See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Candlelight Ceremony to honor survivors of domestic violence Oct. 6

CALUMET -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A Candlelight Ceremony for Survivors of Domestic Violence will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 6, at Finlandia University's Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

The public is welcome to show support in mourning victims, celebrating survivors and reaffirming the struggle for a non-violent future. The ceremony will include music, speakers and poetry. Bring a candle or flashlight and join the walk after the ceremony.

This event is sponsored by the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter. Call 337-5632 for more information.

Volunteers are needed to work at the Shelter in Calumet to help residents and their children. After receiving training, volunteers help by being empathetic listeners and support persons. Volunteers are also needed to work with the children for childcare during support groups. This is a two-hour commitment once a week. The Shelter is also looking for a volunteer for cleaning house and sorting donations. For information concerning volunteering or training call 337-5632.

Programs at the Shelter are supported by the Copper Country United Way. Donations may also be sent to Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home for Abused Women, P. O. Box 8, Calumet, MI 49913.

Recycle household, electronic items at Health Department Oct. 4

HANCOCK -- The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will collect unwanted household items from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (540 Depot St., a block south of eastbound US 41) in Hancock.

Among the items accepted are computers and accessories, microwave ovens, stereos, TVs and monitors, DVD players, VCRs, cordless phones and electronic ballasts (all $0.10/lb.); fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs ($0.50 each); alkaline batteries ($0.85/lb.); rechargeable batteries and cell phones with batteries (free). (This opportunity does not apply to Michigan Tech-owned electronics, which are recycled through the University's e-waste program.)

For more details, see or call Barb Maronen at the health department (482-7382).

Spread the Word: The transition to digital TV in February 2009 may result in people prematurely discarding analog televisions in the mistaken belief that they will no longer work. Only analog TVs that receive signals via rooftop or "rabbit ears" antennas will require converter boxes. A government-sponsored $40 coupon program will help pay for up to two boxes per household: See or call 1-888-388-2009. Cable and satellite TV subscribers can continue to use their existing TVs, even if they aren't digital-ready models. For more information visit

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Isle Royale Wolf, Moose photography on display in Calumet Oct. 3 - 31

Isle Royale wolf. (Photo © 2008 Rolf Peterson. Reprinted with permission.)

CALUMET -- Two Michigan Tech wolf-moose researchers and the filmmaker who immortalized their research are mounting an exhibition of some of the best of years of still photography shot at Isle Royale National Park. The show opens at the Omphale Gallery in Calumet with a reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, professors in Michigan Tech University's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, and producer George Desort will host the reception at the gallery at 431 Fifth St., Calumet. Light appetizers and drinks will be provided at the opening. Their exhibit, called "Isle Royale Wolf and Moose Study Collection," will remain on display through Oct. 31.

Walking on the ice of Washington Harbor, Isle Royale, are, from left, Don E. Glaser, winter study pilot, Rolf Peterson, wolf biologist and John Vucetich, wolf biologist. (Photo © 2008 George Desort. Reprinted with permission.)

Desort, an independent Upper Peninsula filmmaker, premiered his full-length documentary about the wolves and moose of Isle Royale, titled Fortunate Wilderness, at a 50th anniversary celebration of the wolf-moose predator-prey study held on Isle Royale July 25-27, 2008. If you missed that premiere, the film will be shown on Oct. 25 at the Rosza Center on the MTU campus.

Close up of antler on Isle Royale moose. (Photo © 2008 John Vucetich. Reprinted with permission.)

See a preview of some of the Isle Royale photos and read about the 50-year Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study on the Wolf-Moose Study Web site.

KLT to hold open house at Marsin Nature Retreat Center Oct. 3

HANCOCK -- The public is invited to a Marsin Nature Retreat Center open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3. The Marsin Center, owned and operated by the Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT), is a resource available to community groups for a variety of outdoor and indoor activities and events.

The Marsin Nature Retreat Center, located on the Portage Waterway near Oskar, adjoins the 40-acre Marsin Preserve established in 1999. The late Mary Sinish, who grew up in the Keweenaw, bequeathed these properties to the Keweenaw Land Trust. Her vision was to establish a nature center for those with limited access to the serenity of the outdoors, including the elderly and disadvantaged. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo courtesy Keweenaw Land Trust)

The goals for the Marsin Center are to promote community and partnership while fostering a stronger connection to the natural world. The 16-acre property includes waterfront on the Portage Waterway, a main building suitable for large gatherings and a campus suitable for a variety of educational and recreational activities.

Marsin program volunteers and KLT staff will be on hand to provide guided tours, share plans for the Marsin Center and answer questions. Everyone is welcome to learn about ongoing activities, the facilities and the partnership with Finlandia University’s Design Program assisting with site and facilities improvements.

The Marsin Center is located about 8 miles from Houghton: Take the Canal Road one mile past Oskar, turn right on Red Brick Road and follow signs to the Center. Refreshments will be provided. For more information about the Marsin Nature Retreat Center or the Keweenaw Land Trust, visit or call 482-0820.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Finlandia to present musical comedy set in 1930s Finland Oct. 2-5

HANCOCK – Four performances of the play, Herra Puntila and His Man Matti, will be presented Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 2-5, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Pictured here is a scene from Herra Puntila and His Man Matti, a musical comedy written in 1941 by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Finnish-Estonian playwright Hella Wuolijoki. Director Melvin Kangas, Finlandia University music and drama instructor, composed music for the play, which runs Oct. 2-5 at Finlandia's Finnish American Heritage Center. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University.)

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-4. The Sunday, Oct. 5, performance begins at 2:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door prior to each performance. Tickets are $5.00 per person; Finlandia student are admitted free with their university ID. The play is performed in English.

Herra Puntila and His Man Matti (Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti) was written in 1941 by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Finnish-Estonian playwright Hella Wuolijoki.

Directed by Finlandia music and drama instructor Melvin Kangas, the musical comedy tells the story of landowner Puntila and his "Jekyll and Hyde" relationships with his daughter, his servant Matti and the workers on his farm. The play was adapted from a Finnish folk tale and is set in Finland in the 1930s.

The play is one of Brecht’s modern social criticism plays. Its message suggests that genuine equality, not the whims of individual philanthropy, bridges the gap between rich and poor.

However, play director Melvin Kangas said the message is not why he chose to produce the play.

"I like to select plays where I can have a creative hand, especially with the music," Kangas explained. "This play gave me that opportunity."

Each of the play’s ten scenes is introduced by a song with music composed by Kangas.

"Brecht wrote the words for the songs, but not the music," Kangas said. "So each production of the play is different."

And to enhance the Finnish ambiance of the play, Kangas has added performances of traditional Finnish dances between each scene. Dancers include Bob and Hester Butler and Phyllis Fredendall and Hannu Leppanen.

The play’s cast and crew numbers more than 25 and includes community members and Finlandia students, staff and faculty.

When Puntila (played by Oren Tikkanen) is sober, he is a mean-spirited, self-centered capitalist who fires workers with communist sympathies, puts profit before people and wants to marry his daughter, Eva (Kendra Benson), to a lame-brained diplomat (Jordan Siegler).

When he is drunk, Puntila is friendly and humane, hiring anyone who needs a job and determined to marry Eva to his chauffeur, Matti (Pasi Lautila), whom he treats as an equal. Oscillating between these two poles, he plays havoc with his workers, his daughter’s marriage and the loyalty of his sardonic chauffeur and valet, Matti.

German playwright, poet, and Marxist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) wrote his first plays in the 1920s. With the composer Kurt Weill he wrote the satirical musical The Threepenny Opera, which was produced as a film in 1931. With the rise of the Nazis in Germany he went into exile, first in Scandinavia (1933-1941), then in the U.S., where he wrote the play Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) and several other popular plays. Harassed in the U.S. for his politics, in 1949 he returned to East Germany, where he established the Berliner Ensemble theatre troupe and staged his own plays.

For additional information, please contact Melvin Kangas at 906-487-7250.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oct. 6 voter registration deadline approaches: Registration forms available on line

LANSING -- Michigan residents who have not yet registered to vote can fill out an online form and mail it in to meet the registration deadline of Oct. 6, 2008, for the November 4 presidential election.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm offers on her Web site a new online feature that will print off a pre-filled voter registration form to mail in. You can fill out and print a voter registration form at

To register, you must be at least 18-years-old on or before Election Day and be a U.S. citizen. You must be a resident of Michigan and the city or township in which you wish to register. You can register in person at any Secretary of State or Department of Human Services office, or by mail.

You can find out if you're registered and where you should vote by signing in at

Stupak: Bailout abandons Northern Michigan values

By U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee)*

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- In mid-September, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson insisted there would be no bailout for American International Group (AIG), which was heavily invested in the subprime mortgage market. Thirty six hours late, the Federal Reserve provided $85 billion to save AIG in the largest government bailout of a private corporation in U.S. history. Just days earlier, the failure of Lehman Brothers became the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, sending global markets into turmoil.

By the end of that same week, the Treasury Secretary came to Congress with a $700 billion bailout proposal for Wall Street, insisting it be implemented immediately to avoid a severe financial crisis.

It was against this backdrop that Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke requested unprecedented authority and power, asking elected officials to hand over the keys to the U.S. Treasury. As greed ran amuck, there was now panic on Wall Street.

It came as quite a shock that the same men who have for the past year continued to insist our economy is sound were now asking Congress for government intervention unprecedented since the Great Depression. I did not trust their gloom and doom forecast and wanted time to review the proposal.

Over the past 10 days, Democrats and Republicans have worked with the Bush Administration to craft H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. During this time, I have heard from thousands of my constituents across northern Michigan. My staff and I have reached out to banks, credit unions, small businesses and economists. Most sense the urgency of addressing the financial crisis, but had many more questions than answers.

While the debate raged over what Congress should do, a consensus on four main principles emerged: there must be transparency on the purchase of troubled assets; no golden parachutes should be provided for executives; Congress must provide oversight; and the taxpayers must be protected. H.R. 3997 falls short in all of these areas.

Although $700 billion is the number being attached to this bailout, even the Treasury Secretary acknowledges it was arbitrarily chosen to calm the financial markets. No one can tell us the total cost of the bailout or even if the infusion of $700 billion will solve the problem.

My review of H.R. 3997 shows the limitations on Wall Street executive pay only apply if a financial entity receives $300 million in government help. The bailout raises the national debt to $11.3 trillion and leaves taxpayers no way to recoup the interest we will have to pay on the $700 billion bailout. Perhaps most importantly, no one can tell us where or how the United States will come up with $700 billion.

I am concerned $700 billion is just the beginning and additional billions of dollars will almost certainly be necessary. The bailout is likely to go on for years, and over that time I fully expect corruption and criminal activity will be found on Wall Street.

I cannot ask American families -- who work hard, play by the rules and struggle to meet their own financial obligations -- to bailout Wall Street executives for their reckless, lavish lifestyles.

For that reason, I voted “no” on H.R. 3997. This bailout does not represent our northern Michigan values, but instead rewards excessive financial shenanigans without any accountability.

The $700 billion bailout failed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 205-228 on September 29. I expect to be called back to Washington in the coming days to consider an alternative package. I will examine that alternative proposal closely to see that it addresses the concerns I have raised. Congress will do what is necessary to stabilize our economy and restore confidence in the financial markets, but will ensure that protecting the taxpayers is priority number one.

* U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) represents Michigan’s 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Visit his Web site for more information about his work for this large district, which includes all of the Upper Peninsula and much of Northern Michigan below the Mackinac Bridge as well. This column was written on Sept. 29, 2008.

Keweenaw County launches Web site

EAGLE RIVER -- Keweenaw County now has a new Web site at The site includes minutes of all the various commission meetings as well as permits and other forms residents can download and complete at their convenience.

In an email to Keweenaw County residents, Janet Shea, chairman of the Keweenaw County Economic Development Committee, announced the site went online today, Sept. 30, 2008.

"The site will make county government activities more transparent," she noted. "Once you have had an opportunity to look through the site, any comments or suggestions you may have for improvements would be very appreciated."

Readers can email comments to the site's Webmaster at

"Sometime in the future," Shea added, this site will also be a portal for community information for residents plus travel and tourism information for visitors."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rep. Mike Lahti meets with Obama supporters

By Michele Bourdieu

HOUGHTON -- State Representative Mike Lahti (D-Hancock) met with supporters of Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate, on Saturday, Sept. 27, to discuss volunteer efforts to get out the vote for Obama's Campaign for Change during these last few weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

Mike Lahti, State Representative for Michigan's 110th District, meets with supporters of Barack Obama's Campaign for Change on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu.)

Lahti offered suggestions and fielded questions from the group on the best ways to reach undecided voters and to inform the public about the coming Oct. 6, 2008, deadline for voter registration.

"I like going door-to-door. It's a nice chance to get to meet folks," Lahti said. "It can be fun."

Volunteers who attended the session, held at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton, reported having good experiences knocking on doors and talking to Copper Country residents.

Mike Levin, field organizer for Obama's Campaign for Change, said he has had some great talks with local residents in his door-to-door canvassing.

"People are so nice up here," he said.

Community artist and volunteer Mary Wright of Hancock confirmed the importance of door-to-door visits.

"Research shows that the most effective way of changing undecided voters is face-to-face, person-to-person contact," she said.

Wright commended the young volunteers from Houghton High School for their efforts on behalf of Obama's Campaign for Change.

Nathan Held, a junior at Houghton High and one of those volunteers, was enthusiastic about working for the Campaign.

"It's the largest presidential campaign ever in Michigan," Held said. "I've been interested in politics since 2000. I lived in Louisiana at that time."

Held's family moved to Houghton in 2006. Before that he became an ardent supporter of Al Gore.

"I'm reading his book right now -- The Assault on Reason," he noted. "I definitely agree with him on global warming."

Stacy Welling, campaign manager for U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) addressed the group and encouraged them to support Stupak's campaign for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Stupak represents Congressional District 1, which includes almost half of Michigan's land mass and 1,613 miles of shoreline.*

State Representative Mike Lahti, second from left, spoke with young Obama supporters at a meeting Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. Pictured with Lahti, from left, are Mike Levin, field organizer for Obama's Campaign for Change; Nathan Held, Houghton High School volunteer for Obama; and Stacy Welling, campaign manager for U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), who is running for re-election. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu.)

"Congressman Stupak has worked extremely hard for the U.P. and Northern Michigan, and I'm honored to work with him," Welling said.

Lahti also spoke in support of Stupak, noting that the U.S. Congressman faces the most opposition he has had so far in his eight terms (since 1992) representing all of the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, one of the largest Congressional districts in the nation.

"He's very well prepared and hard-working," Lahti said. "He works hard for the district. He's a good representative for this area."

Welling encouraged those attending the meeting to put out yard signs for the candidates.

"It's so important to do that," she said.

Mike Levin noted a new batch of signs recently arrived in the Houghton County Democrats' new office at 509 Shelden Ave, Houghton. He said the office is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Lahti also spoke about the recent Michigan legislative session. While he noted less rancor among representatives this year, he added Michigan is still in rough shape economically. Training people for jobs needs to happen right in the local community, he added.

In addition to jobs, nursing homes for the aged and health care are big issues in Michigan, Lahti noted.

"We're waiting to see a new person in the White House so we can get some help with that," he said.

Lahti said he would be spending the next few weeks, while the Michigan legislature is on break, working on his own campaign for re-election.**

Mary Hunt, who co-ordinates volunteers at the Calumet office for the Houghton County Democrats, at 305 Sixth St., mentioned the need to inform the public not only about the Oct. 6 registration deadline but also where they should go to vote. This information is available on the Internet.

You can find out if you're registered and where you should vote by signing in at

Information on how to register is also on the site:,1607,7-127-1633_11619-123989--,00.html#5

Learn more about Senator Barack Obama's Campaign for Change by visiting his Web site.

* See Congressman Bart Stupak's Campaign Web site to learn more about issues facing the U.P. and Northern Michigan.
** See Mike Lahti's Campaign Web site, his official Michigan House Democrats site and his new blog to learn more about his campaign and local issues he supports.