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, June 05, 2009

Portage Health to hold first annual Health, Safety Fair June 6

HANCOCK -- Portage Health invites the public to the first annual Health and Safety Fair to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Portage Health in Hancock.

This free event features a car seat clinic; cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure, blood glucose, hearing and body mass index screenings*; healthy cooking demonstrations; bike and kayak safety expos; informational booths, giveaways, raffles and much more.

"This is a great opportunity to see our facility, equipment and latest technology all while getting preventative screenings and education," said Angela Lucas, director of Community Health for Portage Health. "Everyone is welcome, as there will be activities for all ages."

Nearly 20 departments will be represented, including radiology, home health, dialysis, the family birthing center and nutrition services. Hospital and ambulance tours will be offered, and physicians and staff will be available to answer questions.

For more informations, call Portage Health's Community Health Department at 483-1149.

* Note: The screenings are not comprehensive exams as done in a physician's office, Lucas explained. For instance, the cholesterol test measures total cholesterol, not a full lipid panel (LDL, HDL, ration, etc.) which would require fasting. The bone density test uses heel ultrasound, as opposed to a full Dexa scan in a physician's office. The purpose of these screenings is to provide base-line numbers to share with a person's medical provider in order to determine whether further tests are appropriate.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

First Friday in Calumet, June 5: Book signing, new exhibits

This Raku Basket by artist Ed Risak is part of the new exhibit at the Vertin Gallery, opening Friday, June 5. (Photos courtesy Vertin Gallery)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet, June 5, offers several art events, open to the public: a book signing at the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) Studios and Gallery and art exhibit openings at both the Vertin Gallery and the Miskwabik Ed Gray Gallery.

Wildflower photographer Harvey Desnick to sign new book at CCAA

Photographer and now pictorial author and publisher Harvey Desnick will be debuting his new wildflower pictorial Keweenaw Wildflowers Blooming Seasons with a premier book signing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 5, at the CCAA Studios and Gallery in Historic Downtown Calumet.

Blooming Seasons is a composite photographic work meant to stun readers with the incredible variety and beauty of the Keweenaw’s wildflowers and to encourage outdoor lovers to come and explore.

Blooming Seasons has been several years in the making. Over 300 images depict 278 varieties of wildflowers that bloom on the Keweenaw Peninsula north of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.

Desnick will also be meeting wildflower lovers and signing books at his Keweenaw Wildflowers Up Close exhibit at Vic’s Cabins on US 41 in Kearsarge all weekend. The exhibit will be open special hours, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday, June 6.

The CCAA Gallery is located at 112 Fifth Street in Calumet. Gallery hours are Thursday– Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. First Fridays, the Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the CCAA call 906-337-1252 or visit the CCAA Web site.

Vertin Gallery to host Raku exhibit

"Recent Raku by Ed and Julie Risak" will open with an artist reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 5. Refreshments will be served. The exhibit will run through July 1.

Double Box, Raku by Julie Risak, is on exhibit at the Vertin Gallery through July 1. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

The Risaks, who work together and individually, produce sculptural pottery, beautifully unique in its form and in the strikingly rich color glazes, which they achieve through a special Raku firing process. Ed and Julie Risak have a studio in Marquette. Both graduated from Northern Michigan University in the ceramics program during the 1980s and have been professional ceramic artists for over 20 years.

"Their work is known widely," said Kerri Corser, artistic coordinator. "We are honored to bring it to the Copper Country."

Located in the heart of downtown Calumet, the Vertin Gallery is one of the Upper Peninsula’s premiere fine art galleries, featuring sculpture, painting, copper, woodworking, glass, fiber, jewelry, and a fine selection of books. The work in the gallery changes frequently. A new exhibit each month showcases artists of the highest quality. For more information visit the Vertin Gallery Web site or phone Kerri Corser at: (906) 337-2200.

Mixed Media show at Miskwabik Ed Gray Gallery

"All About the Sun and Other Things," a Mixed Media, one-person show by Laura Stahl Maze, will open at the Miskwabik Ed Gray Gallery with a reception from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday, June 5. An artist demo will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For more information call 906-337-5970 or visit the Ed Gray Gallery Web site.

Updated: Keweenaw Brewgrass to perform "train songs" June 4 in Lake Linden

LAKE LINDEN -- Keweenaw Brewgrass will be performing favorite bluegrass and newgrass "train songs" to benefit the restoration of the Houghton County Historical Society's mining train and train-related museum displays at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, June 4, at the Heritage Center on First Street in Lake Linden. (Doors open at 7 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.)

The Heritage Center is an old church near the museum in Lake Linden. To get there from the south, drive just past the museum, then turn left (west) at the first street. The Heritage center is the church with brown siding.

Tickets are $5 at the door.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Houghton County Dems to host discussion with election law expert Jocelyn Benson June 3

HOUGHTON -- Jocelyn Benson -- author, law professor and candidate for Michigan Secretary of State in 2010 -- will "engage voters" this evening, Wednesday, June 3, about the role of Secretary of State in ensuring "fairness, access to government, and integrity in the electoral process." Her visit is part of a public discussion hosted by the Houghton County Democratic Party in a forum following the regular monthly membership meeting in the conference room of the Super 8 Motel in Houghton.

The Houghton County Dems plan to welcome Benson with a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. at the Super 8, Houghton. A brief membership meeting at 7 p.m. will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by Benson. The public is welcome to participate.

Benson, a professor of law at Wayne State University, portrays Secretaries of State as "guardians of democracy" in her book Democracy and the Secretary of State, to be published this year.

The book is a study of best practices used by Secretaries of States across the country and seeks to inform voters about how Secretaries of State from either side of the political spectrum can work to advance democracy and election reform.

"My goal as Secretary of State is to promote access and accountability and advocate for a responsive government," Benson said in a recent interview. "Michigan has been a leader in electoral reforms in the past, as with voters registering when they get driver’s licenses; and we need to regain that position as an innovative leader," she said.

Benson's dedication to electoral reform started in Montgomery, Alabama, when she worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center as an investigative journalist studying white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations.

Benson became a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. She received her law degree from Harvard University, where she became the Voting Rights Policy Coordinator of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and worked on the passage of the federal Help America Vote Act.

For more information visit the Houghton County Democrats' Web site.

Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve to meet June 4 in Calumet

CALUMET -- The Stewards of Bete Grise Preserve will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, at Calumet's Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, corner of Fifth and Scott streets, across from Copper World. Please use the entrance on the right side of the building for the meeting in the basement.

Discussion will include planning the August picnic to be held at Bete Grise and results of a meeting with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Cultural Committee. New members and interested persons are welcome.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Recent Works by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty" to open June 4 at Community Arts Center

"Pine Street" is one of the recent color reduction relief prints by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty on exhibit at Hancock's Community Arts Center from June 4 through July 3. (Photos courtesy Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The new exhibit in the Community Arts Center's Kerredge Gallery, "Recent Works by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty," will open with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 4. The exhibit will run through July 3.

In 2005 the two artists were awarded an Artists in Residency on Isle Royale. After spending three weeks on the Island working on their art along with their young son, Max, they decided to buy a house and move to Calumet.

"Calumet Windows" by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty.

Rudd and McCafferty have had long careers in the arts. As an arts administrator, Rudd facilitated a state program for support to individual artists, directed projects for a public art program and was visual arts coordinator for yet another state arts commission. McCafferty, who earned her MFA in drawing and painting from Arizona State University, has taught English in Japan and painting, drawing, design and printmaking for colleges and universities. She has also worked as an arts administrator on the state level and has written art reviews. Both have continued making their art individually and showing art in museums, art centers and galleries and have their work in private collections throughout the world.

"Winter Raven" is another of the recent works by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty on exhibit in the Kerredge Gallery.

Their collaborative work, color reduction relief prints, combines their talents for drawing, painting and carving. Each year for the past decade they have completed a series of prints depicting an environment or happening in the places where they have lived. Their show of recent works will include nine new relief prints from this winter as well as McCafferty's drawings and paintings and Rudd's sculpture with an installation featuring 89 carved fish.

The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information call (906) 482-2333.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hancock's Tori (Farmer's Market) to open June 3

HANCOCK -- The Hancock Tori (farmer's market) is scheduled to open this Wednesday, June 3. The Tori is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday from June 3 through the first Saturday in October in Lower Montezuma Park, downtown Hancock.

"Stop down at the park in Hancock and support your friends and neighbors," says Jeanne Medlyn, Tori board member. "I know there will be plant starts for your garden as well jams, baked goods and other treats."

If you have questions call Jeanne between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 482-1605. Visit the Tori blog and post your comments.

WPPDR to hold open houses on non-motorized improvements needs June 2, 4

HOUGHTON -- Lori Hauswirth, associate planner for the Western U.P. Planning and Development Region (WPPDR), is working with MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) on a project to identify non-motorized improvements needs in the Western U.P. and will be holding open houses in Houghton and Keweenaw counties Tuesday, June 2, and Thursday, June 4, to gather public input.

The meeting times and locations are as follows:
Houghton County Courthouse Conference Room, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 2;
Keweenaw County Courthouse Court Room, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 4.
These open house meetings are open to the public.

Purpose of Project:
The Western U.P. Planning and Development Region is working with the Michigan DOT on a Non-Motorized Transportation Plan and Investment Strategy for our region. The information gathered and prioritized for our six counties will be incorporated into a U.P.-wide strategy that will guide non-motorized improvements and funding in the upcoming years. In order to gather input on local planning efforts and to identify priorities in each community, open houses are being held in each county. WUPPDR will be using the information from the county meetings to develop the plan and help prioritize projects on a regional level.

Project Goals:
•Work with stakeholders to identify gaps in the existing non-motorized system.
•Address needs and/or wants of trail groups and local officials.
•Identify potential projects
•Generate action plan.

What is a Non-Motorized Transportation Facility?
MDOT classifies facilities as one of two general types including on-road and off-road:
1) Paved shoulders (4' or wider)
2) Striped bicycle lanes
3) Widened curb lanes (lane closest to curb) – collector roads
4) Shared roadway – residential road

1) Sidewalks
2) Sidepaths
3) Shared-use off-road paths

If anyone has ideas to share, please stop by the WPPDR office in Houghton or email Lori at

Sunday, May 31, 2009

KLT to hold Spring Frog and Flower Walk May 6

Frogs are sometimes hard to see since they take on the colors of their environment. (Photos © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- . Ever wanted to know more about the Keweenaw's frogs, flowers or land trusts? Here's your chance: Keweenaw Land Trust's Spring Frog and Flower Walk at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6.

Participants will meet at the property of the KLT Project Specialist Pat Toczydlowski to look for frogs and flowers in fields, woods and vernal ponds -- with frog surveyor Nancy Leonard and botanist Janet Marr. Toczydlowski will also be there, in her own back yard, to provide insight into how the Trust evaluates a property for conservation purposes from both the landowner’s and the land trust's perspective.

Frogs swimming in ponds do us a favor by snacking on mosquitoes and other pesky insects.

Where: From U.S. 41 take the Boston Road (north of Hancock near a self-store facility -- a left turn if headed north), travel about 2.7 miles and turn left on Rhode Island Road, travel 2 miles to STOP sign, go straight and travel 0.5 miles, turn left on Johnson Road (Dead End). Meet in yard at end of road: 22140 Johnson Road, 337-0037. To reserve a place or obtain more information, e-mail

Keweenaw Krayons features Recycled-Art Program beginning June 1, 2

Hannah Kariniemi, 10, of Fulton, holds up a bag made of fabric samples and recycled materials in a sewing class taught at Keweenaw Krayons by fiber artist Liz Johnson of Eagle Harbor. (Photos courtesy Keweenaw Krayons)

MOHAWK -- Youth, families, educators, artists as well as visitors and the general public are invited to attend a Recycling Art Sampler, facilitated by artist, Margaret Gerhard on Monday, June 1, and Tuesday, June 2, at Keweenaw Krayons, located in the Mohawk School. The Sampler will kick off a summer-long recycled-art program.

Monday’s (June 1) session will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Tuesday's (June 2) will be from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A special session for Horizons’ students and staff will be held on Tuesday during the day.

Registrations for the Recycled Art Sampler as well as the Found Object Garden Sculpture can be made by calling 337-4706 or emailing While all ages are welcome, youth younger than six are asked to bring an older teen or an adult along.

On Tuesday, June 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Darlene Basto will be present to facilitate work on the ongoing project, "Found Object Garden Sculpture," which was started last fall.

Horizons Alternative High School recently won the first Green School certificate in the western Upper Peninsula from the non-profit organization, Michigan Green Schools. Social Studies teacher Brad Wickstrom served as coordinator for the school’s recycling and energy conservation program.

"This recycled-art project fits in very well with what the students have been learning all year," said Horizons Principal, Chris Davidson.

Another student in fiber artist Liz Johnson's sewing class, Stephanie Harry, 10, of Gay, sews a bag at Keweenaw Krayons.

Gerhard, who resides in Wisconsin, says her "Mother Nature" persona "isn’t a job, but a passion." Often referred to as the "Queen of Green," the oldest of 13 children, she learned the benefits of recycling as a child. As an art teacher in West Green Bay, Gerhard turned even more to creating recycled art when her budget was cut. Today she continues to recycle products that would otherwise go to the landfill. She creates art out of wallpaper scraps, old greeting cards, record albums, CDs, placemats, magazines, carpet samples, old buttons, discarded jeans and what she calls "stuff and junk."

"We have always made art out of otherwise discarded objects," said Carol Rose, Keweenaw Krayons Interim Director. "Margaret has been one of our recycled-art teachers for a number of years, and we always have a good turn-out at classes she teaches."

Fiber artist Liz Johnson of Eagle Harbor has been teaching sewing lessons for youth since March of this year, using fabric samples and donated material to make shopping bags and quilts. The bags will be for sale at Johnson's Eagle Lodge Gift Shop, with all profits going to Keweenaw Krayons. Eagle Lodge is located on M-26 ten miles north of Eagle Harbor and four miles from Copper Harbor.

Stephanie Harry proudly displays her finished bag, made of donated recycled materials at Keweenaw Krayons.

"While there is no charge for the Recycled Art Sampler or any of the summer classes and open studio time, we are requesting that participants consider donating some of their finished work to Keweenaw Krayons," Rose stated. "We’ll then have these items for sale at our art center, the Eagle Lodge Gift Shop and other businesses around the area as well as the various art fairs in which Keweenaw Krayons participates. This is a way to ensure we can keep our doors open and our programs free or low-cost."

The Recycled Art Project is funded in part through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Copper Country Community Arts Council and the Denise Marth Memorial Grant through the Superior Child Abuse Prevention Council.

"We’ll be doing gardening, too, where we’ll be recycling our food with rich compost from our worm bin," Rose said. "We’ll also do garden art."

Keweenaw Krayons is located in the FAR South end of Horizons Alternative High School -- the former Mohawk School, 110 Stanton Ave., Mohawk.

Visit the Keweenaw Krayons Web site for more information.