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.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Johnson / Wiitanen photography collaboration on exhibit in Houghton through May 15

HOUGHTON -- "A Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: An acknowledgment of life, death, grief and rebirth," is a collaborative project by photographer Adam Johnson and artist/model Heidi Wiitanen now on exhibit at the Rhythm Skate Shop, 418 Shelden Ave. in downtown Houghton, through May 15.

A reception will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Apr. 17. The event is open to the public.

Although these local visionaries have worked together for several years on various photography shoots, this is a first-time collaboration for photographer, Adam Johnson, and artist / model, Heidi Wiitanen, presenting the public with a very special project -- 11 black-and-white nude photographs and a mask, conveying the emotions involved in the process of life, death, grief and rebirth.

Visit the blog for details about the exhibit.

Finlandia to hold second annual Fusion Fest Apr. 18

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University’s second annual Fusion Fest will take place this Saturday, Apr. 18, at Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus. All events are open to the public; and admission is free, with the exception of the evening Community Dance.

Fusion Fest activities will take place from Noon to 6 p.m. and include art booths, community painting, tie-dying, hot-from-the-grill hot dogs and bratwurst, a bake sale, art exhibitions and art sales, glassblowing and other activities and art demonstrations.

Music will be performed throughout the day by the groups Gratiot Lake Road, On the Spot Blues Band and The Pasi Cats. A Community Dance featuring the band ANENUKI will follow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Community Dance is $5 per person. Music is in Room 211.

Here is a tentative schedule of time slots for the bands:

Noon - 1:30 p.m., Gratiot Lake Road; 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., The On the Spot Blues Band; 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., The Pasi Cats; 6:15 p.m. - 8 p.m., Community Dance: THE ANENUKI.

Art events include the following, with approximate times:

Art Booths: Noon-6 p.m. in Room 104
Community Painting: Noon-6 p.m. in the Reflection Gallery Lounge
Kids' Art: Noon-2 or 3 p.m. in the Reflection Gallery Lounge
Art Slide Show: Noon-6 p.m. in Room 205
Tie-dyeing: Noon-6 p.m. in the Fiber Studio
Scavenger Hunt: Noon-5:45 p.m. on the 1st and 2nd floors
Door Prize Drawing: 6 p.m. at the Finlandia Booth
Capoeira Demonstration: 5-6 p.m. on the 1st floor
Glass Blowing Demonstration: Noon-6 p.m. outside the Glass Studio
Open Studios: Noon-6 p.m., varied, in respective studios.

Food: The grill will be running from Noon to 4 p.m. on the 1st floor in front of the elevators, outside the Ceramic Studio, near the Glass Blowing Demonstration. Any extra pop and chips will be available for sale during the dance.

Fusion Fest proceeds will help Finlandia University art and design students travel to Chicago for the annual Self Employment in the Arts conference.

The Jutila Center is at 200 Michigan Street, Hancock. Please call 487-7225 for more information.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CCGAP to hold fundraiser with music, prizes Apr. 17

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) is having its annual fund-raising party with dance music provided by the UPTOWN SWINGSTERS. Music will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 17, at the MTU Forestry Building. (Access from 7th Avenue.)

There will be a drawing with two grand prizes: a handwoven wool blanket from Guatemala, OR $100 worth of merchandise from the import business Heart Of The Sky Fair Trade. There will be other prizes AND a silent auction of Guatemalan handicrafts including textiles, bags, wood carvings, wall hangings and more.

Admission is free; drawing tickets will be sold at the door for $5 apiece. Dance and enjoy the music until 10:30 p.m. Snacks will be available.

Finlandia Nordic Film Series to present "Sweet Land" Apr. 16

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Nordic Film Series continues Thursday, Apr. 16, with the 2005 film Sweet Land. Showings are at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Sweet Land, filmed on location in southern Minnesota, is a poignant and lyrical celebration of land, love and the American immigrant experience. It was written and directed by Minnesota native Ali Selim and is based on the short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat," by Minnesotan Will Weaver.

Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), who grew up in Norway but speaks only German, arrives in Minnesota toting a Victrola but without her papers, so when she connects with Olaf (Tim Guinee) -- the dour, strapping Norwegian farmer it has been arranged for her to marry -- the two aren’t allowed to go through with the ceremony.

Instead, they coexist in an awkward limbo as Inge stays with a neighboring family, where she learns the English language, American ways and a hard-won independence.

Inge and Olaf slowly come to know each other; and, against the backdrop of endless farmland and cathedral skies, they fall in love -- a man and a woman united by the elemental forces of nature.

Sweet Land won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2005 Hamptons International Film Festival.

For additional information, please contact James Kurtti at 906-487-7302 or

CCGAP accompanier to speak about Guatemala Apr. 16

Mary Sennewald, accompanier, and Sue Ellen Kingsley, CCGAP executive director, in front of Guatemala's National Palace in October 2008. Sennewald returned from her six-month service as a human rights observer in Guatemala in March 2009 and will be speaking in Hancock Thursday, Apr. 16. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project)

HANCOCK -- Mary Sennewald, published author and journalist, recently served as the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project's accompanier in Guatemala. Sennewald will give a public presentation to share her experiences living with massacre survivors in Guatemala at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Apr. 16, at the First United Methodist Church in Hancock. A potluck dinner at 6 p.m. will precede the presentation.

Sennewald served in a region of Guatemala that suffered extreme violence during their civil war. She will give an update on the genocide trial through which victims of the violence continue to seek justice.

Mary Sennewald will also bring copies of her book Road-schooling Ryan: Learn As We Go, a memoir of the year she spent with her high-school age son on the road.

The Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project promotes human rights by responding to requests for international accompaniment from Guatemalan organizations and/or communities and also by increasing awareness of Guatemala in the Copper Country of Michigan.

Read letters from Mary written during her service in Guatemala on the CCGAP (Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project) Web site.

Free computer classes to be offered at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- Robby Emmert of Houghton invites beginners and those with some computer experience to participate in "Surfing in the U.P.," his series of free instructional computer classes at the Portage Lake District Library. Emmert is offering this course to the community as his Eagle Scout project, and all are invited to attend.

Emmert's classes are designed to provide local community members with basic computer knowledge, including email, internet browsing, Office programs such as Word and Excel, data management and music and video management.

The workshops are incremental, and by attending all four sessions participants will know enough to explore on their own on a Personal Computer (PC). A limited number of computers will be provided to practice on, and participants may bring their own laptop. (At present classes will be given for PCs only, although MACs may be accommodated in the future.)

Classes will take place in the library’s community room and the schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Apr. 15, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. -- Complete beginner’s course: learn computers from scratch.

Friday, Apr. 24, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. -- Exploring your PC: programs, settings and data management.

Saturday, Apr. 25, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Learn how to surf the internet: e-mail, browsing and safety.

Thursday, Apr. 30, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Multimedia: get the most out of your computing experience.

Everyone is invited to attend library events and presentations are free. For more information, please call the Portage Lake District Library at 482-4570.

Monday, April 13, 2009

T.E.A. group to hold more fundraisers for Central Asia Institute schools

HOUGHTON -- Students from Michigan Tech's T.E.A. (Taking Education Abroad) group, aided by some Finlandia students, have been selling raffle tickets for a free massage. The Raffle ends this Wednesday, Apr. 15.* Tickets are sold for any donation.

The proceeds will be sent to the Central Asia Institute, Greg Mortenson's 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time, with Khanday schoolchildren, Pakistan. (Photo courtesy Central Asia Institute)

"We are raffling off three massages -- two half-hour massages valued at $40 each and one hour- long massage valued at $80," said Jessica Banda, vice-president of MTU's T.E.A. chapter. "A massage therapist named Beverly Maynard was kind enough to donate the massages."

The students established the MTU chapter of the T.E.A. organization after a presentation by Mortenson at M.T.U. last August. A former mountain climber, Mortenson has been building schools since the 90s in remote regions of the Himalayas where he used to climb.** Several colleges and universities in Michigan and other states also have T.E.A. chapters that are raising money for Mortenson's efforts. The local MTU chapter hopes to raise $12,000, the cost of building a school in one of these remote areas, in one year. Last summer students at both Michigan Tech and Finlandia University read the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time, co-authored by Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Mortenson spoke to students from both universities and some local high schools during his visit to MTU last summer.**

Schoolgirls in Khanday, Pakistan, with new uniforms. (Photo courtesy Central Asia Institute).

The MTU T.E.A. group will meet between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in Fisher 329 for a brown bag decorating event to prepare for a community pop can drive, which will take place Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, Apr. 17 and 18, in Hancock and Houghton. New members are welcome. Volunteers are asked to bring to the meeting any pop cans they would like to donate.

In addition to the raffle and pop can drive, local T.E.A. members will be planning an end-of-the year campfire for Friday, April 24.

Student T.E.A. members are asked to bring their Fall 2009 schedules to the Apr. 15 meeting to facilitate scheduling a meeting time for the fall semester. Students who can’t make it to Wednesday’s meeting but would like to be involved with T.E.A. next semester, should feel free to e-mail their schedule to Jessica Banda at or to T.E.A. President Travis White at

The T.E.A. chapter at MTU has raised more than $500 through their fundraisers this semester. A recent bake sale netted $110. The T.E.A. organization is a non-profit, and donations are tax-deductible.

* If you wish to purchase a massage raffle ticket before the Apr. 15 meeting, send an email to either of the above addresses. If you are at Finlandia, please email Keweenaw Now at

** Read more about T.E.A. and Greg Mortenson's inspiring visit in our Feb. 12 article.

To learn more about the Central Asia Institute, visit their Web site.