Saturday, May 31, 2014

Keweenaw Chain Drive races to be June 14; early registration deadline is TODAY, May 31

Keweenaw Chain Drive participants cross the Portage Lift Bridge on their way to the Maasto Hiihto / Churning Rapids Trails in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- The 2014 Keweenaw Chain Drive bike races will take place Saturday, June 14, at Maasto Hiihto / Churning Rapids Trails in Hancock. However, TODAY, Saturday, May 31, is the deadline to receive a nifty Chain Drive wicking bamboo t-shirt as part of your early registration (and to avoid a $10 fee increase).

The courses for the 16- and 30-mile cross-country mountain bike races will be the same as last year. Plenty of free food will be available at the finish, and the cooks promise some new menu items.

You'll find the online registration links at http://www.chaindrive.org/registration/.

If you've already registered for 2014, the Chain Drive committee thanks you for your support.

Volunteers may still be needed for the race. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Dan Dalquist at ddalquist@gmail.com.

Junior Chain Drive at Portage Health

The Junior Chain Drive will be held at Portage Health on Saturday, June 14.

Marc Norton (right in orange shirt), 2013 Junior Chain Drive organizer, explains to the youngest racers (under age 7) how to follow the course laid out for them at Portage Health. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Junior Chain Drive starts and ends at Portage Health, using a single-track trail in a wooded area east of the hospital. The event includes timed races for youth ages 8-13 and non-timed races for those age 7 and under. Registration is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Portage Health (day of race only), and races begin at 3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information about the Junior Chain Drive.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin: Statement on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the following in reaction to President Obama's recent statements on Afghanistan:

"This week the president has made a strong case that the conditions are right for us to complete our combat mission in Afghanistan and maintain a strong strategic partnership with the Afghan people in the years ahead. Our combat forces will leave Afghanistan in much better shape than when we first arrived. Al Qaeda no longer has safe haven there, and nearly all Afghanistan is free of Taliban oppression. Millions of Afghan children -- including girls -- are in school; economic, social and health indicators are all much stronger; and the Afghan people are in the midst of a lively and successful democratic election campaign. The Afghan army we have helped train and equip is an effective force capable of maintaining security over most of the country. Our troops, working alongside the Afghans and our international partners, have accomplished a great deal, and they and the American people deserve to feel a sense of accomplishment. Their sacrifices have made a major contribution to our national security, and to the security and future of the Afghan people."

Editor's Note: President Obama spoke about Afghanistan, American leadership and other international issues in his May 28, 2014, speech at the West Point graduation. Click here for a video of the speech.

Register now for Calumet Art Center's Summer Youth Arts Immersion Program

Calumet Art Center Summer Youth Arts earthworks. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

CALUMET -- It's time again to enroll students in the Calumet Art Center's Summer Youth Arts Immersion Program! The Program runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 24 - August 14.

Classes for elementary students are 10 a.m. - 11 a.m., for middle school students 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., and for high school students 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. During the 8 weeks, students will have the chance to study Ceramic Arts/Pottery, Sculpture/Assemblage, Drawing/Painting, Copperworks, Knitting, Book Binding, Tie Dying, and more.

All classes and material costs are covered by the one-time enrollment fee of $110. We ask that all students arrive on time so they don't miss out on any of this wonderful curriculum. Call 934-2228 today to reserve a space for your student(s).

Staff and artists at the Calumet Art Center look forward to a wonderful summer of making art together.

Visit the Calumet Art Center Web site for more information about their programs.

Portage Library to host "Bugs of the Keweenaw" TONIGHT, May 29

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to learn about local bugs and insects with amateur entomologist Lynn Murphy from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, May 29.

Murphy will share her lifelong passion for bugs in her program "Bugs of the Keweenaw." Her slide show presentation will feature some of the many local species of insects she photographed during the summer of 2013. Participants will be treated to up-close details, vivid colors, and surprising shapes and sizes of things that crawl, hop and fly. Some of the slides include little known but amazingly beautiful creatures including the digger bee, oil beetle, jagged ambush bug, common ringlet, phantom crane fly, calico pennant dragonfly, candy-striped leafhopper, giant ichneumon wasp, star-bellied orbweaver, fishing spider with egg sac and more.

Murphy has been fascinated with insects and spiders since the age of ten. Her collection of books of insects of the north woods will be on display for people to look at.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Levin, Stabenow, Kildee again call for Hekmati’s release from Iran captivity

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dan Kildee on Monday, May 26, marked the 1,000th day of captivity in Iran for Amir Hekmati, Michigan resident and former Marine, by again calling for his release.

"It has now been 1,000 days since Amir Hekmati was free to see his family -- 1,000 days he has been unable to enjoy the freedom that is the birthright of every American citizen," Levin said. "Calls for his freedom have come from people across Michigan and the nation and around the world; from humanitarian, human rights and religious organizations; from the halls of Congress; and from President Obama. Amir’s imprisonment is unjust; and, though injustice may last for one day or 1,000, history teaches us that ultimately justice is too powerful to deny. We again call upon President Rouhani and the Iranian government to make a powerful statement about their desire to rejoin the community of responsible nations, to end this injustice, and release Amir on humanitarian grounds."

"I met with Amir Hekmati’s family last week, and I stand with them to demand that Iran free Amir immediately," Stabenow said. "It’s absolutely unacceptable that he has been held illegally in Iran for one day, let alone for 1,000 days. My thoughts and prayers are with the family for a quick end to this outrage so Amir can be back with his family and his ailing father."

"We have not forgotten -- nor will we ever forget -- Amir Hekmati, and we won’t stop advocating for his release until he returns home," Kildee said. "Amir fought for our freedoms as a Marine and we must honor his service and sacrifice by fighting for him now. Not a day goes by that I don’t raise Amir’s case with my colleagues in Congress, many of whom have joined me in calling on Iran to do the right thing and release Amir. Amir is innocent, has been imprisoned for too long, and needs to be released so he can return to his family in Michigan."

Editor's Note: To learn more, visit the Free Amir Hekmati Facebook page. You can also donate to help free Amir by clicking here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gratiot Lake Conservancy to offer scholarship for Summer Youth Program in Aquatic Ecology

GRATIOT LAKE -- Gratiot Lake Conservancy is pleased to offer a full Jack and Rita Sandretto Scholarship for a local student to attend the Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program Exploration: Aquatic Ecology at Gratiot Lake from July 27 - August 2, 2014.

Students learn how an ecologist works by participating in hands-on activities out-of-doors. In this field study program for 9th through 11th graders, they collect and analyze aquatic invertebrates and compare water chemistry data from lake, stream, and beaver dam areas. Students camp at Gratiot Lake Conservancy’s Noblet Field Station.

For more information about this science program and the Jack and Rita Sandretto Scholarship  call Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Program office at 906-487-2219.

Click here to register through the Michigan Tech website.

For the Jack and Rita Sandretto Scholarship preference given to a local student. Click here to find out how to apply for scholarship information.

For more information on Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Programs visit www.syp.mtu.edu.

From the Editor: For Memorial Day: American Cemetery in Normandy reminds us to remember ...

American Cemetery in Normandy, France, on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, where many Americans gave their lives during the D-Day invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- One of the most memorable -- and moving -- sites we visited during our recent trip to Europe was the American Cemetery in Normandy, located near Omaha Beach. The remains of more than 9,000 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II, are buried here.

On the cross in the foreground is written, "Here rests in honored glory A COMRADE IN ARMS known but to God." Visitors have left an American flag and a small stone from Omaha Beach to honor him. While the identity of this soldier is apparently unknown, many crosses have the actual names of the soldiers who are buried here. In the background, visitors pay their respects at the memorial.

The cemetery receives approximately one million visitors each year. A visit to the site inspires us to remember those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

More photos coming soon ...