Saturday, November 19, 2011

Updated: Penokee iron mining proposal threatens Bad River watershed

By Michele Bourdieu

View of the Penokee Hills in northern Wisconsin, where Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) plans to put a huge open pit iron mine. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © Pete Rasmussen, Moving Water Photography, and courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project.* Reprinted with permission.)

LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN -- Al Gedicks, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and author of Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations, recently published an article on the projected Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) open-pit mine for taconite iron deposits of the Penokee Range in northern Wisconsin. The article, titled "Resisting Resource Colonialism in the Lake Superior Region," was published by Z Magazine in September 2011.**

At the beginning of the article, Gedicks notes his main concern about the potential impact of such a mine: its effect on the water.

"The water that flows off the iron-rich Penokee Hills feeds the Penokee aquifer and the Bad River watershed, which flows into Lake Superior and provides drinking water for the city of Ashland and nearby towns. The water also feeds the wild rice beds of the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe. Wild rice is a sacred plant for the Ojibwe and an important food source. The tribe’s wild rice beds are the largest in the state," Gedicks writes.

For the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe, clean water is essential for their fisheries and wild rice crop. This photo shows a brook trout from Spring Brook in the Penokees. (Photo © Pete Rasmussen, Moving Water Photography, and courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project.* Reprinted with permission.)

This is not the first time Gedicks has been involved in a mining project that threatened water quality and Native American rights. He was actively involved in the struggle against the Crandon Mine, which he wrote about in two well documented books: The New Resource Wars: Native and Environmental Struggles Against Multinational Corporations (1993) and Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations (2001). That struggle eventually led to Wisconsin's moratorium on sulfide mining. Gedicks summarized this for an audience at the 2011 Protect the Earth Gathering at Van Riper State Park near Champion, Mich., last summer. Here is an excerpt from his talk:



During the 2011 Protect the Earth Gathering at Van Riper State Park near Champion, Mich., Al Gedicks, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, speaks about the importance of the struggle against the Crandon Mine, which led to Wisconsin's moratorium on sulfide mining. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

What the proponents of this iron mine seem to be seeking is legislation that will distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous mining so that the permitting process for iron mining will be speeded up.

Unlike Rio Tinto-Kennecott's Eagle Mine for nickel and copper near Big Bay, Mich., the Penokee iron ore project is not considered a sulfide mine. GTAC, which has leases for the mineral rights on 22,000 acres of the Penokee-Gogebic Range, covering 22 miles in Wisconsin's Ashland and Iron Counties, stresses the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous mining in their public relations, trying to convince the public that this "iron" mine is safer than a "sulfide" mine that has a high potential to produce acid mine drainage (AMD) -- since iron mining, as they describe it, does not use chemicals.***

As Gedicks points out in his article, GTAC goes beyond just public relations trying to prove their claims that taconite mining can be done safely without harming the environment. They are heavily involved in "crafting legislation that would prevent the public and the state’s Indian Nations from challenging any of these claims by excluding them from participation in the mine permitting process."

In fact, he notes, GTAC "contributed more than $40,000 in 2010 campaign contributions to Republican candidates involved with the mining issue, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee)."

Penokee project discussed at Oct. 27 meeting on legislation, Hurley, Wis.

Gogebic Taconite's projected open-pit mine for taconite iron deposits of the Penokee Range in northern Wisconsin was an important part of the discussion at an informational hearing in Hurley, Wis., on Oct. 27, 2011. The meeting was called by the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business. The subject of the meeting was "Creation of Iron Mining Statutes in Wisconsin: Economic and Environmental Considerations."

Its purpose was stated in the meeting announcement as follows: "In the near future and following the Informational Hearing, the Committee will be tasked with considering legislation to update Wisconsin's metallic mining laws to reflect the differences between ferrous and nonferrous mining. The legislation will have two primary goals: ensuring that ferrous mining in this state is economical, and providing for reasonable environmental protections. The purpose of the Informational Hearing is to gather relevant information related to this task." Invited speakers and the public were asked to comment.

Wisconsin Public Radio interview

At 7 a.m. on Oct. 27, just a few hours before this meeting, Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network broadcast an interview presenting two opposing views on the subject. The interviewer, Joy Cardin, first spoke by telephone with one of the invited speakers -- Tim Sullivan, chair of the Wisconsin Mining Association and former president and CEO of Bucyrus International, Inc. Sullivan was on his way to the meeting. Cardin also interviewed Al Gedicks. The listening audience was invited to call in their questions.

Sullivan mentioned the Crandon Mine, admitting it was a complicated issue and many of the objections to it were "probably appropriate," especially since it was an underground mine and located at the headwaters of the Wolf River.

"It was a copper mine, which is a sulfide mine," Sullivan said.

He added that the processing of copper requires chemicals, while an iron mine, such as the projected open-pit Gogebic Taconite mine, uses large magnets -- not chemicals -- to extract the iron.

Sullivan expressed concern that the iron mining company should not get caught in laws that were made in response to the Crandon Mine.

"No one wants to unduly speed the process, but we want to make it so it's at least reasonable," Sullivan told Cardin.

Sullivan noted the purpose of proposed legislation would be to differentiate between ferrous and non-ferrous mining so that ferrous (iron) mining does not come under laws for a sulfide mine. He said the mine proponents want to align processing time (for permits) with those of "sister states" Minnesota and Michigan, which, he said, are "more reasonable."

After Sullivan presented his views, radio host Cardin welcomed questions from listeners.

One caller asked why the company shouldn't have to pay a severance tax on the tonnage extracted and a pollution tax since there is no non-polluting way to mine this ore.

"We are giving away something that belongs to all of us," he said.

Sullivan said under current Wisconsin statutes all the tax money (millions of dollars) goes back to the two counties.

A caller who has property in Republic, Mich., and is familiar with the closing of Cleveland Cliffs iron mine, asked about the impact of tailings on water sources.

This aerial photo shows Cleveland Cliffs Tilden and Empire Mines, including tailing ponds, tailing piles, mining and milling facilities. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © Jeremiah Eagle Eye. Reprinted with permission.)

Sullivan replied that laws and regulations on tailings -- restrictions by the EPA -- have to be upheld.

On the other hand, Sullivan echoed the boasting from Kennecott when he said, "The Flambeau Mine (near Ladysmith, Wis.) had no issues. It was very successful."

Not only is the water pollution at the Flambeau Mine the subject of a lawsuit initiated by Laura Gauger, co-author with the late Roscoe Churchill of The Buzzards Have Landed: The real story of the Flambeau Mine, and by the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, of which Al Gedicks is the executive secretary -- but recent tests have confirmed that copper and zinc levels at the Flambeau mine have exceeded state toxicity standards for surface waters, potentially threatening fish and other aquatic life.****

"Just grass over a grave" is what the late Roscoe Churchill -- pictured here at the "reclaimed" Flambeau Mine site near Ladysmith, Wis. -- called the reclamation by the Flambeau Mining Co., a Rio Tinto / Kennecott subsidiary, that now faces a Clean Water Act citizen lawsuit because of pollution of the Flambeau River and one of its tributaries. (Keweenaw Now file photo © Linda Runstrom, Winona, Minn. Reprinted with permission.)

Cardin then interviewed Gedicks, who said the State of Wisconsin should not be in a rush to change the rules about mining.

Gedicks said -- both in the interview and in his September article -- that his primary concern is the impact of the Penokee mine releasing toxic materials, including mercury, into the watershed that is used by nearby communities and the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe, whose wild rice beds could be destroyed by the potential Acid Mine Drainage pollution -- as well as the impact of the discharge of pollutants into Lake Superior.

His second concern, Gedicks added, is "the erosion of democratic access to the the decision-making process about mining."

Gedicks mentioned the citizens' alliance (sports fishermen, environmentalists, and Native Americans) whose struggle against the Crandon Mine led to the moratorium on sulfide mining. (See video above.) He sees this rush to introduce new mining legislation as an effort to overturn that moratorium.

Gedicks pointed out that this ferrous mine could have impacts similar to those of a sulfide mine. He called Sullivan's distinction between ferrous and non-ferrous mining "a fundamental misrepresentation of what is at stake in the Penokee Gogebic Taconite project."

According to Gedicks, the Penokee iron ore body is in an area that contains sulfide minerals.

"The quantity of material that would have to be excavated in order to get at the iron ore penetrates through 1500 feet of rock material, which includes sulfide mineralization," Gedicks said.

This overburden, containing heavy metals and sulfides, would be blasted, crushed and piled at the headwaters of the watershed and would be released into the environment, Gedicks explained.

Aerial view of the Penokee Hills, where Gogebic Taconite plans to put an open-pit iron mine -- a $1.5 billion investment -- to extract taconite by removing about 650 feet of overburden (waste rock) and creating a narrow pit four miles long, one-third mile wide and at least 900 feet deep. This photo shows the south and east side of the proposed Penokee mine site: Looking northeast, where Mud Creek meets Mead Creak and the Tyler Forks. (Photo © Pete Rasmussen, Moving Water Photography, and courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project.* Reprinted with permission.)

Even without pollution this mine would take from 10 to 15 billion gallons of water a year from the watershed in order to extract the ore, seriously impacting the water supply, he added.

Cardin then asked him about Sullivan's statement that Wisconsin mining laws should be more like those of Minnesota and Michigan.

Gedicks replied that taconite mining in Minnesota has released pollution, and -- instead of enforcing laws designed to prevent pollution -- the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is granting waivers and variances that allow ongoing taconite operations to continue polluting water sources.

In Michigan, he added, Kennecott -- the same company that has polluted water at the Flambeau mine -- is being allowed to proceed with the Eagle project.

Rio Tinto-Kennecott's Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Mich. Photo taken as the company was preparing to blast under Eagle Rock, an Ojibwe sacred site, the portal to the mine which is intended to access an ore body of nickel and copper under the Salmon Trout River. (Photo courtesy Stand for the Land)

"They are being allowed to proceed with a mining project which their own experts have told the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is likely to collapse," Gedicks noted. "If it does collapse into the Salmon Trout River, all the pollution from that mine would go into Lake Superior, which is about 10 miles downstream from the proposed mine. This is a model of environmental irresponsibility -- which the Wisconsin Mining Association is trying to get Wisconsin to adopt -- that will, in fact, prevent the State of Wisconsin from enforcing the already adequate and quite comprehensive and protective legislation which now protects ground water and surface water from this type of mining."

Al Gedicks: "What is more valuable -- iron ore or water?"

Gedicks said this issue includes the potential destruction of entire ecosystems which are unique in the Great Lakes region -- including people, wildlife and wild rice -- a violation of the sovereign rights of an Ojibwe Nation that is the direct recipient of the pollution.

"We're talking about a violation of international treaties with Canada to protect the Great Lakes," he added.

Gedicks said the question is this: "Do we sacrifice the interests of the vast majority of the citizens and the tribes of Wisconsin -- and the environment -- for a private development of a mining company which has, first of all, no record of mining in a taconite ore body -- and the record it does have, mining coal in Illinois, is full of complaints from nearby communities."

The company's underground coal mining in Illinois has destroyed farmland and the economies of these communities, he explained.

In his article on the Penokee project, Gedicks gives the background of the Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) company and its relation to coal mining: "GTAC is a limited liability company registered on the Toronto Stock Exchange and owned by the privately held Cline Group, a coal mining company based in Florida. Christopher Cline is a billionaire who owns large coal reserves in Illinois and Northern Appalachia. He has been called the "New King Coal" by Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Coal industry publications describe his leadership style as confrontational. In 1999 he closed down a West Virginia mine when workers voted to join the union. He then reopened the mine without union workers. As popular opposition to the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining spread in Appalachia, Cline shifted his new investments to Illinois coal. The company's coal mines in Illinois use longwall mining to remove the entire coal seam. Once the coal has been removed the ground sinks, sometimes to a depth of more than four feet as the earth above the excavated coal fills the void. Environmental groups have protested that longwall mining has disrupted stream flows, polluted aquifers and permanently damaged historic buildings."

Answering a question from a listener on whether the Penokee project is a strip mine or a surface mine, Gedicks said the notion that it is a surface mine is a misrepresentation because of the location of the ore body -- 1500 feet down into the bedrock.

"This is a version of mountaintop removal mining," Gedicks said, comparing it to coal mining in Appalachia.

While the Gogebic Range is not as high as mountains in Appalachia, the mining has the same end result: you knock off the top and store waste material at the headwaters of a pristine watershed that affects the economy of people, their access to water, and their relationship with the environment, Gedicks said.

Cardin asked Gedicks if there would be a challenge to the Gogebic Taconite project from Native Americans.

Gedicks said the Bad River tribe met with Governor Walker's office. Although they were heard, the Governor's office has done nothing about it. The tribe has, however, received authority from the EPA to set up their own water quality standards -- for water that affects their wild rice -- in order to prohibit any discharges of polluted water that would threaten their existence as a tribal entity.

This map shows the location of the Penokee ore body in relation to the Bad River watershed and the Reservation of the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe. Click on map for larger version. (Map created June 8, 2011, by the Bad River Natural Resources Dept. and courtesy Dick Thiede, Iron County, Wisconsin, resident.)

A July 6, 2011, document listing the Bad River Tribe's water quality standards states this in its introduction:

"The Bad River Tribe (Tribe) has a primary interest in the protection, control, conservation and utilization of the water resources of the Bad River Reservation, as exemplified in the original treaty and the Bad River Constitution and ultimately recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 26, 2009, when it affirmed the tribe's application for program authority. The program authority granted by the EPA is in addition to the Tribe's historic hunting, fishing, gathering, and usufructuary rights, and is in addition to the Tribe's treaty rights."

A listener called in to ask what other toxins besides sulfur and acid could affect the water and how much impact they would have on the lake. Gedicks said not only does AMD destroy wild rice, the acid also releases 26 other heavy metals, including mercury, into the environment. Some of these heavy metals would go into Lake Superior.

Toward the end of the radio interview, Joy Cardin noted an email question from a listener in Hurley, who asked about jobs, noting mining has been successful in other states so why not have it in Wisconsin.

Sullivan had said that the construction process for the Penokee project would include 2000 - 3000 jobs. The mine itself would offer 700 jobs. According to Sullivan, most of the jobs would be semi-skilled, not requiring advanced training. In addition to these new jobs, the project would help sustain mining-related jobs in other parts of Wisconsin, such as machinery to be manufactured in Milwaukee.

Gedicks questioned the listener's word "successful," pointing out that schools are closed in many former taconite mining locations in Minnesota. He calls this the "resource curse" -- communities that are the richest in resources turn out to be the most impoverished because the mining companies take out the minerals but fail to invest in the community. The people don't receive the economic benefits they've been promised.

Whether or not a job as a taconite miner is a "benefit" is questionable as well if one considers human health impacts of taconite mining.

In his September 2011 article, Gedicks comments on health effects of taconite mining on Minnesota miners: "The Minnesota Health Department has confirmed 58 taconite miners have died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, since 2003. Researchers concluded that commercial asbestos was the likely cause of the mesothelioma though it didn't rule out taconite dust as a factor. Some scientists have suspected that exposure to asbestos might be from inhaling asbestos-like fibers in the taconite production plants or from contaminated taconite rocks."

Gedicks said the reason the mining proponents want this legislation is so they can prevent a full and public disclosure of all the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of this Penokee project.

"If people actually understood how vast this project was -- that it's the largest mining project ever contemplated in the State of Wisconsin -- they would have serious second thoughts about this project," Gedicks said.

Dick Thiede, a resident of Iron County, Wis., who attended the Oct. 27, 2011, public meeting in Hurley, said he tries to maintain a good relationship with people on both sides of the mining issue.

"I guess I’d have to say that I was most impressed with the statements by Chairman Wiggins of the Bad River Band," Thiede told Keweenaw Now. "I think he came into a relatively hostile environment and gave an honest evaluation of the situation and of his people’s concerns which seemed to soften some of the hostility aimed at the tribe. Other than that, I had heard most of the other testimony before. Some of it was factual, some not."

Conflicting views of the Oct. 27 public meeting in Hurley were published by Ashland media following the meeting.

See "Varied Voices At Mining-Related Hearings" in the Oct. 27, 2011, Ashland Current. It includes comments posted by readers. One person claimed to have stayed at the meeting nearly nine hours.

See also "Marathon meeting runs into a mining-friendly crowd" and "Bad River tribe, others want no part of mine," in the Oct. 28, 2011, Ashland Daily Press.

The second Daily Press article cites Mike Wiggins, Jr., the Bad River Tribal Council chair, as expressing the tribe's opposition to the mining proposal and their right to set water quality standards. A video clip of Wiggins stating the position of the tribe (posted about a week before this meeting) is available on YouTube.

Editor's Notes: Click here to listen to this radio interview in the Wisconsin Public Radio archives.

Update: The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), in the Winter 2011-2012 issue of its publication MAZINA'IGAN, has two articles on Great Lakes mining issues involving the Bad River Tribe. One article, "Changes to WI mining laws subject of hearing," reports on testimonies by GLIFWC staff at the Oct. 27, 2011, public meeting in Hurley, Wis. Click here to read these two articles on line.

* Click here to visit the Web site of the Penokee Hills Education Project. Keweenaw Now wishes to thank Frank Koehn, guest speaker at the recent annual meeting of FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw) for information about this group and their work. Thanks also to Dick Thiede for sharing documents with Keweenaw Now.

** Click here to read this article by Al Gedicks: "Resisting Resource Colonialism in the Lake Superior Region."

*** Visit the Gogebic Taconite Web page to read what they say about this project.

**** See the Nov. 1, 2011, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Tests find toxins at Flambeau mine."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finlandia Young Women's Caucus to host dance, silent auction Nov. 19

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Young Women’s Caucus (YWC) will host live music, a concert / dance, and a silent auction from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Music will feature the local groups Pioneer Parade, the Back Room Boys, and Rhythm 203.

Silent auction artwork items are by YWC members and local and visiting artists, including Joyce Koskenmaki, Maggie Parr, Margaret Parker, Yueh-mei Cheng, Cynthia Coté, and Joe Kirkish.

To view or bid on "Art on Parade" silent auction items in advance, visit www.facebook.com and search for "Art on Parade."

Admission is $5 per person at the door. The event is open to the public.

The YWC is raising funds to attend the Women’s Caucus for the Arts (WCA) national conference, Feb. 23-27, 2012, in Los Angeles.

To obtain more information, to donate to YWC, or to donate an auction item, contact the YWC at youngwomenscaucus@gmail.com or call Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375.

Finlandia to host International Folk Dancing and lessons Nov. 18

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Campus Enrichment Committee will host International Folk Dancing and lessons from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in "Mannerheim Central," the former cafeteria at Finlandia’s Mannerheim Hall on Franklin Street, Hancock.

The dances and lessons are free and open to the public.

For information, call 487-7375.

Khana Khazana to feature Chinese cuisine Nov. 18

HOUGHTON --Khana Khazana (food treasure) will feature three traditional Chinese dishes for lunch this Friday, Nov. 18, in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court.

Chun Zhang, an accounting major, will cook salt and pepper shrimp, sauteed meat and eggplant, and baby bok choy stir-fried with shitake mushrooms. Zhang is graduating in December, so this is the campus's last chance to enjoy his cooking.

A collaborative effort of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services, Khana Khazana is a series of ethnic lunches cooked by international students. Food is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A full meal costs $6 and includes coffee, tea or a fountain drink. Individual entrees are available for $2 each.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finlandia to present Runway Fashion Show Nov. 17

Finlandia students and alumnae model their creations for a large crowd during the 2010 Fashion Show in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. (File photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University International School of Art and Design will present a runway fashion show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

A tiny model steals the show during the 2010 Finlandia Fashion Show.

The event is free and open to the public. It will feature garments and accessories designed and created by students and alumnae of Finlandia’s Fiber and Fashion Design program.

For information, call 487-7376.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From Stand for the Land: Kennecott Eagle Minerals announces aerial survey program

Posted on Stand for the Land on Nov. 13, 2011
Nov. 9, 2011, Press Release from Kennecott Eagle Minerals


ISHPEMING -- Kennecott Eagle Minerals recently announced a series of geophysical surveys to commence over Western and Central Upper Michigan.

The survey program is expected to start this month and continue for approximately three months. These surveys are part of the continuing exploration commitment by Kennecott in the Upper Peninsula.

The surveys will be completed using helicopters with geophysical equipment tethered behind the aircraft. The altitude of the helicopters will be low-level and will comply with Federal Transit Administration guidelines.

Residents will notice the helicopters flying over several U.P. counties. There are no materials being released into the environment.

Kennecott welcomes your questions and comments at kennecotteagleminerals.com/contact or on their Community Hotline at (906) 486-6970.

Editor's Note:
See more mining-related articles and links on standfortheland.com:

"U.P.’s Empire and Tilden mines: jobs and a scarred environment"

"Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Tests find toxins at Flambeau mine"

"Poll says public doesn’t support rollback on mining regulations"

"Bad River tribe pursues air quality standards"

Medical history scholar to speak on "Tuberculosis in the North Woods" Nov. 17 in Michigan Tech Library

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Tech Archival Speaker Series will feature visiting scholar Dr. Jennifer Gunn at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. Dr. Gunn will present "Tuberculosis in the North Woods: Public Health and Social Implications in the Early Twentieth Century." The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Gunn will speak on the history of tuberculosis in the Upper Great Lakes region, particularly the impact of the disease in Michigan’s historic Keweenaw copper mining district. In 1938, the Houghton County tuberculosis sanatorium had a 60 percent death rate -- much higher than the tuberculosis mortality for Michigan as a whole. This talk will explore the intersections of occupation, geography, and poverty in the incidence of tuberculosis in the Copper Country and the strong efforts of the state and the Houghton-Keweenaw Health District to control the disease.

Dr. Jennifer Gunn is Associate Professor and Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation examined the history of graduate medical education in the United States. She is currently researching a book regarding rural health and medicine in the Upper Midwest, 1900-1950. Professor Gunn’s interest in mining communities and rural health disparities in an urbanizing society is informed by her experience as a coal miner in Alabama.

Gunn’s presentation is supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505, e-mail copper@mtu.edu, or visit them on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.

Presentation on DC protest against Keystone XL pipeline to be TONIGHT, Nov. 16

HOUGHTON -- Recently returned from the Nov. 6 Washington, DC, protest against the Keystone XL pipeline and Tar Sands oil, Allan Baker of Houghton will present his experience at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (KUUF) office. It is located in the Trinity Episcopal Church, 205 E. Montezuma, Houghton.

Baker, a member of KUUF, will show his video clips featuring Naomi Klein, author of SHOCK DOCTRINE. Opinions are welcome. The presentation is open to the public.

Baker attended the protest with his wife, Shirley Galbraith. Click here to see the Nov. 11, 2011, Keweenaw Now article by Galbraith, with some of Baker's photos and video clips.

Calumet Library hosts Scholastic Book Fair fundraiser, Big Game Night

CALUMET -- This week, through Thursday, Nov. 17, the Calumet Public Library is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair fundraiser, sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.

Stop in to see an excellent selection of titles for middle and high school students to be read right now, or saved for upcoming holiday and birthday gifts. It is also a great fundraiser for the library.

Volunteers are needed for this event. If you are available to take a shift, please contact the library at 337-0311, ext 1107.

Big Game Night: Nov. 16

The Calumet Public Library welcomes the public to Big Game Night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Nov. 16. Refreshments will be served.

How do you spell E-N-T-E-R-T-A-I-N-M-E-N-T or just good old F-U-N? Are you looking for something to do with friends and family, or would you like to meet some new people in your community?

Come to the Calumet Public Library and enjoy an evening of word games -- Scrabble, Bananagrams, Boggle, and more! Games will be available for those eager to play; but, if you have your own, you're encouraged to bring favorite games with you. Beginners and experts alike are welcome. Try something new, or share your expertise with others. The sponsors, Friends of the Calumet Public Library, hope to make this a regular event at the library, so let's get started on the fun!

For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311, ext 1107.

(In case of bad weather, when school is cancelled, all library programs are cancelled.)

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to hold meeting, pine tar event

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) Board will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Hancock Chalet at the County Fairgrounds (Driving Park) in Hancock. All are welcome to attend.

Pine Tar for wood skis Nov. 19

Wood skis require an application of pine tar on the bases. The pine tar repels moisture and holds the wax; in extreme cold it acts as a wax. Learn how to apply the pine tar: Bring your wood skis and pine tar them or just come and watch from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Hancock Chalet.

Call Jay Green, KNSC president, at 487-5411, or email jbgreen45@charter.net if you have any questions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New slide show: "Women and Water Rights II: Rivers of Regeneration" at Finlandia Gallery

The mother and son team -- Liz Dodson, video artist, of Minneapolis, and James Brenner, sculptor, of Chicago, with their creation in the Finlandia University Gallery. Dodson helped organize the Minnesota Women and Water Rights exhibit, working with Marilyn Cuneo of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Diane Katsiaficas, art professor at the University of Minnesota. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Now presents a new slide show, "Women and Water Rights II: Rivers of Regeneration," a group exhibition, now at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. We offer some photos as samples of the art and some of the artists who were present at the opening reception on Oct. 27, 2011.

Here is a video clip of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) musical ensemble from Minneapolis. The group invited members of the audience to participate with "maracas" made of recycled plastic water bottles.



Members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom musical ensemble from Minneapolis open the exhibit, "Women and Water Rights II: Rivers of Regeneration," Oct. 27, 2011, at the Finlandia Gallery in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. The exhibit continues through Nov. 22, 2011. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

WILPF is the oldest continuously operating women's peace organization in the world. Since its founding in 1915 by an international group of women including American Nobel Peace Prize winners Jane Addams and Emily Balch, its members strive to implement political, economic and social transformations in societal structures in order to bring about a more harmonious world.

Click here to learn about the Minneapolis group that was represented at this art exhibit.

Click here to access the slide show. The link is also archived in our right-hand column.

Updated: WAVE, SWUP to host "Souper Supper" Nov. 19 in Marquette

MARQUETTE -- WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth) and SWUP (Save the Wild UP) will host a "Souper Supper" Harvest Fest from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette (corner of Magnetic and Fourth St.).

Freshly made soups such as Nutmeg Squash, Pear and Parsnip and Chicken Noodle highlight the menu along with delicious homemade breads and pies. Pies of all kinds will be available by the slice or whole pie to take home and enjoy or to freeze for the holiday.

Live music will be provided by Laura Nagel and Friends playing and singing their favorite tunes. Suggested donation for general public supper tickets are $10, $8 for seniors and NMU students, kids under 8 years of age, $5. Proceeds go towards protecting water resources as part of a sustainable future for the region.

Come out and enjoy warm, hearty soup, bread and pie, music and conversation! Donations will also be accepted for a variety of local artwork and white elephant items.

For more information, call 906-250-3284.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Prof. Martin Auer to present talk, discussion on sustainability Nov. 14

HOUGHTON -- Dr. Martin Auer Michigan Tech professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will present "The Myth of Sustainability: Life on a Runaway Planet" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, Nov. 14, in G002 Hesterberg Hall, Forestry Building. His talk will be followed by refreshments and discussion.

Sustainability has become THE WORD in environmental affairs, reflecting a call to all of us to commit to preserving the planet for future generations. Some recent studies exploring the relationship between sustainability and the Earth's carrying capacity have reawakened predictions of a future of war, pestilence and famine.

Environmental engineers and scientists have proposed ways to reduce environmental stress on the planet’s carrying capacity. Can we engineer our way out of the approaching doom via the Sustainability Revolution?

The event, open to the public, is co-sponsored by: Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Keweenaw Land Trust, League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, UP Environmental Coalition (UPEC), Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK).

Admission is free, but a $3 donation is appreciated.