Friday, April 12, 2013

Wisconsin Tribal Leader Challenges Walker

By Rebecca Kemble
Posted April 10, 2013, on The Progressive
Reprinted in part with permission

MADISON -- Wisconsin tribes asserted their presence and their philosophy in Madison (on Tuesday, Apr. 9) and challenged Scott Walker. The occasion was the
State of the Tribes address to a joint session of the legislature.

 
During the Apr. 9, 2013, State of the Tribes address to a joint session of the Wisconsin legislature, the Great Lakes Intertribal drum group, without a permit, brought their enormous drum into the Capitol rotunda and onto the Assembly floor, singing and drumming for extended periods of time without so much as a warning. (Photo © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble. Reprinted with permission.)

The annual speech given by a leader of one of Wisconsin’s eleven Native Sovereign Nations has typically been delivered by younger tribal leaders in recent times. But this year the seasoned Chairman Gordon Thayer, who also served as Lac Courte Oreilles chair in the 1980s, was selected to address the Republican-dominated legislature. He went out of his way to stress collaboration with the state government, but he held firm on the issues of fishing rights and mining.

During his Apr. 9, 2013 State of the Tribes address to the Wisconsin legislature, Lac Courte Oreilles Chairman Gordon Thayer speaks out on the recently passed mining bill that deregulates iron mining activity in the state making it easier for a mountain top removal project in the Penokee Hills to obtain a permit. (Video clip by Penokee MineInfo)*

 After acknowledging state legislative leaders and constitutional officers, Thayer introduced thirteen tribal leaders who had traveled to Madison for the event. He then acknowledged the inter-tribal drum and the group of eleven singers -- one from each Wisconsin tribe -- who sang honor songs three times in the Capitol: Once in the rotunda before the event, once in the Assembly before the session convened, and once on the Assembly floor after the presentation of flags and tribal staffs.... Click here to read the rest of this article on The Progressive.

* Click here to see five more video clips of this event on the Penokee MineInfo You Tube channel. (They are dated Apr. 9, 2013)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Right to vote threatened by Michigan Senate Bill 288

Photo of wolf © Brandi Nichols and courtesy National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Reprinted with permission.

LANSING -- In a desperate move, State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced in Committee today Senate Bill 288 which, if signed into law, will prevent voters from having a say in what happens to Michigan wildlife.

In a 2006 referendum, Michigan voters overwhelmingly said "no" to the hunting of mourning doves. Last month, the signatures of 253,000 registered Michigan voters were submitted to the Secretary of State, requesting a similar referendum, opposing the designation of the wolf as a game animal.

"The referendum process is the right of citizens to vote to approve or reject new laws passed by legislature," according to Nancy Warren, U.P. resident and Great Lakes Regional Director, National Wolfwatcher Coalition.

Senate Bill 288 would allow the Natural Resources Commission -- an appointed, not elected, decision making body -- to designate any species a game animal and thus a hunted species which cannot be challenged by Michigan voters.

Warren said, "This bill removes the checks and balances currently in place and is an assault against the rights of Michigan citizens."

In a 5-2 vote, SB 288 was approved in Committee today and now moves to the full Senate.* Warren urges Michigan voters to contact their Michigan Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose SB 288. Don’t let your voice be silenced.

If you are not a Michigan resident, please pass this along to a Michigan voter!

Find your senator:
http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm

Find your representative: http://www.house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/

FOR OUT OF STATE WOLFWATCHERS -- If you are interested in being a voice for Michigan wolves, you can help by participating in the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected phone bank. Just send your name, phone number and email address to them and they will provide you with a list of call numbers. Email ellie@keepwolvesprotected.com.

For more information visit www.wolfwatcher.org and http://keepwolvesprotected.com/.

* Editor's Note: The Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes has 5 Republican members and 2 Democrats. State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), who introduced SB 288, is the chair of this committee. Click here for a Detroit News article on that committee's meeting today, Apr. 11.

Letter: Comments on proposed Wolf Hunt

By Catherine Parker*
Submitted to Michigan Natural Resources Commission and Michigan Department of Natural Resources
April 11, 2013
Reprinted with permission.

Michigan’s 2008 Wolf Management Plan states that most wolf-related conflicts can be best handled on a case-by-case basis. But, instead of targeting "problem animals," as was suggested by DNR staff during their recent round of public meetings, MDNR is recommending three hunting "Units," totaling 2000 square miles or well over a million acres. A hunt of this nature hardly seems "targeted" and cannot ensure that only problem animals are taken.

It seems that the decision to implement a hunt was and is being driven by political pressure from pro-hunting groups who are eager to have yet another listed animal to "harvest," whether or not they believe it is necessary to create or maintain some sort of artificial "balance of nature." In fact, there is no such thing as a permanent balance, since it is the "nature" of things to be in flux! Without continual human intervention, predator and prey generally keep each other in check, making our meddling both unnecessary and ill-advised.

Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, Wikimedia Commons / Retron. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page and courtesy Center for Biological Diversity.)

The Wolf Management Plan states that "…wolves do not pose a significant threat to the sustainability of prey populations in Michigan, nor are they expected to significantly reduce the number of deer and other prey available for public harvest or other human uses."

In fact, wolves can improve the health of the herd by keeping disease in check and prey species on the move. And according to wolf experts Mech and Peterson, it’s rare for wolves to kill wild prey in surplus.

Wolves do not present a significant threat to people, either. The Wolf Management Plan says, "As of this writing, a wolf attack on a human has never been documented in Michigan or in any of the other 47 contiguous States," and "the public may receive inaccurate or exaggerated impressions of the extent of wolf-related conflicts." The Plan suggests lethal methods of "control" only when human safety is threatened. Eliminating a particularly aggressive or perhaps a rabid animal would constitute a truly targeted removal.

During the DNR’s recent public meeting in Marquette, staff was asked about the seriousness of wolf-human conflicts in the Ironwood area, which was said to be the most troublesome region. Most incidents involved wolves chasing dogs onto decks or simply standing their ground. "A few" pets were attacked; there were no attacks on humans.

It was also stated that residents of the Ironwood area were feeding deer within the city limits and that MDNR had no plans to restrict that practice. Is it right to knowingly attract wolves and then shoot them for showing up? DNR staff says they’ve made efforts to educate people so as to reduce the deer feeding in problem areas like Ironwood. Education doesn’t always work -- that’s why we have seatbelt laws, for example. The Management Plan suggests modifications in law, policy and/or enforcement in order to more effectively discourage human activities that increase the risk of wolf predation. This
recommendation is not being followed. If I plant strawberries in my yard and the resident chipmunks eat them, am I justified in killing those chipmunks? If you answered yes, some soul-searching is in order.

The citizens of this State are petitioning their government to allow a direct vote on whether or not there should be a wolf hunt in Michigan. Senator Casperson is attempting to subvert this process with a bill that was introduced on April 9 and finds itself in committee this very morning.

In a Marquette Monthly interview, recently retired State Representative Steve Lindberg provides some insight into a broken legislative process: "Bills were being forced through the legislature that had not been reviewed in committee, had no public comment, and in many cases, legislators had not even seen a final version of the bill. Things were rammed through, and I don’t care who is in the majority, that type of action is not serving the best
interests of Michigan."

It should be shocking to all of you that Casperson’s bill, SB 288, intends to essentially tear up the ballot before we get to the polls. Last time I checked, our government was still supposed to be a democracy.

I am opposed to a hunt, but if permits are to be issued, they should go to Michigan residents only and should target specific "problem animals," as suggested in the Wolf Management Plan.

Leghold traps have been banned by more than 85 nations and have been declared inhumane by both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the World Veterinary Association. Please don’t allow them to be used in a wolf hunt.

If these "problem wolves" are as bold as people say, hunters should have no trouble catching up with them. It follows, then, that baiting and calls should not be necessary, either.

The number of permits MDNR is proposing to issue is far too large and would encourage human depredation of wolves. If the "three S’s" are a problem now, just think what they’ll be like if 1200 hunters are turned loose with licenses in hand.

Lastly, there is no need to rush to implement a hunt. Wolf populations in Michigan appear to be leveling off on their own. There is no emergency situation anywhere in the UP, nor is there likely to be one in the near future. NRC declined to establish a moose hunt, and it turned out to be a wise decision. 

They can do the same with the wolves.

Thank you.

* Catherine Parker, author of this letter, is a Marquette resident and environmental activist.

Keweenaw Unitarian Universalists to host second UP mining series speaker Apr. 14

HOUGHTON -- Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (KUUF) will host guest Jim Ludwig, speaking on "Recent Mine Reclamation in Wisconsin: The Jackson County Iron Mine and the Flambeau Mine," at its forum at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 14, 2013.

Ludwig is an ecotoxicologist who planned and directed the well-known reclamation of (Rio Tinto) Kennecott's Flambeau Copper Mine in Ladysmith,Wis. This is the second in a series on Mining in the UP. The series will bring people with various perspectives to cultivate and inform our thinking and understanding about this form of land use.

KUUF programs and services are held in the community conference room at the BHK Center, Waterworks St. entrance, Houghton.

More information about the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is available at 482-5586 and on the web at www.kuuf.net.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Portage Library to host program on Chinese medicine Apr. 11

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host its monthly program in the Natural Health and Wellness series from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

Corey Bacon, owner of Thunder Mountain Acupuncture, will present "The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine." In this presentation, each Element will be explored; and participants will learn about their associated seasons, emotions, internal organ network, what can happen when their movements get stuck, and how this can affect your body. Bacon will also explain how people can best assist these Elements and their movements, and he will discuss how eating certain foods and doing specific exercises will help with this process.

Bacon graduated from the Institute of Natural Therapies with training in multiple massage styles. He continued his formal education in Portland, Oregon, at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine where he completed his Master’s Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He owns Thunder Mountain Acupuncture in Houghton where he does acupuncture, shiatsu, deep tissue massage, and herbal medicine. In addition to working with patients, he also teaches Tai Ji and Qi Gong.

The Natural Health and Wellness series is held on the second Thursday of each month. All library programs are free, and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org.

Humane Society: Call Michigan State legislators to claim public's right to protect wildlife

[Editor's Update: Yesterday, Apr. 9, just a couple of hours after we posted our article, "Petition against Michigan wolf hunt submitted; Natural Resources Commission to consider DNR wolf hunt proposal," we learned that our State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) has now proposed two more bills that would not only facilitate a wolf hunt but also prevent the referendum against PA 520 (his original wolf hunt bill) because these new bills -- SB 288 and SB 289 -- contain appropriations. We are posting here a plea from the Humane Society of the United States concerning this proposed legislation.]

Dear (Michigan resident),

In an appalling power grab by politicians in Lansing, legislation (S.B. 288) has been introduced that would undermine Michiganders' longstanding right to have a say in what happens to the state's wildlife.

Just last month, the Secretary of State received more than 250,000 Michigan voter signatures in support of a referendum petition to keep Michigan wolves protected from trophy hunting. In 2006, voters in Michigan decided via referendum that mourning doves should not be used for target practice. Michigan voters clearly have a longstanding tradition of protecting wildlife.

But now in a stunning assault on our voting rights, S.B. 288 would put all power in the hands of politicians and the Natural Resources Commission, and prevent voters from having a say on these issues. The agency bureaucrats could open a new hunting season on any (game) species without public input ... and there would be no way for voters to intervene.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to Rep. Scott Dianda (517) 373-0850 and Sen. Tom Casperson (517) 373-7840 urging opposition to S.B. 288. You can say, "As your constituent, I'm asking that you please oppose S.B. 288."*

After you call, don't forget to send a follow-up message.
Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO
(Humane Society of the United States)

* Marquette area residents have been asked to call Sen. Casperson and Rep. John Kivela (517) 373-0498. Michiganders in other districts can click here to find their state representative and senator by simply typing in their zip code. S.B. 288 and S.B. 289 are on the agenda for the April 10, 2013, meeting of the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Petition against Michigan wolf hunt submitted; Natural Resources Commission to consider DNR wolf hunt proposal

By Michele Bourdieu, with information from a Mar. 27, 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected press release and from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Upper Peninsula coordinator for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Adam Robarge gives instructions as Northern Michigan University students and others line up at NMU on Feb. 27, 2013, to help protect Michigan wolves by forcing a referendum in the fall of 2014 that could at least temporarily halt a proposed Michigan wolf hunt. (File photo © and courtesy Greg Peterson)

LANSING -- Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted 253,705 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, that, when certified, will place any plans for a wolf hunting season on hold until Michigan voters decide the issue at the ballot box in November 2014. During a short 67-day period, the coalition far surpassed the 161,305 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

"The public response over the past few months has been tremendous, and it demonstrates that Michigan voters in every corner of the state oppose the pointless trophy hunting of wolves," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. "Mounting a petition drive in the dead of winter and collecting a quarter of a million signatures in 67 days has been a monumental feat. We look forward to giving Michigan voters -- not the politicians -- the opportunity to decide whether to keep wolves protected or to allow sport hunting and trapping of these rare creatures just beginning to recover from the brink of extinction."

Across the entire state, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders have spoken with their pens to tell legislators that they were wrong in approving a wolf hunting bill (Public Act 520, the wolf hunting law) last December.*

Natural Resources Commission to consider wolf hunt issue at Apr. 11, 2013, meeting

Meanwhile the agenda for the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting this Thursday, April 11, in Lansing includes presentations from two external experts on wolf management: Chris Smith, western representative of the Wildlife Management Institute and former policy advisor to the governor of Montana on wolf and grizzly bear management; and Jim Hammill, a member of the board of directors of Safari Club International and former member of the International Wolf Center board.

State law authorizes that the Natural Resource Commission to determine the method and manner of take for all game species in Michigan. A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposal for a public harvest of wolves will be presented to the committee. The proposal is for discussion only and will not be acted upon at the April meeting.**

Adam Robarge, Upper Peninsula coordinator for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, says his organization will be represented at the NRC meeting. Robarge organized several UP petition signings, including those in Marquette and Houghton reported on Keweenaw Now.***

Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, who spoke about the wolf hunt issue in Houghton on Feb. 9, 2013, has already testified before the Natural Resources Commission. For this April 11 NRC meeting, she submitted a letter to the commission on Apr. 8, 2013, listing serious concerns with Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 6 of 2013, Wolf Regulations.****

Nancy Warren, Volunteer Speakers Bureau coordinator for the Timber Wolf Alliance (TWA) and National Wolfwatcher Coalition Great Lakes Regional director, presents "Co-Existing with Wolves" at the Portage Lake District Library on Feb. 9, 2013. She is projecting here a photo of a wolf taken near her driveway at her home near Ewen, Mich. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

"At the March 14th NRC meeting it was decided to step up the timeline regarding a public wolf hunting season," Warren writes in her letter. "The National Wolfwatcher Coalition serves on the Wolf Management Advisory Council (WMAC) and although we have met three times since June 2012, we never had the opportunity to discuss or even review this proposal, leaving the WMAC out of the process.

"Questions raised during the March public meetings were to be answered and posted to the DNR website along with the most current depredation and conflict information. As of this writing, this has not been done. A survey was conducted at each of the meetings; however survey results have not yet been tabulated or shared with the public."

Warren notes her disappointment that the NRC has ignored scientific evidence that questions the need for a wolf hunt in Michigan.

"It is disappointing that the April NRC agenda did not include two leading Michigan wolf researchers, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich," Warren adds. "It seems apparent that the NRC is only interested in input from those who support a hunting season."*****

During the Feb. 9, 2013, presentation on wolves and petition signing event at Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, wildlife biologist Leah Vucetich reads a message from her husband, John Vucetich, Michigan Tech professor and co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study, in which he gives reasons why a general wolf hunt does not target an offending animal and is not based on scientific knowledge about wolves. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

In her letter to NRC, Warren cites scientific studies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota -- refuting claims that wolves have caused a decline in deer populations.

"Data compiled by Mississippi State University, over a three year period, in Menominee County [Michigan] shows the coyote as the leading predator of deer, including fawns and adult females, followed by the bobcat," Warren notes as one example.

Warren also notes that Michigan's Wolf Management Plan states wolf-related conflicts should be handled on an individual basis.

She writes, "The recommending guidelines approved by the Michigan wolf roundtable states, 'In recent years, Michigan wolves have been killed on a case-by-case basis by government personnel for the purpose of addressing wolf-related conflicts. All reason suggests wolves will continue to be killed for this purpose. The DNR can use hunters for this [emphasis added] management need. Satisfying, in part, the interest to recreationally hunt would be an outcome of killing wolves to address wolf-related conflicts.'  This was the only use of hunters that was agreed upon by the Roundtable."

Warren adds that the proposed regulations conflict with the Wolf Management Plan because they expand the use of hunters and trappers as a management tool.

She gives the following summary of points she wishes the NRC will consider:
  • "The proposed wolf regulations have been submitted  without the input of the WMAC
  • The Wolf Management Units are too large and must be reduced to target the few packs that may be responsible for depredation
  • This proposal essentially creates a recreational hunting/trapping season because it includes wolf packs not directly responsible for livestock depredation
  • We do not support baiting, trapping or night hunting
  • DNR has not provided the data to support this proposal and has not established that a hunting /trapping season will reduce conflicts."
At their Apr. 11 meeting, immediately following a conservation award presentation, the NRC will hear comments from the public. Those wishing to make public comments before the NRC should contact Deb Whipple, executive assistant to the NRC, at 517-373-2352 or whippled1@michigan.gov to register. If unable to attend the meeting, the public may also submit written comments to Deb Whipple via email or to Natural Resources Commission, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.**

Petition could suspend implementation of wolf hunting law

More than 2,000 Michigan residents volunteered for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, a coalition of animal welfare groups, conservationists, veterinarians, Native American tribes and faith leaders -- to gather signatures during sub-freezing temperatures. The volunteers participated in more than 700 events statewide, most of them outdoors.

By the time Keep Michigan Wolves Protected received approval for the wording by the Board of State Canvassers and printed petitions, the 90-day petition period prescribed by law had dwindled down to only 67 days to complete the task. The most common response heard by signature gatherers -- whether they were in Houghton, Marquette, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Petoskey or Lansing -- was "Thank you for being here and speaking up for our wolves."

Once submitted, the Board of State Canvassers has 60 days, with an option of 15 additional days, to determine if the petitions contain enough valid signatures. If so, implementation of Public Act 520, the wolf hunting law, will be suspended pending the outcome of the November 2014 vote.

Wolves have been protected in Michigan for almost 50 years after being hunted to the brink of extinction. After more than four decades of protection, there are fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan. Despite the wolf population's fragile status, the Michigan legislature rushed a bill through last year’s session authorizing a sport hunting season for wolves -- opening the door to the same practices that virtually eradicated their population in the first place.

It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves in order to protect livestock or dogs, making a sport hunting and trapping season unnecessary. People don’t eat wolves, and it’s just pointless trophy hunting for no good purpose. Wolf hunting may involve especially cruel and unfair practices, such as painful steel-jawed leghold traps, hunting over bait, and even using packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves.

Michigan residents interested in volunteering, donating or learning more about the issue can visit KeepWolvesProtected.com.

* Click here for PA 520, the wolf hunt bill, introduced by Michigan Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba).

** Click here for the Natural Resources Commission agenda for their Apr. 11, 2013, meeting.

*** See our Feb. 15, 2013, article, "Video report: Presentation on wolves offers facts, petition signing opportunity" and the March 10, 2013, article, "Petition signing to protect wolves continues in Marquette," by Greg Peterson. See also our Jan. 29, 2013, article, "KBIC Elder speaks against wolf hunt at DNR Citizens' Advisory Council meeting."

**** Click here for the DNR Memorandum to the Natural Resources Commission, proposing a public harvest of wolves, to be presented to the NRC at their Apr. 11 meeting.

***** Click here to read a statement by John Vucetich, "Some Reasons to Oppose Wolf Hunting in Michigan."

Public invited to Keweenaw Land Trust forums on conservation priorities

HANCOCK -- The public is invited to participate in the development of Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) conservation priorities by taking an online survey and by attending community forums. As a community partner, the KLT needs to know the perspectives and values of the community that are relevant to land conservation and important for quality of life.

The first of these forums will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Apr. 9, in the Houghton High School Multi-Purpose Room.

Having up-to-date Conservation Priority Themes will allow the KLT to do its work efficiently, to be prepared for opportunities, and to set goals for conserving special lands and land uses valued by our community. Examples of conservation priorities could include public access for outdoor recreation and education, habitat protection to support fishing and hunting, protection of scenic vistas and important cultural sites, maintaining natural areas for wildlife, and forest management to support the local timber economy, among many others.

The online survey is available at www.KeweenawLandTrust.org.

The following community forums will all be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; they are free and open to the public:

Tuesday, April 9 -- Houghton High School Multi-Purpose Room

Thursday, April 11 -- Horizons Alternative High School Gym in Mohawk

Wednesday, April 17 -- CJ Sullivan Elementary School cafeteria in L’Anse

Refreshments will be provided. Please bring friends and family to the forums to help KLT build a shared vision for our region.

Call 482-0820 for information or emailnathan@keweenawlandtrust.org.

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: Uranium found in water samples at Eagle Mine; Energy Forum is Apr. 12 in Marquette

From Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Posted Apr. 8, 2013, on their Web site


The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) found a high concentration of uranium in water samples from the bottom layer of the Temporary Development Rock Storage Area (TDRSA) at Eagle Mine in Northern Marquette County. The samples confirm the presence of uranium at 72.6ug/L, a level of uranium that exceeds the federal maximum concentration level for drinking water.

The SWP has been conducting water quality and air quality testing at the Eagle Mine site through an agreement called the (CEMP) Community Environmental Monitoring Program. The program will monitor the Eagle mine site, the Humboldt mill and transportation routes. Rio Tinto is providing the Marquette County Community Foundation with funding ($300,000 annually) to establish the CEMP which allows the SWP to conduct environmental monitoring related to Eagle mining operations.

The lab where water samples are processed is called Underwriters Laboratory and has reported (as required by law) that the results exceed the EPA Maximum Concentration Level under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and that level for uranium is 30 ug/L.... Click here to read the rest of this article on the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve Web site.

Energy Forum in Marquette Apr. 12

The Governor tasked the Michigan Energy Office and Michigan Public Service Commission to hold seven public forums around the state to take public input on what Michigan's energy future should look like. We need to show grassroots support for clean energy to counter the fossil fuel interests who are content with the status quo. The information gathered at these forums will assist public policymakers, including Governor Snyder, as they take a look at Michigan's energy future. The forum in Marquette will take place, Friday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Northern Michigan University, Don H. Bottum University Center, in the Brule and Cadillac Conference Rooms.

You can RSVP here for the forum in Marquette. Please stop by the Nicolet Room at University Center before the forum. Sierra Club staff and volunteers will be on hand to greet attendees and provide you with anything you need to help make the hearing a win for clean energy. There will be a sign-in sheet, snacks, and refreshments. This is also a great way to meet other Sierra Club supporters, and ask any questions you may have before attending the forum.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Penokee Hills Education Project welcomed to downtown Ashland

By Barbara With
Posted Apr. 6, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative (Reprinted in part with permission.)

Located at 616 Main Street West in downtown Ashland, Wis., the Penokee Hills Education Project offices will be a gathering place for people from all over the state to take action to protect the Penokee Hills and Lake Superior from the devastation of an open pit iron ore mine. (Photo © Barbara With. Reprinted with permission.)

ASHLAND, WIS. -- On the evening of April 5, 2013, the Penokee Hills Education Project and the Mining Impact Coalition opened the doors of their new offices and education center at 616 Main Street in downtown Ashland, Wisconsin. About 150 people attended the event, which marked the beginning of a permanent home for the community organization that was established to protect the water of the Bad River watershed.

Frank Koehn, Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) founder, speaks to the crowd gathered for the Grand Opening of the new offices for PHEP and the Mining Impact Coalition in Ashland Wisconsin on Apr. 5, 2013.* (Photo © Barbara With. Reprinted with permission.)

PHEP co-founder Frank Koehn was overjoyed by the reception the opening of the offices received from the community. Many who attended were concerned citizens who have been actively engaged in protecting the water, while others were new to the issue. Educational materials, maps, and information will be available concerning the 21-mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine being proposed for the Penokee Hills. Mining company Gtac has stated it will apply for exploration permits within the next month....

Click here to read the rest of this article on the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative Web site.

* Click here for more photos and a video, by Barbara With, of the April 5 opening of these offices in Ashland.

Ski Tigers to hold outdoor gear swap Apr. 13

HOUGHTON -- The Copper Country Ski Tigers will hold a used outdoor gear swap from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m Saturday, April 13, at the Houghton High School multi-purpose room. Buy and Sell outdoor gear -- bikes, kayaks, canoes, camping gear, soccer, skis, snowboards and outdoor clothing or any other item for the silent sport enthusiast.

Drop off items to be sold Friday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Unsold items/money from sold items are to be picked up from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. There is a 15 percent commission, with a $50 maximum per item charged on all items sold.

The Ski Tigers will also summer wax your skis and snowboards for a nominal fee. For more information contact Amy at 487-6072 or Debby at 482-7534.

Please come out and support the Copper Country Ski Tigers!!!

Nordic Film Series to present Finnish film Apr. 11

HANCOCK -- –The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center resumes its Nordic Film Series with a screening of the film Backwood Philosopher this Thursday, April 11, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Based on a novel by Finnish writer Veikko Huovinen and released in 2009, Backwood Philosopher (Havukka-Ahon Ajattelija) tells the story of two university biologists and an uneducated but smart lumberjack who set out on a journey through the remote backwoods of eastern Finland. Along the way, they explore and learn new things about science, history, and human nature. The film offers arresting cinematography of the natural world.

The film is free and open to the public. It is presented in Finnish with English subtitles.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is located at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. For information, call 906-487-7505.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"Imaginary Friends" exhibit by Ronda Jones is at Portage Library through April

 
"Imaginary Friends," needle felted wool sculpture by Ronda Jones, is on exhibit in the Portage Lake District Library. (Photos courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HOUGHTON -- "Imaginary Friends," a needle felted wool sculpture installation by Ronda Jones, is on exhibit in the Portage Lake District Library through April.

Jones says about this work, "It is born of long days alone in my parents’ back yard. Imaginary Friends pays tribute to the magical creatures, friend and foe, I created as a five year old to keep me company and to explain the unexplainable."

Giraffe detail by Ronda Jones.

Ronda Jones is a local artist and long-time volunteer at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. She holds a degree in fiber design from Finlandia University and lives in Laurium with her husband, son, several pets, and a host of imaginary friends.

This exhibition is a collaboration between the Copper Country Community Arts Council and the Portage Lake District Library. For more information contact the Community Arts Center at 482-2333.

Portage Library to host Family Science Night Apr. 9

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites all K-6 students and their parents for an evening of fun and science with the Michigan Tech Family Science Night program from 6:30 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

Families will choose two hands-on activities to work on. In "Ooey, Gooey!" participants will mix up some common household items and see what happens. "Now You See It, Now You Don’t!" will demonstrate which colors will hide a rabbit, a deer, and a fish and show how camouflage helps predators and prey. With the activity "Mining for Chocolate," families will work together to mine for chocolate chips without crumbling the cookie. In "Eat an Antigen" they will be in the midst of a battle between antibodies and antigens.

These activities develop a curiosity about and the ability to solve science challenges. Family Science Night provides an opportunity for parents and their children to learn together while having fun and making scientific connections to everyday life.

This event is sponsored by the Western U.P. Center for Science, Math, and Environmental Education and Michigan Technological University.

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