Saturday, April 06, 2013

"Tumult and Tragedy" 1913 strike exhibit to be in Painesdale through May 1

"Tumult and Tragedy" poster courtesy Michigan Tech Archives.

PAINESDALE, MICH. -- An exhibit exploring labor in Michigan’s historic copper mining district will be on display in Painesdale in April. "Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike," a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from April 8 through May 1. The exhibit is hosted by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center in the Jeffers High School Library in Painesdale.

Large mining companies built libraries for employee use such as the Sarah Sargent Paine Library in Painesdale. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives.)

A special open house will take place Wednesday, April 10. Michigan Tech Archivist Erik Nordberg will present an illustrated talk titled "Company Houses Along the Picket Line," exploring the role of company-owned houses in the 1913 strike. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center.

Housing located on company property rented at the rate of one dollar per room, per month, was one way to attract and retain preferred types of employees. Mining companies found married men more stable, as their wages were needed to support a larger family unit. Some companies encouraged families to take in single men as boarders. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Archives.)

On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence and tragedy, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children, during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The "Tumult and Tragedy" traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online at http://www.1913strike.mtu.edu.

The exhibit project was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the Jeffers High School Library at 906-487-0599.

Backroom Boys to play dance music at Eagles Hall, South Range, Apr. 7

SOUTH RANGE -- The South Range Eagles Hall will be swingin' to the old-time jazz sounds of the Backroom Boys from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Sunday, April 7. Bring your dance slippers, and come on down. The Eagles Hall is on the west side of M-26, just north of the traffic blinker in downtown South Range.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Michigan Tech's Superior Wind Symphony, Campus Concert Band, to perform "Homage to Water" April 5

HOUGHTON -- Is water important in your life? At 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, April 5, the Michigan Tech Superior Wind Symphony (SWS) and Campus Concert Band will present "An Homage to Water" at the Rozsa Center. The concert will be directed by Mike Christianson and the SWS will perform original works inspired by oceans, ice, rain, rivers, glaciers, ships and sailors -- by great composers such as George Frideric Handel, Reinhold Gliere, John Mackey, Anthony Iannaccone, Percy Grainger, and Robert Russell Bennett.

Tickets are $12.75 for adults, and free for Michigan Tech Students. To purchase tickets, call 487-2073, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

This concert will be audio-streamed live from the Rozsa Theater. Click here to listen to the concert live-streamed.

NOSOTROS to host Latin Dance Apr. 5 at Michigan Tech MUB Ballroom


HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS will host the last Latin Dance of the semester on Friday, April 5, in Michigan Tech's MUB Ballroom. Free salsa lessons will be offered from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., followed by open floor dancing to Latin music from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Dance is free and open to all. No partner needed. Learn to dance to Latin music and find new friends!

First Friday in Calumet offers art for Spring April 5

CALUMET -- Calumet galleries and the Calumet Art Center will be open First Friday evening, April 5. You're invited to celebrate Spring with local artists and art lovers!

Butterflies of Maasto Hiihto at Copper Country Associated Artists

Butterfly near Maasto Hiihto trails. (Photo © and courtesy Miriam Pickens)

April showers bring May flowers -- and, when the flowers are out, the butterflies will come. The Copper Country is summer home to many species of butterflies, and some even live here year round. Miriam Pickens of the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) is an avid collector of butterflies. Armed with a camera, she has taken photos of around 35 different types that live in West Hancock near the Maasto Hiihto trails.

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday, April 5, at CCAA, Pickens will present a slide show and will discuss the identification and behavior of these butterflies, plus the techniques she uses to photograph them. The talk will be free and open to the public. Photos, cards and pottery with images of the critters will be available for purchase. The gallery will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The CCAA is located at 205 Fifth Street in Calumet.

Celebrate Superior Spring at Ziyad and Co.

The sun is out, snow is melting and Spring is in the air at Ziyad and Co. art gallery! Spring in the Keweenaw is a beautiful time of year; the Superior Spring show gives artists an opportunity to express their visions of spring.

Painted driftwood by Susan Robinson. (Photo courtesy Ziyad and Co. art gallery)

Join Ziyad and Co. in celebrating Spring and enjoy the photography, water colors, pastels, pottery and wood that express the brilliance of Spring along the shores of our wonderful Lake Superior. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday, April 5, at Ziyad and Co. art gallery at 109 Fifth St, Calumet. For more information call 906-337-5970 or email at ziyadgallery@gmail.com.

Gallerie Bohème to present "Good-bye Winter; Hello Spring!"

Gallerie Bohème is mounting a show of images that relate to the winter work period, some inspired by the the winter season and some by the longing for spring. Stop by and check these out from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday April 5, have a bread and cheese, a dram of punch, say hi to friends and join the dance for spring!

The exhibit continues through May 2, 2013. Gallery hours are Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. The Gallery is at 423 Fifth St. in Calumet. For more information call Tom Rudd at 906-369-4087.

Omphale Gallery and Café to feature work by Randy Wakeham

Just a couple doors up Fifth Street from the Gallerie Bohème, visit the Omphale Gallery and Café on First Friday evening to see "Home Is Where I Want to Be" -- a retrospective of work by Randy Wakeham. The festivities will include art, music, refreshments and an art chat by the artist.

Visit the Omphale Gallery and Café on Facebook for more information.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

State House Democrats announce Michigan's Middle-Class Plan; House Democratic Leader visits UP

By Michele Bourdieu

State Representatives Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), left, and John Kivela (D-Marquette) held a press conference Apr. 2, 2013, in the Peter White Library, Marquette, to announce Michigan’s Middle-Class Plan, the House Democrats’ plan for helping families, seniors and kids. (Photo by Michigan House Democratic Staff. Reprinted with permission.)

MARQUETTE — State Representatives John Kivela (D-Marquette) and Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) held a press conference on Tuesday, Apr. 2, at the Peter White Library in Marquette to announce Michigan's Middle-Class Plan, the House Democrats' plan for helping families, seniors and kids.

The plan is based on the response Democrats received during their recent statewide, Real State of Our State Listening Tour. Dianda held a Listening Tour session at the Jutila Center in Hancock on March 4 with Kivela and House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills).*

State Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette), left, answers a question at the Hancock stop on the House Democrats’ Real State of Our State Listening Tour on Monday, March 4, while State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), center, and House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) look on. (Photo courtesy Karen Johnson, Finlandia University. Reprinted with permission.)

"Our Listening Tour stop in Hancock, to some, is worlds away from the Capitol in Lansing," said Kivela. "But the families and seniors up here in the U.P. reflected the same concerns and struggles as the ones down in Sterling Heights. The overarching theme is that what the majority is doing in Lansing is not working for them."

U.P. citizens gathered at Finlandia University’s Jutila Center for the Hancock stop on the House Democrats’ Real State of Our State Listening Tour on Monday, March 4. The event was hosted by State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) with special guests, House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) and State Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette). (Photo courtesy Karen Johnson, Finlandia University. Reprinted with permission.)

Dianda added he learned middle class working families and seniors have been experiencing a lot of difficulty because of the elimination of tax credits for children, taxes imposed on seniors' pensions and home heating credits for seniors. In addition, this year's property taxes will be higher with the elimination of the homestead exemption.

"People are really starting to see how this is affecting their income in the state of Michigan," Dianda said.

The House Democrats' Middle-Class Plan includes real solutions to problems facing Michigan's families, seniors, kids and women. The plan calls for middle-class tax relief, restoring and protecting funds to public education, eliminating barriers to health care for women, and providing solutions for fixing our roads and bridges. Through their Michigan Middle-Class Plan Democrats hope to do the following:
  • Repeal the tax on seniors' retirement income, restore the per-child tax deduction, restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to 11 percent and restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit.
  • Implement a fine for habitually overweight trucks, ensure existing transportation funds are used for road construction and refinance existing infrastructure bonds.
  • Make the School Aid Fund only available for use in funding K-12 education and increase per-pupil funding by $320.
  • Improve access to health care for women by removing barriers to health care centers and increasing access to family planning services.
Kivela said, "We also firmly believe that women having access to health care centers is a right and not a privilege."

He noted House Democrats are working on a budget that will pay for all of these changes without raising taxes on the middle class.

"It's the backs of the middle class that have funded the big tax incentives to the businesses," Kivela said. "We know we need to have a business climate that companies can succeed in, but we can't balance that on the backs of the working population of this state."

Hancock City Councilor John Slivon attended the March 4 Listening Tour session at the Jutila Center in Hancock, where three Michigan Representatives were present to answer questions -- Dianda, Kivela and House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills).

Slivon asked a question about the possible effects of the proposed Upper Peninsula mining projects on growing food.* (See link to Democrats' video clip below)

State Rep. Scott Dianda, second from left, and House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, left, visited mine drillers near Gratiot Lake in Keweenaw County on Sunday, March 3, 2013. Russ Grunwald, third from left, is exploration vice-president for Highland Resources, a Canadian company doing exploration drilling for copper in the area.** The visit was part of a Keweenaw tour Dianda arranged for Greimel preceding the March 4 Real State of Our State Listening stop in Hancock. (Photo by Michigan House Democratic Staff. Reprinted with permission.)

"While Rep. Dianda replied with some concerns on food growing, he never addressed the second part of my question -- whether he has concerns about the effects of mining on food production," Slivon told Keweenaw Now.

The video clip of the Hancock Listening Tour session that appears on the Web site for the House Democrats' Middle-Class Plan includes Slivon's question, some comments by Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson on the high cost of snow removal, and a question on student debt and right-to-work legislation by college student Rawley V.*

"Rep. Kivela and I are new to Lansing, but that provides us with the greatest opportunity to make the biggest difference in how the people of the Upper Peninsula are being represented. We will make them a priority again," said Dianda. "Change needs to start now, and not after two more years of harmful Republican policies."

* Click here to view on YouTube the short video clip with questions and comments from the Hancock session.

** See our March 26, 2012, article, "Canadian company plans exploration project for Keweenaw copper."

Editor's Note: Unfortunately Keweenaw Now was unable to attend the March 4 Listening Tour event in Hancock.

Photos, videos: Rep. Dianda, House Democratic Leader Greimel tour Keweenaw, meet with Houghton County Dems

HANCOCK -- On March 2, 2013, preceding their Listening Tour session, Michigan 110th District Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) and Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) met with Houghton County Democrats at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock.

The meeting was part of a visit to the area for Greimel, hosted by Dianda, which also included the Copper Dog 150 race, a tour of the Smart Zone in Houghton, a visit to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga and various local Keweenaw sites and events.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) and state Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) both volunteered as dog handlers at the start of the Copper Dog 150 in Calumet on Friday, March 1. (Photo by Michigan House Democratic Staff. Reprinted with permission.)

Brian Hoduski, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, was pleased with Greimel's visit.

"Being 500 miles from Lansing, it says something about the esteem Rep. Dianda is already held in by Democratic Leader Greimel, that he (Greimel) would travel to the UP and spend a full three days in the 110th," Hoduski said.

Pictured here with State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), left, and House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), third from left, at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Tribal Center on Monday, March 4, are Susan LaFernier, KBIC secretary, and Warren C. Swartz, Jr., KBIC president. (Photo by Michigan House Democratic Staff. Reprinted with permission.)

Keweenaw Now's video reporter Allan Baker recorded the March 2 discussion with the Houghton County Democrats.

In this video clip, Dianda introduces Rep. Greimel, who gives a summary of recent  Republican legislation that has placed heavy burdens on Michigan middle-class working families, teachers and schools, and senior citizens:

Michigan 110th District Rep. Scott Dianda introduces State Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) to Houghton County Democrats at a March 2, 2013, meeting in Hancock. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Here Greimel answers a question on the Kalamazoo oil spill:***


A Michigan Tech student asks about obstacles to student voting:


In the following video clip, Greimel answers a question on the emergency manager legislation, noting examples of emergency managers downstate who have been unsuccessful:


After the meeting with Houghton County Dems, Keweenaw Now's Allan Baker interviews Greimel with some environmental questions. Here Greimel talks about the importance of protecting Michigan's water resources:


**** Update: Click here to see an Apr. 3, 2013, report from Rachel Maddow on the Kalamazoo oil spill.

Click here to learn more about the Michigan House Democrats' Middle-Class Plan.

Click here to visit Rep. Scott Dianda's Web site and see more photos of House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel's visit to the U.P.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Michigan DNR Fisheries Division to hold Public Meeting Apr. 4 at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division for a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, to discuss local fishing proposals.

George Madison, Fisheries Manager for the Western Lake Superior Management Unit, will discuss new fishing regulations for northern pike and muskellunge and gather public comments about these regulations. People attending this meeting can also inquire about other fisheries management activities that are occurring in our area as well as statewide sport fishing regulation proposals.

Information about Michigan sport fishing regulations can be found on the Department of Natural Resources website at www.michigan.gov/dnr or you may contact George Madison at 906-353-6651 for further information.

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

Portage Library to host North Country Trail Association program Apr. 5

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host a public meeting and presentation by the North Country Trail Association on Friday, April 5.

At 6:30 p.m. Doug Welker will show the U.S. Forest Service video Basic Trail Maintenance. Promised to illicit "Spring fever" and a desire to get out into the woods, this video will be followed by a business and informational meeting to discuss upcoming projects and activities along the North Country Trail in the western Upper Peninsula for 2013.

The meeting and presentation are open to the public and all are welcome.

The North Country Trail Association is a non-profit organization that works with the National Park Service and other government agencies to manage, build, maintain, and promote the North Country National Scenic Trail. As a local chapter, they are responsible for approximately 100 miles of existing trail. The Association’s primary tasks are to keep the trail clear and well blazed, improve the nature of the trail surface, and install boardwalks, bridges, and signs where needed. They are also working to construct new trail in the eastern end of the chapter’s area, and they always welcome help with their projects.

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

Reflection Gallery to host "Chardin and Lord: Selected Works" through April 30

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery in Hancock's Jutila Center will present a multi-disciplinary exhibit of work by artists Carrice Chardin and Erica Lord from April 4 to April 30, 2013.

"Chardin and Lord: Selected Works" includes viewer-interactive sculpture, installation, photography, performance, and video.

An opening reception for the exhibit will take place at the gallery from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4. The artists will present a brief talk about their work. The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

Carrice Chardin and Erica Lord have much in common: both have ties to Finlandia University and the Copper Country, both left the area to continue their educations, both have exhibited nationally and internationally, and both have recently returned to reside in the Copper Country.

Carrice Chardin: Caves (Removals Series), Media: Mixed - polymer clay, boar hair, led lights, wood, glass, mirrors, hardware, shadows, 2010. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

Chardin describes her work as viewer-interactive installations, which become "uniquely complete for each person as they enter and take on their own role within the piece. Through this interaction, each viewer’s history and perspective become integral elements in the interpretation of my work."

In her work, Lord explores issues of representation and identity, stating, "Through my work, I explore worlds in which translation is suspended -- the space beyond singular identities -- where worlds collide, merge, or resist each other."

Erica Lord: I Tan to Look More Native, Giclée print, 2006.

To address this mixed or multiple identity, Lord employs art, performance, and ritual. She says she is discovering ways to "find a root and affirm my position as a shifting self, understanding that in order to survive, identity and culture cannot be static."

Chardin received a bachelor of fine arts in illustration from Finlandia University in 2008 and completed a master of fine arts in sculpture at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. She has exhibited throughout the United States, including at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery and the Hamilton Hall Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Sharjah Art Museum in the United Arab Emirates. Chardin resides in Hancock and teaches drawing, painting, and sculpture at Finlandia University.

Lord received a bachelor of arts from Carleton College, Northfield, Minn., and a master of fine arts in sculpture and photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian Institution in New York and Washington D.C., the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Lord taught at Finlandia in 2012; she resides in Houghton.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan Street, Hancock.

For additional information, call 906-487-7500 or e-mail finlandiareflectiongallery@gmail.com.

"Cultural Studies in Black and White" by jd slack to open Apr. 4 at Community Arts Center

HANCOCK -- Black and white charcoal drawings by jd slack are featured from April 4-27 in the Kerredge Gallery at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock.

Women Marry Houses, charcoal by jd slack. (Photo courtesy Community Arts Center)

In these pieces, "Cultural Studies in Black and White," jd has set aside color to draw into powerful focus themes, issues, and phenomena that define, shape, and challenge us. From the bodily joy of dance to the seductive enticement of video gambling, there is something in this show to make anyone experience and think deeply about culture through art.

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 4. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Friends of Van Pelt Library Book, Media Sale is TODAY, Apr. 3

HOUGHTON -- The annual Friends of the Van Pelt Library Book and Media Sale is happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., TODAY, Wednesday, Apr. 3, in Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Ballroom.

The book prices are phenomenally low: $2 for hardbacks, $1 for softcover and $0.50 for trade paperbacks. Used media is also available at bargain prices: $2 for DVDs, $1 for CDs, and $0.50 for VHS and cassette tapes. Even bigger bargains start at 3 p.m., with books at $5 per bag. Community members and visitors can receive a pass to park for free on campus at metered or visitor spaces.

All proceeds from the sale benefit the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information, visit the website http://www.lib.mtu.edu/friends/friends.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Michigan Tech's Sarah Green named Jefferson Science Fellow

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Director of Public Relations
Posted March 29, 2013, on Michigan Tech News

HOUGHTON -- Sarah Green, chair of Michigan Tech's Department of Chemistry, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow by the US Department of State. She will spend a year in Washington, DC, and in countries around the world, working with the State Department or the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on projects to integrate science and public policy.

Sarah Green, chair of Michigan Tech's Department of Chemistry and Jefferson Science Fellow. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University. Reprinted with permission.)

"I congratulate Sarah for being nationally recognized as a Jefferson Science Fellow," said Provost Max Seel. "She is eminently qualified and deserving. She has been passionately engaged in advancing science to serve society."

The policy-making experience that the fellowship provides will benefit not only Green, but Michigan Tech as well, Seel went on to say.

"We firmly believe that building strength and expertise of our faculty and students in the public policy area is of strategic importance and needs to become commensurate with our strength in engineering and science," he said.

Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, said that Green's "interests in chemistry are easily the most wide-ranging within our Department of Chemistry, ranging from smoking to biodiversity and from biogeochemistry to carbon cycling in the Great Lakes. 

"She is an advocate of green chemical practices and has worked to connect them to the chemistry curriculum," Seely continued. "She easily moves among and between fields and can make complicated scientific information understandable to lay audiences. She is deeply passionate about the environment and about the need to strengthen the presence of underrepresented minorities in science. Sarah lives her values more directly and less dogmatically than anyone I know. She possesses the strong belief that science can make a difference in society." Click here to read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: SB 78 removes “Conservation of Biodiversity” from state forest management goals

From Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Posted on their Web site Mar. 27, 2013
Reprinted with permission


The Senate Bill 78 recently passed through the Michigan Senate (26-11) on March 5, 2013, and will soon be headed for a vote in the House of Representatives. Michigan
legislators have decided to change the long-standing legal and scientifically supported definition of conservation in the bill which is called "Removes Biodiversity and
Restoration as Forest Management Goals for Department of Natural Resources." This bill will also revise state forest management goals, which will result in needless destruction of natural native communities and damage species diversity. Here are some key points about SB78 provided by the Michigan Environmental Council analysis:

The bill amends the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994, specifically amending part 355 and part 525. It prohibits the DNR or Natural Resources
Commission from promulgating or enforcing a rule or an order that designates or classifies an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity, and provides that no other state agency would be required to do so either -- the only portion specifically targeting the proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area program (BSA). The definition of conservation will be revised, removing clauses on the topics of restoration, distribution and the "continued existence" of native species and communities. It will remove the conservation of biological diversity from the DNR’s duties regarding forest management, and requires the Department to balance its management activities with economic values. It eliminates the requirement that the DNR manage forests in a manner that promotes restoration. Additionally, the bill deletes the legislative finding that human activity causes most losses of biological diversity.

Proponents of the bill fear that including land in a stewardship area to protect its natural biodiversity will allow the DNR to restrict land uses for recreation. Sen. Tom Casperson is particularly interested in terminating the DNR’s "Living Legacies" Program (aka Biodiversity Stewardship Areas Program). In his article published Feb 28, 2013, in the Detroit Free Press, Casperson said, "This bill simply aims to stop the DNR from implementing the Biodiversity Stewardship Area Program, which would severely limit or preclude human activity on the land."

However, that is simply not what it will do. The DNR website Q and A on Living Legacies states, "It is anticipated that existing outdoor recreational uses that are already in place within Biodiversity Stewardship Areas will meet the guidelines for acceptability and will continue. If there are any situations where it is determined that the existing recreational uses are not compatible with BSA designation and the use in the place is ended, the DNR will ensure that an alternative opportunity is made available. […] The designation does not change public access to public lands. If there was public access before the designation, it remains the same. We encourage the public to visit some of these biologically diverse areas." Furthermore, the ecological repercussions caused by these legislative changes are much bigger than simply eliminating the BSA program, which is a great program anyway.

The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is opposed to SB 78 because maintaining biodiversity is a fundamental component of good forest management. Managing lands for biodiversity encourages ecosystem health and genetic resilience to new invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, the spruce budworm and tent caterpillars.

A petition has formed to help stop SB78!

Click here to view and sign the petition to oppose Michigan Senate Bill 78 and keep biodiversity as an important factor in natural resource management. It will be delivered to: The Michigan State House, The Michigan State Senate, and Governor Rick Snyder!

The bill is being considered in the House Natural Resources Committee. Please contact committee members to express your concern:

Andrea LaFontaine (R) Committee Chair, 32nd District: (517) 373-8931, AndreaLaFontaine@house.mi.gov

Bruce Rendon (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 103rd District: (517) 373-3817, BruceRendon@house.mi.gov

Ken Goike (R) 33rd District: (517) 373-0820, KenGoike@house.mi.gov

Joel Johnson (R) 97th District:(517) 373-8962, JoelJohnson@house.mi.gov

Ed McBroom (R) 108th District: (517) 373-0156, EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov

Roger Victory (R) 88th District: (517) 373-1830, RogerVictory@house.mi.gov

Charles Smiley (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 50th District: (517) 373-3906, charlessmiley@house.mi.gov

Scott Dianda (D) 110th District: (517) 373-0850, scottdianda@house.mi.gov

John Kivela (D) 109th District: (517) 373-0498, johnkivela@house.mi.gov

Visit the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve Web site to learn more about their work.
  
Editor's Note: The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) also opposes SB 78. On March 11, 2013, they stated in their Political Week in Review (PWIR), "The 'Anti-Biodiversity Act' prevents the DNR from acting under the Endangered Species Act or a number of other laws to promote and restore biodiversity on public lands. It jeopardizes almost $22 million in federal funding for forest management and puts Michigan’s sustainable forestry certificates that cover 3.9 million acres across the state at risk. This decision is a short-sighted approach that rejects science and sustainability. It makes it harder to ensure our forests, native plants and wildlife will be here for future generations."
Click here to read the rest of this MLCV article.