Friday, February 28, 2014

African Night is TOMORROW, March 1, in MUB Ballroom

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's African Students Organization will host an African Night celebration from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the Memorial Union (MUB) Ballroom. African delicacies will be served.

The program includes a dance and fashion show, a professional performance of Congolese drumming with a dance ensemble, and a tribute to Nelson Mandela by Sezi Fleming, director of Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Admission is $8 for students and $10 for faculty, staff and the public.

Portage Library to host TEDxManhattan "Changing the Way We Eat" Viewing Party March 1

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Keweenaw Co-op are teaming up to give everyone front row tickets to a revolutionary live viewing party of the TEDxManhattan "Changing the Way We Eat" event. This one-day conference features a dynamic and diverse group of speakers addressing issues in the sustainable food movement and will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the library.

The event features a line-up of experts who will explore the state of the food system and the progress that is being made toward sustainability in eating and farming. The goal of the event is to introduce viewers across the country to the innovative work being done to elevate the food system to one that is more equitable, healthier, and sustainable for all.

Some of the most important experts in the food movement will discuss topics that include the food movement in historical context, in praise of big organic, how big business had the right idea but went wrong, crickets as a protein source, meatless Monday: a simple idea goes global, Congress and a sustainable food system, changing what students eat at school, restaurant workers, the negative effects on human health of antibiotic use in animal production, local food distribution, and more.

Participants may come and go and watch as many of the talks as they choose while enjoying refreshments made by the Keweenaw Co-op’s Organic Produce and Deli department. Coffee donated by Keweenaw Coffee Works in Calumet, tea and juice will also be served.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It began as a four-day conference 30 years ago and has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. Two annual TED conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics, which can be viewed free at TED.com. TED speakers have included, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Isabel Allende and many others.

TEDx programs are local, self-organized events that bring people together for discussions. The lead sponsor for TEDxManhattan is the nonprofit program Change Food and the event will take place in the Times Center in New York City.

All events at the library are free and everyone is welcome. For a schedule of speakers and more information, please call Chris at the library at 482-4570 or call Faye at the Keweenaw Co-op at 482-2030.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Celebrate regional artists with Great Lakes Showcase, opening Feb. 28 at Rozsa Gallery

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center is pleased to announce the opening of the 2014 Great Lakes Showcase: An Annual Juried Exhibition of Fine Arts and Crafts, TOMORROW, Friday, Feb. 28. The exhibit is sponsored by Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. A community mainstay for over 35 years, the Showcase celebrates the vibrant artists who work in or visit the Upper Peninsula and surrounding region.

Artist: Benjamin Argall, "Wolf Warrior" (Photos courtesy Rozsa Center)

Says Great Lakes Showcase (GLS) Co-coordinator Sarah Fayen Scarlett, "Every year when we unpack the works and arrange the gallery, my excitement is renewed for the art being made in our region. The range of materials and viewpoints, as well as the thoughtful creativity, are cause for recognition and celebration. Thanks to all the artists for participating!"

The public is invited to a reception for the artists from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28. The 2014 GLS Awards Judge, Ginny Baer, will provide comments to the public and discuss the 2014 award winners at 6 p.m. Artwork is available for purchase, in person at the opening or anytime during the duration of the exhibit. Visit http://vpa-live.mtu.edu/gls/ on line, or call Michigan Tech Ticketing Operations at (906) 487-2073.

In addition, new to the 2014 showcase will be a gallery discussion led by Kathleen Carlton Johnson, PhD, titled "What Art Can Do For You and Why" at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 6.

"We are thrilled to include a public talk this year given by a long-time Great Lakes Showcase committee member and former art teacher in Lake Linden," Scarlett notes. "Kathy is a passionate advocate for art and art education."

2014 GLS artist entries were up 25 percent from last year, and the show will feature more than 90 artworks from 57 artists. Media range from hand-made baskets to woodturning, delicate works on paper to bold mixed-media collage -- and include of course the full range: paintings on canvas, watercolor, mixed media, glass and ceramic, mixed media installation, prints, cast metal sculpture, photography, fiber art, and artists' books.

Artist: Marc Himes, Birds Eye Maple Vase

"The work in this year's show highlights a particular sensitivity to materials," Scarlett explains. "From creative photographic printing media to collages made with cut up credit cards, many works in the 2D category challenge our expectations and perceptions. In the 3D category, traditional sculptural and craft techniques show off wood, ceramics, brass, glass, and natural woven fiber to great effect in surprising ways."

This year's judge for awards, Ginnie Baer, is assistant professor of art at the University of Wisconsin--Barron County in Rice Lake. As in previous years, the awards are as follows:
BEST IN SHOW, $1000 (sponsored by the MTU President)
FIRST PLACE 2D, $500 (sponsored by the MTU Provost)
FIRST PLACE 3D, $500 (sponsored by the MTU Dean of College of Sciences and Arts)
SECOND PLACE 2D, $200
SECOND PLACE 3D, $200
3 HONORABLE MENTIONS, $50 each
COMMUNITY CHOICE AWARD:  The community Choice award will be announced on the 2014 Great Lakes website, http://www.mtu.edu/vpa/art/showcase/ at the end of the show -- come cast your vote!

The show will run through March 28, 2014, and is free and open to the public. Regular Gallery hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tony Orrico: Penwald Drawings/CARBON exhibit opens Feb. 27 at Finlandia University Gallery

HANCOCK -- Tony Orrico: Penwald Drawings/CARBON is on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from TODAY, Feb. 27, to March 19, 2014.

Tony Orrico, /Vessel for Governing and Conception/ (2012). (Photo by Juan Cano.  Courtesy of the artist and MARSO.)

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Feb. 27. Orrico will present an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

This exhibit is part of a week-long artist residency with Finlandia University and Michigan Technological University. Orrico is collaborating on research and exhibition with Finlandia University Gallery and the International School of Art and Design, along with Michigan Tech’s Visual and Performing Arts and Computer Science Departments.

Through initiatives coming from both campuses, students and faculty from several concentrations at Finlandia and the Creative Drawing class in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech will be involved as Orrico works in The Mind Music Machine (tri-M) Lab, an interdisciplinary research group based in Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Computer Science at Michigan Tech. Materials from his collaboration with the lab will be on display in the Finlandia University Gallery exhibition.

Orrico’s Penwald Drawings are a series of bilateral drawings in which Orrico explores the use of his body as a tool of measurement to inscribe geometries through movement. He uses a physical practice, symmetry practice (circa 2005), as point of entry into this work. In his termed "state of readiness," he is interested in the application of a present body to a surface, object, or course.

Tony Orrico, Penwald 1: 1 circle (studio impression 1) 2011. (Image courtesy of Shoshana Wayne Gallery.)

His gestures derive from the limitation of (or spontaneous navigation within) the sphere of his outstretched arms. Line density becomes a record of his mental and physical sustain as he commits his focus to a greater concept of balance throughout extended durations of drawing. Centralizing on themes of cyclic motion and the generation and regeneration of material, the work draws on the tension between what is fleeting and what is captured.

"Orrico’s practice is rooted in tenets of performance art including using the body as a tool, engaging in physically demanding actions which push the body to limits of endurance and challenging the viewer to engage in non-traditional viewing practices," writes Collete Copeland in her article "Waxing and Waning: Tony Orrico at the MAC (Dallas’ McKinney Avenue Contemporary)." Copeland continues, "His practice is one of exploration and wonder. He challenges all of us to engage with the world as a kinesthetic learner, using all of our senses to approach life with the curiosity of a child and the intellect of an adult."

In the CARBON series, body, graphite, plane, time and space combine to become powerful reflections on life cycles, energetic flows and complementary opposites. His repetitious movements, often leading to exhaustion, become deep metaphors about life and death simultaneously.

Tony Orrico has performed/exhibited his work in the US, Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. His visual work is in collection at The National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC) and Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City) as well as prominent private collections. He has recently been presented at SCAD: deFINE ART, Cranbrook Art Museum, New Museum, and Poptech 2011: The World Rebalancing. In June he will perform Penwald: 2: 8 circles: 8 gestures at Center Pompidou-Metz.

As a former member of Trisha Brown Dance Company and Shen Wei Dance Arts, Orrico has graced such stages as the Sydney Opera House, Teatro La Fenice, New York State Theater, and Théâtre du Palais-Royal. He was also one of a select group of artists to re-perform the work of Marina Abramovic during her retrospective at MoMA.

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. and Saturday 12 noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview: Diane Miller of Houghton County explains why she has collected signatures for two anti-wolf-hunt petition drives

By Katie Alvord*

Wolf photo courtesy Wolfwatcher.org. Reprinted with permission.

HOUGHTON -- For more than a year now, Houghton County resident Diane Miller has collected signatures to help protect Michigan wolves from being hunted. As one of many citizen volunteers working with the Humane Society offshoot Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, Diane has gathered more than 900 signatures for two anti-wolf-hunt petition drives. The second of these faces an early March deadline.

Diane stands firmly on one side of a debate over the fate of wolves -- a debate that seems only to have intensified as Michigan held its first wolf-hunting season in four decades, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, 2013. In the conversation below, she shares stories and perspectives about working on this issue and living with wolves in the U.P.; and she explains to this writer why she opposes the wolf hunt.

K (Katie Alvord): You’ve been collecting signatures on the wolf hunt issue for months, and you’re still at it. Right now you’re working on the petition drive to repeal Public Act 21, which has given final say over the hunt to Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission.

D (Diane Miller): Yes. That commission is basically a group of business people. Only one of them has a background related to wildlife or wilderness or biology. (Update: please see Editor's Note below.)

K: As I understand things, state lawmakers enacted P.A. 21 after Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, with their first petition, succeeded in getting an anti-wolf-hunt referendum on the 2014 ballot. So when P.A. 21 made that referendum moot, this second petition drive was mounted with the goal of repealing that law and giving the wolf hunt decision back to the voters.

D: Yes. We need to get petitions into the mail by March 5, or dropped off at collection centers by March 9. If we get enough signatures, there will be two questions on the ballot. The first one will be: Shall we hunt wolves as a game species? The second is: Do we want the seven-member commission to determine game species in Michigan? We want people to vote "No" in both cases, to end wolf hunting in Michigan.**

During First Friday events in Calumet on Sept. 6, 2013, Diane Miller, left, collects signatures on the petition for a referendum on P.A. 21 -- the second petition drive to allow Michigan voters to decide whether a wolf should be a game species. Pictured with Diane on Fifth Street in Calumet are, from left, Nancy Sprague, Bill Sewell and Oren Tikkanen.  (Keweenaw Now file photo)

K: While working on these petition drives, what have you done?

D: I ask people for their signatures. I ask my friends. I hang out in bars I wouldn’t normally go to. I take petitions with me pretty much everywhere I go. I hang out at highway rest areas on weekends sometimes and ask travelers as they come through to sign. I’ve hung out in parking lots of wilderness areas and campgrounds.

K: So how much time would you say you put in?

D: I have never calculated that. It might be hundreds of hours.

K: What do you tell potential petition signers?

D: For the first initiative, I just asked if they would like to sign a petition that would help get a referendum on the Fall 2014 ballot to repeal the wolf hunt. With this second petition drive, the issue is more about who gets to decide what’s hunted. There is a lot more talking that has to happen because this second issue is more complex.

On the face of it, it could sound like a good idea that there would be a commission of people to determine the game species. That sounds reasonable. However, when we realize that the people in question are not even remotely biologists -- they are business people appointed by the governor -- and that their decision then will trump everything else, including the democratic process, that’s not so reasonable.

K: What motivates you to do this?

D: Sometimes people think that because I’m a woman I like wolves because they’re pretty. They are pretty, but that is not even close enough to motivate me to take action.

I do it because I don’t want to live in a world where we want to handle problems the way we seem to be handling this one. It seems to me that people who are pushing for a wolf hunt -- our leaders, our elected officials -- don’t understand, or are maybe ignoring -- that one species is part of a bigger picture, that it might not make sense to address a conflict by declaring a season on our fellow creatures.

K: When you talk to potential signers, what responses do you get?

D: It’s very, very interesting. First of all, the people who want to sign the petition really, really, really want to sign the petition. They are very appreciative. Most of them can hardly believe that this is going on! They thank me, they tell their friends, and sometimes their friends will come looking to sign. So we do have a group of people like that.

We still have some people who didn’t even know that we had a wolf hunt, so they want to learn about that. And they’re quite shocked to find out that we would actually do such a thing.

And then there’s a group of people who seem offended that I would ask them to sign the petition. I’ve run into a variety of aggressive responses. More than once, grown men have -- upon finding out what I’m doing -- performed acts like running around the parking lot waving their arms and shouting, "Kill the wolves! Kill all the wolves!" They will taunt me, to try to intimidate me, I guess.

At the Parade of Nations last September, Diane Miller, center, is pictured at the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected booth along with two other petition gatherers -- Jackie Winkowski, left, Wolfwatcher Great Lakes Representative, and Leah Vucetich of Hancock. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

I encountered a lot of thinking that made no rational sense. Here’s just one example: One time I was downstate at a highway rest stop, and I approached an older man to ask if he wanted to sign. He said, "No way! I have them at my cabin in the U.P. and they’re scary. If you lived around wolves, you wouldn’t be thinking we should save them." Then I told him, "But I do live near wolves, up in the U.P. I have wolves near my property." So here’s where he took that: he said, "Oh, you think you can come down here and tell us what to do?" Not only was he saying that we should kill whatever scares us, but he also did not seem to see anything wrong with his logic, which seems to be that if you’re from the U.P. and you promote the wolf hunt, your U.P. connections increase your credibility. If you’re from the U.P. and are against the wolf hunt, drawing on your U.P. experience makes you an oppressor.

I’ve encountered people who were afraid that wolves would come into their houses and get them. Of course, it’s not the kind of thing that wolves are known to do. These people have their minds made up, and they’re made up out of fear.

K: The kind of interactions you’ve described paint a picture of how divisive this issue can be, and how emotional. How do we get past that, to meaningful dialog?

D: That’s a good question. Much of what we are talking about seems based in fear and hate. And a person who is making a decision based on fear and hate is not usually open to other perspectives. But change is not impossible. I’m thinking of Aldo Leopold, who, as a hunter, routinely shot wolves under the misguided idea that it would increase the deer herd. He later wrote about watching the "fierce green fire" die from the wolf’s eyes. He understood that he had shot the wolf because he was "full of trigger itch" and that nature required a balance that he didn’t have the right to interfere with.

Restoring the democratic process -- and encouraging voters to educate themselves -- and nurturing a culture of understanding of our appropriate place in an ecosystem is how I believe we can reduce conflict.

K: What kind of encounters have you had with wolves?

D: I’ve only had two in the wild. And they were both really lovely. Once I was looking for berries way back in the woods on a two-track road in Marquette County. As I rounded a bend I surprised a wolf about six feet away. The wolf looked at me, did a little dance, and slid away. The second time, I was in Iron County looking for mushrooms in the woods when I came across two wolves who were eating something. They looked up at me and I felt like I should go away. So I did.

K: They didn’t make any movement toward you or anything?

D: None whatsoever. They just looked at me and I had the feeling they were curious about me, but they were taking care of their own business. I just turned around and left. I knew they would not hurt me. Every source I have encountered agrees that no healthy wolf has ever even once been known to hurt a human being in Michigan. In spite of that, there are a lot of inaccurate stories about wolf threats.

K: I read about those. Just before the 2013 wolf season opened the news reported that State Senator Tom Casperson had used an incorrect story in his 2011 resolution calling for removal of wolves from the Endangered Species list. That resolution included a statement about wolves appearing multiple times in the back yard of a daycare center when children were outside playing. In reality, one wolf was sighted on a lawn, one time, when no children were present, and the wolf ran away when the woman who saw it screamed.

D: Yes. Unfortunately, now it is a matter of history that lawmakers have cast their votes based on that lie. I really don’t want my world to be one in which decisions are made this way -- on bad information and based on fear.

K: The wolf hunt took place in three U.P. zones where the DNR had registered conflicts with or complaints about wolves and they’ve said that the wolf hunt’s primary goal was to target wolf packs with a history of conflict. They have also stated that the 2013 wolf season was successful in that way. But Nancy Warren of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition has said that most wolves killed during the hunt were not threats, including some radio-collared research animals, wolves killed near Porcupine Mountains State Park, and one killed in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness. What’s your take on all that?

D: I heard a story told by a hunter who was hunting deer this past year. He encountered some wolf hunters who were shooting deer and then leaving the deer’s bodies in a pile in hopes of baiting, attracting a wolf so they could shoot it. What we have here is not a group of hunters scouting just the area around human-wolf interaction.

I am grateful to Nancy because of the work that she’s done in several instances with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in exposing this. If the DNR says that most of the wolves were killed near the area of human-wolf conflict, and then we find out that’s not true, their credibility is gone; we need to know the truth about our public agencies.

Another part of this picture includes the livestock depredations, and that’s also where the work that Nancy did is so important. It was because of losses of livestock and pets that ostensibly this wolf hunt was supposed to happen. Through FOIA though, Nancy found out that most of the depredations happened on one farm, and they were the result of poor farming practices. Leaving decaying carcasses out in the field is a sure way to get some wolves to visit your property. That farmer -- as well as other farmers -- was helped by the state. To discourage wolves, he was given fencing, which disappeared. If I remember correctly, Nancy’s work revealed that the DNR spent nearly $33,000 on that farm. He was also given three donkeys, which are good at guarding farm animals. Two died and one was removed from the farm as it was suffering from neglect.

Upper Peninsula wolf photographed during Michigan's 2013 wolf hunt (November 2013). (Photo courtesy Nancy Warren, National Wolfwatcher Coalition)

K: So you mentioned a few ways the state is helping people to coexist with wolves without having to kill them -- the fencing, the donkeys. And then you mentioned the problem with dead livestock. People who raise livestock will have animals die from time to time, from disease or whatever, and they have to have a place to put the carcasses. An NPR report recently covered what they do about this in parts of Montana. They have a designated person who comes and collects the carcasses and takes them to a place away from live animals, so they don’t stay on the ranch and serve as that kind of bait. And that seems to be working, the report said. So can those things be done here?

D: While I do not claim to be a farming expert, for ethical reasons, I say that yes, these things need to be done. If we are going to herd animals, we need to adopt practices that protect those animals. It might have been the same broadcast that you heard on NPR where I heard that in Montana there is someone who is actually teaching the cows how to herd up and protect themselves from wolves the same way that bison do. Which is pretty intriguing. And it does bring up a question: Why don’t we just raise bison? Why don’t we raise the kinds of animals who naturally protect themselves? I have read that Highland cattle, for example, will do that. I have a neighbor who keeps a llama to guard her farm. There are lots of ways to do this.
 
K: In other words, you see strong arguments that we don’t need a hunt, per se, to protect livestock, pets or ourselves from wolves?

D: Yes. And even before the hunt farmers had the right to shoot a wolf that they caught hurting their livestock or their pet. And they also had the right to get a permit to shoot a wolf later if they had experienced threats to their animals. So people already have the right to kill a problem wolf on their land, with or without a permit, depending on the situation. This was already in place.

During the Indigenous Earth Issues Summit at Northern Michigan University in Marquette last Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, Barbara Bradley, right, of Scandia, signs the petition to repeal Public Act 21 and give the wolf hunt decision back to Michigan voters. Collecting signatures at the Summit are Keep Michigan Wolves Protected volunteers Catherine Parker of Marquette and Rich Sloat of Iron River. Jill Fritz, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign director (not pictured), also collected signatures during Friday's Summit. Together, the three volunteers collected nearly 60 signatures at the Summit. "The people attending the event and the students taking classes in the building were tremendously supportive of our efforts and eager to sign the petition," Fritz said. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

K: What for you would be the ideal outcome on this issue?

D: Well, certainly that we decide that we won’t have the wolf hunt. That’s the first thing. The second thing would be that perhaps we as citizens could be awakened to our need to be educated about these issues, and to be aware of how each of our fellow creatures fits into a system of which we are a part.

Wolves are important and there are studies galore that show that by keeping wolves in an ecosystem, that system is balanced in all sorts of ways. But that is not everything that is at stake here. This is more about what we can trust our lawmakers with -- and how we want our decisions to be made. Is it going to be all out of fear? Out of ignorance? Or will it be out of some sort of informed care? That’s what really matters.***

Editor's Notes: 
* Keweenaw Now guest writer Katie Alvord is the author of Divorce Your Car and several articles on Keweenaw Now, including three prize-winning articles on climate change in the Lake Superior Basin. Click here to read about her journalism award and links to these articles, which were published on Keweenaw Now in 2007.

** To learn more about the petition drive -- and the goal to collect at least 225,000 signatures for a referendum on P.A. 21 (second wolf hunt legislation) visit Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

*** See also our Aug. 25, 2013, article, "Wolf advocates kick off second petition drive, seek referendum on Michigan wolf hunt law."

UPDATE: When the Natural Resources Commission approved the public wolf harvest on May 9, 2013 (P.A. 21 became law on May 8, 2013), only one of the commissioners voted "no" -- Annoesjka Steinman, who was at that time the only NRC member with any credentials related to the environment. In addition to holding a master's degree from Grand Valley State University in natural resources management and a bachelor's degree in natural science from the University of South Florida, Steinman is executive director and CEO of the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, a nonprofit organization which offers 143 acres of walking trails, an interpretive center and animal hospital, a small farm. Steinman is no longer a member of NRC. In December 2013, she was replaced by Vicki J. Pontz of Portland, Michigan, who was appointed to the NRC on Dec. 31, 2013, for a two-year term (expiring Dec. 31, 2015).

Pontz was the Director of the Environmental Stewardship Division at the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) for five years. She also served as MDA's Legislative Liaison for five years, overseeing legislative and regulatory activities for all MDA divisions and working directly with members of the Michigan Legislature on issues ranging from food safety, bovine tuberculosis, and horse racing to pesticide regulation and water use. She also has experience working for the Michigan Farm Bureau. Her areas of expertise include natural resources and the environment and K-12 education -- and she is an avid hunter, hiker, and cyclist.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Michigan LCV: Green Gavels: To Stop Mining Projects, Burden of Proof Weighs Heavy on Localities

By Katie Sulau, Michigan  League of Conservation Voters
Posted Feb. 24 on Michigan LCV Political Week in Review
Reprinted with permission

Last week, we told you about a public hearing to discuss an application to create a massive gravel mining operation just north of Chelsea, Michigan, in Lyndon Township.* Our ears perked up about this particular permit because it is a direct repercussion of a damaging decision on the part of the Michigan Supreme Court, which we covered on Green Gavels, our accountability tool that tracks the decisions of the judicial branch. The Court’s decision applied "innocent until proven guilty" to the predictably damaging environmental impacts of natural resources extraction.

Essentially, unless localities can demonstrate that "very serious consequences" will result from natural resources extraction, zoning boards must approve permits. Former State Representative Matt Huuki (R – Atlantic Mine) sponsored a bill (HB 4746) that reinforced that rule in July 2011, which, unfortunately, passed the state legislature.** Now, Lyndon Township residents are playing automatic defense to stop a mining operation that state law provides should move full speed ahead unless it can be proven that the gravel mine will become a sinkhole for the entire town of Chelsea, or an equally devastating scenario. The good news? The Lyndon Township Planning Commission delayed a decision on the application last Monday, which leaves more time to mount a sizable defense. Consider the gravel mine proposal in Lyndon Township a prime example of the damaging repercussions of statewide policy taking hold locally, and read up on how we got here on our Green Gavels page.

Read more on Michigan LCV's Feb. 24, 2014, Political Week in Review.

Editor's Notes:
* Click here for the Michigan LCV's Feb. 17 Political Week in Review.

**See Keweenaw Now's Nov. 3, 2012, article, "Portage Township Board candidates express views at forum; most challengers to incumbents absent," to learn how HB 4746 affected zoning in the case of the Valley View Quarry in Portage Township.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion announces events: Feb. 25-Mar. 1

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion announces the following events on campus for this week, Feb.24 - March 1:

The Red Cross is holding a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Michigan Tech's Van Pelt Library.

Michigan Tech PhD student and Global City VP Shan Zhao will give a presentation on "The Evolution of Chinese Fashion," exploring the costumes of ancient China and their cultural significances, such as the many facets of color and design that emerged during each dynasty’s reign. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in EERC L100.

Counseling Services and the Association of Psychology Students are screening the film America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of Our Youth at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in Fisher 135. Free admission and concessions.

The Society of Intellectual Sisters (SIS) will host Bra Workshops from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and Thursday, Feb. 27, in Fisher 125. All supplies will be provided. Come support the National Breast Cancer Foundation by making an individual or organizational "Disney"-themed bra for the 2014 SIS Bra Show, which will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 21! Click here for more information.

Khana Khazana will be serving Iranian food from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, in the MUB Food Court. All proceeds will go to benefit children living in poverty in Iran, to help them stay in school. Click here for the tempting menu!

The Spectrum Connection, a Michigan Tech student organization devoted to autism acceptance, will host a Day of Mourning Vigil at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, in the MUB Circle to mourn members of the disability community who have been murdered by their family and caregivers and to demand change in the media and justice system.

Women’s Month kicks off on Saturday, March 1, with a Professional Dress Fashion Show. The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Forestry Atrium. Snacks will be provided. Click here for more info.

The African Students Organization (ASO) is hosting African Night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, in the MUB Ballroom. Tickets are $8 for students/$10 faculty/staff/community. Click here for more info.

The Superior Wind Symphony presents "Flights of Fantasy" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the Rozsa Center. Click here for more info.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Progressive: Walker's Mine Imperils Wisconsin

By Rebecca Kemble*
Posted Feb. 10, 2014, on The Progressive
Reprinted in part with permission

In the year 2000, a spiritual elder of the Ojibwe tribe in northern Wisconsin warned of massive water pollution and shortages of clean water in the years to come. "What are you going to do about it?" he asked Josephine Mandamin, an Ojibwe grandmother. Mandamin could not get the question out of her head.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) member Terri Denomie, left, carrying water, joins Josephine Mandamin of Thunder Bay, Ont., carrying the ceremonial eagle staff, during the 2011 Mother Earth Water Walk, on the way to the final destination, Bad River, Wis. (Keweenaw Now file photo © 2011 and courtesy Roxanne Ornelas)**

In Ojibwe spiritual teachings, women are responsible for water. Their special relationship to water spirits is related to their ability to carry and generate life.

So, in April 2003 Mandamin decided to organize a water walk. She and other Ojibwe and non-indigenous women and men helped carry a pail and ceremonial eagle staff on a 1,000-mile journey along the shores of Lake Superior that took thirty-six days.

Every spring since then, Mandamin has organized and participated in water walks around each of the other Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence and Mississippi rivers. In the summer of 2011, one year after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, four groups of water walkers set out from the Atlantic Ocean, Hudson Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico and converged at the mouth of the Bad River on Lake Superior, the origin of the first water walk.**

Josephine Mandamin of Thunder Bay, Ont., speaks to walkers and visitors during the reception held by Keweenaw Bay Indian Community members on June 8, 2011, at Ojibwa Community College in Baraga, Michigan. (Keweenaw Now file photo)**

But as the water walkers from the four directions arrived, a political battle that could spell doom for the area and its watershed was heating up 300 miles to the south in the state capitol building in Madison.

West Virginia coal billionaire Chris Cline had just incorporated the Gogebic Taconite (GTac) company and announced plans to build one of the largest iron mines in the world.

The twenty-two-mile long, 1,000-foot deep open pit would obliterate the Penokee Hills that form the headwaters of the Bad River watershed, leaving in their place a wasteland of 910 million tons of sulfuric acid-producing waste rock, depleted aquifers, poisoned rivers and streams, and a film of asbestos-laden dust for miles around. Cline, who made his fortune blasting off mountaintops in West Virginia for coal, now aims to bring the natural, social, and economic devastation wrought by this kind of mining to one of the most ecologically sensitive and important places in Wisconsin. ...

Click here to read the rest of this article on The Progressive.

Editor's Notes:

* Rebecca Kemble is a writer and political reporter for The Progressive. She is also a founding member, writer, and editor in the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

** See our Aug. 5, 2011, article, "Updated: KBIC welcomes 2011 Mother Earth Water Walk participants," with more photos of the 2011 Water Walkers' visit to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga.