Thursday, May 12, 2011

EFMs, schools concern residents at April Town Hall with Casperson, Huuki

Michigan State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) and State Rep. Matt Huuki (Atlantic Mine) answer a question on Emergency Financial Managers during the April 23 Town Hall meeting at Michigan Tech. (Photo courtesy Allan Baker)

By Michele Bourdieu

HOUGHTON -- Michigan State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) and State Rep. Matt Huuki (Atlantic Mine) recently supported budget bills that would slash funding for schools in order to fund a $1.8 billion business tax break. Their budget priorities seem to contradict what they told local residents at an April 23, 2011, Town Hall meeting -- namely that schools in the Upper Peninsula would not reach such a low financial state that they would need an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) -- in other words, that they did not have the problems of schools in Detroit -- many of which have been closed or taken over by an EFM.

In the House, Huuki voted to pass a controversial budget bill that would slash funding for K-12 schools and higher education by nearly $800 million to pay for a $1.8 billion tax break for corporate special interests.*

In the State Senate, according to Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, Casperson joined his Republican caucus in supporting drastic cuts to local schools, choosing to plummet roughly 150 school districts into bankruptcy in order to fund a $1.8 billion business tax break. Calumet Public Schools alone will be facing a $1,249,868 slash in funding. Houghton stands to lose up to $221,860.

At the April 23rd Town Hall meeting, local resident Evan Dixon pointed out how Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) take away the right of the people to govern themselves. The EFMs are being put in place by a Republican government, he noted, despite the fact that Republicans have spoken against "big government."

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Local resident Evan Dixon speaks about Emergency Finance Managers as examples of Republican "big government" during the April 23, 2011, Town Hall meeting with State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) and State Rep. Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine). (Video clips courtesy Allan Baker)

When Casperson spoke about problems in the Detroit schools that even the EFM hasn't been able to fix, retired teacher Jerry Perreault asked which schools in the Upper Peninsula might be in a low enough financial state to be taken over by an EFM. Casperson and Huuki gave the impression none were in that serious a state.

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During the April 23 Town Hall meeting with legislators, residents discuss the situation of the Detroit public schools and express concerns about Upper Peninsula schools.

Some Houghton County Democrats have recently expressed concern that both Hancock and Ewen Trout Creek school districts have possibly been targeted for EFMs.

Another discussion at the Town Hall meeting concerned collective bargaining. One resident, who did not identify himself or his school district, spoke at length about the difficulty of being on a school board and trying to negotiate with teachers, who were represented by their union.

Terry LaJeunesse of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), a retired teacher, replied that he was a part of that negotiation, that it was at the E.B. Holman School and that teachers there have made concessions and even taken salary cuts in order to avoid an EFM. He also noted teachers' salaries in the Upper Peninsula are considerably lower than those of downstate teachers.

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Terry LaJeunesse of the Michigan Education Association talks about collective bargaining for teachers.

The recent law strengthening the authority of Emergency Financial Managers is the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act -- Act 4 of 2011. It is described as follows:

"AN ACT to safeguard and assure the fiscal accountability of units of local government, including school districts; to preserve the capacity of units of local government to provide or cause to be provided necessary services essential to the public health, safety, and welfare; to provide for review, management, planning, and control of the financial operation of units of local government and the provision of services by units of local government, including school districts; to provide criteria to be used in determining the financial condition of units of local government, including school districts; to permit a declaration of the existence of a local government financial emergency and to prescribe the powers and duties of the governor, other state departments, boards, agencies, officials, and employees, and officials and employees of units of local government, including school districts; to provide for placing units of local government, including school districts, into receivership; to provide for a review and appeal process; to provide for the appointment and to prescribe the powers and duties of an emergency manager; to require the development of financial and operational plans to regulate expenditures, investments, and the provision of services by units of local government, including school districts, in a state of financial stress or financial emergency; to provide for the modification or termination of contracts under certain circumstances; to set forth the conditions for termination of a local government financial emergency; and to repeal acts and parts of acts."**

*Click here for the May 5, 2011, House Bill 4325 (Appropriations: K-12, colleges and universities ) (House Roll Call 102) (All Democrats and a few Republicans voted against it.)

** Click here for the text of Act 4 of 2011.

See Progress Michigan for a map on potential emergency managers in Michigan.

Editor's Notes: This is the second in a series of articles on the April 23, 2011, Town Hall meeting with State legislators Casperson and Huuki in Houghton. Click here for the first article, "At Houghton Town Hall meeting local elected officials attack federal regulation of gas drilling, mining."

The Western Upper Peninsula Community Action Team is sponsoring a rally to support local schools at noon this Saturday, May 14, at Veteran's Park in Houghton. Click here for details.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sons of Norway to host Terry Smythe talk on Norwegian long-distance bicycle race May 17

HOUGHTON -- The Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge will be having a celebration for Norway's Constitution Day on Tuesday, May 17, at the Shelden Grill in the Magnuson Hotel (Franklin Square Inn). The featured speaker will be Terry Smythe -- who will talk about her experience participating in a long distance bicycle race from Trondheim to Oslo, Norway.

Members and the public are invited to attend. A social hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., including children's activities, will be followed by a Norwegian dinner from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The cost is $12 for adults, $7.50 for children 12 and under (6 and under are free). Reservations are required by May 15; RSVP to Eileen at 482-0292.

This event is open to the public -- anyone who wants to attend can make a reservation and then pay at the door on Tuesday.

Click here for more information on the race.

Carnegie Museum to host presentation on bridge history May 12

HOUGHTON -- Kris Mattila, Michigan Tech associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will give a slide show presentation about the design and building of "the most significant civil engineering structure, exclusive of the mines, in the western Upper Peninsula" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Carnegie Museum.

Mattila, Dumpster-Diver-Extraordinaire, will explain how, in 1959, the piers were built underwater using the caisson method; how the lift span, built just west of the bridge on the shores of Hancock, was floated into position with only eight inches leeway; what it means to be the last bridge to be "field riveted"; and how a serendipitous dumpster-dive behind Dillman Hall helped to preserve this history.

The Carnegie Museum is on the corner of Huron and Montezuma Streets in historic downtown Houghton. Parking is available behind the building or in the City lot across Montezuma Street. For more information, call 482-7140 or email history@cityofhoughton.com. "Like" us on Facebook for updates on exhibits, events, and activities!

Portage Library to host Artistic Director for The Story Line Project

This Story Line portrait of Lempi Johanna Naasko Heinonen, born in 1906 in Hancock, tells the story of a young girl who helped her family after her father was killed in the Quincy Mine. It was exhibited at Heikinpäivä, Hancock's mid-winter festival, in January 2011. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Mary Wright, artistic director for The Story Line Project, will give a sparkling informational presentation about the project from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 13, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Many Upper Peninsula schools are participating in this project -- from Ontonagon and the Keweenaw to Marquette to Iron Mountain. This Library presentation is being offered at a time when it might be convenient for home-schooled children and their parents to attend and learn about the project.*

The Story Line Project is a powerful public art presentation that pays tribute to ancestors who were courageous while facing adversity. Its theme is derived from the opera Rockland, by Finnish composer Jukka Linkola, a Pine Mountain Music Festival production, which will premiere at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts in July. This major cultural event is based on a true story of an incident that occurred during a strike in 1906 in the copper mines in Rockland near Ontonagon.

"Each one of us comes from a string of ancestors who have shown courage in the face of adversity," Wright explained, "and everyone is invited to honor an ancestor by writing their story and using a photograph if one is available."

Courage during adversity is a universal theme, and the more diversity that is represented in this project, the better. Participants do not need to be Finnish or from the Upper Peninsula. Everyone is invited to join the 7,000 individuals, groups, and families who are participating in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to insure that their ancestors’ stories do not evaporate.

The Story Line Project will be displayed in communities throughout the western Upper Peninsula, then turned over to the archives of the Keweenaw National Historical Park for preservation. Suzanne Jurva, a well-known documentary filmmaker, will also document Story Line for showing to film festivals and public television stations after the opera premieres. The Story Line Project is generously funded by the Michigan Humanities Council and also by the Finlandia Foundation. More information can be found at www.thestorylineproject.com.

Mary Wright has been inspiring and directing large community art projects for years. In the Keweenaw, her projects include the hand painted blue and white chairs; the large, hand-sewn mittens; and the doors project, all of which were displayed along the length of Quincy Street in Hancock.

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

*See map indicating schools that are participating or committed to the project.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Club Indigo to present Almodovar's "Volver" May 13

CALUMET -- The Calumet Theatre will feature the Club Indigo monthly food and film event this Friday, May 13, with an all Spanish evening -- beginning with a Spanish buffet from Carmelita's (Calumet and Houghton) at 6 p.m., followed at 7:15 p.m. by one of Pedro Almodovar's most successful thrillers, VOLVER (To Return), starring his favorite actress, Penelope Cruz, in the lead.

VOLVER is a unique blend of mystery, romance, comedy and suspense, all rolled into one delightful R-rated entertainment. Penelope Cruz plays a woman who works hard to be a good wife, mother, sister, niece, and neighbor in a small Spanish community, where she encounters more trouble than even she is accustomed to. Her marital life is in a state of flux, her aged aunt seems to be having strange visions, while her sister is talking to their mother, who died in a fire five years before -- and more. This is a lively, colorful mixture of comedy, drama, emotion, and fantasy that only director Almodovar could create with his mix of wry humor and appreciation of Spanish women and their wiles. Critics raved about the film when it came out in 2006, saying that the director gave Cruz her best screen showcase to date.

The buffet begins at 6 p.m., the movie at 7:15 p.m. Cost for both buffet and film, $18. For the buffet, a call to the Calumet Theatre will assure seating: 337-2610.

Radio host to present Blues program at Portage Library May 11

HOUGHTON -- Local radio host and music historian Anthony Daniel has the blues, and he wants to share them at the Portage Lake District Library on Wednesday, May 11.

At 6 p.m., he will host the game show without a TV audience, "Blues Clues," and invites everyone to come and test their trivia knowledge about the blues and rock and roll.

The multi-media presentation "Black, White and the Blues: A Look at the Blues Hall of Fame" will be shown at 6:30 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. by the documentary film Sweet Home Chicago. This film tells the real story behind Chess Records, one of the most influential record labels in American pop music.

Currently the host of the program "Yearbook: the 1960s" on WMPL, Daniel was the host of the award-winning historical blues radio program "Forbidden Radio," heard in the Detroit area in the mid-1990s.

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

Spring Migration Bird Count is May 14

HANCOCK -- Record all birds seen on a single spring day -- Saturday, May 14 -- in the county. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Simply keep track of location, time spent birding on foot or by car, or at a feeder.

Get forms from county organizer, Barry Solomon, 487-6793, or email barry.solomon428@gmail.com or bdsolomo@mtu.edu.

Have a Great Bird Day!

Finlandia to present Finnish "sauna" documentary

HANCOCK -- Steam of Life is the featured Nordic film this Thursday, May 12, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

The film will be shown twice, at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m.

In Steam of Life, a Finnish documentary, Finnish men in saunas speak straight from the heart in the warmth of the sauna, cleansing themselves both physically and mentally. Because of the nature of the film, viewer discretion is advised.

The film is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted.

For information, call 487-7549.

Senator Stabenow applauds GM hiring blitz for advanced vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow -- author of legislation to promote domestic advanced vehicle technology research, development and production -- issued the following statement today following General Motors’ announcement it is soon adding over 4,000 jobs, many at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility that builds the Chevrolet Volt:

"Over 4,000 new jobs, half of them expected in our state, is great news for GM and for Michigan," said Senator Stabenow. "These new jobs are in large part the result of the move toward the new advanced technology vehicles of the future. This is precisely why Congress needs to pass legislation to help encourage more production of high-tech, fuel-efficient vehicles to create more jobs like these and save drivers money at the pump."

Senator Stabenow has been a national leader in the effort to encourage more advanced technology vehicle production in the U.S. Sen. Stabenow's Charging America Forward Act would provide consumers with a rebate worth up to $7500 for plug-in electric vehicles at the time of purchase and give businesses a tax credit for purchasing medium or heavy duty plug-in hybrid trucks. The bill also extends a public-private partnership she helped create to increase the production of advanced battery technologies in America. Yesterday, Senator Stabenow and Congressman Gary Peters were joined by sixteen Michigan automakers and suppliers as they announced legislation, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, that will help develop the next generation of high-tech, fuel-efficient vehicles here in the United States.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Rally to save local schools to be held at noon May 14 in Veteran's Park

HANCOCK -- At noon this Saturday, May 14, at Veteran's Park in Houghton, parents, children and teachers and concerned citizens will unite in support of public education at the "Save Your School, Show Your Spirit" Rally. Come wearing your school colors and brimming with spirit to send a message to Lansing that we love our schools and demand local control.

As you are probably aware, recent Michigan legislation will have a big impact on how our local school districts are funded and run. Public education has taken a beating lately. The Michigan House recently voted to slash education spending to pay for an 86 percent corporate tax cut. Both Hancock and Ewen-Trout Schools are in danger of incurring Gov. Snyder's wrath, and consequently being taken over by an Emergency Financial Manager.

Michigan Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) supported these drastic cuts to local schools, choosing to plummet roughly 150 school districts into bankruptcy in order to fund a $1.8 billion business tax break. Calumet Public Schools alone will be facing a $1,249,868 slash in funding.

Senator Casperson also joined his caucus in supporting cuts to local communities. Houghton stands to lose up to $221,860.

Last week State Rep. Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) voted to pass a controversial budget bill that would slash funding for K-12 schools and higher education by nearly $800 million to pay for a $1.8 billion tax break for corporate special interests like insurance companies, oil companies and Wall Street banks.

Elise Matz of the Western UP Community Action Team, sponsors of the Rally, said the purpose of the event is to draw positive attention to the wonderful job local schools are doing to educate our kids.

"It's going to be a giant pep rally -- people in their school colors, school bands playing as loudly as possible, and ralliers carrying signs in support of education," Matz said. "Our message is simple and non-partisan: we want local control of our schools, and as voters we demand the final say over what happens in our districts. We want to draw attention to the wonderful job our districts are doing, and what we will lose if Lansing gets to decide how to run our districts. We want the rally to be as loud and exuberant as possible. Bring your children, friends and neighbors. If you're a student, wear your team or club uniform. Bring your artwork, instrument and trophies -- whatever school spirit means to you!"

Photo: Sign carried during April 4 Bridge for Unity Walk on Portage Lift Bridge. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Levin, Stabenow: High-Speed Rail funds keep Michigan on track for next generation transportation

WASHINGTON -- Michigan will receive more than $199 million in Recovery Act funds for high-speed rail projects, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced today.

The majority of funding will go to the development of a 135-mile high-speed rail corridor between Dearborn and Kalamazoo, part of the high-speed corridor between Detroit and Chicago. Other funds will go to development of the Ann Arbor station.

"This funding will help move Michigan and the nation forward by making high-speed rail a part of our economic infrastructure," Levin said. "Our economic competitors around the world have long enjoyed the benefits of high-speed rail service between their cities. They have demonstrated that high-speed service can create jobs and promote economic growth, and that it can provide a more energy-efficient alternative."

"Construction of new high-speed lines will create jobs and generate more business activity in Michigan," Stabenow said. "This effort will not only boost our economy, it will provide residents with more transportation options. As gas prices rise, it is critically important that travelers have more choices in addition to driving."

The funds announced today come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money was previously granted to Florida, but reprogrammed after the Florida governor rejected it. The state of Michigan bid for part of that funding. Michigan previously received more than $161 million in funding for high-speed rail and $40 million for Amtrak stations in Troy, Battle Creek and Dearborn.

The $196.5 million for the Kalamazoo-Dearborn rail project will rehabilitate track and signal systems to allow trains to travel at 110 mph for the 235-mile stretch. The current obsolete signal system will be replaced with a positive train control system, improving safety. The grant fully funds the state’s request.

The Ann Arbor Station’s $2.8 million will be used to complete a preliminary engineering and environmental study required to design and construct a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor Station is the busiest Amtrak station in Michigan, but only has single-tracking capacity, forcing intercity trains to block the mainline while serving the station. By constructing a passing track, more than one train will be able to service the station while others can pass unimpeded.

Michigan will also benefit from $268.2 million in funding for the purchase of 48 high-speed passenger rail cars and seven high-speed locomotives for service on eight corridors in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. Michigan joined the other states in applying for the funds.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

CLK students learn, write about Lake Superior

CALUMET -- "Going Deep -- Life in Lake Superior" was a special hands-on program for CLK (Calumet, Laurium, Keweenaw) Elementary students in April presented by Dr. Martin Auer, Michigan Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering, assisted by some of his graduate students and Lloyd Wescoat, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative co-stewardship project advisor.

Lloyd Wescoat, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative co-stewardship project advisor, uses a floor map to introduce facts about Lake Superior to CLK Elementary students. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

This special event was part of CLK’s Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative Heritage Garden project and the school’s month-long celebration of Earth Month, "3LK at CLK: Living, Learning and Loving the Keweenaw."

Auer's research at Michigan Tech focuses on modeling of Great Lakes and inland waters and field monitoring and laboratory studies related to water quality modeling and management. He is familiar to many in the Keweenaw for his work with Michigan Tech’s research vessel, the Agassiz, bringing people to the water and the water to people in the Lake Superior basin. Each year, Auer and colleagues host hundreds of K-12 students aboard the R/V Agassiz, where they learn how scientists study the Great Lakes.

Aboard the Agassiz in July 2007, a curious young science student observes samples from the bottom of Portage Lake as Michigan Tech Professor Martin Auer explains some of the organisms on the slide. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Students in each grade level had a chance to spend 55 minutes at the following stations with hands-on activities led by presenters in Prof. Auer's team:

Station 1: Lake Superior: Big, Deep, Cold, Beautiful (Lloyd Wescoat)
Station 2 Riding the Waves: Equipment (Erica Jones) On Board the Research Vessel (Dr. Auer)
Station 3 Lake Superior - Plankton: The Garden of Eatin' (Rasika Gawde)
Station 4 Lake Superior - Fish: Who Eats Who? (Sue Larson and Renn Lambert)

Fifth grade students from writing teacher Melissa Schneiderhan's classes contributed essays describing what they learned. Here are some excerpts from the fifth graders' writing along with our photos of the first grade and kindergarten students. Captions are courtesy Barbara Kinnunen, CLK kindergarten teacher.

Dr. Martin Auer, Michigan Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering, shows a video of life on the research boat Agassiz to CLK Elementary students, Julie Giachino, kindergarten teacher (standing), and Helen Corey, Best Start assistant. "He talked about how they were on the boat for seven days, showed the equipment used, the living quarters, the weather conditions," says kindergarten teacher Barbara Kinnunen. "The big hit of the video was when Dr. Auer showed them the waves crashing up and hitting the front of boat -- the footage was from inside the boat from the captain's viewpoint. Dr. Auer got them very excited and would oooh and aahhh louder than the children. This was my class's first station and they got so excited and interested! It was great!"

From Jenna Kivela-Heinz:

"At Dr. Auer's presentation this morning, I learned that Lake Superior is 1,332 feet deep! I also learned that about 65,500 Torch Lakes can fit into Lake Superior! That's one big lake! I learned so much I can't write it all down on paper.

"My favorite station had to be the station that had microscopic plankton and bugs under a microscope. I thought it was so cool and interesting to see live plankton on a screen that no human eye would be able to spot on its own."

From David Haapala:

"On the Agassiz they study four things: water, sediment, fish, plankton. When they're catching the plankton they use nets with holes that are 1,000,000th of an inch."

Students take turns looking at tiny creatures under the microscope, assisted by Rasika Gawde of Prof. Auer's team. "The children were able to each look into the microscope and see actual plankton," Kinnunen writes. "They had to stand on a chair to do so -- that's how big this microscope was. They appeared to be absolutely awed by what their eyes were seeing. As one of the children leaned towards the microscope, she said, 'Look at me! I'm a scientist!'"

From Allison Spence:

"Then (Dr. Auer) showed us how they use bottles that look like oxygen tanks to get water samples from the bottom of the Lake. A lady named Erica showed us how they use a special special claw to take sediment from the lake floor."

Erica Jones demonstrates equipment from the Agassiz research boat. Kinnunen writes, "She showed the equipment used for taking mud samples. The children loved this part. She showed them how the container opens at impact, seals off and then is opened again to extract the sample. It was quite loud and dramatic. She even let the children, with her help, open and close the hinges of the equipment. They could have stayed there all day. The last part of this station was seeing the equipment used to collect water samples. She climbed up on a ladder (again, the children loved this part) and showed how it is dropped in to the water and how the canister opens and closes and then how to empty the contents in to bottles afterwards."

From Amara Berg:

"Did you know Lake Superior is usually 40 degrees Farenheit? the food chain goes like this: phytoplankton <---- zooplankton <---- little fish <---- big fish <---- you."

From Amber Johnson:

"We eat big fish that eat little fish. They eat zooplankton that eat phytoplankton. The usual water temperature for Lake Superior is 40 degrees F. In a boat on Lake Superior you can see about twenty feet down. On a boat on Torch Lake you can see about six feet down. That's how clean Lake Superior is!"

Kindergarten children are asked to put their hands into a large tank of water and experience how cold Lake Superior is. "That also got quite the effect!" Kinnunen says.

From David Haapala:

"There was another station that was cool. It was a station where a scientist dissected a fish's stomach so we could see what it ate. In that station we also learned about a food chain."

From Jenna Kivela-Heinz:

"I didn't really have a least favorite activity, but if I had to choose, it would be the station with fish guts. The guy dissected the stomach of a lake trout and showed us the dead fish inside. It was interesting, sort of, but I have a weak stomach and the smell was AWFUL!!!"

From Amara Berg:

"I didn't like the fish guts station. It was so ... gross! It didn't smell good either! There were a kind of bigger fish and a really small one too."

From Warren Torola:

"My favorite station was where a scientist was opening up the stomach of a trout so we could see what it had eaten. It smelled very strongly of fish, which isn't unusual. He also showed us how the Lake Superior food chain goes from sun and nutrients to phytoplankton to zooplankton, then the small fish eat them and the big fish then eat the small fish and are eaten by us."

Sue Larson dissects fish to teach children about the food chain in Lake Superior.

From Amara Berg:

"My favorite station was when we learned about how many Torch Lakes fit in Lake Superior and how deep Lake Superior is. We learned about lots of things. We also learned a cheer."

Carrie Molloy, kindergarten Best Start assistant, leads students in a cheer about Lake Superior: "The lake is BIG, the lake is DEEP, the lake is COLD, the lake is BEAUTIFUL!!!!" Kindergarten teacher Barb Kinnunen notes the children continued to repeat the cheer later in the school day and even in days following.

From Warren Torola:

"At the program with Dr. Auer, we learned that Lake Superior is, at its deepest point, 1,332 feet deep, which is ten of the smoke stack outside our school stacked up. The smokestack is 149 feet tall so it's very hard to imagine what ten of it stacked up would be like.

Lloyd Wescoat uses her fingers to represent the smokestack multiplied ten times to represent the depth of Lake Superior. Pictured at right is kindergarten teacher Mandy Galetto. "(Lloyd Wescoat) gave them some information about the lake and when she got to the depth part she opened the side door, showed the children the smoke stack across the street and told them that the depth is approximately 10 of those stacked on top of each other. The children 'OOOHHED' as they tried to picture this in their heads. To emphasize her meaning she used her fingers to represent the stack and moved it up 10 times," kindergarten teacher Barbara Kinnunen writes.

"Dr. Auer and his graduate students helped bring Lake Superior to over 700 students this week and we are so very thankful," said Lloyd Wescoat.

Other CLK fifth-grade teachers who participated in the program were Julie Fenton, Amy Hakala, and Jody Sever.

The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) connects schools and communities in the stewardship of Lake Superior and its watershed. The Initiative is one of eight hubs statewide that are part of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, with support from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and the Wege Foundation.

LSSI will hold a Celebration and Sharing from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, on the two floors of Michigan Tech’s Forestry Building. The public is invited to
attend. Click here for details.

Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative invites public to Celebration, Sharing May 9

HOUGHTON -- The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) Celebration and Sharing will take place from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, on the two floors of Michigan Tech’s Forestry Building. The public is invited to attend.

Joan Chadde, Co-Stewardship Project Advisor and Community Organization Coordinator is pictured here with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) photo display at the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition's "Celebrate the UP" event in Hancock March 19, 2011. Chadde works on the LSSI Leadership Team with Shawn Oppliger, Project Manager and School Coordinator, and Lloyd Wescoat, Co-Stewardship Project Advisor. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The purpose of the LSSI Celebration is to showcase the work of the 14 school-teams -- teachers, students, and community partners -- to the community, school boards, families, and potential funders.

Each school-community team will have an exhibit displaying their project work in partnership with one or more community partners, and each will make a short presentation. Washington Middle School (WMS) will present their "Adopt-a-Beach" and school forest program through photos, flyers, and student work. Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary School showed their portable "frisbee disc" golf basket that is being used to introduce Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary students to the game as a warm-up to the new disc golf course that the LLH 5th grade is developing for the Lake Linden Village Park. They are partnering with the Village of Lake Linden. C.J. Sullivan Elementary School has designed and built a nature trail at their school forest for the community and other classes to enjoy and learn from. They are partnering with the Village of L’Anse.

Here is the Schedule:

4 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. School-community teams set up project displays in alpha order by school in atrium.

6:30 p.m. - 6:35 p.m. MC welcome (G002 Hesterberg Hall)

6:35 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. View LSSI Video

6:45 p.m. - 7 p.m. Elementary School Team Presentations by students, up to 2 min. each

7 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Break -- Continuous play slideshow of projects and view Project Displays

7:20 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. View LSSI Video

7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Middle and High School Team Presentations by students -- 2 minutes each

8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. View Project Displays

Ongoing 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. View School Community Team Project Displays in Atrium, Scavenger Hunt, Snack Buffet

School Teams presenting/exhibiting are Pelkie School - Baraga Area Schools, B.R.I.D.G.E. High School, Chassell High School, C.J. Sullivan Elementary, CLK Elementary School, Dollar Bay High School, E.B. Holman School, Hancock High School, Hancock Middle School, Horizons Alternative High School, Jeffers High School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, Washington Middle School.

For more information email Shawn Oppliger at shawn@copperisd.org.

The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative is part of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, which was established by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust with the support of the Wege Foundation. Visit their Web site at lakesuperiorstewardship.org.