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Saturday, March 07, 2009

2nd Annual Barneløpet Cross Country Ski Race a success!

A young member of the Copper Country Ski Tigers rounds a curve at Maasto Hiihto during the 2nd Annual Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race, sponsored by the Sons of Norway and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club on Feb. 7, 2009. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

HANCOCK -- The 2nd Annual Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race, sponsored by the Sons of Norway and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) on Feb. 7, 2009, attracted over 100 participants including about 70 youth and 30 - 40 adults, according to Sons of Norway volunteer Greg Odegard of Houghton, whose son Leif, 9, participated in the 2-km race.

Barneløpet volunteers Greg Odegard, left, Sons of Norway treasurer, and Glen Archer, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club secretary, collect signs at the end of the Feb. 7 non-competitive race for youth and their parents.

Sons of Norway Lodge 5-670 President Wayne Stordahl said the non-competitive event was a success, thanks to more participation, good weather and better co-ordination with the Ski Tigers youth skiing group schedule. He noted the Ski Tigers coaches considered the event worthwhile.

Pictured here in the Maasto Hiihto Chalet after the 2nd Annual Barneløpet are Sons of Norway Lodge 5-670 volunteers Wayne Stordahl, president; Eileen Stordahl, right, secretary and hospitality; Karen Johnson, left, trustee; and Patti Milde.

"We appreciated the Michigan Tech cross-country ski team members coming over and skiing the course and cheering for the kids," Stordahl said.

KNSC volunteer Ray Sharp shows some of the youngest skiers how to get in position for the start of the race.

And they're off!

Glen Archer, KNSC secretary, said the ski club members, as stewards of the Maasto Hiihto trails, were happy to co-sponsor this event again this year.

"Part of our mission is to promote cross-country skiing in the Keweenaw," Archer said.

This parent is doing double duty!

During the awards ceremony following the race, young skiers Jay Woodbeck and Kai Sharp received checks for their success in the recent Junior Olympics. Children who finished their course were each awarded a colorful Norwegian Olympic-style enameled medallion.

KNSC members, from left, Sandy Aronson, John Diebel and Maasto Hiihto groomer Arlyn Aronson (on ladder), prepare to take down the Start sign after the race.

The Barneløpet, a Norwegian word meaning, "the children’s race" is open to all youth ages three through 17. In addition to the Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge and KNSC, co-sponsors also included the Keweenaw Community Foundation (KCF) and Portage Health. KCF provided a grant for the event and Portage Health served hot chocolate and cookies to participants in the Maasto Hiihto Chalet after the race.

Check out our slide show in the upper right corner of this page for more photos of Barneløpet participants in action.

Sons of Norway to hold ski / snowshoe / potluck Mar. 8 at Maasto Hiihto

The Sons of Norway will have a ski-in and pot luck dinner on Sunday, Mar. 8, at the Maasto Hiihto Ski Chalet in Hancock. Ski or show shoe on the trails any time after 2 p.m.. Dinner will be at 5 p.m. Bring soups, crockpots, breads, desserts; if you can bring soup or chili for this please contact Stordahls at 482-0292 so we are sure to have the main dish!

If the full moon is out some could go out after dinner also. Bring the family and friends and enjoy the great outdoors starting at 2 or just bring a dish to pass and join us for the potluck dinner at 5 p.m.

Andrea H. has volunteered to teach beginner skiiers starting at 2 p.m. There is a $5 daily fee required to use the Maasto Hiihto trails if you are not a trail member already.

For more information contact Connie Julien, webmaster and publicity chair, Sons of Norway, Ulseth Lodge. Visit the Sons of Norway, Ulseth Lodge Web site.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bear Chase ski races to be Mar. 7, 8 at Swedetown Trails

CALUMET -- The 2009 Great Bear Chase will take place on the Swedetown ski trails Sunday, Mar. 8, 2009, with a finish in downtown Calumet. There are new start times. Please remember that daylight savings time starts on March 8. Set your clock an hour ahead Saturday night!!

The Bear Chase includes a 50-km freestyle race and separate 26-km classic and freestyle categories. The course uses the varied and gently rolling terrain of the Swedetown ski trails and features a finish in downtown Calumet. After the race, stick around for door prizes, raffles and a free lunch.

The 26-km classic race kicks off at 9 a.m., with the 50-km freestyle at 9:20 a.m. and the 26-km freestyle at 9:30 a.m., EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME (EDT).

Drop your bag in the warmth of St. Anne's Church before you start. Start is closer to town (at the end of Scott Street). Awards and lunch will be in the new gym at Calumet High School.

Registration and bib pick-up: Registration and bib pick-up are from noon - 8 p.m. at Cross Country Sports, 507 Oak Street, Calumet, on Saturday, Mar. 7, 2009.

Sunday, Mar. 8, 2009 -- Bib pick-up is from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., EDT, at Cross Country Sports, Calumet. No race day registration.

"We want to thank everyone who has stepped up to volunteer!" said Arnie Kinnunen, Portage Health Community Outreach Coordinator. "We literally would not be able to run The Great Bear Chase with out you. Thanks to a very supportive community."

Although all volunteer positions have been filled, if you want to be involved please contact Jane at

All volunteers will receive a Great Bear Chase T-shirt and free food after the race.

If you're not racing, please come out and cheer for local racers and the people from out of town who will be visiting our area. One of the main reason we get so many people from out of the area (80%) to participate is because of the welcoming we give them.

Skiers will receive updated information and a course map in their registration packets. For details visit the Bear Chase Web site. For online registration visit

For more event information, call Cross Country Sports in Calumet (906-337-4520). For lodging information, call the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau (800-338-7982).

Junior Bear Chase

The Junior Bear Chase, a youth Nordic ski race for skiiers up to 16 years-old, will take place beginning at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday, Mar. 7, at Swedetown Trails. Both classic and free style races will be held within each age class, with separate awards for boys and girls.

Registration/Bib pick-up are from 10 a.m - 10:30 a.m., EST, at the Swedetown chalet.

The Junior Bear Chase is sponsored by the Copper Country Ski Tigers (youth Nordic ski organization). For details visit the Ski Tigers Web site. For more information contact Steve Delong by email ( or phone (906-296-0094).

Pam Urbis Laitala show to open Mar. 6 at Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet

CALUMET -- "Out of My Mind"-- a one-person, mixed-media show by artist Pam Urbis Laitala -- will be on exhibit this month at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet, with an opening reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Mar. 6.

The Gallery is at 109 Fifth Street. For more information call 906-337- 5970 or visit the Ed Gray Gallery Web site.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Watercolors by Helen Klebesadel to be exhibited at Vertin Gallery Mar. 6-Apr.1

"Where Have All the Bees Gone?" -- watercolor, 2009, by Helen Klebesadel -- is part of the new March exhibit at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet.

CALUMET -- "The Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees," recent watercolors by Helen Klebesadel, will be on exhibit from Mar. 6 through Apr. 1, 2009, at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 6.

Klebesadel is a Madison artist who has been very active in social issues, most recently those related to the environment. Her paintings reflect her love for nature and her concern to protect and save it. Klebesadel's work addresses the disappearance of bees, her love for flower gardening, her attachment to crows, dancing trees, etc.

"All of her recent work has a metaphorical dimension, referring to human love, our interdependence and our need to remember that everything is connected," says local artist Joyce Koskenmaki.

Along with her work toward environmental and social justice, Klebesadel is a consummate watercolorist. She has taught watercolor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., and gives many watercolor workshops which are widely attended. Her day job is the Director of the Women's Studies Consortium for the University of Wisconsin Systems. She was the past president of the National Women's Caucus for Art and was the Director of the Board of the National Women's Studies Association. Presently, Klebesadel is also an appointee to the Wisconsin Arts Board.

"Unfortunately, because of death in the family, Helen will not be present at the opening," Koskenmaki explains. "I will give a short talk about Helen and her work."

Klebesadel's lecture on Art and Activism, which was to take place at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, has been postponed to a later date.

The Vertin Gallery is at 220 Sixth St., Calumet. Call 906-337-2200 for more information.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Calumet Players to hold auditions Mar. 3-4 for "Anatomy of a Murder"

CALUMET -- The Calumet Players will be performing Anatomy of a Murder, a court-drama by Elihu Winer based on the novel by Robert Traver, in the Calumet Theatre on May 14, 15 and 16. Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Mar. 3, and Wednesday, Mar. 4, at the Schoolcraft Township Office, 226 Front Street, Lake Linden.

The show has 18 cast members. Call Mick McKellar at 337-5596 for more information.

The Players production of Anatomy of a Murder will also be part of a U.P.-wide 50th anniversary celebration of the movie, starring Jimmy Stewart, directed by Otto Preminger and filmed in the Marquette County area. Details of other 50th anniversary events will be posted as received on the Calumet Players Web site,

Mama Yeye to present African dance, storytelling, drumming at MTU

Mama Yeye has arrived at Michigan Tech! Click on photo for larger version. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University.)

HOUGHTON -- Mama Yeye -- a dancer, choreographer, playwright and teacher -- is now visiting Michigan Tech to present free hands-on workshops on African dance, Yoruba storytelling and Sekere drumming. All events are open to the public and free of charge. Unless otherwise indicated, her presentations are in the McArdle Theatre, second floor of MTU's Walker Center for Arts and Humanities.

Since Mama Yeye's visit was delayed by a storm in Atlanta, GA, the schedule has been changed somewhat. Here are her remaining presentations for today, Tuesday, Mar. 3, and tomorrow, Wednesday, Mar. 4:

Tuesday, Mar. 3:
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. -- New Afro-Caribbean Dances. Allow your mind and body to travel across the oceans through dance to places like Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad. Don't miss it!

7:30 p.m. -- Mama attends the African Children's Choir performance*

Wednesday, Mar. 4:

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. -- Yoruba Storytelling (Rozsa 120, Choir Room). Join the Modern Theatre History class (FA 3821) session, open to all.

12 Noon - 2 p.m. -- African Dance for Everyone
7 p.m. - 10 p.m. -- African Dance and Sekere Drumming

"Everyone loves the drums," Mama Yeye says. "Now learn how to move to the rhythm. Mama Yeye gives you the basics so you can move, dance, sing and enjoy yourself."

Raised in a Yoruba family in Philadelphia, Apetebii Yeye Olori Oriyomi -- "Mama Yeye"-- takes her artistic inspiration from the variety of ethnic rhythms, tastes, sounds and voices of the African diaspora that have been part of her life, ranging from West Philly to Nigeria, New Orleans, New York City, Jamaica and Atlanta, her new home base. She delights in teaching the arts of Africa because it is an opportunity to create positive change. She uplifts the Yoruba code of "Iwapele," which means good character, and has presented workshops for many colleges, universities and theater conferences throughout the country.

The events are sponsored by the Visiting Women and Minority Scholar Series, Institutional Diversity and Visual and Performing Arts. More information is available from Patricia Helsel in Visual and Performing Arts,

* The African Children's Choir will perform at the Rozsa Center again tonight, Tuesday, Mar. 3. See article.