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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finlandia to host art, music "Fusion Fest" Apr. 20

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University International School of Art and Design will host the first-ever "Fusion Fest" Art and Music Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Apr. 20, at Finlandia’s Portage Campus.

The free, all-day indoor festival will include food, arts and crafts booths, music and demonstrations. Proceeds from the event will help Finlandia art and design students attend the 2009 Self-Employment in the Arts conference in Chicago .

Food will include grilled hot dogs and bratwurst, as well as Finnish, Japanese and Tanzanian dishes prepared by Finlandia international students.

Student and community vendor booths will display and sell jewelry, ceramics, fiber art and fine art. T-shirts and tote bags with the Fusion Fest logo will also be available for sale.

Local, student, and faculty musicians will perform throughout the day; and a dance will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Finlandia liberal arts major Dane Rasmussen of Stevens Point, Wis., will demonstrate the Australian aboriginal didgeridoo.

Students will conduct tours of the art studios and classrooms at Finlandia’s Portage Campus, where various art demonstrations will be underway, including weaving and the "raku" ceramics firing technique. A continuous slide show of artwork by student and community artists will be shown.

The event is organized by students in a Finlandia Art and Design Project Management class. They are graphic design majors junior Jessie Millar of Acton, Calif.; sophomore Ashley Jilek of Rockford, Ill.; sophomore Tara Vassar of Niagara, Wis.; and marketing junior Andrew Kirt of Gaylord, Mich. Many other students and faculty members are also involved.

For additional information, please contact Finlandia art and design instructor Denise Vandeville at 906-487-7225.

Official University Statement from Finlandia President Philip Johnson

Statement sent to media Friday morning, Apr. 18, 2008:

HANCOCK -- An assault with a knife occurred at Finlandia Hall early (Friday) morning in which two students were injured. Finlandia University is cooperating fully with a police investigation. It is my understanding that the suspect is now in custody.

We are doing everything we can to assist the injured students and their families. And personal counseling has been made available to all our students through the campus pastor’s office and Student Support Services.

As the president of this institution, I am deeply and personally troubled that something of this kind could happen in our small community. The safety of our students and the security of the Finlandia campus is my highest priority.

Next week, Finlandia celebrates spring commencement and congratulates 122 new graduates. It profoundly saddens me that the college memories of these new alumni will be clouded by this morning’s incident.

I am confident that Finlandia will come together in common support of our students and campus community.

Editor's Note: President Johnson also informed Finlandia faculty and staff Friday afternoon that the hospitalized student is in stable condition.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Calumet galleries to host artist receptions Apr. 18

This painting by Terry Daulton is part of her exhibit, "ECOTONES," at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Vertin Gallery)

CALUMET -- Friday, Apr. 18, is a day for artist receptions in Calumet.

"ECOTONES, Paintings by Terry Daulton," is the new exhibit at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a talk by the artist at 7:30 p.m.

According to Daulton, the title represents the ecological importance of the North Woods. Daulton is a landscape painter, biologist and environmental educator from the Ironwood area, where she lives on an island. The show will be up until May 14. Call 906-337-2200 for further information.

The Vertin Gallery is on the corner of Sixth and Oak streets in Calumet.

At the Omphale Gallery, 431 Fifth Street, a reception will also be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Apr. 18, for their April exhibit, "BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, Collage sulpture and drawings by Reed Harjala." Listen to live music by the artist and enjoy refreshments and a light buffet. The exhibit continues through May 3.

Note from Joyce Koskenmaki: The Ed Gray gallery on Fifth Street is also open on Friday nights, for those of you who have not seen his beautiful juried show, "Trees."

New exhibit opens at Turquoise Gallery Apr. 18

An Istanbul ferry boat (vapur) heads down the Bosphorus. The city of Istanbul is in the background. This photo is part of "The Sound of Istanbul," the new exhibit at the Turquoise Gallery in Hancock. (Photo © 2008 Haluk Narmanli. Reprinted with permission.)

HANCOCK -- "The Sound of Istanbul," will be on exhibit at the Turquoise Art Gallery from Apr. 18 to May 16. This exhibition of photographs will take you on an exotic journey to the one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Apr. 18. Refreshments ("exotic foods") will be served.

The Turquoise Gallery is on the first floor of the former E.L. Wright School Building on N. Lincoln Drive (U.S. 41) in Hancock.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Notice of Tree Sale location change May 2, 3

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) Annual Tree Sale pick-up site has been changed to the LAKES EVENT CENTER, 52705 M-26, Lake Linden (Between Hubbell and Lake Linden). The public may pick up Tree Sale orders or purchase extra stock for sale from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 2, and from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, May 3.

HKCD appreciates the generosity of Al Kiley of Kiley Enterprises LLC in allowing the use of his building for the Tree Sale. The change of location was made because of an unforeseen situation.

Extra stock for sale will include the following:

Trees for Wildlife -- American Mountain Ash, Quaking Aspen, Basswood, Paper Birch, Black Cherry, Northern Red Oak, Roselow Sargent Crab, Red and Sugar Maples.

Shrubs for Wildlife -- Beaked Hazelnut, Highbush Cranberry, Ninebark, Rugosa Rose, Serviceberry, Winterberry and Lilacs.

Fruit Trees -- Cortland, Jonagold, Paulared, Wolf River, Montmorency Cherry and Bartlett Pear.

Berry Bushes -- Chester Thornless Blackberry, Northland, Patriot and Jersey Blueberry, Heritage Red Raspberry and Honeoye Strawberry.

For more information contact Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District at 482-0214, email: or call Sue at 369-3400.

Threatening note found in MTU's ROTC Building

HOUGHTON -- The following is a message from Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz concerning a threatening note. Anyone with information on this is requested to contact MTU Public Safety as noted below.

"As we indicated Wednesday evening, a threatening note was found in the restroom in the ROTC building on the Michigan Tech campus. The area was secured by Public Safety officers and US Army and Air Force Officers who occupy the building. The area has been processed for evidence and this has been sent to the State Police Crime Laboratory. The building has been locked down for the semester, and only students and employees with regular access will be able to enter. We increased our police patrols last night and all local and state police authorities have been notified. We will continue increased patrols for the remainder of the semester.

"You may also want to check out the Safety First website at for additional information. If you have any information regarding this incident please contact Public Safety at 906-487-2216 or by dialing 911.

"We will send additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you,

Glenn Mroz"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Updated: Calumet Theatre to go green with Earthday Festival Apr. 19

CALUMET -- An Earthday Festival will be held Saturday, Apr. 19, at the Calumet Theater. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Theatre Ballroom a variety of Upper Peninsula participants will present workshops, seed planting, demonstrations, art and music activities, exhibits on sustainable design, a program on alternative community power sources, handmade goods, refreshments and more. Admission to the ballroom is free.

A concert beginning at 7 p.m. will feature he Earth Works Music Collective, including Seth Bernard, Daisy May, Jen Sygit, Breathe Owl Breathe, Chris Dorman, Darlene, Susan Fawcett, Brandon Foote, Laura Bates and Luke Winslow-King. Over a dozen musicians take the stage in a round robin, song-swapping setting. Admission is $15, $13 for Theatre members and $8 for students.

The following is a list of presentations and activities in the Ballroom:

Keweenaw Krayons: Hands on seed planting and art activities
Mission statement: To provide a safe, mentoring, intergenerational environment for everyone in which they can participate in creative educational activities, regardless of their economic or social status.
10 Stanton Ave., PO Box 191
Mohawk, MI 49950

Keweenaw Food Co-op
Offering healthy soup, snacks and refreshments from 5-7 p.m. and during intermission

A non-profit research, design and educational institution whose mission is to seek the development of socially and ecologically sustainable environments. We foster projects that are participatory in nature and holistic in perspective. To this end, we act as an educational and networking resource. SEEDS focuses on incubating projects that lessen our ecological footprint and designing spaces conducive to this.

The Keweenaw Land Trust
Mission: A community partner protecting land, water and quality of life through conservation, stewardship and education.
Our Vision: The Keweenaw Land Trust empowers landowners and citizens to create and conserve a landscape that is beautiful, healthy and diverse, to sustain wildlife, strengthen our local economy and provide recreational opportunities that together enhance our quality of life.
801 N. Lincoln Dr., Suite 201A
Hancock, MI 49930

Northern Options
Northern Options Energy Center
205 S. Front St. Suite 2F
Marquette, MI 49855

Earthwork Music
CD’s, T-shirts, Posters and more!
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.

Ryan Dalman Pottery
Wood Fired Pottery

Autumn Start Designs
Autumn Star Designs is a small company dedicated to providing conscious clothing using ancient dyeing techniques. We select fibers not only for quality, but also for sustainability. Our garments are made using all natural and organic fibers like hemp, organic cotton, and wool. Our fabrics are naturally dyed in small batches, using earth's botanical treasures and pigments, resulting in one of a kind garments. The techniques used are environmentally conscious with plenty of love and
creativity mixed in.

Yana Dee
Clothing and accessories from natural and salvaged materials.
Handmade in Michigan

Barbara Hardy and Viki Weglarz
Presentation Title: Backyard Ecosystems, A short animation that spotlights on ecological design principles and how they can be applied in our own backyard. Barb and Viki are on a quest for the best home-scale food, water, energy, and shelter systems for northern climates. They share a love of the outdoors and take pleasure in providing for their families' needs through direct means. Viki brings over 20 years experience of living and gardening in the Keweenaw, and Barb brings 15 years of sustainable design practice. They are both students of Permaculture Design.

Slide Show Presentations (In order of appearance):

Melissa Davis
New Home Power Tour
Presentation on alternative community power sources.

Raymond Weglarz
Presentation Title: Canoeing the Rivers of the Western UP.
Enjoy the scenery and learn about the wild rivers in the western UP that Ray and friends have canoed for over 30 years.

Rick Loduha
Sustainable Design Presentation and Demonstration
Rick has been a professional designer since 1972, a dedicated green designer since the early 1980’s and has been teaching university-level sustainable design since 1991. He has been in partnership with designer Barbara Hardy in R+r Sustainable Design since 1997. R+r is currently practicing here in the U.P. in commercial and residential sustainable interior architecture, in-fill architectural design, waste stream resource reclamation and inventive reuse design.

Mary Hindelang PhD,
Presentation Title: Wild Nature
Description: Places and animals I have had the honor to visit. Wilderness is defined as “ area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Fortunate to be that visitor who does not remain, I carry these memories of the wild in my heart as I travel on.

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club awarded grant for brushcutters

HANCOCK -- A grant from the Keweenaw Community Foundation's Cross Country Skiing Endowment has made it possible for the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) to purchase new equipment for maintenance of the Maasto Hiihto Trails. The $500 grant, awarded last December, provides partial funding of power trimmers/brushcutters and safety accessories.

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) Board members display the Club's new trimmers/ brushcutters after their February 2008 meeting in the Maasto Hiihto Chalet in Hancock. Pictured are, from left, Jay Green, John Diebel, Ruth Archer, Wayne Stordahl and Arlyn Aronson. The purchase of the new trail maintenance equipment is thanks to a grant from the Keweenaw Community Foundation. The KNSC will hold its annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Apr. 16, in the Chalet. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

The KNSC purchased two Honda trimmers/brushcutters from Superior Rent-All at an end-of-season price plus an added discount provided by Superior Rental-All and Honda. The club also purchased helmets with hearing and eye/face protection.

Wayne Stordahl, head of trail maintenance for KNSC, said the trimmers/brushcutters will be a big help in brushing the trails in the fall because they are heavy-duty and will cut down small saplings. Up to now, most of the volunteers have used grass trimmers. While useful in some grassy areas, grass trimmers are not adequate for a majority of the fall clearing work. Now more volunteers can be accommodated, and the job can be done much more quickly.

KNSC operates the Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids cross country ski trails -- a system of 25 kilometers of striding-only ski trails passing through the beautiful Swedetown Creek gorge and the surrounding uplands in and adjacent to the City of Hancock. Snowshoers are welcome to use the trails also during the ski season. Mountain bikers, hikers, walkers and trail runners use the trails in the warmer months, thus benefiting from the maintenance of the ski trails.

The KNSC board of directors wants to thank the Keweenaw Community Foundation and Superior Rent-All for their generous support and encourages the general public to support the Foundation by dropping by 326 Shelden Ave, Houghton, calling 482-9673, or by visiting the Keweenaw Community Foundation Web site.

Volunteers are always welcome for trail maintenance and other club activities. Contact Board President Ruth Archer at 906-482-4957 or Board Member Arlyn Aronson at 487-2992.

The annual meeting of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 16. Elections will be held. The meeting will be in the chalet at the Houghton County Fairgrounds in Hancock.

Everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, call 482-4957.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hancock's Swedetown Creek: Is it, was it, will it be -- a park?

By Michele Bourdieu

HANCOCK -- The Hancock City Council will hold its regular monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 16. So far, the issue of the City's potential land sale near the mouth of Swedetown Creek, in Government Lot 5, is absent from the agenda.

This photo of Swedetown Creek, taken today, Apr. 15, 2008, near M-203, shows what appears to be a beaver dam not far from the road. A natural trail, covered now by melting snow, leads to the mouth of the creek at the Portage Waterway, a favorite kayak launching site. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Swedetown Creek appears neither under Old Business nor under New Business, but for many Hancock residents it is "unfinished" business.

At the March 19, 2008, Hancock City Council meeting, a proposal to make the city-owned portion of Government Lot 5 a City park, which would preclude selling two potential 100-ft. residential lots near the creek, failed to pass because of a tied vote of 3-3, with one member of the Council, Bill Laitila, absent.

Councilor Lisa McKenzie, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee appointed to study the Swedetown Creek issue and make a recommendation to the Council, said today that a second vote is possible. (Any of the Councilors who voted "no" or Councilor Laitila, because of his absence, can legally request a second vote during a City Council meeting.)

During the Mar. 19 Hancock City Council meeting, Councilor Lisa McKenzie, center, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Swedetown Creek, explains the Committee's recommendation to confirm the area as a park. Also pictured are Councilors Tom Gemignani, right, also a member of the Ad Hoc Committee, and Sarah Baratono. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"The City sometimes moves slowly, but in some cases it's good because you're more thorough in answering all the questions that are posed in these types of issues," McKenzie said. "I think people, if they're interested, should come to the meeting. The public is always welcome to attend to voice their support and concerns."

Since the summer of 2007, residents have appeared at Council and Planning Commission meetings and written letters to City officials to request that the City preserve the area in its present natural state for public access and recreation. It is a favorite spot for fishing, walking, kayaking, birding and picnicking. The Copper Country Audubon Club has offered the City $1000 plus volunteer hours to maintain it as a bird sanctuary open to the public since several species of migratory birds have been observed in the area.

Swollen with April snow melt, Swedetown Creek gurgles down to the Portage Waterway in Hancock at a peaceful spot far enough from traffic to attract birds. A woodpecker and songbirds were present today, though the video, overwhelmed by the rushing of the stream, could not quite pick them up. (Video clip © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

In spite of a 1941 deed from the State of Michigan that states the area is "to be used solely for park and recreational purposes" and an error in the 2001 Recreation Plan (for lack of a survey) that listed the property as part of Hancock Township and the owner as the State of Michigan (perhaps because of the Department of Natural Resources maintaining the boat launch area), the City Council, on advice from the City's attorney, concluded last fall that a vote of the Council would be necessary to "make it a park."*

Last November the Council appointed the Ad Hoc Committee to study the issue and to make a recommendation to the Council.

At the March 19 Council meeting, that Committee -- Councilors Lisa McKenzie, Tom Gemignani and Ted Belej -- recommended the Council make the city-owned portion of Government Lot 5 area a park.

McKenzie pointed out that the 1941 Deed was in effect at the time the City Charter was adopted in 1988. The Charter states, " park or cemetery, as legally described upon adoption of this Charter, may be sold by the City unless approved by majority of the electors voting thereon at any general or special election."

This view toward the east of Swedetown Creek shows part of the area the City has proposed to sell for two residential lots of 100 ft. each. The Hancock Planning Commission recommended a buffer of another 100 ft. between the creek and the lots. In a 2003 quit claim deed, the State of Michigan relinquished reversionary interest in the property but reserved for the public the right of ingress and egress across the property for access to water. Public comments have suggested that right could make residential development on this site unattractive to potential buyers. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"We're just clarifying that it is a park," McKenzie said. "We can sell it, but it needs to go to a vote of the people."

Councilor James Hainault stated several objections to making the area a park.

He said the issue was complicated by the presence of a house on Government Lot 5 (a discovery made when the recent survey of the area concluded the Hancock city limit extended farther west than the present sign indicates) and a piece of private property (known as the Mayra Exception) "in the middle of" the property. Hainault also cited a need for taxes.

"We would lose an opportunity to generate revenue we sorely need," he said.

Hainault noted the Hancock Planning Commission had recommended selling part of the property on two occasions.** He added that the Recreation Commission was not consulted in this process and the Recreation Plan does not list Swedetown Creek or Government Lot 5 in its list of 29 needs for the City. Hainault said several people present at this meeting were also at the public hearings held before the Recreation Plan was adopted.

"Hancock needs to grow," Hainault said, mentioning the need for a larger tax base to cover services. "We also have an obligation to keep our taxes as low as possible for the residents of the city."

Hainault also repeated what he had said at a previous meeting -- that the City has more parks than it can afford to maintain now.

"I can't imagine why we would want to tie up this property at this time," he said. "We as elected officials need to find the highest and best use of that property."

McKenzie expressed the Ad Hoc Committee's view that the Swedetown Creek area is already a park. She explained that the 1941 deed was in force at the time of the 1988 City Charter.

"We're just clarifying that it is a park," she said. "We can sell it, but it needs to go to a vote of the people."

The three Ad Hoc Committee members voted in favor of their recommendation, but their vote failed because the other three Council members present -- James Hainault, Sarah Baratono and Mayor Barry Givens -- voted "no."

The Committee's second recommendation at the March 19 meeting -- to make the Wright Addition/Lake Street 500-ft. waterfront parcel, 2.5 acres, a City Park -- also failed by an identical 3-3 vote.

Joe Kaplan, a member of the Hancock Citizens' Forum, said he felt the Ad Hoc Committee was correct in recognizing the 1941 deed and the City Charter that restricts the sale of legally described park land without a vote of the public.

"I believe the Ad Hoc Committee has a genuine interest in protecting this parcel," Kaplan said.

Last December Kaplan also sent a detailed list of background information on Government Lot 5 to Mayor Barry Givens and the Ad Hoc Committee members. In the attached letter to Givens, he states, "Since the Hancock City Charter requires the approval of the voters to sell city park (and cemetery) property, it is imperative that the City Council determine the current status of the Swedetown site before recommending sale of any portion of the property to private interests. To argue that Swedetown Creek is not already a city park requires an explanation of how, at the time the Charter was adopted in 1988, the property at Swedetown Creek could be held in city ownership and used for purposes other than 'park and recreation.'"

The regular 7:30 p.m. City Council meeting on Wednesday, Apr. 16, will be preceded by a Work Session at 6:30 p.m. Both are open to the public.

Gustavo Bourdieu, Keweenaw Now photographer, and Gordito, Keweenaw Now mascot, both contributed to this article today ("trail safety patrol"). (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Editor's Notes: * See our article of March 18, 2008, for background on the Swedetown Creek issue and a report on the Ad Hoc Committee meeting of March 10, 2008.

** See our Sept. 17, 2007, article on the August Planning Commission meeting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dance, comic skits add fun to International Night

HOUGHTON -- The theme for Michigan Tech's International Night 2008, held April 5 in the Rozsa Center, was "Story Telling Around the World." The MTU African Students Organization contributed a skit that tells a story in pidgin English, a combination of African language and English as used in West Africa. Their lively African dance tells another story ...

During International Night 2008, members of MTU's African Students Organization dramatize and translate "Pidgin English and its Works," or, how to meet a girl speaking Pidgin.

Members of the MTU African Students Organization perform an African dance during International Night April 5 in the Rozsa Center. (Videos © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Click on photo for a larger view of the dancers. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Representing South American culture, Braden Giacobazzi and Maggie Kieckhafer dance "Tango Fusion -- Traene Paz." (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Tim Hammond, as the World Culture student, seeks advice from Angela Nordeng, the Angel of Culture, during one of their "story telling" skits during MTU's International Night 2008. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Watch for more photos and videos of International Night, coming soon!