Friday, January 27, 2012

Heikinpäivä 2012 to offer family fun Saturday, Jan. 28

Reindeer join the 2011 Heikinpäivä Parade on Quincy Street in Hancock. This year the parade will again start at 11 a.m. near the Bridge School and proceed to the Finnish American Heritage Center. (2011 file photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Heikinpäivä, Hancock's mid-winter festival, offers fun for the whole family all day Saturday, Jan. 28. Here's the schedule:

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tori Market, Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) and First United Methodist Church.

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Family Fun DayVipukelkka (Whipsled), reindeer, kicksleds, World's Largest Kicksled, Rakovalkea (log burning), Finlandia's Quincy Green.

Kids love to ride on the Vipukelkka (Whipsled) during the family fun activities next to the Finnish American Heritage Center (Finlandia's Quincy Green).

11 a.m. - Parade, downtown Hancock. Line up at BRIDGE School at 10:30 a.m. Prizes.

Immediately following parade:Wife-carrying contest and kicksled races, Finlandia's Quincy Green.

The wife-carrying contest, a Finnish tradition, is a favorite event at Heikinpäivä. This year it begins right after the parade.

11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Scandinavian Wheat Weaving by Midge Waters, FAHC, Hancock. $20 fee, materials provided.

1 p.m. Snow volleyball, Copper Island Beach Club, Hancock. For information call (906) 482-2422.

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Open House, Reception for "Art from the Kalevala" exhibit, Community Arts Center, Hancock. Click here for details. Check out our slide show!

3 p.m. Polar Bear Dive, Copper Island Beach Club waterfront, Hancock. NOTE NEW LOCATION! There will be a warming tent.

The Polar Bear Dive is one of the highlights of Heikinpäivä. This year it will be in a new location: next to the Copper Island Beach Club on the Hancock waterfront.

6 p.m. Seisovapöytä (Finnish buffet), Zion Lutheran Church, Hancock. Tickets $16. Silent auction during the banquet.

Learn more about Heikinpäivä on their Web site.

Community Arts Center to hold open house, reception for "Art from the Kalevala" Jan. 28

Bear Hunter's Charm, fabric, by Cynthia Coté. Inspired by the Kalevala, Rune 46: The Bear. See our slide show for more works in this exhibit, in honor of the Finnish epic poem.

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center will hold an open house and reception for the exhibit "Art from the Kalevala," from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, during Hancock's Heikinpäivä mid-winter festival.

Come meet the artists and enjoy Finnish treats prepared by Kris Raisanen Schourek.

Artists participating are Kristyn Blessing, Leona Blessing, Cynthia Coté, Bob Dawson, Charlie Eshbach, Phyllis Fredendall, Susan Hamilton, Joyce Koskenmaki, Edith Marshall, Elise Matz, Eric Munch, Constance Stockwell Johnson, and Eileen Sundquist.

For a preview, see Keweenaw Now's slide show -- Kalevala 2012 -- at the top of the right column on this page, or click here.

"Art from the Kalevala" continues through Jan. 31 at the Community Arts Center's Kerredge Gallery.

The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information call 482-2333. Visit the website: www.coppercountryarts.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

NOSOTROS to host Sombrero Dance Party Jan. 27

Poster courtesy NOSOTROS Latin Student Organization.

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS will host a Sombrero (Hat) Party from 9 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Jan. 27, in MUB Ballroom A on the Michigan Tech campus. Free salsa lessons, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., will precede the dance -- open floor with salsa, merengue, bachata and much more!

No partner needed! Open to everybody! Free! Light snacks and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided.

Free merengue and bachata classes are also being offered from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Daniell Heights community room.

This event is organized by NOSOTROS, Latin Student Organization at Michigan Tech, and supported by the Graduate Student Government and the Undergraduate Student Government. For information contact auboni@mtu.edu.

Native American groups protest as Wisconsin Assembly prepares to pass Mining Law 426

MADISON -- Indian Country TV is live streaming protests against the new Wisconsin Mining Bill 426. Click here for the live streaming now of The People's Tribunal of AB-426 being held in Madison, Wis., and links to videos of the protests today, Jan. 26.

See also the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Jan. 26, 2012, article, "Assembly set to back mining bill."

The poster is the sign being carried by Native Americans in Madison. It recalls the historic date of 1787, when recognition of tribes as sovereign nations was written into the United States Constitution.

Updated: Khana Khazana to offer Indian cuisine Jan. 27

HOUGHTON -- Indian graduate student Abhinav Sharma will cook tasty dishes from his homeland for Khana Khazana (food treasure) on Friday, Jan. 27, at Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Food Court.

The ethnic lunch cooked weekly by international students will feature Jabalpuri alu bonde, which is fried spiced mashed potato balls; tawa pulao, a street-food favorite in Mumbai, combining spicy and aromatic rice and vegetables; chicken jalfrezi, a Chinese and Pakastani recipe; and paneer kofta, cheese-stuffed balls in a sweet and spicy sauce.

A full lunch, including a beverage, costs $6. Individual entrees are available for $2 each. The lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Khana Khazana is a collaborative effort of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services. It is open to the community as well as the campus.

Khana Khazana in the news!

The fame of Khana Khazana is spreading! It is mentioned in an article titled "Dressing Up the Dining Hall" about unusual campus food at colleges and universities. The first of three programs featured is Michigan Tech's Khana Khazana! The article has appeared in Metro newspapers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.*

"Kudos to the team of Khana Khazana and all other people who have worked so hard to take Khana Khazana to such heights," says Sahil Thakkar, the Indian student who cooked the first Khana Khazana meal in January 2010. "When we started this program, it was a staff of just five people and none of us had ever expected that Khana Khazana would reach to such heights. Once again, I would like to congratulate all the people who are part of Khana Khazana and as well as those who have always supported Khana Khazana. You guys made me feel proud for starting this program."*

*Editor's Note: Click here to read the article. The Metro newspapers article mentions that Michigan Tech's Khana Khazana started as a fundraiser for Haitian relief. See our Jan. 29, 2010 article on the first of these international lunches.

Jan. 28 Public Meeting seeks input, partners for 1913 Strike Centennial

CALUMET -- Community input and volunteers are sought for planning activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners' strike. A public meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Calumet Visitor Center of Keweenaw National Historical Park, in the Historic Union Building at 98 Fifth Street in Calumet. Refreshments will be served.

Striking miners gather outside the Calumet office of the Western Federation of Miners in 1913. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives.)

The nearly yearlong strike by members of the Western Federation of Miners in 1913-14 is one of the most significant events in Copper Country history and also figures critically in national labor struggles of the time. Initial planning and discussion for commemorative events have included representatives from the Michigan Tech University Social Sciences Department and Michigan Tech Archives, as well as National Park Service staff and members of the local community.

Current ideas include historical exhibits, tours of historic sites connected to the strike's events, publication of books and web content, a symposium on historical topics, activities for K-12 students, a memorial ceremony on the centennial of the Italian Hall tragedy and other public events.

The Jan. 28 meeting will provide an update on planning to date, discuss ideas for additional activities, and seek volunteers able to move events forward.

For more information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505, email copper@mtu.edu, or visit 1913strike.wordpress.com.

Exhibit of student art on Union Building at Calumet Visitor Center Jan. 26

CALUMET -- Join high school art teacher Susan Rosemurgy as she introduces an exhibit of student artwork featuring the historic Union Building, home to Keweenaw National Historical Park’s Calumet Visitor Center at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Jan. 26.

The building was the subject for CLK art students learning about the American artist Edward Hopper, known for his mastery of the realist style. Come hear about Hopper and see "The Union Building in Perspective: An Exhibit of Student Artwork," on display in the temporary exhibit room.

This event is part of the Fourth Thursday in History series, sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park. The Calumet Visitor Center is located at 98 Fifth Street in Calumet. For more information, including specific directions to the event, please call Keweenaw National Historical Park at 906/337-3168 or visit www.nps.gov/kewe.

Updated: Video links: Northern lights ("revontulet") in Finland

FINLAND -- The Finnish Web site http://yle.fi/uutiset/recently posted a news report with a video clip of northern lights (revontulet) over Finland this week. Click here for the video clip.

Thanks to one of our readers, Annukka Vepsäläinen of Turku, Finland, for the link and the following explanation of the word revontulet, northern lights in Finnish:

"Northern lights are revontulet," Annukka writes. "It's a kind of funny name for them -- repo (revon is the genitive form of the word) is an old-fashioned name for a fox. Tuli (tulet is the plural form) is fire. So altogether it's the fires of the fox!"

Update: Annukka adds, for a really great YouTube video of revontulet photographed from Finnish Lapland in 2011, click here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New poll shows Gary McDowell leading Rep. Benishek 46 to 41 percent

RUDYARD, Mich. -- A poll released this morning by House Majority PAC shows Gary McDowell in a clear lead over Republican incumbent Congressman Dan Benishek. The survey revealed that 60 percent of Michigan voters want to replace Benishek and favored Gary McDowell winning 46-41 in a hypothetical rematch.

"Voters and taxpayers in Northern Michigan and the U.P. feel like no one is looking out for them in Washington," said Gary McDowell. "And it’s no wonder they want new leadership. Congressman Benishek promised he would protect Social Security and Medicare last year but one of his first votes was to end Medicare in order to give more tax breaks to the wealthy."

The poll comes on the heels of a recent announcement of Republican Grand Traverse County Commission Chairman Larry Inman voicing concerns over Benishek’s voter outreach work and his ability to hold the seat against Gary McDowell.

"Regular people across all political lines are fed up with our leadership in Washington and they know that Dan Benishek is part of the problem," McDowell continued.

According to the pollster: In Michigan’s 1st District, only 40 percent of voters want to give Congressman Dan Benishek a second term, while 60 percent want to replace him. Congressional Republicans have a 35/54 favorability rating in his district and Benishek’s approval is even lower than that with just 33 percent of voters giving him good marks to 45 percent who disapprove. He trails 2010 opponent Gary McDowell 46-41 in a hypothetical rematch.

Polling in November done by Public Policy Polling indicated that Rep. Benishek only had a 32 percent approval rating and only 36 percent of voters at that time said they would definitely vote to re-elect him.

Click here for more information about the poll.

Editor's Note: To read about Gary McDowell's visit to Hancock, see our Dec. 16, 2011, article, "Dems turn out for Congressional Candidate Gary McDowell at fundraiser in Hancock."

See also our Jan. 3, 2012, article on Rep. Benishek's visit to Mohawk: "U.S. Rep. Benishek meets, greets constituents in Mohawk."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gromit the Snow Dog reports excellent conditions on Maasto Hiihto Trails this week

Grooming Maasto Hiihto trails by night. (Photos courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

HANCOCK -- Gromit the Snow Dog says the trails at Maasto Hiihto are up to her standards now: excellent conditions.

A well groomed trail at Maasto Hiihto.

Gromit at Perrault Lake enjoying the deep snow she loves!

See more photos of Gromit's recent snowy adventures on her blog, The Trail Mutt Reports.

Heikinpäivä dance to be held in Lake Linden Jan. 27

LAKE LINDEN -- The Heikinpäivä dance will be held at 7 p.m. with dance lessons beginning at 6:30 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 27, in the Little Gem Theater, 700 Calumet St., Lake Linden.

The Thimbleberry Band performs dance music at a December 2011 dance in Chassell. This Friday, Jan. 27, they will be joined by Pasi Lautala and other guests for the Heikinpäivä dance at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden. Pictured here, from left, are Coleman Segal, Dave Bezotte, Oren Tikkanen, Libby Meyer and Matt Durocher. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Music will be by the Thimbleberry Band with guest singers Carol Pärssinen and Pasi Lautala -- and Pasi will be squeezing his accordion as well. Other guest musicians include "the Doctors of Music": Anna Gawboy (concertina) and Libby Meyer (violin).

"A wonderful evening of classic Finnish dance music is on the playlist," says musician Oren Tikkanen. "Viola Turpeinen polkas, Toivo Kärki tangos, Georg Malmstén humppas, traditional waltzes, mazurkas, shottisches, and more. This is the only dance for Heikinpäivä this year, so make sure you bring your dancing slippers to Lake Linden on Friday."

Cover Charge: Singles $6. Couples $10. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission will be paid at the door. The Little Gem Theater is downstairs in the old school building across from the high school on the main street in Lake Linden.

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Eero and Rosann Angeli will be giving dance lessons on the third floor. They will be teaching the mazurkka, hambo, and the raatikko (the folk dance version). More dance lessons will also be taught by Chuck Hill, the organizer of the event. Snacks from Carmelita's will be available.

The Thimbleberry Band is Dave Bezotte, piano; Coleman Segal, mandolin; Matt Durocher, bass; and Oren Tikkanen, banjo and guitar.

Portage Library to host 18th-Century History program

"Ingot Street Garden" is one of the art works by Clyde Mikkola on exhibit in the Portage Lake District Library. Mikkola will give a presentation on "The 18th-Century Intinerant Limner" on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the library. (Photo courtesy Portage Lake District Library)

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will bring a part of living history from 18th-century America to the library and show what life was like for an artist living at that time.

Local artist Clyde Mikkola will present "The 18th-Century Itinerant Limner" from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Limning was the word applied to drawing and painting in the 18th century. Mikkola will describe the life of a limner, explain how they made their own paints, paintbrushes, and canvases, discuss how they traveled, and tell what they did to survive. Mikkola will be dressed in costume from that era and bring examples of footwear, a lap desk for letter writing, a flintlock with accouterments, and a lantern that he will light using flint and steel.

This program is geared for all ages. Mikkola’s artwork is currently on display in the library as part of an on-going collaboration between the Copper Country Community Arts Center and the Portage Lake District Library.

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

Superior AmeriCorps Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest winners announced

HOUGHTON -- Keweenaw Now is happy to congratulate the winners of the recent Superior AmeriCorps Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest for grades K-12. Here are the winning posters. Click on images for larger versions.

First, two young artists tied for first place in the K-2 division: Sierrah, Room 208, Barkell Elementary School, and Kamryn Sohlden, 2nd Grade, Chassell Township Schools.

Sierrah, Room 208, Barkell Elementary School, created this poster, one of the two first-place winners in the K-2 division.

Kamryn Sohlden, 2nd Grade, Chassell Township Schools, tied for first place in the K-2 division with this poster.

This poster, by Rachel Nulf, 5th Grade, Barkell Elementary School, a student in Mrs. Pierce's Class, is the first-place winner in the grades 3-5 division.

Emma Juntunen, 7th Grade, Jeffers High School, won first-place in the grade 6-8 division with this poster.

Lena Erickson, 11th grade, Dollar Bay High School, won first-place in the grade 9-12 division with this poster.

"Embracing Mortality" course cancelled

HOUGHTON -- "Embracing Mortality," a course designed to help people approach the end of life without fear -- which was scheduled at the Portage Lake District Library for Tuesday evenings in January, February and March -- has been cancelled. It has not been rescheduled.

Finlandia Gallery hosts "Visual Voices" VSA exhibit through Feb. 11

HANCOCK -- "Visual Voices," a touring exhibit of work by 36 artists organized by the VSA Michigan/State Organization on Arts and Disability, is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, through Feb. 11, 2012.

"Ducks Swimming in Water," by Christina Coon. (Image courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception for the exhibit will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Art works by Christina Coon and Paul Waisanen, both of Hancock, are included in the juried exhibit. Coon and Waisanen are long-time participants in a VSA-sponsored art class at Hancock's Oak House, a group home for individuals with mild to moderate developmental disabilities.

"Sailboat," by Paul Waisanen. (Image courtesy Finlandia University)

Participants in the Oak House art class, with local drummer Bill Anderson, will present a drumming performance at the exhibit's opening reception.

Started 20 years ago, the Oak House's VSA-sponsored art class aims to teach skills, provide opportunities for creative expression, and encourage socialization. The classes are instructed by area artists who use a variety of media, including visual arts, crafts, music, and drumming. Copper Country Mental Health is also a significant partner in presenting the class.

Artwork from across the state was submitted for this year's annual Emerging Artists' Touring Exhibit, which is open to children and adults with disabilities. The Visual Voices exhibit is on an 11-month tour throughout Michigan at venues including galleries, libraries, conferences, festivals, and other public spaces. It completes its tour this April.

Work is chosen for the exhibit on the basis of quality. The exhibit showcases a variety of media and artistic techniques. Visual Voices was juried by Amy Armand, Kathryn Knapp, and Brenda Oelbaum: three individuals that have spent their careers contributing to the advancement of arts and arts education in Michigan.

"I was honored to serve on the jury for Visual Voices," says juror Kathryn Knapp. "The passion and imagination shown by these artists is awesomely inspiring and wonderfully refreshing. Visual Voices is an amazing reminder of the importance of creative communication and illustrates so perfectly why the arts are essential to the continued development of us all!"

VSA Michigan is a member of the network of VSA, the International Organization on Art and Disability. VSA is an international nonprofit organization founded 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to help create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, excel in, and enjoy the arts.

Nationwide and internationally, VSA provides educators, parents, and artists with resources to support arts programming in schools and communities, showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities, and promotes increased access to the arts for all people. Each year, 7 million people participate in VSA programs.

"It is the artists who are the champions of VSA's story," notes Kennedy Smith in her introduction to Imagination: A Celebration of the Arts and Disability, a VSA International Organization on Arts and Disability publication. "Certainly an organization can provide access, but it takes people of courage, determination, and grit to cross over the threshold, climb onto a stage, stare into a canvas, and start creating."

VSA Michigan supports programs and services across the state. VSA Michigan is funded through grants from national VSA under an award from the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education; from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs; and through contributions from corporations, foundations, and individuals.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Panel Discussion on "Mining in the Gogebic-Penokee Range" to be Jan. 25

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. -- "Mining in the Gogebic-Penokee Range: Panel Discussion led by Eagle River Atty. Susan Sommer" will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Many Ways of Peace, 217 S. Main street, downtown Eagle River, Wis.

Panelists will include the following:
Tom Fitz, Professor of Geology, Northland College, Ashland, Wis.
Kevin Brewster, Board President, Bad River Watershed Association
Richard Thiede, Committee member of the former Iron County Citizens Taconite Committee
Richard Sloat, Upper Peninsula resident sharing his perspective on mining in the UP

Supporters of the proposed taconite mine in the Penokee range believe that it will be an economic boon, creating hundreds of good paying jobs that will re-energize the impoverished region. However, environmentalists and Indian tribal leaders have concerns that the mine will contaminate one of the most pristine and water-rich regions in the state.

For more information call (715) 480-4697 or visit manywaysofpeace.org.

Editor's Note: Northland College in Ashland, Wis., is hosting a Mining and Environment Week Jan. 24-28, including lectures and a public forum. Click here for the schedule.

Major protests against Wis. Mining Bill set for Madison this week

MADISON, Wis. -- Major protests against Assembly Bill 426, the newly proposed Wisconsin mining bill, will take place in Madison, Wis., this week. Some meetings will be accessible through live streaming on the Internet and on TV.

NOTICE OF HEARING: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 -- Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business Executive Session, 412 East State Capitol in Madison: Assembly Bill 426, relating to regulation of ferrous metallic mining and waiving many current laws and regulations. The committee will be discussing and voting on amendments and voting to pass the bill on to the full Assembly on Thursday.

NOTICE OF LIVESTREAM: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 -- People's State of the State Hearing Wednesday, 2nd Floor - North Hearing Room: public invited to testify about their views on the State of the State. If you have testified about any bill introduced under the Walker regime, please come and share your testimony and your concerns about the direction that state government is taking. The hearing will be livestreamed by www.indiancountrytv.com.

BURY THE MINING BILL PROTEST RALLY: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 -- State Street / Capitol Square -- Protest Assembly Bill 426, "The Mining Bill," and Wetlands Deregulation Bill -- Assembly Bill 463. These bills will deregulate environmental protections and give immunity to mining operations. The bills are also in direct violation of the treaty rights of the tribes whose resources they affect.

STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the Assembly Chambers: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 -- Admission to Assembly Gallery by invitation only, but the Capitol rotunda will be open.

NOTICE OF EVENT: The People's Tribunal of AB-426, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012: (testimonials, complaints, alternative job growth suggestions), North Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, and Assembly Floor Vote AB-426 (Watch). The People's Tribunal will be an open Citizens' Mining Hearing taking citizen petitions and testimony on AB-426 and providing legislative organizing skills, training and actions suggestions to citizens and providing an opportunity for those to speak on the Mining Bill as now proposed. If you, or an organization would like to provide support, endorse the event or testify at the People's Hearing please contact Carl at carl@wnpi.org. Events will be broadcast live on Indian Country TV.

Letter: Whitefish Point update -- good news!

Hey, it can't all be doom and gloom -- so here's one we can and should celebrate:

On Friday (Jan. 20), The Whitefish Point Joint Committee represented by Michigan Audubon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS), along with Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and the Whitefish Point Preservation Society, met to discuss the future management of Whitefish Point. It was agreed upon at the meeting to amend the 2002 Whitefish Point Management Plan to permanently withdraw plans to construct two museum wing additions, two parking lots, and a service drive on the former US Coast Guard property, now owned by the GLSHS. As this development had been in the works for over 25 years and at times was as contentious as issues get -- it is with great satisfaction to be able to share this good news.

The decision to amend the plan was voluntary and met with the unanimous support of all parties involved in the stewardship of the site.

Instead of new construction, the Whitefish Point Joint Committee will work together to find an appropriate location for a historic boathouse to be returned to Whitefish Point and restored by the GLSHS. In addition, the Whitefish Point Preservation Society was invited to join the Joint Committee as an ex-officio (non-voting but fully participating) member. The committee also includes the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Whitefish Township.

Joe Kaplan
Michigan Audubon
Whitefish Point Joint Committee Representative (with Michael Sauer)

Petition on cell phone tower at Brockway available on line

This photo, with a cell phone tower imposed, shows how the tower would affect the view from U.S. 41 going into Copper Harbor from the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. (Photo courtesy Chris Schmidt)*

COPPER HARBOR -- As many of you know, Brockway Mountain is slated to become home to a 250' cell tower. At a December meeting of the Keweenaw County Zoning Board of Appeals, a variance was granted to permit construction of a tower on Brockway Mountain, nearly 750 feet above Lake Superior. At its proposed site and height, the tower would be the first thing motorists and cyclists see as they head north into Copper Harbor on US 41. In addition to its mark on the horizon, as a freestanding structure, the tower's 30-foot base would also leave a significant footprint on the ground.

Although the availability of cell service in Copper Harbor is an inevitability, particularly in the name of safety, one would hope that it could be accomplished without scarring one of Michigan's great natural landmarks.

In a last-ditch effort, an online petition has been started to request that the decision of the Keweenaw County Zoning Board of Appeals be reconsidered. The petition is not against providing Copper Harbor with cell service, but rather in the proposed location of the cell tower.

If one million calls and letters to Congress could put a stop to SOPA, if one hundred thousand names on an online petition made Verizon abandon their proposed fees for online payments, and if 4,500 names were enough to stop the LaCrosse city council from transforming the scenic Upper Hixon Forest into a housing development, certainly there are enough people who have spent time on Brockway Mountain who would like to see it preserved that the Zoning Board of Appeals could be swayed to reconsider its decision.

With that in mind, please consider signing the online petition. Once a precedent has been sent, the mountain could soon be host to more towers, further damaging the view and posing additional risk to the more than 14,000 raptors that use Brockway Mountain as a final resting spot before crossing Lake Superior during their spring migration.

To view and sign the petition, please click here.

* For more photos of the site location (with and without a tower), see "Brockway Viewshed vs proposed Cell Tower" on flickr.com.