Saturday, April 24, 2010

Updated: Haitian lunch benefits earthquake victims

Michigan Tech students Edrich Ramos of Puerto Rico and Ahyoung Park of South Korea line up for the Khana Khazana Haitian lunch served on Friday, April 23, in the Michigan Tech MUB food court. Half of the $6 price for the authentic meal, prepared by Haitian graduate student Fredline Ilorme, will go to Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Park worked for the Khana Khazana international food series as a cook and server and was principal chef for the Korean meal served earlier this semester. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- A delicious Haitian lunch of pain patate (sweet potato pudding), rice and beans, chicken in Haitian sauce and fried plantains in sauce concluded the Khana Khazana ("food treasure") series of international meals served on Fridays in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Building (MUB) food court this semester.

Prepared by Haitian graduate student Fredline Ilorme, this particular meal was a benefit for earthquake victims in her country, with 50 percent of the $6 tab going to Haitian relief efforts.

Yihong Yao of China serves a vegetarian version of the Apr. 23 Haitian lunch (all but the chicken) to Michigan Tech Professor Noel Urban of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In the background are, from left, Khana Khazana server Mari Luz Miguelez from Spain and Sahil Thakkar from India, Khana Khazana coordinator. Click on photo for a closer look at the Haitian cuisine. Not pictured, but also assisting as a server, was Jeremy Mannikko of Houghton, Dining Services student employee.

"When I think of Haitian food, I think of the food that generations of Haitians have been eating for centuries," Ilorme said. "Food shapes Haitians' life and society in many ways and it was my pleasure to share some of the typical Haitian food with Michigan Tech, Houghton-Hancock community and surrounding areas."

Ilorme expressed her appreciation to all who have helped her in fund-raising efforts for the earthquake victims. The Khana Khazana international food series also began with a meal for Haiti on Jan. 29.

"I have done my best to bring the public the best taste of Haiti while asking for their help in the Haitian earthquake relief efforts," Ilorme added. "I am glad that the public responded so well and I thank everyone who has made the lunch possible -- especially Sahil Takkar for the Khana Khazana; Eric Karvonen, MUB executive chef director; Robert Wenc for his encouragement; international program services and countless others who helped during the food preparation. Also, many thanks to Keweenaw Now and its readers for being so supportive of Haiti."

Khana Khazana has been popular with students, faculty and community visitors and will return next fall. Plans include more variety in food and more food representing different nations: Ghana, Pakistan, Japan and many more.

Sheraaron Hurt of Detroit said it was the first time she had eaten Haitian food and she was on her second helping. Hers was just one of many positive comments heard in the cafeteria Friday.*

Khana Khazana is a collaborative effort of international students and Dining Services.

New Update: Tech Today reported on Apr. 27 that the two Haitian benefit lunches cooked by international students raised $1,024 this semester for Haitian earthquake victims' relief. One half of the lunch proceeds were donated to the Bush-Clinton Relief Fund.

* Editor's Note: While I've never been a great fan of sweet potatoes, I found the pain patate to be délicieux! Merci, Fredline!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Volunteers needed for Huron Creek Clean-up Apr. 24


HOUGHTON -- The second annual Huron Creek clean-up will take place from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Apr. 24. Volunteers are needed.

Meet at the Wal-Mart parking lot at 8 a.m. Look for the group at the side / back part of the parking lot, along Razorback Drive near the stream crossing and the wetlands that extend behind the store.

The MTU Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists will provide garbage bags, trash removal, rubber gloves, snacks and refreshments. It is recommended to wear rubber boots.

Huron Creek. (Photo courtesy MTU Chapter, Society of Wetland Scientists)

All available help is appreciated! Check out their website:

Questions? Email John Hribljan at jahriblj2mtu.edu or Andrew Kozich at at kozich@mtu.edu.

Mike Lahti on Earth Day: Natural resources vital to jobs, tourism, recreation

HANCOCK -- On Earth Day, Apr. 22, State Senate candidate Mike Lahti highlighted the need to protect and use the Upper Peninsula's abundant natural resources to maintain and create jobs and preserve the U.P. way of life.

"The Upper Peninsula's woods and waters are what set us apart, and I have worked hard to protect our natural resources and promote the industries -- old and new -- that rely on them," said Lahti. "Our economy was built on using our land for mining and timber, and those same resources position us to create new jobs in growing fields like renewable energy."

Mike Lahti has been a longtime supporter of the established industries in the U.P. and will continue to fight to preserve and create good-paying jobs for the people of the Upper Peninsula. He has also promoted projects like the MTEC SmartZone at Michigan Tech and other efforts to diversify the Upper Peninsula's economy; and he is a strong advocate for using the U.P.'s trees, water and wind to create renewable energy and jobs.

"I have lived in the Upper Peninsula my whole life, and -- as a resident, businessman and outdoorsman -- I understand the importance of our environment to our economy and our natural heritage," Lahti said. "Our natural resources make the U.P. a good place to work and raise a family just as I have, and they are essential to the recreation and tourism opportunities that residents enjoy and bring in visitors from around the country. Earth Day is a great opportunity to celebrate our natural resources, but I will keep fighting to protect them every day."

Growing up in the U.P. and Hancock and raising his own family there, Mike Lahti has worked hard to protect Michigan’s natural resources. As a State Representative he has sponsored legislation to protect our waterways from invasive plants and fought to keep the Asian Carp out of our Great Lakes. His dedication to the Upper Peninsula’s way of life makes him a strong voice for the communities and businesses that depend on our natural resources for their economic well-being.

Mike Lahti is a candidate for the 38th District Senate seat, which stretches from Keweenaw County in the north to Menominee County in the south and from Luce County in the east to Gogebic County in the west in the Upper Peninsula. He is seeking to replace Senator Mike Prusi (D-Ishpeming), who is term-limited.

Old-time dance to feature Kivajat, Pasi Cats, Thimbleberry Apr. 23

SOUTH RANGE -- An old-time Copper Country Dance for all ages will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. TONIGHT, Friday, Apr. 23, in the South Range Community Hall. Admission of only $5 will assist the Kivajat youth dance group in traveling to their performances this summer.

Kivajat will kick off the evening with a performance from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by a variety of dance music by the Pasi Cats from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Thimbleberry from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Don't miss a great dance to support a worthy cause!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cynthia Pryor pleads "not guilty" to trespassing charge

This photo shows a worker and Kennecott equipment near Eagle Rock. They hauled a bulldozer and other equipment to the area so they can start clearing their property for construction of Kennecott-Rio Tinto's Eagle Project sulfide mine near Big Bay. (Photos and captions courtesy Gabriel Caplett)

MARQUETTE -- Cynthia Pryor, a Big Bay resident arrested on Apr. 20 by local law enforcement for "trespassing" on public property, pled "not guilty" during an arraignment Wednesday, Apr. 21, in Marquette County District Court.

Pryor insisted she was not trespassing, as the land is publicly-owned, and that Rio Tinto was bulldozing illegally on public land.

Rio Tinto and law enforcement claim that Pryor actively attempted to stop a bulldozer.

Pryor’s pre-trial court hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on May 6.

Read more in Gabriel Caplett's Headwaters News article.

Read also "Citizen Arrested for 'Trespassing' on Public Land."

The Rev. Jon Magnuson speaks at the Eagle Rock event on Apr. 15, 2010. Magnuson is part of the Earthkeepers group that represents several faith communities around the Upper Peninsula. Magnuson, a close friend of Cynthia Pryor, attempted to speak with her in jail. According to Magnuson, while he wasn’t allowed to visit with Pryor, he was able to pass prayers along to her.

Pryor was also among a group of concerned citizens who gathered on Eagle Rock on Apr. 15, 2010, in a peaceful demonstration against Kennecott-Rio Tinto's potential sulfide mine for nickel and copper on the Yellow Dog Plains near Marquette. The group expressed their support for Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribal member Jessica Koski, who spoke last week in London, England, at Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting.

Koski spoke of the potential dangers of the mine, Native Americans' concern for Eagle Rock as a sacred site and Kennecott-Rio Tinto's assertion that they do not need a federal permit from the Environmental Protection Agency for discharging wastewater at the site.

See a video clip of Jessica Koski speaking at the London meeting.

On that same YouTube page are additional, related video clips from Headwaters News.

Read the April 16, 2010 Mining Journal article about the protest on Eagle Rock.

See Headwaters News for updates on this and other mining issues.

Click here to read the Spring 2010 issue of Headwaters Magazine, which includes several articles about mining, land and water in Great Lakes states.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Haitian lunch to aid Haitian earthquake relief Apr. 23

HOUGHTON -- Khana Khazana ("food treasure"), a weekly international lunch cooked by international students and served in the Memorial Union Food Court at Michigan Tech, will wind up the semester the way it began, with a lunch benefiting the victims of the Haitian earthquake.

This Friday, April 23, Haitian graduate student Fredline Ilorme will cook Haitian specialties including pain patate (sweet potato pudding), rice and beans, chicken in Haitian sauce and fried plantains in sauce.

A full meal is $6, half of which ($3) will be donated to Haitian relief. Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The community is welcome!

Watch for Khana Khazana again next fall. Plans include more variety in food and more food representing different nations: Ghana, Pakistan, Japan and many more. Khana Khazana is a collaborative effort of international students and Dining Services.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Petersons to present "Wolves of Isle Royale" at Portage Library Apr. 20

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host a wildlife program from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 20, for people of all ages to enjoy.

Rolf and Candy Peterson will present “The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale National Park.” Rolf will show slides of his wolf-moose research on Isle Royale and discuss the current condition of their predator-prey relationship. Candy will lead a group exercise that demonstrates the sense of smell, which is much more highly developed in wolves than in humans. There will be moose bones and wolf and beaver skulls to examine.

Rolf Peterson, professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Isle Royale wolf-moose study, presented "The Wolves of Isle Royale" as the kick-off session for "Celebrate the U.P.," sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) last March in Marquette. Peterson and his wife, Candy Peterson, will offer a similar presentation tonight, April 20, at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Rolf Peterson, Michigan Tech research professor of wildlife ecology, has led the Isle Royale wolf-moose predator-prey study for more than 35 years. He is the author of The Wolves of Isle Royale: A Broken Balance; and his photographs have been published in National Geographic, Audubon and National Wildlife magazines. His work concentrates on the ecology of the wolf and its prey.

Candy (Carolyn) Peterson is the author of A View From the Wolf's Eye, a memoir of her 37 summers sharing husband Rolf's life and research on Isle Royale.

Candy Peterson signs a copy of her book A View From the Wolf's Eye following the presentation on "The Wolves of Isle Royale," March 19, 2010, in Marquette.

Library presentations are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Renovated Jutila Center incubates new businesses

By Katie Alvord*

HANCOCK -- The recent renovation of two floors in Hancock’s old hospital -- now home to Finlandia University’s Jutila Center for Global Design and Business -- has turned the building into a prime site for new business ventures in the Copper Country.

Completed last December, the major remodeling of the building’s sixth and seventh floors added as many as twenty new office suites to the Jutila Center, says Bonnie Holland, the Center’s director. Just months after its opening, a significant percentage of that new space has already been filled.

One recent arrival to the seventh floor, Ladybug Digital, provides large format printing and can produce backdrops and banners for trade shows.

Ladybug Digital owner Jon Chynoweth, center, and graphic designer Kevin Schuldt show Jutila Center Director Bonnie Holland a large polyester banner they recently made for a Smart Zone company. Chynoweth said the banner is durable and suitable for outside or trade show display. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

"That’s a really important specialty market," says Holland.

The service has already been used by other companies in the building.

Ladybug Digital owner Jon Chynoweth said the business provides printing, photography and graphics. He uses a 21-megapixel Canon 5D Mark 2 digital camera for high quality photos, including panoramas composed of several images put together. He also makes high-definition video clips for businesses.

Panorama photos on display at Ladybug Digital. Owner Jon Chynoweth would not reveal his secret method of combining the photos so that the effect is one single image.

The company has a connection to Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design, also located in the Jutila Center, and to Finlandia's Business Department.

Kevin Schuldt of Lake Linden, a 2008 Finlandia Art and Design graduate, works as a graphic designer and consultant for Ladybug.

"I started working for Jon the day after graduation," Schuldt said.

Keith Kelley, a senior at Hancock High School, receives art credit for working at Ladybug. Kelley hopes to go to college and study graphic design.

The Jutila Center's growth comes despite the fact that it does not rent space to just anyone. As a business incubator, the Center looks for start-ups and young businesses in transition and requires submission of an application and a business plan.

Businesses who do qualify move in to "incubate" with Center support: reasonable rent, phone service, high speed Internet and use of a copy machine, fax, and computers, as well as discounted business consulting. This aid is designed to help young businesses develop to a point where they can move out and operate independently, which usually takes a few years.

For instance, the computer support division of the business Up and Running, which got its start at the Jutila Center, is now based in an independent office in downtown Houghton. Andrea Puzakulich‘s clothing design business, Distant Drum, also incubated at the Jutila Center for several years before moving recently to a space in Hancock’s Lincoln Building (former E. L. Wright School); and AFLAC Insurance grew to four independent agents before relocating to the Quincy Center.

Andrea Puzakulich with some of her original Distant Drum creations. Her studio moved from the Jutila Center to the Lincoln Building (former E.L. Wright School) in Hancock last December.

The Jutila Center is not the only business incubator in the building. Michigan Tech’s Smart Zone owns and occupies the building’s fourth floor -- formerly home to incubators of a different kind, since it housed the old hospital’s maternity ward.

"I think the Smart Zone picked that floor specially," says Holland. "They’re up there birthing companies."

Holland notes each of the two incubators has a distinct character and focus determining the types of businesses to accept.

"If you look at the SmartZone, it’s very distinct. They’re looking for technology companies -- software and engineering, for example," she explains. "That’s what they limit it to."

In contrast, she says, the Jutila Center attracts a wider range of business ventures. It contains retail space; a uniform shop; a restaurant; health and wellness services; educational consulting; and private instructors of music, yoga and meditation. There are also engineering consulting firms, commercial photography, digital cataloging and what Holland calls business-to-business services.

One example of this is the accounting and bookkeeping service Delta Business, which recently moved into an office on the remodeled seventh floor. The owner contacted current Jutila Center businesses and set up appointments with them before even moving in, Holland reports.

The combination of business people, customers and visitors -- as well as students and faculty from Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design -- makes the Jutila Center a busy place, especially on the higher-traffic main floor -- the third floor.

One popular new business on the main floor is Kathy's Originals and Alterations, owned by Kathy Chynoweth, who happens to be the spouse of Jon Chynoweth of Ladybug Digital.

Located on the third (main) floor, Kathy's Originals and Alterations moved to the Jutila Center from another Hancock location. Here owner Kathy Chynoweth, right, chats with Carol Bird of Hancock, who is tapering a pair of jeans.

Kathy moved her business from a location on Elevation Street in Hancock.

"We like it better here," Kathy said. "It's more conducive to business."

Kathy Chynoweth assists U.S. Army Sgt. Frank Phillips, in shortening a uniform. Phillips is the Army Instructor for Calumet High School's ROTC program. Kathy noted she also does uniform patches and coats.

Holland also thinks the main floor could use a gift shop selling items such as greeting cards or Finlandia student artwork.

"We have more than a hundred people that are working in the building every day, so we already have a set of customers that are here, plus the visitors that just come in all day," Holland says. "We have a lot of people that sit in the lobby and wait for somebody else at appointments."

The building does draw regular traffic, with diners meeting for breakfast and lunch at Kangas Café, and daily foot traffic coming to businesses like Kathy’s Alterations. A gift shop could give people waiting in the lobby a place to browse. Workers in the building might also use such a shop, Holland believes, especially if it sold flowers and sundries like aspirin or post-it notes.

Dolores Kangas, owner of Kangas Café, located on the third (main) floor of the Jutila Center, is pictured here at the end of a busy day with her son, Kevin Kangas, executive chef, who recently joined his mother's business.

When it comes right down to it, the Jutila Center exists to create new jobs; and it has in fact done that, Holland reports. When she took her job there in 2006, the Jutila Center had been open for about a year and contained five or six businesses. By Feb. 1 of this year, it had grown to 24 businesses creating 44 jobs. That’s important to the U.S. Economic Development Administration, one of the Center’s important investors.

"What the EDA wants to see is job creation in our community," Holland says.

Holland also feels that having the creativity of Finlandia’s School of Art and Design in the building enhances the technology and consulting businesses located there.

"The Art and Design School is a huge asset to the Jutila Center," she explains, "because they work with businesses in the community to help build company identity, their branding, sales materials, and other product design."

The eighth and ninth floors of the old hospital are the next up for renovation. Holland expects to spend the next few years in the planning stages, as she continues to fill offices on the sixth and seventh floors.

In addition to designing for the future, all the renovations have taken the building’s past into consideration.

"We preserved the marble in the lobby and the basic structure, and in these two new floors we’ve preserved the stainless steel sinks that were in the break rooms," Holland says, noting that new cabinets were built underneath the sinks.

That’s important to the community, she believes, because the building is an important landmark. Often people who have family stories about experiences in the old hospital are happy to see that the building has been improved in a way that recognizes its past.

"Visitors feel this building is significant to them," she says. "We’ve done what we could to keep the old; but on the other hand we have high-speed Internet and an atmosphere that makes it comfortable to transact business here -- to be dynamic, innovative and professional."

Holland is happy with the result.

"It’s a perfect blend of the past and our future," she says.

*The text of this article is © Copyright 2010 by Katharine T. Alvord. First North American Serial Rights. Katie Alvord is a Keweenaw Now contributing author. See also her recent article, "Wind farms -- coming to the Keweenaw?"