Saturday, August 16, 2014

Michigan Court of Appeals affirms Eagle Mine’s permits

From: Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Posted on their Web site Aug. 15, 2014
Reprinted here with permission

Aerial photo of Lundin Eagle Mine on July 31, 2014. (Photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye. Reprinted with permission.)

MARQUETTE -- On Aug. 13, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision to continue the Lundin Eagle Project, the only mine in the U.S. where nickel is the primary targeted material in addition to copper. The original co-petitioners against the permitting of the mine include: Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), and the Huron Mountain Club (HMC). The operation has been in development since 2003 and in litigation since 2006.

The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed in 2012 to hear the case regarding the 2007 decision to issue the mining and discharge permits to Kennecott Minerals. The date for oral arguments was set for June 3, 2014. Over 500 tribal members traveled from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to attend the hearing in Lansing and staged a demonstration on the steps of the courthouse in opposition to the project. The portal to the mine enters through Eagle Rock, a sacred native place of worship in ceded territory, facts which have been disregarded by the state justice system. Now that the ruling has been settled, the Lundin Eagle Mine is permitted to move forward into production sometime during fall 2014.

"If only judges were required to pay a visit to the location in legal debate, then they might have seen a different picture," said Mindy Otto, Executive Director of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve. "The project lacks a complete Environmental Impact Statement required by law, and now we are seeing a pattern of activities that are illegal and detrimental and are caused by the rapid development of a haul road for this mine project which should have been included in that document."

Otto is referring to the recent violation of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act when an unlawful quantity of turbid water and suspended sediment was deposited in a wetland, tributary, and the East Branch of the Salmon Trout River dated Aug. 4, 2014.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruling is a disgrace to tribal nations and the environmental justice system designed to protect what we value most in this Great Lakes state. Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve will continue preserving and protecting the Yellow Dog Watershed, identifying threats, and holding natural resource agencies accountable to their position with a slew of honest scientists and concerned citizens while we consider more legal options.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Portage Library to host Sal Sharp, Dave Morehouse at "Music on the Menu" Aug. 15

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy "Music on the Menu," an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

Sal Sharp and Dave Morehouse will perform from noon to 1 p.m. TOMORROW, Friday, Aug. 15. They will play lively, old time Irish rags on a variety of acoustic instruments including mandolins, fiddles, guitars and more.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax, and enjoy their lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

This event is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program and is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org.

Will voters be allowed to decide the fate of Michigan wolves?

[Editor's Note: Yesterday, Aug. 13, 2014, the Michigan Senate voted in favor of the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," which, if approved by the Michigan House, which reconvenes on Aug. 27, will nullify the November ballot proposals that are to allow voters to decide whether Michigan needs another wolf hunt. An earlier version of the following article appeared on wolfwatcher.org in June 2014. The following is an updated version, reprinted here with permission.]

By Nancy Warren, National Wolfwatcher Coalition Great Lakes Regional Director

The Michigan Constitution affords individuals the opportunity to challenge new laws by gathering signatures through the veto referendum process.  It is also possible for citizens to initiate legislation through a petition process.

Public Act 520 designates wolf as game animal

In December 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 520, which designated the wolf as a game animal. A coalition of organizations, including the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, supported the effort to challenge this law.

Volunteers collected more than 253,000 signatures from across the state in less than 70 days. The signatures were certified -- suspending the implementation of PA 520 until voters could decide in the November 2014 election.

Public Act 21 and Natural Resources Commission

However, legislators, with the support of hunting organizations, circumvented the initiative by passing a new law, Public Act 21, signed on May 8, 2013. Public Act 21 rendered the referendum for Public Act 520 meaningless and granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the authority to designate any species (except mourning doves) as a game animal. Previously, only legislators could designate species as game.  The NRC, a politically appointed body, with no scientific background, acted quickly. They designated the wolf a game animal and established the 2013 hunting season.

An investigation by Mlive.com revealed that false or incomplete data was used to justify the need for a wolf hunt.*

Petitions gathered for second referendum

The National Wolfwatcher Coalition joined forces with many other organizations to challenge Public Act 21. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted nearly 230,000 signatures.

We were not able to stop the 2013 wolf hunt. In October 2013, while signatures were still being gathered on the 2nd referendum, Michigan’s first wolf hunt in almost 50 years began. 22 wolves were killed in this first hunt.

But of the nearly 230,000 signatures, a sufficient number of signatures were certified to also place a second referendum on the November 2014 ballot. This referendum would restore voters' ability to weigh in on not just wolves, but almost any protected animal the NRC may wish to add to the list of game species to be hunted and trapped for sport.

BOTH LAWS NEED TO BE REJECTED BY VOTERS OR THE OTHER BECOMES EFFECTIVE.

"Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act" challenges citizen right to vote on wildlife issues

BUT, a ballot committee funded by hunting organizations with deep pockets collected signatures advocating for a citizen-initiated law called the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act." The law is not science-based and it has nothing to do with conservation.

Rather, it is a mirror image of Public Act 21 except it also includes an unnecessary appropriation of $1 million dollars related to Asian Carp control. Because the Act includes an appropriation, it cannot be challenged through a petition initiative. The purpose of the appropriation is to prevent a challenge through the veto referendum process.

This initiative recycles language from the second law (Public Act 21) allowing the NRC to designate game species, thus allowing the wolf hunt to continue. This group is handing the initiative to the legislature for quick passage rather than letting it go to the ballot for a citizen vote.

It also allows for free licenses for active military personnel (they currently pay $1).

The signatures for this law were certified in July 2014, sending the act directly to legislators for passage. The Governor's signature is not required for this act to become law.

Senate approves "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act"

Now that the Michigan Senate has voted "yes" for this law, it goes to the Michigan House of Representatives for a vote. The House will reconvene on Aug. 27.

This is another a blatant attempt to silence the voice of voters.

If the House does not approve the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," it will go to the voters to decide, along with the first two November ballot proposals.

Michigan residents should contact their State Representative. Tell him or her that the nation is watching. Let the people decide on the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act."

It is important that citizens be afforded the right to vote on wildlife issues.

Click here to find your Michigan State Representative, or, if you know your District, find your Representative by clicking on the District number here.

* See "Michigan's wolf hunt: How half truths, falsehoods and one farmer distorted reasons for historic hunt," by John Barnes.

Photo inset: Nancy Warren of National Wolfwatcher Coalition. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Editor's Notes:
If you are in the 110th District contact Rep. Scott Dianda at ScottDianda@house.mi.gov or call toll-free (888) 663-4031.

If you are in the 109th District contact Rep. John Kivela at johnkivela@house.mi.gov or call toll-free (888) 429-1377.

If you are in the 108th District contact Rep. Ed McBroom at edmcbroom@house.mi.gov or call toll-free (855) 347-8108 [855 DIST108]

Out of state residents should contact: Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, JaseBolger@house.mi.gov, and Minority Leader Tim Greimel, TimGreimel@house.mi.gov.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Conservation District, Partners to host Bete Grise Preserve celebration Aug. 17 at Point Isabelle

By Michele Bourdieu

Point Isabelle, seen here from a roadside park on the Gay Lac La Belle Road, is now part of the Bete Grise Preserve expansion, which will be celebrated at a Dedication Ceremony and Community Picnic hosted by the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District and Partners on Sunday, Aug. 17. (Photos © and courtesy Gina Nicholas)

HOUGHTON -- Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) and Partners will celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary and recent expansion of the Bete Grise Preserve at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, with a Dedication Ceremony and Community Picnic at Point Isabelle roadside park.

Directions: From US 41 and the Lac La Belle Road Intersection, travel 10.6 miles to the Point Isabelle roadside park on the Gay Lac La Belle Road. Watch for signs. Everyone is welcome, musicians will entertain, and Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve will provide refreshments. RSVP appreciated: Please call 906-482-0214.

This little Point Isabelle roadside park, which was previously on private land, and Point Isabelle add approximately 2.5 miles of natural beauty to the Bete Grise Preserve.

"Now it is totally protected for posterity," said Gina Nicholas, HKCD chairperson.

According to Nicholas, the new expansion gives the Bete Grise Preserve a total of 4,000 acres and about 5.5 miles of Lake Superior shoreline.

Besides Point Isabelle, other recent acquisitions to the Preserve include additional Bete Grise wetlands; the Mouth of the Little Gratiot River, which connects Gratiot Lake to Lac La Belle, thus preserving frontage on Lac La Belle; and Oliver Bay -- 2.2 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and 343 acres.*

Interior wetlands at the Lac La Belle sloughs, which are now protected as part of the Bete Grise Preserve.

"One of the new enhancements of the Preserve is the new botany trail with interpretive signs," Nicholas added.

The Bete Grise Preserve is open to the public for noninvasive recreation, research and education.

If you have any questions about the celebration, please call Sue Haralson, secretary, Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve, at 906-369-3400.

*Editor's Note: For more details on 2013 acquisitions for Bete Grise Preserve, see our June 25, 2013, article, "Conservation District purchase adds Point Isabelle, Bete Grise wetlands, Lac La Belle shoreline to Bete Grise Preserve."

Calumet Theatre to present "Red Jacket 1913 -- One Family's Story" Aug. 14, 15

CALUMET -- Red Jacket 1913 -- One Family's Story, directed by Patricia Helsel, Michigan Tech associate professor in Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 14 and 15, at the Calumet Theatre.

This play tells the story of the problems and challenges faced by one Slovenian family during the miners' strike of 1913. While fictional, Red Jacket 1913 is based entirely on historic events.

Dennis Kerwin, former VPA faculty, heads the cast, comprised mostly of community members, while Jonah Mueller, a Michigan Tech sound design major, and Dollcie Webb, Michigan Tech student majoring in theatre and electronic media performance, are both involved in the play's production.

The play is adapted by James B. Harris from No More Games, a play by Charles Solomon.

Tickets are $16 for adults and $11 for children and students (ages 3-18). Contact the Calumet Theatre box office for tickets at 337-2610.

The play is part of this week's 2014 Calumet Heritage Celebration. Click here for information about other events.

Deer Chase Mountain Bike Pre-ride is TONIGHT, Aug. 13, at Swedetown

CALUMET -- The annual Cross Country Sports Deer Chase Pre-ride will be TONIGHT, Wednesday, Aug. 13, leaving from Swedetown Chalet at 6 p.m. Get a preview of the course so you are ready for the weekend!  If you aren't registered for Saturday yet, visit  www.greatdeerchase.org. All proceeds from the event go right back into building, maintaining and expanding the Swedetown Trail System.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Michigan newspapers urge lawmakers to allow voters to settle debate on wolf hunt

Photo of wolf courtesy wolfwatcher.org.

LANSING -- Three major newspaper groups -- the Lansing State Journal, Battle Creek Enquirer and the statewide MLive Media Group -- have urged the legislature to allow voters to determine the fate of wolf hunting in Michigan. In recent editorials, all three asked the legislature to send to the November 4th ballot an initiative giving the Natural Resources Commission authority to designate wolves and other protected species as game. The initiative would join two other referendums already on the ballot to overturn laws allowing wolf hunting. Conversely, there has been no editorial support for the initiative, which was put forth by a group called "Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management."*

"When lawmakers return to Lansing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) they’ll have an opportunity to restore respect for the democratic process by rejecting an initiative put forth by the pro-wolf-hunting group Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. "This initiative is a thinly-veiled attempt to circumvent nearly one-half million Michigan residents who signed petitions during two referendum campaigns to stop wolf hunting."

The Lansing State Journal said this on Aug. 10, 2014: "The constitution allows the Legislature to act, but in this case it would be wise for lawmakers to send the question directly to the ballot. Both sides have demonstrated formidable public support; both sides have worked the petition powers in the constitution to advantage. That’s not uncommon. It happened in 2012 with six ballot proposals, several funded by special interest groups, all of which got defeated. But the current Legislature -- abetted by special interests -- has been particularly quick to pass laws to prevent voters from having a say. They did it with Michigan’s minimum wage, boosting it to $9.25 for 2018, in part to block a ballot proposal that would have taken it above $10. By blocking not one but two efforts to refer legislation to voters, lawmakers would send a bad signal. Let voters spend the next three months considering the merits of the proposals. In 2012, voters were discerning. Given the chance, they will be so again."

Click here for the full Lansing State Journal editorial.

The MLive editorial said on Aug. 4, 2014: "Michigan citizens have been deprived once of voting on wolf hunting. Now, state legislators are poised again to make an end run around voters. MLive Media Group is calling on elected officials to resist hijacking the public process a second time and allow voters in November to decide whether wolf hunting should be controlled by the Legislature or by a commission appointed by the governor….

"If lawmakers do not act, all three proposals -- two against, one for a wolf hunt -- would appear on the ballot, allowing voters to have the final say. For once, we are asking lawmakers to do nothing. At this time, we’re not arguing for or against a wolf hunt. What we are calling for is an ethical, democratic process. The process that led to the 2013 wolf hunt was neither."

Click here for the full MLive editorial.

The Battle Creek Enquirer said on July 26, 2014, "There is no imperative -- no pressing public interest -- to establish a wolf hunt, certainly not against the will of the majority of Michigan voters, all of whom share an equal stake in the preservation of our natural resources. If lawmakers give a lick about the rights of its citizens and the democratic process, they will let voters decide this issue."

Click here to read the rest of this article on Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

* UPDATED AUG. 13: This initiative, PASSED BY THE MICHIGAN REPUBLICAN SENATE TODAY, misleadingly called the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," may come before the Michigan House of Representatives ON AUG. 27. Click here to learn why you should call your state representative and ask him/her to vote against it.

Latest slide show: Hancock Tori Flea Market

The Hancock Tori's first Flea Market, held July 18, 2014, was the idea of Diane Miller, pictured here selling items donated by herself and two friends, Kate Alvord and Suzanne Van Dam. Miller said proceeds from the items sold at her booth will benefit Keep Michigan Wolves Protected -- an organization she has supported by collecting many signatures for two November ballot initiatives to allow the public to vote on the wolf hunt issue. Miller also donated her unsold items to the First United Methodist Church for their Aug. 2 Rummage Sale. She says she hopes the Tori will hold more flea market events in the future. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The Hancock Tori's first flea market event, held on July 18, inspired our latest slide show. If you haven't seen it click on any photo in the upper right-hand corner of this page. Above the large photo click on the title of the slide show; then, at the top left, click slide show to see the full-size photos and read the captions.

You can also click here to go directly to the slide show Hancock Tori Flea Market.

The Hancock Tori regular farmers' market continues to October. It is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday.

Friends of Calumet Library to meet TODAY, Aug. 12; public welcome

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will meet at 5:30 p.m. TODAY, Tuesday, Aug. 12, in the library. The meeting is open to the public.

Are you looking for a way to become involved in your community? How about joining the Friends of the Calumet Public Library? There are many ways to lend a hand at the library: programming ideas, volunteer opportunities, the Red Jacket Readers book club, and more! 

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the library -- mark your calendar! This is an open meeting, and the Friends welcome new members and new ideas. Come find out what's ahead at the Calumet Public Library.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library. For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311, ext. 1107.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Calumet Heritage Celebration to offer week of family events Aug. 11-17

Poster announcing Calumet's Heritage Week 2014. (Poster image courtesy Main Street Calumet)

CALUMET -- Heritage Week 2014, Calumet’s celebration of this area’s people and history will take place with events scheduled between Monday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 17.  The theme of this year’s celebration is the "Keweenaw’s Maritime History."

Heritage Week begins at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, with the annual "Miners' Reunion" at the Coppertown USA Mining Museum located on Red Jacket Road. Come and listen as former miners gather to share their stories of work extracting the mineral that gave the "Copper Country" its name.

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, and throughout the week, the Heritage Center at St. Anne’s will be observing the 20th anniversary of its founding. Come and explore this architectural gem that, over the past two decades, has been lovingly preserved and restored.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, a slide show on "Shipwrecks of the Keweenaw" will be presented in the Calumet Colosseum Ballroom, 25880 Red Jacket Road.

Calumet Theatre to offer events all week:

Throughout the week, the lights of the Calumet Theatre, 340 Sixth Street, will be shining brightly as it presents a variety of programming. Here is the schedule:

Monday evening, Aug. 11: Bob Milne, ragtime pianist, will offer a return engagement at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 14, and Friday, Aug. 15, at 7:30 p.m., the Theatre will present Red Jacket 1913 -- One Family’s Story. This play tells the story of the problems and challenges faced by one Slovenian family during the miners' strike of 1913.

Saturday, Aug. 16, at 7:30 p.m.: The return of the "Blooze Brothers" with a program of Blues, R and B and Classic Rock.

Sunday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m.: The Calumet Rotary Club is sponsoring the return of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. For over 70 years, this troupe of talented students has been appearing annually in Calumet with a presentation of the songs and dances of Eastern Europe.

Saturday, Aug. 16: Activities all day

Main Street Calumet provides a full day of activities on Saturday, Aug. 16. The day gets underway with a "Walk in the Park" at the Calumet Lions Club Park and Nature Trail between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. The members of the Lions Club invite everyone to explore this wonderful nature preserve located along Calumet Lake north of M203 along Waterworks Street just east of Calumet Village. Refreshments will be provided.

The annual Great Deer Chase Mountain Bike Race for all skill levels includes youth races for kids up to age 14. Note the new start time for the youth races: 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, at the north end of Fifth St. in Calumet. Click here for more info. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

After completing your walk through the park, head on over to Agassiz Park on Fourth Street in Calumet for pannukakku -- Finnish pancakes. From there, walk over to Fifth Street for the start of the "Great Deer Chase" Mountain Bike Race at 10:45 a.m., followed by the Heritage Festival Parade at 11 a.m. In keeping with this year’s "Maritime Festival" theme, representatives of the United States Coast Guard, Portage Station, will appear in both the parade and in Agassiz Park.

Immediately following the parade, over 20 artisans and other vendors will be displaying their wares in Agassiz Park until 4 p.m.

Several food vendors will also be present. Games and other children’s activities will take place throughout the afternoon. And, as is tradition, there will be live music to enjoy and free trolley rides through Calumet’s historic downtown.

As you leave the park, you are invited to visit the many unique shops located along Fifth and Sixth Streets as well as the adjacent streets where Calumet merchants will be offering "Heritage Celebration Specials" throughout the day. And don’t miss out on the Open House at Coppertown USA Mining Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’ll be serving free cake and punch, too!

Finally between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. an open house will be held at the restored Morrison School located at the corner of Seventh and Elm Streets. The school, built in 1919 and vacant since 1997, has been completely renovated to house commercial spaces on the first floor and thirteen new apartments on the second and third floor. For the many Calumet residents who once attended this school, it will be a great opportunity to revisit the building.

After touring the school, take a walk over to the Italian Hall site and notice the improvements.

This historical marker was placed at the Italian Hall memorial site by the State of Michigan a year ago, around the time of Finn Fest. (Photo © and courtesy Steve Lehto)

The State of Michigan added a new historical marker in 2013 (above photo), and the National Park Service landscaped the park earlier this summer, adding new interpretative signs.

The National Park Service recently added these new interpretive signs to the Italian Hall memorial site in Calumet. In the background is the restored historic Morrison School, where an open house between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. will be held Saturday, Aug. 16. (Photo courtesy Steve Lehto)

The marker and signs pay fitting tribute to the 73 men, women and children who perished at this site a century ago.

Next weekend promises to be filled with activity in Calumet and all are invited!