Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hey, ho! Come to the Houghton County Fair Aug. 25, 26, 27, 28 in Hancock!

By Michele Bourdieu

The Houghton County Fair gets underway at 3 p.m. today, Aug. 25, 2016, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 28. The Midway will be the scene, not only of the popular rides but this year a Live Shark Encounter -- today at 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. See the Brochure for the complete schedule. (2015 File photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Hey, ho! Come to the 2016 Houghton County Fair, opening at 3 p.m. today, Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Houghton County Fairgrounds, 1500 Birch St. in Hancock.

These cows seem to be engaged in a riveting conversation during the 2015 Houghton County Fair. This year don't miss the Swine, Dairy and Beef shows at the Livestock Pavilion on Friday, Aug. 26. Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., is also senior day and seniors 55 and over receive a Free Lunch! (2015 Video by Keweenaw Now)

This young farmer with the captivating smile is proud of her prize-winning rabbits. The Poultry and Rabbit Show this year is at 3 p.m. TODAY, THURSDAY, in the Small Animal Barn.

Sisters Carol and Nancy Bird enjoy the 2015 plant exhibit.

Prize winners in the 2015 Exhibit Hall, with the Mardi Gras theme. This year don't miss the 4-H exhibits, craft show and more in the Exhibit Hall, open until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Daily Gate Fee for the Fair is still a reasonable $7 for adults 16 and over, $5 for youth 7-15, and free for kids 6 and under. A one-day family pass is $20 for 2 adults and 4 children (7-15) from the same family entering as a group.  Click here for details and the whole schedule in the online Brochure.

Celebrate Aug. 25 National Park Service Centennial with Keweenaw National Historical Park

Today, Thursday, Aug. 25, marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), which  was created to protect 35 national parks. Celebrate the Centennial with Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP) at Quincy Mine in Hancock and in Calumet. See the schedule above. Visit the KNHP Facebook page for more info. (Poster courtesy Keweenaw National Historical Park)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New slide shows feature Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival, alumni visitors, Science Fair winners, Lake Superior Celebration

By Michele Bourdieu

Carleigh Etapa, 2, of Oakfield, Wis., tries out a ringside seat during a tour of the 47-foot long U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat docked at the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) during the Aug. 5 Keweenaw Water Festival. Her Dad, Michigan Tech alumnus Jeff Etapa, supervises while Mom, Jen Etapa, tries to take her photo. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) and Houghton's Kestner Waterfront Park were full of activities for visiting alumni and families during the Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival (KSEF) held Aug. 4, 5 and 6, 2016. From the Coast Guard boat tour to Michigan Tech's Mind Trekkers' hands-on science challenges and puzzles, kids of all ages learned about science and technology while having fun and enjoying sunny August weather.

Keweenaw Now captured some of the highlights of these events with photos we have now posted in our new slide show format. We also have added a slide show on the Western UP Science Fair winners and the April 26 Lake Superior Celebration at the GLRC. (See Slide Show announcement and links in our right-hand column).

Kris Hill, Coast Guard petty officer, who has spent four years as an engineer on the Coast Guard vessel, led visitors on a tour of the boat. He explained its purpose as a rescue vessel and pointed out the features that make this aluminum boat one of only two Coast Guard boats built to withstand hurricane-force winds and 20-foot waves on Lake Superior.

Pointing to the antennae on the Coast Guard vessel, Kris Hill, Coast Guard petty officer, explains to the Jordan family of Hancock some of the radio and radar equipment and the boat's capacity to survive even a complete roll-over, self-righting in less than 10 seconds. Pictured here are Catherine Jordan and her two sons, Adam (right) and Austin. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)*

"My job is what people retired hope to do," Hill said with a smile.

Groups of Michigan Tech alumni also had the opportunity to take a cruise on Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz during the Aug. 5 event at the GLRC.

Michigan Tech alumni visitors board the R/V Agassiz for an educational cruise. Inside the cabin, Captain Steve Roblee prepares the boat for a trip on the Keweenaw Waterway. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Guy Meadows, GLRC executive director and Michigan Tech professor, assisted visiting alumni in boarding Michigan Tech's R/V Agassiz for a cruise that including viewing the university's side-scan sonar equipment.

Guy Meadows, Michigan Tech professor and executive director of the Great Lakes Research Center waits on the dock outside the Center to help visitors on and off the R/V Agassiz (setting off for a cruise, top right) during the Aug. 5, 2016, event. At left is the 47-foot U.S. Coast Guard rescue vessel. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Meadows said he was happy to have the Coast Guard boat available for visitor tours during the Aug. 5 event.

"They're very impressive boats," he said of the 47-foot aluminum Coast Guard boat. "It's nice that they bring it down here for everybody to see."

Meadows was pleased with the number of visitors and the fact that the alumni reunion coincided with the Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival.

"We had a really good turnout," he said. "Good weather sure helps!"

Visitors learn about invasive watermilfoil

Outside and inside the GLRC, Michigan Tech researchers displayed some of the university projects on invasive watermilfoil, a persistent aquatic plant that forms dense mats of vegetation on the surface of water. Milfoil mats can clog water intakes, interfere with swimming and boating and negatively impact other natural aquatic life.

Michigan Tech's Casey Huckins, right, professor of biological sciences, welcomes Michigan Tech alumnus Bryan Milde and his wife, Patti Milde, of Atlantic Mine, Mich., and answers their questions about invasive species. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Taylor Zallek, left, and Ryan Van Goethem, Michigan Tech graduate students in biological sciences, assist young future scientists Owen Cogswell, 5, and Kyle Cogswell, 9, in comparing native and invasive watermilfoil plants under the microscope. The Cogswell family, from Rousseau, Mich., were participating in the Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Inside the GLRC Pengfei Xue, Michigan Tech University assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, explains computer modeling that helps researchers by showing the actions of invasive Eurasian watermilfoil now found in the Les Cheneaux Islands of Lake Huron. The invasive plant is spread by recreational activities, including boating. It has also been found in Torch Lake, but not yet in greater Lake Superior, he added. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Kestner Waterfront Park: Family Engineering, Mind Trekkers, Science Theatre, more ..

The Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival (KSEF) kicked off on Aug. 4 with Family Engineering Night at Kestner Waterfront Park, hosted  by Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. Hands-on challenges for the whole family included designing and constructing the tallest tower with spaghetti and marshmallows, a solar house, wind turbines with popsicle sticks and styrofoam balls, and a geodesic dome made of toothpicks.

"It was wonderful to see how intent the youth were at solving the many engineering challenges they tackled. Most of the supplies are household items and can easily be repeated and 'improved upon' at home, just like real engineers always make improvements on their initial designs!" observed Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

"The Michigan Tech students were terrific role models and encouraging coaches for the kids," Chadde added. 


During Family Engineering Night on Aug. 4, 2016, Joan Chadde, director of Michigan Tech's Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and coordinator of Family Engineering Night, helps the students test the paper package creations they made to hold exactly 293 pieces of popcorn. (Photo courtesy Joan Chadde)

Ryan Dixon of Houghton displays his colorful "Foam Gnome" creation, made with two different polymers, with Mind Trekkers member Kayla Wilson, Michigan Tech student in mechanical engineering technology, who is holding one that she made. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"Don't try this at home," warns Patrick Morgan of Michigan State University Science Theatre, as he makes "elephant toothpaste" by adding a catalyst to hydrogen peroxide in a chemistry demonstration in Kestner Waterfront Park during the Aug. 6, 2016 KSEF events. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

April 2016: Science Fair Winners and Lake Superior Celebration

On April 16, 2016, the Carnegie Museum hosted a reception for Western UP Science Fair winners.

At the April 16 Carnegie Museum reception for Western UP Science Fair winners, Devin Messina, a 5th grader at Chassell Elementary, explains her project to prove the time it takes to peel an orange, based on eyesight. (April photos by Keweenaw Now)

Ritvik Thakur and his partner, Jacob Gordon (not pictured), Houghton Elementary 5th graders, compared three types of tennis balls -- cold, hot and room temperature -- to find out which bounced the highest. Ritvik explained that the contraction of air particles in the cold balls is the reason they have less force for bouncing.

Kids had a variety of opportunities for scientific activities at the April 26, 2016, Lake Superior Celebration in the GLRC. Community members of all ages also had an opportunity to learn about local recycling initiatives.

At the April 26, 2016, Lake Superior Celebration at Michigan Tech's Great Lake Research Center, Isle Royale National Park Ranger Valerie Martin shows kids some hands-on biology experiments.

During the Lake Superior Celebration, a young visitor tries out the controls for a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), an underwater robot designed by students at Dollar Bay High School. 

An example of kids' art selected for the North Woods Kids (K-12) Art Exhibit from Western UP, displayed at the GLRC during the April 26 Lake Superior Celebration.

Lloyd Wescoat of Michigan Tech's Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI), one of the main sponsors of the Lake Superior Celebration, serves yummy chocolate cake to participants and visitors.

The April 26 Lake Superior Celebration was sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan STEM Partnership, Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, and the Copper Country Recycling Initiative.

For more photos of these events, showcasing recent Keweenaw science activities and education, click on the links below for our recent slide show photo albums:

Keweenaw Water Festival August 5, 2016

Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival 2016: Events at Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton, Michigan

April 2016: Science Fair winners; GLRC Lake Superior Celebration

Click on the first photo in the album. If the caption is not visible, click on the info icon. Then click on forward arrows to view the album as a slide show.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aug. 23: United Nations International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Today, Tuesday, Aug. 23, is the annual United Nations International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Recently First Lady Michelle Obama called attention to the fact that she, President Obama and their daughters live in a White House that was built substantially by Black slaves.*

In a recent Huffington Post article titled "Why I’m Ready For President Obama To Leave The White House," Lawrence Ware, a philosopher of race teaching in the Bible Belt, says, "Barack Obama must be the most disrespected president in American history."

After giving several examples of that disrespect, particularly from Senate Republicans, Ware says the white supremacy in this country is "here to stay," causing him to lose the hope that he shared with other African Americans when Obama was elected.

"I’m tired of seeing President Obama blatantly disrespected, and my soul is weary from having to see him grin and bear it. I’m ready for President Obama to be free from the burden of having to perform for white supremacy -- and I’m ready to be free from the burden of having to watch him do it," Ware concludes.**

Click here to read Lawrence Ware's article in the Huffington Post. It was originally published in New Black Man (in Exile).

Editor's Notes:

* Click here to read about the role of slaves in building the White House.

** Thanks to Keweenaw resident Joanne Thomas for calling our attention to this Day of Remembrance and to Professor Ware's article.