Friday, February 08, 2008

Dracula, Frankenstein's monster inspire MTU Winter Carnival snow statue winners

HANCOCK, HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's 2008 Winter Carnival theme, "Frightful Creatures with Chilling Features," inspired some creative snow and ice sculptures with scary monsters, werewolves, vampires and more.

Phi Kappa Tau's scenes from the world of Dracula captured first place in the fraternity division of Michigan Tech's 2008 Winter Carnival snow statue competition. The fraternity's creation is located on M-203 in Hancock. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Phi Kappa Tau's elaborate sculpture of a scenes from Dracula won first place in the month-long fraternity competition. Icy bats and a captured monster in a cage are among the impressive details of this winner, located on M-203 in Hancock.

This captured werewolf is bending the bars of his icy cage, an impressive detail of Phi Kappa Tau's winning snow sculpture in Hancock. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

In the women's group category, Alpha Gamma Delta's icy interpretation of Frankenstein's laboratory grabbed first place. The elaborate scene, "Frankenstein's Creature From Long Ago Comes Alive Again in Snow," is located in front of the Walker Arts and Humanities Center on Michigan Tech's campus.

It depicts the awakening of Frankenstein's creature in a lab adorned with bottles of chemicals crafted from pure ice.

For more results of the statue competition see the article on Tech Today.

Visit the Winter Carnival Web site for photos, videos and more info on the Winter Carnival, sponsored by Blue Key Honor Fraternity.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Michigan Nature Association to lead snowshoe, ski trips in Keweenaw sanctuaries Feb. 9, 16

HANCOCK -- Join a Michigan Nature Association sanctuary steward on an exploration of two Keweenaw sanctuaries in winter on two Saturdays, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.

The first will be a Snowshoe Hike into Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Meet at the trailhead on M-26, about 1.5 miles north of the Jam Pot, across from Great Sand Bay and a few miles south of Eagle Harbor. Parking is available 1/8th mile further at the turn-out overview.

A view of Great Sand Bay in winter. (Photo © 2008 and courtesy Charles Eshbach)

This beautiful 1-mile loop trail takes you through the Red Pine covered dunes of Great Sand Bay, down along the dune ponds, then up a grand dune to a magnificent view east to Brockway Mountain. It's short, easy, and scenic. Bring a thermos and a snack to enjoy as you admire the view.

"The Redwyn Dunes snowshoe at Great Sand Bay should be attractive to the casual snowshoe hiker who maybe isn't in the best physical shape," says MNA's Charles Eshbach, who will be leading the snowshoe hike. "This trail is gently rolling over old sand dunes. The weather will be cold (teens) so that will help us older folks from over heating. It will be a great time."

Those who prefer a ski adventure can join MNA's Cross-Country Ski Trip into the Estivant Pines at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Meet at 11 a.m. at the end of Lake Fanny Hooe Rd. near Copper Harbor.

"The Estivant Ski Trip is a nice workout for most occasional skiers," Eshbach notes. "It is a very gradual climb from Lake Fanny Hooe to the Estivant Pines on the snowmobile trail / road, then one mile of twisty up and down trail through the old giants. Then a beautiful glide back down to Copper Harbor."

This 5-mile, round-trip adventure will take you into the wilderness sanctuary where the solitude is deafening, as you ski through the ancient white pine in their winter dress. Bring a lunch and don't forget your layers as it is warm going up and cool coming down. It's moderate in difficulty as we negotiate the easiest loop trail.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Jim Denomie: Recent Work" opens at Finlandia Gallery Feb. 7

HANCOCK – A reception for Minnesota Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock's Finnish American Heritage Center. "Jim Denomie: Recent Work" will be on display in the Gallery through March 19.

"Untitled" by Jim Denomie. Oil on canvas, 2005. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. Denomie, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe, will present a slide lecture about his work in the theatre adjacent to the gallery. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

This is Denomie’s second visit to Finlandia University. In 2004 he participated in a brief visiting artist program.

"Although I was raised in Minneapolis, I always went back to the reservation for summer and winter breaks and stayed with my grand parents," Denomie says. "I am still strongly connected to my reservation and other Indian communities in the area by my many friends and relatives."

"Untitled" by Jim Denomie. Oil on canvas, 2005. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

In 2005 Denomie embarked on a "Painting-a-Day" project, creating a painting every day of the year, resulting in over 430 small-scale works, of which approximately 300 are portraits. He calls the series "Rugged Indians"; and together the series reflects the powerful shifts of thought, emotion and events that mark daily life.

"During the Painting-a-Day project, I fell in love with portraiture but also tried a number of other ideas and subjects," says Denomie. "I will probably always do some portraits here and there, but I also intend to work on large canvases involving storytelling in the future. And I will always listen to new ideas that float my way and hopefully I will continue to evolve."

Artist Jim Denomie in his studio. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

These quick studies of the face, the portal into the expressive and complex nature of an individual, are usually completed within 15 to 30 minutes.

What can you express about an individual in such a short time? In a 2005 article for, "Finding the New Country in the Old," Lightsey Darst describes the power of Denomie’s brushwork.

"He does not try to create a perfect work of art; instead he lets himself play with the paint. He uses the colors already on the palette or adds new ones based on his mood. Daily surges of emotion affect the work, sometimes directly -- one day’s face is grinning, another sour, one yelling (after the Red Lake shooting) -- but more often indirectly: the faces evolve their own personalities, their own neutral but suggestive expressions, so that looking at many of the faces at once is like staring into a crowd of strangers."

Jim Denomie received a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Minnesota in 1995. His work has been widely exhibited, most recently in solo exhibits at the Bockley Gallery of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Westphalian Museum of Natural History in West Germany, the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota and the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m., or by appointment. Please call 487-7500 for more information.

* For the text of this article, visit

DNR to make recommendation on Kennecott mining lease Feb. 7

MARQUETTE -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company (KEMC), which is seeking permits for a nickel and copper sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains near Marquette, recently met to discuss the requested information on Kennecott's Land Use Lease and Mining and Reclamation Plan.

According to Tom Wellman of the DNR's Mineral and Land Management Section, "The DNR has issued a letter to Kennecott…whereby it will recommend an approval of an amended Mining and Reclamation Plan and Surface Use Lease to the Director (Rebecca Humphries) for the February 7, 2008, Natural Resources Commission Meeting."

According to Save the Wild UP, this is only a recommendation and no official action has been taken.

The Feb. 7 Natural Resources Commission Meeting will be held at the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, 4125 Beaumont Road, Lansing.

See the updated agenda for that meeting.

Michelle Halley of the National Wildlife Federation explains, "While DNR staff continue to recommend that Director Humphries approve KEMC's surface use lease request, we urge you to let her know that this policy decision is in her hands. Sacrificing public land as corporate welfare is not acceptable to Michiganders. Please, write or call Director Humphries and urge her to protect our public lands for public use!"

At the January 10, 2008, Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing, the Michigan DNR announced that it was delaying its decision on approving a surface use lease for 120 acres of public land for 35 years, requested by Kennecott for the proposed sulfide mine near Marquette. The MDNR decision is the second part of the State approvals required for the mining operations. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has already announced its approval of Kennecott’s permit to develop the sulfide mine. On December 21, 2007, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Huron Mountain Club and Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve announced they were filing a contested case petition and a lawsuit against MDEQ as the first step in a legal challenge to halt the mine.

See the Michigan DNR Web site for documents related to Kennecott's application for a surface use lease on state land.

You may express your views to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries at

Editor's Note: This information was received through Save the Wild UP. For more information and related news visit their Web site.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ski for Heart fundraiser offers family fun Feb. 9; volunteers needed

CALUMET -- The annual "Ski For The Heart of Our Community" fundraiser, which includes cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calumet.

Participants (from left) Jaqueline Mace, Mary Herlevich, and Joan Hosafros test their snowshoes as they get ready to rack up kilometers during the "Ski, or Snowshoe, For the Heart of Our Community" event to be held Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Swedetown Trails in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Lois Berg)

The money raised will benefit two local non-profits, Omega House and the Copper Island Cross Country Ski Club.

Omega House funds will continue to provide much needed hospice care to local residents, while the money for the Copper Island Ski Club will help maintain their chalet and beautiful network of trails in Calumet.

"This is a great way to get yourself and your family outdoors during mid-winter," said Lois Berg, one of the event organizers. "Besides fresh air and exercise, participants will be treated to food and drinks, along with t-shirts and door prizes. The Swedetown Trails are beautifully groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing as well as for snowshoeing. We encourage children and adults to come out for a fun day."

Participants of all ages can cross-country ski or snowshoe individually or join a team. Donations are collected in advance and turned in during registration the day of the event. For more information and registration materials call Omega House at 906-482-4438. Registration materials can also be obtained at the Swedetown Chalet. Hours are 12 p.m. - 8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday through Tuesday.

Everything is set for the Ski for Heart event except lining up CHALET VOLUNTEERS, who are needed for two shifts: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The first shift will be doing lots of registering, and the second shift will include clean up. Both have the potential for lots of good eating. If you want to work one of these shifts please contact LOIS BERG at 482-5960 or