Saturday, November 08, 2014

Gromit the Trail Mutt posts new photos of Maasto Hiihto bridge work, Porkies fall adventure

HANCOCK -- Gromit the Trail Mutt has posted new photos on her blog this week: completion of bridge work on Maasto Hiihto river trail and her fall adventure -- 4 days in the Porcupine Mountains State Park with her two-legged friends.

Gromit says work on bridges is finally completed in Swedetown gorge, Maasto Hiihto river trail. "Big thanks goes to Mark R, Sam S and Paul P for their hard work on this," Gromit writes. (Photos © and courtesy Sandy and Arlyn Aronson of The Trail Mutt Reports.

Halloween was windy at the Lake Superior shoreline entrance to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Gromit is pictured here with Sandy Aronson and Mark Roberts at the beginning of their 4-day adventure in the Porkies.

"Down another gully we go," says Gromit the Trail Mutt as she leads her two-legged friends along a trail in the Porkies.

A hike through the Porkies isn't complete without this great view of one of the waterfalls.

For more photos of Gromit's adventures visit her blog, The Trail Mutt Reports.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Energy experts to speak at Keweenaw Energy Summit Nov. 10 at Finnish American Heritage Center

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Renewable Energy Coalition (KREC) is hosting a Keweenaw Energy Summit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, at the Finnish American Heritage Center on the campus of Finlandia University in Hancock. The primary purpose of this event is to unveil a plan to power 100 percent of electric demand in Keweenaw and Houghton Counties with alternative fuels (wind, biomass, solar).

The event will feature presentations from world-renowned energy experts including Finnish leader Asko Ojaniemi on biomass and Rich Vander Veen, President of Mackinaw Power, on wind and solar. The event is free and open to the public.

Editor's Note: See this Oct. 26, 2014, article by Melissa Davis, KREC president, in Crain's Detroit Business:
"Renewables can light the way in U.P., state."

K-SNAG to hold Adopt-A-Pet events Nov. 8 in Houghton, Laurium

HOUGHTON -- K-SNAG (Keweenaw Spay Neuter Assistance Group) will hold an Adopt-A-Pet event at two locations Saturday, Nov. 8.

From 9 a.m. until noon they will be at the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic on Sharon Avenue, and from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. they will be at their facility at 55934 Lake Linden Avenue in Laurium. For more information on Adopt A Pet or pet adoption from K-SNAG, call Dawn at 296-9144.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

New exhibits, art activities open to all on First Friday in Calumet, Nov. 7

"Pipestone Dreams," litho by Lillian Pitt. Her work will be on exhibit this month at Galerie Bohème in Calumet. (Image courtesy Galerie Bohème)

CALUMET -- First Friday, Nov. 7, in Calumet will feature several art exhibit openings and activities by the following members of the Calumet Art District.

Calumet Art Center Open Studio

First, stop in at the Calumet Art Center (CAC) for an Open Studio where you can find the space you need as well as inspiration to start, continue or finish your own personal art project.

Karena Schmidt, Calumet Art Center volunteer, demonstrates twining to visitors during a First Friday Open Studio. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

If you've seen announcements regarding CAC classes for twining and wondered how it's done, stop in to see what "twining" is all about. Several people have dropped by and signed up for this class. CAC has twining projects in progress for you to enjoy. Find your inspiration while touring the center and open studios featuring looms of all types, lamp work bead station, library and writing studio and the clay studio where there are always works in progress.

Artist Gordon Borsvold, who taught a woodworking class at the Calumet Art Center last summer, examines a wood sculpture done by one of his students. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Learn about CAC's recent classes, projects and upcoming events. The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street. For more information call (906) 934-2228.

Galerie Bohème: Art by Lillian Pitt

This First Friday Galerie Bohème will exhibit intaglio, linocut and litho prints by Lillian Pitt. Lillian is a widely known and collected Native American visual artist and activist working in the Pacific Northwest. A reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Artist Lillian Pitt. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

"Currently, Lil is packing for a trip to New Zealand, where she has been studying the Maori art of intimidation," says Galerie Bohème host Tom Rudd. "Lil is a good friend, and after some arm twisting (on my part) and stressing (on her part) sent me a suite of prints to show at the Bohème. So, come on by this Friday from 6:30 to 9 and check them out. They are very collectible. Also you can have a plastic cuppa and a crumpet, and visit with friends while you enjoy the artworks."

Galerie Bohème is at 423 5th Street in Calumet. Call 906-369-4087 for more information.

Paige Wiard Gallery: "Fiber on Fifth"

 An example of the fiber art that will be on display at Paige Wiard Gallery this month. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

The art work of fiber artists from across Michigan and the country will be featured in the November show, "Fiber on Fifth," at Paige Wiard Gallery in Calumet. Each artist puts a unique spin on the natural elements of fiber to create pieces of art that express the artist's passions.

Fiber art, part of the "Fiber on Fifth" display at Paige Wiard Gallery, opening First Friday, Nov. 7.

An open reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, Nov. 7, at Paige Wiard Gallery at 109 Fifth St, Calumet. For more information call 906-337-5970 or email at paigewiardgallery@gmail.com.

Copper Country Associated Artists Gallery: "Paper Weaving"

Copper Country Associated Artists Gallery, at 205 Fifth St., will hold a workshop in "Paper Weaving" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7. Learn how to weave paper into designs that can be used to make your Thanksgiving or Christmas cards this season. All ages are welcome. No reservations needed.

For more information contact the Gallery at 337-1252 or call Pam, CCAA chairperson, at 337-2274.

Café Rosetta: Art by Richard Buckho and poetry reading

Café Rosetta will be hosting "Richard Buckho: Calumet on Canvas" -- images of Calumet and surrounding areas printed on superior quality -- past and original, and slightly unusual.

Stop in for a poetry reading from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Share your latest creation or poem from your favorite poet. Browse the used books and enjoy a hot drink or homemade treat!

Hahn Hammered Copper: "Guess the Mystery Object"

Hahn Hammered Copper invites First Friday visitors to stop in and see what's new in their reclaimed, repurposed, artful salvaged items. The Hahns will be having another "Guess the Mystery Object" contest. The person who guesses correctly wins a hand-made copper zipper pull.

Cross Country Sports: Photography by Jeremy Rowe

For the month of November, Cross Country Sports will feature work by Jeremy Rowe of Keweenaw Night Sky Photography. Jeremy uses long-exposure photography to capture spectacular views of the Northern Lights and landscapes of favorite places along the north shore of the Keweenaw, where he spends a lot of time monitoring the skies.

Photography by Jeremy Rowe of Keweenaw Night Sky Photography will be the November exhibit at Cross Country Sports, with an open house for the artist on First Friday, Nov. 7. (Photo © 2014 and courtesy Jeremy M. Rowe)

The images are processed onto specially coated aluminum sheets with dyes that are infused directly into the surface, adding a breathtaking luminescence as well as durability. In addition to his metal prints, Jeremy will show time-lapse videos of some of his favorite night sky scenes, set to original music which he composes and produces. 2015 calendars featuring some of his best photos of the year will be available in mid-November. Enjoy an open house and refreshments and meet the artist from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, at 507 Oak Street. For more information call 337-4520.

Rozsa Gallery to host "Cline," an installation by artist Jess Kane, opening Nov. 7

"Cline," an installation by ceramic artist Jess Kane, will open TOMORROW, Friday, Nov. 7, in the Rozsa Gallery, downstairs in the Rozsa Center. (Image courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Gallery welcomes local artist Jess Kane, in a thought-provoking one-person exhibition of mixed-media work which utilizes printmaking, drawing and ceramic sculpture.

Jess Kane’s installation, titled "Cline," includes a collection of palm-sized talismans or touchstones that, in Kane’s words, "honor the influence of personal, cultural and physical histories. They challenge they way our index of memories informs our perception of the present." 

"Cline" opens with a reception in the Rozsa Gallery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7.  The exhibition will run through Saturday, Feb. 13, 2015, and is free and open to the public.

According to Kane, "The term 'Cline' is borrowed from ecology and references the display of continuous gradients in response to external factors. These artifacts wonder if a similar manifestation of lean could be created internally, as a shift in perception of value. How do time, and familiarity build the evidence of ownership? Referential shapes, colors and texture literally reflect this rhythm of possession that grows and changes, all the while, claiming security in habituation."

Rozsa gallery hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. For more details, please click here.

Dance Zone Marquette to celebrate 4th anniversary with all-day dance activities Nov. 8

MARQUETTE -- Dance Zone Marquette will be celebrating their fourth anniversary this coming Saturday, Nov. 8. Enjoy an entire day of dance activity or any part of the celebration. Here’s the schedule:

Beginning at 1 p.m., Free Dance Workshops:

1 p.m. -- Introduction to Waltz and Fox Trot; box step routines; Marge and Bill Sklar instruct.
2:30 p.m. -- Introduction to Latin (Salsa, Rumba and Cha Cha); Marge and Bill Sklar instruct.
4 p.m. -- East Coast Swing; Evan instructs.

5:30 p.m. -- Potluck dinner

7 p.m. -- Black Pearl playing for your dancing and listening pleasure.

There will be door prizes and refreshments throughout the day. Entrance price for the dance is $10 per person.

Also at Dance Zone within the next couple of weeks:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7 -- Contra and old-time square dance featuring music by All Strings Considered, 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Donation requested to pay the band.
Sundays -- WEST COAST SWING LESSONS with Brian and Janell Larson, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; 2 more Sundays.
Mondays -- Square dance class 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Mondays -- Square dance, mainstream and plus, 7:30 p.m. $5 per couple.
Tuesdays -- International Folk Dance, 7:15 p.m.
Thursdays -- Morris Dance, 7:30 p.m.

If you have any questions call 906-236-1457.  Dance Zone is at 1113 Lincoln Avenue (Lincoln and College) in Marquette. For more information about Dance Zone activities visit the Dance Zone Web site.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Superior Wind Symphony to perform "All Music Is Folk Music" Nov. 8 at Rozsa

The Michigan Tech Superior Wind Symphony will present "All Music Is Folk Music" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Rozsa Center. (Image courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Tech Superior Wind Symphony will present a variety of folk music selections from around the world: England, Scotland, France, Brazil, China, Korea, and Russia, in a concert titled "All Music Is Folk Music" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, in the Rozsa Center.

Superior Winds, the Michigan Tech student wind ensemble, will explore the works of composers Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Igor Stravinsky, and John Barnes Chance.

"VPA Livestream" of the music is also available, the night of the performance, for those who are not able to be present for the event. The link for this livestream is: http://vpa-live.mtu.edu (please note, this link will not be active until the time of the event.)

Tickets are $13 for adults, $5 for youth (17 and under), and free for Michigan Tech students. 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), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.

Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Reflection Gallery to host reception for "Passweird" exhibit Nov. 6

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery will be hosting "PASSWEIRD," a solo exhibition showcasing the work of illustrator Matthew Carlson. The work will be on display Nov. 6 - 28.

Poster for "Passweird," a solo exhibit opening Thursday, Nov. 6, at Finlandia's Reflection Gallery in the Jutila Center. (Poster courtesy Finlandia University)

On display will be a series of illustrations completed for the project passweird.com, a collaborative effort between Carlson and web developer Cody Peterson (Portland, Ore.) The site will randomly generate you a distinctive and 'weird' personalized password. In addition to the full color illustrations, the website will be on display offering an interactive component for the audience.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at the gallery at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Matthew Carlson is a creative working out of Omaha, Nebraska. He is currently employed at design firm Grain and Mortar. He has lent his services to an abundance of projects ranging in scope from apparel design, business branding, event promotion, and the non-profit sector. His skills as a talented illustrator have landed him clients like Google, RedBull, and Springboard for the Arts.

Carlson holds a Bachelor Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska Omaha, where he studied painting and drawing. In addition to design work, he has been heavily involved in the Omaha Arts scene, both exhibiting in, and curating shows at a variety of venues. In addition he also works freelance under the moniker Plaid Mtn.

The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery is in the Jutila Center, 200 Michigan St. in Hancock.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

KBIC Natural Resources Dept. program wins Environmental Stewardship Award for Sand Point restoration

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's Natural Resources Department (KBNRD) program to restore habitat on 33 acres of stamp sand at Sand Point (Baraga, Mich.) earned an international award from the Lake Superior Binational Program this summer. Pictured here with the award are, from left, KBNRD Director Lori Ann Sherman; Tribal Council member Elizabeth Matthews; presenter Lissa Radke, U.S. Coordinator for the Lake Superior Binational Forum; and Restoration Project Coordinator Pam Nankervis, a wildlife biologist with KBNRD. (Photo © and courtesy Barry Drue, L'Anse Sentinel editor. Reprinted with permission)

ASHLAND, Wis. -- A Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department (KBNRD) program is among the winners of this year's Lake Superior Binational Program Environmental Stewardship Awards, given to individuals and organizations that have accomplished significant and successful actions which minimize negative impacts or restore the natural environment in the Lake Superior basin.

The KBNRD multi-year program restored habitat on 33 acres at Sand Point beach (Baraga, Mich.), contaminated for over 100 years by stamp sands -- industrial copper mining waste which was disposed of into a Lake Superior bay and continuously deposited onshore through wave action. With assistance from federal agencies and grant funding, the tribe spread a topsoil cap to cover 33 acres of toxic stamp sands, and planted thousands of native grasses, flowers, and shrubs to filter the toxic chemicals and stabilize an eroding shoreline.

This photo shows some of the habitat restoration at Sand Point as it appeared in 2012. Since then thousands of native plants have been planted to cover the stamp sand and stabilize the shoreline. (Keweenaw Now 2012 file photo)

The plants have also helped increase biodiversity in the area and provided much-needed wildlife habitat, as well as stabilizing the shore.

Visit the KBIC website to read more about the Sand Point restoration project.

An article in the L'Anse Sentinel last August describes the project. Click here to read the article and see recent photos.

Click here to read the article by Diana Magnuson, with many photos, in the October 2014 online issue of Marquette Monthly.

To read more about the Environmental Stewardship Awards and other winners, visit the Lake Superior Binational Program Web site.

Calumet Art Center to offer new classes in twining and clay

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center (CAC) will offer two new classes that begin this week: "Twine a Wool Rug" and "The Spiritual Connection with Clay: Pulling from the Well."

A recent Calumet Art Center student's twining project. (Photos courtesy Calumet Art Center)

Twining is an ancient form of weaving which is done on a portable loom. Create a 27" x 38" twined rug using recycled wool. You may take the loom home during the week to work on your rug, or work on it at the CAC during open hours. Check with Ed Gray to make arrangements.

The "Twine a Wool Rug" class will meet from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays -- Nov. 5, 12 and 19. The rug will be completed at the last class session.

Class size is limited. Pre-registration and payment are required. Class Fee: $85. Materials Fee: $40 OR bring in three wool blankets to offset this cost.

"The Spiritual Connection with Clay: Pulling from the Well" will be taught by ceramic artist Ed Gray. This class is Beginner to Advanced. Learn to apply several surface textures and what effects this creates with the use of alternative firing techniques.

Snow bank smoke firing is one alternative method of firing clay.

This clay class will meet from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: Nov. 6, 10, 14, 17, 20, 24; Dec. 1, 4. Pre-registration and payment are required. Class Fee: $135. Class Materials: $35. Firing fee: $20.

For more information call the Calumet Art Center at (906) 934-2228 or 281-3494.

Monday, November 03, 2014

League of Women Voters offers helpful voter guides, videos of candidate forums on line

By Michele Bourdieu

HANCOCK -- The nonpartisan League of Women Voters -- both the Michigan Chapter and the local Copper Country Chapter -- offer helpful voter guides and now video recordings of some of their candidate forums. These are accessible on line to voters.

Voters unfamiliar with certain candidates and their views can consult the League of Women Voters guides for any of the races appearing on the Nov. 4, 2014, ballot.

The first step is to search for a copy of your own personal ballot by going to the Michigan Voter Information Center on the Michigan Secretary of State Web site and typing in your name and zip code (or driver's license number) and birth month and year. Click here to do this.

You can save or print your personal ballot. Next, examine the ballot for candidates you wish to learn about in order to vote wisely. Visit the Michigan League of Women Voters of the Copper Country site and click on the entire voter guide or the links to candidates for specific offices. See their answers to questions and compare them. Your personal ballot also has links to information on individual candidates who have supplied the links in blue.

Click here for the text of Proposal 1 and Proposal 2 concerning wolf hunting in Michigan or read these Proposals on your personal ballot.*

Videos of Forums now available

Most recently, the League of Women Voters of the Copper Country sponsored a forum at Hancock Middle School for local candidates on issues concerning children and youth in the Keweenaw region, including early childhood and K-12 education and social services. Questions from the audience broadened the discussion to other local issues, such as public transportation, restoring the Earned Income (tax) Credit for families and keeping the Houghton County Medical Care Facility publicly supported.

Democratic and Republican candidates for State Senate 38th District, State Representative 110th District, and Houghton County Commissioner 1st and 3rd Districts were invited. These included Incumbent State Senator Tom Casperson (R) and his Democratic opponent, Christopher Germain; Incumbent 110th District State House Representative Scott Dianda (D) and his opponent, Bob Michaels (R); District 3 Incumbent County Commissioner Tony Pintar (D) and his opponent, Mark Kemppainen (R); and District 1 County Commissioner candidates Rick Kasprzak (D) and his opponent, Eugene Londo (R). All of the Democratic candidates in this list participated. Sen. Tom Casperson was the only Republican candidate who attended.

A series of four videos, by Bill Fink, covering the forum is now available on line. Click here to view the videos.

A League of Women Voters Forum for the First District U.S. House of Representatives race -- with candidates Rep. Dan Benishek (R), incumbent, Jerry Cannon (D) and Ellis Boal (Green) participating -- was held in Traverse City. It was broadcast on Interlochen Radio and now is available as a video on UP North Media. Click here to view the video.

Visit the League of Women Voters of Michigan for links to other candidate forums.

* See also our recent article "Video report: Wolf hunt based on politics, not science -- why vote 'NO' on Proposals 1 and 2."

Congressman Gary Peters, candidate for U.S. Senate, visits Houghton

By Michele Bourdieu

Congressman Gary Peters, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held for 36 years by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chats with Houghton County Democrats during an informal "meet and greet" event on Oct. 18, 2014, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, now a candidate for the Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), fielded questions on the Affordable Health Care Act, climate change, Upper Peninsula electrical power issues, U.S. involvement in the Middle East, military spending and more during an informal "meet and greet" visit to Houghton County Democrats on Oct. 18, 2014.

Scott Dianda, Michigan 110th District state representative, welcomed Peters and introduced him as a colleague, a friend and a person who cares about Michigan:

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), speaks to a group of Houghton County Democrats about his visits to the Upper Peninsula and his campaign. He is introduced by State Rep. Scott Dianda, at right. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

After talking briefly about his positive experiences visiting the U.P., in both winter and summer, Peters talked about his campaign, plans to honor Sen. Levin for his 36-years of service in the Senate and his present lead over Republican opponent Terri Lynn Land, former Michigan Secretary of State.

Describing "meet and greet" as "sort of a laid-back discussion with friends," Peters welcomed questions from the audience.

Gary Peters, Michigan Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, fields questions from the audience during the Oct. 18 "meet and greet" event with Houghton County Democrats.

He expressed his agreement with the opinion that the Affordable Care Act needs to be presented in a more positive light and facts about it contrasted with negative ads.

"I did vote for the Affordable Care Act, and I'm proud of it," Peters said. "It's my basic core belief ... that everybody in this country -- no matter who you are, no matter where you live -- should have access to affordable health care."

Peters noted 270,000 families signed up for the insurance exchange in Michigan. Adding that to the Medicaid expansion in Michigan, a total of 600,000 families, formerly without insurance, now have health insurance, even though, he acknowledged, it's not a perfect law. Peters said he is also working on legislation to help small business owners provide health care for themselves and their employees.

Brian Hoduski, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, brought up the subject of the minimum wage. He noted he read recently that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would actually save the federal government $7.7 billion in aid given to people in need.

"I'm a strong supporter -- we have to raise the minimum wage in my mind to $10.10," Peters agreed. "If someone is working hard, playing by the rules, you should at least be able to make money to at least pay your basic bills."

Peters said he would continue to keep pushing for that increase, noting his opponent does not seem to realize how important it is.

Keweenaw Now's Allan Baker asked a question on climate change:

During the Oct. 18 informal discussion with Houghton County Democrats, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, candidate for U.S. Senate, answers a question on climate change, noting the importance of renewable energy in Michigan.

Peters said he believes what is good for the environment is also good for the economy. He gave examples of the growth of solar energy in Michigan. He also commented on Michigan's agricultural assets and great water supply -- both of which are at risk if we do nothing about climate change.

In a brief interview with Keweenaw Now, Peters said he was aware of the Enbridge pipelines near the Mackinac Bridge and the devastation caused by that company's Kalamazoo oil spill.

"We have to be very concerned about the pipelines," Peters said. "The particular danger of Canadian tar sands oil is that, unlike regular oil that floats on the top of the surface of water, it's so heavy that it actually sinks -- so it is particularly problematic to clean up if you have an oil break or a break of the pipeline."
 
Peters added, "We need to be sure that we are aggressively working with the company to make sure that pipeline (under the Straits of Mackinac) is as safe as it can possibly be."

Peters noted that Mark Schauer, the Democratic candidate for governor opposing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in this election, is very engaged in that issue.

Asked about the recent mining projects in the U.P., Peters said he was not aware of those issues since he presently does not represent the U.P., but when he is elected Senator he will be coming up here to meet with residents and environmental groups "to be sure as those projects go forward that they're done in a way that doesn't endanger the environment."

Two Great Lakes issues that have concerned him are the Asian Carp issue and the Great Lakes Restoration funding.

Janet (Niemi) Burkholder of Bootjack asked Peters about his views on fracking and federal clean air and water laws:

Gary Peters answers a question on environmental regulation of new industries like fracking, noting legislation he is working on to include fracking in the Clean Water Act and the Clean Drinking Water Act.

After a question from Barry Solomon, Michigan Tech professor of geography and environmental policy, on the failing Presque Isle power plant in Marquette, State Rep. Scott Dianda joined in the discussion on renewable energy, noting his work on the power issue and his interest in biofuels and recycling. Peters said he was following the issue and will be actively engaged, along with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, in finding a solution.

Vietnam veteran Phil Faucher asked Peters about his views on our military involvement in the Middle East:

Gary Peters comments on U.S. involvement in the Middle East, support of veterans and limits on military spending.

Frequent applause in response to Peters' statements of his views seemed to indicate most of the Democrats present were supportive of the candidate.

Rick Kasprzak, Houghton County Democratic Party (HCDP) co-chair and candidate for Houghton County Commissioner, said he thought Peters was well spoken and seemed informed on the issues.

"His ideas were well thought out," Kasprzak said. "I think he actually showed his position on the Middle East. It just showed how very complicated that issue is. Because of past actions we are now in a position where we don't have any good options. We're deciding between the lesser of two evil options. From what I heard tonight he's the kind of guy that can steer the ship through the rough waters."

Tammy Hoduski of Houghton, a teacher at Houghton Middle School, was impressed by Peters.

"I think he's great," she said. "He's honest. I felt like I could trust him to represent us in a fair way. I liked that he talked about raising the minimum wage. I think that's smart."

Janet Gregorich, Houghton County Democratic Party vice chair, said she liked the fact that Peters voted for the Affordable Care Act.

"I think it's very needed in our country so that people are insured," she said.

Brian Hoduski, HCDP co-chair, commented to Keweenaw Now, "Nobody can replace Senator Levin, but Gary can make a good crack at it."

John Slivon, Hancock city councilman, was a bit skeptical on at least two issues discussed at the meeting.

"I don't think he's well enough informed about the negative aspects of fracking to be able to make an informed decision about it," Slivon said. "I don't agree that we should be bombing in the Middle East. Period."

To learn more about Gary Peters, visit his Web site.

You can also compare Peters' answers to questions from the Michigan League of Women Voters with those of other candidates by consulting the League of Women Voters 2014 Nonpartisan Voter Guide.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Video report: Wolf hunt based on politics, not science -- why vote "NO" on Proposals 1 and 2

By Michele Bourdieu
Videos and photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now

Title slide for the Oct. 21, 2014, presentation by Nancy Warren, Great Lakes regional director and executive director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Nancy Warren, Great Lakes regional director and executive director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition (NWC), presented "POLITICS OR SCIENCE? THE HUNTING OF WOLVES! at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock on Oct. 21, 2014. Her talk covered the efforts of citizens to challenge wolf hunt legislation in Michigan and reasons to vote "No" on Proposals 1 and 2 -- legislation allowing a wolf hunt in Michigan -- on the Nov. 4, 2014, ballot.

Introduced by Diane Miller, Finlandia assistant professor of communication and English, who collected many signatures to the two petitions challenging the wolf hunt legislation, Warren, a resident of Ewen, Mich., who lives in an area that was one of three in the Upper Peninsula designated for the wolf hunt, began her talk with facts about wolf management in Michigan -- based on her own experience serving on a roundtable to establish a Wolf Management Plan.

Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional Director and Executive Director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition (NWC) presents "POLITICS OR SCIENCE? THE HUNTING OF WOLVES! at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, Mich., on Oct. 21, 2014. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Warren also showed a video of John Vucetich -- Michigan Tech associate professor, wildlife expert and co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study -- in which he explains his own philosophical reasons for voting "No" on Proposals 1 and 2.*

Before wolf hunt legislation was proposed, Warren demonstrates, legal methods -- both lethal and non-lethal -- have been used successfully to control problem wolves and the state has reimbursed farmers for losses of livestock caused by wolf depredation:

Nancy Warren explains how non-lethal methods such as donkeys and electric fencing have been provided by the State of Michigan to help farmers protect livestock from wolves. In some cases, when lethal methods are necessary, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has the authority to kill problem wolves. The law also allows livestock producers and dog owners to kill a wolf attacking their animals and farmers can enlist the aid of hunters in certain circumstances, Warren notes.

Warren also related how one Upper Peninsula farmer, who reported a large number of wolf depredations (used as statistics to justify the wolf hunt), was exposed as having mistreated his own animals and left dead animals, including donkeys supplied to him by the DNR, on his property. Fencing that was given to him disappeared as well. He received a total of $35,835 in aid from the State of Michigan -- 62 percent of all compensation paid in the U.P.**

In this slide, Warren shows how the Koski farm's reported depredations, a result of poor animal husbandry practices, inflated statistics and distorted reasons for the 2013 wolf hunt. Several articles in the media exposed the facts about this farm.**

Warren then produced information she had obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reveals how DNR staff and the State Senate removed scientific language from the proposed wolf hunt bill in 2012 and, with the support of certain groups, including the MUCC (Michigan United Conservation Clubs) pushed the legislature to pass PA 520 in December 2012:

Nancy Warren points out how Michigan DNR staff took science out of wolf hunt legislation and pushed the legislature to pass a wolf hunt law, PA 520, by December 2012.

With very little time allowed, Warren explains, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and other groups organized a statewide effort to collect signatures for a petition demanding a referendum on PA 520 in early 2013. They collected 256,916 signatures -- more than the minimum number of signatures -- in only 67 days:

Warren explains how, early in 2013, concerned citizens collected enough signatures for a referendum on Michigan PA 520, wolf hunt legislation that has become Proposal 1 on the Nov. 4, 2014, Michigan ballot. The National Wolfwatcher Coalition and other environmental groups, as well as the Humane Society, are asking voters to vote "NO" on Proposal 1 in order to repeal this law.

Shortly after that petition was accepted, the state legislature passed PA 21, which gave the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the authority to designate any species (except mourning doves) as game. The NRC, with their new found authority, quickly designated the wolf as game and authorized a public hunt for Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, 2013, with a quota of 43 wolves to be killed in three designated Wolf Management Units (WMUs), or areas -- labeled A, B and C -- of the Upper Peninsula.

Here Warren talks about Michigan Public Act 21, which gives the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) -- a body of 7 political appointees with little or no scientific background -- the authority to schedule a wolf hunt. Concerned citizens collected signatures a second time (though not in time to stop the 2013 wolf hunt), and PA 21 is now on the November ballot as Proposal 2. Warren asks for a "No" vote on it to repeal the law.

Warren noted the 2013 wolf hunting season did not result in the death of "problem" wolves. The wolves that were killed, except for one, were not even near any farm.

Wolf hunt proponents next introduced the misnamed "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," attaching a million-dollar appropriation to prevent any referendum. It did not even require the Governor's signature and, according to Warren, may be proved unconstitutional.

Warren notes that most of the 22 wolves killed during the 2013 wolf hunt in Michigan were killed in places where wolves are actually beneficial. Only one was ever near a farm, and there was no evidence of any of them being involved in depredations. She also describes how a group of pro-wolf-hunt groups introduced the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," which did not require the Governor's signature and cannot go to the voters for referendum because of an appropriation attached.

In concluding her talk, Warren points out how the DNR has failed to educate the public about wolves and their role in balancing the ecosystem:

Nancy Warren of Wolfwatchers speaks about wolf management, the need for education abut the positive aspects of wolves, and the ballot proposals concerning the Michigan wolf hunt. She points out that the Michigan DNR has done nothing to promote eco-tourism about wolves, while the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn. brings in $5.5 million.

Diane Miller commented on her Finlandia University students' reactions to Warren's presentation.

"Nancy's talk, which draws on decades of experience with wolves, counteracted a lot of misinformation that has been promoted out of fear and the desire to trophy hunt," Miller said. "Several students told me that they appreciated Nancy's talk because it offered them what they needed to fully understand the wolf hunting issue and thus have a more informed response to a referendum question as they vote for the first time."

To access the text of Proposals 1 and 2, click here.

Notes:

* Click here to see the video with John Vucetich.

** See our June 27, 2013, article by Nancy Warren: "Nearly half of wolf depredations attributed to one farm with poor animal husbandry practices."