and awaits action in the Senate, where it could be considered as early as Thursday, Dec. 11. The White House has indicated its support for the legislation.

Visit Congressman Stupak’s web site at www.house.gov/stupak.

Viewpoint: No "bailouts" to irresponsible companies

By Steven Johnson, Portage Township

Author's Note: Below is a copy of an email sent to U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, Governor Jennifer Granholm and State Representative Mike Lahti.

I am writing to you because I am one of the voting constituents who put you into office to represent me as a citizen of the United States and of the State of Michigan and also because I cannot any longer, in conscience, refrain from expressing myself at the reprehensible behavior occurring in the nation’s Capitol. I am referring specifically to the entire frenzy of "bailouts" being done in the pretense of stabilizing our economy.

Not really so long ago persons in public office were elected to serve as public servants. My greatest concern is that it appears that without exception we are no longer being led by men and women of principle, but rather of political expediency.

I meet no one who agrees with this "rescue" fiasco. The universal opinion seems to be to let the fiscally irresponsible companies and individuals declare bankruptcy and learn a hard but lasting lesson -- and to allow the remaining companies who have been more responsible to absorb the business. The government should not buy or run businesses (how can they, in view of the way they conduct themselves fiscally already?). And failing businesses that come looking for a bailout should be told NO -- on principle.

The solution to any problem never was more of the same. Fiscal irresponsibility will not be solved by the government doing the same, just on a bigger scale. The abandon with which you are spending our hard-earned tax dollars and our financial futures, with pride, on anyone who has already proven that they cannot or will not conduct themselves accountably is sickening.

The government has no business acting like a bank. It is the purpose of government, at all levels, to diligently protect the citizens in their inalienable rights -- NOT to dispense privileges. Your entire power is granted by the people to be used for the entirety of the people and not for special interests.

Who will "bail out" this great country when you have sold it down the tubes?

It is my opinion that any representative who votes for a bailout should be removed from office for overstepping their bounds and acting in a most irresponsible manner to the detriment of those people and principles they were chosen to represent. I will be watching to see how you vote on these issues.

Since you seem to be able to come up with billions or trillions of dollars in the midst of one of the worst recessions this country has ever faced, I do not want to EVER hear, for the rest of my life, that any of you claim you cannot fund the defense of this people -- your first and only designated purpose -- in their rights and liberties.

If you are personally so concerned about these failing companies, I would suggest that you donate whatever part of your salary you can to assist them. Do NOT give away my tax money with which you have been entrusted. DO reinstate strict accountability both for yourselves and anyone else in positions of power, so that the right and true principles upon which this great nation was once founded will be upheld and honored once again.

Editor's Note: Viewpoint columns posted at the request of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Keweenaw Now.