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.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They're off! 2009 Chain Drive bike race begins!

Following their police escort, cyclists cross the Portage Lake Lift Bridge on their way to the Maasto Hiihto /Churning Rapids trails in Hancock for the 16- and 32-mile Portage Health Chain Drive races today, June 20. (Video clip © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hancock to defend championship title in Pirates of the Keweenaw boat race June 21

Crew members of Boy Scout Troop 208 (right) struggle against the Hancock team during the final heat of the 2008 Pirates of the Keweenaw Cardboard Boat Regatta. (File photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now*)

HOUGHTON -- The City of Hancock is prepared to defend its title as defending champion in the Pirates of the Caribbean Cardboard Boat Regatta, beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, Father's Day. This highlight of the 2009 Bridgefest will take place again at the Houghton Waterfront Park. Registration and check-in are from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said Friday that the Hancock boat would have a crew of nine this year -- reduced from the 12 of 2008.

"We will give it our all," he said.

Hancock has won first place in the adult (age 12 and above) division for the last two years. In 2008 they defeated Boy Scout Troop 208 and the City of Houghton in the final heat of a close race.* They were also the winners in 2007, defeating the Smart Park.

Boats must be made of corrugated cardboard and should be decorated. Official rules can be found at Age divisions are 11 and under and 12 to adult. Prizes will be awarded for the Best Decorated, Best Costumes, Best Design, Best Sinking, Most People in the Boat and Fastest Boat.

The Pirates of the Keweenaw race is sponsored by Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Questions -- Email

This weekend's Bridgefest 2009 celebrates the 50th Birthday of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Click here for the schedule.

* See Keweenaw Now's June 16, 2008, article with photos and a video clip of last year's Pirates of the Keweenaw race.

Lahti's Plan to combine DNR, DEQ passes Michigan House

LANSING -- A plan introduced by State Representative Mike Lahti (D-Hancock) appropriates for a combined Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) -- cutting state spending by creating one entity called the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The plan, which passed the House on Thursday, June 18, could save up to $2 million.

"This is the first step toward a more efficient government," said Lahti , chair of the Natural Resources House Appropriations Subcommittee. "This is a bare bones budget with some tough cuts, but it is a budget based on today's reality."

The DNR and DEQ were made into separate departments by former Governor John Engler in 1995, and Lahti said the appropriations subcommittees of both the DNR and the DEQ have been working to recombine the two departments. The budget for the combined department would be $626 million.

"Combining these two agencies will allow for better communication and enforcement of laws that safeguard our air, land and water," Lahti said. "This move will streamline government and generate much-needed savings to help turn Michigan 's economy around while protecting our great outdoors. Consolidating these two departments is in the best interest of the taxpayers and the environment."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Organist Christina Harmon to perform in Calumet, Marquette churches

HANCOCK -- Upper Peninsula organs in local churches will feature in Pine Mountain Music Festival’s 2009 season. Internationally known organist Christina Harmon will play at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, in St. Paul the Apostle Church, Calumet. Her concert can also be enjoyed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 19, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marquette. Tickets are $16 and are available at the Rozsa Center Box Office and at the door.

Internationally known organist Christina Harmon will play a variety of organ music on local church organs during the Pine Mountain Music Festival this month. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Christina Harmon is a U.P. native, born in Menominee, but is now a resident of Dallas, Texas. In between she has traveled extensively and has played many outstanding organs in the U.S. and elsewhere including Westminster Abbey in London, Notre Dame in Paris and Chartres Cathedral. She is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Southern Methodist University and has studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

In her concerts, Ms. Harmon will play works by Bach, Moussorgsky, Bolcom and others as well as a work of her own composition. The theme of the Festival’s 2009 season is "Anything Goes," and the range of composers in the organ concert reflects that theme admirably.

Often referred to as "the king of instruments," the organ has a range of sounds unlike that of any other instrument and has attracted world-class composers from centuries ago to the present. Organs vary greatly from one to another; and the Upper Peninsula, thanks to the protracted mining boom and the much larger population at that time, is fortunate to have many organs that are exceptionally "worth the trip."

The Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera, classical and jazz music in June-July in the Dickinson County area, the Marquette area, the Keweenaw Peninsula and other smaller towns in the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. Headquartered in Hancock, Michigan, it is supported by donations, ticket sales and grants. Visit the web site at, or call 1-877-746-3999 for tickets or 888-309-7861 for more information.

Library welcomes artists, bug enthusiasts June 20, 22

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library’s Summer Reading Program continues with indoor-outdoor community programs that invite both children and adults to "Be Creative at Your Library."

Library volunteer Michael Martin of Hancock shares creative bubbles with Debbie Mues, CLK art teacher, and her granddaughter Nevin during the opening of the Portage Lake District Library's Summer Reading Program on June 13. (Watch for a slide show of this community event, coming soon.) (Photo © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

Everyone is invited to participate in an outdoor community art project at the library on Saturday, June 20. Large canvas panels that will be on permanent display in the children’s area will be painted under the guidance of local artist Illa Garver. People are welcome to stop by the library and add their creative touch to the art pieces. Art aprons for kids will be provided. Painting will begin outdoors at 10:00 a.m. if the weather is nice, and it will begin indoors at 1:30 p.m. if it is raining.

On Monday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m., amateur entomologist Tim Eisele will share his passion for bugs and arachnids in his program "Insect Zoo in My Yard." Participants will examine insects, spiders and other crawling things that are found around the house and yard and learn what they are doing there. There will be magnifying lenses for examining live specimens -- including a Giant Water Bug, Wolf Spider and Ant Lions. The program will conclude with an outdoor bug hunt at the west end of the library where participants will identify and photograph what is found.

This event will be enjoyed by bug enthusiasts of all ages. To learn more about Eisele’s work with bugs, see his Backyard Arthropod Project at

Watch for more announcements of upcoming library programs.

Finlandia's Upward Bound students to hold Car Wash, Hot Dog Sale June 20 in Hancock

HANCOCK -- Area high school students participating in this year’s Finlandia University Upward Bound summer residential program will conduct a Car Wash and Hot Dog sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, June 20.

Both will take place in the parking lot behind Finlandia’s Old Main on Quincy Street, Hancock. (NOT at Wal Mart, Houghton, as previously announced.)

The car wash and hot dog sale will help fund a one-week trip to Cleveland, Ohio, at the conclusion of this year’s Upward Bound experience. The trip itinerary includes tours of Notre Dame and John Carroll Universities and visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Zoo and Rainforest and the Museum of Natural History .

The annual Finlandia University Upward Bound summer residential program gives area high school students the opportunity to experience the daily routines of college freshmen. It takes place this year from June 17 to July 16.

For information, please call 487-7343.

Chain Drive bike race update

HANCOCK -- The start of the Saturday, June 20, Portage Health Chain Drive mountain bike race will be only slightly altered by the construction in Houghton.

The start of the race will be at 10 a.m. at the usual spot -- Best Western-Franklin Square Inn, Houghton. Roll-out will proceed downhill on Lakeshore Drive, not Shelden Avenue. Cyclists will turn up Quincy Street (near the Ambassador) and roll-out across the bridge.

The roll-out will be led by a police car, which cyclists cannot pass.

Online registration closes tonight, Thursday, June 18, at 11:59 p.m.

Otherwise registration will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 19, and from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 20, at Best Western-Franklin Square Inn.

The 16-mile and 32-mile cross-country races traverse the Maasto Hiihto / Churning Rapids trail system in Hancock. The course includes miles of singletrack and lots of elevation change. The finish will be at the Portage Health System hospital parking lot in Hancock. Visit the Chain Drive Web site for details and a four-minute action video.

The Junior Chain Drive starts at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20. The race will be on a single-track trail in a wooded area east of the hospital and will end at the Portage Health campus. The event includes timed races for youth ages 8-13 above and non-timed races for those age 7 and under. Click here for details.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great Lakes Schooner S/V Denis Sullivan returns for Keweenaw cruises June 27-30

The S/V Denis Sullivan travels over 18,000 nautical miles a year from her summer home at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, Milwaukee, along the east coast to her winter home in Southern Florida. Here she heads up the Portage from Hancock in 2005. (Photo © Roland Burgan. Reprinted with permission.)

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) will host the Great Lakes Schooner S/V Denis Sullivan when it returns to the Keweenaw Peninsula later this month for two events: Portage Lake Daysails of 2-3 hours on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, and a two-day Lake Superior Expedition Monday, June 29, through Tuesday, June 30.

Daysails to cruise the Portage from Houghton

Wisconsin's flagship, the S/V Denis Sullivan, is the world’s only re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner. Once the lines are cast off, the crew will explain the construction of this tall ship and share stories about Great Lakes maritime history. These Keweenaw Land Trust fundraising Daysail events will depart from the Houghton waterfront at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28.

The Daysail cost is $50 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under.

Early bird special: All tickets purchased by June 22 receive a $5 discount. Additional group discounts are also available: Treat your group of four or more people in your family, company or organization to a Daysail and save an additional $5 per ticket.

To find out more or reserve tickets for the Portage Lake Daysails, call the Keweenaw Land Trust at 906-482-0820 or email

Two-day Lake Superior Expedition: "Sail Away from Bay to Bay"

This year’s tall ship expedition is now within reach of more people and more wallets. The original 2009 program was planned before the economy hit some rough seas. A course correction was in order so KLT, working with Michigan Tech University, created an intensive but affordable two-day expedition to Keweenaw Bay, Huron Bay and Bete Grise Bay. It will start and end in Houghton.

Participants in the 2005 research trip, also sponsored by the Keweenaw Land Trust and MTU, prepare for a hands-on experience on the Great Lakes Schooner S/V Denis Sullivan. (Photo © Roland Burgan. Reprinted with permission.)

For educators looking for a Continuing Education opportunity, Michigan Tech University offers one credit for an additional fee. This is not a pleasure cruise but a hands-on experience where participants will learn the rigging and traditional sailing techniques of a three-masted Great Lakes schooner and USCG certified sailing school vessel. Everyone raises sail and takes a turn at the wheel! This adventure will take the S/V Denis Sullivan past several of the region’s historic lighthouses, the backdrop for learning about Lake Superior’s maritime history and aquatic ecology -- the Keweenaw’s past, present and future.

The three-masted S/V Denis Sullivan has traditional rigging. Participants in the Expedition learn traditional sailing techniques and explore land and water conservation. Here the Schooner makes its way up the Portage from Hancock in 2005. (Photo © Roland Burgan. Reprinted with permission.)

Participants will be challenged to work aboard the traditionally rigged Great Lakes Schooner, S/V Denis Sullivan while exploring important links between land and water conservation. Lake Superior has a special place in the hearts of those who live on the Great Lakes and want to keep her waters clean and protected. The health of Lake Superior, and all of the Great Lakes, depends on careful and appropriate management of the surrounding lands.

Learn about and participate in all ship’s operations while investigating the different features of terrestrial and lake ecology. Explore the positive impacts of conservation and study history and culture through a maritime lens.

The Expedition cost is $400/person, plus $125 for MTU tuition/registration if participating for credit. The limit is 15 participants so register now!

To register for the expedition contact Jeff Phillips: 414-765-8641,

For more info on the S/V Denis Sullivan click here.

To learn more about the Keweenaw Land Trust, visit their Web Site.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keweenaw Krayons to hold "Found Object" Garden Sculptures workshop June 16

MOHAWK -- Work began on the Keweenaw Krayons "Found Object" Garden Sculptures in the fall of 2008 and will continue with a workshop, led by artist Darlene Basto, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16.

Sisters, Sarah (foreground) and Brook Nordstrom of Mohawk work on the Keweenaw Krayons Found Object Garden Sculpture in the fall 2008. Sarah Nordstrom was one of the original four young people who first came to the Ramblin’ Rose 12 years ago and who helped form and name the non-profit, Keweenaw Krayons. (Photo courtesy Keweenaw Krayons)

"The sculptures held up very well through the winter," said Carol Rose, Keweenaw Krayons interim director. "We thought by beginning work on this form of recycled art early in the season it would give participants a chance to continue to add objects all summer."

While driftwood and other weather-worthy objects will be available, participants are invited to bring their own special "found objects" to add to the piece.

"There is no charge for attending the workshop; but donations of cash, supplies, time, pop cans, plants, etc., are always welcome," Rose added.

Keweenaw Krayons received two grants for the summer recycled-art programs; and the combination of both, plus Michigan Works Youth Employment workers, will make for a full-time summer recycled art program.

"We’ll be doing gardening, too, where we’ll add rich compost to the dirt from our worm bin where we recycle our food," Rose said.

For an updated schedule of recycled art classes and open studio time, Rose invites people to call Keweenaw Krayons at 337-4706 or check the Keweenaw Krayons Web site frequently for an up-to-date schedule of events.

Registrations for the Found Object Garden Sculpture Workshop can be made by calling the above phone number or emailing While all ages are welcome, youth younger than six are asked to bring an older teen or an adult along.

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.

Keweenaw National Historical Park entrance sign unveiled

CALUMET -- The National Park Service at Keweenaw National Historical Park (Keweenaw NHP) unveiled the first park entrance sign Monday morning, June 15, with park movement organizers, Keweenaw Heritage Sites representatives, community supporters and local dignitaries on hand to participate in the occasion.

The construction fence at the new Keweenaw NHP entrance sign is removed with the assistance of, from left, Calumet Township Supervisor Paul Lehto, Advisory Commissioner Ed Jenich, State Representative Mike Lahti, Coppertown’s Stuart Baird, Advisory Commissioner Steve Albee, park supporter Judy Albee, Main Street Calumet Director Tom Tikkanen and Keweenaw County Commissioner Don Keith. (NPS Photo © 2009 Dan Johnson)

All in attendance, including the park’s first superintendent Bill Fink and present superintendent Jim Corless, joined forces to roll up the construction fence, symbolizing the beginning of the transformative period when this unique partnership park starts to offer visitors and the Copper Country community a more traditional national park experience.

Superintendent Corless emphasized that the various elements that comprise Keweenaw NHP, including community organizations, private businesses, homeowners, local governments, the Keweenaw Heritage Sites, the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission and the National Park Service are working together to provide a cohesive national park experience, and that all are part of this unique national park.

Corless noted, "This park has been a grass roots movement from its conception and continues to depend on local energy for its success."

Corless recognized the efforts of Landscape Architect Steve DeLong and Stonemason Steve D’Agostino respectively for the design and crafting of the sign structure, which mirrors the construction methods of the C and H craftsmen that built the adjacent structures. He also recognized the great support that Keweenaw NHP has received from its congressional delegation and the support of State Representative Mike Lahti, who was in attendance.

Each of the twenty or so park principals in attendance assisted in removing the construction fence to "unveil" the new entrance sign, indicative of the active partnership involvement in Keweenaw National Historical Park.