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, December 25, 2009

Peace on Earth ...

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Now wishes all our readers a peaceful, healthy, happy and safe holiday season.

As we look forward to the New Year, 2010, let us support our community, state and national leaders in efforts to bring about a more peaceful world and a cleaner planet. In our own relationships, let us work for social justice and better understanding among diverse cultures.

Time to register for Heikinpäivä enrichment classes

HANCOCK -- As part of the annual Heikinpäivä festival, the City of Hancock’s Finnish Theme Committee is offering a variety of enrichment courses, beginning in mid-January. It’s important to sign up now and reserve your spots, because class sizes are limited.

The first offering is a nisu-making class taught by Edith Maki, former proprietor of Spice of Life bakery. The classes are at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11. Registration is $15 per student.

The following Monday, Jan. 18, Debbie Kurtti will lead a class in leipajuustoa (squeaky cheese)-making; these classes are also at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. Registration is $15 per student.

On Monday, Jan. 25, there will be a class on making Karjalan piirakka (Karelian rice pies) at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m., and at 6 p.m. that day Pete Olson will teach a class in making joulukuusi (Finnish shaving carved trees). Registration is $15 per student.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Kay Seppala will conduct a 5-string kantele class at 6 p.m. at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center. Instruments will be provided for this class, which is designed for musicians ages 13 and up. Registration is $10 per student.

And, on Saturday, Jan.30, Randy Seppala will lead a bones workshop at 2:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Hancock. For only a $2 fee, students can learn to play this traditional musical instrument.

To register for classes, please call (906) 487-7505. More information about the classes, as well as details about other aspects of Heikinpäivä 2010, can be found online at

Finlandia University hosts Journal of Finnish Studies

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University has strengthened its intellectual role in Finnish America by becoming the host university for the Journal of Finnish Studies. The first issue of the Journal generated at Finlandia University, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Summer 2009) is now in print.

"The Journal of Finnish Studies has been roundly welcomed by Finlandia University," said Finlandia Paloheimo Scholar Beth Virtanen. "The move of the Journal to Finlandia reflects Finlandia’s central role in Finnish studies scholarship in North America."

The journal’s transition to Finlandia was supported by a grant from Finlandia Foundation National.

The latest Journal contains ten peer-reviewed articles by Finnish and American scholars. The articles, of two types, examine contemporary literary studies as well as scholarly papers presented at the summer 2009 conference "Finnish- American Immigrants in Transition," hosted by the Institute of Migration at the University of Turku.

The Journal is produced by Beth Virtanen, editor-in-chief, along with co-editor Professor Hanna Snellman of the University of Jyväskylä, and assistant editor Hilary Joy Virtanen, a doctoral candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Scandinavian Studies program. The cover art for the Summer 2009 issue is by retired Finlandia art and design instructor and artist Joyce Koskenmaki.

The cover of the Vol. 13, No. 1, issue of the Journal of Finnish Studies features art by Joyce Koskenmaki, retired Finlandia art and design instructor and artist. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

The Kalevala is the theme of the Journal’s next issue, a full-color volume illustrated with Kalevala artwork and with articles written by the world’s foremost Kalevala scholars. This issue (Winter 2009) is supported by a grant from the Kalevalaseura (Kalevala Society) of Helsinki, Finland (, in celebration of the Kalevala’s 175th anniversary in 2010.

The Journal of Finnish Studies is published twice yearly in summer and winter. Planned topics of future issues include Finnish-American music, proceedings of Finn Forum IX to be held in May 2010, papers from a 2011 conference on the victims and survivors of Karelia, and others.

The Journal of Finnish Studies was founded in 1997 by Professor Börje Vähämäki, chair of the Finnish Studies Department at the University of Toronto. Under his editorship, twenty-five issues of the Journal were published at the University of Toronto and an international subscription base was developed.

Dr. Beth Virtanen’s position at Finlandia University is supported by a grant from the Paloheimo Foundation.

To subscribe to the Journal of Finnish Studies, visit, the website of the Finnish North American Literature Association.

For additional information, please contact Beth Virtanen at 906-487-7511.

Photo, above left: Dr. Beth Virtanen, Finlandia University Paloheimo Scholar. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Houghton County receives loan for sewer improvement

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced North Houghton County Water and Sewage Authority has received a $4,834,000 loan to improve its existing water and sewer system. The loan is being provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan program.

"This funding will allow Houghton County to improve sewer infrastructure to protect the health of the community and also help the environment," Stupak said. "I appreciate USDA’s continued investment in Northern Michigan’s rural communities."

The loan will be used by Houghton County to make improvements to the current sewer system and eliminate deficiencies and excessive infiltration and inflow to comply with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now the Department of Natural Resources and Environment) provisions. The project includes construction of storage basins and upgrades to the lift station.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to meet Dec. 23

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Hancock Chalet. The tentative agenda includes the Treasurer Report, the Groomer's Report, Public Comment, Barneloppet, Sandpit/snowfence, Insurance, Glide 'n Gorge, window stickers, grooming times, Heikinpäivä and Web pages.

Any additions to the agenda, questions or comments, please contact Jay Green at or at 487-5411.

The January meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Update: Luncheon location changed for Karinen funeral gathering

SOUTH RANGE -- The location for the luncheon to follow the funeral for Bill Karinen on Tuesday, Dec. 22, has been changed to Holy Family Parish in South Range. From the Funeral Home you take M-26 south to Trimountain Ave. Turn left, go straight and the church is located right there.

For the potluck luncheon, Annette Butina is requesting hot dishes, cold salads, desserts and anything else friends of the Karinens can help with. She is anticipating a group of 100-150. Call Annette at 369-6642 if you have questions.

See previous article for more details.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Calumet Art Center to host Winter Solstice Drumming Celebration Dec. 21

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center will host an Ecstatic Peace Winter Solstice Drumming Celebration beginning with a Potluck at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, at the Center, 57055 Fifth St., Calumet.

The Drumming Ceremony will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., followed by a Give-a-way event. Bring a small item you love and wish to share with someone, wrap it in newsprint and bring it with you to the drumming to give-a-way.

The Ecstatic Peace Winter Solstice Drumming is intended to create a flow of Peace energy that will ripple around the world, as participants welcome the return of the Light. Join the thousands of people all over the world who will be sharing in song, dance and meditation during the Winter Solstice.

This is a time to honor oneself, faith, family, community and the Earth -- to gather together in the spirit of community with a shared vision on the Winter Solstice.

Photo: Calumet Art Center on Fifth St. (Keweenaw Now file photo courtesy Ed Gray)

Updated: Community groups call for food, support for Karinen family after accident*

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Now wishes to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of William (Bill) Karinen.

Bill Karinen was fatally injured last Thursday morning, Dec. 17, in a car accident. Bill was driving to work when his vehicle collided with another. Bill's oldest son, Peter, was also in the car and was injured.

In an email to the cycling community, Dan Dalquist said, "Bill was a tremendous supporter of cycling and cross-country skiing in the Keweenaw. He worked on many of our bikes. We have ridden with Bill and the family. I recall approaching the Chain Drive finish line, in 2008, chasing Bill and being passed by Pete who was also chasing his Dad!"

A fund has been established for Mrs. Lisa Karinen and her six children at the Michigan Tech Credit Union. Dalquist said also that donations can be taken to either Cross Country Sports store.

Betsy Rossini writes in an email that friends wishing to help the family can do so by providing food. Here are her suggestions:

Hot or cold dishes -- lunch type food or dinner.
Groceries -- easy to prepare food/breakfast eats/fruit/snacks.
Grocery store gift certificates.

Other things to consider:
Send food in containers that you don't want back or disposable ones. Although not essential, items that could be frozen are also welcome. Although the Karinens don't have a large freezer, this time of year outside in a cooler or box works!

How to get it to them:
You can drop off items at Betsy Rossini's house -- 1430 Silver Drive, Hancock, or at the Red Cross Office in the old E.L. Wright School at the junction of Elevation and US 41 in Hancock.

Annette Butina, who works for Red Cross has graciously agreed to help with transportation as she is the Karinens' neighbor in Painesdale and is providing them with a home in Baltic to help them save on expenses.

Please notify Betsy if you are delivering food by either calling 482-4824 or emailing her at Call Annette any time at 906-369-6642 if you need information on delivering food for the family.

*Update: A memorial service for Bill Karinen will be held this Tuesday, Dec. 22,at the Mountainview Mortuary in South Range. Visitation is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the service following immediately afterwards. There will also be a get together after the service at approximately 5 p.m. at Jeffers High School in Painesdale. All are invited. This will be a potluck. Please bring a dish or a finger food to share. Drinks, plates and silverware will be provided.

For more information email Betsy Rossini at or call her at 482-4824.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ethnic Christmas trees on exhibit at Keweenaw Heritage Center Dec. 19

Julia Simila and Croatian Lodge friends decorated this Croatian Christmas tree for the exhibit of ethnic Christmas trees now on display at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet. (Photos courtesy Julia Simila, Anita Campbell and Tom Tikkanen)

CALUMET -- The public is invited to view a display of ethnic Christmas trees from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

This Finnish tree was decorated by decorated by the Jr. High Sunday School Class of the First Apostolic Lutheran Church, Calumet.

Several school and community groups have decorated the trees to represent some of the ethnic groups that have been an important part of the history and culture of Calumet.

Mrs. Pavolich and Mrs. Darnell's second-grade classes at CLK Elementary decorated this French Canadian tree.

Be sure to visit the exhibit of these and more ethnic trees on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Editor's Note: In case you missed it, see and listen to our videoclip of Maple Sugar Folk singing "Oh Christmas Tree" in three languages!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finlandia's Jutila Center to dedicate new business suites Dec. 18

HANCOCK -- The dedication of 20 new business incubator suites at the Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, on the sixth floor of the Jutila Center campus.

Finlandia President Philip Johnson , Michigan Representative Michael Lahti, and Kim Stoker of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region will take part in the dedication ceremony.

The ceremony will be followed at 12 p.m. by a holiday reception sponsored by Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), MTEC SmartZone and the Finlandia Jutila Center.

The public is invited to tour the renovated Jutila Center floors from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the same day.

It is our pleasure to gratefully acknowledge the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Finlandia University friends and contributors," said Bonnie Holland, director of the Jutila Center. "It is their generosity and confidence that made possible these renovations to the sixth and seventh floors of the Jutila Center."

The former hospital was destined for demolition when Finlandia University took it over as the site of their International School of Art and Design as well as a business incubator for the community.

"It has been a pleasure to see the old hospital building become a vital resource in our community," said Representative Mike Lahti. "Not only has the building been saved, Finlandia University’s work with the EDA, in cooperation with local, state and federal agencies, has provided a good home for many start-up businesses in our community."

Click here to read the rest of this article on the Finlandia News.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Michigan Tech students send letters from Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN -- Two Michigan Tech University students sent reports this week from the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Cate Cogger, an undergraduate anthropology major, and Adam Airoldi, a graduate student in forest ecology and management, sent letters with their observations and experiences at the conference.

Cate spent the fall semester as an exchange student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Since Copenhagen is only a short train and plane ride from Trondheim, she decided to travel there to be part of the international climate change conference, or in her words, "to witness what will surely be world history."

Cate begins her Dec. 15 letter with a description of marches by GreenPeace and other environmental organizations:

"Perhaps one of the most outspoken and well-known organizations here is GreenPeace. Having gained a reputation for frequent and passionate demonstrations in the past against a variety of environmental threats, disasters and injustices, demonstrators from the organization are here in Copenhagen in force. On Saturday, thousands of GreenPeace members and empathetic global citizens marched throughout Copenhagen with placards and banners proclaiming a variety of messages like: 'Act Now,' 'There Is No Planet B' and 'Nature Doesn't Compromise.' Their main message today during their march was that the selling and trading of carbon credits is unethical and not a solution to reducing rising CO2 levels within the atmosphere. ..."

Click here to read the rest of Cate Cogger's letter from Copenhagen, posted by Jennifer Donovan, on the Michigan Tech News.

On Dec. 14, Michigan Tech received a letter from Adam Airoldi, now a Michigan Tech graduate student, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree at Michigan Tech in 2008. His advisor is Andrew Burton, an associate professor in Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Airoldi is doing research in Norway this semester, working with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research on changes in the alpine tree line around a small copper mining town in central Norway.

Adam Airoldi with the World Wildlife Fund's "ice bear" display at the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photos courtesy Michigan Technological University)

Adam is in Copenhagen this week on a graduate travel grant from the Ecosystem Science Center at Michigan Tech. Here is an excerpt from his first observations of the international climate change conference:

"Walking around the centrum (downtown), the first thing I noticed were all the police officers and vehicles stationed at every corner. In addition there are helicopters flying all over and skiffs patrolling the canals.

"The next thing I noted was the abundance of bicycles. It seems that the people of Copenhagen are taking personal responsibility for climate impacts, turning as a group to cycling for their means of transportation. The city is well set up for this, with bicycle lanes as wide as sidewalks, and although the cyclists can sometimes clog the bridges and intersections, it is hard to imagine the same number of cars fitting into downtown. The use of bicycles is not a recent development, however. It points to a culture that is active and sensible enough to make use of efficient personal transport. ..."

Click here to read the rest of Adam's letter on the Michigan Tech News.

Distant Drum Studio Moving Sale extended through Dec. 18

HANCOCK -- Andrea Puzakulich has extended her Distant Drum Studio Moving Sale from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through this Friday, Dec. 18, in Studio #210 of the Jutila Center (Finlandia Portage Campus or Old Hospital) in Hancock.

Andrea Puzakulich with some of her original creations. Help her move to her new studio in E.L. Wright by visiting her Moving Sale in Studio #210 of the Jutila Center this week. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Stop by for that special holiday gift or a treat for yourself -- including fabrics and non-wearables. Beautiful stuff at low prices! and some things are free!

The new Distant Drum Studio will be located in the E.L.Wright Building in Hancock, Studio 101, starting in January 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Film on Consuming Kids to be shown again Dec. 16

HOUGHTON -- Joseph Hernandez will again host the film Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at the Portage Lake District Library. This brand new and critically acclaimed film throws light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that sells kids everything from junk food to violent video games.

This program is presented by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maple Sugar Folk welcome the season with song ...

CHASSELL -- A highlight of the Chassell Old Fashioned Christmas celebration Dec. 12 was the singing of Christmas carols in several languages by Maple Sugar Folk at the Chassell Heritage Center and Museum. Here are some samples:

Barbara Lide sings "Santa Lucia" in Swedish.* The Maple Sugar Folk performed in one of the old Chassell School classrooms, now part of the Heritage Center. (Video clips by Keweenaw Now)

Accompanied by Dave Bezotte on organ, Maple Sugar Folk sing the favorite "Oh Christmas Tree" in English, French ("Mon beau sapin") and German ("O Tannenbaum") during the Open House at the Chassell Heritage Center and Museum Dec. 12, 2009 -- part of the Chassell Old Fashioned Christmas celebration. Singers are, from left, Barry Pegg, Ralph Horvath, Amanda Binoniemi, Karin Schlenker, Janet Wieber (behind Schlenker), Marcia Goodrich and Barbara Lide (seated next to Bezotte).

A special visitor joins in the singing ...

It's Santa, adding his energetic voice to the singing. In the foreground is Oren Tikkanen of the Thimbleberry Band offering some guitar accompaniment, along with his nephew Coleman Segal (not pictured here) on mandolin. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)**

Editor's Notes:
*Today, Dec. 13, is Santa Lucia Day, celebrated in several countries. Click here to see a photo of this year's Lucia in Finland and learn about this festival of light at the darkest time of year.

**Watch for more photos of the Chassell Heritage Center Open House, coming soon ...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chassell Old Fashioned Christmas: Music, fun, food for everyone Saturday, Dec. 12

CHASSELL -- Chassell continues its tradition of an Old Fashioned Christmas with several events on Saturday, Dec. 12, in Downtown Chassell and at the Chassell School. The Chassell Heritage Center and Museum will hold an Open House with live music by the Thimbleberry Band and Maple Sugar Folk -- and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus!

The Thimbleberry Band and Maple Sugar Folk, pictured here at the July 2009 ethnic music event at the Keweenaw Heritage Center in Calumet, will perform again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Chassell Heritage Center as part of the Chassell Old Fashioned Christmas. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

In Downtown Chassell

Free horsedrawn sleigh rides, making stops around town, will begin at 11 a.m. and continue through 3 p.m.

Don't miss these events at the Chassell Heritage Center (old Chassell elementary school), which will hold an Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the Center for a visit between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. After visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, children may decorate their very own cookies to take home...for free!
  • The Thimbleberry Band will begin playing festive folk and holiday music at 1 p.m. Maple Sugar Folk, who specialize in French Canadian tunes, will sing from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Friends of Fashion present their exhibit, "By Her Own Hands," coming to life, Noon - 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, storytelling, cookies and hot chocolate around the tree will be held at the VFW Home.

Visit the Einerlei to purchase ornaments crafted by 4-H members for the HUMANE SOCIETY BENEFIT TREE. Also at the Einerlei, meet Karl Bohnak from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a Book Signing. His brand new book titled Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac is now available.

At Chassell School

Breakfast with the Chassell High School Junior Class will be from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

A Holiday Handcrafts Bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Contact Marvyl Wilson at 523-4115 for information.

The PATT (Parents and Teachers Together) Cookie Sale will be held from 10 a.m. to Noon at the school. A Chili Lunch and More with the Chassell High School Senior Class will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Chassell Old Fashioned Christmas is sponsored by the Chassell Improvement Association. Contact Nancy Leonard for more information:

Squonk to present "Houghton, the Hometown Opera" Dec. 11 at Rozsa Center

HOUGHTON -- At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, the Rozsa Center will present one of the most unique and truly American operas ever conceived -- with Houghton as the star of the show! Squonk Opera, out of Pittsburgh, creates each of its site-specific operas about the one subject that unifies the audience wherever they perform -- their hometown. This musical multimedia extravaganza is individually structured and modified using the host community as the material source and inspiration.

A scene from Squonk Opera. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

A meta-civic celebration, the show combines a heartfelt toast of the Copper Country with a vaudevillian-style roast, poking fun at our own overblown sense of grandeur.

The Washington Post described Squonk’s local performance as "…an unusual 90-minute ode… including, but not limited to, rock-and-roll, projected videos, aerial footage, dancers, and a puppet show. The elements blend together onstage to create a show that is at once playful and polished. A group of six musicians take the stage in tracksuits, pretending to be Olympic athletes at an over-the-top welcome-home ceremony. Then they all sit down and play stunning, sophisticated music."

In October, Squonk members Jackie Dempsey (Artistic Director and composer) and David Wallace (guitarist and designer) came to Houghton to collect the raw material they needed to construct a show specific to this area. They videotaped interviews with local citizens, made movies of the local streetscapes and researched the town’s history -- including its victories, scandals, icons and idiosyncrasies -- everything that makes the people of the Copper Country who they are. Local schoolchildren drew imagination maps of their neighborhoods, which will be incorporated into an animated sequence projected onstage where local dance groups will join them. Dancers from the Copper Country Cloggers and the MTU Social Dance Club met with Squonk during their residency and will perform original dance routines during the Dec. 11 performance.

Jackie Dempsey, a co-founder of Squonk, says,"We enjoy discovering how each city sees itself, as a whole and within its diverse communities. In this celebration of the host town, we talk about the broader issues of shared humanity and the need for self-definition. Our premise is that every city is new and exciting … at a time when all the national media comes out of LA and New York and focuses on only two cities in the country. All the other towns and cities in America have stories to tell, too."

Squonk Opera has designed a show that allows the audience members to tell their own stories -- in their own words. And Houghton is in good company. Over the past 16 years, Squonk has tailored operas for cities such as Pittsburgh, College Park, Albany, Baltimore, St. Louis, Newark and Charleston. Admittedly, Houghton is the smallest town Squonk has worked with -- which presented its own challenges. But, as Dempsey observed, it also makes the Copper Country one of the most interesting and unique places they’ve worked with. The original idea for the town-specific operatic format was inspired by half-time shows, mummer parades, video documentary art, nationalistic opera, centennial celebrations, political campaigns, tribal displays and local mythologies. Squonk explores the gray area between civic pride and xenophobia, but they do it all with showbiz razzamatazz and rock-n-roll humor.

"'Community' is a current vital issue," Dempsey says, "but it’s also a comic creative challenge, allowing us to explore what makes opera life-like and life operatic … or not!"

Join Squonk Opera at the Rozsa Centerat 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, for "Houghton, the Hometown Opera." See the operatic debut of friends and family members as we celebrate the culture, customs and craziness of the Copper Country -- in a way you’ve never seen before!

The annual Friends of the Rozsa Christmas Tree Silent Auction to benefit the Class Acts Program will conclude during the intermission of Squonk’s performance.

Sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Ticket prices for the general public are $25 and $20; MTU student prices are $20 and $15 (MTU student ID required). To purchase tickets contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487.3200, The Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487.2073, Tech Express (MUB) at 487.3308 or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.

Buellwood Weavers Guild Exhibit opens Dec. 10 at Arts Center

HANCOCK -- An Opening Reception for the Buellwood Weavers Guild Exhibition will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Dec. 10, in the Kerredge Gallery at the Community Arts Center in Hancock.

2009 is the International Year of Natural Fibers. In celebration, the following artists will give demonstrations during the opening: Spinning by Jeanne Medlyn; Knitting by Jessica Speer; Weaving by Lynn Anderson.

The Buellwood Weavers Guild was founded in the early 50s by Dorothea Buell. This exhibition, sponsored in part by the Upper Peninsula Power Co. (UPPCO), continues through Dec. 24.

Please note: The Arts Center has extended hours during December: Sunday, Dec. 13 and 20, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 14 and 21, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Arts Center will be closed from Dec. 25 - Jan. 1.

Happy Holidays to All!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Club Indigo to present British film, buffet Dec. 11

CALUMET -- The Calumet Theatre's Club Indigo presents the annual family pre-Christmas celebration, beginning with a buffet from the British Isles and concluding with the showing of Millions, the film that made Danny Boyle famous -- just before he won the Academy Award for his film Slumdog Millionaire.

Millions is a feel-good fantasy about a pair of young British boys who talk with saints, find a huge stash of money and look for ways to give it to the poor -- a story filled with laughs, chills and quirky commentary about the world in which we live.

The movie will be shown at 7:15 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, preceded by Chef Cormac's buffet at 6 p.m. Movie and buffet costs $18; movie alone is $5. For the buffet, call the theatre to assure seating at 337-2610.

Club Indigo is a food and film event sponsored by Mu Beta Psi music fraternity.

Stupak: Stimulus funds to expand Head Start programs, create new jobs

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced the Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw Child Development Board, Inc., and the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency have received a total of $1.5 million to expand Head Start programs in Northern Michigan. In total, 22 new jobs will be created as a result of the grants. The funding has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the stimulus, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to support the enrollment of additional children and families in Head Start programs as well as create new teaching and other positions in Early Head Start programs.

"Head Start programs are vital to giving millions of children the foundation they need to prepare for school and a lifetime of learning," Stupak said. "This stimulus funding provides immediate economic benefits by creating jobs in our communities, while also making a long-term investment in Northern Michigan, giving more children an opportunity to attend and gain educational benefits from Head Start programs."

Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw (BHK) Child Development Board, Inc., has received $477,491 to expand services to an additional 38 pregnant women, infants, toddlers and their families. Additionally, four full-time home visitors, one full-time literacy specialist and two part-time teachers will be hired to staff the Early Head Start expansion program. Program options will include home-based services for 30 families and center-based care for eight families. Innovations include a focus on intensive family literacy activities to increase parent-child interaction and to improve child and family outcomes for all 133 families served by the Early Head Start program.

Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency has received $1,038,871 to expand services to an additional 108 pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Additionally 15 new jobs will be created as a result of the funding. The award will expand services in Alpena, Arenac, Iosco and Ogemaw Counties as well as in previously unfunded counties of Alcona, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle. Home-based programs will be implemented for all expanded counties.

The goal of the Early Head Start Expansion program through ARRA is to increase the number of pregnant women, infants and toddlers served in Early Head Start. Financial assistance is competitively awarded to provide child and family development services for low-income families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years and pregnant women who are not currently being served by a Head Start or Early Head Start program. Early Head Start programs are funded to provide early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services.

Finnish American Heritage Center to show family Christmas film Dec. 10

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center will show the Finnish film Joulutarina (A Christmas Story) at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10.

A Christmas Story reveals the untold childhood of Santa Claus. Set against a breathtaking landscape, this magical film tells the story of Santa’s life as he overcomes personal tragedy and hardship in his youth to develop a heart filled with love for children around the world.

A Christmas Story is a holiday film for the entire family and a story of selfless giving and lifelong friendship. Dubbed in English, the film is about 90 minutes long. It was the first big-screen Finnish Christmas film and became a huge box office hit.

There is no charge to attend the film, but donations are accepted.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy St. , Hancock. For information, call 906-487-7549.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Finlandia student designers find Jacquard Fabric "Priceless"

HANCOCK -- Three Finlandia University Art and Design juniors and a BFA alumna have benefited from an exchange arranged by Finlandia associate professor Phyllis Fredendall.

The Victor Group of New York City has woven for each student-designer five yards of upholstery-weight Jacquard fabric, which is valued at $40 to $60 per yard.

Pictured here, from left, are Ansley Knoch, Juice Demers, Susie Danielson, Phyllis Fredendall and Amanda Moyer, with their Jacquard fabric designs woven by the Victor Group. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

The four young women, however, view the Jacquard fabric as "priceless."

Fredendall directs the Fiber Arts and Fashion Design program for Finlandia’s International School of Art and Design. In the Spring 2009 semester section of her class, "Jacquard Design," the now-woven patterns were designed.

"This is the first time we have worked with Victor Group," said Fredendall. "The details were worked out by phone and e-mail, and earlier this month I visited their studios in New York during a recruiting trip there."

The Victor Group weaves fabrics for commercial uses, such as upholstery for office and hotel furnishings. The company produces leading-edge textiles and is known for its leadership in operational and product ecological sustainability, according to their website.

As part of the exchange, the Victor Group owns the student designs, which become part of Victor’s design library.

The opportunity began when Fredendall contacted the German company, EAT, makers of DesignScope CAD weaving software. EAT develops electronic textile patterning and related industry software.

"We had been working with another company that notified us that they were unable to continue to weave for us," Fredendall explained. "So, I contacted EAT and asked them for help finding another opportunity to have our designs woven. They sent a notice to users of DesignScope software, and Ann Reinhard, senior CAD designer at Victor, replied that she was interested in working with us!"

Fredendall noted also that Linda Allen, design manager at Victor, who had offered the students critiques of their designs during the Spring 2009 semester, is interested in contributing to the education of future textile designers.

So how will the young fabric designers use the Jacquard fabric?

"That’s the million dollar question," said junior Susie Danielson of Kingsford, Mich. "It’s very precious fabric."

Danielson’s design is based on a lotus flower.

"Ask me in a couple of years," added Amanda Moyer of Livonia, Mich. "Maybe I’ll make a coat one day.”

Moyer’s design is titled, "Celtic Knot."

Juice DeMers of Vulcan, Mich., is planning to use some of the fabric to make handbags to sell at this spring’s annual Finlandia Fusion Fest. Her design is named "Juice Squid."

Finlandia alumna Ansley Knoch ('09) of Hancock was a teaching assistant for the spring weaving class. Her fabric design pattern is Nordic-inspired. Knoch said she plans to give some of her fabric to her mother to refinish a rocking chair that Ansley was rocked in as a baby.

Fredendall also created and had woven a Jacquard design; her design is called "Pink Pears." She, too, is uncertain how she’ll ultimately use her five yards of Jacquard.

The Jacquard mechanical loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801 and was originally controlled by punch cards; today the looms are computer-controlled power looms.

"The loom simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns, such as brocade, damask, double-weave, and tapestry," Fredendall said. "The Jacquard style of weaving is the most complex structure in weaving because threads can be manipulated individually. As a result, detailed images with large repeating patterns can be designed and woven."

For additional information, please contact Phyllis Fredendall at 906-487-7376 or

Editor's Note: Photo and text courtesy Finlandia University.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Finnish American Heritage Center to celebrate Finnish Independence Dec. 6

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center will host its 92nd annual Finnish Independence Day program at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.

The program celebrates the anniversary of the date Finland gained its independence in 1917.

This year’s program features a variety of local performers, and the City of Hancock ’s Finnish Theme Committee will announce the 2010 Hankooki Heikki honoree. The Hankooki Heikki recognition is bestowed annually upon a person whose commitment to preserving and promoting Finnish culture in the area goes above and beyond "normal" efforts.

In addition, two giant himmelis created by Milwaukee-based artist Ernest Hensersky will be on display.

Following the program, the Kivajat Dancers, a local children’s traditional dance troupe, will provide a Finnish coffee table.

Now a member of the European Union, Finland was part of the Swedish realm for 600 years until 1809 when it became attached to the Russian empire. In 1906 Finland acquired its own national parliament, and on Dec. 6, 1917, a Russian revolution prompted Finland to declare herself independent. The Russian government recognized Finland’s independence Dec. 31, 1917.

Traditionally, Finnish Independence Day is a solemn remembrance of those that made freedom possible for Finland. In recent decades, however, celebrations often include fireworks, parades and celebratory cakes decorated with the blue and white Finnish flag.

For information, please call 906-487-7549.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Celebrate First Friday in Calumet with art, holiday music

"Late Winter," Linocut (reduction), McCafferty Rudd Studio, is part of the Winter Gallery Exhibition opening Friday, Dec. 4, at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Vertin Gallery)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet, Dec. 4, will offer gallery art exhibits and music events, some of which will continue on Saturday, Dec. 5, to coincide with the Poor Artists Sale at CLK Gymnasium (Calumet High School).*

Vertin Gallery opening for Winter Gallery Exhibition

The Vertin Gallery will host an opening reception for their Winter Gallery Exhibition from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4. The public is invited and refreshments will be served. This exhibit of new work by the artists currently represented by the Vertin Gallery will continue through Jan. 6, 2010. The Vertin Gallery is at 220 Sixth Street in downtown Calumet.

Ed Gray Gallery to hold reception, Open House

The Miskwabik Ed Gray Gallery will host a Christmas Show, a juried, all-media open show, with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4. The Gallery, Studio and Miskwabik Press will also welcome visitors to an Open House Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5-6. The Gallery is at 109 Fifth Street in Calumet. Call 906-337-5970 for information.

Copper Country Associated Artists to celebrate 50th Birthday

Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAC) will celebrate their 50th Birthday with a Scherenschnitte event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the CCAC Studio/Gallery, 112 Fifth Street in Calumet. Scherenschnitte is a German name for the ancient art of cutting paper into decorations, which can include silhouettes, scenes, cards, Christmas items and many more possibilities.

Christmas tree made through the paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte. (Image courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

German settlers brought this folk art to colonial Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries. The public is invited to join artist Millie Little and transform a simple piece of paper into a holiday keepsake. (Bring a pair of small scissors if you can.)

In addition, as part of the birthday celebration, CCAC member-donated works of art will sell for $50 each, and some for smaller amounts.

Calumet Art Center to host Holiday Music Concert

The Calumet Art Center will host a double program at their Holiday Music Concert on Friday, Dec. 4. Jan Dalquist will play the pipe organ from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Monica Rovano and Friends will offer Christmas Carols from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Art Center. Musicians will include Monica Rovano, piano and voice; Julia Feeley and Dave Moorehouse, violin; and Ethan Arten, guitar. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street. Call 906-281-3494 for information.

Tamarack Trading Co. to host events Dec. 4, 5

Tamarack Trading Company, 300 Fifth Street, Calumet, will be hosting two events this weekend.

The talented duo of Heaven Hawkins and Tony Laux, on guitar, entertain regularly at the Tamarack Trading Co. art events. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Friday night, Dec. 4, will be the scene of live music with Heaven and Tony -- an eclectic mix of folk, rock and blues. Refreshments will be served.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 5, artist Stuart Baird will unveil his latest wood carving at Tamarack Trading Company. Baird recently presented a carving of the Michigan state bird -- the Robin -- to Governor Granholm.

One of Stuart Baird's wood carvings on display at the Tamarack Trading Co. In the background is a photo of Baird with Governor Granholm and his sculpture of the Robin. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Baird's artwork is masterfully done and often looked upon as a taxidermy mount. It needs to be touched to realize its a painted woodcarving. We look forward to his next creation. Refreshments will be served.

*Read about the Copper Country Arts Council's Poor Artists Sale.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Keweenaw Symphony, Michigan Tech Concert Choir to perform "Messiah" Dec. 5 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan Tech Concert Choir and noted soloists will perform George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Rozsa Center.

Soloists will be Ann Campbell, Lara Neves, Charles White and Gregory Campbell. Joel Neves, music director of the Keweenaw Symphony, will conduct.

The 63-voice choir, under the direction of Susan Byykkonen, and Neves' select 41-member oratorio orchestra have been polishing Handel's work, including "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted," "The Glory of the "Lord," "All We Like Sheep," "Worthy is the Lamb," "Hallelujah" and more.

The most recent performance of "Messiah" at the Rozsa Center was in 2005.

For more details, visit the Michigan Tech Visual and Performing Arts Web site.

Bruce Niemi to exhibit sculpture at Finnish American Heritage Center

HANCOCK -- The 19th Annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series, hosted by the Finlandia University Gallery from Dec. 3, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010, features the work of Wisconsin sculptor Bruce A. Niemi in an exhibit titled, "Heavy Metal/Graceful Forms" (Raskas Metalli / Sulavia Muotoja).*

The artist Bruce A. Niemi. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, with an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

At age 12, Bruce Niemi was introduced to welding by his father, a self-taught abstract sculptor and ornamental iron artist. Niemi was fascinated and his passion for sculpting began.

Niemi’s art, ranging from small pedestal pieces to larger wall and free standing sculptures, is characterized by an uplifting positive nature.

"My faith in God, the power and beauty of nature, and the energy and balance of dance are the driving forces behind my art," notes Niemi. "It would be safe to say if you studied my art you would know my heart."

Agape Love, 5'3" x 3'4" x 10" -- Stainless steel, by Bruce A. Niemi. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Niemi’s stainless steel and bronze sculptures create the illusion of movement and transform the abstract into visual statements waiting for the interpretation of the viewer.

"My purpose is to stimulate and exercise the mind of you, the viewer, as well as create a sculpture that compliments the environment that it shares," says Niemi. "Aesthetics, balance, energy, harmony, meticulous craftsmanship, structural strength, durable materials, and public safety are all built into the piece."

All these components are present in Niemi’s recent commission, a memorial for five students killed in 2008 on the campus of Niemi’s alma mater, Northern Illinois University (NIU). Niemi says it was a rewarding and humbling experience to be selected to create the memorial. Foremost in his thoughts while designing the sculpture was finding a way to help the parents of the five students heal.

His sculpture, titled Remembered, consists of five intertwining components that form the shape of a flame.

"I see hope. I see something pointing skyward. I see ascension. I see five elements in that sculpture," says Michael P. Malone, vice president for university advancement at NIU. "Once you look at the interconnecting triangles, or flames, it really starts to add meaning to that site in a way that only art can."

For 21 years Niemi has worked as a full-time sculptor. He has created 28 large-scale public sculptures located across the United States and has exhibited in numerous solo, group and juried exhibitions. His work is included in 20 corporate collections.

Niemi received a bachelor of fine art in sculpture at Northern Illinois University in 1981.

He has been on the Finlandia University campus this week working with art and design students.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

*The Finlandia University Gallery will be closed from Dec.23, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reception for Skyler Ross, Jessica Spear Dec. 3 at Reflection Gallery

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery is hosting a dual exhibit from Dec. 1, 2009, to Jan. 11, 2010, featuring paintings of Jessica Spear and photographs by Skyler Ross.

An opening reception and artist talks will take place from Noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Reflection Gallery in the Jutila Center. The reception is open to the public; refreshments will be served.

Photography by Skyler Ross (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Skyler Ross, a Graphic Design major in the Finlandia University International School of Art and Design, uses Photoshop 7.0 to alter photographs digitally. In his photographs, he hopes to "capture the natural elements of everyday life... take the ordinary and give [it] vitamins."

Jessica Spear, a junior-level Finlandia Studio Arts student, uses color, texture and collage to create large scale paintings overflowing with color and texture. Spear is involved in the local art community and works at the Copper Country Community Arts Center as a gallery helper.

Painting by Jessica Spear (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

"My work is mostly about my love of color, line, and collage and how these work (or don’t work) together," Spear explains. "Spontaneity plays a huge role in my art. Paint splashes and brush strokes are often the result of letting the paint do what it wants to do."

Spear’s fantastic use of color sprung from an experience in eighth grade. She explains, "the first time I saw ‘Green Marilyn’ [by Andy Warhol], I was hooked on that green or shades of green." She says she also enjoys using variations of purple, since purple is "the color of perfect spirituality and creativity."

Spear notes, "I am continuously inspired as I learn about different artists, their techniques and philosophies. I think art is a window for people to look into that provides vital information for understanding each other, our culture, and ourselves."

Skyler Ross enjoys manipulating what already exists, even if it is just taking a blue and making it a brighter, more saturated blue. He notes that he enjoys using bright saturated colors or very dark muted colors.

Through his work, Ross "wants the art to make you ask yourself questions. Whether it is asking yourself about your own life or just questioning life itself. It’s about emotion behind or what is in the photo."

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, Hancock. For additional information, contact Yueh-mei Cheng, associate professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or

Arts Council to host 33rd Annual Poor Artists Sale Dec. 5

CALUMET -- The Copper Country Community Arts Council celebrates its 33rd Annual Poor Artists Sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the CLK Gymnasium in Calumet. This year’s sale offers the work of over 50 artists, including 10 that are new to the event, along with the return of many long-standing favorites.

Shoppers will find handmade jewelry, pottery, wreaths, ornaments, baskets, functional and decorative wood art, blown glass, stained glass, rustic furniture, rugs, art clothing and accessories, fiber art, candles, soaps, paintings, photography, gift baskets and much more.

Shop and visit with friends in a festive atmosphere and enjoy homemade baked goods at the hospitality table.

Copper Country Suzuki students will perform at 1 p.m. Renew your Arts Council membership (or join for the first time) and take advantage of a preview shopping hour for members only from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The Poor Artists Sale is put on by the Copper Country Community Arts Council and is a benefit for the Community Arts Center in Hancock. For more information stop by the Community Arts Center at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock or call (906) 482-2333.

Portage Library to host Great Gingerbread Hunt Dec. 2

HOUGHTON -- Grade school children are invited to follow clues and join the fun in The Great Gingerbread Hunt at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

The event will begin with a reading of the classic folktale "The Gingerbread Man," after which the great scavenger hunt will begin. Participants will follow clues to find the characters from the story throughout the library. Clues will lead children from the old woman to the old man to the pig to the cow and all the characters until they’ve found the fox. After the hunt, kids will decorate gingerbread man cookies and make a gingerbread man book to take home.

This event is sponsored by the Copper Country Reading Council and the Portage Lake District Library. Students from the Education Department at Finlandia University will assist with this event.

Library programs are free and open to all. For information, you may call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Monday, November 30, 2009

Class on "E-Z Fitness" to be Dec. 2 at Jutila Center

HANCOCK -- Do you struggle to spend a daily hour at the gym? Sometimes feel too tired to move? Want to reduce holiday weight gain?

"I know my own answer to all these questions is 'Yes,'" says Kate Alvord, "and that's why I've researched and learned about alternative approaches to fitness."

Alvord will be talking about these alternatives, and ways to address all the above questions, at her Optimal Wellness class, "E-Z Fitness: Methods to use when you don't or can't exercise," beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Room 324 at the Jutila Center in Hancock.

The one-hour class will cover the following:
• practical advice from experts who believe you can get fit without long sessions at the gym
• ways to enhance fitness -- without getting out of bed
• non-dietary tips and tricks to keep holiday weight gain to a minimum
• and more.

The Jutila Center (aka the old hospital) is at 200 Michigan Street in Hancock. The class is $10 at the door.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sen. Carl Levin interviewed on "Face the Nation" Nov. 29

CBS -- Michigan's Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke on "Face the Nation" (CBS) today, Nov. 29, 2009, concerning the anticipated troop increase in Afghanistan. President Obama is expected to announce the increase in an address to the nation this Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Interviewed by CBS News' Harry Smith, Levin said whether President Obama gets Democratic support for the increase "depends on the purpose of the mission and whether additional Americans there would help build numbers in the Afghan army."

Read the CBS news article on Sen. Levin's statements and see also the accompanying video.

Portage Library to host Holiday Storytime Dec. 5

HOUGHTON -- On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Portage Lake District Library will host a Holiday Storytime at 2 p.m. as part of the Downtown Houghton Holiday schedule of events. All children are invited to come and listen to winter tales and take home a holiday treat.

Presentations at the library are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Community Arts Center's Shaft exhibit continues through Dec. 5

Cutting Copper, acrylic, by Kevin Breyfogel, is one of the entries in The Shaft exhibit, which continues through Dec. 5 at the Community Arts Center. The public is invited to cast a vote for Public Choice cash awards. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The 16th annual Shaft exhibit is currently on display in the Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery. The community exhibit on mining includes 31 pieces by nineteen local artists: Leona Blessing, Daniel C. Boyer, Kevin Breyfogel, Cynthia Coté, Linden W. Dahlstrom, Bob Dawson, Tammy Toj Gajewski, Sue Hamilton, Charles Eshbach, Phyllis Fredendall, Joyce Koskenmaki, Margo McCafferty, Eric Munch, Clyde Mikkola, Ron Gratz, Mary Ann Predebon, Barbara Simila and Peter Oikarinen, and Jack Oyler.

The exhibit includes art depicting workers, lifestyles, buildings and landscapes as well as conceptual art in such media as photography, painting, pencil, mixed media, clay, fiber, collage and found objects. Artists were invited to submit work inspired by mining in the Copper Country, the physical signs of its presence or the effect it has had on the area and its people. Members of the Quincy Smelter Association, guided by Sean Gohman, provided photographic and field sketching opportunities for artists in October.

The exhibit will remain in place through Dec. 5. Viewers are invited to cast their vote for public choice. Cash awards will be presented at the close of the exhibit. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information call 482-2333.

Editor's Note: See our slide show with some of the entries in The Shaft and Junior Shaft exhibits (See upper right corner on this page or click here). Photos were taken at the Nov. 12 Opening Reception for these exhibits in the Kerredge and Youth galleries at the Copper Country Community Arts Center, Hancock.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NPR report on Afghanistan strategy echoes Sen. Levin on training Afghan forces

WASHINGTON, DC -- News today, Nov. 24, that President Obama plans to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan next week included statements by Obama quoted by National Public Radio (NPR) that recall a speech by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, to the RAND Corporation's event "U.S. Policy in Afghanistan: Basic Questions, Strategic Choices," on Oct. 29, 2009.

The Nov. 24 NPR report, in part, states the following:

"Obama did offer some hints about where the strategy is headed, including an expected emphasis on boosting the pace of training for Afghan security forces.

"'It's going to be very important to recognize that the Afghan people ultimately are going to have to provide for their own security,' Obama said. 'And so we'll be discussing that process whereby Afghan security forces are properly trained and equipped to do the job.'

"He also said that there will be important civilian and diplomatic components to his planned strategic shift," the NPR report states.

On Oct. 29, 2009, Sen. Levin stated, in part, the following opinions:

"I agree with Gen. McChrystal on the need for a counter-insurgency strategy with a focus on protecting the Afghan people. Gen. McChrystal himself has said that what’s getting most of the attention these days -- troop levels -- is of less importance than the need for a fundamental change in our military strategy to a counter-insurgency campaign that makes the security of the Afghan people paramount. 'The key takeaway' from his assessment, the general writes, 'is the urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way that we think and operate.' And Gen. McChrystal said explicitly in his assessment: 'Focusing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely.' The media is sure missing the point. I’m confident the president won’t."

Levin continued:

"In furtherance of a counter-insurgency strategy, my recommendation has been that we and our NATO allies take urgent steps to accelerate the growth and capability of Afghan forces before we consider committing any additional U.S. combat troops to Afghanistan, beyond those now in place or on their way. I have proposed an increase in the Afghan army and national police to about 400,000 troops, roughly doubling their current numbers, and that this be completed by 2012, a year earlier than now planned. Meeting that goal will require a substantial new commitment of U.S. and NATO trainers and other enablers, such as logistics support and intelligence assets.

"It will also require a major infusion of new equipment. The National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama signed yesterday (Oct. 28, 2009) opens the way to transfer useful equipment now in Iraq, currently scheduled for return to the United States, to Afghanistan instead."

For a YouTube video of this speech by Sen. Levin and the rest of the accompanying text from which this excerpt is taken, visit his Web site or see and hear the speech on his official YouTube channel:

For the complete article posted today on NPR, visit their Web site.

To contact Sen. Levin's office with your views, call 202.224.6221 or go to his email and contact page:

Photo: Sen. Carl Levin's official press photo provided by his Web site.

Stupak bill to limit phosphorus in Great Lakes

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) has introduced legislation to limit domestic cleaning products, such as laundry detergents and dishwasher soap, from containing more than 0.5 percent phosphorus. H.R. 3946 would help protect the Great Lakes by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide Congress with recommendations on how to address the problem of high levels of phosphorus in the water system.

"Healthy Great Lakes ecosystems are vital to the economic and cultural well-being of the state of Michigan," Stupak said. "As too many nutrients, including phosphorus, are dumped into our waters the Great Lakes suffer harmful effects such as algae blooms. This legislation ensures a comprehensive plan to address high levels of phosphorus and protect our Great Lakes for generations to come."

At the proper levels, nutrients including phosphorus are essential to aquatic ecosystems. However, excessive amounts of phosphorus are currently entering the Great Lakes from a number of sources. When too much phosphorus enters the waterways it causes excessive growth of algae, which in turn robs the water of the oxygen aquatic life needs to survive.

H.R. 3946 would require the EPA to analyze all of the accumulated data from federal agencies researching harmful algae blooms and send Congress a set of recommendations on how to address the problem in the Great Lakes. This information is critical to understanding how to combat algae blooms caused by excessive nutrient dumping in the Great Lakes.

The bill would also amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to limit domestic cleaning products, such as laundry detergents and dishwasher soap, from containing more than 0.5 percent phosphorus. While several states have already enacted similar bans with success, Stupak’s legislation is necessary to ensure comprehensive protection of the Great Lakes.

Reports on water quality conditions indicate that phosphorus and nitrogen are the leading causes of impairment in lakes, ponds and reservoirs and the second leading cause of impairment to bays and estuaries. In the Great Lakes, states have indentified nutrient contamination as a major cause of water impairment.

"Evidence shows efforts to reduce the flow of excessive nutrients into the Great Lakes can be successful," Stupak said. "Efforts to date have been piecemeal, but this legislation will allow the federal government to do more to helps states combat this problem in a comprehensive manner."

Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3946. Michigan Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced a companion bill to H.R. 3946 in the U.S. Senate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Angel Mission Free Store in Calumet offers food, usable items at no cost

By Michele Bourdieu

These colorful toys are just waiting to make some child happy. The Angel Mission Free Store in Calumet has a room in the back with free toys and books for children. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- The Angel Mission Free Store at the corner of Fifth and Portland streets in Calumet is a great place to find anything from jackets and coats to shoes, clothing, household items and kids' toys and books. Groceries are also available on request from its food pantry.

You might just stop in to say hi to a volunteer friend, as Bob LaBonté of Calumet did recently, and find a surprise treasure like the Green Bay Packers jacket LaBonté discovered right in the front of the store.

Angel Mission Free Store volunteer Rena Kurburski of Tapiola helps Bob LaBonté of Calumet choose a Green Bay Packers jacket from the Free Store's rack of second-hand coats and jackets.

Not only did it fit, but it was free!

"Rena is a very good friend," LaBonté said of Rena Kurburski of Tapiola, who volunteers in the Free Store on Thursdays. "She spends a lot of time at our house."

LaBonté said he and his wife, C. J. LaBonté, occasionally take items from the store "only if needed," because they're aware that other people may have more needs.

The Angel Mission Free Store is filled with used clothing as well as household items like those pictured here on the shelves. It's a great place to recycle something you never use that just might be another person's treasure.

Kurburski said many people volunteer at the Free Store, which is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The volunteers wait on customers, sort items, remove garbage, etc. People can donate re-usable items or non-perishable food for the pantry.

"We also take monetary donations because we have rent and utilities to pay for," Kurburski explained.

The monetary donations also allow the mission to help people who can't pay their utility bills.

During the summer the store was open on Saturdays; but so far no one has replaced the Saturday volunteers, who have gone south for the winter.

"If somebody wants to volunteer for Saturdays, we would be happy to have them," Kurburski said.

Donations of used and usable children's toys and books are always welcome at the Free Store.

Now at Thanksgiving time, the Angel Mission would appreciate donations of non-perishable food items or cash to supplement their $100-a-month food budget. Although food items are not displayed on the shelves, customers can ask for a bag of groceries and a staff member will give them one from the food pantry.

"The more donations we have, the more people we can feed," Kurburski noted.

Another project for the holidays is the Angel Tree in the window of the Free Store. Anyone can take an angel ornament representing a needy child in the community and buy a couple of gifts for that child.

The Angel Tree welcomes donors willing to purchase holiday gifts for needy boys and girls of various ages.

The angel indicates the age and sometimes the size of the boy or girl so that donors can purchase new Christmas gifts and bring them to the store by the second week in December to be delivered to that child on Christmas. The gifts can be wrapped or unwrapped.

The Angel Mission Free Store is at 201 Fifth St. in Calumet (at the corner of 5th and Portland streets). Donations of used items can be taken to the store. Cash donations can also be offered inside the store or sent in the form of a check or money order to the Copper Country Christian Fellowship (CCCF), 301 Sixth St., Calumet, MI 49913 -- sponsors of the Free Store.

CCCF to hold Thanksgiving Community Dinner Nov. 26

The Copper Country Christian Fellowship will hold a Community Dinner at 4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day -- Thursday, Nov. 26, at 301 Sixth St., next to Newman's Appliance in Calumet. All are welcome. Please RSVP if you wish to attend by calling 337-3864 and stating the number coming.

CCCF holds services at 6 p.m. every Sunday at this same location, 301 Sixth St.

The Fellowship is a Presbyterian-based, ecumenical storefront church next to Newman's Appliance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finlandia Student Nurses host food drive through Nov. 23

HANCOCK -- A food drive, sponsored by the Finlandia Student Nurses Association, will support local food banks.

Donation boxes are located at Shop-Ko and Maurice’s in Houghton, Superior National Bank and Finlandia Hall in Hancock, Louie’s Super Foods in Calumet and Louie’s
Super Foods and Quality Hardware in Lake Linden.

The food drive continues through Monday, Nov. 23. For information, call 487-7357.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Portage Library to host discussions, films Nov. 18, 21, 23

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library continues to offer a diverse range of programs and events.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, members of the group "Vegan Vitality" will present a forum for discussion about the interconnectedness of our eating practices as it relates to our health-care crisis, our economic crisis, our global warming crisis and our ethics. Their objective is to narrow the gap in understanding between all perspectives on these subjects and to offer a direct way to resolve these problems by being inclusive and respectful advocates for healthy ethical eating. Gretchen Janssen will discuss the environmental impact of the meat industry; Anne Haywood will highlight ethical concerns in the meat industry; and JoAnne Thomas will present the nutritional aspects of a vegan diet. All folks of all diets are welcome to participate in this educational discussion with freedom from pressure or adverse attitudes about their food choices.

To celebrate the anniversary of the birthday of Harpo Marx, Ariel Lake will host A Night at the Opera at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. In this classic 1935 film, the Marx Brothers take on high society when two lovers who are both in operas are prevented from being together when the man is not accepted as an operatic tenor. With typical sustained zaniness, the Marx Brothers turn the opera into utter chaos by substituting the music to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and selling peanuts in the aisle. Birthday cake and ice cream will be served and everyone with a sense of humor is invited.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, Joseph Hernandez will host the film Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. This brand new and critically acclaimed film throws light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that sells kids everything from junk food to violent video games.

"Consuming Kids will change the way you think about childhood in the 21st century," Hernandez says. This program is presented by The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Stupak to hold telephone town hall meeting Nov. 18

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) will hold a telephone town hall meeting at 6 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. The telephone town hall will allow residents of the First Congressional District to ask Stupak questions on a range of issues, including health care and the economy. This will be Congressman Stupak’s fourth telephone town hall meeting with constituents since April.

"These telephone town hall meetings allow me to reach out to the entire First District to hear constituent concerns and answer questions about a range of issues including the recent health care bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives," Stupak said. "I appreciate the feedback at my town hall meetings, both in Northern Michigan and the telephone town halls. I am looking forward to another constructive conversation with constituents."

Constituents in the First District who wish to participate in the telephone town hall can sign up by visiting and selecting "E-mail and Telephone Town Hall Sign-Up" or by calling Congressman Stupak’s office at 1-800-950-7371 to request they be included on the call. In order to join the call, individuals must have registered prior to 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and be available to answer their phone between 5:50 p.m. EST and 6:20 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.

Last week Congressman Stupak held a town hall meeting in Escanaba. In September he held a town hall meeting in Negaunee and in October he held town hall meetings in Cheboygan and Petoskey. Stupak held his last telephone town hall meeting on Sept. 30, with 5,132 people representing all 31 counties in the First Congressional District joining the call.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simon Shaheen, renowned Arab musician, to perform at Rozsa Nov. 18

HOUGHTON -- The internationally-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated instrumentalist Simon Shaheen -- one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation -- will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Rozsa Center.

Simon Shaheen, musician and composer, will give a concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Rozsa Center. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

Shaheen's work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. Shaheen dazzles his listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the 'oud and violin.

A Palestinian, born in the Israeli village of Tarshiha in the Galilee, Shaheen spent his childhood steeped in music. His father, Hikmat Shaheen, was a professor of music and a master 'oud player.

"Learning to play on the 'oud from my father was the most powerful influence in my musical life," Shaheen recalls.

He began playing on the 'oud at the age of five, and a year later he was studying violin at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music in Jerusalem.

"When I held and played these instruments, they felt like an extension of my arms," Shaheen says.

Most recently, Shaheen has focused much of his energies on Qantara. The band, whose name means "arch" in Arabic, brings to life Shaheen's vision for the unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music -- a perfect alchemy for music to transcend the boundaries of genre and geography. The group's release Blue Flame earned eleven Grammy nominations and high accaim by the Los Angeles Times as "stunning" and "meticulously conceived."

While Qantara has been the focus of Shaheen's recent attention, he also continues to lead the Near Eastern Music Ensemble, which remains active by performing more traditional concerts in museums and art centers and participates in Shaheen's Arab Music Retreat. In 2009, Shaheen directed the multi-faceted orchestral program Aswat (Voices) -- Celebrating the Golden Age of Arab Music and Cinema, in association with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan.

A retrospective program of Shaheen's contemporary and traditional Arab music styles is offered in his most available North American touring format, a five-piece ensemble of master musicians. Additionally, Shaheen tours as a solo artist internationally and as a lecturer throughout the academic world promoting awareness of Arab music through numerous lecture and workshop presentations.

Sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Ticket prices for the general public are $20 and $15; MTU student prices are $15 and $10 (MTU student ID required). To purchase tickets contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, The Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073, Tech Express (MUB) at 487-3308 or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tech Theatre to hold auditions for Feb. play Nov. 15, 16

HOUGHTON -- Tech Theatre will hold auditions for its upcoming production of Proof at 7 p.m., Sunday and Monday, Nov. 15 and 16, in McArdle Theatre.

The roles for the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn include two women and one man in their twenties. As preparation for the auditions, scripts can be checked out overnight from the Visual and Performing Arts office at 209 Walker.

The performance dates for Proof are Feb. 11-13 and 18-19 in McArdle Theatre, plus Feb. 25 at the Ironwood Theatre and Feb. 27 at the Calumet Theatre.

For more information, contact Roger Held at 487-1080 or at

Finlandia Young Women's Caucus to host 1950s dinner Nov. 14

HANCOCK -- The Young Women’s Caucus, a recently-formed Finlandia University student club, will host a 1950s theme dinner at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Finlandia Hall Café, in the university’s residence hall, Hancock.

The menu for the buffet-style 1950s housewife-themed dinner is inspired by food from that era. The community is encouraged to participate by baking a pie for a pie contest that evening, or by sporting 1950s attire.

The Young Women’s Caucus is dedicated to providing opportunities for emerging artists and designers. The theme dinner will help support membership fees in the national Women’s Caucus for Art and help the young women organize a traveling art exhibit.

Tickets are $15 at the door and $10 for students and those who contribute a homemade pie.

For information, call 487-7375.