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Thursday, June 05, 2008

New ballast treatment could help shield Lake Superior from deadly fish disease

Great Lakes cargo ship. (Photo courtesy Michigan Sea Grant. Reprinted with permission from Michigan Technological University.)

By Jennifer Donovan

HOUGHTON -- A Michigan Technological University professor has developed a new water treatment that could help keep a deadly fish disease out of Lake Superior.

David Hand, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, has devised a simple way to treat ballast water in vessels ranging from pleasure craft to ore boats. His method is designed to kill the virus that causes viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), an often-fatal disease that has been attacking fish populations in the lower Great Lakes.

Hand's treatment is simple. The ballast water is disinfected with sodium hypochlorite -- ordinary household bleach. Then it is treated with ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which neutralizes the bleach before the water is released into the lake.

With good initial results, Hand has tested his method on the Ranger III, a National Park Service vessel that shuttles visitors and staff between the mainland and Isle Royale National Park ...

Click here to read the rest of this article, published June 4, 2008, on the Michigan Tech Web site.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ed Gray Gallery to present two Keweenaw art exhibits

By Michele Bourdieu

CALUMET -- The Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet will feature two one-person art exhibits by Keweenaw artists in June and July.

"A Pleasant Peninsula" -- a one-person show by Calumet artist Jack Oyler will open with a reception from 6:30 p. m. to 9 p. m. on Friday, June 6, in the Gallery at 109 Fifth St., Calumet. This exhibit will continue through June 22.

"Crow is sleeping" is the title of this painting by Calumet artist Jack Oyler. It is part of the upcoming exhibit, "A Pleasant Peninsula," opening Friday, June 6, in the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet. In his artist's statement, Oyler writes, "This year, there aren't as many crows but the crows that are still around have more interesting lives." (Photo courtesy Ed Gray Gallery. Reprinted with permission.)

The second exhibit, "Keweenaw Full Circle," oil and watercolor paintings by Kenneth Koskela, originally of Laurium, will open on Friday, June 27, and continue through July 27. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 p. m. to 9 p. m. on Friday, June 27.

These paintings by Kenneth Koskela can be seen now in the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet. "Keweenaw Full Circle," a one-person exhibit of Koskela's work, opens June 27. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

"I have been enamored of the work of both of these artists," said Gallery owner Ed Gray, "because of the quality of their work and their humor -- not only in the paintings but also in the titles."

Calumet native Jack Oyler is a self-taught painter whose works have been widely exhibited across the Upper Peninsula.

These are some of Jack Oyler's paintings for his one-person exhibit, "A Pleasant Peninsula," opening Friday, June 6, in the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

"For the last year or so, I've been working on making my paintings smaller and simpler," Oyler notes. "Other than that, the only new element I'm using is Plastic, which seems full of possibilities for representation."

Artist Kenneth Koskela explains the title of his exhibit, "Keweenaw Full Circle," in his autobiographical artist's statement, in which he describes growing up in Laurium and traveling to many places before returning to the area.

"Life in Laurium was wonderful, long, long ago before noisy passenger jets and their con trails messed up our sky, diesel trains with more noise, 120 mile an hour cars, TV, boom box radios -- all those noise making distractions which came after Madison Avenue and Plastics made all silly desires possible and available," Koskela writes.

Koskela is nostalgic about the good life in those good old days -- "a farmer with a horse and wagon delivered fresh milk in bottles to the back door each morning, steam locomotives AKA Pumper Bellies, grand old cars, winter blizzards, outdoor winter ice skating rinks, great displays of The Northern Lights, seeing the Milky Way on moonless nights, sand lot ball games, walking to and from school, 12 cent double feature Saturday movies, 5 cent real ice cream cones, picking wild blue berries for a pie, Doctors making house calls ..."

"Meet the Author Today" is the title of this painting by Kenneth Koskela. The sandstone house of his childhood memories is still standing in Laurium. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray Gallery. Reprinted with permission.)

Koskela recalls a sandstone house, still standing in Laurium, which appears in his painting, "Meet the Author Today": "As I walked to and from school each day, I passed the pink sandstone house on First Street in Laurium four times. It's still one of my favorite buildings. During those years I sketched many of the other outstanding, late, Victorian homes in Laurium -- the remains of the C&H mining days -- each one a jewel of design and detail."

The Ed Gray Gallery and Studio, also known as Miskwabik, is located on historic Fifth Street in Calumet. Ed Gray, former director of the Vertin Gallery and an artist in his own right, moved here a few months ago. In addition, he publishes the Miskwabik Press at this location. The smoke-free building is also equipped with high-speed Internet.

Ed Gray, also known by his Native American name, Jikiwe, at work in his Gallery and Studio at 109 Fifth Street, Calumet. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Gray also has an Artist-in-Residence Program with an Artist Studio/Apartment available for rent on the second floor of the building. The apartment has two large rooms, a kitchen and a bath. It is equipped with high-speed Internet and offers a visiting artist an opportunity to work, attend local events and enjoy the natural beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The Gallery exhibits a variety of art works in its collection, including some of Gray's own and some by other artists for sale. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a. m. to 5 p. m.; Friday, 10 a. m. to 9 p. m.; Saturday, 10 a. m. to 5 p. m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p. m. For more information about the Miskwabik Ed Gray Gallery and Studio or the exhibits, call 906-337-5970 or visit the Gallery Web site.

Congressman Bart Stupak endorses Senator Barack Obama

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- The following is a statement from Congressman Bart Stupak, released at 10 p.m. EDT, on Tuesday, June 3, 2008:

"This has been an historic presidential primary election with phenomenal interest in our Democratic candidates. With the conclusion of today's South Dakota and Montana primaries, all Americans have had an opportunity to make their voices heard at the ballot box. Now that the nation's last primary ballot has been cast and an agreement has been reached to seat Michigan's delegates at the Democratic National Convention, I am proud to pledge my support to Senator Barack Obama's candidacy for President of the United States.

"While I am endorsing Senator Obama tonight, I must acknowledge the spirited and skillful campaign waged by Senator Hillary Clinton. Just as Senator Obama has energized a new group of voters, Senator Clinton's campaign has served as an inspiration to countless Americans. It is clear that she will continue to play a pivotal role in future Democratic Party policy and she will continue to provide inspiration to our sons and our daughters.

"Over the past several weeks I have had an opportunity to speak with Senator Clinton and Senator Obama about issues important to Michigan. I am confident that Senator Obama will provide the leadership necessary to improve our economy, protect our Great Lakes, provide health care for all Americans and put an end to the war in Iraq. I have invited the Senator to campaign with me in northern Michigan and share his vision for change with the people of the First Congressional District.

"One issue has been resoundingly clear throughout this primary process: Americans do not want four more years of the same failed policies that have driven our country deeper into debt and tarnished our reputation in the world. Senator Obama will provide the change we need to get our country back on track to prosperity and prominence."

Editor's Note: View photos of Barack Obama taken during his victory speech June 3, 2008, in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Flickr. Read the text of Obama's speech as prepared for delivery.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Updated: Celebrate spring June 7 at Houghton Art and Music Festival

HOUGHTON -- Celebrate the arrival of spring with the Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 7, on the waterfront near the UPPCO building in downtown Houghton. Now in its seventh year, the Art and Music Festival provides an opportunity to hear live local music and shop at regional artists' booths. The event is free and open to everyone.

Visitors to Houghton's 2007 Art and Music Festival check out booths with exhibits by local artists. (File photo © 2007 Keweenaw Now)

A bike parade will take place at 11:45 a.m. Youth can bring their bikes to the waterfront from 10 a. m. to 11:30 a. m. and decorate them prior to the parade. Family art activities will be held from noon to 3 p. m.

Music starts at noon and goes until 6 p. m. The official band line up includes the New Zeeland Jazz Apples at noon, the Squeaky Clean Cretins at 1 p. m., the On the Spot Blues Band at 2 p. m., Keweenaw Brewgrass at 3 p. m., the Blackflies at 4 p. m. and Hanna Bethel at 5 p. m.

The art fair starts at 11 a. m. and will feature a variety of art and fine craft. Current participating artists include Charles Young: silver jewelry; Dennis Sotala: pottery; Sue Stephens: fiber art-hats, shawls, purses, scarves; Christine Nakkula: paintings, cards; Deb Matthews: cloth dolls; Mark Bukovich: photography; Miram Dobrofsky: pottery; Wendy Johnson and Mojo Staley: natural wood and fabric children’s play things; Kenneth Nara: wildlife and historical drawings; Seri Robinson: wooden bowls and plates; Kris Schourek: photography; Sylvia Schourek: henna tattoos; Brandi Palomaki: polymer clay goods, glass beads; Stacy Karvonen: crocheted animal hats and fiber art; Kevin Maki: rustic furniture; Jeff Massie: photography; Mark Larson: Unkle Ake's Field Guide book; Andrea Puzakulich: garments and fashion minded paper goods; Stephanie Trevino: photography; Elissa Karstu: pen and ink drawings; and Deanna Attee: natural/herbal products. Many of the artists will be demonstrating their crafts.

Local artists Debbie Mues and Miriam Pickens visit at Miriam's pottery booth during the 2007 Art and Music Festival on the Houghton waterfront. (File photo © 2007 Keweenaw Now)

The Festival, sponsored by the City of Houghton and the Copper Country Community Arts Council, will also feature an Arts Center information booth and family art activities area. Food and refreshments will be available on site with an extreme bake sale to benefit the Community Arts Center. A special thanks to Adam Johnson at Brockit Solutions for help with planning and music line up and to Jessica Brassard for poster design.

Plenty of free parking will be available. For more information, call the Community Arts Center at 482-2333 or visit the Arts Center Web site.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ride of Silence helps create bike safety awareness

Participants gather on the Michigan Tech campus to begin the 2008 Ride of Silence on May 21. (Photo © 2008 Philip Smythe. Reprinted with permission.)

HOUGHTON -- This year's Ride of Silence, on May 21, attracted 75 cyclists of all ages (the oldest was 78!) who rode to commemorate all bike riders who have lost their lives or been injured while riding on public roadways.

"Best ride yet," said Terry Smythe, fitness director of Keweenaw Memorial Rehab and Fitness Center. "The weather was cloudy and 52 with a north wind so it was cool riding."

Bike riders, young and old, participate in the Ride of Silence on May 21 in Houghton. They wear orange t-shirts to call attention to the need for safety on roads and awareness of cyclists' rights to use the roads. (Photo © 2008 Philip Smythe. Reprinted with permission.)

Riders rode in silence at a maximum of 12 m.p.h., with a Houghton Police escort.

"We are fortunate that we have not had a death up here since Nick Bell died 4 years ago on July 23 in Keweenaw County," Smythe added. "We do need to continue to encourage people to ride safely and defensively and obey traffic rules when riding as much as we need drivers to respect our right to share the road. It's an uphill battle in Michigan, but we are making strides."

Smythe noted the gas crisis is forcing people to walk and ride more and increasing their awareness of bike safety, yet motorists still need to be on the lookout and respect bike riders.

Lori Hauswirth, organizer of local community bike rides and races, writes, "This is a great event with a great mission: To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here (and) to ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD."

Bike riders in hundreds of locations worldwide participate in this international event. Visit the Ride of Silence Web site for more information and reports from various group participants in the 2008 event.