Friday, February 26, 2010

Carnegie Children's Science Museum to hold Science Saturday Feb. 27

HOUGHTON -- It's time for another Science Saturday at the Carnegie Children's Science Museum! Children and adults are invited to the museum between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. This session will include making a short, animated movie!

This month -- in addition to making Tops, Spin Art and Tornadoes -- participants will explore the science of spin and perception by making short movies and experimenting with other perception "toys."

All ages are welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 482-7140, or email history@cityofhoughton.com.

The Carnegie Museum is located on the corner of Montezuma and Huron in historic downtown Houghton. Admission is free. Parking is available in the rear of the building or across Montezuma in the City lot.

The Science Center will be open during regular Museum hours: Tuesday noon - 7 p.m., Thursday noon - 5 p.m., Saturday noon - 4 p.m. "Science Saturday" is held the fourth Saturday of each month.

Soup, salad, silent auction Feb. 27 to raise funds for Tanzania trip

HANCOCK -- A silent auction and soup and salad lunch fundraiser will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Finlandia Hall café, which is in the Finlandia University residence hall, Summit St., Hancock.

The fundraiser will help four Finlandia students travel to Tanzania May 4 to 24, 2010, for three weeks of service and learning.

On the lunch menu are Tanzanian vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, chili, and green salad. Silent auction items include fabric from Tanzania, books, merchandise and gift certificates from local businesses, hotel passes, two jackets from Rhythm Skate Shop, a hand-crafted wood cutting board, beauty and bath items and more.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for children ages seven to 12 years. Children 6 years and under eat free.

For information, contact René Johnson at 487-7558 or rene.johnson@finlandia.edu.

CopperDog volunteer round-up to be Feb. 27

CALUMET -- Dog lovers are invited to join a volunteer round-up for the First Annual CopperDog 150 Sled Dog challenge! The 150-mile race through the Keweenaw is scheduled for March 12-14. An army of volunteers is needed to make this race happen.

Anyone who can volunteer for this event is invited to meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at River Valley Bank in Calumet. Come out for hot dogs and sled dogs and see an actual 10-dog team hooked up and ready to go. Find out what it takes to be a part of this exciting event up front and center. Whether you want to wrangle dogs or experience the race from a remote outpost, the race organizers need your help and have a spot for you!

To learn more about the CopperDog race, visit their Web site.

Boukman Eksperyans to reschedule performance at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- The Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans will be unable to play their scheduled performance at the Rozsa Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27.

Boukman Eksperyans band leader Lolo Beaubrun and his wife Mimerose. The band is unable to leave Haiti in time for their scheduled Feb. 26-27 performances at the Rozsa Center. Their visit is being rescheduled. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

Management for the band Boukman Eksperyans informed the Rozsa Center that recent aftershocks have forced the cancellation of all air travel out of Haiti for the next 48 hours.

The Rozsa Center is in the process of rescheduling -- hoping to have the opportunity to welcome Boukman Eksperyans to Michigan Tech in the near future. Tickets purchased for these events will be honored for the new date.

For more information, contact Susanna Brent in the Rozsa Center at 487-2856.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sen. Levin announces conservation funding for new Bete Grise Wetland area

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced yesterday, Feb. 24, a $1,715,000 grant for the Bete Grise Wetlands project. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant to the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will go to securing more than 1,475 acres of the Bete Grise Wetland area for conservation. This acreage and over half a mile of Lac La Belle sloughs frontage, pending certain final requirements of the grant, will be added to the existing Bete Grise Preserve.

The grant is awarded through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP), which is administered by NOAA.

"The preservation of these thousands of acres of pristine coastline and wetlands will benefit generations to come," Levin said. "The Bete Grise Wetlands provide a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife to flourish, a unique botanical outdoor classroom experience, and an undisturbed historic landscape for all to treasure."

This map of the Bete Grise Coastal Wetland Complex shows the newly funded 1,475 acres outlined in light purple, south of Lac La Belle. Under these new funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), wetlands and key parts of the Bete Grise watershed are targeted for protection. The dark blue line surrounds the most significant wetland areas as the map illustrates. (Some working forest land and homes are included in the dark blue outline, and these would not be acquired for protection.) Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District)

Levin wrote a letter in February 2009 to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality urging support of the grant application. The funding comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Wetlands at Bete Grise. (Photo © and courtesy Gina Nicholas)

Gina Nicholas, chairperson of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Board, recently sent an email thanking many groups and individuals for their contributions to the Bete Grise wetland proposal. The list includes President Obama for the Great Lakes Initiative that added extra funding to 2010 CELCP.*

This photograph shows the view of Bete Grise Wetlands from the top of Mt. Houghton looking southwest. Lake Superior is in the upper left and along the horizon. Lac La Belle is the largest body of water in the center. Deer Lake is the smaller lake in the upper right. Montgomery Point on Lac La Belle is just below Deer Lake. Lac La Belle Wetlands stretches east from Deer Lake and Montgomery Point to the Bete Grise Preserve on the Lac La Belle sloughs. (Photo © and courtesy Gina Nicholas)

"Protection of Bete Grise has been a collaboration and partnership since its inception," Nicholas writes. "Bete Grise Wetlands is another great example of how all of us working together can accomplish more than any of us can alone."

Nicholas extended thanks to "everyone who worked a beach cleanup or knapweed pull, came to a picnic, attended a class or contributed in many unmentioned ways to Bete Grise Preserve and protection of this last, best coastal marsh of this type in the Upper Great Lakes!"

The addition of Bete Grise Wetlands will increase the size of the existing Bete Grise Preserve to over 3200 acres. As part of the CELCP grant terms, the new lands will be owned by HKCD and have a conservation easement held by Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT). This is similar to the existing Bete Grise Preserve that also includes land owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve to meet Feb. 25

Last year, a new stewardship organization, Stewards of Bete Grise (SBGP), was formed as part of a Coastal Zone Management Grant. SBGP will support partners HKCD, KLT and TNC in raising funds for insurance and easement monitoring and other improvements at the Bete Grise Preserve. SBGP will also conduct stewardship activities and events for the public.

The Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve will meet at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Feb. 25, at the MTU Lakeshore Center (formerly UPPCO building) in Houghton. All interested persons are welcome. Please call Sue at (906) 482-0214 for more information.

"Bete Grise belongs to all of the life -- animals and plants with in it -- all of us and the future," Nicholas adds. "Bete Grise Preserve is open to the public 365 days a year for noninvasive recreation, research and education. Thank you to everyone here today and departed that helped make Bete Grise Preserve and the new addition of Bete Grise Wetlands a reality!"

*Learn more about the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) on their Web site.

Updated: CN Rail Transportation Center opens at Michigan Tech

Preparing to cut the ribbon for the recent opening of Michigan Tech's CN (Canadian National) Rail Transportation Center, are, from left, Pasi Lautala, director of Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program; student Laura Hess; Matthew Glynn, chief engineer for CN; and student John Hatch. Hess and Hatch are Rail Engineering Activities Club (REAC) officers. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The CN (Canadian National) Rail Transportation Center held a grand opening on Feb. 16, 2010, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, speeches, refreshments and displays of rail activities in Dillman Hall on the Michigan Tech campus.

With a friendly handshake, David Reed, Michigan Tech vice-president of research, right, welcomes Matthew Glynn, CN chief engineer, during the opening of the CN Rail Transportation Center Feb. 16 in Dillman Hall.

CN, one of the largest railroads in North America, recently donated $250,000 to Michigan Technological University's Rail Transportation Program to create the CN Rail Transportation Education Center (CN RTEC).

Photos from REAC (Rail Engineering Activities Club) field trips are displayed during the grand opening of the CN Rail Transportation Center on Feb. 16.

"CN’s generous donation is a strong indication of their ongoing commitment to education and truly gives new identity to the rail transportation activities at Michigan Tech," said Pasi Lautala, director of Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program.

Update: Rail Transportation Program Announces Logo Competition

At the fifth annual Rail Night on Tuesday, Feb. 16, Director Pasi Lautala announced the kickoff of a competition to generate a new logo for the Rail Transportation Program. The competition is available to everyone. Ideas must be submitted by Monday, March 15, and the winning design will be unveiled at the Rail Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) meeting on Tuesday, April 6. Prizes will be given to the first- and second-place designers of $150 and $50. For guidelines and rules, see http://www.cee.mtu.edu/railroad/index.htm.

Rail Transportation Program to participate in Webinar Feb. 26

The Rail Transportation Program will participate in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Railroad Engineering Seminar, "Railway Energy Efficiency through Monitoring, Optimization and Innovation," by Clive Roberts, senior lecturer and director of research at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham.

The presentation will be broadcast from UIUC via webinar from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26, in Michigan Tech's newly opened CN Rail Transportation Education Center in Dillman 315.

Anyone interested in learning more about the railroad industry is encouraged to participate. Light refreshments will be provided for the event. For more information, visit the UIUC website or contact Pasi Lautala at 487-3547 or ptlautal@mtu.edu.

Rail Transportation scholarships available

Over $10,000 in designated railroad scholarships are available for graduate or undergraduate students in any discipline with an interest in railroad transportation. Interested students are encouraged to apply for AREMA, CSX Transportation and UP Railroad scholarships.

CSX and UP applications must be received by Bill Sproule by Friday, March 5. AREMA scholarships must be received by AREMA by Friday, March 12. Only one AREMA application is necessary for all available AREMA scholarships.

Guidelines and applications can be downloaded online.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Update: Utah Judge postpones Tim DeChristopher trial

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The trial of University of Utah student and conservation activist Tim DeChristopher, who spoke in Marquette at the Protect the Earth event last August about his December 2008 protest against a corrupt federal oil and gas lease auction of public lands by the Bureau of Land Management, has been postponed from March 15, 2010, to an indefinite date.*

DeChristopher has been charged with two felonies for his civil disobedience. Supporters had been invited to come to Salt Lake City on March 15 to protest the trial of a young man who consciously bid money he didn't have, risking jail, because he believed he could not, in conscience, pass up the opportunity to do something to combat climate change -- an issue he feels threatens the survival of his and future generations.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson has postponed the trial, planning to use the March 15 date for a hearing to consider DeChristopher's lawyers’ contention that Tim is being prosecuted selectively (meaning other people have bid on leases and never paid, and were never prosecuted).

For more information from DeChristopher's supporters, consult the FAQ page from the Web site Peaceful Uprising.

Click here for the Salt Lake Tribune's Feb. 17, 2010, article on the judge's postponement of the trial.

*Editor's Note: See our report on Tim DeChristopher's presentation in Marquette in our Aug. 5, 2009, article, "Protect the Earth 2009: Part 1."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Author Jabari Asim to speak at two Black History events Feb. 22

HOUGHTON -- Two Black History Month events will feature Jabari Asim, author of The N Word and What Obama Means ... today, Monday, Feb. 22, at Michigan Tech.

At noon the public is invited to "Meet the Author of The N Word" in the MUB Ballroom. The N word continues to spark fierce debate and outrage with its use in mainstream culture. Jabari Asim’s book The N Word answers the questions of why and how the word is used. Asim wisely puts the discussion within a larger historical context. Most importantly, the book addresses why this word remains.

Asim's latest book, What Obama Means ... , will be the subject of his talk at 7 p.m., "An Evening with Jabari Asim," also in the MUB Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. Asim will define the context of Obama's presidency and what it means to Americans of all backgrounds. He will also show how Obama turned the old civil-rights model of African American leadership on its head, and show that Obama's election is evidence of the progress that has been made in healing wounds and broadening America's concept of leadership and inspiration.

An accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer, Jabari Asim has been described as one of the most influential African American literary critics of his generation. He is a frequent public speaker and commentator who has appeared on The Today Show, The Colbert Report, the Tavis Smiley Show and countless other programs. He has lectured at many of the nation’s finest universities, including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Syracuse University and the University of Florida.

More Black History events this week

The film Amazing Grace will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the MUB Ballroom. The film is about idealist William Wilberforce, crusader for the British abolition of slavery. This event is presented by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

At the Food for the Soul Brown Bag Lunch at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 24, Dr. Mel C. Norwood, African American Outreach Coordinator at Michigan Tech, will present "Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Relevant and Necessary in 21st Century America." The event will be held in MUB Ballroom B.