Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great Bear Chase photos: some winners

Skiers set off for the start of the 2008 Great Bear Chase races on Sunday, March 9, in Calumet. The classic and freestyle races combined attracted 472 skiers. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2008 Adam Johnson of Reprinted with permission.)

CALUMET -- Skiing conditions were excellent and the turnout was great for the 28th Annual River Valley State Bank Great Bear Chase cross-country skiing races Sunday, Mar. 9, 2008, at Swedetown Trails in Calumet. The 26-km Classic and 26- and 50-km Freestyle races combined attracted 472 skiers -- mostly from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Brittany Drengler, 17, of Wausau, Wis., is all smiles after her first-place win in the women's 26-km Classic race. Her time was 01:29:14.6. The finish of the race was again on Fifth Street in downtown Calumet. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

"Conditions were fantastic," said race coordinator Dave Mayo-Keily. "Swedetown groomers: Dave T-11, Steve R and Pat S did a wonderful job of creating a perfect course. Nothing but rave reviews from skiers."

Mayo-Keily also expressed appreciation for the many volunteers who made the race a success.

"Overall the event was a huge success," he said. "Volunteers are a big reason for that. We utilized probably over 100 volunteers to put on the race, and without them it simply wouldn’t happen."

Anders Osthus, 25, of Duluth, Minn., heads for a number-one finish in the men's classic 26-km Classic race. His time was 01:11:07.4. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Jared Cregg, 19, of Houghton, finishes second in the men's 26-km Classic. His time was 01:14:00.2. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Justin Young, 20, right, of Green Bay, Wis., takes third place in the men's 26-km Classic, followed very closely by Scott Nesvold, 40, of Washburn, Wis., who was fourth in the race. The time recorded for both was 01:16:09.8. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Another Copper Country native son, Ryan Tervo, 20, of Chassell, glides in for a fifth-place finish in the men's 26-km Classic. His time was 01:18:15.8. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Daniel Putman, 17, of Green Bay, one of the youngest winners, heads for a sixth place in the 26-km men's Classic race. Putman's time was 01:19:43.0. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Answea Lundberg, 18, of Roseville, Minn., takes seventh place in the 26-km men's Classic with a time of 01:20:05.6. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Jim Mullen, 51, right, of Hazelhurst, Wis., heads for ninth place in the 26-km men's Classic, with a time of 01:21:3.6. Behind him, but a few seconds faster is Jukka Lyly-yrjanainen, 42, of Elk Grove Village, Il, who finished eighth with a time of 01:20:56.8. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

At the Finish on Calumet's historic Fifth Street, the atmosphere is festive. Roberta Kozloski, left, celebrates the finish with Christine Demerath. Both from Green Bay, they skied in the 26-km Freestyle race. Demerath placed fourth in her age group, and Kozloski fifth. Both had a recorded time of 01:46:30.2. In the background is the Keweenaw Heritage Center (former St. Anne's Church) where skiers were served refreshments. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Frank Fiala, owner of the newly opened Fifth and Elm Coffee House, welcomed skiers and spectators needing good, hot coffee, espresso drinks or a snack during and after the race. Later that day, Fiala volunteered to help with the traditional skiers' spaghetti dinner. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

The Fifth and Elm Coffee House (at the corner of Fifth and Elm streets, of course) is located just around the corner from the Calumet Theatre. Owner Frank Fiala recently restored a former gas station building to create the new café. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

For complete results of the Bear Chase race visit the Bear Chase Web site.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Katie Alvord accepts journalism award for climate change articles on Keweenaw Now

HOUGHTON -- Freelance journalist Katie Alvord of Houghton recently accepted her $3000 Award for Excellence in Online Reporting for her series of articles on climate change in the Lake Superior basin, which appeared on Keweenaw Now last summer.

Katie Alvord accepts her Award for Excellence in Online Reporting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts during the Annual Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Alvord received the $3000 cash award from AAAS for a series of articles on climate change in the Lake Superior Basin, published on Keweenaw Now. Also pictured is Peter Spotts of the Christian Science Monitor, MC for the awards ceremony. (Photo © Michael J. Colella. for AAAS.)

The awards were presented at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Journalism Awards ceremony held on Feb. 15, 2008, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum is a few blocks from the convention center where the AAAS Annual Conference was headquartered. Nine to ten thousand writers and scientists attended the conference.

"It's a real boost to get this kind of recognition," Alvord said. "I'm very grateful to AAAS and to the many researchers who generously shared their time and information as I was writing this series."

Against a backdrop of Renaissance art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Katie Alvord gives an acceptance speech to a crowd of writers and scientists at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Journalism Awards ceremony on Feb. 15, 2008. (Photo © Michael J. Colella. for AAAS.)

The awards were first announced last November. As the Keweenaw Now blog reported at that time, the press release for the awards mentioned Keweenaw Now as the publisher of Alvord's three articles, stating, "In a solid example of localized science reporting for a community-based Web site, freelance writer Alvord described the potential local impacts of global warming on a local Michigan community."*

The three articles, illustrated by photos, can still be found on the archived Keweenaw Now site.

In the first article, "Lake Superior warming fast: Researchers surprised by strong trends," published on May 7, 2007, and updated on July 10 and July 15, 2007, Alvord quoted researchers from the University of Minnesota at Duluth on the rapid rise in Lake Superior's average summer surface temperature. Their data showed not only that the lake has become warmer, windier and less icy since 1980, but also that its surface waters have warmed twice as fast as the region’s air. The article also discusses the effects of the lake's declining ice on the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study, the lower lake levels reported at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and studies of Lake Superior's CO2 emissions by scientists at Michigan Tech University.

In the second article, "Lake Superior Basin feeling heat: Part 2," published June 3, 2007, and Updated July 15, 2007, Alvord reports scientific findings concerning the effects of warming temperatures on the wolf and moose of Isle Royale, various small mammals found in the Upper Peninsula, migrating birds and even microscopic plankton.

Finally, in "Businesses feel the heat: Lake Superior warms up, part 3," published on June 30, 2007, and updated July 15, 2007, Alvord cites the effects of warmer winters on Keweenaw tourism and sports -- from snowmobiling to skiing to mountain biking. She interviewed some local bikers who, because of warm temperatures and lack of snow, chose mountain biking as an alternative to snowshoeing in Copper Harbor on New Year's Day, 2007. Alvord also mentions some efforts of local residents to invest in alternative energies such as wind, solar and fuel cells for home and business.

*Editor's Note: Click on the above links to read each of Katie Alvord's prize-winning articles on Keweenaw Now. See also our Nov. 15, 2007, article, "Local Writer wins journalism award."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Woodbeck reports news of Junior Olympics on new blog

Dean Woodbeck shares this photo of the Portage Glacier, about an hour south of Anchorage, Alaska, where he is attending the Junior Olympics cross-country ski competition. (Photo © Dean Woodbeck. Reprinted with permission from his blog, Keweenaw Tales.)

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- Dean Woodbeck of has a new blog, Keweenaw Tales, with day-by-day reports from the Junior Olympics cross-country ski competition taking place this week at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska.

Woodbeck, his wife Jan Woodbeck and Teresa Shoup are the parental contingency accompanying five skiers from the Copper Country Ski Tigers race team who have qualified -- Kai Sharp, Jay Woodbeck, Olivia Orr, Madelaine Shoup and Ruth Oppliger -- as well as Ski Tigers alumnus Mariah Featherly.

Dean reports on his blog that the races are expected to go as scheduled despite rather warm temperatures. Sunday's high was in the 40s and the next few days may be in the mid-30s. Monday was sprint day, the first day of the competition, held in spite temperatures as high as 40 in the afternoon.

Referring to Monday's competition, Dean notes, "Among our locals, Christina Mishica came closest to moving to the next round. She placed 27th in qualifying among the OJs and 24 moved on to the quarterfinals."

Since Tuesday was a training day, the three parents took advantage of free time to ski at the Portage Glacier. Read the account of this and see more of Dean's photos on his blog,

See also Dean Woodbeck's reports of the race on

Finlandia to present "Two By Two" Mar. 14, 15, 16

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will present a production of the hit Broadway musical Two By Two Mar. 14, 15 and 16 at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. A Sunday matinee performance begins at 3 p.m.

Co-directed by Dan Maki and Mike Aubin, the light-hearted musical tells the story of Noah’s preparation for the Great Flood and its aftermath.

"Two By Two is a lively, humorous musical that everyone will enjoy," Maki says. "But while the show is generally lighthearted, it has somber moments, too. Noah’s family has its dysfunctional aspects, and there is a good bit of generational conflict."

The story of Noah, his family, and the ark full of animals is well known. In the musical, Maki says, the characters are very human and God is presented as an entity whose existence is both a comfort and a mystery to those He created.

Maki, local thespian and Finlandia professor, plays Noah. Aubin, a local school teacher and longtime Calumet Players actor and director, plays Noah's son Japheth.

Finlandia students Samantha Horst, Emily Pierce, Amanda Moyer, and Lauren Logue play, respectively, the parts of Noah’s wife, Esther, Noah’s daughters-in-law Leah and Rachel and Goldie the priestess.

Finlandia student David Petretti-Watring plays Shem, Noah’s eldest son, and Calumet Player Pete Manderfield plays Noah’s son, Ham. Local musician and Finlandia associate music professor Melvin Kangas is the music director.

The liner notes from the play’s soundtrack introduce the story line as follows: "Start by imagining Noah as your average 600-year-old, working-class guy from the Bronx, somehow transported back to the days of Genesis. He has a loving wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law, and a chicken farm. One day, God plays a visit, informs him that the world is going to be destroyed and gives him the job of saving two of every living species, along with his own family. Noah reacts as many of us would with the song, 'Why Me?'"

Two By Two is based on a book by Peter Stone, with lyrics by Martin Charnin and music by Richard Rogers. It is a musical version of a 1954 play, The Flowering Peach, by Clifford Odets.

Tickets are $8 per person. They will be available at the door prior to each performance, or they can be reserved in advance. To obtain additional information and to reserve tickets, contact Lynne Sweeney at 906-487-7204.

Editor's Note: This press release courtesy Karen Johnson, Finlandia University.