Saturday, September 25, 2010
MARQUETTE -- A Rally to protect public lands and Native American treaty rights will be held at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28, on the Marquette County Courthouse steps in Marquette.
The Rally is to support Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) member Charlotte Loonsfoot, who will be appearing in court Tuesday morning for a plea bargain concerning her May 27, 2010, arrest on Eagle Rock, an Anishinaabeg (Ojibwa) sacred site, for trespassing on state land and treaty-protected ceded territory. Eagle Rock is now being used (and allegedly leased from the State of Michigan) by Rio Tinto - Kennecott for their Eagle Project nickel and copper sulfide mine.
Loonsfoot had been camping at Eagle Rock and was praying when arrested. Kennecott, working with local law enforcement, removed the camp structures and community garden and fenced off public access to Eagle Rock.
The State of Michigan lease, which is considered legal based on permits that are still being questioned, is not going to be allowed in Loonsfoot's legal defense, according to Loonsfoot's attorneys. Thus, she has countered a plea bargain of "no contest" with one month of probation.
Read more about the Rally on Stand for the Land.
Friday, September 24, 2010
HOUGHTON -- The Latin students from Michigan Tech University will sponsor a Latin Music Party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Up Hill 41 in Hancock. Admission is open to those 18 years old and over with valid ID (21 to drink). Cover charge is $3.*
Every semester the Latin students from Michigan Tech organize a Latin Music Party at the Up Hill. The event hosts a DJ that plays a variety of Latin rhythms -- including salsa, merengue, bachata and others to keep the crowd dancing ALL night!
The students cordially invite the local community to come and enjoy great dancing in a SMOKE-FREE environment. For those interested in learning to dance salsa, there will be FREE lessons on the following dates:
- Saturday, Sept. 25, starting at 7 p.m. (Community Room at Daniell Heights)
- Sunday, Sept. 26, starting at 3:30 p.m. (SDC dance room)
- Wednesday, Sept. 29, starting at 8 p.m. (Community Room at Daniell Heights)
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact email@example.com.
* NOTE: Please bring your passport as an ID if you don't have a driver's license.
Mini grants provide up to $4,000 for locally developed, high quality arts projects which provide special opportunities to address local arts needs and increase public access to the arts. Mini grants support a broad range of artistic expression from all cultures through projects which preserve, produce or present traditional and contemporary arts.
Mini grant dollars, matched by cash or in kind services, can be used for many types of arts activities such as exhibits, readings, performances, workshops, broadcasts, artist residencies, consultancies, commissions, restorations, festivals, pow wows, conferences, seminars, video and film productions and screenings, publications, and arts activities for students.
Any nonprofit organization or government body -- including service organizations, public schools, cities, townships, etc., from the six counties may apply. A panel comprised of knowledgeable individuals from each of the six counties evaluates all funding proposals. A review criterion includes artistic merit, sound planning and management, as well as community service. Geographic distribution, underserved populations, cultural diversity, and a variety of arts disciplines are considered when determining awards.
There is one round of funding for fiscal year 2011. The deadline is Nov. 1, 2010, for projects taking place Feb. 1 through Sept. 30, 2011. Applications are available on line at www.coppercountryarts.com or at the Community Arts Center, 126 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930. Contact Cynthia Coté, Re-granting Coordinator at (906) 482-2333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or technical assistance.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
By Tom Graham**
CALUMET -- Just outside Calumet and about two and half miles off US 41 down Golf Course Road, you’ll find one of the sweetest-smelling plots of land around. It comes courtesy of Gary and Pat Hughes and their 40 acres of fruits and vegetables.
However, life on this farm hasn’t always smelt so sweet. Gary, Pat and family have worked hard for years to create their farm.
Gary and his wife Pat are downstate Michigan natives and met while attending college. They developed a special fondness for this area after spending a summer near L’Anse. When Pat found work with the C-L-K school district, they moved up for good.
Gary and Pat Hughes at home on their farm near Calumet.
What the Hugheses now call their business started out in 1979 as little more than an old farm house and 40 acres of land. Pat and Gary, with help from their three children and others along the way, cleared and shaped the land into the farm that it is today.
"I’ve always had an interest in getting my hands dirty and growing things," Gary explained as his motivation for developing the family business.
The Hugheses' remodeled farmhouse as it is today, with the attached greenhouse that has served as the starting spot for many of their vegetables. (Photo © 2010 Tom Graham for Keweenaw Now)
One of the first changes was an addition to the house that included a greenhouse. This allows for planting as early as March or April. The Hugheses also constructed two ponds to allow for consistent and relatively easy watering of crops.
This is one of the ponds constructed especially for watering crops on the Hughes Farm.
In the early 1980s the Hughes Farm gained a reputation for having first-class, all natural strawberries. The decision to grow organic produce was simple according to Gary: "Why use chemicals if you don’t have to?"
The trade-off comes with the added time and labor it takes to combat weeds and wildlife. To help with the additional work load, the Hugheses typically hire two seasonal employees.
The farm once was certified organic, but in recent years the additional cost and paperwork with the certification process have become overbearing. Consequently, even though the Hugheses still maintain their organic practices, their crops technically fall under the "authentic" category as defined by the Marquette Food Co-op.
In the mid-1980s the Hugheses expanded from berries to vegetables and added fruit trees by the end of the decade. By the early 1990s they had added four free-standing hoop greenhouses, mainly to accommodate pepper and tomato plants.
Inside one of his greenhouses, Gary Hughes, second from left, talks about his plants and answers questions posed by participants in the July 2009 Reading the Landscape Sustainable Farming tour of the Hughes Farm.*
The plants inside the greenhouses grow considerably quicker and larger than any grown outside and uncovered. By mid-July the tomato plants are a good three feet tall with tomatoes the size of pears that fill the air with an indescribably earthy scent. Technological advances in the plastic used to cover the greenhouses have helped increase plant production while reducing the frequency of maintenance.
Lisken Van Pelt Dus of Pittsfield, Mass., admires tomato plants inside one of the greenhouses on the Hughes Farm. Lisken, along with her mother, Patricia Van Pelt of Hancock, participated in the July 2009 Reading the Landscape tour of the farm.
With the exception of a few chickens there are no animals on this farm to provide a key ingredient to a good harvest -- proper soil nutrients. The primary source of nutrients for the vegetables and strawberries on the Hughes Farm comes from winter cover crops. A combination of rye and hairy vetch is planted in plots that are open after harvesting. The mix is left to grow in late fall and early spring before being worked into the soil using machinery prior to spring planting. Once worked under, the decaying plant material provides the fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, that the vegetables need to grow over the course of the season.
With nearly 40 types of fruits and vegetables, the Hugheses aren’t going to be put out from the loss of one or two crops. By diversifying the crops, they stand less risk if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate -- sort of a "don’t put all your eggs in one basket" approach. This year’s spring, which was unusually dry and particularly early, was no exception to the weather anomalies of the Upper Peninsula.
Artist Margo McCafferty Rudd demonstrates sketching vegetables to participants in the July 2009 Reading the Landscape Sustainable Farming tour of the Hughes Farm. The Reading the Landscape field trips combine art and natural history of the local area.
Weather isn’t the only enemy to combat. The crops grown in outdoor plots are left vulnerable to wildlife. Some of these plots are protected from wildlife by fencing or specially coated ribbon designed to deter animals like deer.
The specially coated ribbon, visible here in the foreground, deters animals from invading outdoor plots on the Hughes Farm.
The Hugheses market the majority of their produce right from the farm. The on-farm shop accounts for about 85 percent of their yearly sales, with the Keweenaw Co-op and other local grocery stores handling the rest.
Even now, in early fall, the market offers a wide variety of produce, including bumper crops of pumpkins and onions, Gary noted.
The recent frost that affected some gardens in the Keweenaw did not reach the Hughes farm because of their location high on a hill.
"We didn't get a frost," Gary said. "The air moves down the hill (so) the frost doesn't have a chance to settle."
This great view of the landscape from the Hughes Farm shows how its location, being on a hill, protects it from frost. Covers like this one in the foreground also protect plants from inclement weather and insects.
In addition to the pumpkins and onions, the Hughes market now also offers quantities of gourds, corn stalks, winter squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, potatoes, lettuce, kale and chard, Gary said.
"We're going to be open probably through the third week in October," he predicted.
Pat explained that when operating the store, a typical morning starts with everyone picking. As the time to open approaches, she heads up and readies the shop. Once it is open, Pat spends her day weighing and cashiering and keeping the various items stocked while Gary and the employees continue to pick and tend to the crops.
Pat and Gary said their business has really taken off and been consistently busy over the last ten years.
The day-to-day grind of operating the farm shows not only in their hands, but hearts as well. Although proud of the business they’ve nurtured, when asked what their future plans included, Gary simply stated, "Retirement!"
The Hugheses are grateful for the community support they receive and work to return the favor in their spare time. Not only do they offer the community healthy all-natural produce, but they share their knowledge of the land with students from the C-L-K school district.
Pat handles most of the details, explaining to the children where the fruits and vegetables they eat come from and what they look like prior to processing. She even helps guide the students to select appropriate vegetation, hardy to the area, for the school’s student-led Heritage Garden Project. The gardening program is funded through a grant from the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative and support from other community partners. The purpose of the grant is to engage students in activities that benefit their community, school and the Lake Superior watershed -- all virtues that Pat and Gary support and participate in.***
Interested in enjoying the tastes, texture and smells of all-natural produce grown right here in the Keweenaw? Then stop by the farm and see what’s available. The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through the third week of October. Raspberries and strawberries are available to be picked throughout the season when announced or by appointment. For more information, look for their signs along the road, give them a call, or check out their website at www.hughesfarm.net.
Editor's Notes: * Photos for this article, with one exception, were taken by Keweenaw Now during the July 2009 Reading the Landscape Sustainable Farming tour of the Hughes Farm and are reprinted here with Gary Hughes' permission. Reading the Landscape is a collaborative program of art and natural history field trips sponsored by several local conservation groups. Read more about it on the Gratiot Lake Conservancy Web site.
** Guest reporter Tom Graham wrote this article for David Clanaugh's recent summer journalism class at Michigan Tech University.
*** See our Aug. 14 article, "C-L-K school garden project yields rich harvest," by Madeline Baron and David Clanaugh.
This program will be held at 7 p.m on Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Eagle River Community Center, located at 57935 Calumet Avenue in Eagle River, Mich. It is part of the Fourth Thursday in History program sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park.
The Cliff mine began in 1845. The first Keweenaw mine to pay its investors a dividend, the Cliff operated successfully until 1869, when production dropped for the first time. Different mining companies continued to work the lode on and off until 1931; the shafts were finally capped in the 1960s. Today, only remnants of this once-mighty mine mark the landscape: poor rock piles, masonry foundations, and wagon road traces provide clues to the how the men, women and children of this mine lived, worked and played. Gohman, a PhD student at Michigan Technological University, spent the summer documenting the site as part of an archeological field school and will share what he and the other students discovered.
The Fourth Thursday in History series arranges public presentations on important aspects of Copper Country and regional history, including techniques for historic preservation. Presentations are scheduled in venues throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, particularly at historic sites associated with specific topics. They are free and open to the public.
For further information, including specific directions to this event, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at 906-337-3168, or check the web at www.nps.gov/kewe.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
HANCOCK -- On Saturday, Sept. 18th, a covey of volunteers gathered in Churning Rapids to replace the old Spring Creek bridge. This is part of Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club’s ongoing effort to make the trails more fun to ski, not to mention safer for skiers and the groomers to use.
The first step was removal of the old unit. Pictured here are Sean Boyden, Michigan Tech chemical engineering student, and Arlyn Aronson, who is bashfully operating the club's UTV. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)
Next was the building of the new 8-foot wide, 16-foot long structure that will be much higher, keeping it out of high water, and of course wider so that it is safer for our skiers to use.
Sean Boyden, left, and Jay Green, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club president, work on the new bridge.
Done! And most of the wonderful crew who worked on it can be seen here on the new bridge. Pictured, from left, are Rich Feathery; Sean Boyden; Pat Davis from Madison, Wis.; Jay Green; and Sandy Aronson. Not pictured is Betsy Hagens, also of Madison, Wis.
With the generous assistance of volunteers and the memberships, Keweenaw Nordic Ski club will continue to upgrade their equipment and trails, making them more fun to ski on, plus hike/bike/run over the summer months. Over the past five years they’ve purchased a volume of tools used by the groomers and the volunteers for the upkeep of these trails.
Gromit, the trail boss, supervises the work and the fun.
For this project, special thanks to Terry Kinzel and Sue Ellen Kingsley of Churning Rapids for their financial assistance with the Spring Creek bridge replacement.
Finlandia crew to brush trail Sept. 25
At 9 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 25, a Finlandia crew will be brushing and lopping their way upstream on the trail starting at Tomasi Road, to the green gate at Churning Rapids. This section can’t be done with the towed mower and must be done by hand. We’ll meet at the RR grade and Tomasi Road intersection and hike down to the creek from there. We’ll have six to eight folks helping. Maybe you’d like to help us feed them with some baked goods??? We’re going to supply them with a hot lunch of garden carrot soup. If you could help feed them or would like to lend a hand clearing this section, we’d be most appreciative.
This photo shows what happens when the trail boss finds someone hasn’t pulled their weight. ;-)
If you’d like to help with materials or volunteer, just get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com or by calling 906-370-2911.
Please note that your membership is also very important, and you can get that at http://www.keweenawtrails.com/ Be sure to look for Keweenaw Nordic Ski club membership application. Together we’ll make the trails better yet!!
*Editor's Note: Guest authors / photographers Arlyn and Sandy Aronson are active members of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC), which maintains the Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids cross-country ski trails in Hancock. Arlyn is also the lead groomer. For more information about KNSC, visit their Web site.
HOUGHTON -- Happy World Carfree Day! Cruise the international news online, and you'll find evidence of some of the roughly 1,000 Carfree Day events being held today in a reported 40 countries around the globe. Click here to read more on Katie Alvord's Divorce Your Car blog.
Photo: Katie Alvord, Keweenaw Now guest author, practicing what she preaches in Houghton. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © Mary Been)
On Saturday, Sept. 18, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club volunteers replaced the old Spring Creek bridge on the the Churning Rapids trail. Pictured here, from left, are Rich Feathery; Sean Boyden; Pat Davis from Madison, Wis.; Jay Green; and Sandy Aronson. Not pictured is Betsy Hagens, also of Madison, Wis. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Arlyn Aronson) Watch for more photos, coming soon!
The agenda includes such new business as Mike Young and the Ski Tigers, Shopko grant, bridge work, the Barneløpet and more.
Contact Jay Green, KNSC president, at firstname.lastname@example.org for directions, to add agenda items, or to ask a question.
MARQUETTE -- Since earlier this month Rio Tinto has been burying electric lines underneath County Road AAA in northern Marquette County. The underground lines will connect the company’s Eagle Mine with new power lines running on County Road 550, leading to a coal-fired power station in Marquette.
According to regulators at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), connecting the electric line to the mine site would be illegal. Or, it isn’t. It really depends who you talk with. Read the rest of this Sept. 21 article on Headwaters News.
Wendy Brawer (second from right) and her design team. (Photo © Carlos Martinez)
An Opening Reception will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23. The designer will speak at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Wendy Brawer has written about, taught, and shared information and inspiration about eco-design for more than a decade. Her New York-based company, Modern World Design, consults and creates services and products that promote ecological stewardship.
The "Green Maps of the World" exhibit features green maps from around the world, and introduces the Keweenaw Green Map in an interactive display.
The Keweenaw Green Map was initiated by the Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center (SKRC), Hancock, with support from Finlandia University.
SKRC co-director Barb Hardy explains that the Keweenaw Green Map is an online map charting local businesses, projects, happenings and other sites that play a part in sustainable community development.
Green Maps are designed to be explored, customized, and enhanced by their users.
The public can view, interact and contribute to the Keweenaw Green Map at www.keweenawgreenmap.net, or at the SKRC at the Finlandia University Jutila Center campus, Hancock.
Rick Loduha, Finlandia University associate professor of Interdisciplinary Design, became acquainted with Brawer in 1993 at an Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) conference.
"We were both speaking on sustainable design, but she packed the house," Loduha recalls. "At the time, she was working on the Green Apple Map for New York City, the precursor to the now globally accepted International Green Map System. We are very excited that Wendy has made time to visit the U.P."
Brawer will be on the Finlandia University campus Sept. 22 to 24 to work with Finlandia University Interdisciplinary Design majors.
Brawer's Green Apple Map sparked a revolution in the way cities are mapped. The Green Apple Map charts the environmentally and culturally significant places in New York City.
Three years later, in 1995, Brawer launched the Green Map System (GMS), a universally shared visual language of icons and programs for both city-wide and youth mapmakers.
The GMS engages local citizens in the mapping of a community's interdependent environmental, social, and economic systems. This system of mapping has gained the creative support and involvement of a diverse network of designers, environmentalists, activists, students, engaged citizens and civil servants.
With nearly 700 locally-led Green Map projects in 55 countries, the Green Map System has become a global effort. Today, hundreds of printed and interactive online Green Maps highlight and link local nature, culture, and green living resources. For more information about the GMS, visit www.greenmap.org.
The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.
The half-price sale starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Payment must be cash or check only, no credit cards. New Moms and Moms-To-Be can sign up for the First-Time Mom's Club and shop before the sale starts (no strings attached!).
Monday, September 20, 2010
"It's a great opportunity to hear from Gary and from fellow Dems and volunteers across the district," says Jesse Burnett, a new Field Organizer for the coordinated campaign (Michigan's 1st District). "If you'd like to ask Gary a question and help out with calls come to the Houghton County Democratic Party office before 7 p.m. After the Q and A session we'll have a phone bank until 9 p.m. Hope to see you all there."
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jesse Burnett at email@example.com or 906-360-8003.
"I'll be in the office just about every day between now and election day, so stop by and say hi when you get a chance," Burnett adds.
Campaign Kickoff Saturday, Sept. 25
The Houghton County Democrats will hold a Campaign Kickoff from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Ramada Inn, with live music and refreshments. Tickets are $10 a person. To order tickets, click here.
Monday, Oct. 4, is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election. For Michigan voter registration information click here.
For more information about Gary McDowell, visit his Web site or see our Sept. 10 article, "Gary McDowell, Congressional candidate, visits Houghton County Dems."
Update: Highway Cleanup Sept. 21
The Houghton County Democratic Party will clean its Adopted Highway at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 21. They will meet at their Adopt-A-Highway sign on M26 between Ripley and Dollar Bay.
Libby Meyer, director of the Copper Country Suzuki Association (CCSA), and Amanda Plummer of Keweenaw Family Music will be joined by CCSA students for an hour of music making and dancing.
Children of all ages are encouraged to participate. An instrument "petting zoo" where children can try out the stringed instruments will follow.
Alternative medicine talk Sept. 22
Rachele Bachran from the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department will present "Time to Talk" from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Portage Lake District Library.
Time to Talk is an educational campaign that has been launched by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health at Bethesda, Maryland.
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage patients, particularly those aged 50 and older, and their health care providers to openly discuss the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments.
Bachran will give participants a TELL tip sheet for patients, an ASK tip sheet for providers, patient wallet cards to keep track of all medicines including CAM therapies, and postcards listing additional online resources. She will also show a brief power point presentation and explain details about the Time to Talk campaign.
Bachran is a School and Community Health Educator with the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department and has an M.S. degree in Health Promotion.
Everyone is welcome to attend and library presentations are free. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org.