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Saturday, December 13, 2008

American Red Cross: Letter of Thanks to donors for Haiti

Editor's Note: At the request of Michigan Tech's NOSOTROS organization, Keweenaw Now reprints this letter of thanks to those who contributed to the American Red Cross for Haitian hurricane relief this fall through the NOSOTROS fundraiser. The list of donors follows the letter.

From the American Red Cross
Together, we can save a life
November 10, 2008

Michigan Technological University
c/o Jessie Vital
1400 Townsend Drive, 106 MUB
Houghton, MI 49931


Since late August, major storms -- including Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike -- have drenched Haiti. These storms claimed lives, blocked roads and destroyed scarce farmland. Through this donation, NOSOTROS is helping the American Red Cross and our partner, the Haitian National Red Cross Society, work to meet the urgent needs of survivors including water, food, medical assistance and shelter.

Thank you for your generous gift of $1,500 to the American Red Cross on September 25, 2008, which will help provide relief in Haiti from the destruction caused by this succession of storms. This contribution enables the Red Cross to offer three types of help: staff, supplies and financial assistance. We deployed disaster relief specialists to lead an international team to conduct assessments and provide relief supplies -- hygiene kits, buckets, mosquito nets, and kitchen sets -- from our pre-positioned stocks in Panama. We are also contributing financial support to purchase and distribute shelter kits and replenish the warehouse stocks, so that we can be prepared for the next disaster to strike the Caribbean.

The American Red Cross has a long history of working with the Haitian National Red Cross Society. We worked together during disasters including Hurricane Jeanne that claimed 3,000 lives in Gonaives, which has again been devastated by the recent storms. We also work together to lead health programs, including fighting malaria. Our 15-person office in Haiti makes this work and our close partnership possible.

Your compassion will help us deliver relief to those in Haiti who need it most in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. Thank you for helping the American Red Cross to provide comfort and hope.


Lauri Rhinehart
Vice President, Development Operations

This letter serves as the tax receipt for your gift. The American Red Cross is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code for 1984, as amended. Our tax identification number is 53-0196605. Adequate records will be maintained and made available to the IRS upon request. In accordance with IRS regulations, no goods or services were provided by the American Red Cross as part of this contribution. Your gift may be recognized in future Red Cross publications. If you prefer your gift to remain anonymous, or have questions about your gift's designation, or would like to learn more about the services that the Red Cross is committed to providing, please call 1-800-797-8022.

List of Donors to whom this letter is addressed:

Forestry, Amanda, Weiwei Mo, Colin Casey, Madhu Vahle, Jeff Hilss, Rudiger Escobar, Alejandro Otero, Klaydson Celino, Jerin Varghese, Silvia Espino, Jennifer Fernandez, Haobo Ma, Essa Gross, Alex Herescu, Luis Blau, Cara Shonsey, Sean Heath, Adam Salzer, Wayne Abraham, Robert Van Selus, Jing Liu, Ananyo Bandyopadhyay, Scott Yager, Timothy Eisele, Jeff Valensky, Joe Burnett, Anna Colvin, Brian and Rima Carlson, George Dewey, Miriam Sanchez Rios, Joe Hernandez, Pedro Augusto, Lakshman Kumar Vanga, Seth, Jascha Doke, Reena Thomas, Brian Weisner, Jason Keith, Collen, P. Murth, L. Bohmann, Xi Lin Csissi, H. Nunnemacher, J. Perlinger, Qiaoyu Lu, Sam Clancey, David Watkins, Sean Bulger, Animish, Gloria Melton, Lago Lucas, Liu Chen, Aly Farahat, Dominic Winkelman, SherAaron Hurt, Chen Li, Henry, Lijuan Xie, Pat Heiden, Nahir Amitabh, Mahesh Gupta, Gujarathi Rohit, Sunand Santhanagopalan, Michele Bourdieu, Linda Belote, Mark and Lauren Rowe, Leland, May Kim, Shazeu Rizvi, Ashley Johnson, Adam Coursin, Lakshmi Krishna, Atakan Altinkaynak, Abbygaiel Blair, Terry McNinch, Shreenari, William Rose, Tomisin Haastrup, Zhengming Li, Dave Fritz, Rudy Luck, Patty Lins, Na Hu, Ruben Otoniel Matias Gomez, African Student Organizations, Martin Auer, Asheshinde, Roco Garcia and Jorge Kurita, Yeliana, Toro Vegara Claudia, Lapite Ayola, Fernandez Anton Clara, Tarte Andres, Pintar, Bethany Broeders, Julio Rivera, and several anonymous donors.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MTU Indian Student Association holds vigil for Mumbai victims

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Indian Student Association held a vigil Thursday evening, Dec. 11, to offer condolences to the families of those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai (formerly Bombay, India), and to show their support for peace.

During the Dec. 11 vigil in MTU's Memorial Union Building Commons, students from the MTU Indian Student Association show photos of some effects of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Video © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Participants heard testimonials from students who spoke of their reactions to the tragedy. Some were from Mumbai and have family members there.

One student mentioned his wish that "the power of love" could replace "the love of power."

Students showed photos of the evidence of the terrorist attacks, and participants lit candles and held a moment of silence in memory of the victims.

Participants light candles during the vigil for Mumbai victims. (Photos © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Mahesh Gupta, MTU professor of mechanical engineering and faculty advisor for the Indian Student Association, said more than 200 students from India attend Michigan Tech. Gupta spoke at the end of the vigil, thanking those who participated for their solidarity at this tragic time.

Mahesh Gupta, MTU professor of mechanical engineering and faculty advisor for the Indian Student Association, speaks during the Dec. 11 vigil for victims in Mumbai.

According to various news reports, more than 100 people, many of them foreigners, were killed and nearly 300 injured during the Nov. 26-28 attacks, blamed on Muslim militants whose guns and grenades targeted two luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station, a Jewish center, a movie theater and a hospital. The terrorists also took hostages at gunpoint.*

Glenn Mroz, Michigan Tech University president, and Lesley Lovett-Doust, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, both attended the vigil.

* See articles in the New York Times and on MSNBC.

Stupak supports bridge loans for automakers; House-passed bill now awaits Senate action

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) voted to provide $14 billion in bridge loans for the Big 3 domestic automakers to help them weather the current credit crunch and financial crisis. H.R. 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 10 by a vote of 237-170 after more than five weeks of negotiations between Congress, the White House, auto executives and labor leaders.

"These loans are critical for the survival of our domestic automakers, our entire manufacturing sector and the American middle class," Stupak said. "The bill passed today not only provides immediate loans for the Big 3, but also requires a commitment on the part of auto industry executives, employees, labor unions, dealers, suppliers, creditors and shareholders to participate in the restructuring efforts that will ensure the long-term viability of an industry that helped create this nation’s middle class."

In the 1st Congressional District, the dramatic drop in demand for new cars and trucks is already taking a toll on the steel industry and parts suppliers. Reduced demand for iron ore to produce steel for the automakers has led to the layoff of 350 workers at Cliffs Natural Resources’ Tilden and Empire mines in Marquette County. The closure of the Dura Automotive Systems plant in Antrim County, layoffs at Lexamar in Boyne City, Northern Tool in Mio, H and H Tube in Cheboygan and more than a dozen other suppliers to the automakers across northern Michigan are the result of the current economic crisis.

"These bridge loans will help mitigate the loss of auto-related jobs in the 1st District," Stupak said. "It is my hope that, as the automakers implement restructuring plans and the economy improves, these loans will have laid the groundwork for the recall of laid-off workers and the creation of new jobs."

One in 10 American jobs are linked to the auto industry, with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors supporting about five million American jobs. More than one million American workers and retirees are directly employed or supported by the major automakers, with two million Americans receiving health care benefits through the auto industry. An estimated three million jobs would be lost in the first year if the American automakers collapsed -- nearly three times the jobs lost nationwide this year.

The Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research estimates that inaction by Congress would cost the American taxpayers more than the $15 billion bridge loans. The loss of an estimated 2.5 million jobs over the next year from the collapse of the domestic auto industry would cost government at all levels $50 billion next year and $108 billion over the next three years.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Stupak said. "We cannot sit back and witness the collapse of an iconic American industry that has helped drive the American economy through good times and bad, particularly while the Treasury Department continues to handout hundreds of billions of dollars to the financial sector. The bill passed today is a loan, not a bailout. It includes strong protections for the taxpayers, and I have every confidence the loans will be paid back. The result of these bridge loans will be a stronger auto industry and a stronger American economy."

H.R. 7321 calls for the creation of an "auto czar" to administer the loan program. Taxpayers will receive stock or other financial stake in the companies receiving the loans. The bill prohibits golden parachutes for executives and eliminates bonuses for the 25 highest paid employees at the companies receiving loans. All other financial obligations and liabilities of companies receiving the loans will be subordinate to the loan, the taxpayers being given first priority for repayment.

The bill passed the House and awaits action in the Senate, where it could be considered as early as Thursday, Dec. 11. The White House has indicated its support for the legislation.

Visit Congressman Stupak’s web site at

Viewpoint: No "bailouts" to irresponsible companies

By Steven Johnson, Portage Township

Author's Note: Below is a copy of an email sent to U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, Governor Jennifer Granholm and State Representative Mike Lahti.

I am writing to you because I am one of the voting constituents who put you into office to represent me as a citizen of the United States and of the State of Michigan and also because I cannot any longer, in conscience, refrain from expressing myself at the reprehensible behavior occurring in the nation’s Capitol. I am referring specifically to the entire frenzy of "bailouts" being done in the pretense of stabilizing our economy.

Not really so long ago persons in public office were elected to serve as public servants. My greatest concern is that it appears that without exception we are no longer being led by men and women of principle, but rather of political expediency.

I meet no one who agrees with this "rescue" fiasco. The universal opinion seems to be to let the fiscally irresponsible companies and individuals declare bankruptcy and learn a hard but lasting lesson -- and to allow the remaining companies who have been more responsible to absorb the business. The government should not buy or run businesses (how can they, in view of the way they conduct themselves fiscally already?). And failing businesses that come looking for a bailout should be told NO -- on principle.

The solution to any problem never was more of the same. Fiscal irresponsibility will not be solved by the government doing the same, just on a bigger scale. The abandon with which you are spending our hard-earned tax dollars and our financial futures, with pride, on anyone who has already proven that they cannot or will not conduct themselves accountably is sickening.

The government has no business acting like a bank. It is the purpose of government, at all levels, to diligently protect the citizens in their inalienable rights -- NOT to dispense privileges. Your entire power is granted by the people to be used for the entirety of the people and not for special interests.

Who will "bail out" this great country when you have sold it down the tubes?

It is my opinion that any representative who votes for a bailout should be removed from office for overstepping their bounds and acting in a most irresponsible manner to the detriment of those people and principles they were chosen to represent. I will be watching to see how you vote on these issues.

Since you seem to be able to come up with billions or trillions of dollars in the midst of one of the worst recessions this country has ever faced, I do not want to EVER hear, for the rest of my life, that any of you claim you cannot fund the defense of this people -- your first and only designated purpose -- in their rights and liberties.

If you are personally so concerned about these failing companies, I would suggest that you donate whatever part of your salary you can to assist them. Do NOT give away my tax money with which you have been entrusted. DO reinstate strict accountability both for yourselves and anyone else in positions of power, so that the right and true principles upon which this great nation was once founded will be upheld and honored once again.

Editor's Note: Viewpoint columns posted at the request of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Keweenaw Now.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Comentario de Gustavo: Televisión digital

What does digital TV have to do with this kids' bike race, now a tradition for Calumet Heritage days? Read Gustavo's comentario to find out. (Photo © Gustavo Bourdieu)

Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of "Comentarios y fotos" by Gustavo Bourdieu, Keweenaw Now photographer, for our readers who speak, read or study Spanish. In this comentario, Gustavo comments on the government coupons -- worth $40 each -- available for two television sets per household to subsidize the conversion of digital television broadcasts to analog TV reception. Gustavo suggests that one coupon should be sufficient and would allow spending half of these funds on bicycles -- which would have positive effects on people's health by promoting needed physical exercise -- and on alternative energy to help the troubled economy.

By Gustavo Bourdieu

Queridos lectores,

La televisión en poco tiempo será digital. El sistema análogo desaparecerá para dar lugar al sistema moderno, y para ello se necesita una muy mencionada caja negra -- que no es otra cosa que un convertidor de señal. Así podremos seguir recibiendo la señal de nuestro preferido canal de TV. Las otras opciones son comprar nuevo TV digital u obtener cable o satélite.

Yo creo que hasta ahí todos más o menos lo saben, debido a la cantidad de dinero que se ha gastado en publicitar esto y las consecuencias de esta decisión.

Lo importante para mí -- y por eso les hago notar -- es lo siguiente:

Primero, esta caja o convertidor aumentará el consumo eléctrico de millones de hogares en nuestro país, con todo lo que eso significa.

Segundo, ¿qué pasará con los millones de TV tirados a la basura con la cantidad de elementos tóxicos que ellos tienen? Ya existe un problema con las computadoras. ¿Hay sistemas de reciclaje para los millones de TV que irán a la basura?

Tercero, el gobierno da unos cupones de 40 dólares de valor para comprar DOS nuevas cajas para TV a cada casa, es decir, no es solo uno sino DOS. Todos vemos el sobrepeso de mucha gente por la falta de ejercicio, la dependencia a los TV de los niños y adultos. Pienso que, como dice mi amiga Katie Alvord, deberíamos divorciarnos de nuestro automóvil.

¿Que les parece que el gobierno entregue un cupón para un TV y otro para una bicicleta? creo a todos nos haría bien el ejercicio, y el transporte natural reduciría el consumo eléctrico.

Se debería incrementar las ciclovías en todo el país. Aquí en Keweenaw, estos ciclovías se usan para sendas de esquí en invierno. Recuerdo hace muchos años que la Reina de Holanda iba a su palacio en bicicleta. Mi amiga Susana Elena Kingsley también usa su bicicleta para transportarse.

Sue Ellen Kingsley with her "Bike Friday" in Hancock. She's been known to ski into town, via Maasto Hiihto Trails, if there's too much snow for the bike. (Photo © Gustavo Bourdieu)

Creo que el dar un solo cupón por casa sería lo más correcto y poder usar el dinero del otro cupón en bicicletas o en energía alternativa. Esto ayudaría mucho no solo a la salud sino también a la economía tan golpeada en estos tiempos. Soy fanático de la tecnología, pero no debemos alejarnos de la naturaleza.

Hasta la próxima,