Friday, October 31, 2014

Eagle Mine seeks new mineral lease near Yellow Dog River, continues exploration

By Michele Bourdieu, with information and maps from Save the Wild U.P., state agencies and Eagle Mine

The Yellow Dog River, part of which is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, is located near Lake Superior. Concerned citizens say a new mineral lease application by Eagle Mine could jeopardize its water quality. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

MARQUETTE -- The Eagle Mine LLC, currently owned by international mining conglomerate Lundin Mining, is seeking a new mineral lease from the State of Michigan for 40 acres of land (NE 1/4 SE 1/4, Section 13, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County) beside the Yellow Dog River, a federally-recognized National Wild and Scenic River with a status of "excellent" water quality.

This map shows the area of the mineral lease (40 acres) requested by Eagle Mine. A recreational trail runs through the parcel. The Yellow Dog River is just south of it. (Map courtesy savethewildup.org)

According to documents obtained by grassroots organization Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP), Michigan's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has known about this application since July.* The DNR's announcement of Lundin Mining’s mineral rights lease application was first published on Monday Oct. 20, 2014, commencing a legally-required 30-day public comment period.**

SWUP recently found that just one month after Lundin’s Eagle Mine submitted the July 9, 2014, letter of interest to Michigan's DNR, the DNR Fisheries Division's 2003 recommendation of "Non-development" was changed to "Development, with no restrictions" -- in August of this year.

As SWUP indicated in their Oct. 22, 2014, article, restrictions were added.

SWUP notes, "DNR retains restrictions on the property for a recreational trail, endangered plants, and 'neotropical migrants' including Kirtland’s warbler."***

According to Karen Maidlow, DNR property analyst in Minerals Management, "In September 2014, DNR Field Staff and the State Historical Preservation Office reviewed the parcel for lease classification. Based on the field review, the recommended classification is Leasable Development with Restrictions. The restrictions are Limited Surface Disturbance, Recreational Trails, and Threatened and Endangered Species Habitat." ****

DNR corrects public notice: lease to include restrictions

A corrected public notice, including the lease classification, "development with restrictions," was published today, Oct. 31, 2014, since the notice in the Marquette Mining Journal on Oct. 20 did not include that classification. The new 30-day public comment period has a deadline of Dec. 1, 2014.*****

According to an earlier notice included in a document sent to Save the Wild U.P., "A development with restrictions classification allows for use of the surface for metallic mineral exploration, development, or production under specific lease conditions and stipulations."**

Three stipulations (restrictions) are listed to be included in this lease:

15:
To limit surface disturbance, any wells to be drilled on the leased premises shall be drilled from a single surface area that is acceptable to and approved by the Lessor. The Lessee shall submit a proposed development plan for the leased premises including a proposed surface area, access routes and pipeline corridors, with due regard to surface features, the relative location of other operations in the area, and applicable regulatory requirements.  The Lessee may not drill any well on the leased premises without first obtaining an approval from the Lessor. Approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. If Lessor reasonably determines that production on adjacent land creates the probability of drainage of oil and/or gas from State mineral land, additional surface locations may be considered.


16:
All other provisions of this lease notwithstanding, it is understood that no exploration or development work shall be conducted on this parcel without specific authorization from the Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division.  No operations shall be conducted until written instructions for the proper protection of any threatened or endangered species or their habitat are issued.


19:
All other provisions of this lease notwithstanding, it is understood that no well site shall be located closer than 660 feet to any recreational trail without obtaining the written consent of the Lessor and contacting the local Department trails coordinator.
******

The mineral rights lease does allow for exploration and development.

Maidlow told Keweenaw Now any development work would require more than the lease. Permits would be required, e.g., from the Department of Environmental Quality and, if necessary, from local units of government.

"Our lease is for the metallic mineral rights. It's not a surface use lease," Maidlow said. "They have the right to use the surface, but not to put a facility on the surface."

Dan Blondeau, Eagle Mine senior advisor, Communications and Media Relations, said Lundin Mining Co. has applied for this mineral lease in order to do exploration, in particular, geophysical studies.

"The sale of Eagle included land and mineral rights within a roughly 8 mile by 3 mile block," Blondeau said. "However, the purchase did not include every parcel within that area. This lease would help us fill-in gaps (of mineral rights) inside the block."

However, Blondeau added that Eagle has only applied for the lease of the 40-acre parcel. They do not yet have a plan for exploration activities there.

"As part of our commitment to the community, we continue to explore for mineral resources," Blondeau said. "Exploration conducted in accordance with this lease would help us better understand the geology near the Eagle Mine."

Eagle Mine also has a metallic mineral lease (Lease number 595, 482.12 acres) in Section 18, in Champion Township, to the east of the 40-acre parcel in Section 13.

This map shows parcels leased from the State of Michigan in Section 18 (dark green), east of and contiguous to the 40-acre parcel in Section 13. Eagle Mine holds a metallic mineral lease on 482.12 acres in Section 18 (Lease number 595). They also hold a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Wetlands permit for exploration in some sections of Michigamme Township (blue markings north and south of Yellow Dog River represent wetlands -- see below). To see more details of this area go to the DNR's GeoWebFace map. Move the map to the general area; then, by checking items to the left of the map, you should be able to see the location of the Eagle Mine, the Yellow Dog River, DNR ownership, lease numbers, etc. (Map courtesy Karen Maidlow of DNR)

Keweenaw Now was not able to determine whether Lundin is doing exploration in Section 18.

"Due to market sensitivities we do not divulge specific exploration information," Blondeau said.

Eagle Mine would not do exploration without permission of the rightful property owner, he added.

Eagle Mine has both a surface lease and a metallic mineral lease on the nearby Section 12, where the present Eagle Mine facilities are located. The facilities appear to be about a mile or a mile and a half from the Section 13 parcel.

SWUP, concerned residents, oppose lease request

Save the Wild U.P.’s president Kathleen Heideman is outraged about the lease request because of the proximity of the Yellow Dog River.

During a brief talk preceding the Oct. 25, 2014, benefit concert by folk/jazz singer-songwriter Claudia Schmidt (center), Kathleen Heideman, Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) president (right), speaks about the recent mineral lease application by Eagle Mine that could impact the nearby Yellow Dog River. At left is Linda Rulison, Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) president, who spoke about FOLK's concerns for "places too special to mine," illustrated in the bulletin board of photos at right. The concert, a benefit for both SWUP and FOLK, attracted a large turnout, filling the Orpheum Theater in Hancock. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"It’s alarming that the State of Michigan is seriously considering this mineral lease request," Heideman said. "The land in question is only one hundred feet from the Yellow Dog River’s 100-year floodplain, which means the land is vulnerable to extreme flooding events (King and MacGregor Environmental, Inc., 2011). For me, that’s a giant neon sign spelling R-I-S-K-Y: sulfide ore and water are a dangerous mix! Also, the DNR’s Wildlife staff identified the land as habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler, a state and federally listed Threatened and Endangered species."

In a recent press release / article on their Web site, SWUP encourages concerned citizens to demand a public hearing and a transparent, democratic evaluation of the proposed lease.***

However, according to Maidlow, the DNR would not hold a public hearing on a mineral rights lease. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would coordinate a public hearing if the mining company submits a plan for a mining permit. The DNR would attend the hearing since state land is involved.

Joe Maki, DEQ mining specialist, said Eagle Mine has not applied for any mining permits outside of those they have for the existing Eagle Mine.

"This new parcel (subject of the lease request) is not included in any mining permitted activity that Lundin has right now," Maki said. "If an ore body was identified in that area and they wanted to mine that deposit, then mining permits would be required and a public hearing would be included."

The DEQ has in the past held public information meetings before a mining permit application is received, but such a meeting would not be considered a public hearing, he explained.

"Unless they apply for a permit, we don't hold a public hearing," Maki added.

Cynthia Pryor of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, a resident of the watershed and and dedicated environmental watchdog, warned that additional mining would threaten the Yellow Dog River's water quality.

Cynthia Pryor of Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve speaks about water quality during the question session preceding the March 25, 2014, DEQ Public Hearing on re-issuance of the Groundwater Discharge Permit for the Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Mich. The mine is now operational. (File photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye)

"Mining activity on this land poses a direct threat to the Yellow Dog River: land disturbance, drilling contamination, groundwater impairment, surface water pollution, you name it," Pryor said. "The DNR needs to reconsider their classification of the property's restrictions. Given the river’s proximity, this land is absolutely too sensitive to allow mining development."

Attorney Michelle Halley is not surprised by Lundin's application to lease more minerals.

During the March 25, 2014, DEQ Public Hearing on re-issuance of the Groundwater Discharge Permit for the Eagle Mine, attorney Michelle Halley speaks about the need for a (federal) Clean Water Act permit for Eagle Mine. (File photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye)

"Save the Wild U.P., the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, and others have known that Eagle Mine is just the beginning of a regional mining development strategy," Halley noted. "In the long term, the public will pay a high price for mining projects performed with inadequate permitting, monitoring and enforcement."

According to SWUP Director Alexandra Thebert, "Leasing mineral rights means drilling, and drilling can quickly lead to a new mine. We must ensure that the enormous liability of mining on State-owned land isn’t a burden shifted to taxpayers while increasing the profits of a foreign mining company."

Alexandra Thebert, Save the Wild U.P. director, speaks about the Eagle Mine at the Amnesty International offices in London, England, on Apr. 15, 2013. She also spoke during former Eagle Mine owner Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting (AGM) for shareholders in London on Apr. 18, 2013. (File photo © Amy Scaife and courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

As for exploration drilling, it does not need an actual Part 632 mining permit at the exploration stage, but the company has to follow DEQ rules under Part 625, the Mineral Well Act.

According to Melanie Humphrey, geological technician in the DEQ Marquette Office, these rules for exploratory drilling require the company to file a report (drill logs). Humphrey also inspects the drilling sites.

Humphrey noted the company would need to have the lease and then submit an exploration plan to the DNR before her DEQ office could make comments on their plan.

"I haven't had any notification or anything about drilling in that area," she said.

Eagle Mine holds permit for wetland exploration

Eagle Mine does hold a DEQ General Permit for seismic survey exploration activities under Part 303 Wetlands Protection (of NREPA, the Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act, 1994, PA 451 as amended). The permit, issued Aug. 21, 2014, is for properties in Michigamme Township (Marquette County): T50N, R29W, Sections 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

The permit authorizes the following exploration activities: "Complete seismic exploration survey in wetlands. This includes completion of 4" diameter x 10' deep (max) hand-augured borings and associated firing of 354-g charges in wetlands, resulting in a total, overall wetland 'dredge' and subsequent fill volume of 38.0 cu. yds. over a total  area of 102.6 sq. ft."

"All the work is going to be completed by hand and on foot," said Virginia (Ginny) Pennala, DEQ Water Resources Division, Marquette Office.

The permit also includes conditions for protecting a state threatened species, Narrow-Leaved Gentian (Gentiana linearis) and nesting migrant birds in the area.

Jon Saari, SWUP vice president, points out that these public lands belong to the public and adjoin an even larger area of public land.

"This is not an isolated parcel of surplus land," Saari said. "It adjoins another 840 acres of contiguous State Land on the Yellow Dog Plains."

Gene Champagne, Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, sees a pattern of deception and creeping industrialization of the Yellow Dog Plains.

Gene Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay speaks about local residents' concerns during the March 25 DEQ Public Hearing on re-issuance of the Ground Water Discharge Permit for Eagle Mine, which is located near Big Bay, Mich. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

"Clearly, mineral leasing leads to surface operations -- and the land under consideration in this proposed mineral lease is only half a mile from the freshly-paved Triple A road," Champagne noted. "We renew our call for a federal corruption investigation concerning the State’s failure to regulate Eagle Mine, fraudulent permitting, bait-and-switch electrical infrastructure, the steamrolling of road upgrades, and total disregard for cumulative environmental impacts."

SWUP encourages concerned citizens to send comments to Karen Maidlow, Property Analyst, Minerals Management, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, at maidlowk@michigan.gov, while copying info@savethewildup.org, since the organization is maintaining an independent analysis of comments received. Comments regarding the mineral rights lease can also be mailed directly to Karen Maidlow, Property Analyst, Minerals Management, DNR, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909.

Notes:
* Click here and see the July 9, 2014, letter from Eagle Mine to MDNR on p. 1 of the document.

** Click here for the notice included in this document on p. 7. The public notice published in the Marquette Mining Journal on Oct. 20, 2014, is slightly different. It did not include the paragraph on "development with restrictions."

*** Click here and see the comments concerning restrictions on p. 3 of the document.
Click here for the article by Save the Wild U.P.

**** According to Karen Maidlow, DNR property analyst in Minerals Management, each division is responsible for reviewing the parcel for lease classification based on their field of expertise. She explains the review as follows: "Although Fisheries Division review was development, the Field Coordinator takes all the comments from all the reviewers to determine a final classification (the official recommended classification), which occurred in September. The official recommended classification is Development with Restrictions. The classification did NOT change from August to September. The reviewers are given time to do their review and only when all reviewers have completed the review does the field coordinator determine the final classification. This did not occur until September."

***** Click here for the Corrected Public Notice.

****** Text of stipulations courtesy Karen Maidlow of DNR.

Michigan DNR: Revised Public Notice on Eagle Mine metallic mineral lease application

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) released today, Oct. 31, 2014, a corrected Public Notice concerning a recent application for a metallic mineral lease by Eagle Mine. The Public Notice published in local media on Oct. 20, 2014, failed to include the lease classification: "development with restrictions." Here is the text of the corrected Public Notice:

CORRECTION
STATE OF MICHIGAN
NOTICE OF DIRECT METALLIC MINERAL LEASE REQUEST
MARQUETTE COUNTY
METALLIC MINERAL LEASE APPLICATION 2014-8

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received a request from Eagle Mine LLC, of Champion, Michigan, to direct lease 40.00 acres, more or less, of state-owned metallic mineral rights described as follows:

NE1/4 SE1/4, Section 13, T50N, R29W, Michigamme Township, Marquette County

The proposed lease classification is development with restrictions. 

*This notice is being republished to add the proposed lease classification.

Written comments by interested parties, relative to the leasing of this description, may be submitted to DNR, Minerals Management, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7952. All comments must be received no later than 30 days from the date of publication.*


* The new deadline for comments is Dec. 1, 2014.

Editor's Note: Watch for our article on this, coming soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jazz Showcase: an intimate jazz club on Rozsa stage Oct. 31, Nov. 1

Tickets are going fast for the Jazz Showcase -- 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at the Rozsa! (Image courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- See the Rozsa stage transformed into an intimate jazz-club atmosphere with the Jazz Showcase: Backstage at the Rozsa at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and enjoy two nights of Big Band Jazz "Up Close and Personal" in this "pop up" jazz club setting.

Join the The R and D Big Band and the Jazz Lab Band (JLB), with special guests JazTec and Momentum, both under the direction of Mike Irish, for two great evenings of a wide variety of jazz. The Rozsa stage becomes a jazz lounge with cocktail tables and cash bar, and of course hot jazz provided by two Michigan Tech jazz ensembles, with special guest performances both nights. On the "menu" at the Bebop Bistro is a variety of tantalizing entrees and recipes for a great evening! Be prepared for a sonic gourmet delight!

Music selections will range from Skyhawk, a composition by Fred Sturm, with a floating, atmospheric feel; City, a composition by Jeff Lorber, hot, urban Philadelphia funk (Phunk?); Zsa Zsa Queen, by Matt Harris-moody, reggae feel; Toss and Turn by Lennie Niehaus -- straight ahead swing with a blues tinge; to Bone Talk, by Mark Taylor -- blues featuring the "bone" section.

The R and D Band is a very talented group of young musicians investigating a wide variety of jazz styles. The energy of the R and D Band is infectious! The JLB is known for its commitment to playing and featuring jazz in all of its myriad styles.

Tickets are: Adults $13, Youth $5, Students $5 or Michigan Tech Students Free With Experience Tech Fee. To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC). Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Green Lecture Series to present "Solar Powering Michigan" Oct. 30

HOUGHTON -- The 2014 Green Lecture Series will present "Solar Powering Michigan" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in G002 Hesterberg Hall, Forestry Building, Michigan Tech.

Admission is free. Enjoy coffee, tea and refreshments before the lecture.

Many local markets in Michigan present significant opportunities for solar photovoltaic development due to high electricity rates. The presentation will cover the basics of going solar on your own property -- and the future of solar in the regional energy mix.

Abhilash (Abhi) Kantamneni, PhD student in Michigan Tech's Department of Computer Science, will make the presentation.

Abhilash (Abhi) Kantamneni, second from left, joins in a discussion during the Oct. 3, 2014, Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) core leadership team meeting at Portage Lake District Library. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Kantamneni earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Anna University, India, and a Master’s Degree in Physics from Michigan Tech before pursuing a PhD in Computer Science. While his research focuses on Artificial Intelligence in the design of smart power systems of the future, his work with solar energy has achieved widespread acclaim across the state and the country. This includes talks at Solar Powering Michigan, Michigan Interpower Faith and Light and Superior Watershed Partnership conferences, and articles by Michigan Land Use Institute, Clean Power Now Michigan, and Midwest Energy News.  His free online "Solar Calculator" is used by hundreds of Michigan residents to estimate the value of going solar. Abhi is currently developing curriculum to prepare returning veterans for the growing American renewable energy job market.

The Green Lecture Series is co-sponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Keweenaw Land Trust.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Young Women's Art Caucus to hold MONSTER BAKE SALE, Movie Night at Finlandia

The Young Women's Art Caucus at Finlandia University will be holding two fundraising events -- a MONSTER BAKE SALE Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31, and a Movie Night Thursday, Oct. 30, featuring The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Poster courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Young Women's Art Caucus at Finlandia University will be holding two events to raise funds for a cultural trip to New York City in February.

They will hold a MONSTER BAKE SALE from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, on the 3rd Floor of the Jutila Center, and on Friday, Oct. 31, in Finlandia Hall on the main campus.

At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Jutila Center, the group will hold a Movie Night, featuring The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a 1975 musical comedy horror film. Admission is $5. Snacks and refreshments are included.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

People's Climate March, Part 3: Home front action -- local art students create People's Climate March posters

By Michele Bourdieu

Along the Michigan Tech Trails, these People's Climate March posters, created by students in Michigan Tech Prof. Lisa Johnson's 3D Design class, who added their own touches to basic designs sent by the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative and turned them into sculptures, call attention to the march and climate issues. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

HOUGHTON/HANCOCK -- When they signed up for certain art and design classes at Michigan Tech and Finlandia universities this fall, students were unaware they would become involved in a historic event -- the People's Climate March of Sept. 21, 2014. The event attracted 400,000 participants to New York City -- and thousands to other cities participating around the world -- to call for action on climate change.

Through their art classes at Michigan Tech and Finlandia, the students participated in the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative's "People's Climate March art: 30-city wheatpaste action" intended to get the word out about the march and climate crisis issues.*

Houghton/Hancock was one of the 30 cities that participated in the project through these students. Several artists in the Justseeds Cooperative created a series of large posters about the march, and the students were invited to use their creative instincts to turn the posters into art projects to be displayed on campus and in the community in order to call attention to the march and climate change.

Students in Lisa Johnson's 2D Design class add their own creative touches to posters sent to them by the Justseeds Cooperative. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Lisa Johnson, assistant professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Michigan Tech, said she chose the project for both her 2D Design and 3D Design classes, both of which have been developed within the framework, "Design for Ecological Reflection" -- an idea that ties in to research in which artists, writers, and scientists are coming together as partners, working towards a greater understanding of ecology.

Sculptor and scenic artist Lisa Johnson, assistant professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Michigan Tech, involved her 2D and 3D Design classes in the art project "People's Climate March art: 30-city wheatpaste action," initiated by the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative.* (Photo courtesy Lisa Johnson)

"I knew about the project because I'm friends with Rachel Shragis (she is one of the main organizers in New York, and I met her when we were both artists in residence at the Vermont Studio Center)," Johnson explained. "The project was a happy accident and a great fit. My design classes are taught with an eye towards ecological response and reflection, and I was hoping for a project that would help the class spring into making things, being environmentally conscious, and jump start their ability to talk about design and its connection to communities."

Johnson noted the connection with the march came at the right time for her classes.

"We were able to research issues, artists, and other activist events; brainstorm display ideas; get out into the community; work with great images that we could then look at and discuss ("why is this a strong graphic?" what works here?). But the thing I'm most happy about is the connectivity between different communities -- across the U.S. and the world -- and that the students were able to see that connectivity and find links between themselves, here in Houghton, and others around the country."

Dakota Lowrance of Buchanan, Mich., a third-year student in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, said he was "pretty fluent" in climate change issues through social media, his main source for news, so he was excited to participate in the Climate March project through Johnson's 2D Design class.

Dakota Lowrance, left, a student in Lisa Johnson's 2D Design class, is pictured here with two students from the 3D Design class, who also participated in the project: Zhen Wang of Chang-Zhou, China (center), and Greg Roberts of Holland, Mich. -- both seniors in mechanical engineering. After the completion of their project, the students met with Keweenaw Now for an interview in Michigan Tech's J. R. Van Pelt and Opie Library café. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)**

"I was really happy and excited to collaborate with the issues through the class," Lowrance said. "The product was a non-violent approach to climate change issues."

The 3D class mounted images from the poster designs on stands, creating climate change sculptures, which they set up along the Michigan Tech Trails.

Climate change sculpture on the Michigan Tech Trails. Students in Lisa Johnson's 3D Design class created these and set them up along the trails to call attention to the People's Climate March and climate change issues. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

"You design art with an overall purpose in mind," Lowrance noted. "You incorporate principles of art -- for example, movement, emphasis, proportion and balance -- into the final design."

Kier MacArtney of Grand Rapids, Mich., a senior studying live entertainment production and stage electrics, said he thought the Climate March project was an interesting and surprising take on what he expected from the 3D class, since the students became involved in a current issue.

"It was interesting taking a two-dimensional poster and coming up with an idea to make it three-dimensional -- since billboards are boring," MacArtney noted.

Kier MacArtney of Grand Rapids (center) and other students in Lisa Johnson's 3D Design class, carry their Climate March posters to set them up along the Michigan Tech Trails. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

He said it was fun despite the type of glue they were asked to use, which he thought resembled cream of wheat.

"The glue was gross, but environmentally safe," MacArtney added.

Students in the 3D Design class paste climate change images to their sculptures.  (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)**

Students in Johnson's 2D Design class used the poster designs to create large-format, interactive puzzles for the People’s Climate March.

After cutting the images and pasting them on wooden tiles that could be moved around with either hands or feet, the students first placed them in the Michigan Tech's J. R. Van Pelt and Opie Library. Later they moved them to the Forestry Building on campus.

Students in the 2D Design class arrange the pieces of their interactive puzzle on the floor of Michigan Tech's J. R. Van Pelt and Opie Library. The purpose was to involve others in making their own designs with hands or feet (suggesting the march) by re-arranging the wooden tiles. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Kristen Doering of Wausau, Wis., a senior in medical lab science at Michigan Tech, also worked on the posters in the 2D class. Doering said she did not know about the march before the class project, but was already interested in climate change and its relationship to medical fields.

"I did research on the Kyoto Protocol a few years ago," Doering said. "Health issues can arise from climate issues."

Doering noted some of her friends (who were not in the design class) got interested in her project and the march when she told them about it.

"They went to the library and snap-chatted me a picture to show they were there," Doering said.

The interactive puzzle created by Lisa Johnson's 2D Design class invites participation and calls attention to the Climate March. On the table in the foreground the students displayed informational brochures about the climate movement. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Doering said she went to the library and noticed people had moved the puzzle pieces.

"I found it really exciting that the artist (from the Justseeds Cooperative who created the original poster) was impressed with our design -- because it was interactive," Doering added.

Christine Shonnard, a senior at Houghton High School, takes the 2D Design class at Michigan Tech through the dual enrollment program.

"I wanted to take an art class because I am thinking of art as a possible career," Shonnard explained.

Like several of the other students, Shonnard learned about the Climate March through the 2D Design class.

Joining Dakota Lowrance, left, and Zhen Wang, third from left, for Keweenaw Now's interview in the library café are, from right, Christine Shonnard of Houghton, Kristen Doering of Wausaw, Wis. -- both students in the 2D Design class -- and Kier MacArtney of Grand Rapids, a student in the 3D class. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"I thought it was pretty cool," Shonnard said about the class project and the march. "I think if I had more time and independence it would have been cool to attend the march."

Christine also noted Lauri Davis, her biology teacher at Houghton High School, who also teaches ecology, has included climate change issues in her classes. As an example, she had her class do research on how to design an energy-efficient building.

"She's a really great teacher," Shonnard said about Davis. "I learned about having the building partially underground and walls built into a hill (for insulation)."

Davis also had her class do research on factory farms -- issues pertaining to industrial agriculture, Shonnard added.

While the students from these classes were unable to attend the march, one student from the 2D Design class, Jacob Braykovich of Walled Lake, Mich., a 5th-year student in materials science and engineering, went to New York City the week following the Climate March. He said he noticed, while walking around New York, that some of the climate posters were still displayed.

Jacob Braykovich trims a design for the Climate March interactive puzzle during the 2D Design class. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

"Its powerful that thousands of people from all over the country came together to stand up for such a controversial topic," Braykovich said.

He commented on the dual importance of the class -- both artistic and ecological.

"My appreciation for the way we capture the viewer's eye was transformed through this project. Using balance we were able to draw together many aspects of design while effectively conveying the importance of climate change," Braykovich explained.

Finlandia faculty, art students participate in Climate March poster project

People's Climate March poster from Justseeds Cooperative displayed in the Ryan Street Garden, part of Finlandia University's participation in the art project. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

In Hancock, at Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design, two faculty members participated in the People's Climate March art project: Phillip Faulkner, assistant professor of intermedia, and Phyllis Fredendall, professor of fiber and fashion design.

Faulkner said the goal of the project was "to present promotion materials throughout the two towns in the form of large scale visual art posters to raise awareness of the People's Climate March cause," while involving students in the presentation and creation.

Finlandia International School of Art and Design faculty members, Phillip Faulkner, left, and Phyllis Fredendall, second from left, are pictured here with students who worked on the climate posters -- from left, Deidre Yseult (aka Taylor Ruotsala) of Atlantic Mine, Angie Kilpela of Houghton and Olivia Leukuma of Chassell. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

After learning about the project from Lisa Johnson, Faulkner contacted several local businesses, seeking community partners for the project, and set up three different large posters from Justseeds artists at these locations: Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock, Fifth and Elm Coffee House in Houghton and the Ryan Street Community Garden in Hancock.

People's Climate March poster at the Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Phillip Faulkner, Finlandia University)

This People's Climate March poster set up outside the Fifth and Elm Coffee House in Houghton was part of Finlandia's participation in the art project. (Photo courtesy Phillip Faulkner, Finlandia University)

Meanwhile, Fredendall incorporated the project into her Color and Composition class, which is held in the Jutila Center in Hancock. Her students made posters about the People's Climate March and set them up in the Jutila Center and outside on the main Finlandia campus.

One large collage poster created by students in Phyllis Fredendall's class is still displayed in the Jutila Center in Hancock. Pictured here with Prof. Phyllis Fredendall are students in her Color and Composition class -- from left, Victoria Wallace, Angie Kilpela, Brandon Hylton (seated on floor), Deidre Yseult (aka Taylor Ruotsala), Joy Petaja and Olivia Leukuma. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Art students Angie Kilpela of Houghton and Olivia Leukuma of Chassell worked together on one of the larger posters, a collage that is still displayed on the second floor of the Jutila Center. In their collage, they incorporated three of the original posters sent from Justseeds Cooperative to Michigan Tech's Lisa Johnson, who shared them with Finlandia.

"Getting the word out about climate change is important," Kilpela said. "It was fun. I had never heard of (the march) until we worked on the project."

Olivia Leukuma, left, and Angie Kilpela with the collage they designed using three different posters sent by the Justseeds Cooperative. (Photo by Phyllis Fredendall for Keweenaw Now)

Leukuma said she didn't know about the march before the project but learned how to "take what we're given and make something out of it -- expand it and get more creative and get across the purpose of the Climate March and where it is."

Both Leukuma and Kilpela said they noticed the posters on the main Finlandia campus attracted the attention of other students.

After adding their personal collage designs to the posters from Justseeds Cooperative, Finlandia art students displayed them on the main Finlandia campus to call attention to the People's Climate March. (Photo courtesy Phillip Faulkner, Finlandia University)

"I heard people ask what they were," Leukuma said.

"They were very catchy," added Kilpela. "I think that's important."

Victoria Wallace of Houghton said she learned from the Climate March project that many people in many places have all come together to change the way the earth is treated and to try to make it a better place with different types of energy and practices.

"Working to make the posters for the world to see was an amazing way to put my own print on the ideas of change," Wallace added.

One student in Fredendall's class, Deidre Yseult (aka Taylor Ruotsala) of Atlantic Mine, said she had heard of the Climate March before the class project but learned more about it in class.

"I'm very eco-friendly and I try to keep up with those issues," Ruotsala said. "I was really happy to see that people of the United States are still working towards a greener future."

Deidre Yseult (aka Taylor Ruotsala) of Atlantic Mine displays a poster announcing an upcoming fundraiser (Oct. 30, 31) for the Young Women's Art Caucus, a Finlandia group planning a February 2015 trip to New York City. A member of the Caucus, Ruotsala says she hopes to see post-Climate March changes in New York if she's able to travel there with the group.

Ruotsala said she worked with student Sarah Williams of Houghton on one of the posters hung on the main campus, across from Finlandia Hall.

"We took a bit longer than the other groups because we wanted to focus on several different problems, such as polar icecaps melting, deforestation, genetic mutation and dramatic climate changes (such as a polar vortex in Hawaii)," Ruotsala noted.

A first-year student at Finlandia, Ruotsala added that she has been active in environmental issues since middle school. At Finlandia she is a member of the Young Women's Caucus and hopes to visit New York City with that group in February 2015. She said she hopes to see "a difference in New York after the march."

* To learn more about the Justseeds Cooperative People's Climate March art project, visit their Web site.

** Update: In an earlier posting, we made a few errors in identifying the classes of the students pictured here. These have been corrected. Thanks to Lisa Johnson for calling our attention to the details.

Editor's Note: This is the third in our series of articles on the People's Climate March and related events.

See also: People's Climate March, Part 1, Letter: Houghton couple travel to New York to march for planet's future  and People's Climate March, Part 2: Video Report: Riding People's Climate Train to New York.

Watch for our photos and videos of the Sept. 21, 2014, People's Climate March -- coming soon ...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wildlife Expert John Vucetich: Why he is voting "no" on Proposals 1 and 2

Wildlife expert John Vucetich, Michigan Tech associate professor, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, who is also co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose project, speaks in this video on why he is voting "no" on November Ballot Proposals 1 and 2 concerning wolf hunting in Michigan:

John Vucetich, wildlife expert and Michigan Tech associate professor, who has a strong interest in environmental ethics, speaks here about why he is voting "no" on Propositions 1 and 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot. (Video courtesy Keep Michigan Wolves Protected)

Vucetich recently gave a talk titled "The Truth About Michigan Wolves: Deconstructing the Myth" at Detroit’s Wayne State University and at Allendale’s Grand Valley State University. Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer of the Humane Society of the United States, joined Vucetich for the presentations.

Editor's Note: Click here to read "Letter from John Vucetich, wildlife ecologist: Reasons to oppose SB288," posted April 16, 2013, giving reasons he opposed the original bill leading to legislation of the wolf hunt held last year in Michigan.

Guest article: The case against Props 1 and 2

On Nov. 4, 2014, voters in Michigan will have the opportunity to vote NO on Proposal 1 and Proposal 2 to end the needless wolf hunt and restore Michiganders' right to have a say on wildlife policy. (Photo of wolf courtesy Keep Michigan Wolves Protected) 

By Jill Fritz, Director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected*
Published in the Lansing State Journal on Oct. 18, 2014
Reprinted here with author's permission.


This November, Michigan voters will find two referendum proposals that, if passed, would strip voting rights and declare a trophy hunting season on wolves. But, we’re confident that when Michiganders review the facts carefully, they’ll say "no" to the trophy hunting of wolves and "no" to this power grab to take away their voting rights.

Proposal 1 would designate gray wolves as a game species and allow a hunting and trapping season on them. There are fewer than 650 wolves in Michigan, and they’ve just come off the endangered species list. After being shot, trapped and poisoned nearly to the brink of extinction, the wolf has been protected in Michigan for almost 50 years. But they’re still recovering. Since their protected status was removed in 2012, more than 1,000 wolves have already been killed in aggressive hunting and trapping seasons in the Great Lakes states.

Responsible hunters eat what they kill, and nobody eats wolves. The use of painful steel-jawed leghold traps, hunting over bait and even using packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves all may be in store for Michigan’s wolves if Proposal 1 is approved. Let’s not let that happen.

Politicians and state officials exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf encounters with people in Michigan to justify opening a wolf hunting and trapping season. Nearly two-thirds of all wolf incidents in the U.P. occurred on a single farm, where the farmer baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses. And genuine threats to human safety by wolves are extremely rare -- stories of wolves stalking U.P. residents have independently been exposed as false -- and no physical attack has ever occurred in Michigan.

Wolves already are effectively managed in Michigan. It’s already legal to kill wolves when they threaten livestock, pets, or human safety. Non-lethal measures, including guard donkeys, dogs and fencing, have also been effective. All told, even before Michigan’s first wolf hunt began last fall, wolf/livestock conflicts in the U.P. had reduced by more than 80 percent. Simply put, there is no scientific justification to hunt wolves to address conflicts. A hunt would be driven by a desire for a trophy, or out of fear or hatred. There is nothing scientific about that.

Proposal 2 would grant the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the power to designate wolves and other animals as game species to be hunted, without legislative approval. The members of the Natural Resources Commission are not scientists or experts -- they are political appointees, unaccountable to the public. In a contemptuous move to circumvent a public vote, the Legislature passed this law, giving the unelected NRC unprecedented power to open new hunting and trapping seasons on wolves and almost any other protected species. If Proposal 2 is approved, the NRC can make decisions without any input from citizens. There is no referendum process when it comes to the NRC’s decisions.

A group calling itself "Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management" -- backed by trophy hunting, hounding and trapping lobby groups and businesses -- submitted an initiative that was rubber-stampeded by the Legislature to circumvent the public’s right to vote. This law is unconstitutional and we plan to pursue legal action to strike it down, ensuring that wolves remain protected and that voters keep their constitutional rights. Michigan lawmakers have voted for wolf hunting three times in the last two years, and Michigan residents have twice stopped these laws by placing the referendums on the ballot. Now, voters can demonstrate the importance of maintaining checks and balances on wildlife management matters by voting "no" on Proposals 1 and 2.

Wolves are safe from a hunt this year, but it is imperative that Michigan residents reject the two referenda with "no" votes. Between now and Nov. 4, there will be a lot of rhetoric and fear tactics designed to confuse voters. We trust that the people of Michigan will sift through it all and reject Proposals 1 and 2.

The voters of Michigan should have their voices heard on whether our state’s fragile wolf population of 650 is needlessly hunted. The wildlife of our state belong to all of us. Facts -- not fear, anger and hatred -- should dictate proper wolf management. Our task is to win the ballot measures for November, to save the lives of wolves in Michigan and restore rights of voters to weigh in on wildlife decisions.

Vote "no" on Proposals 1 and 2.

*Editor's Note: Guest author Jill Fritz is also Michigan Senior State Director, The Humane Society of the United States.

Eagle Mine to host Community Forum Series beginning Oct. 27

Lundin Mining Co. is now mining nickel and copper at Eagle Mine and milling at the Humboldt Mill. (Photo courtesy Eagle Mine)

CHAMPION -- Eagle Mine will host a series of community forums this week and next week in order to keep the public informed about activities at Eagle Mine. Since the last round of forums Eagle Mine has begun operations. They are now mining, milling, and shipping nickel and copper concentrates to their customers.

During the forums Eagle representatives will present an inside look at their operations and introduce some of their team members. In addition, they will ask you to participate in the Eagle Mine Community Scorecard. The Scorecard is an opportunity for residents to rate Eagle Mine's performance over the past six months in the areas of safety, environmental protection, local hire, communication, and community development.

Most importantly, the series is designed for a two-way dialog between Eagle and the community. The public is encouraged to come and ask questions about operations and activities.

All forums will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Here is the schedule of dates and locations:

Monday, Oct. 27 -- Michigamme Township Hall
Wednesday, Oct. 29 -- Humboldt Township Hall
Monday, Nov. 3 -- Powell Township Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 5 -- Marquette Township Hall

Enter to win a tour

Attendees at the forums will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to take an underground mine tour or a mill tour. One person from each forum will be selected to take up to two guests with them on their tour of choice.*

*Persons must be present at the time of the drawing and 18 years of age or older. For more information, please call (906) 273-1550 or email info-eagle@lundinmining.com.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Local Baha'i community to hold informal discussion Oct. 30

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton Baha'i community invites interested persons to an informal discussion meeting on various topics at 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month. The topic of this month's meeting -- next Thursday, Oct.30 -- will be "The purpose of our life -- what is our inner reality?"

For further information please call 906-523-5542 or e-mail houghtonbahais@gmail.com.