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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Letter from Mary Hunt: Volunteers still needed for Democratic Get Out the Vote

By Mary Hunt, Houghton County Democrats Calumet office coordinator

CALUMET -- Election Day is next Tuesday. Then we can relax!

Yes, Barack Obama is ahead in the polls, thanks to excitement about him and to an economy in turmoil. But the Obama campaign and Houghton County Democrats are still working hard. We are NOT TAKING ANYTHING FOR GRANTED!!!


*supports our outstanding ticket, from Senator Carl Levin, Congressman Bart Stupak and our own State Rep. Mike Lahti from the Copper Country to Houghton County Drain Commissioner John Pekkala.

* builds a stronger future for forward-looking, practical Democratic candidates in the U.P.

PLEASE consider signing up to help in our final Get Out the Vote push!! Meet a wonderful variety of involved neighbors and local Dems! Participate in this historic, pivotal election to rebuild the middle class (health care, education, jobs) that made America great!

It’s fun and there’s free food. ONLY strong Democratic households will be contacted…. This will be fun and easy. No persuasion. No questions about preference. This work has already been done.

CALL (517) 331-6122 OR (906) 483-2026 until 9 p.m., Sunday or Monday to sign up for a 4-hour phone or neighborhood shift.

WHERE? At the Houghton Obama office, 509 Shelden Ave. next to Book World, across from The Lode, Sunday and Monday. (Election Day, Tuesday, is pretty much booked up.)

Sorry, it’s not possible to work from Calumet. Possibly I, Mary Hunt, might help arrange rides from Calumet/Ahmeek, BUT recovery from recent knee surgery limits my involvement.

Get Out the Vote volunteers are still needed Sunday and Monday! Most work is going out and leaving literature at specified Democratic households.

THANKS for stopping by our Calumet "outpost" at 305 Sixth St. and helping out in your own ways.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Letter from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin: Vote "Yes" on Proposal 2

Dear Friends,

In Michigan, our laws preventing stem cell research are blocking some of America's best scientists and research universities from pursuing the great hope for curing debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Michigan is one of only five states that restrict this type of research.

This coming Tuesday, we have the opportunity to remove these outdated restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in Michigan by voting "Yes" on Proposal 2.

I support this proposal because I believe in allowing a life-giving purpose for embryos that are no longer needed by the couples who produced them, embryos which would be discarded and destroyed, even though a couple would like their unneeded embryos to be used for critical life-giving research. This proposal only deals with those embryos that will be discarded.

We should be helping our scientists, not hindering them.

Please take a moment and click here to learn how you can help support Proposal 2.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research say that adult stem cell research has made significant advances and is sufficient. Adult stem cells, which are limited in the kind of cells they can become, have created some medical advances. However, embryonic stem cells are unique because they can grow into any form of tissue or organ. Adult stem cells cannot. Because of this unique trait, almost all scientists agree that embryonic stem cells offer vastly more potential than adult stem cells.

Thousands of embryos from fertilization clinics that are not going to be used for implantation will be destroyed. Why not give them a life-giving use?

Embryonic stem cell research is truly a life-giving process because of the extraordinary potential for healing the types of disease and afflictions that touch so many of us, our families and friends. It could hold the key to curing diseases that no other research could cure, including cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and many others.

Please take a moment and click here to learn how you can help support Proposal 2.

The opponents of Proposal 2 have refused to debate this issue on substance and have resorted to false statements about the effects of Proposal 2. Let's be clear: this Proposal does not allow human cloning. Such cloning is prohibited specifically by the language of the Proposal. The Proposal does not call for public funds to be directed to this kind of research and does not call for an increase of any taxes. And the proposal limits the use to only those stem cells currently being discarded as medical waste and only if allowed by federal law.

Supporters of embryonic stem cell research know that these breakthroughs will not come easily. But prohibiting it, and the cures it could lead to, is heartbreaking. Visit today and learn how you can become involved.

All the best,

Carl Levin

Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now requested and received permission from U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Detroit) to reprint this letter for our readers. Learn about Sen. Levin's positions on current issues by visiting his Web site.

All Souls Concert to benefit Omega House Nov. 1

HOUGHTON -- The second annual Omega House Benefit Concert will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Rozsa Center in Houghton. The All Souls Benefit Concert will feature Seth Bernard and Daisy May Erlewine, Breathe Owl Breathe, The Squeaky Clean Cretins and Erin Smith.

Seth Bernard and Daisy May Erlewine perform at the 2007 Omega House concert.

Seth Bernard and Daisy May Erlewine are accomplished musicians with a huge local following. The two musicians have recorded both solo and duo albums. Their first duo album was recorded at the Calumet Theatre in 2006. May's sweet, soulful voice has mesmerized crowds across the country. Bernard, producer and multi-instrumentalist, has recorded several albums of original material on his own Earthwork Music label. More information about the artists can be found at

Breathe Owl Breathe is a Michigan duo comprised of Micah Middaugh and Andrea Moreno-Beals. The duo include an array of stringed instruments and brilliant vocal harmonies in their original songs. Their music is playful and heartfelt and appeals to any music lover. Breathe Owl Breathe has released four albums including the 2008 "Ghost Glacier" that has received national attention.

The Squeaky Clean Cretins call the Keweenaw home! The group includes Edmund J. Artibee, Graham Parsons, Keith Kinnear, Greg Wright and Mark McEvers. They released their debut album "of flesh, of marrow" in 2007 and have been touring and performing across the region at festivals, clubs and coffee houses to enthusiastic and packed crowds.

Erin Smith will join the line up as the MC for the evening and will share some of her musical talents between sets of the other artists.

A silent auction will also take place throughout the evening featuring one-of-a-kind artwork of several local and regional artists. Pottery, woven items, woodwork, jewelry and other items will be included. A weekend stay at Insel Haus Bed and Breakfast Retreat Center on Bois Blanc Island is also included in the auction.

Many sponsors have contributed to the event to ensure that all proceeds can go directly to Omega House. Sponsors for this year's event are Bob and Sarah Baratono, Tim and Nancy Baroni, Bucky Beach and Julie Belew, Jim and Linda Belote, Brian Geshel, Michelle Little and Family, Cindy Griffin, Rick Loduha and Barbara Hardy, Keweenaw Co-op and Natural Foods, Terry Kinzel and Sue Ellen Kingsley, Wanda and Mike Kolb, Kim Menzel/Indigo Creek Counseling, Michael R. Moore/Professional Communications Arts Enterprise at Michigan Tech University, John and Charmaine Parsons, Patty Markham Peterson, Ron and Dorothy Riutta, Hal Rudnianin, JD Slack and Kenny Svenson, "The Fitz"/Eagle River Inn, Ray and Diane Tiberg, Steve Uren and Carol Carr and Ray and Viki Weglarz.

Proceeds from the concert will go directly toward providing care for residents at Omega House -- the only hospice home in the Upper Peninsula. Omega House provides compassionate end-of-life care to all in the community who are in need regardless of ability to pay. Since opening in September 2005, Omega House has served over 130 residents and has already undertaken expansion to add two additional rooms to the original six-room home. For additional information about Omega House, visit, or call 906-482-4438.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Costume Contest with Raffle to benefit Save the Wild UP

MARQUETTE -- Heading for Marquette this weekend? Why not check out the Halloween Party and Costume Contest with Raffle to be held from 7 p.m. to midnight on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31, at UpFront and Co., Marquette. The event will benefit Save the Wild UP.*

Judging begins at 9 p.m. The event is $3 for ages 18 and older. Costume Categories are Best Movie Costume – Grand prize; Best Overall Costume – Cash Prize; Best Couple; Funniest; Scariest. Bring some extra cash for a snapshot of you and your friends taken by CK Unlimited. Presented by Third Street Video and CK Unlimited Photography.

For more information: (906) 458-3700 or

*Visit the Save the Wild UP Web site to learn about their work to protect our waters from sulfide and uranium mining. Save the Wild UP announced today that their new publication, The Splash, is now available. Check inside the Marquette Monthly during the month of November or view the PDF version.

Scarlet Masquerade to feature fashion, Café Accordion orchestra Nov. 1

HANCOCK -- A fashion show performance by Finlandia University art and design major Pamela Kotila (Dodgeville, Mich.) will be featured at the MTU Social Dance Club second annual Scarlet Masquerade, to be held from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Nov. 1, at the South Range Community Hall.

The performance, which includes original choreography, will preview eleven new, original costume garments designed and created by Kotila.

Pam Kotila works on one of her designs at Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

"Pamela has been working with her models every weekend rehearsing the dance in preparation for the performance," said Phyllis Fredendall, Finlandia fiber arts associate professor." Her concept includes quite a cast of archetypal characters. Pamela’s aesthetic is strongly influenced by contemporary Japanese culture."

The Scarlet Masquerade also features music by the Café Accordion Orchestra: Tony Lowe, Camilo and Ted Alder. Based in the Twin Cities, this band returns to play a variety of danceable music for people who love to waltz, rumba, tango, Cha Cha, swing and more. If you missed them in Covington last August, don't miss them this time! With this combination of fashion and music, you'll feel as if you're dancing in Paris!

Dinner will be prepared by the Library Restaurant of Houghton and door prizes will be awarded.

It is to your benefit to purchase tickets prior to the dance: $10 with membebrship, $12 a single with no discount, and $18 a couple. At the door tickets are $10 with membership, $15 a single with no discount and $20 a couple.

There will be two dance workshops prior to the dance done by Ralph Tutilla and the Traverse City Troupe.

The theme is black and red, semi formal; masks are optional, but you should consider wearing one. Here is the schedule:

12 noon - Workshops Begin
5 p.m. - Workshops End
5:30 p.m. - Dance Begins
6:30 p.m. - Dinner Starts
6:45 p.m. - Fashion Show Starts
7:45 p.m. - Fashion Show Ends
8 p.m. - Dinner Ends - Cafe Accordion Starts Playing
10:30 p.m. - Unmasking Begins
11:30 p.m. - Cafe Accordion Stops Playing
12 p.m. Dance Ends.

For more information contact or call 906-487-2338.

Pumpkin Carving Marathon Oct. 31 to benefit Keweenaw Krayons

How many pumpkins can Elise Matz carve on Halloween? Enter your pledge! (Photo courtesy Keweenaw Krayons.)

CALUMET -- The 5th and Elm Coffee Shop in Calumet is the place: Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31 is the date, and Elise Matz is the carver for Keweenaw Krayons' First Annual Pumpkin Carv-a-Thon. Matz will begin her marathon carving at 7 a.m. and hopes to carve at least 26 of the big orange squash.

Pledges from area businesses and individuals are being sought. How many pumpkins do you think she can carve? How much will you pledge per pumpkin? What is your maximum pledge? All questions that are on the official pledge form being circulated by Matz and Keweenaw Krayons volunteers. Deadline for the pledges is 7 a.m. TOMORROW, HALLOWEEN, the day of the event.

Carved pumpkins will be available for purchase on site as they are completed.

Keweenaw Krayons photographers (assisted by student photographers from the BHK Great Explorations Program) will be on hand to take pictures of kids (and adults) in their costumes ($5 for a 4x6 photo) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. All profits will benefit Keweenaw Krayons.

The evening will also feature Halloween-oriented activities and games for kids.

To obtain more information or to donate pumpkins, call Keweenaw Krayons at 337-4706 or email

Visit the Keweenaw Krayons Web site to learn more about their activities.

To obtain more information or to donate pumpkins, call Keweenaw Krayons at 337-4706 or email

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District to hold annual meeting Oct. 30

HOUGHTON -- The 57th Annual Meeting of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the UPPCO Building in Houghton. A highlight of the evening will be a tribute to the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation for their donation of 45 acres of land known as the Seneca #3 Mine Bat Enclosure in Mohawk.

A pizza buffet at 5:30 p.m. will be followed by a presentation of this year's accomplishments, goals for next year and a silent auction. An RSVP to the office at 482-0214 would be appreciated if you intend to participate in the buffet.

Reception for "Miners' Ascent," art by Phyllis Fredendall, at MTU's Library Oct. 30

HOUGHTON -- The Friends of the Van Pelt Library invite the community to a reception celebrating the commission and acquisition of a new art piece, "Miners' Ascent," installed in Michigan Tech's J. Robert Van Pelt and Opie Library.

The reception and a discussion by the artist, Phyllis Fredendall, associate professor of fiber and fashion design at Finlandia University, will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Opie Reading Room of the library. President Glenn Mroz will represent Michigan Tech, and Provost Jeanne Rellahan will represent Finlandia University. Refreshments will be served.

"Miners' Ascent," which measures 11 feet long, is on display in the Opie Reading Room.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Viewpoint: John Pekkala, Democratic candidate for Houghton County Drain Commissioner

Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now invited John Pekkala, Democratic candidate for Houghton County Drain Commissioner, to explain to our readers what the duties of the Drain Commissioner are and why they should vote for him to remain as Houghton County Drain Commissioner, a position he has held since May 1, 2008.

By John Pekkala

John Pekkala, Houghton County Drain Commissioner, shares community festivities at the Chassell Strawberry Festival Parade in July 2008. (Photo courtesy Anton Pintar)

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton County Drain Commissioner is the administrator for the Drain Code of 1956, as amended (Act No. 40 of the Public Acts of 1956, as amended) and the County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) Program (Part 91, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 1994 PA 451, as amended). I have over 17 years of experience administering the Drain Code and the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act. I acquired this experience by working for the Genesee County Drain Commissioner and performing the duties as Houghton County Drain Commissioner.

The Houghton County Drain Commissioner issues Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permits and approves final plats for adequate storm water facilities. This process involves review of SESC site plans and proposed developments under the Land Division Act (Act 288 of 1967, as amended). A thorough review is imperative in order to assure that adequate protection is provided to our lakes, rivers and land resources.

I've helped hundreds of County residents and government officials begin the process of establishing a County Drain. I was directly involved with the process that begins with the application for a drainage district until the final completion of the County Drain. I became certified to administer the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act in 1991. After many years inspecting construction sites, I've been able to determine what soil erosion controls work best on a particular site. Sharing this knowledge with the project and construction managers ultimately avoids potential problems and unnecessary expense.

The experience that I have is unique and came from representing the Drain Commissioner and actually being the Drain Commissioner. Houghton County deserves this type of experience so that the office of the Houghton County Drain Commissioner is functioning as efficiently as possible. I maintain regular office hours as required by the Drain Code, and I'm available year-round to answer your questions.

My office is located on the first floor of the Houghton County Courthouse, 401 E. Houghton Ave., Houghton, MI 49931. Office Phone: 906-482-4491; Fax 906-482-7238; E-mail Visit the Houghton County Web site at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Viewpoint: John Slivon, Hancock City Council candidate

HANCOCK -- My name is John Slivon and I am running as a write-in candidate for the Hancock City Council, Ward III. My reason for running is that the City of Hancock is poised to make some important decisions that will impact its future and I want to be part of that decision-making process to insure a positive outcome for the city in both the short term and the long term. I feel that the city has been pressured to satisfy some short-term needs but in the process of fulfilling these needs has lost sight of its long-term future.

John Slivon, write-in candidate for Ward III, Hancock City Council, addresses members of the City Council during the public comment period of a recent meeting in the Hancock City Hall Council Chambers. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Of major concern to me is the transfer of public recreation land from the public sector to the private sector, the Hancock waterfront being the prime example. Another major example is the unresolved issue with Government Lot 5, which also includes the land around the mouth of Swedetown Creek. This parcel of land was given to the City of Hancock by the State of Michigan in 1941, with a requirement that it be used for park and recreational purposes only; and, if the city could not honor that requirement, the land would revert back to the State of Michigan, which, incidentally, never happened. The City of Hancock continued to maintain possession of this land with the implication that it did honor the requirement to use the land for park and recreational purposes only.

This was the state of affairs when the City Charter was adopted in 1988. By the provisions of the City Charter, sale of park property, if and when it is deemed desirable, is governed by the citizens of Hancock by a majority vote rather than by any action by the City Council. I believe that the City Council needs to acknowledge the City Charter and the intent of the original deed and get beyond this issue by acknowledging the land as a city park. Had it not been for the diligence of a concerned group of citizens, doing work that some city officials did not do, the land adjoining the lower part of Swedetown Creek might now be in private ownership. The transfer of public lands such as these to the private sector only serves to make Hancock a less, not more, desirable place to live. I want Hancock to be a more desirable place to live. I want to stop the unwarranted transfer of park and recreation land to the private sector simply to satisfy a short-term need.

Now is the time to begin thinking about the city's future in a new way, a way that focuses on making the city more attractive by making it more livable for all its residents. This will help to protect our investments in our properties. The citizens can make Hancock be the city they want. However, to accomplish this the citizens must be willing to share their ideas in an open forum. They also need to have a City Council that is willing to listen to their ideas and that wants to engage in meaningful dialog with the residents in their wards. If elected to represent Ward III, I will try to be that kind of city councilor. Please write me in when you vote on November 4th. Together we can make Hancock a more desirable place to live, now and into the future.

Remember to print my name, JOHN SLIVON, and don't forget to darken the oval by my name.

Please contact me at 482-5413 if you wish more information.