Friday, December 09, 2016

Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly to host Christmas dinners; volunteers needed


HANCOCK -- On December 25, 2016, Christmas Day, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly will be hosting a traditional Holiday Dinner with candlelight, fresh flowers and live music. The dinners in Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, Copper City, South Range, Tapiola, Ontonagon and Baraga will begin at 2 p.m.  Seniors who have no family nearby and will be alone for the holiday are welcome to attend. To make a reservation, call 906-482-6944. 

Little Brothers will also be preparing and delivering meals for homebound elderly who cannot attend the holiday parties. Volunteers are needed to help with transportation, cooking, making desserts, set-up, serving and clean-up. Especially needed are volunteers to help with transporting the elderly to the Holiday dinners and/or delivering Christmas dinners and visiting homebound elders. To volunteer, please call 906-482-6944 or visit their Web site.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

From Offense to Prayer: Vets change their mission at Standing Rock

Pow wow at Standing Rock, honoring the veterans with a feather ceremony. Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo © and courtesy Kellie Stewart. Reprinted with permission)

By Barbara With*
Posted Dec. 8, 2016, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted here in part with permission

When veterans Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. organized Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a deployment document was created and distributed through social media. In it were instructions for veterans to meet up at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on December 4, 2016, and stand as protectors of the water protectors there.

The North Dakota governor had just issued an emergency eviction order for the camps, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had set a deadline for the protectors to leave the area by Monday, December 5. Water protectors had already been subjected to violent responses from the Morton County sheriff’s department and more was expected as the day of eviction approached. ... Click here to read the rest of this article on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

*Editor's Note: Author Barbara With is a citizen journalist and water protector from La Pointe, Wis., who traveled recently to North Dakota to visit the Standing Rock water protectors. Keweenaw Now appreciates the reports, photos and articles she shares with us. Photographer Kellie Stewart has been traveling with Barbara With and recently posted some interesting photos of the weather there on her Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

New Slide Show: Christmas in Calumet 2016

Stopped in front of the Vertin Gallery in Calumet, Mich., on Dec. 3, 2016, Dean Nolan of Rocking W Stable in Eagle River, Wis., offers wagon rides during the Christmas in Calumet celebration. He will again offer rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on two more Saturdays, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- Our new slide show features Christmas in Calumet on Dec. 3, 2016: Photos from the Poor Artists Sale, gallery exhibits on Fifth Street, and Santa at the Vertin Gallery.

To view the photos as a slide show, click here for the album. Then click on the first photo and follow the right arrows. To see the captions click on the info icon in the top right corner.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s statement on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision against easement

Flags from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, left, and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe are among hundreds of flags representing Native American water protectors at Standing Rock. Barbara With -- an independent journalist and water protector from northern Wisconsin, who arrived at the Standing Rock camp on Dec. 4 -- took this photo and learned of the U.S. Army Corps decision to deny an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe. (Photo © and courtesy Barbara With)*

CANNON BALL, N.D. -- The department of the Army will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016:

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner -- and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes. Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.

Learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at standwithstandingrock.net. For incremental updates please follow our Facebook page at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or follow us on Twitter @standingrockst.

* Editor's Note: 
Journalist Barbara With reported today, Dec. 5, 2016, on the gathering of veterans at Standing Rock, organized by Wesley Clark Jr, veteran and son of Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe NATO. See her article, "Wesley Clark Jr Apologizes to Leonard Crow Dog for US Military Treatment of Indigenous People," posted today on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. The article includes a video of the ceremony, attended by 500 veterans.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Letter: Proposed SB 1187 to undo wolf protection is attempt to undermine will of Michigan voters

Michigan Wolf. (Photo courtesy Wolfwatchers)

Dear Editor:

Senator Tom Casperson has just introduced a new bill, SB 1187, which authorizes the unelected Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species and open a trophy hunting and commercial trapping season on them, should their federal Endangered Species Act protections be removed. But, as readers will remember, Michigan voters already voted on almost precisely the same measure just two years ago (Proposal 2), and rejected it in a landslide, with every single county in the Lower Peninsula voting against it (along with Chippewa County in the U.P.). The Michigan legislature should honor the expression of the will of the people and not countermand their very explicit judgment (64 percent opposed the Proposal 2).*

Please contact your Michigan legislators (find them at www.humanesociety.org/stateleglookup) and ask them to vote NO on SB 1187. In your correspondence with legislators feel free to use any of the following points:
  • In the November 2014 general election, in addition to rejecting the idea of turning over a wolf hunting decision to the Natural Resources Commission, voters also rejected wolf hunting as authorized directly by legislators. Michiganders opposed that measure by a double digit margin. In short, Michigan voters rejected, by wide margins, two wolf hunting laws that were submitted as referendum Proposal 1 and Proposal 2. These were the first two public votes on the issue of wolf hunting in the nation, and as a result, Michigan lawmakers have the best data set to support the argument that the public does not support sport hunting and trapping of wolves.

  • Wolves in the Great Lakes region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) are currently under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act, and cannot be hunted or trapped for recreation. However, if wolves were delisted in the Great Lakes again, two Michigan laws, PA 290 and PA 318 of 2008, authorizing the removal or killing of wolves attacking livestock or pets, would go back into effect. In addition, even while wolves remain under Endangered Species Act protection, the U.S. Code does authorize the killing of wolves that are even perceived to be a threat to humans. In short, ample protections already exist for any wolf conflicts. There is no reason for Michigan to authorize wolf hunting while federal law forbids that activity.

  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) already provides the state’s ranchers with fencing, fladry, and guard animals to protect livestock from native carnivores, and has stated that these methods are highly effective.** Michigan livestock owners are also compensated for confirmed or even suspected losses to wolves. Still, cases of wolves killing livestock in Michigan are extremely rare, amounting to just .0005 percent of livestock deaths in 2015. This percentage is even lower than the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) nationwide statistics, which put wolves at the very bottom, at .2 percent, of the list of hazards to livestock that include respiratory, digestive, and calving problems, weather, disease, lameness, injury, theft, even vultures. Moreover, scientific studies have amply demonstrated that indiscriminate killing of wolves by hunting is not only ineffective at mitigating conflicts with livestock, it could even make those few problems worse by dispersing packs and sending inexperienced juvenile wolves out on their own.

  • Wolves are shy and avoid humans as much as possible. On the rare occasion when wolves have been spotted in populated areas of the U.P., it was typically the result of humans drawing them into town by feeding deer, wolves’ preferred prey. But even in those instances, wolves did not threaten or harm humans. Even when wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they can still be killed by officials if they are even perceived to be a threat. Further, recent stories of wolf sightings on private property in some U.P. towns have not been substantiated, nor were official reports of those incidents filed with the Michigan DNR as is required.

  • Nor have accounts of negative impacts on Michigan’s deer population by wolves been substantiated. The Michigan DNR recently reported that even after years of harsh winters, its 2015 deer hunt showed that "Hunter satisfaction was up this year across all categories measured -- number of deer seen, number of bucks seen, overall hunting experience and deer harvested."

  • The recovery of wolves also provides essential benefits to Michigan’s ecosystem. As recently underscored by a Michigan DNR/University of Notre Dame study, wolves play a significant role in the Great Lakes ecosystem by reducing densities of deer, beavers, and other species, even protecting timber stocks and agriculture crops by reducing deer overbrowse. And by controlling deer populations, wolves can also help to mitigate the risk of car-deer collisions. Thus, wolves can benefit agriculture, public safety, water quality, and ecosystem health.

  • A virtual flood of scientific studies in the past few years have made it abundantly clear: there is no justification for killing wolves simply for trophies, out of hatred, to protect livestock, or in a misguided attempt to boost prey species for hunters.***
With all of this in mind, Michigan legislators should respect the mandate from the people of the state of Michigan that was rendered in the 2014 general election, and reject SB 1187, which tramples on that public sentiment.

Jill Fritz
Director, Wildlife Protection
The Humane Society of the United States


Editor's Notes:

* Click here to read the proposed SB 1187. Sen. Casperson introduced this bill on Dec. 1, 2016. This bill is in the Senate Calendar posted for this Tuesday, Dec. 6. Click here and scroll down to p. 11, Item 129. It could possibly be moved to the top of the agenda. Click here for the Humane Society's action alert to help you with a phone call or message to legislators.
UPDATE: You can also call Governor Snyder at (517) 373-3400 and urge him to veto any wolf hunting bill.

** According to Wikipedia, "Fladry is a line of rope mounted along the top of a fence, from which are suspended strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a breeze, intended to deter wolves from crossing the fence-line."

***  See our Oct. 27, 2014, article, "Wildlife Expert John Vucetich: Why he is voting 'no' on Proposals 1 and 2."
See also our Nov. 2, 2014, article, "Video report: Wolf hunt based on politics, not science -- why vote 'NO' on Proposals 1 and 2."