Saturday, March 12, 2011

Letter: Michigan Needs money! Here is a suggestion:

Dear Editor,

Michigan Needs money! Here is a suggestion:

I recently saw some information on file with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) dealing with Kennecott’s tax payments to the State of Wisconsin for the Flambeau Mine. The mine operated near Ladysmith, Wisconsin, in the mid-1990s; and conservative estimates put the value of the ore (copper, gold and silver) at $585 million.

According to the Wisconsin DOR, Kennecott paid the State of Wisconsin $14.3 million in taxes. That works out to less than 3 percent of the value of the ore. As tax time approaches, don’t you wish your taxes could be computed at a rate of 3 percent? It makes me wonder -- Is Michigan’s mining tax law as lousy as Wisconsin’s? When I tried to find the answer, I couldn’t even find where Michigan HAS a mining tax law!

How much money is the State of Michigan expected to get out of the $4.7 billion ore body that Kennecott is planning to mine at Eagle Rock in the Yellow Dog Plains, Upper Peninsula? Or, more important, what is the State of Michigan about to give away to a foreign mining company when public services are being cut and most people are hurting?

Ask State Representatives and Senators to tax Kennecott at a hefty rate for the metal they plan to take out of Michigan. After all, Kennecott is shipping OUR precious metals over to China to make a quick buck while we face school closings here at home. It’s not fair.

Here is contact information for State Representative Matt Huuki (517/373-0850) and State Sen. Tom Casperson (517/373-7840).

Sincerely,

Charlotte Loonsfoot
Member, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC)
Baraga, Michigan

Photo: Charlotte Loonsfoot is pictured here the KBIC Maawanji'iding (Pow wow) in the Ojibwa Campground, Baraga, in June 2010. Her regalia includes a symbolic blue shawl. The Women's Movement for the Water is promoting blue shawls to help spread awareness about protecting the water. Click on photo for larger version. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Music benefit for Greg Wright to be March 13 at Brownstone Hall

HOUGHTON -- A music benefit for local musician and friend Greg Wright will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. Proceeds of this event will go to offset medical expenses incurred from the ongoing treatment of colon cancer.

Poster courtesy Pasi Lautala.

Admission is $10 / $5 students at the door.

A Silent Auction of donated items will include Packers signed football, White Pine copper ingot, handmade quilt, professional photography, musical instruments, artwork, knitted garments, t-shirts -- as well as items from Alaska, Hawaii, Keweenaw, all over -- just to name a few...

50/50!

Food! available from 5th and Elm, the Library Restaurant, Vollwerths, Keweenaw Co-op.

Music! Check out this band lineup!!
2:15 -- JJ Plichta and Erika Vye
3:00 -- Huffing Pink
3:30 -- Jon Soper
3:45 -- Uptown Swingsters w/ Mike Irish
4:15 -- Electric Park
5:00 -- Bernie Larsen
5:45 -- This is Deer Country
6:20 -- Jon Soper
6:40 -- Pasi Cats
7:30 -- Raven Congress

Visit www.wrightaid.com for a map and more information.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Opinion: Proposed Atlantic Mine Solid Waste Transfer Station causes concern for smell, safety

[Editor's Update: We previously published the original version of this article, which had an error concerning the Houghton County Commissioners' Mar. 15 meeting. According to Houghton County Commissioner Anton Pintar, it is the County Planning Commission that will make a recommendation on the site plan for the new Transfer Station in Atlantic Mine at their meeting at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Mar. 15, in the Circuit Court Room, second floor of the Houghton County Courthouse. As of now, Monday, Mar. 14, the Transfer Station is not on the agenda of the Mar. 15 Houghton County Commissioners' meeting.]

By Doug Welker*


HOUGHTON -- The current Houghton County Solid Waste Transfer Station, the place where local "trash" is collected for transfer to disposal sites, is sinking into a mine on the south edge of Houghton. A new site for the facility needed to be found.

But, how was that site selected? Apparently there was no county-owned land that was suitable, so the County Board decided to buy land from private owners. The process involved was not exactly a competitive bidding situation. A former County Commissioner simply asked around until he found an apparently good site that someone was willing to sell to the county. The new county land on Erickson Road off M-26 in Atlantic Mine is now proposed as the site for the future Transfer Station.

In some respects it is a good site. It is not on a major highway but on a well-used secondary road. The facility is planned to be screened from view to some extent by an existing barrier of woods, perhaps 100 feet deep. It will be quite visible in winter, but probably not much in summer.

Now, the bad news. On the Houghton County Future Land Use Map, the site is listed as Rural Residential, and normally a Solid Waste Transfer Station would not be permitted there. However, the Land Use Map may not be worth the paper it’s printed on, because apparently the County Board can change the designation of land it owns to whatever it wants.**

Increased traffic on Erickson is potentially dangerous, and slow-moving trucks may irritate drivers on both Erickson and on M-26 between Erickson and Festival Foods. The corner of Erickson and M-26 has apparently been the site of two fatal accidents already.

In addition, even if well designed, such a facility would detract from the basically residential character of the area. Such facilities can be noisy, but their main impact is odor. Reducing odor requires taking special actions, such as daily washing of all surfaces in contact with waste and daily shipping of all waste to disposal sites. It is not clear that those actions would be taken.

Editor's Update: According to Houghton County Commissioner Anton Pintar, the site (location) for the new Transfer Station was decided in 2009. Pintar told Keweenaw Now today, Mar. 14, that the Houghton County Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the site plan (design) for the new Transfer Station in Atlantic Mine at their meeting at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Mar. 15, in the Circuit Court Room, second floor of the Houghton County Courthouse. As of now, Monday, Mar. 14, the Transfer Station is not on the agenda of the Mar. 15 Houghton County Commissioners' meeting. The County Commissioners are not required to vote on the Planning Commission's recommendation.

County meetings are open to the public and allow time for public comments. Concerned citizens are encouraged to attend either meeting. Click here for links to some of the more recent minutes of the County Commissioners' meetings.

Editor's Notes:
*
This article originally appeared in the Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) March 2011 Newsletter. Reprinted with permission of the author, Doug Welker, co-editor of the Newsletter. Check out FOLK's new, updated Web site and newsletters online.
** Click here for the Houghton County Future Land Use Map.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Bear Chase: Ski Races, Square Dance, Brunch Ski March 11-13

Skiers climb one of Swedetown's great hills during the annual Great Bear Chase Cross Country Ski Race. (Photo © and courtesy brockit.com. Reprinted with permission.)

CALUMET -- The Great Bear Chase Cross Country Ski Race will take place on Saturday, March 12, at Swedetown Trails in Calumet. The race includes a 50-km freestyle race and separate 26-km classic and freestyle categories. Registration and bib pick-up are on Friday, March 11, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Cross Country Sports in Calumet. (Online registration is now closed.) Bib pick-up only (no registration) is also possible between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at Cross Country Sports.

Races begin between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The start and finish are along the snowmobile trail where it crosses Scott Street, not far from the old Depot.

The course uses the varied and gently rolling terrain of the Swedetown Trails. After the race, stick around for door prizes, raffles and a free lunch!

The 50-km freestyle is probably the most competitive race at the Great Bear Chase. Many master skiers use this as their last hurrah for the race season. Many racers from nearby college teams use this as a fitting end to their season.

The 26-km freestyle provides an excellent end-of-season goal for serious racers and mainstream recreational skiers alike. Many master skiers use this as a season-ending endurance test. Recreational skiers enjoy the 26-km freestyle because of the relaxed Bear Chase atmosphere and the forgiving course.

The 26-km classic features racers who want the traditional experience of a half-marathon, as well as those who like to "tour" for a morning rather than race in packs.

Visit the Bear Chase Web site for details and a schedule.

The Junior Bear Chase, a youth Nordic ski race for skiers up to 16 years old, will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Swedetown Trails in Calumet. Registration and Bib pick-up are from 4 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Swedetown Chalet.

Visit the Copper Country Ski Tigers Web site for details.

Saturday Night Square Dance at Calumet Theatre

The "Great Bear Square" Dance, with live music and a caller, will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, at the Calumet Theatre Ballroom. Donations to cover hall rental and the band will be gratefully accepted. This is a community event. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the spacious wooden dance floor and music.

Sunday Brunch Ski

On Sunday morning, March 13, come out to Swedetown Trails for the Brunch Ski from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at the Swedetown Chalet. You must have a ticket to enjoy the food, even if you choose not to ski. Proceeds will benefit the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter.

The brunch will include pannukakku, breakfast pasties, coffee, tea, juice, muffins, fruit -- and, again, s'mores! Tables will be set up along beginner trails with the opportunity to ski more challenging trails if so desired. The entire route will be 10 km from the chalet and back.

Thanks to generous donations from these businesses: Conglomerate Café, Toni's Country Kitchen, 5th and Elm Coffee House, Connie's Kitchen, Pat's IGA, and Louie's Superfoods.

For tickets or information call 337-5632.

Levin: Bill approved by Senate Small Business Committee would aid small, high-tech Michigan businesses

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the Senate Small Business Committee’s March 9 reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs will assist small, high-technology businesses in Michigan and across the country. The committee approved a bill that would fund the programs for the next eight years, and the bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

"The Small Business Innovation Research program shows how well-managed, strategic federal investments can be used to leverage the most innovative parts of our technology and industrial base to make our nation more secure, healthy, and globally competitive," said Levin, who is a senior member of the Small Business Committee. "I’m pleased that the committee increased funding for the SBIR so we can continue to see the enhanced return on investments we are making through this program."

The SBIR and STTR programs invest federal research and development (R and D) funding in small businesses. Eleven federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Agriculture, allocate a portion of their R and D budgets for small businesses.

The SBIR and STTR programs have encouraged innovation, created jobs, and helped the government to solve problems cost-effectively. According to the committee, small businesses produce more than 13 times the number of patents than large businesses and universities, and they employ nearly 40 percent of America’s scientists and engineers.

Numerous Michigan businesses have benefited from SBIR and STTR funding. With SBIR funding, Ann Arbor’s Cybernet, a leader in robotics, saved the government $27 million in the first four months of implementation and hundreds of millions of dollars over the past five years. SBIR-backed A123 opened the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Livonia, creating more than 400 jobs in Michigan. And, as a result of an SBIR grant, Canton’s CasterShoX created noise-dampening products that have reduced noise-induced hearing loss for American factory workers.

Editor's Note: Last August Senator Carl Levin spoke about the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to a group of local business owners and members of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) in Houghton. See our Sept. 2, 2010 article, "Sen. Levin speaks at Small Business Roundtable in Houghton."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Michigan Tech's Sarah Green among more than 160 scientists telling Congress: Let EPA do its job

By Michele Bourdieu, with information contributed by Jennifer B. Donovan, Michigan Tech director of public relations, and a press release on Michigan scientists' letter to Congressional representatives.

HOUGHTON -- More than 160 scientists from colleges and universities across Michigan have sent a letter urging Michigan’s congressional delegation to oppose further attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, calling the EPA essential to protecting public health. Among speakers at a telephone press conference Wednesday morning, March 9, was Sarah Green, chair of chemistry at Michigan Technological University.

"I am proud to stand with my fellow scientists in sending this message to Congress: Let science, not politics, determine how we set standards on greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. "As Congress begins the debate on the Clean Air Act, it is vital that they hear from scientists -- and more than 160 of us in Michigan are ready to make our voices heard."

Green, whose research centers on Great Lakes chemistry and ecology and who is a member of the Green Chemistry Roundtable, noted also that this issue of greenhouse gas emissions affects people in all areas of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula.

"Our natural resources, and especially our Great Lakes, really define the life here in the Upper Peninsula," Green said. "As scientists I believe we have a duty to speak up in defense of natural resources and public health -- and of course to support the Michigan economy."

Green recalled that the Supreme Court has ruled the EPA has a duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions to protect public health. Over the last 40 years, EPA scientists have implemented science-based policies to keep our air and water healthy; for example, EPA scientists track bacteria, mercury, pesticides and other toxic substances in the Great Lakes and impose rules to stop this pollution, she explained.

"As a result Michigan's beautiful beaches are now more swimable, our fish are becoming healthier, polluted waterfronts around the state have been remediated, and we're all the better for it. Their work has really been outstanding," Green said.

Green pointed out, however, that climate change is an enormous threat to the lakes. It has increased the summer temperature of Lake Superior by five degrees since the 1980s.

"The winter ice cover is decreasing. People who used to put up their ice shacks and fish now can no longer do so in many places in the winter," Green noted. "Increasing temperatures are likely to bring more invasive species, harmful algal blooms and decreasing lake levels -- all of which have enormous economic and health impacts (on) Michigan's Upper Peninsula."

The scientists' letter states: "We strongly urge you to reject any measure that would block or delay the US Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the people of Michigan from air pollution and human-caused climate change, both of which put our health, agriculture, environment and economy at risk."

Knute Nadelhoffer, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, who testified before Congress on Tuesday, March 8, about the importance of allowing the EPA to set greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act, also spoke at the telephone press conference today, saying the EPA should be allowed to continue doing its job of protecting public health.

"Scientists across Michigan stand united with scientists at the EPA and across the nation," Nadelhoffer said. "Science, not politics, must drive our fight against dangerous pollution."

To a question on whether it is clear that climate change is occurring and is caused by human activity, referring to skepticism raised by those opposed to supporting the EPA, Nadelhoffer said the evidence has been getting stronger every year for the past 25 or 30 years that the climate is changing and that the major changes are driven by a measured increase in greenhouse gases.

"No one (not even the small minority of skeptical scientists) disputes the fact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide and methane are increasing and are at higher levels than they've been for the past 400,000 years -- at least with respect to Co2. Those gases are increasing and they're known to have radiative, reflective properties -- in other words, they reflect heat back to the earth," Nadelhoffer explained. "The science is clear. There's really no question at this point."

David Karowe, professor of biological sciences at Western Michigan University agreed with Nadelhoffer that the evidence of human responsibility for climate change is incontrovertible and that Michigan scientists should urge Congress to defend citizens, not polluters.

"By taking away or weakening the EPA’s authority to fight greenhouse gas pollution, Congress is endangering the public health by increasing the likelihood of deadly heat waves, floods, and droughts," Karowe said.

Another speaker on the panel of scientists, Steve Bertman, Western Michigan University chemistry professor and an expert on atmospheric chemistry, said greenhouse gas pollution endangers important industries from agriculture to tourism.

"The science is clear: Greenhouse gas pollution harms our air, land and water," Bertman said. "Ultimately, it will be the growing industries of alternative energy that will bring innovation and jobs back to Michigan. We should be doing everything we can to support these jobs of the future rather than upholding outdated technologies of the past."

Stephen Hamilton, professor of ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry at W.K. Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University, whose research is connected to agriculture and ecosystems, noted climate change will be extremely costly to Michigan’s economy if immediate action isn't taken, within the scope of the Clean Air Act, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He pointed out the EPA's past successes in improving air quality.

"The urgency of this issue cannot be understated," Hamilton said. "Every year, every decade that we delay taking action to stabilize the climate is committing not only us, but also our childen, our grandchildren and beyond to inheriting bigger and bigger problems."

Hamilton also answered a question on impacts of climate change on agriculture. He stressed that, while warmer air might produce higher yield, water availability under hot conditions will be more limited and will impose stress on areas where irrigation is important, such as west and southwest Michigan.

Karowe added climate change will decrease the nutritional quality of plant tissue, even if yields increase with warmer temperatures.

Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center and an adjunct environmental law professor at the University of Michigan, said he expected signatures to the letter from scientists may total more than 200 by the end of the week.

"The EPA does important life-saving work to protect public health," Learner said. "Congress should work to reduce pollution, not open the floodgates to more toxic pollution that puts Michigan’s future and our health at risk."

Among the facts the Michigan scientists highlighted in their letter are these:
  • The Clean Air Act requires that EPA work to reduce smog and soot pollution, air toxins and global warming pollution that together cost the people of Michigan and America billions of dollars in health care and other costs.
  • Clean air rules can create more than 62,300 construction, installation and professional jobs in Michigan in the next five years.
  • Michigan’s Big Three automakers have already publicly supported EPA rules to reduce emissions in new vehicles.
  • Clean air regulations save consumers millions of dollars in gas costs, reduce oil consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 960 million metric tons.
Signers of the letter include scientists and researchers from Michigan Tech, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Michigan State, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, as well as Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Calvin College, and scientists with other research institutions in Michigan.

The scientists are continuing to circulate the letter to more researchers and scientists across the state, hoping to build momentum and influence Congressional decision-making.

A recent statewide poll showed Michigan voters overwhelmingly support the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial sources. According to the poll of 500 Michigan voters by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, 68 percent of voters support the EPA’s authority.

Last week, the EPA released a report showing that the Clean Air Act will have saved $2 trillion by 2020 and prevented at least 230,000 deaths annually. By 2020, complying with the amendments would prevent 200,000 heart attacks, 17 million lost work days and 2.4 million asthma attacks, according to the report.

Click here to read the letter and see many of the signatures.

Photo: Sarah Green, Michigan Tech Department of Chemistry chair, shows a documentary film on climate change, Weather Report, and leads a discussion as part of the Green Film Series on Feb. 17, 2011, in Michigan Tech's Hesterberg Hall. See our Feb. 27, 2011, article by Katie Alvord, "Weather Report" attracts crowd to Green Film Festival. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Nordic Film Series to present German film Mar. 10

HANCOCK -- The White Ribbon is the featured Nordic film this Thursday, March 10, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. The film will be shown twice on Thursday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Released in 2009, The White Ribbon is a mysterious story about a series of untoward events in a rural village in pre-World War I Germany.

The black and white film is structured around a string of misfortunes that befall the citizens of Eichwald, Austria, an agricultural community where half the population works for the Baron and where the stern Protestant pastor wields a strong influence, especially on the children.

The film is in German with English subtitles. There is no charge to attend, but donations are accepted.

For information, call 487-7549.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tech Today: Centers of Energy Excellence Website offers updates on biofuels research

From Tech Today:

HOUGHTON -- Researchers from Michigan Tech and Michigan State University have established a new website, www.michiganforestbiofuels.org, to keep the public informed on the research being conducted by two state-supported Centers of Energy Excellence. David Shonnard, Robbins Chair Professor of Sustainable Materials and director of Michigan Tech's Sustainable Futures Institute, serves on the steering committee for both centers.

Both research projects focus on wood-based biofuels. One, the Feedstock Supply Chain Center of Energy Excellence, is developing a sustainable biofuel supply chain to a planned cellulosic ethanol facility in Kinross, in the eastern Upper Peninsula. The other, the Forestry Biofuel Statewide Collaboration Center, examines the forest feedstock supply infrastructure for woody biomass in the entire state of Michigan.

Research for each project involves determining biomass availability, looking into the sustainable production of woody material and examining how to improve the efficiency of the supply chain for woody biomass.

Editor's Note: On Saturday, March 19 -- as part of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) conference, "Celebrate the U.P." -- A Panel Discussion with the Public titled "The U.P.'s Role in our Energy Future -- the pros and cons of wind power and biofuels" will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. in Room 323 of Finlandia University's Jutila Center in Hancock. Panelists will include Robert Froese, associate professor, Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, presenting "The impacts of using forest biomass for energy production" and Marvin Roberson, Sierra Club Forest Ecologist, presenting "Woody Biomass – A Viable Alternative?" For the full schedule of the UPEC conference, click here for their Spring 2011 Newsletter.

100 Years today: International Women's Day!

Today is the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day. Celebrate and read challenges from women around the world. Visit the International Women's Day Web site for links.

Read Arianna Huffington's tribute to her mother on the Huffington Post: "International Women's Day: Life (and Work) Lessons Every Woman Should Learn."

See also Hillary Clinton's message: "Women Must Get Role In Middle East Transition."

What does International Women's Day mean to you? Send us a comment.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Video: Copper Dog 150 starts on Fifth St., Calumet

video
This team of dogs was impatient to take off on the first leg of the 2nd Annual Copper Dog 150 Sled Dog Race on Fifth Street in Calumet Friday night, March 4, 2011. Keweenaw Now captured some of the excitement in this video clip. Watch for photos, coming soon! (Video clip by Keweenaw Now photographer Gustavo Bourdieu)

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District to hold 59th Annual Meeting Mar. 8

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will hold its 59th Annual Meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, at Michigan Tech's Lakeshore Center (former UPPCO building), 600 E. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton.

The meeting will feature a presentation by Botanist Janet Marr on the Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the UP (RRIP-IT-UP). Invasive plants impact hunting, fishing, boating, gardening, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and other recreational activities in our beautiful Keweenaw. Marr will help us understand why we need to become aware of invasive plants and take action to prevent their spread.

Botanist Janet Marr shows visitors purple loosestrife on the Nara Nature Trail in August 2010. (Photo courtesy Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District)

RRIP-IT-UP is a UP-wide grant project sponsored by Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development with funding of a $150,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

A regular monthly meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a Silent Auction and Pot Luck Buffet at 6 p.m.

Copper Country Trout Unlimited volunteers work to improve fish habitat on the Pilgrim River during the summer of 2010. HKCD is awaiting final approval of a Watershed Management Grant through the Coastal Management Program. The grant would assist groups and landowners working together to protect the Pilgrim River and its watershed. (Photo © Gina Nicholas and courtesy Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District)

After the buffet, HKCD will hold an Election to fill two Board positions. Three nominating petitions were submitted: Gina Nicholas, from Keweenaw County; Sandra Palmore, a Hancock resident; and Steve Siira of Kearsarge. Nicholas has been on the Board since 2003 providing her expertise on business, finance, conservation, forestry and grant writing; Palmore has been on the Board since 2002 providing guidance and sound decisions based on her past work experience and love of preserving the Keweenaw’s natural environment; and Steve Siira, a Michigan Tech graduate of Civil Engineering, currently serves on the Keweenaw County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Stewards of the Bete Grise Preserve (SBGP) held their annual picnic at Bete Grise in August 2010. Founded in 2009 as part of a Coastal Zone Management Grant, SBGP supports partners Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District, Keweenaw Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy in raising funds for insurance, easement monitoring and other improvements at the Bete Grise Preserve. SBGP also conducts stewardship activities and events for the public, including the annual picnic. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

A short power point overview on what the Conservation District has accomplished during 2010 and is working on in 2011 will be presented at the meeting.

Everyone is welcome. For more information call Sue Haralson at 906-482-0214.

Carnegie Museum to host Family Engineering Night Mar. 8

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum is teaming up with the Michigan Tech Family Engineering Program to offer a Family Engineering Night from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton.

"Our goal is to expose youngsters to engineering," explains Joan Chadde, education program coordinator for the Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education. "We're excited to try out some of the new activities we've developed at Michigan Tech, through the Family Engineering Program funded by the National Science Foundation."

Parents and children in grades one to six are invited to participate. Admission is free. Parking is available behind the building or in the city lot across Montezuma Street.

The evening will start with tabletop activities that families can do on their own -- Thrillseekers, Diving Board Dominoes, Turn up the Sound and Who Engineered It.

Next, families will participate in two engineering challenges: "Bright Ideas in Electricity," where family teams design a flashlight, and "Five Points Traffic Jam," where family teams design a safer traffic intersection.

"We are happy to host a Family Engineering Night to go along with this month's engineering theme," adds Elise Nelson, museum director. "It's an opportunity for parents and kids to spend a fun evening learning together."

The Carnegie Museum is located in the former Portage Lake District Library building on the corner of Huron and Montezuma streets.

The Family Fun Night can also be found on Facebook. "Like" the page and get up-to-date information on programs and events at the Carnegie Museum. The Facebook page can be accessed even if you do not have an account.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Keweenaw Krayons' 7th Annual Mardi Gras festival to feature musicians, Cajun food, family fun Mar. 8

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons' 7th Annual Mardi Gras Festival will host an exciting lineup of local musicians, as well as a Cajun-style feast catered by restaurants throughout the Keweenaw, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, March 8, at the Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk.

AnnA Sanchez, a former member of Keweenaw Krayons, assists in making masks for a previous Mardi Gras celebration. AnnA now lives in Elkhorn, Wis. (Photos courtesy Keweenaw Krayons, except where indicated otherwise.)

Horizons will be transformed into Mohawk’s very own French quarter, complete with live blues and dancing. This year’s event also features a costume contest, the winner of which will be chosen by popular support. All guests are encouraged to dress up and strut their stuff in the Mardi Gras parade for a chance to win a cash prize.

"We invite attendees to embrace the carnivale spirit with gusto this year!" said Mardi Gras organizer, Diana Langdon. "Wear a costume from home or put it together at our mask making and face painting. What a great way to chase away the midwinter blahs!"

This year's event will combine music, food and art to raise money for three very worthy causes: Keweenaw Krayons; Horizon’s leadership program, S.T.A.R.S. (Success, Teamwork, Achievement, Recognition and Self-Esteem); and Lyanne Stemler, who is working to raise cancer awareness in honor of her late mother, artist Renee Stemler.

Lyanne Stemler, one of the partners of this year's Keweenaw Krayons' Mardi Gras Festival fundraiser, works on an art project in one of the studios of the Horizon School in Mohawk. Lyanne is working to raise cancer awareness in honor of her late mother, artist Renee Stemler. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The evening will start off with the Backroom Boys, a jazz and blues trio featuring Oren Tikkanen on banjo and guitar, John Munson playing saxophone and clarinet, and Bob Norden on trombone. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Soper, guitarist and accomplished mouth trumpeter, will be debuting new material. The festival will conclude with recent Reach for the S.K.Y. Talent Show winners, March of the Snails. George Butuala is the evening’s MC.

Artist Becky Weeks models one of her original masks for a previous Keweenaw Krayons Mardi Gras celebration.

Mardi Gras revelers will also be treated to a selection of toothsome dishes donated by Keweenaw restaurants. The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is providing appetizers: crab tarts; andouille sausage in puff pastry with coarse mustard; and beignets with berry sauce. The Mariner North is serving up a delicious pot of hearty gumbo with chicken, shrimp and sausage. The Keweenaw Co-op is serving a vegetarian gumbo, and Carmelita’s is providing jambalaya. Jim’s Pizza and Shelden Grill have also signed on to provide food.

Keweenaw Krayons Board President Darlene Basto models a Mardi Gras mask.

"We’re so grateful to our sponsor restaurants," said event organizer, Elise Matz. "These businesses have really come through for us, and we appreciate their support for this wonderful organization."

Tickets are still on sale through Tuesday, March 8, at retailers throughout the Keweenaw. Sellers include the 5th and Elm Coffee House in both Calumet and Houghton; Nagamoon Gifts of Calumet; Morty's Fresh and Easy of Lake Linden; Mohawk Superette of Mohawk; and the Mariner North in Copper Harbor. Those who wish to purchase tickets can also see Sue Fouts at Calumet Schools to buy a ticket from her; or come to the Horizon's School office during school hours.

Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Infants and toddlers who will not be eating are free. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $5 for children.